6/11/2013 8:13 P.M. ET
Roenicke sees positive signs from Crew on road trip
By David Villavicencio and Joe Morgan / Special to MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Brewers opened a nine-game road trip with a 6-1 win over the Marlins on Monday.
Currently sitting in fourth place in the NL Central, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke believes this road trip against the Marlins, Reds and Astros will be important in sending the team in the right direction.
"Being on the road, we have a chance to do alright in these cities that we're going to," Roenicke said. "We know how well Cincinnati is playing, and we go to Houston. We've had problems in Houston, so we'll see what happens there."
The Brewers, who are typically strong at home, have won just 16 of their 36 games at Miller Park this year. They have not fared any better on the road, going 10-17. But Monday's win over the Marlins started the trip on a positive note that Roenicke hopes will help get the team on a hot streak.
"We usually play great at home, but we haven't this year," Roenicke said. "The most important thing is playing good baseball. We started that at home the last three games, and even a couple of games in Philly that we lost, I thought we played well."
Roenicke, who has guided the Brewers to a 205-182 record since taking over in 2011, feels his club is getting close to where it needs to be.
"Things are coming together better," Roenicke said. "We still have injuries, but the starting pitching has had some good outings and relief pitching has been solid for a while now. Offensively, I think we're swinging better, getting some big hits and getting people on base. We're a little more active on base. I think all those things are important, if we're going to start playing the type of ball we need. Then we'll get fully healthy, and hopefully we will really start to do some things."
Schafer, Lucroy, Gomez headline strong Crew lineup
MIAMI -- Replacing key parts of a lineup is never easy, but the Brewers' offense has shined over the past two games.
Milwaukee has scored 15 runs over 18 innings heading into Tuesday's game against the Marlins. Fifteen of those 18 innings were played without All-Star Ryan Braun, who has been resting with a right hand injury.
"I think any time you have one of your big boys out, and you can score and do what we did and get that many hits is big," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Every time I don't have one of those guys in the lineup, I am always concerned about how we're going to do. It's important."
Roenicke turned to Logan Schafer to fill the void in left field and the 26-year-old has responded with three hits through Sunday and Monday. Schafer will look to continue his success in place of an ailing Braun, who did not take batting practice Tuesday for the second consecutive day.
"I like Logan. Any time Logan is out there, starting or off the bench, I like what he does," Roenicke said. "The difference is in the lineup. Without Brauny hitting third, now you have to figure out how to maneuver the lineup around. Logan, the last three or four times he has started, he's gotten hits and played good D. He has been big in our offense."
Schafer filling in nicely has helped, but the Brewers have had several players step up to fill the void left by Braun over the past two days.
"The last couple of games, we've been hitting good, and the pitching has been awesome," outfielder Carlos Gomez said. "We've hit in key situations. When you play good ball games, a lot of good things happen like that."
Gomez, who is batting .322 entering Tuesday's game with a team-leading 11 homers and 33 RBIs, and fellow outfielder Norichika Aoki are two Brewers who have helped spark the team's recent surge in scoring.
"Nori has been pretty much that way all year," Roenicke said. "He has a couple of games where he gets a little off, but he is always getting hits and always out there for the other guys, and Gomez continues to do a good job for us. Those guys at the top are really doing a great job."
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is another Brewer who has helped pick up the slack with Braun and fellow middle-of-the-order bat Corey Hart out of the lineup. Lucroy, who had four hits and two RBIs in Monday's 6-1 win, believes Milwaukee's offense is only going to get better as the season continues.
"We are a good-hitting lineup without Brauny in there, and most people talk about Corey Hart not being there, and we are a good-hitting team without him, too," Lucroy said. "Whenever Brauny is healthy and Corey is healthy, we're going to become that much better and have more depth. I think we're one of the best-hitting teams in the big leagues. When we are on, we show it like we did [Sunday] and [Monday], so hopefully we can keep it going."
Brewers 'Tribute for Heroes' finalists announced
MIAMI -- Major League Baseball and People Magazine have formed a partnership in the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, which announced 90 finalists -- three for each MLB club.
One winner from each team will be honored on Citi Field prior to the All-Star Game on July 16. Voting runs through June 20.
The Brewers' three finalists are Milwaukee native and Army veteran Dan Buttery, Air Force combat airlift crewmember Brandon Non telle of Altus, Okla., and Blanchardville, Wis., native Noel Reeson, who has served both in the Navy and the Army.
• According to Steve Gorten of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Milwaukee has agreed to terms with eighth-round Draft pick Brandon Diaz. The south Florida native was an outfielder at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.