Brewers-Cubs blog: Brewers win, 4-3.
The Brewers open the 2008 season this afternoon at Wrigley Field. Because not everyone has access to a TV or radio in the office / cubicle, OnMilwaukee.com is monitoring the FSN Wisconsin broadcast and providing regular updates of the action from Chicago. Enjoy the fun and check back regularly for updates:
5:49 p.m. -- David Riske's first appearance for the Brewers is a save opportunity. Thanks to Gagne's meltdown and a manufactured run in the ninth, Riske faces the Cubs with a 4-3 lead.
He retired the first man, Ryan Theriot, on a groundout and Soriano on a foul out to catcher Jason Kendall. Derrek Lee flew to center to end the game.
It wasn't an artistic beauty, but the Brewers won the game. Now, they'll have tomorrow off while fans complain about Eric Gagne.
5:47 p.m. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost removed Ryan Braun for defensive reasons and double-switched to get Gabe Kapler into the game.
That move will only come back to bite Yost if Kapler makes an error or if the Cubs tie the game and it costs Braun an at-bat. Given the situation, that seems unlikely.
5:43 p.m. -- Tony Gwynn, Jr. just hit a sacrifice fly to put the Brewers ahead, 4-3. Prince Fielder followed with a base hit to put runners at the corners for Ryan Braun.
Braun hit a foul ball that eluded catcher Geovany Soto in front of the home dugout. Aramis Ramirez, the third baseman, didn't move and is being blasted by Bill Schroeder on the Brewers' broadcast.
Braun flied out to Fukudome in right. Now, it's up to Davd Riske to close out the ninth.
5:38 p.m. -- Rickie Weeks just got plunked for the second straight time. That sets up a potential double play for the Cubs.
5:36 p.m. -- Veteran Craig Counsell just opened the 10th inning with a double to center off Bobby Howry. Jason Kendall moved him to third with a bunt. The Brewers are in business.
5:28 p.m. -- Gagne's day can't get much worse. After giving up a game-tying three-run homer to Fukudome, he was slow getting over to cover first on Felix Pie's grounder to first. Prince Fielder could have retired Pie himself, but inexplicably tried to tage the runner rather than the base.
Gagne finally ended the inning. We're heading to the 10th.
5:21 p.m. -- In his first inning as a Brewer, closer Gagne has done the unthinkable: he's made fans long for the days of Derrick Turnbow.
Gagne just gave up a game-tying three-run homer to Kosuke Fukudome in the bottom of the ninth inning. That negated a stirring three-run rally by the Brewers in the top of the inning.
5:16 p.m. -- Derrek Lee greets Eric Gagne with a base hit. The Cubs first baseman tends to do that with belt-high fastballs. It's the first time the Cubs have had their leadoff man on base today.
Gagne followed that with a four-pitch walk to Ramirez. The Cubs are in business.
5:14 p.m. -- Gagne, making his Brewers debut, is facing the heart of the Cubs' batting order: Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome, who has provided much of Chicago's offense today.
5:09 p.m. -- Hitless in his first three trips, Corey Hart just hammerd a two-out, two-run triple to the right-field corner to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
The Brewers tagged Chicago's closer for three runs. Now, it's Eric Gagne's turn. The $10 million man will try to get the last three outs to preserve the victory.
5:06 p.m. -- In his first at-bat ever against Kerry Wood, ryan Braun takes an inside pitch and muscles a splintered-bat RBI single to center to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. Eric Gagne is warming up while Bill Hall tries to help the Brewers pad the lead.
5:03 p.m. -- Tony Gwynn, Jr., who is batting second and starting in center with Mike Cameron serving a 25-game suspension, just showed BIG guts by getting a bunt down with two strikes. He moved Rickie Weeks into scoring position. Now, the Cubs have to decide whether to pitch to Prince Fielder or walk him and face Ryan Braun.
Survey says.... They walk Prince to set up a possible double play. Braun has a chance to be a hero against Kerry Wood.
5 p.m. -- Cubs closer Kerry Wood just smoked Rickie Weeks with a fastball to open the ninth. It's the first time all day the Brewers have had their leadoff batter on base.
4:50 p.m. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost went with Guillermo Mota (the blue gloved one) to work the eighth. The Cubs have Kerry Wood warming up for the ninth. If the score is tied in the ninth, Yost will have to decide whether to stay with Mota or insert Derrick Turnbow into the game. Yost does not believe in using his closer in tie games on the road.
