Gregg Hoffmann

Midwest Diamond Report - 9/14

Mike Fiers has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise bad run by the Brewers, but the righthander now has another challenge on his hands.

If you didn’t see it, Fiers’ beaning of Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton was gruesome. You could see it shook up Fiers. Things got worse when he also hit the next batter and both benches emptied.

Both pitches just got away from Fiers. He had no intention of going head-hunting. Fiers was fined an undisclosed amount, not for hitting Stanton, but for his actions during an argument, which contributed to the benches clearing.

Some will accuse Fiers of being a head hunter, and he likely will have to endure some abuse from some fans. His biggest challenge could be within his own mind and heart.

"I reached out last night," an obviously emotional Fiers said after the incident. "Left a message, whenever they want to get back, or if they do. If not, just wanted to reach out, let them know how I feel and just how I feel about the whole situation."

It was reported Friday that Stanton, who leads the NL in homers, will not require major surgery to repair facial fractures and dental damage.

This is not the first time the Brewers have dealt with such a situation.  Seven years ago, Brewers pitcher Matt Wise broke the cheekbone of the Reds’ Pedro Lopez with a high fastball. Wise went from one of the team's best relievers to an ineffective pitcher who pitched just nine innings in the final two months. He admitted he had emotional difficulties pitching inside and having confidence in his control.

Fiers will have to put the incident behind him and be able to move on with the same confident approach that has led to his winning streak for the Brewers. He already has shown he is mentally tough. In 2013, he rebounded from losing his mother and a broken arm.

"Everyone knows it was an accident. We've got to move past it," Fiers said. "I've got another start in five days, which I need to be ready for to give this team another quality start."

If he is ready, Fiers will pitch Tuesday against the Cardinals. It’s a huge series for the Brewers. who are desperately trying to hang on to slim post-season hopes.

Twins-White Sox series

Friday night’s game between the White Sox and Twins was postponed due to a forecast of rain throughout the evening and rescheduled for Saturday as part of a doubleheader.

The Sox swept that doubleheader. Jose Quintana struck out 13 in a 5-1 win. Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff homer off Glen Perkins for s 7-6 win in the nightcap.

Forty-five strikeouts were recorded by the two teams in the doubleheader to set a MLB record for a DH in which no games went into extra innings.

Hector Noesi will try to help the Sox sweep the series when he faces the Twins’ Trevor May on Sunday.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Chris Sale lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.99 with eight shutout innings Thursday. He struck out nine. That earned him the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Matt Clark, who hit two homers in starts at first base to give the club’s slumping offense a pickup.

** the Cubs’ Welington Castillo, who hit .400 for the week.

** the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia, who had a five-game hitting streak and hit .471 for the week.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** The Brewers have averaged only 2.77 runs per game in September.

** Matt Clark took a gamble and opted out of his minor league deal with the Mets to sign with the Brewers.

** RHPs Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin were sent to the Reds  to complete the Jonathan Broxton trade.

Cubs

** The Cubs’ losing streak ended Saturday with a 6-4 win over the Pirates..

** Rookie Jorge Soler returned to Miami on Friday for the birth of his first child, and was expected to rejoin the Cubs in Chicago on Monday.

** Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was allowed to walk without a supportive walking boot on his left ankle Friday, and predicts he'll be back before the season ends. Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo continued to make progress in his rehab from a lower back strain, and was able to run the bases for the first time on Friday.

Twins

** Phil Hughes struck out a career-high 11 batters on Saturday.

** Twins closer Glen Perkins was back in uniform and blew a save Saturday. The lefthander had not appeared in a game since Sept. 4 because of a stiff neck.

** Rookie center fielder Danny Santana returned from a lower back strain and reclaimed his spot atop the Twins' batting order on Thursday afternoon.

White Sox

** 1B/DH Jose Abreu became only the fourth rookie in history to record 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

**  The White Sox have just $46MM in commitments to the 2015 payroll before arbitration and General Manager Rick Hahn isn’t exactly sure how he’ll allocate that money just yet, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

** Top prospect Micah Johnson has been shut down for the year due to an injury, but he’ll be firmly in the second base mix with Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers’ big series with the Cardinals highlights the coming week. A sweep by the Brewers could get them right back in the NL Central race and the Wild Card hunt. A sweep by the Cardinals could knock the Brewers out of both races.

Wily Peralta, Fiers and Kyle Lohse will start the three games for Milwaukee. Lance Lynn is scheduled to start Tuesday, but the Cardinals had not named their starters for the other two games, as of this writing.

Members of the Wisconsin Sports Legacy Group will conduct tours of the state Hall of Fame plaques outside the U.S. Cellular Arena on Saturday, as part of Historic Milwaukee’s Open Doors program.

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