Updated: August 6, 2009, 12:22 PM ET

  • Comment
  • Email
  • Share

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Prince Fielder and the Brewers are poised to take their best shot at NL Central rivals down the stretch.

Look out! Here come the Brewers
Major league officials are still investigating Tuesday night's incident in which Prince Fielder was angered after being hit by a Guillermo Mota pitch in apparent retaliation to Manny Ramirez being hit earlier in the night.

After the game, Fielder was still seeing red at Mota, his former teammate who now pitches for the Dodgers. Fielder attempted to confront Mota in the Los Angeles clubhouse, but was headed off by security and eventually led away by other Milwaukee players. Brewers' manager Ken Macha, in a moment of extreme understatement, explained to the Los Angeles Times, "He's been hit a lot. … He doesn't like it when somebody does it on purpose."

A fine is sure to come, and perhaps even a suspension for Fielder. However, something else far more important is coming: a huge winning streak for the Brewers.

Have we all forgotten the events of Aug. 4, 2008, exactly one year prior to Fielder's ill-fated attempt to raid the Dodgers' clubhouse? During a game against the Reds, Fielder confronted his teammate, pitcher Manny Parra, shoving him twice in the dugout and needing to be restrained by teammates to prevent any further assault. Fielder was apparently upset that Parra was heading to the clubhouse after being pulled for a pinch-hitter, rather than sticking around to root on his teammates.

So what happened next? Milwaukee went on an eight-game winning streak, which was the impetus for a late-season run to the wild card. Flash forward to yesterday, a day after this year's "temper tantrum." Fielder went 0-for-5, but his teammates responded. Felipe Lopez had three hits, Ryan Braun drove in two runs and Braden Looper won his 10th game of the season by allowing only one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Milwaukee is now back at .500, taking the series from Los Angeles, two games to one. That is the first series it has won in more than a month. It is only four games out of first place in the NL Central and its upcoming schedule is not exactly killer: three in Houston, back home for three against the Padres and the Astros again, followed by a seven-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Washington.

Watch out Cubs and Cardinals; objects in your rearview mirror may be closer than you think.

Previous editions: Aug. 5: Matusz wins debut | Aug. 4: Reynolds homers twice

News, Notes and Box Score Bits
Cliff Pennington, who has been playing shortstop for the Athletics since they sent Orlando Cabrera to Minnesota, was one of four Oakland players to homer on Wednesday night. Scott Hairston, Adam Kennedy and Kurt Suzuki joined in on the fun, as Vicente Padilla simply didn't have any stuff for the Rangers, allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.

• More pop from the middle infield in Seattle, where Jose Lopez went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for the Mariners and helped Luke French to his first win for his new team. French worked the minimum five innings and allowed four earned runs, but that was more than enough to better the abysmal Kyle Davies, whose 2009 ERA rose to 6.37 after he allowed eight runs on eight hits. Alex Gordon hit his first home run since April 15 for Kansas City in the loss.

Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell all went deep for the Rays in support of David Price, who continues to be a solid starting pitcher option at home. Price is 5-1 at the Trop, but should probably be avoided in his next outing against the Angels on the road.

Ryan Zimmerman showed no ill-effects of getting hit by a Charlie Morton pitch on Monday. After sitting Tuesday out, Zimmerman returned to the Nationals' lineup and hit a first-inning shot off Rick VandenHurk of the Marlins. Adam Dunn followed with a solo shot of his own, and the Nationals were on their way to victory. John Lannan scattered eight hits in six innings to improve to 8-8 on the season.

• It's a simple formula, really: Don't give up any home runs and you win. Aaron Laffey, who has allowed only two home runs in 65 1/3 innings this season, held the mighty Minnesota Twins in check all night, allowing only one run in eight innings. Only Orlando Cabrera seemed to have an answer for Laffey, as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo went a combined 8-for-13 with six RBIs on the night for Cleveland.

Justin Lehr threw a four-hit shutout against the Cubs for Cincinnati in only his second major league start. However, the 11-year minor league veteran will likely be sent back down once Micah Owings is ready to reclaim his spot in the rotation. Rich Harden didn't pitch badly for Chicago, striking out nine hitters in six innings, but when your team gets shut out, one mistake is enough to lose the game for you. Harden's mistake came to Scott Rolen, who hit a two-run homer in his return to the lineup after getting drilled in the head by a Jason Marquis pitch on Sunday.

• Detroit's Edwin Jackson got back on track against the Orioles, allowing two runs on three hits in eight innings. Those two runs came on an Adam Jones home run in the ninth. Fernando Rodney came on to finish Baltimore off, and earned his 22nd save of the season. For the Tigers, Magglio Ordonez went 2-for-3 with a home run, marking just the second time all season he has had consecutive multi-hit games.

• After winning seven straight decisions, things came to a screeching halt for Jorge De La Rosa, as he allowed seven runs in only five innings to the Phillies in a 7-0 loss on Wednesday. De La Rosa served up home runs to Pedro Feliz, Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins, who has now gone deep in three straight games.

• Short leash? Yup. After throwing only 72 pitches, Atlanta's Tommy Hanson got the hook after the sixth inning of Wednesday afternoon's game against the Padres. Hanson had shut out San Diego through five, but the two-run shot he gave up to Will Venable was one of three hits he allowed in the sixth inning. Actually, Hanson was quite lucky, as Kevin Kouzmanoff hit into three inning-ending double plays, but still, 72 pitches? Let the kid play! Hanson is 6-2 with a 3.22 ERA.

