Monday, October 1, 2012
Neither Chase Headley nor Ryan Braun drove in a run to begin this season-ending showdown of the NL's RBI leaders.
There are two games left to decide which of these players will lead the league in that category as the visiting San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers continue their series Tuesday night.
Any intrigue for this set between Milwaukee (82-78) and San Diego (75-85) is probably due to the race between Headley and Braun for the RBI lead.
Headley leads the league with 113 and is trying to become the first Padre to finish first in that department since Dave Winfield drove in 118 in 1979. His 71 RBIs since the All-Star break are the most in the majors.
Braun is right behind him with 112 while leading the NL with 41 homers.
The reigning NL MVP received a visit from reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers before Monday's 5-3 victory, but the Green Bay Packers quarterback failed to see Headley or Braun drive in any runs.
Carlos Gomez, Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy went deep for Milwaukee, which has won 28 of 40 and clinched a second straight winning season.
"I don't think anyone thought we would have a winning season, considering where we were in August," Lucroy said. "We wanted to be in the playoffs, but we never gave up this year. I think we really showed the character of the team."
Will Venable had three hits for the Padres, who have lost five of six overall and eight of 11 at Milwaukee.
San Diego will get its first look at Milwaukee rookie Tyler Thornburg (0-0, 5.00 ERA). The 24-year-old right-hander made his major league debut June 19 and has posted a 6.30 ERA in two starts.
This is Thornburg's third stint with the Brewers, and he's allowed one run over four innings of relief in two appearances since being recalled Sept. 4 from Triple-A Nashville. He last started July 18.
The Padres have replaced scheduled starter Casey Kelly with Anthony Bass (2-7, 4.50). Kelly is a rookie who has a sore arm and will miss the Arizona Fall League now with the goal of getting ready for spring training.
Bass went 2-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 14 starts earlier this year before he suffered right shoulder inflammation. Manager Bud Black said he will allow Bass to throw between 40-60 pitches.
"He's not stretched out like some starting pitchers, but he's got a starter's mentality," Black told the Padres' official website.
The lone career start for Bass against the Brewers came June 10, as he yielded four runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-5 loss.