Loe, Morgan, Veras, and Ishikawa likely gone

November 2, 2012

> Schoolwork- endless schoolwork. That’s basically my excuse for getting articles up the past few days. The past three days have been the worst of the year for me. I’m hoping the next few weeks will be at least a bit lighter, otherwise my time to write on BWI will get mercilessly crunched. Anyhow, I’m not going to write a big article today, but all the news I’ve missed should cover that up.

THE NEWS

> So far, the offseason is going as planned- the Brewers are getting rid of the useless players, so to speak, in order to create roster space. The first batch of players to go is Kameron Loe, Nyjer Morgan, Jose Veras, and Travis Ishikawa.

Morgan’s outright to Triple-A (and eventual election of free agency) probably gathered the most national news, especially because of the role he played on the postseason team in 2011. He was responsible for getting the Brewers to the NLCS on that unforgettable walk-off hit against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, and he ingrained himself into the minds of Brewers fans (and into the minds of other fans, but in a negative way) with all of his aliases. But it just wasn’t Nyjer’s season in 2012. He hit a measly .239, and lost practically all of his playing time so that Carlos Gomez could prepare for a possible starting role in 2013. The emergence of Norichika Aoki didn’t help his cause either. And, with the left-handed Logan Schafer proving that he could possibly play the role of the fourth outfielder in 2013, there just wasn’t a spot for Morgan. So I thank Morgan for all of his contributions in 2011, but his antics and things weren’t fitting this year.

Loe and Veras also elected free agency following outright assignments. Loe was one of the Brewers’ best relievers in 2010, posting a 2.78 ERA. He had a second-half surge after getting off two a rough start in 2011, but it was the opposite this year. He had an ERA below 4.00 for most of the season, but it faded all the way to 4.61 in September. Statistically, Veras was one of the Brewers’ best relievers this year (though it’s not good when a guy with a 3.90 ERA is your best reliever). But he quietly had innings just about as frustrating as some of Francisco Rodriguez’s innings, so I’m relatively glad that he’s gone.

Lastly, Ishikawa was outrighted to Triple-A today, and is expected to elect free agency after he clears waivers. Ishikawa had his moments with the Brewers, but overall was the poster-boy of an extremely weak Brewers bench.

After their 2012 performances, I don’t think any of these players will be missed. However, Morgan will always be remembered: he’s written his legacy into Milwaukee history.

> The Brewers claimed reliever Arcenio Leon off waivers from the Astros.

> K-Rod was charged with domestic abuse for that incident in Wales that popped up two months ago.

Just stay away from Wisconsin, K-Rod.

> Speaking of K-Rod, the Brewers did not give “qualifying offers” to him or Shaun Marcum.

This “qualifying offer” thing is something brought about by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and basically replaced the Type A/Type B free agent system, which usually determined whether or not a team would receive draft picks as compensation for losing key free agents. Qualifying offers now play that role, and they are determined by the average salary of the top 125 player salaries from the previous season. That salary this season was $13.3 million.

As if K-Rod or Marcum are going to get $13.3 million on the market anyway. This was a no-doubter for the Brewers.

Only nine players received qualifying offers from their respective teams: Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Adam LaRoche, David Ortiz, B.J. Upton, and Kyle Lohse.

> Minor moves (and a lot of ‘em):

