WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Nelson trying to keep spot in Brewer line-up
MILWAUKEE - Jimmy Nelson might be auditioning to keep his spot in the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation this afternoon, as the Brew Crew is hosting Toronto.
Injured starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza are expected to return by early September at the latest. And with Wily Peralta and Yovani Gallardo pitching better, it might come down to choosing Nelson or Mike Fiers for the Number-five starting spot. Fiers has lived up to his name recently, with three red-hot starts including his seven-inning stint last night. The right-hander retired the final 18 batters he faced in a win over Toronto, after he struck out 14 Cubs in just six innings in his previous start. Nelson, a rookie right-hander, has not been as hot -- but he does have five quality starts in a row, including a no-decision last Friday in a 6-3 Brewers' victory at Los Angeles. Nelson is 2-3 with a 3.68 ERA. Milwaukee leads the National League Central by two-and-a-half games over second-place Saint Louis.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are going for a second straight victory at Clinton tonight. The Rattlers won a 10-9 slug-fest over the Lumberkings last night. The Beloit Snappers are looking to win at Peoria again, on the heels of a 3-0 shutout.
Former University of Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt of Houston is one of the NFL's most elite pass rushers -- but he's not getting paid like it. Watt joined the league in 2011, the first year of the league's new collective bargaining agreement. He was given a five-year, $11.25 million dollar package -- and he has two years left on that deal, while a couple members of his draft class are re-upping for more money in one year than what Watt gets in five. Yahoo Sports says Watt will be the ninth-highest-paid player on the Texans this year, with almost $3.6 million dollars. That's less what what rookie Jadeveon Clowney is getting -- and he has not taken a single NFL regular season snap yet. Former Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips says only a few players in the NFL are better than Watt -- and he's destined for the Hall of Fame. Earlier this month, Texans' owner Bob McNair said he's willing to use the franchise tag on Watt in 2016, while taking a "team-first" approach to contract talks. Watt took the high road in recent comments to Yahoo Sports. He said he's glad others are appreciated enough to get good deals -- and he'll just keep working as hard as he can to try and earn the same appreciation.
Defending champion UW-Milwaukee is the pre-season favorite to win another women's soccer crown in the Horizon League. The Panthers have won the regular season title for 14 straight years, the most in the NCAA's Division I. Last year, the Panthers were only projected to take third in the pre-season survey -- but they won the championship anyway. Milwaukee returns nine starters and 18 letter-winners from a year ago -- including Kelly Lewers, the league's player-of-the-year and the conference tournament MVP. Lewers, a senior forward, had nine goals and six assists last season. UW-Green Bay is projected to finish eighth in the Horizon. The Phoenix is led by all-league first teamer Hannah Kernen.