Brewers look to start new winning streakWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers will try to start a new winning streak against Pittsburgh tonight at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH - The Milwaukee Brewers will try to start a new winning streak against Pittsburgh tonight at PNC Park.
The Brewers had beaten the Pirates 13 straight times until they got whipped 9-2 last night in the second game of a double-header. It gave Pittsburgh its first victory over the Brew Crew in 10 contests this season.
Tonight, Brewers’ right-hander Marco Estrada will face right-hander Ross Ohlendorf – who’s making his first start for Pittsburgh since going on the disabled list April ninth with a strained throwing shoulder. Ohlendorf has no record in two starts this season with a bloated ERA of 7.27. And he recently went 1-1 in four rehab starts at Triple-“A” Indianapolis. Estrada is 3-8 with a 4.28 ERA. He took a hard-luck defeat last Wednesday against the LA Dodgers, giving up just one run on three hits in five innings of a 5-1 Milwaukee loss. Estrada had been filling in for Chris Narveson, who returned last night but left early after stretching a nail on his throwing hand. If he’s not ready to make his next start, Estrada could fill in again. Otherwise, he goes back to the bullpen after tonight. The Brewers have a nine-game lead over Saint Louis in the National League Central. Their magic number to clinch the division is 25.
The Milwaukee Brewers are getting their biggest national attention yet after winning 23-of-their-last-27 games. For the first time since 1987, the new Sports Illustrated magazine has an all-Brewers’ cover – and all parts of the country are getting it. The cover highlights a story by Lee Jenkins called “Living the High Life – How “T”-Plush and two Wall-banging MVP Candidates are Mixing a Strange Brew in Milwaukee.” Tony Plush, of course, is the alter ego of outfielder Nyjer Morgan – and he’s pictured with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder as they celebrate one of their victories. Braun last appeared on the Sports Illustrated cover in March of 2008 – but he appeared with five players from other teams in a baseball preview issue.
The Brewers are at-it-again with their on-field demonstrations. For the past couple weeks, Prince Fielder and some of his teammates have raised their arms when they reach base – and they make the “beast” gesture made popular in the kids’ movie “Monsters Incorporated.” Former manager Ken Macha took a dim view of his players’ previous antics, but he couldn’t stop them. First-year manager Ron Roenicke said he talked to some of his players about it – and he doesn’t want it to get carried away. A couple years ago, the Brewers angered opponents when they untucked their jerseys after victories. They sped into the dugout after one victory in 2009. Later that season, Fielder acted like a bowling ball which knocked down his teammates at the plate after he hit a game-winning home run against San Francisco. The Giants were so upset that Barry Zito hit Fielder with a pitch at spring training the next year. But the Brewers see the out-stretching of their arms as harmless. Corey Hart says they’re not showing their opponents up and quote, “We started doing it for our kids.” Roenicke said today’s game is different. As a manager he said quote, “If you want to be old-school, you’re not going to do very well in the game unless you’ve been around as long as Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.” He said they earned the respect to order the displays to end – and Roenicke says he’s not at that status yet. In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online poll, 56-percent of 15-hundred fans said the “beast” gesture is good-natured fun. 20-percent called it “bush league.” 24-percent said they didn’t care as long as the Brewers get on base.