WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers face Phillies tonight in aftermath of Braun's big game
PHILADELPHIA - The Milwaukee Brewers will play Philadelphia again tonight at Citizens Bank Park, where Ryan Braun has been on a tear. He's batted .405 in 20 regular season games at the Phillies' home park. It's where he belted three homers and tied a Brewers' record with seven RBI's in a 10-4 Milwaukee victory yesterday.
Braun has 10 homers and 21 RBI's in front of the boisterous Philly fans who now boo him for using synthetic testosterone and lying about it for almost two years. Overall, Braun has batted .392 in 44 career contests against the Phils with 17 homers and 37 driven in. Braun says it's a good ballpark to hit in, and he likes competing against the likes of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Tonight, right-hander Matt Garza will start for Milwaukee against Phillies' right-hander Roberto Hernandez. Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last Wednesday, before the Brewers went on to lose a 1-0 game to Atlanta. Hernandez gave up two runs in five-and-a-third innings of his opener against the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee has won four straight road games. They have not won five straight away from home since 1987, when they were 7-0 before losing.
Hank Aaron played for Bud Selig in his final two Major League seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. And Selig -- who went on to become the commissioner of baseball -- hints that Aaron is still the game's home run king. The 80-year-old Aaron was honored last night in Atlanta, on the 40th anniversary of his 715th career homer which broke Babe Ruth's record at the time. Aaron retired with 755 blasts, a record that was later broken by Barry Bonds -- whose career was tarnished with allegations of steroid use. Many baseball fans believe that Aaron is still the real home run king. Reporters asked Selig if he feels that way, and the former Brewers' owner replied quote -- "I'm always in a sensitive spot there, but I've said that myself and I'll just leave it that." The Atlanta Braves honored Aaron in a pre-game ceremony last evening. Braves' chairman Terry McGuirk said Hammerin' Hank set the record quote, "the old-fashioned way." Retired Braves' broadcaster Pete Van Wieren got a huge ovation when he said Aaron is quote, "still recognized as baseball's true home run king."
Chris Wright is bound-and-determined to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks going into next season. The 6-8 forward from Dayton was playing for Maine in the NBA's Developmental League when the Bucks signed him and two others to 10-day contracts in recent weeks. The Bucks wanted to get a second look at Wright -- so they signed him to another 10-day deal, and he played for 16 minutes in Saturday night's Milwaukee home loss to Toronto. After the game, he lamented going 0-for-4 from the free throw line. And when he left the Bradley Center, the 25-year-old Wright went directly to the Bucks' training facility in Saint Francis where he shot about 600 free throws. He said he made around 500 of them. Wright said free throws are not one of his weaknesses, but he said nerves got to him during Saturday's game -- and that normally doesn't happen to him. Wright said he could handle anything once he prepares himself. The Bucks will host Indiana tonight.
Milwaukee Brewers' third baseman Aramis Ramirez is off to one of the best starts of his career. He was the only Brewer to get a hit in each of the team's first six games -- a streak which ended yesterday, when Ramirez went 0-for-5 in Milwaukee's 10-4 win at Philadelphia. Ramirez is now hitting .367 with a double and six RBI's. Before yesterday, he was 6-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The 35-year-old Ramirez has normally had slow starts during his 17-year Major League career. This year, he said he's healthier than usual -- and when it comes to preparation, he feels like where he's supposed to be. Ramirez had knee problems during most of last season, when he sprained it twice during slides into second base. Over the winter, he had a non-cancerous polyp removed from his colon -- and it slowed him down at Spring Training. But Ramirez says all that's behind him, and he's ready to do his job -- which he says is driving in runs as the cleanup man. The Brewers are playing at Philadelphia again tonight. Right-hander Matt Garza will start for the crew against Phillies' right-hander Roberto Hernandez.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play at West Michigan again tonight. The Rattlers lost 3-2 last night in an emotional home opener for the Whitecaps. Over 71-hundred fans saw West Michigan's first game since a fire in January destroyed much of the indoor suites on the first base side of Fifth Third Ballpark. Crews scrambled to repair the damage in time for the start of the season. Also tonight, the Beloit Snappers will try to win its second straight contest at South Bend. That's after a 5-1 Beloit victory last evening.
The UW-Stevens Point baseball team is still ranked second in this week's national Division-Three poll from D3baseball.com. The Pointers are 15-2 overall. They ended a ten-game winning streak when they split a home double-header against U-W La Crosse on Monday. Whitewater moved up two places to No. 7 in the new poll. The Warhawks are now 13-3, after winning five of their last six. Linfield of Oregon remains atop the D3 poll.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to end five consecutive losses to Indiana tonight. The Bucks have dropped five straight overall, as they get ready to host a Pacer team that appears to be pacing itself for the playoffs. Indiana has dropped five of six after losing by 19 to Atlanta on Sunday. Center Roy Hibbert was benched for the final two-and-a-half quarters of that game, because the coaches thought he looked fatigued. The Pacers remain second behind Miami in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Coach Frank Vogel says his team is still trying to win the top playoff seed -- but he'll be giving his players rest at strategic times while still trying to win the Pacers' final four regular season contests. All of Indiana's starters sat out of a practice yesterday. Milwaukee is playing out the string with the NBA's worst record of 14-63. The Bucks are coming off a four-point loss to Toronto on Saturday night in which John Henson scored 23. The Bucks lost despite out-scoring the Raptors by 30 in the paint.
UW-Milwaukee senior Dexter Schleis has been named the Horizon League outdoor track athlete of the week. And Kimberly native Nate Pozolinski of Illinois-Chicago was honored as the top men's field athlete. Schleis posted the league's fastest time in the 200-meter dash at the Marquette Duals. He won the event with a time of :21.63 seconds. Pozolinski, a freshman, had a personal-best leap of 6.76 meters in the long jump at the Marquette Duals. He finished second in that event.