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News » Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2009-04-22

Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2009-04-22

Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2009-04-22
Manager Ken Macha said he expects his Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters -- Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy -- to break loose at the plate soon.

"They're going to hit what they're going to hit," Macha said. "That means they're getting hot. So, I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to them getting hot."

In other words, Braun, Fielder and Hardy have track records of being productive hitters. So, believing that trend is going to continue, Macha assumes the hitting pendulum will swing their way.

Entering the opener of the three-game series Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Hardy was batting a mere .114 (5-for-44) with two homers and six RBIs. Fielder was at .175 (7-for-40) with one homer and seven RBIs, and Braun was hitting .222 with one homer and five RBIs.

Macha said before the game that he was seeing "some positive signs with Braunie hitting the ball the other way." And, as if Macha had been looking into a crystal ball, Braun socked an opposite-field home run off Phillies lefty Jamie Moyer in the first inning. Braun added a two-run shot to left off Moyer later in the game.

Fielder has been a slow starter each season, though usually not this pronounced. The puzzling part of Hardy's struggles is that he was red-hot throughout exhibition play, batting .403 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 25 games.

Spring training statistics don't mean anything, as they say, but it still has been a dramatic about-face for Hardy. Macha said he took a look at spray charts -- which show which field a player hits every ball to -- to see if Hardy was pulling pitches more than a year ago.

"Basically, he's got the same spray chart he had last year," Macha said. "He just needs to get some balls to fall in to get him going.

"He was tremendous in spring training. I still continue with the number of at-bats he has had, he has hit three or four balls hard that would have been caught. I still think he'll be fine. There's going to be a lot of catching up."

PHILLIES 11, BREWERS 4: The Brewers' pitching had improved in recent days, but it came apart again Tuesday by allowing 13 hits and nine walks in a thumping by the Phillies. LHP Manny Parra's awful April continued as he fell to 0-3 with an 8.16 ERA. Parra surrendered four runs in the bottom of the first and was gone after four innings, having allowed seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Relievers Jorge Julio and R.J. Swindle came apart in a five-run fifth, combining to allow four walks, two hits and a wild pitch that resulted in two runs scoring. Wasted in the beating was LF Ryan Braun's first five-hit night, including two homers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 22, 2009

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