The week got off to a rather ominous start on Tuesday night at Miller Park. In a game with very little offense, Geoff Jenkins put the Brewers on top of the Reds with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brewers closer Curtis Leskanic checked in to pitch the ninth for a save, and promptly retired the first two batters he faced. The entire crowd was on it's feet as Alex Ochoa stepped to the plate. Leskanic quickly worked ahead 0-2, and it appeared the Brewers were on their way to a nice victory& Ochoa proceeded to foul off several pitches and then Leskanic made a mistake, a fastball that didn't get far enough in. Ochoa homered to left and the Brewers went on to lose a heartbreaker, 4-3 in 13 innings.
That was only the beginning in a week that saw the Brewers lose two games at home to the Reds and then take to the road and lose the first two in Detroit.
Leskanic had problems again in a wild game Saturday night at Comerica Park. The lead switched hands several times in this game, but the Brewers had taken the lead 5-4 in the top of the ninth on a pinch hit RBI double by Raul Casanova. Lopes again turned the ball over to Leskanic for the save. Curtis was again ineffective and the Tigers rallied to score two runs and win the game 6-5 on a walk-off base hit.
The Crew was able to salvage a win on Sunday, however, thanks to a big offensive day from Jeromy Burnitz and the return of Jamey Wright. Burnitz hit two homers and drove in five runs and Wright pitched five strong to pick up his fifth win of the season.
The Brewers finished the week at 1-4, but would have been 3-2 had Leskanic been able to close the door on those two games. Leskanic had not been used very much over the previous two weeks, and it seems as though maybe he was just a bit rusty. Curtis himself has often said he pitches better and throws harder when he is used about three times per week. That was evidenced in the fact that his fastball this week was being clocked in the 89-92 range, when he usually throws between 93-96. That is a big difference for a power pitcher who relies heavily on his over-powering fastball. Lopes did turn to Leskanic for a 1-2-3 ninth on Sunday. It was not a save since the Brewers led 8-3, but hopefully will get Leskanic and the Brewers back on track.
Not all was lost on this week, however. Mark Loretta continued his torrid hitting since returning from injury, and ran his hitting streak to 16 games entering play on Sunday. Unfortunately, "Lo" was 0 for 5 on Sunday, which ended the streak, but not before he set the Brewers National League record. Also, Jeromy Burnitz continued his push for the National League All-Star squad by posting a huge series in Detroit. Burnitz had two homers and eight RBIs to run his season totals to 16 and 49.
Note: Jeffrey Hammonds was placed on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury that has been nagging him since last September.
This week for the Brewers: At Cleveland for three and home for three with the Royals