Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP


As season winds down, Brewers make multitude of roster moves

October 26, 2011

It’s that time of year again. There’s only a maximum of two games left in the baseball season- possibly one, if the Rangers can finish off the Cardinals for the crown tomorrow.

But, every other team is looking onwards to next year- and that includes the Brewers. They made several roster moves earlier today to set the stage for this offseason, and the 2012 season.

First and foremost, pitcher Chris Narveson has undergone left-hip surgery, the Brewers announced earlier today. The odd thing is that we- the fans- were never told of a hip injury with Narveson. He was on the DL in late August and early September, but that was due to a freak accident in which he cut open his left hand.

Narveson went 11-8 with a 4.45 ERA in the regular season before being used out of the bullpen in the postseason. He struggled in the postseason, putting up an 11.05 ERA and giving up five home runs in just 7 1/3 innings, but Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash claims that the hip had nothing to do with that performance. Ash also said that the hip injury has been a chronic thing that Narveson has been dealing with for a few years now.

Anyway, onto the next moves. Infielder Josh Wilson and right-handed reliever Mark DiFelice have both been outrighted to Triple-A Nashville. Wilson served as a utility infielder for the Brewers after being acquired off waivers from the Diamondbacks early in the season. He played all four infield positions, and also made a few appearances in left field. At the plate, he hit .224 with two home runs and five RBI.

DiFelice was with the Brewers for a week in late June before being optioned back to Triple-A, and he put up a 12.00 ERA in just three innings of work. After being sent back down, he was plagued with shoulder problems that ruined any chance of him returning in 2011.

Brandon Kintzler has also been reinstated from the DL, and will attend the Arizona Fall League. Kintzler went on the DL on May 13, and had surgery in late July on a stress fracture in his right forearm. In 14 2/3 innings for the Brewers this year, he went 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA before going on the DL.

Lastly, Manny Parra and Mitch Stetter- two left-handers for the Brewers- have come off the DL as well. Parra didn’t pitch at all in 2011 because of several setbacks with his elbow and back, but will hopefully be ready for Spring Training 2012. And, I hate to say this, but if he has any more setbacks, I can’t see the Brewers being this patient with him anymore, and he’ll probably be let go. Hopefully he doesn’t have to endure anymore setbacks, though.

As for Stetter, he pitched seven innings for the Brewers this year before going on the DL, and put up a 5.14 ERA.

Oh, and the Brewers re-signed Minor League infielder Edwin Maysonet to a Minor League deal. He spent all year in the minors in 2011, and hit .290 while there. I don’t know much about this guy, but I’m going to guess he’s probably an Erick Almonte-type player- pretty much just a utility guy.

And I still haven’t heard anything about Zach Braddock, a lefty who was sent up and down and had multiple stints on the DL this year.

Anyway, last night I said I was going to write an article about Chris Carpenter today, bu, instead, I’m just going to give a brief explanation right here. I was going to call him out for using even more profanity last night after getting an out against the Rangers- yeah, the Brewers aren’t the only ones. I’m sorry, but he’s about as un-classy as it gets. After inducing a Mike Napoli fly-out to get out of a runners on first and third jam, he turned around to Napoli and cussed him out. I know some people are making a case that he was yelling to himself, but, after watching a replay this morning, you can clearly see he’s yelling at Napoli- he turned around and started screaming “F*** you!” with spit flying everywhere. But hey- that’s typical Chris Carpenter. I’m just saying you don’t see other aces- most of whom are class acts- such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Justin Verlander, making reactions like that to getting outs.

Now, I don’t have an issue with a fist pump or maybe a “Hell yeah!” to yourself after getting a key out, but there’s absolutely no reason to turn to the player you just got out and start screaming profanity at him. There’s just no place in baseball for that.

And I know there are going to people comparing Carpenter yelling to the Brewers’ “Beast Mode” to attempt to counter this article- please, don’t even try. There’s a difference between yelling swears at your opponent, as opposed to just having fun.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave your thoughts below, and thanks much for reading.



