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Nine, Ten, Twenty-Three

Another night, another great game.  And, oh yeah, another home run from Prince Fielder.  And another two-hit night (including a dinger) from J.J. Hardy.  This guy will slow down eventually, I suppose, but until then this will be a tough team to beat.

But you know what I noticed watching tonight's game?  The Brewers defense could be really, really good.  Defense is notoriously hard to judge just by watching--you don't necessarily notice the balls that sneak through the hole that somebody else would've grabbed--but the Brewers sure look good in the field.  There were solid or better plays from just about everybody on the field.

Dave Bush made a great grab of a squibber down the third base line.  Rickie Weeks made a couple of nice plays.  Hardy is looking more like Adam Everett every day.  Gabe Gross made a leaping catch to save extra bases.  (Then he misjudged a ball and allowed extra bases, but that's a different story.)  Jenkins made a nice play at the wall.  Estrada dug out a couple of nasty Turnbow pitches to keep runners in place.  None of that stuff will show up in the year-end stat lines, but  it's yet another way in which the 2007 Brewers are different than every previous edition I've ever seen.

Bush went 6.2 tonight, possibly one or two batters too long, but he was solid.  A game-starting homer from Felipe Lopez was a bad omen, but Bush settled in and mowed down the Nats for quite a while.  After his last outing, I might have pulled him after he finished six, but I'm not going to attack Ned's decision to let him try the seventh, especially since he had settled in and his pitch count was low.  

We didn't gain any ground on the competition, since it looks like the Cubs are headed for the victory, and the Red Sox remain one game back of the major-league-leading Brewers record.  Oh well; I guess we'll just have to settle for being on pace for a mere 113 wins.  We can't play the Nats every week, but while we've got 'em, we might as well take advantage.