video thumbnail

WSH@MIL: Estrada strikes out four over 6 1/3 innings

Brewer Nation will have its collective fingers crossed in the hours before Monday's Phillies-Brewers series opener at Miller Park while awaiting word on Ryan Braun, who has a good matchup against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels but was out of the starting lineup Sunday.

Braun remained sidelined for the Brewers' 4-2 loss to the Reds with the lower back spasms that knocked him out in the second inning Saturday night.

On Sunday, Braun said he planned to "get treatment as much as I can today, hope that it gets better and do the things I can to get back as soon as possible."

A Monday evening return would be ideal, because Braun is 9-for-31 (.290) in regular-season at-bats against the left-handed Hamels, with three home runs and five RBIs. Only catcher Jonathan Lucroy (6-for-11) has fared better among current Brewers.

Braun was emerging from an uncharacteristic slump of late, hitting .327/.397/.558 in his past 13 games, including an eight-game hitting streak that ended Friday.

"He's been really swinging the bat well for probably a week now," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It makes our offense go. If you think about [leadoff hitter] Scooter [Gennett], who's really hitting the bat in the leadoff spot, then Brauny, now our 3-4-5 hitters, they should thrive on having people on base."

Hamels, meanwhile, has been one of the NL's best pitchers in recent weeks. The southpaw's latest start was dicey -- he allowed five hits, three runs and four walks in five innings against the Marlins -- but over his 10 outings before that, Hamels had a 1.88 ERA and pitched seven or more innings in each one. Overall, he has a 2.98 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.

But Hamels has a lackluster 2-5 record, and in his past 11 starts, Philadelphia is just 5-6.

The explanation is simple: Hamels entered his latest start 120th out of 132 pitchers in baseball with a 3.59 run-support average over the past two seasons.

"It's kind of a tough situation," Hamels said. "All I can do is be accountable for what I do on the field and prepare. ... It definitely wears on you."

The right-hander Hamels will oppose on Monday night, Marco Estrada, has to be thrilled with the run support he has gotten this season. Milwaukee has generated 5.24 runs of offense with Estrada throwing. He may have an uninspired 4.97 ERA, but he also has a 7-5 record to show for it.

Phillies: Sizemore making progress
Triple-A outfielder Grady Sizemore was hitting .303 (10-for-33) with one home run, four walks and five strikeouts in seven games. He can opt out of his contract at the All-Star break if he is not in the big leagues.

"He's playing better," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's getting the reps he needs. He seems to be moving well."

The Phillies will play Sizemore in right field at some point because they want to make sure he can play all three outfield positions.

Brewers: Schafer returns to Majors
When Logan Schafer was optioned to Triple-A on June 13, he was angry, confused, shocked -- pick your adjective. Then he looked at the numbers.

"I didn't really pay attention to my numbers this year, because you know when you're on the bench that you can't really look at numbers because you're not getting at-bats every day," Schafer said. "I was a little confused at first, but they told me, 'Look, we just want you to get some at-bats. We know we haven't been able to get you at-bats lately. Just go down there and try to get your rhythm and your swing back.'"

Schafer says he fulfilled those goals before being promoted back to the Brewers on Friday, arriving at Great American Ball Park just in time for a spot start against the Reds. He started Sunday in place of Braun, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Worth noting
• The Phillies need to win a game in Milwaukee to avoid their worst 10-game road trip since 1972, when they went 1-9 against the Expos, the Pirates and the Mets.

• Philadelphia right-hander Jason Marquis has a 0.69 ERA over two starts in Triple-A. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery from less than a year ago.

• Milwaukee fifth-round selection Dustin DeMuth on Saturday became the first of the Brewers' 2014 First-Year Player Draft picks to earn a promotion. He was bumped to Class A Wisconsin after batting .403 (25-for-62) with a .973 OPS in 15 games with rookie-level Helena.

• Francisco Rodriguez needs one more save to break the Brewers record for saves prior to the All-Star break. He currently shares the record with Francisco Cordero (2007) with 27.

MLB.com Comments