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Marcum Exits Early, Brewer Bats Follow Suit: Rays 6, Brewers 3

WP: David Price (8-6)
LP: Marco Estrada (1-5)

MVP: Ryan Braun (.043)
LVP: Tim Dillard (-.228)

FanGraphs Win Expectancy Graph

The Milwaukee Brewers lost a baseball game today. Now we cross our fingers that they didn't lose more than that -- unless the "that" is their manager.

But more on that in a second.

Shaun Marcum showed no ill effects from his hip flexor strain in the first inning of today's contest, carving up the top of the Rays lineup in just thirteen pitches.  Things got dicey from there, though: Marcum needed 41 pitches to get through the next two innings -- including a long second inning that included a game-tying, two-run homer off the bat of Kelly Shoppach -- and then had to leave the game after the bottom of the third, when he seemed to aggravate his injury swinging at a pitch.

Marco Estrada did his best to pick up the slack for Marcum, but after two scoreless innings, he found trouble in the top of the sixth when he issued a free pass to Sean Rodriguez, a single to Ben Zobrist, and a two-out single to B.J. Upton that scored Rodriguez. Since LaTroy Hawkins cannot be used in anything resembling a medium- to high-leverage situation, Tim Dillard and his friend the gas can took over from there, as the duo gave up a double, a walk, and a backbreaking homer to someone named Elliot Johnson to blow the game open.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ace David Price shrugged off a rocky first inning -- Ryan Braun drove in Rickie Weeks with a single, and Corey Hart scored from third on a Prince Fielder double-play ball -- and handcuffed the Crew over the next seven innings. I couldn't watch the game today, but just from following on GameDay, I don't know how we scored at all off Price. His stuff is gross; as menchkins mentioned in the GameThread, he's like Manny Parra, if Manny Parra had an excellent fastball, a nasty two-seamer, and a good change-up.  With those caveats, though, they're dead-ringers.

The Brewers actually threatened to make things interesting when Kyle Farnsworth came into the game in the ninth, as Fielder walked with one out and Casey McGehee and Yuni followed with singles. Nyjer Morgan plated Fielder with a sac fly, and then -- inexplicably, incomprehensibly, incredibly -- Ron Roenicke pinch hit MARK KOTSAY for Jon Lucroy. Kotsay, predictably, grounded out weakly to first base, and saw an 8000% increase in traffic.

Tomorrow, our heroes take their first day off in roughly seven weeks and fortify Miller Park's defenses for the marauding Twins, who invade on Friday having won something like 15 of their last 18 games. (No, I can't be bothered to look up the actual number. I'm cranky and you have Google, too.)

Until then.