4:35 p.m. -- Torres' debut with the Brewers wasn't auspicious. He plunked Mark DeRosa with a 2-2 pitch to put runners at first and second with one out. The Brewers got a huge break, though, when Torres bounced a pitch to Soto. DeRosa broke for second and the Brewers caught Fukudome in a rundown between second and third.
With first base open, Torres walked Soto and pitched to Pie with two out. Pie grounded out to end the inning.
4:29 p.m. -- Fukudome just collected his (and the Cubs') second hit of the game, a single to center. Fukudome also walked once. That's all for Sheets, who is giving way to Torres with one out in the seventh.
4:27 p.m. -- Ben Sheets is out to start the seventh. He's thrown 92 pitches today, but only 24 in the past two innings. There are two pitchers warming in the Milwaukee bullpen, so Sheets will be gone at the first sign of trouble. The pitchers warming up are Salomon Torres and Brian Shouse.
4:25 p.m. -- With Zambrano done for the day, Carlos Marmol came in and fanned Corey Hart on one pitch. We're heading to the seventh inning stretch with no score.
4:21 p.m. -- Brewers third baseman Bill Hall just committed the first major mental blunder of the season. He was picked off second base with one out and Corey Hart at the plate. Hall, who was nearly picked off three pitches earlier, trudged to the dugout and Cubs trainers came on the field to look at Carlos Zambrano.
Zambrano appeared to injure his index finger on the play. The Cubs are summoning Carlos Marmol from the bullpen to face Hart on a 2-2 count.
4:14 p.m. -- The Cubs just had a nerve-wracking moment. Ryan Braun hit a popup on the infield. Four players converged and it was Carlos Zambrano that made the play. Zambrano fell down and was almost spiked by Derrek Lee. Brewers analyst Bill Schroeder asked "Where was (third baseman) Aramis Ramirez on that play?" Great question. It's a good thing the Cubs got an out, because Bill Hall hooked a double off the left-field wall.
4:13 p.m. -- Ben Sheets may be done for the day. He's thrown 92 pitches through six innings, but the rain delay and weather made it a bit tougher than normal. Salamon Torres is warming up.
4:06 p.m. -- As we head to the bottom of the sixth, there is no score. But, the rain is starting to come down harder. That's not a good sign.
4:02 p.m. -- Tony Gwynn, Jr., just collected his (and the Brewers') second hit of the game -- a two-out bloop single to left field. Carlos Zambrano, who has been outstanding, retired Prince Fielder to end the inning.
3:38 p.m. -- Sheets is on top of his game. Through five innings, he has allowed one hit (a double by Fukudome), two walks and has recorded seven strikeouts.
3:35 p.m. -- Prince Fielder, who was battling the flu the past few days, struck out in his second at-bat against Carlos Zambrano. His first trip was a jam-shot, broken-bat groundout.
3:31 p.m. -- After a delay of nearly 50 minutes, the Brewers and Cubs are back on the field at Wrigley Field. Ben Sheets opened the inning by striking out Ryan Theriot on a 96-mph fastball. Sheets looks sharp today. His curve is sharp and his fastball location is excellent.
3:14 p.m. -- If you set the DVR to tape the Brewers game today, you're probably out of luck. I was just starting to enjoy the "Dynamic Duos" episode of Fox's "Best Damn Sports Show" when Brian Anderson came on to say that the Brewers are hoping to resume playin the next 15 or 20 minutes. Ben Sheets is still in the Brewers' dugout, so you wonder if he will be back out to finish the third inning.
2:42 p.m. -- Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets just struck out his counterpart, Carlos Zambrano, to open the home third. Both pitchers have looked sharp today, but the heavy rain has forced the grounds crew to roll out the tarp. The game will be delayed and there is a chance that both starters could be done for the day when play resumes.
This delay will last at least 30 minutes and neither manager is likely to gamble with the health of his ace.
For the record, we are in a scoreless tie with one out in the bottom of the third.
2:37 p.m. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost's decision to have catcher Jason Kendall has created a buzz among fans. Some people think it's innovative. Some think it's stupid. Others think it is insignificant. Ben Sheets led off the third and struck out. Jason Kendall, batting ninth, drew a walk. The idea is for the Brewers to capitalize on those instances, but Rickie Weeks and Tony Gwynn, Jr., went down without incident.
The rain is starting to come down harder at Wrigley. You get a sinking feeling that these teams may not play to completion today.
2:26 p.m. -- Cubs "rookie" Kosuke Fukudome got a rousing ovation when he stepped to the plate for his first big-league at-bat and Wrigley went crazy when he doubled to center on Sheets' first pitch.
Fukudome, a two-time batting champ in Japan, took third on Mark DeRosa's deep flyout. Sheets then walked catcher Geovany Soto to pitch to Felix Pie, who struck out.
