WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Estrada on the mound as Brewers get another crack at Cardinals
MILWAUKEE - Marco Estrada will try to go 2-0 tonight, when the Brewers host Saint Louis.
The Milwaukee right-hander gave up just two runs in each of his two starts in the young season -- including last week at Philadelphia, when he went six innings. Estrada's ERA is 2.31, and he hopes his recent success will help him turn things around against the Cardinals. Estrada is 0-3 lifetime against the Redbirds, with an ERA of just over 5.75 in seven starts. Saint Louis sends right-hander Shelby Miller to the mound. He's 0-2 so far with an ERA of just over six-and-a-third -- but he went 3-0 against the Brewers last season as a rookie, giving up just over two earned runs to the Crew every nine innings. The Cardinal offense gave him just over five runs of support in each of those starts a year ago -- but he only got two runs of support in a pair of appearances this season. Saint Louis is 8-5 with a three-game winning streak. Milwaukee is 10-3, after ending a nine-game winning string last night.
The Milwaukee Brewers will get another chance tonight to prove that they're not snake-bitten when they play the Saint Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds have won 14 of their last 20 games against Milwaukee, including the Brewers' 4-0 loss last evening at Miller Park. It ended a nine-game winning streak in which the Brewers averaged almost six runs per contest. Against Saint Louis, the Crew managed just three hits -- two from Jean Segura. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez went hitless for only the second time in 13 games this season. Starter Matt Garza, who took the loss and fell to 0-2, said the Brewers are just fine -- and they'll start a new winning streak. Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina returns tonight, after getting a breather in the series' opener. He has 10 hits in his last 20 at-bats. At 8-5, the Cardinals have a three-game winning streak. Milwaukee is 10-3. Right-hander Marco Estrada will start for the Crew tonight against Cards' right-hander Shelby Miller.
Brewers' first-round draft choice Clint Coulter has been named the position player of the week in the Class-"A" Midwest League. The 20-year-old catcher belted three homers and drove in eight runs in a pair of victories for the Class-"A" Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at South Bend over the weekend. Coulter was Milwaukee's top pick in 2012.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will try again this afternoon to open their home series against Lansing. They were snowed out last night near Appleton, and a single contest is planned today with a first pitch at 12:05. The Beloit Snappers also postponed their series opener last night against Great Lakes. They'll play a double-header starting at four this afternoon.
Wisconsinites are running in today's Boston Marathon -- some with great trepidation, after two bombs exploded at the finish line last year. Greg Pavek of Madison tells WKOW-TV he was close to the end when he heard two loud blasts and saw smoke. He tried calling his wife who was at the finish line, but he couldn't reach her right away. Pavek was among 57-hundred runners who never got to finish the race. They were invited back for today's Boston Marathon, but Pavek chose not to send in a required registration form. Then last fall, Pavek ran a marathon in Middleton with a time that qualified him for Boston -- and after talking with his wife, he decided that he needed to finish what he started. He expected to run the complete 26-miles-plus in his seventh Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded in last year's blasts. Vice President Joe Biden was among those planning to appear at a program to honor the victims.
Former Milwaukee Bucks' center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely, after an X-ray showed that he broke a rib on his right side. The Bucks traded the 7-foot Bogut to Golden State just over two years ago, after he struggled with injuries for a good share of his nearly seven seasons in Milwaukee. Now, he'll miss a playoff run for the Warriors -- and he says he'll learn to play smarter when he returns. Bogut was hurt last Thursday in a Golden State loss to Denver. On Sunday, he aggravated the injury when he got sandwiched between two players in an overtime loss at Portland. Bogut says the broken rib is too close to his lung to consider playing through. He appeared in 67 of Golden State's 80 games this season, averaging 10 rebounds and almost seven-and-a-half points per game. Bogut was the last Milwaukee player to be drafted first overall in 2005. This season, the Bucks have secured the top spot in the Draft Lottery thanks to having the NBA's worst record. Milwaukee will have a 25-percent chance of getting the first pick in the May 20th lottery. In any case, the Bucks will draft no lower than fourth.
Green Bay Packers' kicker Mason Crosby says he's not too concerned about the prospect of having to kick longer extra points. Before leaving on the team's annual Tailgate Tour today, Crosby said it's something he'll work on at Training Camp. He did say it would be strange to kick extra points which are longer than at least some field goals -- but he passes it off as part of the game. The NFL will spend two weeks during the exhibition season experimenting with extra points from the 20-yard line instead of the two. It would be a 38-yard point-after-touchdown -- and if it does what it's supposed to, it could become a permanent part of the game later on. The NFL is looking for ways to make the PAT less automatic, because kickers make over 99-percent of them. Crosby has booted 348 extra points in his career, missing just twice. Also today, Packers' president Mark Murphy said he wanted to get Brett Favre to a game in Green Bay last fall -- but it fell through after the high school team he was coaching in Mississippi made a deep postseason run. Murphy says he continues to have good relations with Favre, and he'd like to retire Favre's No. 4 before he's most likely inducted into the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame in 2016.
Former Green Bay Packers' defensive back Tyrone Williams is helping former NFL players adjust to life both during and after football. He now runs a sports management company called "Tru-Pros." It's based in Dallas, and it provides mentoring about life's challenges after they no longer hear the cheering crowds. Williams tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he was getting bored playing golf all the time after he retired -- so he started "Tru-Pros" to help others in his situation, plus those who are still playing, like Packers' corner Sam Shields. He said his company has attorneys and advisers to teach his clients about quote, "the game of life" -- things like personal finances, setting up a will and a trust, and getting in tune to how the world really works. Williams says many NFL players never get that kind of advice from the game. He and several other former Packers also said they were shocked by the allegations against their ex-teammate Darren Sharper. He's accused of drugging several women and then raping them. Sharper has been charged in California and Arizona, and was under investigation at last word in Louisiana, Florida, and Nevada. Sharper has another court hearing today in Los Angeles.
Andrew Heideman of Concordia-Wisconsin is the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference pitcher of the week. Heideman, who's in his rookie season at Mequon, tossed a four-hitter on Sunday against the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He gave up one run and struck out a season-high eight. He also fanned five in two innings of relief against North Park. Also, Shannon Curtis of MSOE has been named the league's softball pitcher of the week. Curtis, also a rookie, threw a two-hit shutout against Alverno. She won two games last week, with a 0.50 ERA in three starts. The NACC also recognized Kellen Syse of Lakeland in men's golf, Lee Johnson of Wisconsin Lutheran in men's tennis, and Christa Winslow of Lutheran in women's outdoor track.
Felicia Carlson of Beloit College has been named the Midwest Conference women's track athlete of the week. Carlson, a senior, broke her own school records in winning both the 100-and-200-meters at the Benedictine Eagle Invite last weekend. Her time in the 100-meters is the second-best in the NCAA's Division III at 12.01 seconds. Her 200-time of :24.64 is the nation's fifth-best. Also, Lindsey Thomas of Carroll in Waukesha is the women's field athlete of the week. Thomas, a junior, won the discus at Saint Norbert and placed second in the shot-put and weight throw. She set a new school record with her discus throw of 142-feet five-inches. Also, the Midwest Conference honored Henry Mulvey of Carroll in men's golf.