Comparing the mega-teams from LA

December 17, 2012

> Following the 2011 season, Los Angeles was not in a good state as far as the sport of baseball goes. The Angels and Dodgers hadn’t reached the postseason in 2010 or 2011, posting some of their worst seasons in decades (by their standards). The Angels were struggling to find any offensive consistency to back their decent starting pitching. The Dodgers were having similar issues, but their problems extended off the field as well, as Frank McCourt left them bankrupt.

I don’t think the Dodgers were expecting to contend in 2012 (at least early on) because of where they were financially, but their one huge move was giving Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million deal following his MVP-caliber campaign in 2011. The Angels, however, made themselves early favorites for the World Series by signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal, and C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal.

Fast-forward to the 2012 offseason- following yet another season in which neither of these teams made the postseason- and a lot has changed. The Dodgers are nowhere near bankrupt; in fact, they’re the polar opposite, thanks to Magic Johnson and Co. The Angels are in the same position they were last year, but if they don’t make the postseason this time around, there’s something very wrong.

Anyway, let’s take a look at each of these teams from every angle- the lineup, the rotation, the bullpen, and so on. Both of them are considered near locks for the playoffs, but one has to be better than the other, right?

THE LINEUPS

Angels: 

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Erick Aybar, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Chris Iannetta, C

Dodgers: 

1. Mark Ellis, 2B
2. Luis Cruz, 3B
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Hanley Ramirez, SS
6. Andre Ethier, RF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
8. A.J. Ellis, C
9. Pitcher

OK, first off, Hairston isn’t going to start the entire season. Once Carl Crawford returns from the disabled list, he’ll take Hairston’s spot, and that’ll change the whole culture of the lineup (many project Crawford to hit second). But, until Crawford comes back- which will probably sometime in late May- that’s what I’m guessing the Dodgers’ lineup will look like.

Anyway, those are both powerhouse lineups. The each feature possibly the best 3-4-5-6 combos in their respective league in Pujols-Hamilton-Trumbo-Morales and Kemp-Gonzalez-Ramirez-Ethier. It’s hard to say which is really better than the other; both are going to be very exciting to watch. While I think the Angels’ lineup might be the more exciting with three perennial MVP candidates in Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton, I think the Dodgers have the overall better lineup. The reason I say this is because there are more experienced hitters in the Dodgers lineup, and by experienced, I mean hitters that you know what you’re going to get from them. Kemp, A-Gon, Ramirez, and Ethier aren’t necessarily “veterans” yet, but they’ve certainly been around the block a few times and have shown they can produce consistently at the big league level from year to year. The Angels definitely have that experience in Pujols and Hamilton, but they have a lot of younger, inexperienced hitters who I think we need to see more from. There’s no denying that Trout had the best offensive rookie season in quite some time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be susceptible to a sophomore slump. Trumbo hit over .300 for the most of the season last year, but then flamed out for the last two months and fell to a .268 average.

I think if everyone in the Angels’ lineup performs to their ability (and that includes Kendrick, who everyone thought was going to be a batting champion one day), then they’ll have the better lineup. But until that happens, I’d put my money on the Dodgers’ lineup, especially once Crawford gets back.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp

THE ROTATIONS

Angels: 

1. Jered Weaver
2. C.J. Wilson
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Joe Blanton
5. Garrett Richards

Dodgers

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Zack Greinke
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
5. Josh Beckett

Coming into this offseason, both teams wanted to improve their starting rotations, and I think each did. However, I think the Angels losing Greinke really hurt them. I also wasn’t in complete agreement with them just giving up on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana; I really wonder if they’re going to get what they could have gotten from those two from Hanson and Blanton. And Richards is going to be good somewhere down the road, but I’m not so sure he’s ready for a full-time rotation spot. There are even some question marks surrounding Wilson, who had a terrible second half for the Angels in 2012. Weaver is no doubt the ace, but health is a bit of a concern with him; same goes for Hanson.