Rangers take 3-2 lead in World Series

October 25, 2011

I don’t have much time on my hands right now, but I’m going to write as much as I can.

The Rangers are just one win away from their first World Series title in their history (excluding ones won as the Washington Senators). The hero was Mike Napoli, whose two-run double in the eighth inning proved to be the decisive factor. The Rangers also got monster home runs Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre, both of which came off of Chris Carpenter. I also have something to say about Carpenter, but I’m going to save that until tomorrow. I might do a whole article on it, actually.

Anyway, for the second straight night, Tony La Russa’s clown car again backfired. Napoli’s two-run double came off of Marc Rzepczynski, a left-hander (Napoli is a righty). But, after Napoli’s double, La Russa went to get Lance Lynn- a right-hander- out of the bullpen. So Lynn intentionally walks Ian Kinsler, and then La Russa yanks him and puts in Jason Motte. I know La Russa loves cycling through relievers as fast as he can, but is it really necessary to waste pitchers like that? Because what if the Cards tied the game, and it went into extra innings? Lynn, who used to be a starter, would have been valuable to eat up some those innings. But that wouldn’t have happened, because La Russa wasted him for an intentional walk.

I’ll update more tomorrow. Also note tomorrow is a travel day, so there’s no game, but the day after tomorrow, Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) and Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA) will face off in St. Louis.


Pujols has historical World Series Game 3

October 23, 2011

I know I said that I’m cheering for the Rangers in the 107th World Series. But that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by something a certain Cardinals player did today.

Some guy named Albert Pujols had a three-home run, five-hit, six RBI game today in the third game of the World Series- a 17-6 blowout Cardinals win over the Rangers. This was arguably the best World Series game of all time for a single player, as those three homers, five hits, and six RBI haven’t been done since Reggie Jackson- AKA Mr. October- did in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Pujols’ first homer came in the fifth inning off flamethrowing right-hander Alexi Ogando. He gave Pujols a 96 MPH fastball practically over his head, but Pujols wasn’t having any of that- he turned on it extremely quickly and pulled it into the left field seats for a three-run blast.

The second homer came off of left-handed specialist Michael Gonzalez- note that he’s a left-handed specialist- and it was to dead center field.

The third one also came off a left-handed specialist, this time veteran Darren Oliver.

If for some reason you don’t know what a left-handed specialist is, it’s a pitcher whose primary duty is to get out tough left-handed hitters. So that’s what confuses me about this. Why did Ron Washington leave in two lefty specialists- Gonzalez and Oliver- to face the best right-handed hitter in baseball? You could see both of those home runs coming before they even happened. Anyway, I have a feeling Albert will be talking to the media tonight.

But, even though I’m cheering for the Rangers, I’m slightly relieved knowing that the Brewers aren’t the only team who can’t get Pujols out. But, the Rangers apparently figured out how to get David Freese out- something the Brewers also couldn’t do.

Anyway, almost everyone in the Cards’ lineup had hits today. Rafael Furcal had one hit, Allen Craig had a home run, Pujols- actually, just read above, Matt Holliday had a hit, Lance Berkman had a pair of hits, Freese had a pair of hits and RBI, Yadier Molina had two hits and four RBI, and Ryan Theriot had a hit. The only guy who didn’t have a hit in the Cardinals’ lineup was Jon Jay- go figure. He’s having a horrible postseason. Anyway, the Cardinals also scored at least one run off of every Rangers’ pitcher.

But the clown car had yet another long and rough task today. Kyle Lohse had a typical Kyle Lohse (or you could insert the name of any other Cards starter here) start, as he completely unraveled in the fourth inning- just as he did against the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLCS. But, the clown car picked up him, like they’ve had to do so many times this postseason. Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Octavio Dotel, and Mitchell Boggs gave up a combined four runs, but the 16 runs of support were enough for them.

