Milwaukee Brewers: 3
Pittsburgh Pirates: 1
Well, tonight's game wasn't quite as explosive as I thought it would be. It did start off with a bang, with Norichika Aoki launching a leadoff homer in the first inning, but things slowed down from there.
If you read my preview, I predicted that rookie Kyle McPherson would probably get shelled in his first outing as a starter in the majors, but he pitched respectably, and his change-up, which he barely used in relief, was probably his best pitch.
McPherson went 4.1 innings, struck out two, and gave up two earned runs—the solo blast by Nori, and an RBI single by opposing pitcher Marco Estrada.
Speaking of Estrada, he pitched another gem tonight. He didn't quite have the strikeout pitch working, as he went 7.0 innings and only struck out four, but he had excellent control the entire night. He threw 96 pitches, 68 of which were for strikes. He was locating his fastball perfectly, and was in complete control of the the Pirates lineup, only giving up three hits.
Axford came in during the ninth and gave up a solo jack to Andrew McCutchen, but otherwise looked pretty good. It was his 30th save of the season. Ax is performing extremely well now, and it looks like his early-to-mid season woes are all but gone.
Axford's recent success is a microcosm of the Brewers as a whole. Shitty to start, shiny to finish.
Also, for what it's worth, Brewers' shortstop Jean Segura had a great game tonight. He went two for four (raising his average to .262) and made some excellent plays in the field. He really is finally starting to look as good as advertised, and I have no trouble seeing him as Milwaukee's shortstop for quite a while.
The Bucs—on national speak like a pirate day, of all days—could not have looked more lethargic. Two errors, one of them costing them a run, and practically no offensive production except for Cutch. In two games the Brewers have solidified their name as a contender for that wild card slot while essentially eliminating the Pirates.
The Dodgers split a double-header with the Nationals... They are only a half game ahead of the Brewers. The Cardinals won against the Astros (huge surprise) and kept the Brewers back 2.5 games. I'll cover the wild card race more in depth in another post tomorrow.
In the meantime, enjoy the fun times, Brewers fans. This season has turned out to be one of the most exciting I've ever seen, and it feels good to be a Brew Crew fan right now.