8:58 a.m. -- Traffic is light around the ballpark, but it will intensify soon. With temperatures in the 20s, it's not exactly prime weather for tailgating.
9:25 a.m. -- The Brewers' lineup is posted just inside the clubhouse door. It's the same lineup as the club used on opening day: Weeks, Hardy, Fielder, Hall, Estrada, Jenkins, Hart, Counsell and Sheets. Johnny Estrada, who did the bulk of the catching during spring training, is in the lineup for a day game after a night game. That's not a surprise, though. Ben Sheets is pitching for the Brewers today. Sheets threw a two-hit, complete-game shutout on opening day against the Dodgers. Not many managers would change catchers after an outing like that. Miller, who did not appear in the first four games, will likely start the series finale on Sunday.
9:30 a.m. -- Less than three hours before the first pitch, things are pretty quiet in the clubhouse.
9:45 a.m. -- Ben Sheets arrives in the Brewers' clubhouse and is immediately visited by manager Ned Yost. As he pulls off his sweatshirt, Sheets turns to Geoff Jenkins and says "It is seriously cold out there." Jenkins agrees. "I knew it was cold when I looked out my window this morning and saw a couple twisters," he said. "When the wind hits the balcony, you get these little twisters. This morning, there was snow in them. It was pretty cool."
9:58 -- Brewers catcher Damian Miller opens a package at his locker. It's a catching equipment bag with his name stitched on it. "That's what you get in the show," he said. When teammates tease him about it, Miller says "Jealousy will erode a man from the inside ... I got that from (Craig) Counsell."
10:30 -- As Brewers players go through stretching exercises, bullpen coach Bill Castro asks reporters: "Can you imagine if we were still at County Stadium?"
Asked if the bullpen bathroom at County Stadium was heated, Castro laughed. "No," he said. "Do you know what our heater was there? It was a grill. A homemade grill -- with charcoal."
10:35 -- Manager Ned Yost has his pre--game chat with reporters. Not much has changed in the 12 hours since he last met the media, but Yost talks about Dave Bush's recovery from a rocky first inning on Friday, confirms that Damian Miller will start on Sunday and talks about whether second baseman/leadoff man Rickie Weeks is pressing.
"You go through ups and downs," Yost said. "Right now, he's trying to find it. He'll get hot and go on a huge tear."
10:40 -- Asked about the decision to keep 12 pitchers on the roster, and whether that was a smart move given the days off in the early schedule, Yost says: "Shouse is kind of a situational guy. He can get an out here and an out there every day. But, you're really looking at 11 pitchers with a situational guy. Plus, I'm not a mindreader and can tell when the starters are going to go eight innings."
11:18 -- The pre-game notes reveal that the Brewers have hit one homer in each of their first four games. Of the team's five homers (hit by Bill Hall, Prince Fielder, Kevin Mench, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart), four have come with the bases empty.
11:20 -- Four simple facts that are sure to surprise the average sports fan in Wisconsin: The Brewers are in their 10th season in the National League; The Brewers are in their seventh season at Miller Park; Ned Yost is in his fifth year as the Brewers' manager; and, finally, Ben Sheets didn't face the Cubs last year. After dominating them earlier in his career, he is now 7-6 against them.
11:46 -- The Brewers, who were generally awful away from Miller Park last season, hit the road Sunday for a three-city trip. In Miami, Craig Counsell will be recognized by the Marlins, who are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their 1997 World Series title. Counsell scored the winning run.
The Brewers then hit St. Louis, where veteran Jeff Suppan will pick up his World Series ring on Friday. Suppan was MVP of the NLCS against the Mets.
12:07 p.m. -- Sheets throws to Alfonso Soriano and we're under way.
12:09 -- Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee hammer a double to right--center. It's the 500th extra-base hit of Lee's career.
12:11 -- Aramis Ramirez pokes a soft grounder to second, ending the threat.
12:18 -- Zambrano, who is 25 years old, strikes out Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder in order to open the game. The Hardy strikeout comes on a heavy sinker that registers 93 mph.
12:27 -- Mark DeRosa, whom Yost referred to as "a gamer" in his pregame chat, hits a 3--2 pitch for a RBI triple. Fastball down the middle and up in the zone.
12:29 -- Brewers third baseman Craig Counsell, playing in on the corner, gobbles up a grounder by Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, who does his former club a favor by hooking a breaking ball. That brings up Zambrano, a lefty with an aggressive hack at the plate, had six homers last year, hit six homers and drove in 11 runs last season. That's more than Sheets has done in his life, little league included.
12:30 -- Zambrano gets jammed and squeezes a single through the left side. Cubs lead, 2-0. Sheets looks upset as he takes the ball back and prepares to face Soriano.
12:32 -- Sheets quickly strikes out Soriano and walks off the mound, tugging at the bill of his cap. Zambrano has a hit in his first at--bat of the game. Sheets had one hit in each of the past two seasons.
12:52 -- Point of contention in the Brewers press box. The food service is wrapping up early this season. The pre-game meal still costs $8, which is standard in the major leagues. But, the Brewers used to leave food -- particularly hot dogs and brats -- out longer. On Tuesday night, some chilled Dodgers writers were upset that the coffee machines were turned off in the third inning. After a polite request from a writer, the machines are now on until the end of the game.
12:55 -- The Brewers didn't get a hit the first time through the order and, like clockwork, veteran radio correspondent Larry Lapidus circles through the press box with his no-hit pool. For $1, you pick a number out of a Dixie cup. That number corresponds to the position in the lineup. If that player gets the first hit, you win the pool of $10. (The number zero is always issued in case of an actual no-hitter). The zero is usually the worst number to get in the pool, except in this case. Your correspondent drew No. 9, which belongs to Sheets.
