A Minute in Maryvale: 3.10.17

Milwaukee Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt made up a new word in a recent tweet that sums up the current state of affairs in West Phoenix.

It’s quite accurate. During the Cactus Crew’s six-game winning streak, a slew of prospects have contributed to Milwaukee’s success that has placed the crew three games over .500 at the end of the first full week of March. Thursday’s lineup in the 8-2 win over San Diego featured four of the team’s Top 10 prospects.

Amidst all the noise the young Brew Crew are making this week, one veteran leads the headlines Friday afternoon. Outfielder Ryan Braun is penciled in to the lineup for the first time this spring, playing left field and batting third for the Brewers’ home game against the Chicago White Sox.

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Meanwhile, at minor league camp…

2017 World Baseball Classic recap

Pool B

Cuba 4, Australia 3

Alfredo Despaigne’s fifth-inning grand slam proved to be enough offense as Cuba advances to the second round after clinching second place in Pool B in Tokyo. 

Japan 7, China 1

The Pool B hosts finish group play undefeated after Seiji Kobayashi and Sho Nakata go long to back Shota Takeda’s quality start.

Tokyo hosts the knockout round in this half of the bracket. Host Japan faces The Netherlands, while new Milwaukee signee Cody Decker and pool A winners Israel faces Cuba. 

Pool C

Dominican Republic 9, Canada 2

The defending WBC champions used a four-run second and home runs from Wellington Castillo and Jose Bautista to back Carlos Martinez’ four-inning quality start. Milwaukee’s Jonathan Villar entered the game as a defensive substitution in the ninth inning.

 

Pool D

Italy 10, Mexico 9

In a back-and-forth offensive slugfest, Italy stunned the hosts in Jalisco with five runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a walk-off single by 2016 Iowa Cub John Andreoli. 2012 Sky Sox pitcher Carlos Torres threw a scoreless sixth inning relief for Mexico, who have now blown ninth inning leads to Italy in two straight World Baseball Classics. 

The WBC continues Friday night, as 2013-14 Sox infielder Nolan Arenado and Team USA opens group play against 2012 Sox pitcher Guillermo Moscoso and Colombia at 4 p.m. MT in Miami, while 2011 Sky Sox pitcher J.C. Romero and 2016 Sox pitchers Hiram Burgos and Jorge Lopez join Puerto Rico in their Pool D opener against Brewers infielder Hernan Perez and Venezuela in Jalisco, Mexico at 7 p.m. MT. 

(Translation: The greatest of success to Puerto in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. We already have the Caribbean. We want the world.) 

(Translation: It is exciting to represent our country, not just our country but also our family and the flag on our chest. )

Milwaukee Top-10 prospect Isan Diaz spent time with his native Puerto Rico during their WBC tune-up friendlies in Arizona before re-joining Brewers camp in time to start against the White Sox.

Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 3

White Sox 4, Brewers 3

The six-game Cactus League winning streak was snapped Friday afternoon as the potent Milwaukee offense mustered six combined runs in a split-squad sweep against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox.

The Brewers (8-6) lost their first game in almost a week at Talking Stick in Scottsdale behind a masterful Cactus League start by recently-acquired Arizona starter Taijuan Walker (1-0). The 6’4 right-hander who came over from Seattle threw four scoreless innings while striking eight Milwaukee batters.

The Crew fell behind 4-0 after three innings before Kirk Nieuwenhuis clubbed a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning for his first long ball of the spring.

After the D-Backs (7-7) scored a pair of extra insurance runs to increase the lead to five runs, Brett Phillips cut into the deficit with a pair of RBIs on a two-run single in the top of the seventh.

Chase Anderson (0-1) took the tough loss on the mound by allowing a lone unearned run over his three innings of work.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, erased a late-inning Brewers rally with a two-run double in the top of the ninth to give the White Sox (8-5) a come-from-behind 4-3 win at Maryvale Baseball Park.

After trailing 2-0 for six innings, Milwaukee (8-7) clawed back into the game with a pair of long balls. Minor-league acquisition Art Charles smoked a solo shot in the seventh inning for his first of 2017, while Brewers’ top prospect Lewis Brinson hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning off Jace Fry to give the home team a late lead.

Making his Cactus League debut, veteran outfielder Ryan Braun finished 0-for-1 with a strikeout and walk before being replaced on the basepaths by pinch-runner Kyle Wren.

Tommy Milone ran into trouble over his two and two-third innings, but ended the game with a no-decision after the bullpen combination of Nick Ramirez, Joba Chamberlain, Jhan Marinez, Corey Knebel and Aaron Wilkerson (0-1) combined to allow two earned runs over the final six and one-third innings.

This weekend brings two more games to the Brewer schedule. The full squad returns home to West Phoenix Saturday for a rematch with the San Diego Padres at 1:05 p.m. MT, while Sunday brings the second showdown of the spring with the Cincinnati Reds at 2:05 p.m. MT at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.

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