Tigers: Exercised 2013 options for Octavio Dotel and Jhonny Peralta; outrighted Don Kelly to Triple-A.
Rays: Exercised 2013 options for James Shields, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Molina; declined 2013 option for Luke Scott.
Braves: Exercised 2013 options for Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, and Paul Maholm; claimed Jordan Schafer off waivers from the Astros; outrighted Erik Cordier, J.C. Boscan, and Robert Fish off their 40-man roster.
Astros: Designated Matt Downs for assignment; declined 2013 option for Chris Snyder; outrighted Fernando Abad, Sergio Escalona, Edgar Gonzalez, Jose Valdez, and Kyle Weiland to Triple-A.
Athletics: Outrighted Dallas Braden and Joey Devine, both of whom elected free agency.
White Sox: Signed Jake Peavy to a two-year extension; exercised 2013 option for Gavin Floyd; declined 2013 options for Brett Myers and Kevin Youkilis.
Mets: Exercised 2013 options for R.A. Dickey and David Wright.
Rangers:
Declined 2013 options for Scott Feldman and Yoshinori Tateyama; claimed Konrad Schmidt off waivers from the D-backs.
Cubs: Outrighted Justin Germano to Triple-A, who elected free agency.
Dodgers: Re-signed Brandon League to a three-year deal.
Orioles: Declined 2013 option for Mark Reynolds.
Indians: Exercised 2013 option for Ubaldo Jimenez; declined 2013 options for Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez (I still call him Fausto Carmona); outrighted Kevin Slowey and Vinny Rottino to Triple-A; claimed Blake Wood off waivers from the Royals.
Royals: Declined 2013 option for Joakim Soria; acquired Ervin Santana from the Angels; claimed Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Rockies; claimed Brett Hayes off waivers from the Marlins; designated ex-Brewer Jeremy Jeffress and Jason Bourgeois for assignment.
Yankees: Outrighted ex-Brewer Casey McGehee to Triple-A, who elected free agency; returned Rule 5 Draft pick Brad Meyers to the Nationals.
Reds: Ryan Ludwick and Ryan Madson each declined his side of his mutual option for 2013.
Pirates: Exercised 2013 option for Pedro Alvarez; declined 2013 option for Rod Barajas; released Hisanori Takahashi.
Blue Jays: Claimed Scott Maine off waivers from the Cubs; designated Scott Cousins and David Herndon for assignment; exercised 2013 option for Darren Oliver; re-signed Rajai Davis.
Diamondbacks: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Henry Blanco and Matt Lindstrom.
Rockies: Ex-Brewer Jorge De La Rosa exercised his player option.
Nationals: LaRoche and Sean Burnett each declined their player options.
Giants: Declined 2013 option for Aubrey Huff.
Twins: Claimed Josh Roenicke and Thomas Field off waivers from the Rockies.
Orioles: Claimed Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Twins.
Padres: Designated Josh Spence and Blake Tekotte for assignment.


Braun, Fielder take home Silver Slugger Awards

November 3, 2011

The Brewers don’t have good defense. That’s why nobody on the Brewers received any of the Gold Glove Awards that were handed out yesterday.

But you can’t argue with the fact that- despite its inconsistency- the Brewers have a rather destructive offense. So, it was fitting that a few Brewers took home the offense-related awards that were handed out today.

Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder both won the 2011 Silver Slugger Award at their respective positions: outfield and first base. It’s the second straight season that they had multiple winners, as Braun also won last year, along with pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

Braun had a career year in multiple categories. He hit 33 home runs with 111 RBIs, and also had a .332 batting average- a new career best for him, and second in the NL in 2011. Braun also led the NL in OPS at .994, and led in slugging percentage at .597. Not to mention this is Braun’s fourth year in a row winning the Silver Slugger Award.

This was Fielder’s second Silver Slugger Award, as he also won in 2007. Fielder winning it this year broke Albert Pujols’ three-year streak of winning the award at first base. Anyway, Fielder hit 38 home runs with a 120 RBIs. He also hit .299, which tied a career-high.

Both of these guys definitely deserved it. I know there are people out there arguing that Pujols or Joey Votto should have won at first base, but Pujols’ injury dampened his chance at winning for the fourth straight year, while Votto just didn’t have as good of a year as Fielder. Anyway, here are all of the winners at each position in the AL and NL:

American League

Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Curtis Granderson, Yankees; Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox

National League

Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves

First Base: Prince Fielder, Brewers

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Third Base: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

Pitcher: Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

I think most of these guys were deserving of winning it.