To me, the Dodgers obviously have the better rotation, even though there are a few enigmas in theirs as well. Kershaw/Greinke is one- if not the best- 1-2 punches in baseball, and they get to throw half of their games at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. After Kershaw and Greinke, however, there are a few questions. Billingsley can be an All-Star caliber pitcher when he’s on, but that isn’t always the case. Perhaps not having the pressure of being a #2 starter will help him. Anyway, the 4-5 spots in the Dodgers’ rotation should go to Ryu and Beckett, in my opinion. The Dodgers also have veterans Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang, all of whom are capable of starting, but I think Ryu and Beckett will give them better results than any of the other two.

Clayton Kershaw

It’s evident that both of these teams will have to back up their rotations with those huge lineups, but I think the Dodgers are better off starter-wise.

THE ‘PENS 

(NOTE: I only put the six guys who I thought were guaranteed spots. There are probably going to be a few other long relievers in each bullpen>)

Angels: 

Ryan Madson
Ernesto Frieri
Scott Downs
Sean Burnett
Kevin Jepsen
Jerome Williams

Dodgers: 

Brandon League
Kenley Jansen
Ronald Belisario
Scott Elbert
Matt Guerrier
Javy Guerra

This is actually the one category in which I think the Angels are better off. There’s only one guy that I think the Dodgers can count on to be consistent, and that’s Jansen. The rest of the guys- including League, who they named their closer and threw $22 million at- have had up-and-down careers.

The Angels, on the other hand, have a nice mix of young flamethrowers and veteran guys who know how to pitch. I loved the Madson pick-up; I expect him to have a good year even though he missed all of 2012. Frieri can also close if need be. Then they have a great tandem of lefties in Downs and Burnett. This has the makings of a great bullpen for the Angels.

Frieri

These are both going to be very exciting teams to watch, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw an LA vs. LA World Series (though it never seems to work out that way). I think the Dodgers have the slight edge, but that’s not to put a damper on the team the Angels are going to field.

> The Phillies signed Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal (plus a vesting option for a third year), so that puts to bed any rumors that spoke of his possible return to Milwaukee. But Doug Melvin probably wouldn’t have been willing to give him $6 million a year anyway.

> The Mets are being the Mets once again, as they have a deal in place to send the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner- R.A. Dickey- to the Blue Jays in a seven-player deal. The deal also includes Josh Thole and another prospect going to the Jays along with Dickey, while the Mets are getting back Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and a prospect.

I’m starting to wonder why the Mets gave an extension to David Wright if this is what they intended to do all along, but that’s their screwed-up organization for you. But I like the deal for the Blue Jays. They may have hurt themselves in the long run, but they’re making themselves favorites for the AL East next year. They’ve assembled a pretty nice rotation in Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, all of whom have been considered aces at some point in their careers.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Signed John Lannan to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Jonathan Albaladejo and Ed Lucas to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Javier Herrera to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Mike Pelfrey to a one-year deal.


Analyzing the veteran starters on the market

October 30, 2012

> Doug Melvin and the Brewers have made it known that they’re probably going to go after a free agent starter this offseason, preferable an experienced guy to anchor what looks to be a young rotation. Personally, I’m still debating whether or not that’s the right decision; the bullpen probably needs more tending to than the rotation. But, if the Brewers do choose to go after a free agent veteran starter, there’s actually a surprisingly decent market for that category this offseason. Here’s a list of the key possibilities for the Brewers:

Ryan Dempster
Zack Greinke
Jeremy Guthrie
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Kyle Lohse
Brandon McCarthy
Anibal Sanchez*
Dan Haren*
Jake Peavy*

*Sanchez, Haren, and Peavy all have options (or other contract impediments) with their current teams, so it remains to be seen if they actually reach the free agent market.

Basically, the guys I listed are possibilities that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing, and most of them are relatively realistic for the Brewers as well. Greinke, obviously, isn’t very likely, but you still can’t count him out.

Dempster was stellar with the Cubs in 2012, but sort of fell off a cliff with the Rangers (despite a winning record in Texas). He’s clearly better in the National League, but I’d say one of the only benefits of the Brewers signing Dempster is that they wouldn’t have to face him (he has 15 career wins against the Brewers).

