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Brewers could offer new look Sunday

Brewers could offer new look Sunday

NEW YORK -- Brewers sluggers Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are trying to convince their manager to make a key change to the lineup.

The players asked to flip spots in the order Saturday evening so they line up the way they did last year. Braun hit third almost exclusively after a May 2007 promotion to the big leagues, and belted 34 home runs to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Batting fourth, Fielder became the youngest Major Leaguer ever to hit 50 home runs in a season and finished third in NL MVP balloting.

Both players are off to a somewhat slow start to 2008. They each went 1-for-4 in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Mets, Braun is hitting .229 so far and Fielder has yet to homer in 41 at-bats.

The two young players sat at Fielder's locker after the game and talked it over, then Braun suggested to hitting coach Jim Skaalen that they would like to make a change for Sunday's series finale.

That does not mean manager Ned Yost will necessarily comply. Though Bill Hall, Gabe Kapler and Rickie Weeks each homered to beat Mets ace Johan Santana, Brewers hitters have mostly sputtered a bit of late, combining to hit .147 in three consecutive losses before Saturday's win. Yost said before Saturday's game that flipping Fielder and Braun in the batting order would not necessarily offer a cure.

"It's a placebo," Yost said.

Yost indicated then -- before Braun had requested the switch -- that things would remain the same, at least for now.

"I don't panic after six games or seven games and change my lineup," Yost said. "It's the ebb and flow of a Major League season. You go up and you go down, you get hot and you get cold. It's nothing to panic about. You can't snap your fingers and make it change. You just ride it out in a cool, calm and collected manner. You don't start making rash decisions."

Tune in Sunday to see if Yost decides to make the change, after all.

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Jeff Suppan (1-0, 2.03 ERA)
Suppan is Mr. April for Milwaukee and was on the verge of improving to 6-2 in the opening month since debuting with the team last season, only to see a win wiped away Tuesday. He worked six scoreless innings before a pair of seeing-eye singles led to a run in the seventh, and he was in line for the win before Corey Patterson's two-out, two-strike home run off Eric Gagne in the ninth. Suppan has a 2.81 ERA in eight career starts against the Mets and a 2.70 ERA at Shea Stadium, numbers that don't include his eight scoreless innings in Game 6 of the 2006 NLCS for the Cardinals.

NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Perez pitched in and out of trouble last Tuesday against the Phillies, walking three batters and hitting two. Still, his command was sharp enough to escape without any damage on the scoreboard, and he has yet to allow a run in 11 2/3 innings this season. Perez didn't face the Brewers last season, though he holds a 3-1 record and 4.32 ERA against them for his career.

Tidbits
Hernan Iribarren made his Major League debut Saturday and hit the first pitch he saw for a single off Carlos Muniz. Moments later, Iribarren was picked off first base. Yost said he had called for a hit-and-run, but Muniz apparently sniffed it out. ... Ten of the Brewers' 13 home runs this season have been solo shots. Before Gabe Kapler's two-run homer in the seventh inning Saturday, the team's last nine home runs came with no runners on base. ... Mets shortstop Jose Reyes underwent an MRI scan on Saturday that revealed a mild left hamstring strain. He's day-to-day, but unlikely to play in Sunday's finale.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN Wisconsin

On radio
• WTMJ 620

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Brewers (Dave Bush, 0-2, 8.44) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 1-1, 3.60), 7:15 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Brewers (Carlos Villanueva, 1-1, 4.76) at Cardinals (TBD), 7:15 p.m. CT

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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