Here’s a funny story- the St. Louis Rams think they’re giving the Cardinals good luck. Haha, good one. You can read that story about the NFL team with no wins here, but I’m not buying it.

Anyway, one more thing about the game before I go- in the seventh inning, the left fielder for the Cards- Holliday- was attempting to read a fly ball that would eventually become a sacrifice fly for the Rangers. But, as Holliday was making the catch, some Rangers fan- at least I think he was a Rangers fan- threw a white ball onto the field. I don’t know if he was attempting to hit Holliday with it, but if he was, the only guy he was embarrassing was himself- his throw went nowhere. And, to top it all off, he was escorted out of the game. Nice job.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I might make some updates later if I have time, but, if not, come back tomorrow for highlights of Game 4.


In the end, was Roenicke too friendly?

October 21, 2011

The 107th World Series is now all evened up at 1-1. The Rangers managed to snatch a win from the Cardinals today in the ninth inning, as the clown car- or bullpen, if you prefer to call it that- finally imploded for the Cards.

I’m still somewhat depressed that the Brewers aren’t playing in this series. But, as I explained in yesterday’s post, that awful defense pretty much made it impossible. Anyway, I’m not going to ramble on about the World Series for the rest of this post. That would be kind of pointless for me, considering this is a Brewers blog. Rather, I’m going to continue that post from yesterday, because I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to about how the Brewers pretty much prevented themselves from winning that series.

I started to talk about Ron Roenicke towards the end of that post, and here’s what I was going to say- he got to0 friendly with the team.

Now, I don’t mean Roenicke should start being harsh on the Brewers and scold them for every little thing (although that would still be better than what Ken Macha did). But, the manager of a team isn’t really supposed to be a friend- he’s the manager.

What I’m getting at is Roenicke’s choice for starting Shaun Marcum in Game 6- the deciding game of the Brewers’ season. Roenicke knew that Marcum was struggling- it’s hard not to notice that a guy has a 12.46 postseason ERA (going into that start). Yet, he chose to start him. And that was probably an attempt to save Marcum’s ego- which is what I mean by Roenicke being too friendly towards him.

Roenicke didn’t want Marcum to go down in Brewers’ history as the guy who flamed out during the most important part of the season. So, he tried to give him one last chance to prove himself, and it obviously didn’t go too well- one inning, four earned runs. The Brewers clearly made some threats after that, but an early four-run deficit is just usually too much to recover from.

Anyway, instead of saving Marcum’s reputation like he was trying to, Roenicke simply made the legacy worse. In my opinion, he would have been better off just leaving Marcum alone and not starting him for the rest of the postseason, because he clearly wasn’t on his game. But, now the Brewers’ season is over- and that mistake is going to loom over Roenicke for quite some time.

And he was out-managed in the NLCS by the most hated man in Wisconsin, Tony La Russa. La Russa wasn’t trying to be friendly to his starters- or any players- all season. During the regular season, he would give starting pitchers as much as 11 days rest (notably Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia). I guess that isn’t a very good point, but it’s definitely what Roenicke should have done in this situation. Anyway, La Russa also used his clown car at the perfect time in every game, and wasn’t afraid to be Captain Hook towards his starters. He simply managed better than Roenicke during the NLCS. Anyway, as I much as I hate La Russa, I hope Roenicke, a first-year manager, learned something from this experience.

But back to Marcum. He’s getting sort of a lot of hate right now that he doesn’t really deserve. I don’t blame Marcum for this situation at all, because, if he’s simply in a slump, he probably shouldn’t be starting in the postseason. I blame Roenicke for starting him even though he knew he was struggling.

By the way- I still refuse to compare Marcum to Jeff Suppan. That’s just an idiotic comparison, and you all know it.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave your comments/thoughts below. And thanks for all the views lately- this site is getting more than it ever has.


Brewers watch from sidelines as World Series begins

October 20, 2011

Today was the first game of the 107th World Series. This year, it’s the Rangers and the Cardinals facing off for the title.

