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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers hope to avoid losing season in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS - The Milwaukee Brewers are two losses away from a guaranteed season below .500 -- and they hope to avoid getting loss No. 82 at Saint Louis.  The Crew opens a three-game series tonight against the Redbirds, and it could be especially embarrassing to secure a sub-.500 finish while at Busch Stadium. 

Milwaukee is 2-4 at the home of the Cards this year, and they're 3-10 overall against the Redbirds this season.  The Brewers have won three-of-their-last-four, however.  They're taking on a Cardinals' squad that has won 9-of-11, after regaining first place in the National League Central division over the weekend.  The Brewers are 20-and-a-half behind the Cards, in fourth place.  The Brewers are trying to avoid a last-place finish.  They're currently one-and-a-half games ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the Central Division cellar. The Brewers expect to have outfielder Khris Davis back tonight.  He has missed the last three games with a sore left wrist.  A pair of rookie right-handers will take the mound.  The Brewers will put up Wily Peralta, while the Redbirds send out Shelby Miller.  Peralta has had an up-and-down year with Milwaukee, with a 9-14 record and an ERA of just over 4.50.  Peralta struggled before going 1-1 in his last three outings, all quality starts with a 3.71 ERA in that stretch.  He gave up three runs on six hits against Pittsburgh last Wednesday.  Miller is 12-9 with a 3.19 ERA.  He's been especially hot at home, with a 1.92 ERA and a 7-3 mark at Busch.  Miller hopes to recover after going 0-1 in a pair of road starts with a 7.20 ERA.  The Cardinals are 83-60.  Milwaukee is 62-80, winning 14-of-its-last-22 road contests. 


The Milwaukee Brewers today announced their schedule for next season.  They'll open at home on March 31st of 2014 with a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.  The Brewers will then waste no time jumping into their Interleague schedule, with three games at Fenway Park in Boston on April 4-6.  The New York Yankees will roll into Miller Park May 9-11.  Former Brewers' shortstop J.J. Hardy -- who was an All-Star with Baltimore this year -- plans to be back at Miller Park with the rest of his Orioles May 26th-through-28th.  In late July, Milwaukee will play at Tampa Bay for the first time since 2005.  The Brewers' longest home-stand of 2014 will be next September, with 11 games against Saint Louis, Miami, and Cincinnati. 


Green Bay Packer players are taking their normal Tuesday off, before they start getting ready for their home season opener on Sunday against Washington.  The Packers have a lot to work on, following their 34-28 loss at San Francisco last Sunday.  A big priority is to go longer on kickoff returns.  Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense started their drives at their own 16-yard line on average.  The goal is to start past the 20 at the very least.  Special teams' blocker Jarrett Bush said his unit needs to be better and quote, "We will."  Two poor returns stand out against the 49'ers.  Jeremy Ross missed an apparent signal to stay in the end zone on one kickoff -- so he hesitated before running it out to the eight.  An illegal block brought it back to the four.  In the fourth quarter, Ross took the ball out from four-yards deep, but missed blocks caused Ross to be tackled at the nine.  The Packers had a somewhat better showing when they alternated Ross with Randall Cobb on punt returns.  Special teams' coach Shawn Slocum says the platoon will continue in certain situations.  He also said punter Tim Masthay would continue to make kickoffs.  Slocum said Mason Crosby is also a good kickoff specialist, but the Packers want him to focus on making field goals.  


The Green Bay Packers' season-opening loss at San Francisco had seven-and-a-half percent higher ratings than a year ago in Wisconsin's only metered TV market.  Last Sunday's contest attracted a rating of 50.8 in the Milwaukee market, about seven-percent more than last year's opener when the Pack lost at home to the 49'ers.  About 458,000 households in Metro Milwaukee watched at least some part of last Sunday's game, which was on Fox.  It had a share of 75, which means that three-quarters of the TV sets which were on at the time were tuned to the game.  Meanwhile, ex-Packer Greg Jennings still had lots of Wisconsinites watching him in his new Vikings' uniform.  Minnesota's loss at Detroit was the noon-game telecast on Fox for most of the Badger State.  It attracted a 41 share and a rating of 20.4  About 184,000 households were tuned in.


Ripon College quarterback Tom Sawyer is the Midwest Conference football player-of-the-week on offense.  Sawyer, a senior, threw for 169 yards in a win over Wisconsin Lutheran last week.  Sawyer also rushed for 131 yards on 29 carries, and scored three touchdowns on the ground.  Linebacker Jeremy Demlow of Cornell in Iowa is the defensive player-of-the-week.  Kicker-and-punter Jon Gurchak of Lake Forest received the weekly honors for special teams.  The Midwest Conference also named Sarah Platzer of Saint Norbert as the women's soccer player-of-the-week on defense.  The junior goalkeeper made 10 saves in a 2-1 Green Knights' victory over UW-Stevens Point. That ended a 15-match losing streak to the Pointers. 


UW-Green Bay’s men's soccer team remains unbeaten, after a 3-1 home victory over Viterbo University of La Crosse.  Sam Krenzien scored twice, with each goal coming on an assist from Tyler Swanner.  Sabastian Xiong scored the other goal for Green Bay, which improved to 3-0-and-1 on the young season.  Sam Renstrom scored for Viterbo, which dropped to 1-4. 


David Reinke of Marian University in Fond du Lac has been named the men's soccer player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.  Reinke, a senior forward, scored both goals for Marian in a 2-1 overtime win over Lawrence.  Also, Ellie Wilkie of Edgewood College won the weekly conference honors in women's tennis.  The sophomore went 6-0 in her singles' and doubles' matches last week.  Finni Simko of Lakeland was named the NACC's top women's golfer for the week.  She won medalist honors in a dual meet against Wisconsin Lutheran by shooting a 96.  That's the lowest round by a Lakeland women's golfer in the last four years.