• I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Angel Pagan, catalyst! With Mets players dropping like flies -- add Gary Sheffield to the list after suffering tightness in his hamstring -- Pagan continues to provide an offensive spark. On Wednesday, Pagan drove in four runs with a 3-for-4 day, just a double shy of a cycle. Pagan is now hitting .309 on the season, and is the only healthy New York hitter other than David Wright above the .300 threshold.


Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Player Spotlight
Hitter of the night
Jim Thome, White Sox
With two home runs in Wednesday night's win over the Angels, Thome is now only two behind Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, on the all-time list. Thome has 20 home runs on the season to go along with 66 RBIs. Wednesday was the 44th time in Thome's career that he had two or more home runs in a game.
Pitcher of the night
J.A. Happ, Phillies
With a move to the bullpen looming -- since somebody has to leave the rotation when the team brings up Pedro Martinez -- Happ may have saved his best start for last. Happ struck out 10 Rockies in a 7-0 complete game shutout, lowering his ERA to 2.74 for the season, sixth-best in the National League.
Stat of the night: 62
With another 0-for-4 night, there were no A-Bombs from A-Rod yet again. Alex Rodriguez has now gone 62 at-bats without a home run, matching the longest power drought of his career when he was with the Mariners in 1996. Of course, after finally snapping that streak, he promptly went out and went another 53 at-bats before his next homer, so even if A-Rod does finally hit one, he'll by no means be out of the woods.
Notable Transactions
• A strange day for Jason Bay, who homered in his return to the Red Sox lineup but later suffered a setback as he reaggravated his hamstring and needed to be removed from the game in the eighth inning. He almost assuredly is out for Wednesday, and a trip to the disabled list is not entirely out of the question. If so, expect a quick return from Josh Reddick, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket before the game.

• Boston has also signed veteran Paul Byrd to a minor-league contract. Byrd was with the Red Sox last season and went 4-2 for the team down the stretch. He'll attempt to work his way back from his "retirement" down on the farm for the next few weeks, and could even be called up in time for consideration for the postseason roster if all moves quickly.

• Arizona's Justin Upton was forced from Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh with a strained right oblique muscle, clearly in a significant amount of pain after a ninth-inning stolen base attempt. While no official word on a potential DL-stint has come down as of yet, Upton did need to miss more than a month last season with a similar injury. If so, perhaps NL-only leaguers will get a chance to gamble on Trent Oeltjen, slugging .505 for Triple-A Reno.

• When it rains, it pours. Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese is out for the year after tearing his hamstring during Wednesday's start against the Cardinals. Jerry Manuel hasn't made any final decisions yet, but seemed to indicate to the New York Daily News that Elmer Dessens would be recalled to take Niese's roster spot, with Bobby Parnell being moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation, perhaps as soon as next Monday in Arizona.

Jess Todd, the player to be named later in the Mark DeRosa deal, was recalled by the Cleveland Indians from Triple-A Columbus. While his role has yet to be defined, it wouldn't be surprising to see him get a few save chances once he's gotten his feet wet, and Eric Wedge sees his stuff firsthand.

Click here for all of the latest MLB transactions.

They Said It
Craig (Cbus): Is Bud Norris going to keep a regular spot in Houston's rotation? Is he worth picking up off waivers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft: Seems it. If Roy Oswalt pitches on Saturday, then Norris would be bumped back to Monday or Tuesday. I'd say if the league's talent pool warrants it -- NL-only or very deep mixed -- yes, I'd take a shot on Mr. Norris.
-- Full chat transcript
RPF (Md): What's the deal with J. Ham? Is he injured? He was my first pick in a 12-team, standard roto league and he's making it very difficult for me to move into first place.

Eric Karabell: Josh Hamilton was the impetus and focus of my Monday Leading Off column, where I discussed him as a one-year wonder. I think he's very talented, but health is a skill. I don't think there's any question he is hurt right now.
-- Full chat transcript
Wednesday's fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
On The Farm
Pedro Martinez appears to be ready for his close-up. Martinez struck out 11 batters in seven innings, including nine of the first 12 he faced for Double-A Reading on Wednesday. He was quite efficient in terms of pitch count as well, throwing only 82 pitches on the night and was still throwing heat in the low 90's as he finished up his night's work.

• The Pirates' top second base prospect, Shelby Ford, was demoted to Double-A Altoona by the organization, after Triple-A proved to be too daunting for the 24-year-old. In 86 games for Indianapolis, Ford hit only .188 and made 10 errors. "It's been a tough year for Shelby," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We saw glimpses of the guy we were expecting. Hopefully, by going down, he can get a fresh start and finish strong." So, I guess this means Ford won't be seeing the big leagues until at least 2010, and therefore, won't be traded away for prospects until around 2013.

Looking Ahead
Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf are set to square off at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, and we definitely are looking forward to watching this one. We'll give the edge to Lowe, even on the road, thanks to his 3-0 record in his past three starts, and a .238 batting average for Los Angeles against him this season.

• Perhaps Minnesota's Jason Kubel has sold his soul to the devil, as he's definitely had amazing success against Fausto Carmona. He's 10-for-20 with two home runs and eight RBIs against the Indians starter.

Max Scherzer just threw seven shutout innings against the Pirates on July 26, striking out eight. So what's changed since then? Absolutely nothing positive in terms of the Pittsburgh lineup, though newly-acquired pitcher Kevin Hart may offer up some resistance to those Diamondback bats.

• For more on Thursday's games, check out Daily Notes.