It could say “Brewers” in place of “Cardinals” in that sentence, but there are various reasons that couldn’t happen.

The Brewers’ season came to a very disappointing end on Sunday, as they lost to the Cardinals, 12-6. The Cardinals are now in the World Series, and won the first game of it, 3-2, against the Rangers.

But, during the last two games of the NLCS, I realized that the Brewers were not a team that deserved to go to the World Series. As a die-hard Brewers fan, it’s extremely hard for me to say that, but it’s beyond true. If you were unlucky enough to see a string of three consecutive errors- two of which happened on the same play- during the Brewers’ final game of the season, you probably agree with me. Oh, and I was definitely one of the people unlucky enough to see it- I had a great view from six rows behind the plate at Miller Park. It was in the fifth inning, and it started when right fielder- if you can even call him that anymore- Corey Hart picked up a base hit off the bat of David Freese. But, Hart promptly let it roll past him, and allowed Matt Holliday, who’d been on first, advance to third.

But that wasn’t even close to the worst of it. On the next play, third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. botched what would have been a double play by letting it bounce of his glove. He then tried to make up for his mistake by shoveling the ball to second baseman Rickie Weeks, but it went in between Weeks’ legs, and had to be recovered by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. It was literally the ugliest defense I had ever seen.

But, after the ball went through Weeks’ legs, I simply sat there laughing, and thought to myself- I actually thought these guys were going to win the World Series?

Don’t get me wrong here. The Brewers had one of their best season in decades. They racked up a franchise record 96 wins, had the best starting pitching they had in years, and so on and so forth.

But I think they just got too comfortable, and I’m talking about the team as a whole when I say that. I loved “Beast Mode,” but it really made them look pretty stupid when they were getting the crap beaten out of them. But one thing that really comes back and makes the team look stupid is the tweeting of Nyjer Morgan back in September. Following a loss to the Cardinals, he went on Twitter and started making fun of how the Cardinals would be watching the Brewers while they were in the playoffs. I’ll admit it was sort of funny at the time, but I have a feeling when he said that the Cardinals watching the Brewers in the playoffs, he meant at home- not in the opposing dugout. But the Cards got an up-close and personal look at how bad the Brewers’ defense really is.

I also have something to say about Ron Roenicke, but I’ll save that for tomorrow- I’m pretty limited on time right now.

Anyway, before I go, I just want to talk about something that happened to me on Twitter last night. So I came across this tweet by some Cardinals radio talk show host (at least that’s who I think he was). He said something like along the lines of “only two states in the country have more than 60% of their baseball fans saying that the Rangers are going to win game 1. Texas, and Wisconsin. How cute.” (That wasn’t exactly the tweet, but that’s the point he was making.) I get infuriated by these types of tweets, so, out of mostly anger, I replied with something like, “You really expected us to cheer for the Cardinals? What planet are you from?” But, instead of replying to me and telling me how he felt, he re-tweeted me to his 5,000 or so followers, so I was getting hated on by conceited St. Louis idiots, who clearly didn’t know a thing about baseball, for the next hour. But it was amusing enough, I guess.

I’ve only met one classy Cards fan all year. The rest have pretty much been scum who gave up on their team in August, then came back and started bragging again after they clinched the Wild Card. And the Cards are supposed to have the best fan base in baseball. That really got exposed this year.

Anyway, my point is I’m not cheering for a team whose manager called me and the rest of Brewers fans “idiots.” That isn’t the way the world goes round. The reason I say that is because one of the haters accused me of having no NL pride. Why should I have pride in a manager who tries to make jabs at my favorite team and its fanbase all year?


Brewers’ season takes turn for the worse with ugly loss

October 16, 2011

I just don’t know anymore. None of the Cardinals’ starting pitchers have made it past the fifth inning in this NLCS, yet they lead it 3-2. It just doesn’t make sense. But, the Brewers certainly didn’t help themselves with they way the played, even though their starter went more than five innings.