Guthrie might be the worst option on the list. He was awful with the Rockies, probably because of Coors Field, but resurrected himself with the Royals during the second half, posting a 3.16 ERA. Guthrie is still one of the riskier options on the list, however, and the Brewers will probably try and go with someone else.

Jackson quietly had a decent year as the fifth starter in the Nationals’ rotation, but he’s had an inconsistent career, and the number of teams he’s played for will tell you that. I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing him, but there’s a bit of a risk with him as well.

For me, Kuroda is the best option on the list. After years of getting no run support in Los Angeles, he blossomed on the big stage in the Bronx. He proved he can pitch in the hitter-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium, meaning he probably wouldn’t do too bad at Miller Park.

There’s no denying Lohse had an unbelievable season in 2012, but I just don’t see him fitting in with the Brewers. Plus, he’s going to draw a ton of money (at least $12 million a year), and I don’t see the Brewers spending that on a starter.

In my opinion, McCarthy is one of the more underrated pitchers in the game; he knows how to shut down a good offense. But, it’s not often that he isn’t injured, whether it be shoulder/elbow problems, or taking line drives off the head.

Those are my top options. There are also guys like Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there’s no doubt that those guys would turn into Jeff Suppan-like signings, so I hope the Brewers stay away from them.

THE NEWS

> Now that the offseason has officially started, the Brewers made a series of roster moves today. Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rodriguez, and Alex Gonzalez all elected free agency. Marcum and K-Rod are both as good as gone, but Gonzalez has a chance of returning as the back-up shortstop (or starter, depending on Jean Segura’s status). The Brewers also reinstated Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson from the 60-day disabled list. Lastly, they re-signed shortstop Hector Gomez to a minor league deal.

The Brewers’ other free agents, Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba, are already on the market, as they elected free agency during the NLCS.

> The Gold Glove Finalists were announced today. Here’s a list of them at each position:

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Peavy, C.J. Wilson
Catcher: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixera
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Left field: Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Center field: Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Reddick

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Clayton Kershaw
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz
First base: Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche, Joey Votto
Second base: Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips
Shortstop:
Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins
Third base: Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright
Left field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado
Center field: Michael Bourn, Andrew McCutchen, Drew Stubbs
Right field: Jay Bruce, Andre Eithier, Jason Heyward

That awkward moment when Gonzalez isn’t on the Red Sox anymore, yet could win the AL Gold Glove at first base.

Anyway, Ramirez should win the third base GG, seeing as he had the fewest errors in the league at the position. But Braun won’t win the GG in left field, because steroids. (You can bet that’s what all of the voters are thinking.)

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised 2013 options for David Aardsma, Cano, and Curtis Granderson.
Phillies: Declined 2013 options for Ty Wigginton, Jose Contreras, and Placido Polanco.
Twins: Declined 2013 option for Scott Baker; signed P.J. Walters to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Exercised 2013 option for Luis Ayala.
Athletics: Optioned 2013 option for ex-Brewer Grant Balfour; declined Stephen Drew’s option; signed Mike Ekstrom to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Todd Coffey, Juan Rivera, and Matt Treanor.
Pirates:
Outrighted Jeff Clement, Eric Fryer, and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A.
Indians: Signed Takuya Tsuchida.


Kottaras comes through as Brewers stun Dodgers

April 18, 2012

> It’s games like this that remind me how great it is to a Brewers fan. Not that I ever forget how great it is, but it’s nice to have a refresher like this once in awhile: especially when it comes following a four-game losing streak.

> After multiple blown leads, the Brewers came out on top against the Dodgers today, winning 5-4. The big headline was George Kottaras’ walk-off two-run double in the ninth, as he once again proved that he is by far the best backup catcher in baseball. But there were a few other storylines along the way that changed the tide of the game a few different times.

The Brewers got on the board in the second inning on Mat Gamel’s first home run of the year, a no-doubter off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. Cesar Izturis tacked on another run later in the inning for his first RBI of the year, making the score 2-0. The Dodgers wouldn’t score until the fifth, when Yovani Gallardo, who had been nearly flawless up until that point, fell off a bit (although the run wasn’t really his fault). Juan Rivera led off the inning with a double, followed by a James Loney single that put runners on first and third with no outs. Juan Uribe then hit what should have been a routine pop-up to shallow right field, and second baseman Rickie Weeks caught it. But, while transferring the ball from his glove to his hand, he dropped the ball, which allowed Rivera to score from third. For some reason, the run, despite scoring because of an error, was charged as an earned run to Gallardo. Sometimes I don’t really understand how errors work and what determines an earned run from unearned run, but I’m no scorekeeper.

