Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun didn’t establish himself as an All-Star by misplaying fly balls. It’s the power surges like the one San Diego Padres rookie Will Venable(notes) is currently on that made a name for the Brewers slugger.
After taking advantage of Braun’s miscue Saturday night, the Padres and their impressive young right fielder look to win their sixth straight Sunday in the finale of a three-game series with the struggling Brewers.
Braun misjudged a fly ball that led to the go-ahead score as San Diego (43-62) won the middle game of the series 4-2. Braun broke in on the ball which ultimately wound up flying over his head, giving the Padres a lead in the sixth inning that they never relinquished.
“As an outfielder, it’s going to happen,” said Braun, one of baseball’s top all-around hitters. “It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.”
The mistake helped San Diego win five straight for the first time since a 10-game run from May 15-25. In the club’s last four contests, it’s averaged 7.2 runs.
Venable, who struggled after being called up from Triple-A Portland on June 3, has given the Padres an unexpected boost. He has homered in three straight games, including a solo shot to put the Padres up 1-0 on Saturday night.
Venable has driven in eight runs during his home run streak and has seven hits in his last 13 at-bats. He had 12 homers in 200 at-bats with the Beavers.
San Diego had 12 hits one game after it set a season high in runs in an 11-7 win over Milwaukee on Friday night. The Padres’ 17 hits in that game were also a season best, and they now have 10 or more in five straight contests for the first time since April 2007.
Milwaukee (51-53) desperately needs somebody to step up.
The Brewers have lost seven of their last 10 and are 0-6-2 in their last eight series. They are in danger of being swept for the first time since a three-game set at Detroit from June 19-21, and have not won a series since taking two of three against the New York Mets from June 29-July 1.
Terrible pitching is largely to blame for Milwaukee’s woes. With injuries plaguing the Brewers rotation, they have posted a 7.97 ERA over their last seven contests,
Carlos Villanueva(notes) (2-8, 6.61 ERA), who has made 43 relief appearances, has been forced into a starting role. Villanueva is coming off his first start since May 18, 2008, and he didn’t seem comfortable.
The right-hander allowed five runs and eight hits in four innings of Milwaukee’s 8-3 loss to Washington on Tuesday night.
Villanueva is 5-10 with a 4.62 ERA in 22 career starts. All three of his appearances versus the Padres were in relief, during which he surrendered two runs in 5 2-3 innings.
San Diego will counter with Kevin Correia(notes) (7-8, 4.75), who has yielded three runs or fewer in three of his last four outings. The right-hander earned a win in his last start, giving up two runs and six hits while striking out five in six innings of a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
Correia is 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA in three appearances - two of them starts - versus the Brewers.