Brewers flashing leather, showing range

Brewers flashing leather, showing range

MILWAUKEE -- During the offseason, the Brewers set out to improve their defense, and so far, manager Ned Yost is pleased with the progress.

Despite games like Friday night's 6-5 loss to the Reds, which featured three Milwaukee errors and three wild pitches, Yost's 2008 squad has played much better in the field.

"I'm happy with our defense," Yost said. "We're catching more balls."

Yost's analysis may sound simple, but his claim goes deeper than basic fielding statistics like errors.

He highlighted his team's improved range, something that doesn't show up in the box score.

"It wasn't errors that were killing us last year," Yost said. "It was balls that were in the gap that we just couldn't get to. We have a lot of those covered now; we have a lot more range out there with [Ryan] Braun, [Mike] Cameron and Corey Hart.

The acquisition of Cameron caused a chain reaction for the Brewers that gave them better range and surer hands at three different positions. Cameron was signed to bolster center field so that Bill Hall could move to third base and Braun could move to left.

Hall has been solid at third, replacing Braun, who had 26 errors in 2007. Braun has not made an error in left field this season.

Cameron has not only caused this domino effect, but also played Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field.

"Cammy's a very instinctive outfielder," Yost said. "He can just put his head down and run and run, then pull his head up and make the play.

"He doesn't have an off night defensively."

Pitching matchup
MIL: LHP CC Sabathia (7-8, 3.79 ERA)
Sabathia certainly did not dominate in his Brewers debut. He just as certainly did not disappoint. Sabathia beat the Rockies on Tuesday at a sold-out Miller Park after delivering six solid innings in which he allowed three runs --two earned -- on five hits. While he struck out five, he also matched a season high with five walks.

CIN: RHP Homer Bailey (0-3, 8.76 ERA)
The Reds tabbed Triple-A Louisville's Bailey to make the start on Sunday in place of Aaron Harang, who was sent home from the team's road trip with stiffness in his right forearm. A big league stint with Cincinnati last month didn't go well for Bailey. He was 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in three starts that lasted a combined 12 1/3 innings. Besides giving up 16 hits, the 22-year-old walked 10 and struck out only three. In 16 starts with Louisville this season, Bailey is 4-7 with a 4.42 ERA over 93 2/3 innings. He's walked 38 and struck out 82.

With a single in the fifth inning of Saturday's game, starter Seth McClung snapped an 0-for-38 streak by Brewers pitchers, who had not gotten a hit since June 17. ... Milwaukee starting pitchers have thrown five consecutive quality starts going into Sunday's series finale against the Reds. ... With Prince Fielder's two-run home run in the fourth inning on Saturday, Milwaukee extended its streak of consecutive games with a home run to a season-high 12.

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Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.