Both pitchers will lead off for their teams in the third inning. Zambrano is a much better hitter, though, and he's in the No. 9 spot while Sheets is hitting eighth in front of Jason Kendall.
2:24 p.m. -- I've met Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life delivery man from the commercials, and he is a terrific guy. I like the new spot where he "crashes" a luxury box at the ballpark and takes away the High Life because nobody can tell him what inning it is. I know I'll see that about 2 million times before the season ends, but Windell always makes me chuckle.
2:23 p.m. -- The Brewers don't make a dent in the second. Bill Hall struck out. Corey Hart flied deep to center -- an out that carried further than expected and sent Felix Pie to the warning track. J.J. Hardy popped out. Ben Sheets will lead off the Milwaukee third.
2:12 p.m. -- Brewers rightfielder Corey Hart is still wearing that knit or fleece cap under has baseball hat. Ryan Braun, making his first regular-season start in left, has his winter hat on over his stocking cap.
Sheets just worked a 1-2-3 first inning. After turning in a traditionally horrible outing in his spring finale last week, he appears to have good stuff early today.
2:10 p.m. -- Ben Sheets just threw the first pitch of his sixth opening day start for the Brewers. You have to wonder if it will be his last. Sheets is eligible for free agency after the season. If he stays healthy, he'll test the market and probably command an enormous salary. The Yankees and Red Sox undoubtedly will come calling, but you wonder if Sheets will opt to play in Texas. His off-season home is in Dallas.
2:08 p.m. -- The Brewers stranded a runner at third base in the top of the first inning. Tony Gwynn hit a one-out single, took second on a groundout by Prince Fielder, stole third and was stranded when Ryan Braun fouled out to the catcher.
2:01 p.m. -- The game is underway. The season started with a fastball from Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano to Brewers leadoff man Rickie Weeks, who took it for a strike and then fanned.
The rain has stopped, but the weather remains a story. It's very foggy at Wrigley. The center-field camera shows that there is a soupy fog at the ballpark, but shots from the low first-base camera look clear.
1:49 p.m. --The folks at FSN Wisconsin have dumped out of the taped feature and have returned to their usual pre-game show. It looks like the game will be starting shortly.
Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are wearing knit or fleece "skull caps" under their baseball lids, so you know it's chilly and damp.
1:37 p.m. -- Brewers starter Ben Sheets and his Chicago counterpart, Carlos Zambrano, have begun long-tossing in the outfield. That is a positive sign. The hope is that the game will begin shortly after 2 p.m.
In New York, the Yankees just canceled their opener against Toronto due to steady rain.
1:29 p.m. - The word from Wrigley is that the teams are hoping to start the game at 2 p.m., which radar indicates will be the start of a three-hour "window" of dry weather.
The new field at Wrigley will get a test today. The field was leveled during the off-season, eliminating the "crown" on the infield. It was always weird looking out from the visitor's dugout; you could only see the shortstop from the knees up.
1:22 p.m. - The Brewers already made a transaction today. They claimed right-hander Richie Gardner off waivers from Cincinnati. Gardner will report to Triple-A Nashville.
1:15 p.m. -- The delay is official: the Brewers TV crew on FSN Wisconsin just shipped to "ancillary programming" - a canned feature on home-grown Brewers players that was produced last season and features Geoff Jenkins, who now plays for the Phillies.
1:07 p.m. - It's been raining most of the morning at Wrigley Field and the forecast for the rest of the day is bleak.
Rain delays aren't a factor at Miller Park, but here is a hint for fans that encounter them on the road: don't watch the grounds crew for tips. You'll get fooled when they pull the tarp off the field just to dump the rain.
Keep an eye instead on the pitchers. When you see them go to warm up, you'll know the action is about 20 to 25 minutes away.
Right now, it appears there is no chance the game will start as scheduled at 1:20 p.m. There is a chance it won't start at all today, but we prefer to be optimistic.
1:05 p.m. - Welcome to our opening day blog. It's opening day because it's the Brewers' first game. The major-league season actually opened when Boston and Oakland played a game last week in Japan. Or, it opened last night when the Nationals debuted their new park against the Braves on ESPN. Tomorrow will mark the first day that you can open a sports page (or Web site) and
In the eyes of many Milwaukeeans, it will open on Friday afternoon, when the Brewers host the Giants
Put that canadian sow back on the juice!
Thanks very much for the updates. I guess I can take all the comment cards out of the box by the boss' office. No need to have him read hundreds of cards begging for a T.V. to watch the games; all in my handwriting.
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