Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun hits an RBI double
in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics
during a spring training baseball game on Wednesday,
March 25, 2015, in Phoenix.
— Success for the Brewers this season may hinge on
Milwaukee's consistency in the batter's box.
swoons can prove costly — as can prolonged slumps any
other time of year, for that matter.
filled with accomplished hitters like Ryan Braun, Jonathan
Lucroy and Carlos Gomez has the potential to score runs.
To break into the playoffs from the competitive NL
Central, the Brewers must eliminate team-wide slumps.
year we kind of grinded it to a point where instead of
just playing day to day and for that game and to win, we
looked like we were forcing things," manager Ron
Roenicke said. "We were trying to hold on to what we
had, and that's not the way we go about it."
Brewers spent 150 days in first place before a stunning,
late-season collapse left them out of the playoffs for a
third straight year.
got a good club, and when we're playing the type of
baseball I think we can play every night ... if we just
worry about that game today, at the end of the season,
good things will happen," the skipper added from the
team's spring training complex in Phoenix.
Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy, right, celebrates his
two-run home run with teammate Scooter Gennett
during the fifth inning of a spring training
baseball exhibition game against the Chicago White
Sox in Phoenix, Sunday, March 22, 2015.
lineup is bashing again this spring.
slow start, Braun has been hitting much better following
an unusual offseason medical procedure. Extreme cold was
applied to his right hand in hopes of fixing a lingering
nerve problem near the thumb.
also looks like he is over a hamstring injury that limited
him for the first few weeks of spring training. The
upbeat, energetic Gomez had three homers three weeks into
day you learn something new ... you learn from that,"
Gomez said about the 2014 season. "The first step we
have to do is make the playoffs. We take it game by
regular season begins on April 6 against Colorado at
Miller Park. Some things to watch with the Brewers:
The Brewers don't have a true ace, but they do have solid
veterans atop the rotation in Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza.
Wily Peralta won 17 games last year in his second full
season in the majors, and Mike Fiers impressed down the
stretch. But Milwaukee traded Yovani Gallardo and Marco
Estrada, so there is no experienced starting depth. Young
right-hander Jimmy Nelson must prove he can be a
consistent fifth starter. A long-term injury to any of the
starting five could leave the Brewers scrambling.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke signs autographs before
a spring training baseball exhibition game against
the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, on Friday,
March 20, 2015.
bullpen, veteran Francisco Rodriguez figures to return to
the closer's role after re-signing with the club more than
two weeks into spring training. He bounced back with 44
saves in 49 chances last season.
Roenicke likes his team to take chances on the base paths,
and he's sticking with that philosophy. That puts the
Brewers in attack mode, and when working at its best, the
strategy forces the defense to rush and possibly make
mistakes. But rally-killing outs on the bases can make
fans at Miller Park groan. Perhaps of more concern is the
approach at the plate, where the Brewers led the majors by
swinging at 33 percent of first pitches, according to
STATS. Darnell Coles is the new hitting coach. The team
wants to stay aggressive while having more plate
COMBO: While Braun, Lucroy and Gomez draw much of the
attention in the lineup, the Brewers' keystone combination
of second baseman Scooter Gennett and shortstop Jean
Segura will be just as vital to the team's success.
Gennett, a left-hander, will play every day and must prove
he can hit lefties consistently. The speedy Segura is a
top defender, though he is looking to bounce back from a
slump that dropped his average nearly 50 points to .246.
OUT: It is probably one more and done for third baseman
Aramis Ramirez, who turns 36 in June. He has said he
likely will retire after this season to spend more time
with his family. Ramirez's production has waned over the
last two seasons, though he remains one of the best in the
league in fielding bunts and slow rollers to third.
— Khris Davis and Luis Jimenez hit grand slams and the
Milwaukee Brewers had another big offensive day in a 15-1
win over a Seattle Mariners split-squad on Thursday.
pretty contagious right now," said Davis, whose
420-foot shot bounced off a walking path and completely
out of Maryvale Baseball Park. "You don't want to
waste them here but everyone looks like they're pretty
Gennett and Jonathan Lucroy each had three of Milwaukee's
22 hits and Matt Clark, Jean Segura and Logan Shafer had
two each. The Brewers have outscored opponents 83-35 over
the last 10 games, going 7-2-1 in that stretch.
run of double-digit runs and double-digit hits, I don't
care where you are doing it ... it's still an impressive
stretch," said Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, had an RBI
double in the fourth. "We're putting together some
really quality at-bats and there's a lot of depth to our
lineup. It's encouraging, but you want to keep it in
Fiers, coming back from a minor shoulder issue made his
start in two weeks and allow three hits in 3 2-3 innings.
starter Roenis Elias allowed eight hits and six earned
runs in three-plus innings and didn't retire a batter
until Milwaukee led 4-0. Jesus Sucre brought home Willie
Bloomquist with an RBI single in the third inning — one
of four Mariners hits.
ended the scoring with his slam in the eighth — his
second home run in two games.
Elias, who slipping out of the running for a rotation
spot, allowed singles to Gennett and Lucroy and walked
Ryan Braun, loading the bases to open the game. Davis
cleared them on the first pitch he saw. "He flipped
me a get-me-over pitch and I didn't miss it," Davis
said. "I wasn't going to give him one pitch in that
Fiers looked sharp in his 3 2/3 innings before he ran out
of pitches. "It was a great day. I upped my pitch
count to 68 and things felt good," Fiers said.
"I like the curveball and change today, jammed a
couple of guys, working in and out. I left a few pitches
up but I was throwing strikes and trying to get back to
where I was."
More than week after the Brewers washed away the last case
of pink eye in their clubhouse, OF Shane Peterson came to
work Thursday with two pink eyes. The Brewers are somewhat
baffled as to how the annoying malady returned, and the
anti-bacterial dispensers and reminders to wash your hands
frequently have returned. "We can't figure out why
it's coming back," Roenicke said. "We've already
(disinfected the clubhouse). We don't know where it's
coming up from. And really, no one really knows how you
get it. Is it the dirt? Where does it originate from? We
know how contagious it is once you get it, but why is it
coming up again?"
It was a
doubly bad day for Peterson, who was also optioned to
Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Brewers trimmed their roster to 37 on Thursday, optioning
Peterson and INF Luis Sardinas to Triple-A Colorado
Springs. Sardinas hit .294 in the spring and had three
hits and scored three times on Wednesday. He turns 22 in
May and will be the regular shortstop for the Sky Sox.
RHP Matt Garza will try to improve on his 5.40 ERA this
spring when he pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at