Anyway, before I go, here’s all the Hot Stove news from today:

Cubs manager Mike Quade finally got fired. Newly appointed president of the Cubs, Theo Epstein, flew to Florida to tell Quade personally that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cubs in 2012. In Quade’s only full season with the Cubs, he went 71-91, which obviously wasn’t going to cut it.

Anyway, I guess I didn’t expect this, but it doesn’t appear that Epstein is going to do much screwing around while he’s the president of the Cubs. He wasted no time firing Quade, so we’ll have to wait and see if he’ll make any other surprising moves. (Actually, the Quade move wasn’t very surprising. Never mind.)

Oh, and one more thing related to the Cubs and Epstein- the Cubs and Red Sox still haven’t agreed on compensation for Epstein leaving the Sox with time still left on his contract. At first, the Sox wanted Matt Garza from the Cubs, which was just plain stupid. But now I guess they can’t even agree on a Minor Leaguer.

Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers today. Apparently, the team is going to be auctioned off.

But it’s about time. I’m not big into the Dodgers, but those fans- and the players themselves- have had to suffer enough under that dink McCourt. A baseball team shouldn’t have to suffer because of the owner’s personal issues (if you didn’t know already, this all started when McCourt and his wife- who was the president of the Dodgers- got divorced).

Anyway, a few other moves- the Nationals are close to re-signing starter Chien-Ming Wang, who has missed the better of the last two years with injuries. Also, John McDonald, a great defensive shortstop, re-signed for two years with Diamondbacks.


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


Postseason preview of the Brewers-D-backs NLDS

September 30, 2011

It’s been awhile. Sorry for not getting up an articles in a couple days; I’m having a pretty stressful week. I’ve had close to no time to even get on the computer, much less write a full article. But I’m back, and should have all the postseason coverage on this blog.

Speaking of the postseason. The last time I posted was when the Brewers clinched the NL Central on Ryan Braun’s clutch home run against the Marlins. From there, the Brewers went on to sweep the Marlins and win their regular season-ending series against the Pirates. The also finished with a franchise record 96 wins, which is astounding, if you think about it.

But wow, did some crazy things happen in both Wild Card races yesterday.

The Rays and Cardinals are headed to the postseason. If I told you that coming into September, you would have called me crazy. I would have called myself crazy. But it happened, thanks to historical September meltdowns by the Braves and Red Sox.

That’s right. The Red Sox. The dream fantasy team, that had Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester- I could go on forever. And they blew a nine-game Wild Card lead. That’s the largest Wild Card lead blown since it was introduced in the early 90′s.

Anyway, here’s what happened to them last night. After a rain delay that lasted a few hours in Baltimore, the Red Sox led the Orioles, 3-2, in the ninth inning. Jonathan Papelbon, one of the best closers in the game, was in to try and finish it off. And he blew it. He gave up two runs, the parting blow coming from Robert Andino- a name that no casual baseball fan has ever heard. But, he’ll always be remembered as part of what ruined what could have been a good season for the BoSox.

But something great had to happen in St. Pete if the Rays were to make the postseason, right? And it was great. They were playing the Yankees, and were down 7-0 going into the eighth inning. But, they scored six runs in the eighth, putting a ton of pressure on the Yankees to close it out in the ninth. The Yankees must not have felt that much pressure, though- they didn’t even put in all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera (ugh, it feels weird saying that) to close out a one-run game. That resulted in a game-tying home run by Dan Johnson (another name that a casual baseball fan has never heard). But, the Rays wouldn’t clinch their postseason berth until the 12th inning. It came on a line-drive home run by Longoria- his second of the game- and it left the Red Sox absolutely stunned. Even I’m still trying to get a grip on the fact that the Red Sox aren’t going to be in the postseason.

Anyway, the Cardinals can thank two players in particular for getting them into the postseason- Chris Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel. Carpenter tossed a two-hitter against the Astros, and Kimbrel, unable to contain his emotions in the ninth inning, blew a crucial save against the Phillies, ending the Braves’ season abruptly.

But, with all that out of the way, let’s get down to business. The regular season is over; now, we wait and see who’ll reach the Fall Classic.

