WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Estrada on the mound for Brewers in game two vs. Arizona
MILWAUKEE - Marco Estrada has had five quality starts for the Milwaukee Brewers this season -- and tonight, he'll try to improve on his 2-1 record when the Crew hosts Arizona.
Estrada has not given up any more than three runs in any of his six outings so far. The right-hander has a 3.11 ERA. Estrada is coming off a loss at Cincinnati last Thursday in which he walked a season-high four batters, while giving up three runs in six innings of an 8-3 Milwaukee loss. Right-hander Josh Collmenter will start for the Diamondbacks tonight. He's 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA. He gave up four runs in seven innings last Wednesday against Colorado -- the third straight time in which he went six frames or longer. Collmenter is 2-0 lifetime against Milwaukee with a stingy ERA of 0.67.
The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the best pitching staffs in the Majors, but the Crew still lives-and-dies by its offense. The Brewers are 18-0 when they score four-or-more runs -- but they're 4-11 when they score three-or-less. Milwaukee only scored 13 times in its previous five games before pounding Arizona 8-to-3 at Miller Park last night. The Brewers have scored 132 runs this year, about average in the big leagues. The Crew still has a solid pitching staff, despite the fact that its team ERA rose from 2.95 to 3.03 over the past six games. Milwaukee is no longer alone in having the best record in the majors, as Detroit has caught up and both teams have winning percentages of .667. However, the Crew still tops the National League at 22-11, while the team they play tonight -- the Diamondbacks -- has the NL's worst mark at 11-24. Right-hander Marco Estrada will star for Milwaukee against Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will try to win their second straight over Peoria today. Beloit is coming off a 1-0 win over Peoria last evening. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play at division-leading Kane County again, after an 8-4 win by the Cougars last night.
Green Bay Packers' president Mark Murphy believes that over-exposure could be an issue for the NFL. Murphy spoke today at a business breakfast in Milwaukee, where he responded to a recent claim by Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban that "hogs get slaughtered" and the NFL is "getting hoggy." Murphy said he thought Cuban was referring to the league's expanded Thursday night TV package in which games will be shown on both CBS and the NFL Network. Murphy says Cuban has good words of caution, but he notes that all but one of the 35 highest-rated TV shows from a year ago were pro football games. With ticket prices rising above $100 along the yard lines at Lambeau this year, Murphy said the Packers need to be mindful of offering the best possible game experience for fans. He also mentioned the possibility of variable ticket pricing -- lower costs for exhibition games, and higher prices for the most attractive games on the schedule. Murphy said, though, that Green Bay won't be the first to do that. He also sidestepped reports that the Packers are working on a contract extension for coach Mike McCarthy. He said GM Ted Thompson is handling that.
UW-Whitewater has risen to No. 2 in the new national baseball Division III poll from D3baseball.com. The Warhawks jumped up two places from last week, after completing its regular season with a 3-0 non-conference win over Concordia-Wisconsin. Whitewater has won seven straight going into the WIAC tournament, with an overall mark of 32-6. Stevens Point rose three spots in the new poll to No. 12. The Pointers are 28-9. Webster of Saint Louis is the new No. 1. Linfield, which held the top spot for most of the season, has fallen to third.
J.P. Ranumas of Lawrence is the men's track athlete of the week in the Midwest Conference. Ranumas, a sophomore, won the 110-meter hurdles at the Lawrence Invitational. Ofuma Eze-Echest of Illinois College is the top female track athlete. In field events, Leandre Some of Ripon is the top men's participant. Some, a sophomore, broke a school record in the triple jump at the Lawerence Invitational, with a lead of 44-feet 11.50 inches. Jeanna Breaker of Ripon is the women's field athlete of the week. Breaker, a junior, placed second in the high-jump at Lawrence.
The University of Wisconsin women's openweight Varsity Eight has been named the Boat-of-the-Week by the Big Ten Conference. The 15th-ranked Badger squad won its third "Burnin' Blade" in four years by defeating Minnesota on Sunday to reclaim the traveling trophy between the two schools. The award began in 2010. The Badgers won the first two annual events over the Gophers, before Minnesota returned the favor a year ago. UW swept the Golden Gophers in all the races.
Kyle McHugh of UW-Stevens Point and Shane Adler of La Crosse are the WIAC baseball players of the week. McHugh, a junior designated hitter, had nine of his 12 hits go for extra bases last week -- including five homers. He batted .462 with a slugging percentage of one-point-one-nine-two. Adler, a junior right-hander, had a pair of victories last week with a point-six-oh earned run average in 15 innings. He struck out 17 in those two contests.
Ryan Sallmann of Wisconsin Lutheran has been named the final men's tennis player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Sallmann won the clinching match for Lutheran in the league tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Skip Turner of Concordia-Mequon in the Number-Two singles' finals.