Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell who was really responsible for winning a game; at times it’s a total team effort and credit for a win can’t be narrowed down to two or three players. This game was not one of those games. Three players clearly influenced this game in the positive for Milwaukee.
Randy Wolf had a fantastic start today, striking out five while walking only one and keeping the ball in the yard against a pretty powerful Reds offense. Outside of one shaky inning – the two run second – Wolf was about as good as you can expect. He threw all of his pitches for strikes, and even missed some bats. His 8 swinging strikes in 103 pitches is about the league average, a large improvement over his performance to date. It’s an encouraging start against a good lineup, and hopefully Wolf continues pitching like a major leaguer in August.
After Wolf singled in the 3rd inning, Rickie Weeks blasted his 21st home run of the year. I don’t use the word “blast” lightly in this case – the ball hit off the Miller Lite sign in center field, and the broadcast crew estimated the home run at about 450 feet. That might make it Rickie’s farthest home run of the year, although it will be up against some pretty stiff competition from this bomb off Edwin Jackson earlier this year (video). Weeks continues to rake, and right now, I’m not convinced that he isn’t the best player on this roster.
Of course, the big moment of this game came from the veteran, Jim Edmonds. After fouling a pitch into the upper deck in right field, Edmonds hit the go-ahead home run into tundra territory. The home run put a black mark on Bronson Arroyo’s otherwise solid start, and it put the Brewers in a great situation heading into the ninth inning, and John Axford, as he’s done all season, shut the door.
The Brewers are now only 5 games under .500 and are in the best shape, standings-wise, that they’ve been since falling to 17-27 nearly two months ago. Should we start to get excited about the playoffs right now? Probably not – even if Milwaukee can catch the Reds, they still have to catch the Cardinals. I do know, however, that the last two months of the season can be a lot of fun, regardless of if this team makes it a race or not.