Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Game 2 Preview - Brewers vs. Cubs

My name is Willis, and I approve this message.
In the best pitching matchup of the series (on paper, at least) the Brewers attempt to even the series by sending Ben Sheets to the hill against Big Z, who was once named the 4th Craziest Venezuelan by a major purveyor of Cubs tomfoolery on the interweb. No word if he remains 4th, although there's no way he's jumped ahead of Ozzie.

This is a rematch of Opening Day, way, way back in March. You remember that game, right? Sheets and Zambrano both turned in fantastic starts. Scoreless until Kerry Wood gave up 3 runs in the 9th, Eric Gagne returned the favor by blowing his first save of the season on a 3-run home run by Fukudome-san. Then TG Jr. (remember him?) won the game with a dramatic sacrifice fly in the 10th. Good times.

Fast forward to July 29, the Brewers could really use a win here. Last night's game had everything we expected - Soriano breaking into his home run trot on a double to lead off the game, Prince making a key defensive play on roller skates at 1B (or maybe he was playing in mud), some curious baserunning decisions by the Cubs 3rd base coach (sending Lee to get gunned out by a mile at home, but then holding Fontenot at 3rd in the 9th when it looked like he could have scored easily), some terrible defense by Weeks in the 7th, and finally walks coming back to bite Torres in the 9th. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Soriano almost dropped that ball hit by Kapler to end the game. Really a fantastic game to watch.

What will tonight's game bring? Well, the first question will be who will play 2B and bat leadoff for the Brewers? I'd like to think that Durham will get the nod, given that he can bat from the left side and given Weeks' struggles last night at the plate and in the field. But something tells me that this is a perfect time for Ned to show Rickie that he's still got confidence in him by giving him another start. He's hit Zambrano reasonably well in his career (.250 with a bomb). Not saying I would agree with the move if Ned sticks with Weeks, but I could definitely see Ned making that move. It's consistent with what he does.

Another question is will Sheets step up and be that "2nd ace" that everyone has been talking about? He has not been particularly sharp in his last couple of outings. I mean, he's been good, but not great. The Brewers could really use one of those dominant performances from Sheets tonight. He's had reasonable success against most of the Cubs in the past, with the exception of Derrek Lee, who has absolutely worn Sheets out during his career to the tune of a .349 BA, 6 HR and 10 RBI in 43 career at bats. So that will be a matchup to watch.
In the end, I think this will be another close game, but I see the Brewers pulling it out in the end. I'll say 4-3 Brewers, but I won't give it the Woz Guarantee (because that guarantee is faulty). Instead I'll give it the Willis stamp of approval.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Rickie Weeks is not starting.