Home not so sweet for Brewers
Cole Hamels pitched into the seventh inning despite giving up back-to-back homers and smacked an RBI double, and the Phillies beat the Brewers, 4-2, to complete a road sweep Sunday night.
“It’s a good series for us,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Things are not going their way right now.”
About the only thing going the Brewers’ way is that their weeklong homestand of horrors is over.
The Brewers were coming off a sweep by Atlanta earlier this week, losing all six games on their current homestand and eight straight overall at home.
Milwaukee now is a miserable 4-14 at Miller Park, and mercifully hits the road for a week.
Will a change of scenery help?
“I guess,” pitcher Dave Bush said. “It can’t be any worse than it has been on this homestand.”
It’s not a question of home or away for Brewers manager Ken Macha, who just wants to see his team play better baseball.
“That question’s getting tired,” Macha said, straining to explain why his team has been so bad at Miller Park.
Hamels (4-2) held the Brewers scoreless until Casey McGehee’s two-out homer in the sixth. Corey Hart—who missed hitting a grand slam by only a few feet in the first inning— followed with a home run of his own, cutting the Phillies lead to 3-2.
But that was all the Brewers could muster off Hamels, who gave up six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in
6 2/3 innings.
Hamels has added a cutter to his pitching repertoire, and said he’s getting closer to mastering it.
“I’m still learning when to throw it and how to throw it,” Hamels said. “It’s something that’s (based on) feel. It took me a year or two years to learn how to get the feel of the changeup. It’s just going to be something to get the feel of the curveball. I didn’t feel I was in good situations to throw it as much. A lot of their guys can actually hit the curveball. I had to be aggressive with the rest of the pitches.”
With pressure mounting on a team that was expected to contend for the playoffs, Macha is beginning to get questions about the possibility of some kind of shake-up in the team’s coaching staff—and his own long-term job security.
“When it’s all said and done, I know that I’ve done the best job I can do,” Macha said. “Everybody would like to continue to work, sure. But I know that I’ve put everything I could into this job. That’s all I can do.”
Players said placing blame on the manager is misguided.
“He’s trying to keep us all together and we’re all fighting,” McGehee said.
Leading 3-2 in the eighth, the Phillies picked up another run when Chase Utley struck out on a ball in the dirt—but the ball got away from catcher Gregg Zaun, allowing Utley to run to first and Shane Victorino to score from third base. The pitch by Brewers reliever Carlos Villanueva was ruled a wild pitch.
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder both reached base to begin the bottom half, but McGehee hit into a double play and Hart grounded out.
J.C. Romero pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.