Series preview: Mets at Brewers
July, 4, 2013
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com
USA TODAY Spors/Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Johnny Hellweg, Yovani Gallardo and tentatively Wily Peralta this weekend.
Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.06) vs. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-1, 20.25), 8:10 p.m. ET
Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-9, 5.03) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78), 7:15 p.m. ET
Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (5-9, 5.27), 2:10 p.m. ET
Brewers short hops
• Wily Peralta was forced to leave Tuesday’s start against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning with a left hamstring strain. He is questionable to make Sunday’s start. Fellow starting pitcher Marco Estrada already has been on the DL for nearly a month with a left hamstring strain. If Peralta is not able to make the start, right-hander Tyler Thornburg, the Brewers’ top prospect, who currently is working out of the bullpen, is a candidate to fill in.
• Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez has taken over the closer role from Jim Henderson. Manager Ron Roenicke told Milwaukee reporters the decision was performance-based and not intended to showcase K-Rod before the July 31 trade deadline, although Rodriguez clearly is a trade candidate. Rodriguez has a 0.92 ERA and has recorded seven saves. That included the 300th save of his career, which made him the 25th pitcher in major league history to reach that plateau. K-Rod joined the Brewers on May 16, four weeks after signing with the organization. His contract calls for a prorated portion of a $2 million base salary.
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesEx-Met Carlos Gomez leads the NL in WAR.
• Left fielder Ryan Braun, who is on the disabled list with an inflamed nerve between the thumb and index finger in his right hand, has started swinging a bat. He potentially could return before the All-Star break.
• Jean Segura, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels along with Johnny Hellweg for Zack Greinke before last year’s trade deadline, leads the National League in hits. He ranks third in NL All-Star balloting at shortstop. The only major leaguers with 10-plus homers and 20-plus steals this season are Segura and Mike Trout.
• Juan Francisco was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on June 3 for Double-A left-hander Thomas Keeling. A natural third baseman, the Brewers nearly exclusively have used Francisco at first base, although he did play third base Thursday and commit two errors. His only previous pro experience at first base was three games in 2010 in Triple-A with the Cincinnati Reds.
• Hellweg, a 6-foot-9 rookie, allowed seven runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings in his major league debut last Friday. He then appeared once in relief. Kyle Lohse jumped ahead in the rotation because Lohse’s June 30 start lasted only 1 2/3 innings before a rain delay ended his outing. Hellweg touched 102 mph in a Triple-A game earlier this season.
• Yovani Gallardo was charged with a season-high eight runs against Nats in his last start. That is as many earned runs as Gallardo surrendered in five June outings. The three-inning outing was his shortest since April 27, 2012. Gallardo, although signed for next season, is a trade candidate.
• Jonathan Lucroy’s 40 RBIs as a catcher rank second in the NL at that position, trailing only St. Louis’ Yadier Molina.
• Corey Hart, who has not appeared this season, needs left knee surgery that will sideline him the entire year. He had undergone surgery in January on his right knee. Hart is eligible for free agency after the season. He is one of three Brewers first basemen who have season-ending injuries. The others: Mat Gamel (torn ACL suffered during spring training) and Taylor Green (hip surgery).
• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has required sporadic days off for a left knee issue. He twice has sprained the knee this season.
• The Brewers have drawn the fewest walks in the majors.
• Second baseman Rickie Weeks hit .355 with five homers in June.
• Former closer John Axford has not surrendered a run in his last 23 appearances. Axford reportedly is drawing trade interest.