Brewers hope to delay Phillies' party

Brewers hope to delay Phillies' party

MILWAUKEE -- The Phillies are positioned to punch their postseason ticket this weekend at Miller Park. If they do, Brewers manager Ken Macha won't hang around to see them storm the infield.

"When things like that happen, I just go up in the clubhouse," Macha said. "The game's over. Why sit around and watch somebody else celebrate at your expense?"

The Brewers will try to delay the Phillies' celebration beginning Thursday, when the teams start a four-game series that closes out the home portion of the Brewers' 2009 schedule. The Phillies took a walk-off loss in Florida on Wednesday night, but their magic number to clinch the National League East stayed steady at five.

Jeff Suppan will be on the mound for Milwaukee, just like he was the last time the Phillies came to town. That was Game 4 of last year's National League Division Series, and Suppan surrendered a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins and two more homers in the third inning of a 6-2 Brewers loss that sent Philadelphia on to the NL Championship Series.

This time, there is less on the line for Milwaukee. The Brewers were formally eliminated from the NL Central race Monday, and then were eliminated from Wild Card contention Tuesday.

"You never want to see anybody else celebrate," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "It's a lot of fun to be on a winning team, and that's what we want to get back to. That celebration we had after the last regular-season game last season, the champagne, and knowing that all the hard work we put in had paid off, that was something that I want to experience as often as possible."

That feeling will have to wait for 2010.

"Being out of it makes you appreciate it even more," Braun said. "We were fortunate to be in the position the last two years of competing in September. When you're in it, you have to appreciate it."

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Jeff Suppan (7-10, 4.76 ERA)
Suppan has worked seven quality innings in each of his last two starts, including a win over the Astros on Saturday in which he set a season high with seven strikeouts. It was Suppan's third win at Miller Park in 14 home starts; he's 3-7 with a 5.92 ERA at home and 4-3 with a 3.56 ERA in 13 starts on the road. Suppan missed the Phillies when the Brewers went through Philadelphia in April, but he's 3-6 against them with a 6.13 ERA in his career.

PHI: LHP J.A. Happ (10-4, 2.77 ERA)
Happ left Friday's game after just three innings for precautionary reasons. He had missed his previous two starts because of a strained right intercostal muscle, and when he appeared to favor it on a play in the third inning, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided to take him out of the game. Happ said he was fine and that he felt no pain or discomfort, but because the Phillies already were without left-handers Scott Eyre, J.C. Romero and Jack Taschner in the bullpen, Manuel wants to make sure Happ is healthy in case he needs him in the bullpen in the postseason.

Braun was robbed of a home run by Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin on Tuesday and remains stuck on 29 home runs since Sept. 11. That previous homer -- off Arizona's Doug Davis -- is Braun's only one since Aug. 28. ... Braun did have two hits on Wednesday, leaving him 15 hits shy of 200 for the season. Only four players have reached that milestone. Cecil Cooper had three 200-hit seasons, Paul Molitor had two and Robin Yount had one. The Brewers' last 200-hit season was Cooper's in 1983. ... A series of fundraising events this season organized by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and his wife, Ellen, generated $65,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Milwaukee affiliate. It marks the fourth year that the Melvins have built awareness of and support for breast cancer health education, screening and treatment programs for women in Southeastern Wisconsin. ... Macha managed his 800th Major League game on Wednesday. His regular season record with the A's and Brewers is 443-357.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS Wisconsin-HD

On radio
• WTMJ 620

Up next
• Friday: Phillies (Cliff Lee, 14-11, 2.99) at Brewers (Manny Parra, 10-10, 6.42), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Phillies (Pedro Martinez, 5-1, 3.32) at Brewers (Braden Looper, 13-7, 5.12), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 11-7, 3.82) at Brewers (Dave Bush, 5-8, 6.22), 1:05 p.m. CT

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