Anyway, the Dodgers managed to tie up the game in the seventh on Loney’s RBI double. Gallardo would get out of the inning after that, and wound up taking a no-decision. But, he had another solid start: seven innings, two runs on seven hits, seven strikeouts, and one walk.

The Brewers then re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning on a Norichika Aoki squeeze bunt to score Gamel, making the score 3-2. But, in the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez’s early season struggles continued, as he coughed up a go-ahead two-run shot to Andre Ethier.

But, despite the fact it appeared things were going the Dodgers’ way, the Brewers just wouldn’t go away. Corey Hart led off the ninth with a single off closer Javy Guerra, and Gamel followed that with a walk. Jonathan Lucroy then struck out for the first out of the inning- or the last out, depending on how you look at it. That’s because Kottaras came up and hit his two-run double to stun the Dodgers, who came into today with a record of 9-1, and probably thought they were unbeatable.

> As I said earlier, this was a very importantwin for the Crew. Not just because it was in walk-off fashion (although that made it that much better), but because they were in the midst of a four-game slide. But it appears this year might end up being similar to last year, as far as the home/road splits go.

> Alex Gonzalez has yet to return to the Brewersdue to some complications after the birth of he and his wife’s first child. So Izturis once again started in his place, and didn’t do as bad as usual, as he actually notched two hits. But hopefully Gonzalez returns soon; the left side of the infield just feels so much more secure with him there.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Zack Greinke (1-1, 6.75 ERA) to the mound, who will be looking to bounce back from an awful start against the Cubs (3 2/3 innings, eight earned runs). He’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Dodgers over two starts.

The Dodgers will counter with a familiar face to the Brewers- lefty Chris Capuano (1-0, 5.40 ERA). The Brewers faced him twice last year during his time with the Mets. Cappy went 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA in that span.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. Let’s hope the Brewers can use this momentum to get into a winning streak; they’ve got ground to make up in the Central now.


Braun, Gomez homer as Brewers maul Dodgers

March 31, 2012

> A day after getting brutally defeated by the Reds, the Brewers turned the tables and took down the Dodgers, 9-4. For the Brewers, it was mostly a relief pitcher game, with Francisco Rodriguez getting the start (he only went one inning, as you’d expect). And still not all of the Brewers’ regulars were playing, despite the fact Opening Day is exactly a week away. But some of the regulars who were playing did damage.

Ryan Braun started it with a mammoth home run off of ex-Brewer Chris Capuano. It was his second home run of the spring, and he’s now hitting .176 (which actually isn’t bad if you consider where he was not too long ago). You could hear sarcastic cheers from the LA fans in the crowd, but I’ve learned to deal with that, and hopefully Braun has too. Screw them if they can’t accept the fact he’s not a drug-head. Ironic that the the LA fans cheered for Manny Ramirez for a few years, though.

Anyway, enough ranting- that event is behind us. In the bottom of the first, Andre Ethier answered back with a two-run double. He then hit a two-run homer in the third to make the score 4-1 (yes, Ethier had all four Dodger runs of the game). But, starting in the seventh, the Brewers went on a tear. Brooks Conrad hit a solo shot in the seventh to make, and Carlos Gomez followed that with a go-ahead three run blast in the eighth to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead. Then, in the ninth, another ex-Brewer, Todd Coffey, had some trouble with a few no-name farmhands. He first gave up an RBI double to Sean Halton, then a bases-clearing double to Shea Vucinich. None of the runs were charged to Coffey, though.

