Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Gallardo to start for Brewers tonightWisconsin Sports
-- Now that Zack Greinke’s gone, Yovani Gallardo is back to being the ace of the Brewers’ starting corps. But like the rest of the team, Gallardo is struggling as he gets ready to start tonight’s game against the Houston Astros at Miller Park.
MILWAUKEE - Now that Zack Greinke’s gone, Yovani Gallardo is back to being the ace of the Brewers’ starting corps. But like the rest of the team, Gallardo is struggling as he gets ready to start tonight’s game against the Houston Astros at Miller Park.
The right-handed Gallardo is 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA. Last Thursday, he was tagged for seven runs in five innings in an 8-2 loss to Washington. The weekend before, Gallardo gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits in a loss at Cincinnati. Before that, Gallardo was lights-out in his last four appearances, when he had an ERA of 1.40. Houston is putting up rookie Dallas Keuchel. The left-hander is 1-3 with an ERA of almost four-and-two-thirds. Keuchel has lost his last three starts, while averaging nine runs every nine innings in those games.
Brewers’ starter Shaun Marcum will have another bullpen session in the next couple days, as he continues to get over tightness in his right throwing elbow. Marcum has been out since mid-June. If his bullpen session goes well, he’ll throw a simulated game on Saturday in Saint Louis. And then, he’s expected to make a couple of minor league rehab appearances. Marcum cannot play in the Majors again until mid-August anyway. That’s because he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list this past week. Also, reliever Manny Parra has an irritated left throwing shoulder. Roenicke said the problem developed late last week, after Parra issued six walks in two brief appearances.
Former Milwaukee right-hander Seth McClung has been released from the Brewers’ Triple-“A” farm club at Nashville. McClung pitched in Milwaukee from 2007-through-’09. This year at Nashville, he went 2-13 in 21 games with a 6.36 ERA. On Sunday, McClung gave up two grand slams to Albuquerque’s Jerry Sands. Meanwhile, outfielder Khris Davis was promoted from Double-“A” Huntsville to Triple-“A” Nashville. Davis is batting .383 this year with eight homers and 23 RBI’s in 44 games. He’s the current player-of-the-week in the Double-“A” Southern League, after going 12-for-22 last week with four homers. Also, shortstop Edwin Maysonet was outrighted at Nashville, and outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard was assigned outright to Class-“A Brevard County. Both were on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, but they were dropped to make room for three prospects acquired last week when Zack Greinke was dealt to the Angels of Anaheim.
In the Northwoods League, the Wisconsin Woodchucks hope to begin a new winning streak tonight when they open a series at Green Bay. Battle Creek blasted the Woodchucks 10-4 last night in Wausau. It was Wisconsin’s first home loss in 17 games – and the Woodchucks snapped a seven-game overall string. They continue to lead the South Division by four games over Madison, and six over La Crosse. Madison lost to La Crosse 7-1 last night, and those two teams will play again this evening in La Crosse. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters open a series at Eau Claire. The Rafters fell to the Lakeshore Chinooks 7-2 last night, while Eau Claire lost to Green Bay 8-7. Lakeshore is at Battle Creek tonight. Also, Duluth hosts Waterloo. North Division-leading Willmar is at home against Rochester. Mankato plays at Thunder Bay. And Saint Cloud is at Alexandria.
Green Bay Packers’ starting defensive end Ryan Pickett bruised a knee during today’s practice. Pickett went out mid-way through the workout – and he stayed around without putting ice on the knee. Also, defensive tackle Mike Daniels left the practice field early with knee and groin injuries. As a result, both Mike Neal and Anthony Hargrove received more snaps than usual. Both can play in the exhibition games, but they’ll be suspended once the regular season begins – Neal for four games, and Hargrove for eight. Running back Marc Tyler also left today’s practice early with an injured shoulder. Coach Mike McCarthy could say when any of the newly-injured players could return. Meanwhile, receiver Greg Jennings is expected to practice tomorrow. He’s been nursing a bad elbow. And McCarthy says linebacker Desmond Bishop could return by the end of the week. He has yet to practice due to calf injuries.
The Green Bay Packers now have eight tight ends on their roster, after signing free agent DeMarco Cosby yesterday. He was out of football after short time on the Saint Louis Rams’ practice squad last year. Cosby played his college ball at Central Missouri, where he set school records for a tight end during his senior year with 71 catches for 970 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Packers practiced outdoors again this morning, in their fifth training camp practice.
The Associated Press has created new “Pro-32 Power Ratings,” which rank NFL teams similar to the way the Top-25 polls are developed for college football-and-basketball. And the first Number-One team is … the Green Bay Packers. The Pack is coming off a 15-1 regular season record a year ago. And it even though they were one-and-done in the playoffs, the Packers received 374 points from a panel of 12 sports-writers and broadcasters. The Packers and New York Giants both received five first-place votes. But the Super Bowl champion Giants are ranked third overall. New England is second. The Indianapolis Colts are last. Once the season begins, the AP’s Pro-32 Power Rankings will be updated each week.
The Houston Astros have lost 26 of their last 29 games. But they almost got a rare victory last night – and they’ll try again this evening to overtake the struggling Brew Crew at Miller Park. Milwaukee has lost a Major League-high seven games this season in which they took a lead into the ninth inning. And they almost blew a four-run lead in the final inning last night, before Cesar Izturis made a diving play at short to prevent the tying run from scoring. That gave Milwaukee an 8-7 victory – only the Brewers’ second win in their last 11 games. Left-fielder Ryan Braun is expected to return tonight, after he sat out last night’s contest with blisters on his left hand. Manager Ron Roenicke said Braun tore up his fingers about a week ago – and they haven’t had a chance to really heal. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start tonight for the Brewers against Astros’ rookie left-hander Dallas Keuchel. Meanwhile, the Brewers have reliever Mike McClendon in the bullpen again. He had no record and a 6.75 ERA in his three previous stints with Milwaukee this year. McClendon replaces Tyler Thornburg on the big team’s roster.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are home tonight to take on the Burlington Bees. The Rattlers are coming off a 7-0 rout of Clinton last evening. The Beloit Snappers will host Kane County, after a 5-3 Snappers’ victory over Peoria. There’s one matinee this afternoon. South Bend is hosting Fort Wayne. All of the other action is under the lights. Clinton plays at Cedar Rapids. Peoria is at Quad Cities. South Bend entertains Fort Wayne. Lansing is at Dayton. Lake County plays at West Michigan. And Bowling Green is at home against Great Lakes. Clinton still leads the Western Division by a game over Burlington. Bowling Green and Lansing continue to share the East lead by a game over Fort Wayne.
Stevens Point native Lauren Sesselmann and her Canadian women’s soccer team advanced this morning to the final eight of their Olympic tournament in London. Canada played Sweden to a 2-2 tie in their final contest in Group “F.” Sesselmann missed the target on an early shot in the 12th minute. In the 27th minute, she was fouled by Nilla Fischer of Sweden – who was later given a yellow card. Melissa Tancredi scored both goals for the Canadians, who ended the preliminary round at 1-1-1. But that was good enough to advance to the quarter-final bracket. Sesselmann and her Canadian team will play their next game on Friday.