Just 16 games remain in the 2008 season, and the Brewers and the Phillies are matching up in a huge four-game series in Philadelphia starting Thursday night. The Brewers currently lead the Phillies and the red-hot Houston Astros by 4 games in the Wild Card standings, while the St. Louis Cardinals sit 4.5 games back.
The two teams split a closely contested 2-game series in April at Miller Park, and both teams are struggling heading into the series. The Brewers are coming off a terrible 3-7 homestand, while Philadelphia just dropped 2/3 to the Marlins at home.
Some disturbing numbers are coming from the Brewers two top run producers, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Over his last 24 games, Prince is hitting .178. That number is perhaps the most flattering. In that time, he has a total of 9 hits...only 1
of them for extra bases, and that was a double! Amazing. His OPS over that time is an Enrique Cruz-esqe .478. Compare that with light-hitting and pretty awful by now Craig Counsell. Over the course of his last 24 games, Counsell carries an OPS of still terrible but over 100 points better .605..with two more XBH's.
Meanwhile, Braun has no extra base hits in his last 9 games, or a home run in 12. He's hitting .188 over that relatively short amount of time. Prince's numbers are certainly much more damning, but Braun is either in the worst slump of his career, or hurting badly. For the sake of the Brewers, I'll hope it's just a bad slump.
Game One: Ben Sheets (13-7, 2.82 ERA) v. Jamie Moyer (13-7, 3.64 ERA)
The series opener pits the Brewers Ace1A, versus Jamie Moyer, who made his major league debut in 1986. His mound counterpart that day? Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who took the loss for the Phillies in a 7-5 Cubs win.
Sheets has been outstanding in his last 3 starts. After shutting out the Cardinals in 6 innings, he was on the plus side of a 2-0 battle with Johan Santana and the Mets before he was pulled with a tight groin.
He put Brewers fans