> Over the past few days, we’ve learned that non-roster invitees Conrad and Cesar Izturis will probably make the Brewers roster. I tweeted earlier today that neither of them should make the roster, and I’ll admit that wasn’t completely true- I was just ticked because I had just seen both of them make errors on what appeared to be easy plays (especially Izturis’). Conrad sort of deserves a roster spot. He’s shown solid power at times this spring, as his home run today was his fourth so far. He’s also extremely versatile- he can play any infield position (except maybe shortstop, haven’t seen him play there yet), including catcher. His defense is questionable most of the time, but he still could be a more important piece than I thought.

But I refuse to give any sort of credit to Izturis. The Brewers signed him as a hopeful backup shortstop for Alex Gonzalez, mainly because Izturis specializes in defense- at least he used to. He has looked awful this spring, as his error today was his fifth of the spring (though his first four errors came in the first four games). His offense hasn’t been anything special either, but that’s expected- Izturis has the lowest career slugging percentage of any active player.

In any case, I guess I wouldn’t mind Conrad making the roster, but Izturis has got to go. I was hoping Taylor Green would make the roster over him, but he was optioned to Triple-A yesterday. I don’t see why, though- Green’s spring wasn’t any worse than Izturis’.

> And that’s about it. Reviewing the Brewis continuing to give me log-in issues, and I can’t really do anything about it because our head writer is taking a break from the site, so I’ve got no one to ask about this at the moment. But hopefully this resolves itself soon, and I can get back to writing on RtB- I’ve been stockpiling ideas lately since I haven’t been able to go on.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Gold Glove Awards handed out, no Brewers win

November 2, 2011

Isn’t this a surprise. The 2011 Gold Glove Awards were handed out today, and nobody on the Brewers won.

Normally, I’d try to defend the Brewers and at least attempt to make a case that someone on the team should win (which I’ll actually do for three players later in this article). But, other than those three players, I can’t make a case for any infielder on the Brewers. If I remember my stats correctly, third baseman Casey McGehee, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, and first baseman Prince Fielder all led the league in errors at their respective positions. I don’t think second baseman Rickie Weeks led the league in errors at second base, but I’m pretty sure he was up there.

Not to mention the outfield. Corey Hart has a cannon arm (although it isn’t always accurate), but, other than that, he looks like a fool in right field. Platoon center fielders Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan each had their share of highlight reel plays, but also made costly misplays.

Then there was that awful inning in the Brewers’ last game of the postseason- game 6 of the NLCS- where the Brewers made about five errors in two plays (but were only charged for three; the error is such a pathetic stat). That pretty much closed the book for me on the Brewers’ 2011 defense, and hopefully that’s Doug Melvin’s top priority this offseason.

Anyway, now that I’m done ranting about how awful the Brewers’ defense was, here are the actual 2011 Gold Glove winners:

American League

Pitcher: Mark Buehrle, White Sox

Catcher: Matt Wieters, Orioles

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

Shortstop: Erick Aybar, Angels

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Alex Gordon, Royals; Nick Markakis, Orioles

National League

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First Base: Joey Votto, Reds

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Third Base: Placido Polanco, Phillies

Outfield: Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks

I didn’t get to see all many of these guys play very often this year to judge how good their defense actually was, but really- Gerardo Parra over Ryan Braun? And Kershaw is pretty much a lock for the NL Cy Young Award, does he really need a Gold Glove too?

From the Brewers, I think Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum at least deserved consideration for the Gold Glove Award at pitcher. Marcum was on the highlight reel all the time, while Greinke was just a good defender. But again, I can’t judge how good Kershaw’s defense really is, because I don’t watch “Dodgers Baseball!” (as Vin Scully would say) very often. But I never saw him on a highlight reel.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now. Before I go, here’s the Hot Stove news from today:

The Cardinals picked up and declined some options today. They picked up Molina’s option, which was expected, but they declined shortstop Rafael Furcal’s and Octavio Dotel’s options- something I didn’t expect. Maybe they intend to bring back Furcal for less money- either that, or they’re stuck with Ryan Theriot at short again, and we all know how that turned out. And Dotel was a great right-handed reliever, but he’s aging, which is probably why the Cards declined his option.

Brian Cashman is going back to what he’s done best over the past few years for the Yankees- spend as much money as possible and taunt the best players in the game to come to the Yanks. I’ve never really said this on this blog before, but I’m not a huge Cashman fan. Anyway, he’s back on three-year deal for them.