Thanks to the Cardinals reaching the postseason, the Brewers will host the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. To be honest with you, this completely messes up my predictions for the postseason- I was hoping for a Brewers-D-Backs NLCS. But that obviously can’t happen now.

Anyway, here are the pitching match-ups for this series:

Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA)

Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (12-13, 3.69 ERA)

You can just tell by looking at the numbers that these are all going to be great match-ups. But, it couldn’t have come out better for the Brewers- and you’re about to figure out why home field advantage was so important to the Crew.

Gallardo and Greinke each have 11 wins at home this year. Gallardo has two losses, and Greinke has none. This is why home field advantage was so important. Both pitchers are practically invincible at home, especially Greinke, who is invincible at home (at least so far). Kennedy and Hudson obviously won’t be easy to beat, however, so expect a few pitchers’ duels. Oh, by the way, I just thought I should mention this- Gallardo is 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his career against the D-Backs. That could be a pretty big factor.

Then, the series changes venues- which also plots out in the Brewers’ favor. Marcum has been that one guy who is different from everyone in the rotation. Instead of being great at home, he’s great on the road- his 2.31 ERA on the road proves that.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. The two ALDS’s start tomorrow between the Rays and Rangers, and Yankees and Tigers, so we’ll have those to keep us company until the NLDS starts. The Yanks-Tigers game will be interesting- CC Sabathia, a former Brewer, will face Justin Verlander, who has a no-hitter against the Brewers. That’s a game I won’t be missing.

Anyway, one more thing before I go- let me say that this could be a magical year for the Brewers.


Cano, AL take Derby as NL falters

July 12, 2011

10:56p I expected the American League to win, but I didn’t expect a few of these guys to fail as badly as they did.

The American League won the Home Run Derby as a team, and, individually, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano defeated the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez. Here are what the results were:

Robinson Cano 8 12 12
Adrian Gonzalez 9 11 11
David Ortiz 5 4
Prince Fielder 5 4
Matt Holliday 5
Jose Bautista 4
Rickie Weeks 3
Matt Kemp 2

(First table I’ve ever put in a post, by the way. Hope it looks good. This is how it works: the name in the first column, first round homers in the second column, second round homers in the third column, and third round homers in the fourth column.)

As you can see, nobody hit more than 10 homers in the first round, which surprised me. Gonzalez led the first round with nine, followed by Cano with eight. But three guys who I thought would do good really failed me: Jose Bautista, Rickie Weeks, and Matt Kemp. They got four, three, and two homers respectively. Bautista started off with two home runs, then went nine straight outs before hitting his last two homers. I could tell Weeks was going to have a rough night when he swung right throw the first pitch he swung at. And Kemp? I don’t really know what happened to him.

Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder, and David Ortiz all had to compete in a swing-off to see which two of them would advance. Holliday hit two, Ortiz hit four, and Fielder hit five.

In the second round, Ortiz and Fielder didn’t put up much of a fight as Cano and Gonzalez breezed onto the third round, as you can see by the number of homers.

The third round was close, but after Gonzalez hit 11 homers, Cano hit his 12th 407 feet to win it. (The longest homer of the night was a 474-footer by Fielder, if you’re wondering.)

So that was about it. It was fun to watch Cano and Fielder hit tape-measure shots, but, other than that, it wasn’t the greatest derby I’ve ever seen.

And with that, I leave you all until Friday. I’m headed up to Wisconsin Dells until then. I’ll bring my laptop, but I’m not so sure I’ll have internet, because most of the Wi-Fi servers there are crappy. So, if I don’t have internet, good-bye until Friday.


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.


Home Run Derby Preview

July 11, 2011

1:42p The second biggest night of the summer is tonight. (Second to the All-Star Game, if you’re wondering.)

The long-anticipated Home Run Derby, revamped with some new rules, will take place tonight at 7:00 CT tonight in Phoenix, Arizona, at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks.

