Series preview: Mets vs. Brewers

May, 13, 2012
5/13/12
9:30
PM ET

Associated Press/Getty Images
The Mets face Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke during a two-game miniseries at Citi Field.
METS (19-15, third place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (15-19, fourth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Miguel Batista (0-1, 5.89) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-3, 5.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.78) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

• 2011 MVP Ryan Braun has nine homers since April 21, the most in the National League since that date. St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, who again went deep Sunday, is second during that span with eight long balls. Braun successfully contested a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test by challenging the chain of custody of his sample. He has received mixed fan reaction on the road this season -- vociferous booing, for instance, in Atlanta and a rather tame response in San Francisco.

Rickie Weeks suffered a painfully bruised left hand/wrist injury when he was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Cubs reliever Lendy Castillo in the 13th inning Friday -- the second time he was plunked in that game. X-rays were negative, but the Brewers are waiting for swelling to subside to retest him for a possible hairline fracture. Weeks is not on the DL, but may miss both games of the Mets series. Edwin Maysonet started at second base Saturday in Weeks’ place and belted a grand slam after an intentional walk to Travis Ishikawa. Brooks Conrad manned second base Sunday with Maysonet at shortstop so that Cesar Izturis could have a day off, but the Mets may see Maysonet both games at second base.


Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Ryan Braun has received a mixed reaction from fans on the road since successfully combatting a suspension.


• The Brewers actually are without three-quarters of their original infield. The other two absentees are not returning this season.

Mat Gamel, the successor to Prince Fielder at first base, was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez also is out for the season after suffering the identical injury. Ishikawa and Taylor Green, with limited Conrad, now are sharing first base. Milwaukee recently spoke with unsigned Derrek Lee, but could not reach terms on a contract. The defensively oriented Izturis has taken over at shortstop.

• Closer John Axford’s streak of consecutive saves ended Friday at 49 with a blown save against the Cubs. Axford was not around after that game to discuss his outing. His wife Nicole unexpectedly had gone into labor, and he left this playful note for reporters: "I put my wife into contractions with my performance tonight! The streak is over so now you can talk about it. The luck I’ve had in the past didn’t show up tonight! All I can do is start another streak and keep my head up! Cliché ... cliché ... cliché ... another cliché. Gotta go! Love, Ax."

Francisco Rodriguez is 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA through 17 appearances, but his numbers actually have been skewed by three bad outings; otherwise, he largely has produced in an eighth-inning role, albeit with his familiar tendency to allow baserunners. K-Rod produced his first save as a Brewer on April 10 at Wrigley Field. He had been offered arbitration last offseason with Milwaukee trying to get draft-pick compensation for him signing elsewhere. But with the closer market congested, Rodriguez accepted the arbitration offer and returned for this season for a guaranteed $8 million.

• The Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez to a three-year, $36 deal as a free agent to succeed Fielder in the cleanup spot, but the ex-Cub is hitting only .230 with two homers and 19 RBIs through 126 at-bats.

• Milwaukee brass has tabled extension talks with Zack Greinke, who is due to be a free agent after the season. The shelving of talks came shortly after Matt Cain signed a five-year, $112 million extension to remain with the San Francisco Giants. Greinke, who formerly acted as his own representative, has hired agent Casey Close to handle the negotiations.

• GM Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke received contract extensions last week. Melvin, who also gained the title president of baseball operations, was extended through 2015. Roenicke’s deal now goes through ’14, with a team option for the following season.

• Ex-Met Carlos Gomez has landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. He is due to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Wisconsin. Lefty hitters Norichika Aoki and Nyjer Morgan have shared center-field duties -- with Aoki starting against southpaws and the struggling Morgan (.200, no RBIs) against righties. Aoki joined the Brewers from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, where he was a .329 career hitter and won Central League batting titles in 2005, ’07 and ’10.

Yovani Gallardo’s season totals look a whole lot better if you subtract a pair of starts against the Cardinals. He is 0-2 with a 22.24 ERA (14 ER in 5.2 IP) against St. Louis this season. Against others, he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA.

• Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was batting .333 as a catcher (29-for-87) before going hitless Sunday in four at-bats. That average matched Carlos Ruiz’s for tops in the NL at that position. Overally, Lucroy now is hitting .326.

• Milwaukee has bunted in a run an MLB-leading five times this season.

Matchups

Batista vs. Brewers (career: 1-0, 2.72 ERA)
Jonathan Lucroy .500, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Rickie Weeks .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Travis Ishikawa .333, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 PA
Cesar Izturis .222, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
Aramis Ramirez .143, 2 BB, 16 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 2 K, 4 PA
Brooks Conrad .000, 1 PA

Gee vs. Brewers (career: 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Corey Hart .333, 3 PA
Rickie Weeks .250, 2 K, 4 PA
Jonathan Lucroy .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 1 BB, 3 PA
Aramis Ramirez .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Nyjer Morgan .000, 3 PA

Gallardo vs. Mets (career: 2-2, 3.47 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Mike Nickeas .500, 1 K, 2 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .300, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
David Wright .214, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 16 PA
Daniel Murphy .167, 1 RBI, 3 K, 6 PA
Justin Turner .167, 2 K, 6 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 BB, 2 K, 6 PA

Greinke vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 6.43 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .300, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 2 PA

Last series results

Milwaukee won, 3-0, at Citi Field, Aug. 19-21, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Brewers 6, Mets 1: The Mets became the first team in major league history to lose the opening game in their first 10 homestands of a season, STATS LLC said. Prince Fielder hit a pair of RBI singles and later confronted Mets reliever Tim Byrdak in a late dustup that caused the benches and bullpens to empty. Shaun Marcum pitched the Brewers to their 20th win in 23 games. They closed out this testy victory at 12:51 a.m. Fielder already was 2-for-2 with two walks when he came up in the eighth. Byrdak's first pitch was a fastball at Fielder's chest that backed him away from the plate. Fielder grounded out on the next pitch, then took a sudden right turn after hitting first base, curling back to intercept Byrdak on the way to the dugout. Terry Collins, Josh Thole and plate umpire Angel Campos intervened to prevent any escalation. Order was quickly restored. Brewers reliever Frankie De La Cruz plunked Mike Baxter in the ninth, without incident. Ryan Braun wasn't around at the end. He looked at strike three in the third inning, loitered in the batter's box and was eventually ejected by Campos. Marcum (11-3) improved to 4-0 in nine starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on June 29. He allowed one run in seven innings.

Brewers 11, Mets 9: Prince Fielder hit a long home run early and a key single in the ninth inning, spoiling the Mets' chances of a win against former closer Francisco Rodriguez. Casey McGehee followed Fielder's tying hit with a two-run single off Manny Acosta, capping a four-run rally. The Brewers blew a late 7-1 lead, but came back after Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer off Rodriguez (5-2) in the eighth. Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen (3-3) couldn't get an out in the ninth and left after a bases-loaded walk. Fielder, Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt all homered for the Brewers, who have won eight of their last nine games. John Axford pitched the ninth for his 37th save.

Brewers 6, Mets 2: Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run on a botched potential double-play grounder in the eighth and Yovani Gallardo shut down the Mets for seven innings, leading Milwaukee to its first series sweep in New York. Casey McGehee homered off R.A. Dickey in the fourth and Ryan Braun had three hits, an RBI and scored twice after stealing bases for the Brewers. Gallardo (14-8) gave up six hits in the finale to match a career high for wins.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .299
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 85
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .831
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180