Lastly, the Cubs formally introduced Jed Hoyer as their new GM, and Jason McLeod as the head of scouting and player development. The only reason these guys are there is because of the Cubs’ new president- Theo Epstein. Together, these three created a World Series team in 2004 for the Red Sox.


Great defense helps Wolf KO Dodgers

August 16, 2011

9:53p This was the best defense I’ve seen the Brewers play all year.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers today, 3-0. The win made them 19-2 over their last 21 games (18 of them against the NL Central), and they are arguably the hottest team in baseball right now. Randy Wolf had another great start, going eight shutout innings and giving up six hits. He also walked five batters, but those didn’t matter much, due to four double plays. And, to top off the great defense, the Brewers turned their first triple play since 2009 against the Giants. The triple play was courtesy of some bad baserunning by Matt Kemp, but it was a triple play, nonetheless.

Anyway, the Brewers scored only three runs, all via solo home runs. They were also all off the three different pitchers that the Dodgers used- Ryan Braun hit one in the fourth inning off starter Ted Lilly, Jonathan Lucroy hit one off Scott Elbert in the 8th, and Corey Hart hit one off Mike MacDougal in the 8th. And that was really it.

Lilly actually dominated the Brewers today, as he always has. He went seven innings while giving up one run on just two hits. He walked two and struck out six. But, the Dodgers have killed all of their starting pitchers with awful run support, and tonight was no different.

Anyway, John Axford came in for the ninth and recorded his 35th save of the year. He actually got a double play of his own: a lineout to first baseman Prince Fielder, and since there was a man on first and on out, he just stepped on the bag to end the game. That was a good way for it to end for the Dodgers, since double (and a triple) plays were their issue all night long.

Wolf becomes fourth 10-game winner for Crew

With his win tonight, Wolf won his fourth consecutive decision, and became the Brewers’ fourth 10-game winner of the year. He now joins Yovani Gallardo (13-8), Zack Greinke (11-4), and Shaun Marcum (10-3) as a member of the club. Chris Narveson, the Brewers’ fifth starter, is currently on the DL, and his record of 8-6 will probably reach 10 wins before the year is up as well.

At long last, Hairston proves his worth

Before tonight, I didn’t see anything in Jerry Hairston Jr., one of the Brewers’ Trade Deadline acquisitions. But, tonight, he finally proved his worth. He’s no offensive machine, but he’s center field defense is spectacular, and that was proved by a highlight reel play he made today. In the fourth inning, Hairston robbed Kemp of a hit, then, got back up and doubled off Andre Ethier, who had reached first on a walk. If he can continue to play that kind of defense, I’ll be fine with him for the rest of the year.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of this four-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow and will send Gallardo (13-8, 3.67 ERA) to the mound. He’s coming off a bad start against the Cardinals, in which he gave up five runs (four earned) in just five innings. His numbers for his career against the Dodgers are just flat-out awful- 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA. I haven’t seen Gallardo’s career numbers against every team he’s faced, but I’d have to guess that these are by far the worst.

Anyway, for some reason, the Dodgers’ starter for tomorrow has yet to be officially announced, but I assume it’s going to be Clayton Kershaw (14-5, 2.72 ERA). This guy is incredible, and definitely an early Cy Young Award candidate. He’s been one of the few Dodgers pitchers to overcome the horrible run support, as shown by his 14 wins. I don’t know Kershaw’s career numbers against the Brewers (I can’t see them on MLB’s site because it hasn’t been officially announced), but I’m going to take a wild guess and say they’re probably better than Gallardo’s career numbers against the Dodgers.

And one more thing before I go- the Cardinals fell to the Pirates, 6-2. (Of course the Pirates win as soon as they leave Miller Park.) Anyway, that gives the Brewers a six-game cushion in between them and the second place Cardinals in the NL Central, which is big, since the Brewers have six games left against them this year.


Fielder shines as NL beats AL in ASG

July 13, 2011

10:42p Turns out the Brewers did get something good out of the All-Star Game.

