A few personal issues have kept me from blogging lately, but I simply couldn’t resist some accolades for Nyjer Morgan in the wake of last night’s comeback 8-7 victory of the Twins. There are some glass-half-empty types who point out the fact that its only one game, but you can’t overlook the fact that it was a road game in which the Brewers were in the hole 0-7 at one point.
Nyjer Morgan provided the spark the offense needed, going 3-5 with 4 rbi. On his 31st birthday, he was only a single shy of the cycle. The Brewers catchers pitched in with some timely hitting, too.
The offense was great, but one of the more overlooked highlights was the performance of the bullpen, who had to clean up Chris Narveson’s 7-run mess. Marco Estrada took over in the 5th and threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball. Takashi Saito, in his return from a lengthy DL stint, got the win and added a scoreless inning and a strikeout. After the Brewers’ big ninth, John Axford picked up his 21st save of the season.
For a team that had dropped the previous four games (three in the Bronx and the first of the series in Minnesota), the importance of the win can’t be understated. It was certainly one of the best games of the season, not because anyone did anything really exceptional (Nyjer Morgan excepted), but because the Brewers managed to triumph in the face of adversity in a game they seemed destined to lose. Narveson had a forgettable night, and the bullpen got lucky with some pitches that could have been hammered. The offense was clueless through nearly the first five innings. Yet they were able to pull one out at Target Field and have a shot at winning the series today.
That brings me to Zack Greinke, who takes the mound today and who JS writer Tom Haudricourt recently said is failing to meet expectations. You can say what you want about Greinke’s ERA, but his peripheral stats are all fine (11.55 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, 1.251 WHIP). Sure, he’s had some bad days, but every pitcher does. Greinke’s record is just fine at 7-3 thanks to some run support, and his ERA is in the gutter because of bad luck (.349 BABIP, highest of his career) and bad defense (2.72 FIP). Don’t fear, Brewers nation. Greinke’s best stuff is yet to come.