Bob Brenly, eat your heart out.
Aramis Ramirez, already with a two-run double on the day, played the hero in a wild game Tuesday, hitting a two-run homer off Heath Bell with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give the Brewers a 13-12 win over the Marlins.
The victory would have been huge for the Marlins’ morale, having overcome a 9-2 deficit with nine runs in the seventh and eighth innings. They took a 12-11 lead when Jose Reyes homered off Livan Hernandez in the 10th, but Bell couldn’t hold it. He was charged with his fifth blown save and fourth loss in the game.
Hernandez, incidently, picked up his 176th career win. One wonders if it might not be his last, given his struggles in mop-up roles for the Braves and Brewers this year. He’s allowed runs in three of his four appearances since signing with Milwaukee.
Bell seemed to have his problems ironed out a couple of weeks ago, but today’s outing follows on the heels of a June 25 appearance in which he blew a four-run lead. Technically, it wasn’t a blown save — he hadn’t had one of those since May 5 — but it was a disastrous performance in what ended up being a Marlins loss.
Even with that one on the books, though, he entered today with 13 scoreless outings in his previous 14 appearances, suggesting that he’ll continue to hold down the closer’s role for the Marlins.
The win for the Brewers was their fourth in a row, giving them a 38-42 record. As weak as the NL Central is, they can’t be counted out just yet. It looks like Zack Greinke will be staying put at least a little longer.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.