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|Seven years after making his major league debut as an outfielder B.J. Hill Color Rush Jersey (www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-b.j.-hill-jersey) , Eric Thames is getting reacquainted with the position for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Normally Milwaukee’s first baseman, Thames has started three straight games in the outfield — including two in a row in left — and has seen the bulk of his action there since returning from a 41-game stint on the disabled list earlier this month.
Manager Craig Counsell has Thames in the outfield as he tries to keep Thames left-handed power bat in the lineup alongside right-hander slugger Jesus Aguilar.
Thames will likely stay in the outfield Friday night as the Brewers continue a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Thames played left field and drove in three runs as Milwaukee began the series with an 11-3 win on Thursday.
Aguilar took over as the everyday first baseman when Thames suffered a thumb injury April 25 and has thrived ever since. Aguilar is tied with Travis Shaw for the team lead with 14 home runs.
With the benefit of added offense also comes liability: Thames spent three years playing first base in the Korean League and made just 15 outfield appearances when the Brewers brought him back to the major leagues last season, so there is a little fine-tuning with Thames’ defensive skills.
“It’s not new for him but it is unfamiliar, and we recognize that,” Counsell said. “We understand this isn’t a regular position at this point. There’s going to be some rough edges there, but he’s shown that he can handle the basics.
“There was a ball he misplayed in Pittsburgh, but he came back and made two very nice plays. That’s what we’re going to get and that’s what we’ve got to be willing to live with.”
Counsell is willing to sacrifice a little on defense if it means getting the kind of pop Aguilar and Thames are capable of.
“I think having both of those bats in the lineup is reward enough for that,” Counsell said.
Junior Guerra (3-5 www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-john-franklin-myers-jersey , 2.89 ERA) will make a second consecutive start a day after the Brewers scored 10 runs or more. He’s hoping Friday turns out better than the last time, when Milwaukee followed an 11-run outburst against Philadelphia with a 4-1 loss.
Guerra pitched well in that outing. He allowed three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings but took the loss for the second time in three starts and is looking for his first victory since May 14 despite posting a 2.67 ERA in the six starts since.
Guerra has already started two games against the Cardinals this season, and is 1-0 in those games while allowing just one run over 11 1/3 innings. He gave up one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 3-2 victory over the Cards on April 11. Guerra did not get a decision when he faced St. Louis on May 30, although he pitched shutout ball in his six innings, and the Brewers eventually won 3-2.
He is 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis has dropped eight of 11 after committing four errors on Thursday and will start right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.66).
Flaherty has allowed just one earned run over his last two starts, spanning 11 1/3 innings and has held opponents to no more than a run in six of his nine starts this season.
He held the Cubs scoreless over five innings his last time out on Sunday, striking out nine but didn’t take a decision in the Cardinals’ 5-0 victory.
“I was able to battle and execute when I needed to www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-robert-golden-jersey ,” Flaherty said. “I threw a lot of pitches in a short amount of time. I was hoping to go deeper, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Flaherty is facing Milwaukee for the second time this season and the third time in his short career.
He made his first start against the Brewers in the 2017 finale at Busch Stadium, going five innings and giving up five hits and four runs and taking the loss. Flaherty made his 2018 debut at Miller Park back in April. He held Milwaukee to a run on six hits while striking out nine but took no decision in the Cardinals’ 5-4 loss.
HOUSTON — One obvious benefit of a club-record-tying 12-game winning streak and 13 victories in 14 games is the positive impact it has on the standings, something the Houston Astros could attest to before dropping the opener of a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
On June 5, the Astros (50-27) were the scuffling team, falling two games behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West with a 7-1 loss, their seventh setback over 10 games. The entered this weekend 3 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners and maintained that lead Friday when Seattle lost at Boston 14-10.
Midseason standings are fluid, and it’s far too early to get enthralled by scoreboard watching.
“I think I pay attention to our team www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kenny-young-jersey ,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I appreciate the stress that comes with whether you’re a game up or a game back or five games up or five games back. I really think we’re chasing ourselves. I think we need to play our best baseball and we’ll sort out the standings as it gets towards the later end of the season.
“I’m aware of it because I’m a baseball enthusiast; I watch the scores all the time. It’s what I do. I’m not emotionally drained when other teams go on win streaks and I’m not emotionally charged by a couple losses. I just want our team to play well.”
Right-hander Lance McCullers (8-3, 3.77 ERA) gets the start in the middle game of the series for Houston. He is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA over four career starts against the Royals, and he recorded a no-decision in his previous outing against them after allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings in a 7-4 Astros victory on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals will hand the ball to right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-7, 5.31 ERA) on Saturday. Kennedy is winless over his last 13 starts, one behind Athletics right-hander Chris Bassitt for the longest active streak in the majors. He is 0-7 with a 6.12 ERA since his only win on April 7.
Kennedy is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA over five career starts against the Astros, including 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA over three starts at Minute Maid Park.
The Royals (23-52) on Friday began transitioning veteran Alcides Escobar off shortstop, ending his string of 407 consecutive starts there by moving him to center field for the opener of their series with the Astros. Escobar finished 2-for-2 with two walks, marking the first time since Sept. 6 Denzel Ward Color Rush Jersey (www.authenticsclevelandbrowns.com/cheap-denzel-ward-jersey) , 2017, against the Detroit Tigers that he reached base in all four plate appearances.
Escobar, a free agent following the season, has been a mainstay at short for the Royals since 2011. Before making his first career start in center on Friday, Escobar last played that position on Aug. 2, 2010, while with the Milwaukee Brewers, shifting in the eighth inning after starting at shortstop.
“We know that he’s athletic enough to play it and we want Mondi (22-year-old infielder Adalberto Mondesi) playing short www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-joseph-noteboom-jersey ,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Escobar. “We just think that the time is right. We talked to the coaches about it and they feel like he’ll be fine.
“He’s really excited about the opportunity at playing multiple positions, not only center but some third and some second. He knows that his next career move is probably going to be a utility-type player on the field and he’s anxious to start showing people that he can handle it.”