No Surprise: Sheets Hurt Again

The Brewers scored more than five runs for the first time since Aug. 31, but just as important was the seven combined innings of one-run ball by seven relievers after Ben Sheets left following only two innings.

I'm not sure what the over-under was in many fans' eyes as to who would last longer this year, Ned Yost or Ben Sheets, but the latter joined the former on the shelf after only two innings Wednesday night.

The big right-hander made his 30th start one day after Milwaukee played its first game without Yost as skipper, but he left early—only 24 pitches—for the second time in September.

The initial report was tightness in his right forearm, the latest misfortune after Sheets left his Sept. 1 outing against the Mets with groin stiffness following five innings of work. One can only guess just how serious Sheets' most recent ailment really is, but his mannerisms in the dugout didn't look positive.

Fortunately for the Crew and new interim manager Dale Sveum, they got a combined six scoreless innings from Mark DiFelice (1-0), Todd Coffey, Carlos Villanueva, Mitch Stetter, Eric Gagne and Guillermo Mota before the Cubs touched closer Salomon Torres for one run in the ninth.

That enabled Milwaukee, which improved to 5-3 at Wrigley, to end its five-game skid with a 6-2 triumph and remain one-half game behind New York in the wild-card race with 10 contests left.

So, the Brewers and their supporters sit wondering again if the injury-plagued former No. 1 draft pick will be available to help the team end its playoff drought during the next 10 days.

Regardless, it's simply the latest example of why signing the free agent to be is a risky proposition at best and makes it that much more unlikely that it will happen.

Sheets (13-8) reached his career high in victories with a complete-game five-hit shutout (1-0) against San Diego on Sept. 6 and was in line to surpass 200 innings pitched for the first time since his record-setting strikeout campaign of 2004.

The obvious question is whether he'll get another chance to reach that plateau.


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