It's a great day all around as the Crew beat the Rangers 10-5. Corey Koskie hit a pair of home runs and Gabe Gross mashed a double and a tape-measure shot. Brady and Jenks each got two hits, and Mark Johnson went 2-for-2. The way our catchers have been hitting the last week or so, you'd have no idea that there's a shortage of quality catchers.
It was also, finally, a good day on the mound. Ohka gave up two earned and K'd seven in five innings; Jared Fernandez continued his impressive spring with two scoreless, Justin Thompson gave up one in the eight, and Dan Kolb set down three in order in the ninth. Matt Wise and Jose Capellan worked in a minor league game (they were scheduled to go before the rain hit yesterday) and pitched well.
As you may have read by now, Sheets won't start Opening Day, so Doug Davis will. At Miller Park on April 3rd, he'll face Oliver Perez, making the big start for the Pirates. We may see Dracula in game 2, and we'll face Zach Duke the day after that. And finally, Yost has made it official: Dave Bush is in the rotation. Well, duh. Rick Helling says he'd be ready to pitch in relief "if Opening Day was tomorrow," so I would imagine he'll be ready to take Ben Sheets's first start (probably April 17th) in Ben is slower coming back than scheduled.
The nagging injuries keep coming: Damian Miller left the game early today. As noted above, that opened the door for Mark Johnson to have another solid day, and it may mean a bit more playing time for Johnson and Mike Rivera to show their stuff. I don't seriously think Moeller's job is in jeopardy, but Mike Rivera is doing a heck of a job of making it look that way.
Carlos Lee outlook
Here's another preview piece at From Robin to Rickie, today about El Caballo. As the Brewers improve, Carlos is going to be less and less important to the team, especially if Corey Hart proves he can step in and match Lee's production. But whatever you think of Scott Podsednik, I will always remember what the Pods-Lee trade did for the credibility of this ballclub.
I'm not even convinced we won more than a couple more games with Lee than we would've with Pods. But having another slugger in the lineup made the Brewers look like a credible Major League club, and I suspect that made everybody around him a little better. It certainly told us that Mark Attanasio meant business. It feels a bit heartless, after only one season of that, to start strategizing how to maximize the return in July.
From a business perspective, getting the most of that trade will probably be the best way to go, rather than letting him walk at the end of the year and settling for a draft pick. Either way, I look forward to watching him hit another 20 dingers before the trading deadline, whether he's with us longer or not.
Dave Bush will start against the Giants tomorrow at 2:05 CT. Brad Hennessey is scheduled to be the first Giant pitcher crushed by our big bats. Look for one Mike Rivera home run, and the way this spring is going, an RBI single from Brent Abernathy. No TV or radio, but Daron will be webcasting via MLB Gameday Audio.