WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Brewers' lead at 6.5 games despite losing in Toronto
The Milwaukee Brewers snapped a four-game road winning streak when they fell at Toronto yesterday, 4-to-1. Marco Estrada did not pitch badly, despite giving up his 25th-and-26th homers of the year -- both solo shots from Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus. Estrada gave up no more than those two runs in six innings. That was the first time in seven road starts in which he held the opponents to two tallies or less. Still, Estrada was saddled with the loss, dropping him to 7-and-5. Drew Hutchison struck out a career-high ten batters over seven innings. He improved to 6-and-6 on the year. Casey Janssen pitched the ninth to get his 13th save for the Blue Jays, who ended a three-game overall losing streak. The Brewers were held to just four hits. Ryan Braun drove in Milwaukee's only run with an sixth inning double. Brewers' left fielder Khris Davis strained his left shoulder while diving into second base in the seventh inning. He's listed as day-to-day. Despite two straight losses, Milwaukee still has the National League's best record at 51-and-34, with a six-and-a-half game edge over second-place Saint Louis in the Central Division. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are both close behind at seven back. The Brewers and Blue Jays will close out their short two-game set today in Toronto, with an 11:35 start time. Right-hander Wily Peralta faces Blue Jays' left-hander J-A Happ.
General manager Doug Melvin says the Brewers are healthy -- and if they stay that way, don't be surprised if the club stands pat through the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Melvin says there's been "very minimal activity" on the part of other teams, judging by the lack of calls he's gotten so far. As the National League Central division leaders, the Brewers could buy a big name from a non-contender, if the right opportunity presents itself. However, Melvin says very few teams are counting themselves out yet. He says Milwaukee's own division still has four teams above .500 -- and with the large number of division games left, any of those teams can rise to the top. If there's any need, it might be the bullpen -- which has had a few bumps in the road this year. Still, Melvin says his pitching lineup is already getting some fresh arms with the recent return of Tom Gorzelanny from shoulder surgery -- and the expected returns on injured relievers Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson. The G-M expects both to return, but he's not sure when.
The next All-Star vote totals we hear will be the final ones -- in which the starters and reserves will be announced for the July 15th Mid-Summer Classic in Minneapolis. That comes on Sunday evening. If the voting were to end today, Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez would be the National League starter at third base, and Carlos Gomez would have one of the three starting outfield spots. Ramirez has led his position's fan tally for two weeks, while Gomez moved up to second this week for the outfield positions. Shortstop Jean Segura, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and first baseman Mark Reynolds are all second. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki continues to have the most overall votes in the National League, at just under four-million.
Former Marquette guard Steve Novak has played with Jason Kidd twice in his eight-year N-B-A career -- and he says Kidd will be exciting to have in Milwaukee as the new Bucks' coach. At a cookout for Marquette alumni and fans last night, Novak called the 41-year-old Kidd a "great basketball mind." The two played together in Dallas in 2011 and New York in 2013. Novak said he got some very positive and very negative things back after he tweeted congratulations to Kidd, and said the new Bucks' owners were off to a great start. Novak said he didn't realize that owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens interviewed Kidd without G-M John Hammond knowing about it, leaving former coach Larry Drew hanging until he got fired on Monday. Novak, who has played for six N-B-A teams in his eight seasons, said the additions of Kidd and first-rounder Jabari Parker bring a sizzle to Milwaukee that the Bucks haven't seen in a long time -- and he says there's nothing wrong with that.
Jodie Meeks started his N-B-A career in Milwaukee -- and he'll play against the Bucks more often as he rejoins the Central Division with the Detroit Pistons. Meeks reportedly agreed to a three-year contract worth 19-million dollars, as one of the first players to make a deal during the league's free-agent negotiating period that began yesterday. Contracts cannot be signed until a week from tomorrow. The 26-year-old Meeks is a five-year N-B-A veteran. He played just over a half-season with the Bucks before being traded to Philadelphia -- where he spent two-and-a-half years. Meeks played his last two years with the Los Angeles Lakers as a back-up. He has career averages of around ten points, two rebounds, and one assist per game.
A second player has joined the 2015 recruiting class for the Marquette men's basketball team. Neenah high school senior Matt Heldt has given his verbal commitment to join the Golden Eagles. Heldt is a 6-10 center who also had offers from U-W Green Bay, Northern Illinois, Xavier, and Toledo. He joins Sun Prairie guard Nick Noskowiak in new coach Steve Wojciechowski's list of recruits for a year from now.