The National League defeated the American League for the second straight year, 5-1. The last time this happened was from 1994-96 (there were only two All-Star Games during that time because of the strike).

Milwaukee’s own Prince Fielder was rewarded the ASG MVP Award for hitting a game-deciding three-run blast in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the NL a lead that they would never give up.

During the top of that inning, Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez took Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee deep with a solo homer to give the AL a 1-0 lead. That lead wouldn’t last, as Fielder’s blast came in the bottom of the inning off of Texas lefty C.J. Wilson to give the NL a 3-1 lead.

The NL extended their lead in the fifth, when Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier drove in Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks to make it a 4-1 game, NL still leading.

The final run of the game came in the seventh, when San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval hit a ground-rule double to drive in Houston’s Hunter Pence.

Weeks and Fielder contribute to NL win

Brewers players had to do with most of the NL scoring today, as Fielder’s three-run shot was the biggest blow of the game. Weeks later scored on Ethier’s RBI single.



Revamped All-Star Rosters

July 11, 2011

4:58p The All-Star team rosters for both leagues have changed quite a bit since they were announced a week ago. So, here are the new rosters:

American League

Catchers: Alex Avila, Tigers | Russell Martin, Yankees | Matt Wieters, Orioles

1st Basemen: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox | Miguel Cabrera, Tigers | Paul Konerko, White Sox

2nd Basemen: Robinson Cano, Yankees | Howie Kendrick, Angels

Shortstops: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians | Derek Jeter, Yankees | Jhonny Peralta, Tigers

3rd Basemen: Adrian Beltre, Rangers | Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox | Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Outfielders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays | Curtis Granderson, Yankees | Josh Hamilton, Rangers | Michael Cuddyer, Twins | Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox | Matt Joyce, Rays | Carlos Quentin, White Sox

Designated Hitters: David Ortiz, Red Sox | Michael Young, Rangers

Starting Pitchers: Jered Weaver, Angels | Josh Beckett, Red Sox | Gio Gonzalez, Athletics | Felix Hernandez, Mariners | Jon Lester, Red Sox | Alexi Ogando, Rangers | Michael Pineda, Mariners | David Price, Rays | Ricky Romero, Blue Jays | CC Sabathia, Yankees | James Shields, Rays | Justin Verlander, Tigers | C.J. Wilson, Rangers

Relief Pitchers: Aaron Crow, Royals | Brandon League, Mariners | Chris Perez, Indians | David Robertson, Yankees | Mariano Rivera, Yankees | Jose Valverde, Tigers | Jordan Walden, Angels

National League

Catchers: Brian McCann, Braves | Yadier Molina, Cardinals | Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks

1st Basemen: Prince Fielder, Brewers | Gaby Sanchez, Marlins | Joey Votto, Reds

2nd Basemen: Rickie Weeks, Brewers | Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstops: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies | Jose Reyes, Mets | Starlin Castro, Cubs

3rd Basemen: Scott Rolen, Reds | Placido Polanco, Phillies | Pablo Sandoval, Giants | Chipper Jones, Braves

Outfielders: Lance Berkman, Cardinals | Matt Kemp, Dodgers | Matt Holliday, Cardinals | Ryan Braun, Brewers | Jay Bruce, Reds | Hunter Pence, Astros | Andrew McCutchen, Pirates | Justin Upton, Diamondbacks | Shane Victorino, Phillies | Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Phillies | Matt Cain, Giants | Kevin Correia, Pirates | Cole Hamels, Phillies | Jair Jurrjens, Braves | Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers | Cliff Lee, Phillies | Tim Lincecum, Giants | Ryan Vogelsong, Giants

Relief Pitchers: Heath Bell, Padres | Tyler Clippard, Nationals | Joel Hanrahan, Pirates | Craig Kimbrel, Braves | Jonny Venters, Braves | Brian Wilson, Giants

And that’s everybody. Remember that some of these guys got injured and won’t be playing, but their replacements are listed as well. And some of the pitchers who threw yesterday (Sunday) aren’t allowed to pitch in the All-Star Game, due to that stupid new rule. A few examples of guys who can’t pitch because of that rule are Hernandez, Hamels, Cain, Sabathia, Shields, etc.