The Brewers were made complete fools of yesterday as they lost to the Cardinals, 7-1. They looked like a completely different team from the team that pulled out a great 4-2 win the day before, offensively and defensively. They made four extremely embarrassing errors, which were pretty much the death (figuratively, obviously) of Zack Greinke.

Greinke wasn’t having a very good time on the mound, and you could tell by his body language. He went 5 2/3 innings while giving up five runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked two and struck out none- it was the first time in his career he went at least four innings without striking out a batter. But at least it’s in the postseason, so those stats don’t really count.

Anyway, what I meant by “body language” before wasn’t that he looked injured or anything- he just looked annoyed at his defense. After a  ball that went through third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr.’s error that cost Greinke two runs, Greinke whipped the ball on the ground. It was actually kind of funny because it bounced back up and hit him on the chest, but you could tell his frustration.

But the Brewers’ season has taken an awful turn. That game last night had to be one of their worst games of the year (which is saying something, considering they’ve had their share of bad games). And the worst part of it is they’re now one game away from having their 2011 season put to rest.

Unless Shaun Marcum can somehow have a good start- something that hasn’t happened in awhile. Marcum’s ERA in September was 5.17, and his ERA in the postseason is 12.46. Yeah, you don’t want a guy with those numbers starting your possible elimination game. But it’s something you have to deal with when you have a stubborn manager like Ron Roenicke, who continues to refuse to start Chris Narveson in this game, despite his career 1.20 ERA against the Cardinals.

And even if the Brewers win this game, the game 7 starter would be Yovani Gallardo, and his career 5.66 ERA vs. the Cardinals doesn’t look all that promising, either. So it’s going to take not one, but two miracles for the Brewers to advance to the World Series.

They’d play the Rangers if they got there. The Rangers-Tigers ALCS just ended with the Rangers slaughtering the Tigers 15-5, and advancing to their second consecutive World Series. And they did without Cliff Lee, who is probably wishing he would have stuck with Texas instead of the busts in Philladelphia. By the way, the ALCS MVP is more than likely going to be former Brewer Nelson Cruz- he hit six homers during the series. I think that ought to win it for him.

But here’s to hoping for back-to-back miracles. Let’s do this.


Wolf comes through as Brewers even series at 2-2

October 14, 2011

This is exactly what the Brewers needed. Making a comeback after an early deficit, and a good start from someone not named Yovani Gallardo.

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 4-2, in a crucial win for them. Had they lost today, the Cardinals would have needed only to win tomorrow to go to the World Series. But, with the win today, the NLCS is now evened up at 2-2- and it’s still there for anyone to take.

Randy Wolf came through right when the Brewers needed him. He went seven strong innings while giving up two runs on six hits. He also walked one and struck out six. If you compare this to Wolf’s last start- when his ERA finished at 22.50 after four innings in a start against the Diamondbacks during the NLDS- this was as good as it gets.

The Cardinals struck first yet again today. They’ve now scored the first run in every game this series. Today, the first run came from a Matt Holliday “home run”- if you can even call it that. Holliday got way under- and I mean way under- a pitch away from him, and it just stayed inside the foul pole, and barely made if over the wall. I swear, it was the luckiest home run I’ve ever seen (other than maybe Jake Westbrook’s grand slam earlier this year against the Brewers). Anyway, the second Cardinals run came on a home run by Allen Craig. At least he deserved his home run…

But the Brewers finally got some clutch hits, starting in the fourth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a RBI double to cut the deficit to 2-1, then Yuniesky Betancourt followed up with a RBI single to tie it up. The Brewers would then take the lead in the fifth on Ryan Braun’s RBI single. They scored their fourth and final run in the sixth inning when George Kottaras reached on a fielding error by second baseman Ryan Theriot, which allowed Rickie Weeks to score.

Anyway, the Brewers finished with scoreless innings from Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford. And Axford hit 99 MPH for the first time, at least that I’ve seen.