12:58 -- The no-hit pool is no longer. Rickie Weeks belts a 3-2 pitch over the wall for a home run. Associated Press stringer Joe DiGiovanni collects his prize.
1:01 -- Prince Fielder lines into a double play. His counterpart, two-time Gold Glove winner Derrek Lee, snares the ball, touches the bag and fires a great throw to second base to nail hardy.
1:05 -- After a walk by Bill Hall, Estrada rips a 94-mph fastball for a single into right field. So much for him being tired due to all the recent activity.
1:06 -- Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild visits the mound, perhaps to give Zambrano a breather. The walk and single add more significance to Lee's great defensive play
1:08 -- Zambrano strikes out Jenkins to end the threat. He celebrates with a fist-pumping pirouette. The first four innings are over and lasted just 59 minutes, which was also the game-time temperature.
1:25 -- Aramis Ramirez connects with a 2-1 breaking ball and hammers his first homer of the year, a two-run shot to left-center. The Cubs lead, 4-1. Interestingly, a fan in Cubs jersey catches Ramirez's home-run ball, which means it won't be thrown back onto the field.
1:26 -- Sheets gives up a base hit to Jacque Jones and gets a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux. Sheets has thrown 91 pitches and Elmer Dessens is warming up in the bullpen.
1:27 -- Sheets gives up a hit to Murton, his fourth in a row to start the inning. Sheets' velocity has been topping out at about 93 mph. In the season opener, he was popping fastballs at 95.
1:30 -- De Rosa smashes a line drive to Hardy, who somehow catches the ball on a short hop and flips to Rickie Weeks for a force out. Weeks' relay to first is up the line and Prince Fielder drops it.
1:31 -- Henry Blanco hits a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-1. Sheets then retires Zambrano to end the inning. Had the Brewers converted the double play, Blanco's ball would have ended the inning.
1:39 -- After a base hit by J.J. Hardy, Fielder blasts a RBI double to make the score 5-2. Fielder didn't seem to hit the ball very well, but it eluded Alfonso Soriano. It's interesting that both the Cubs and Brewers have centerfielders gathering "on the job" training. Replays show that Soriano may have given up on catching the ball a bit early.
1:43 -- Just when it seems as though Zambrano is in trouble, he jams Bill Hall with a 3-1 pitch for a popup to center and retires Estrada on a fly to the warning track in right. Cubs lead, 5-2.
1:45 -- The sausage race is a thriller, with the Polish Sausage holding off the Italian in a near-photo finish. Elmer Dessens warms up, oblivious to the plight of the Chorizo. Sheets' day is done: 6 innings, 9 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 strikeouts and a home run. He threw 100 pitches and will be hung with a loss if the Brewers don't come back and tie the game.
1:50 -- The Cubs push across a run against Dessens at precisely the time that the wireless internet access in the press box takes a siesta.
1:56 -- The split-loyalty of the crowd is apparent during the seventh-inning stretch. During "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," fans declare with gusto which side they will "root, root, root" for. The noise makes it sound like a high school hoops game.
1:59 -- Geoff Jenkins hits a leadoff homer to right field to open the seventh. It's his first of the season and the seventh of the season for the Brewers, who have hit six with the bases empty. Cubs lead 6-3.
2:10 -- The official attendance is announced: 41,280. It's the Brewers' third sellout in six home dates.
2:12 -- Carlos Zambrano is out of the game. His line: 7 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 2 homers. Bob Howry is his replacement as the Brewers come to bat in their half of the eight.
2:16 -- The Brewers go down quietly and their third straight loss seems almost inevitable. They will fall to 2-3 for the season. It wasn't long ago that the club would dip below .500 in the first week and you could legitimately ask if they'd return again before spring training the following year. That doesn't seem to be the case this season.
2:22 -- Before the game, Ned Yost strongly hinted that he would look at playing Gabe Gross and Tony Gwynn, Jr., along with Damian Miller in the series finale. Given the loss, you wonder if he will change his mind.
2:25 -- J.J. Hardy makes a diving stop to initiate an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. It appears the scouts were right; the kid can play some serious defense. The Brewers are down to their final three outs and they trail by three runs. Ryan Dempster takes the mound for the Cubs, kicks at the dirt in front of the rubber and begins warming up.
2:29 -- Bill Hall flies to right and Johnny Estrada strikes out. The Cubs are one out from victory.
2:31 -- Geoff Jenkins strikes out. Cubs win, 6-3, and will try to close out the sweep on Sunday.
2:39 -- Members of the UW-Milwaukee baseball team gather outside the Brewers’ clubhouse. The Panthers are playing a doubleheader against Butler.
2:41 -- Ned Yost hits the media room. As is press room custom, Lapdius asks the first question. Journal Sentinel writer Tom Haudricourt refers to Lapidus as “The Helen Thomas of the Brewers press corps.” 2:42 -- Yost is asked about Sheets’ outing. “His stuff was really good,” he said. “His command was off. He just wasn’t executing the pitches like he wanted to.”
2:43 -- Asked about Lee’s defensive gem, Yost said: “That was a huge play. Not many first basemens (sic) make that play… He’s up there, in terms of defensive ability in the National League, for me.” Lee's play was pivotal in the game, but the Brewers turned in a lackluster offensive performance once again.
2:44 -- Chris Capuano will face Wade Miller in the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.