Now, here’s the starting lineup for both leagues:

National League

Rickie Weeks, 2B

Carlos Beltran, DH

Matt Kemp, CF

Prince Fielder, 1B

Brian McCann, C

Lance Berkman, RF

Matt Holliday, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Scott Rolen, 3B

Roy Halladay, SP

American League

Curtis Granderson, CF

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

Jose Bautista, RF

Josh Hamilton, LF

Adrian Beltre, 3B

David Ortiz, DH

Robinson Cano, 2B

Alex Avila, C

Jered Weaver, SP

Braun would be starting in the outfield for the National League, had it not been for that stupid calf injury. At least we’ve got Weeks and Fielder in the starting lineup, though.

Weaver and Halladay should be a good matchup. To be honest, I would have rather seen Jurrjens starting instead of Halladay so it would have been the two ERA leaders facing off. But that was Bruce Bochy’s decision, not mine.

Anyway, the Home Run Derby is starting in an hour, so I’m pretty excited for that. I’ll have some coverage up after the derby ends.


Full 2011 All-Star Rosters

July 3, 2011

12:52p The full All-Star rosters for 2011 have been officially announced. Starters, pitchers, reserves, etc., we know them all now. So, right before the Brewer game starts, I thought I’d list all of the players who made the All-Star Game at their respective positions. (Starters are listed first.)

American League

Catchers: Alex Avila, Tigers; Matt Wieters, Orioles; Russell Martin, Yankees

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees; Howie Kendrick, Angels

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees; Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Outfielders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; Curtis Granderson, Yankees; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Matt Joyce, Rays; Michael Cuddyer, Twins; Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Carlos Quentin, White Sox

Designated Hitters: David Ortiz, Red Sox; Michael Young, Rangers

Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Tigers; Jered Weaver, Angels; Josh Beckett, Red Sox; James Shields, Rays; Gio Gonzalez, Athletics; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; David Price, Rays; C.J. Wilson, Rangers

Relief Pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Jose Valverde, Tigers; Chris Perez, Indians; Aaron Crow, Royals; Brandon League, Mariners

National League

Catchers: Brian McCann, Braves; Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First Base: Prince Fielder, Brewers; Joey Votto, Reds; Gaby Sanchez, Marlins

Second Base: Rickie Weeks, Brewers; Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Mets; Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; Starlin Castro, Cubs

Third Base: Placido Polanco, Phillies; Chipper Jones, Braves

Outfielders: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Lance Berkman, Cardinals; Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Matt Holliday, Cardinals; Hunter Pence, Astros; Justin Upton, Diamondbacks; Jay Bruce, Reds; Carlos Beltran, Mets

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Phillies; Cole Hamels, Phillies; Cliff Lee, Phillies; Jair Jurrjens, Braves; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Matt Cain, Giants; Ryan Vogelsong, Giants

Relief Pitchers: Jonny Venters, Braves; Brian Wilson, Giants; Joel Hanrahan, Pirates; Heath Bell, Padres; Tyler Clippard, Nationals

AL Final Vote Candidates: Alex Gordon, Royals; Adam Jones, Orioles; Paul Konerko, White Sox; Victor Martinez, Tigers; Ben Zobrist, Rays

NL Final Vote Candidates: Michael Morse, Nationals; Shane Victorino, Phillies; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Todd Helton, Rockies; Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

So the Brewers have three All-Stars in the starting lineup, a franchise record. The Brewers did not get any reserves or pitchers, but I guess there wasn’t really a chance because Bruce Bochy (NL manager) chose three of his own pitchers (Cain, Lincecum, Vogelsong). Not to mention Wilson got a players’ vote. I was hoping Yovani Gallardo and his nine wins would get in somehow, or Marcum and his decent ERA, but you can’t really compete with Giants or Phillies. (I forgot to point out that the stars of the Philadelphia rotation- Halladay, Hamels, and Lee- all made it. I bet Roy Oswalt would have made it as well, but he’s injured.)

As far as the AL goes, it’s the typical starting lineup for them, meaning the Yankees and Red Sox took most of the positions. Every starter for them is a player of the AL East, save for Avila and Hamilton.


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