Here’s kind of a crazy stat about Cardinals pitching in this series- none of their pitchers have made it past the fifth inning, and their cumulative ERA is over 7.00. I can’t even believe they’re winning games with their pitchers not going deep. But the clown car- excuse me, the Cardinals’ bullpen- has had to do a lot of work. They got it done yesterday after Chris Carpenter’s five innings start, but couldn’t today after Kyle Lohse’s 4 1/3 inning start. It was actually Mitchell Boggs who allowed the go-ahead to Braun, but the runner was inherited from Lohse, so he still took the loss.

Tomorrow is a big game for the Brewers. If they win, they take the series lead and have the advantage to win, but same goes for the Cards if they win. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a rough start in Game 1. He allowed six runs in 6+ innings, but still took the win, thanks to nine runs of support. The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA), who also had a rough start in Game 1: he gave up six runs in four innings. But, Garcia has pitched much better at Busch Stadium than on the road this year- in fact, he has a complete game shutout against the Brewers at Busch this year.


Looking onwards to Game 3…

October 12, 2011

If you saw the Brewer game last night, you probably know why I titled this post the way I did.

A day after taking the all-important game 1 of the NLCS, the Brewers were destroyed by the Cardinals in game 2, 12-3. But, in my opinion, the Brewers didn’t lose to the Cardinals- they lost to Albert Pujols. The Machine went 4-f0r-5 with three doubles, a two-run homer, and five RBI. The only Brewers pitcher to retire Pujols was Chris Narveson, who made him ground out in the eighth inning. After that out, the Milwaukee crowd stood up and gave a standing ovation, probably with a sense of sarcasm. Anyway, two Pujols’ four hits came off struggling Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, who is in the middle of a horrible stretch.

Now, there are a couple theories as to why Marcum is having such a tough time on the mound right now. My first guess is that he’s just running out of gas, because he’s never pitched this many innings in his career. Marcum threw 200 2/3 innings this year, which was a career-high for him. If you include his two awful postseason starts, he’s thrown 209 1/3 innings. The other theory is that he’s just nervous because this is his first time in the postseason- his former team, the Blue Jays, were rarely ever contenders while he was there.

Anyway, despite this blowout game by the Cardinals, Tony La Russa still found a way to use practically every pitcher in his bullpen. He removed starter Edwin Jackson after just 4 1/3 innings because his pitch count was getting high early, and he didn’t trust Jackson to get out of a fifth inning jam. So, from there, La Russa went on to use Arthur Rhodes, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte. This has to be the first time I’ve seen the team on the winning side of a blowout game manage to use six relievers (seven total pitchers). Even the Brewers only had to use five pitchers, despite Marcum going just four innings. And Kameron Loe pitching one third of inning while giving up four runs (that 108.00 ERA fits him well).

Tomorrow will be a battle of aces- Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (11-9. 3.45 ERA). This should be an interesting matchup, considering neither has had much success against the opposing team. Gallardo is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA in his career against the Cards, while Carpenter is 5-4 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

By the way, Jeff Suppan is apparently going to be throwing out the first pitch before game 3. I don’t know if this is the Cardinals’ way of making fun of the Brewers, but I don’t see why they’d have any other reason to let this former bust throw out the first pitch. Anyway, if you don’t know the story of Suppan and the Brewers, well- actually, just consider yourself lucky.

Oh, and here’s another funny thing before I go- Theo Epstein is more than likely becoming the general manager of the Cubs. I let you laugh at that yourself instead of giving a long explanation. Because even I can’t explain why the Red Sox GM would want to become the Cubs GM.


Brewers win slugfest, take 1-0 advangate in NLCS

October 10, 2011

Today’s game was one of the best games I’ve ever been to. From Tony La Russa getting booed so loud that you can’t hear yourself think, to the huge fifth inning for the Brewers, to John Axford closing it out- it doesn’t get much better than that for a Brewers fan.

The Brewers hammered the Cardinals today, 9-6, and took a 1-0 advantage over them in the NLCS. The pitching was pretty shaky for both sides, as seen by the score, which you didn’t expect with today’s matchup of Zack Greinke and Jaime Garcia. But, at least Greinke’s undefeated record at home this year remained unscathed, despite his rough start.

