Brewers hitters aim to become All-Stars

Brewers hitters aim to become All-Stars

MIAMI -- The Brewers will begin their annual "get out the vote" campaign for prospective All-Stars when the team returns home for a weeklong slate of games beginning Friday. Brewers hitters will try to give them something to vote for.

Last year, the club's effort helped first baseman Prince Fielder become the National League's top overall vote-getter, earning him a starting spot for the National League in San Francisco. Fielder was the first to start a Midsummer Classic since outfielder Jeromy Burnitz replaced an injured Tony Gwynn in 1999, and the first Brewer voted to the starting lineup since Paul Molitor at third base in 1988.

Fielder is among eight Brewers on this year's ballot. It also includes second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop J.J. Hardy, third baseman Bill Hall, catcher Jason Kendall and outfielders Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron and Corey Hart.

Fans can vote at any time on, and in-stadium balloting runs from Friday, when the Brewers open a four-game series against the Cardinals, through May 9. Event staff will be decked out at home games in promotional T-shirts and the team is airing radio and television spots encouraging fans to vote.

With every 10 paper ballots turned in to the "All-Star Polling District" at Miller Park, fans will receive a prize ticket that will enter them in a drawing for a Brewers autographed baseball or autographed jersey. A drawing will be held during every home game through June 21 and the winning ticket will be announced during the game.

Fans can vote for the All-Stars online at through July 2 at 10:59 CT.

The upcoming homestand also features the return of the team's "Spring Madness" campaign, which includes discounted tickets and $1 hot dogs and small sodas throughout the Cardinals series.

That means the stands will be packed all weekend, and maybe that's what it will take to spark the sluggish Brewers. Things hit something of a low point on Wednesday, when manager Ned Yost called a rare team meeting to clear the air.

Generally, Yost is not a fan of team meetings.

"I think you hold team meetings if guys aren't hustling, or guys aren't mentally focused and prepared to go out and compete," Yost said. "Our guys are never there. They always hustle. They always go out and compete. There's no need to hold a meeting."

The Brewers have lost six in a row and are coming off consecutive series sweeps at Houston and at Florida. They have also dropped three of their last four home games.

The Cardinals are the surprise leaders in the National League Central and they're coming off a four-game series split at Colorado. St. Louis has won three of its five matchups with Milwaukee this season including a two-game series split at Miller Park from April 21-22.

Pitching matchup
MIL: LHP Manny Parra (1-2, 5.86 ERA)
Parra has not pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his six starts, and that fact is starting to upset him. He lasted only four-plus frames against the Astros on Saturday, taking a 1-1 tie into the fifth inning and then allowing a five-run outburst sparked by back-to-back homers by the opposing pitcher, Brandon Backe, and slumping leadoff man Michael Bourn. Parra has great pure stuff -- a 92-94-mph fastball and three serviceable offspeed pitches -- but he has been up in the strike zone way too often, Yost said. He has already started twice against the Cardinals, taking a pair of no-decisions while allowing six earned runs in nine total innings.

STL: RHP Todd Wellemeyer (3-1, 4.07 ERA)
Wellemeyer lasted just five innings in his last start, on Sunday against the Cubs, which matched his shortest start of the season. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits, struck out four and walked four. He threw 95 pitches, with 57 for strikes. In his next start, Wellemeyer will have to find a way to be more efficient with his pitches and try to get through six or seven innings to give the bullpen a break.

The Brewers are 7-6 at home vs. 9-11 on the road. ... Kendall should be back in the lineup after getting the day off on Thursday. He's hitting .375 (15-for-40) at Miller Park. Fielder and Hart are expected back. Fielder has hit three of his four home runs in home games and Hart is batting .313 at Miller Park. ... The Brewers are offering several new "4-Pack 4 The Cure" ticket packages, with 25 percent of each package sold going to the Milwaukee chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For information, call (414) 902-4487. ... Saturday's game was bumped up five minutes to accommodate a FOX national broadcast and will begin at 2:40 p.m. CT. ... The Brewers named Regis Bane to the position of director of ticket operations. Bane spent the past four seasons with the Cleveland Indians, including the last two as that club's manager of ticket services.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN Wisconsin HD

On radio
• WTMJ 620

Up next
• Saturday: Brewers (Ben Sheets, 4-0, 2.29) vs. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 2-2, 4.33), 2:40 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 1-2, 5.22) vs. Cardinals (Braden Looper, 5-1, 3.95), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Brewers (Dave Bush, 0-4, 6.98) vs. Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 3-1, 2.25), 7:05 p.m. CT

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