Greinke went 6+ innings while giving up six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six. And even though he gave up six runs, he got the win and remained undefeated at Miller Park this year. I read an article by Mike Bauman earlier today that got a little more in depth on that, but I’ll just say that I can’t believe it, either. No matter how many runs he gives up, he’s still invincible.

Garcia, on the other hand, also had a very shaky start. He went just 4+ innings while giving up six runs on six hits and took the loss. But Garcia made it interesting early by, after giving up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun in the first inning, beaning Prince Fielder on his first pitch to him. Warnings were issued, but nothing else really happened after that, as far as the bad blood between the Brewers and Cardinals.

The Cardinals struck first against Greinke on Matt Holliday’s RBI single in the first inning. But, the Brewers immediately answered back in the bottom of the inning on Braun’s two-run shot I talked about earlier. The Brewers preserved the lead until the fourth inning, when Greinke gave up a three-run home run to David Freese to give the Cards a 4-2 lead. The Cardinals also tacked on a fifth run on Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the fifth, but, after that, they just completely fell apart (pitching-wise, at least).

Corey Hart led off the fifth with a single, followed by Jerry Hairston Jr.’s double. That put runners on second and third with no outs, which brought Braun, a.k.a the new Mr. October, to the plate. He hit a ground-rule double to score Hart and Hairston, which cut the deficit to 5-4. Then, Fielder came up and hit a go-ahead two-run blast on the first pitch he saw from Garcia. That’s about as good as revenge gets.

But the inning wouldn’t stop there. After Garcia was removed, Octavio Dotel entered the game, and promptly made a throwing error on a play Rickie Weeks probably should have been out on. But, Weeks advanced to second on the play, which brought Yuniesky Betancourt to the plate. After a long battle with Dotel, Betancourt crushed a two-run homer to extend the Brewers’ lead to 8-5. After that, the bleeding finally stopped for the Cardinals, but the damage had been done, thanks to one of the greatest innings in Brewers’ postseason history.

The Cardinals’ sixth run came on a run that scored on an Albert Pujols double play, so that almost doesn’t even count. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ ninth run came on a Jonathan Lucroy RBI single (of course he starts hitting AFTER Ian Kennedy is gone).

I’ve been meaning to say this for awhile now, but Braun and Hairston are really having a spectacular postseason thus far. I guess coming in you expected Braun, who had four RBI today and hit .500 in the NLDS, to have a great postseason, but how about Hairston? He’s making Ron Roenicke look like a genius for starting him over Casey McGehee at third base for pretty much every postseason game so far, by hitting .375 in the NLDS. Hairston also went 2-for-4 today.

And here’s another thing I found hilarious today. If you’ve never been to a postseason game before, then you might not know that the announce every player and coach and have them run out onto the field and line up before the games. So, when La Russa ran out, he got booed like crazy, as I mentioned earlier. But I noticed him take off his cap and wave it to the fans, which is probably his way of making fun of those Milwaukee idiots- er, fans. Yes, Tony, Wisconsin absolutely loves you.

Tomorrow should be a pretty good pitching matchup between Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 ERA). Marcum is in the midst of a series of bad outings right now, which started with a bad start against the Phillies, and continued with bad outings against the Rockies and Pirates to finish the season. It’s also bled into the postseason, as he went just 4 2/3 innings his last time out against the Diamondbacks, while giving up seven runs. So hopefully that all ends tomorrow.

By the way, one more thing before I go- the rest of my NLCS posts will probably be in collaboration with El Maquino ( @El_Maquino), who is the owner of a Cardinals blog. We’re probably still going to have to talk about it a little, but hopefully we’ll have it going by tomorrow night. Anyway, you can see El Maquino’s site here. Whether you’re a Brewers fan, Cardinals fan, or any fan, I’d recommend checking it out.


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