The biggest change from previous years is the new team aspect. The two previous Home Run Derby champions- Prince Fielder of the Brewers and David Ortiz of the Red Sox- were chosen as captains of their respective leagues, and were allowed to chose three other players from their league who they thought were home run hitters and could help in the derby. Here are the teams for each league (with a little description for each player):

National League

Prince Fielder (captain), Brewers- 22 home runs- Arguably the best home run hitter in the league, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Brewers fan. He already has a 50-homer season under his belt, and can hit homers for distance- he currently has the longest home run in 2011, a 486-foot shot off of Houston’s Brett Myers.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers- 22 home runs- He’s currently tied for second in the league with Fielder and has proven he can kill the ball. He’s already just six home runs away from his total for all of last year, which was 28.

Matt Holliday, Cardinals- 14 home runs- He only has 14 homers because of  a few stints on the DL. But Holliday participated in the derby last year and can kill the ball when he’s right.

Rickie Weeks, Brewers- 17 home runs- Just because he’s a lead-off hitter doesn’t mean he can’t hit home runs. Weeks has 17 homers from the lead-off spot, which is pretty impressive. One of the reasons Fielder chose him to be on the team is because of how badly he kills the ball in batting practice, which is pretty much what the derby is: competitive batting practice.

American League

David Ortiz (captain), Red Sox- 19 home runs- Last year’s derby champion. He’s been able to hit more homers this year because he learned to use the opposite field once again, courtesy of teammate Adrian Gonzalez (also on the derby team).

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox- 17 home runs- He hits a lot of opposite field homers, but has some extreme pull power as well. Not to mention he currently leads the AL in batting with a .354 average. That has nothing to do with home runs, but is impressive, nonetheless.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays- 31 home runs- He was the home run king last year with 54, and he proved it was no fluke. His 31 blasts this year lead all of baseball, and he’s on track to become the home run king yet again.

Robinson Cano, Yankees- 15 home runs- Not really someone you think of as a home run hitter, but he can kill the ball. He had 29 all of last year, and is on track to be somewhere around there again this year.

So there you have it. All of the Home Run Derby contestants. If I had to chose who I think is going to win, I’d say the American League, mainly because of Bautista. Although I do want the National League to win, I just think the AL has a better chance. I’ll probably have a recap post up later after the derby.


Wolf struggles early as Brewers fall again

July 6, 2011

9:57p Diamondbacks-Brewers Wrap-Up

Not too many things are going the Brewers’ way right now.

Starter Randy Wolf struggled early and would end up giving up seven runs to the Diamondbacks as the Brewers lost, 7-3. It was their seventh loss over their past eight games, that only win being the comeback in Minnesota last week.

The Diamondbacks jumped on Wolf early,  getting four quick runs in the first inning. Miguel Montero hit a two-run single, and Xavier Nady and Gerardo Parra both had RBI singles. On Parra’s single, he tried to go for second base, assuming center fielder Carlos Gomez’s throw was going to the plate. Wolf, however, cut it off and threw him out at second. Who knows how much more bleeding would have happened in that inning had Wolf not cut off the throw. The Brewers answered immediately in their half of the inning, as Prince Fielder hit an infield single off of Diamondbacks starter Zach Duke to drive in Rickie Weeks from third. It was Fielder’s league-leading 70th RBI of the year. He would tack on another RBI later in the sixth inning, with his 22nd homer of the year.

The Diamondbacks got to Wolf again in the third, as Justin Upton and Parra both hit home runs. Parra’s was a two-run shot while Upton’s was a solo, and the Diamondbacks took a 7-1 lead.

In the eighth inning, Corey Hart hit his 10th homer of the year, making it a 7-3 game. It wouldn’t matter much, however, as David Hernandez put the game away by getting the last out in ninth after Alberto Castillo gave up a hit and a walk.

Duke finally gets it going against Crew

Duke, a former Pirate, got his first career win against the Brewers at Miller Park. Duke, and the rest of the Pirates, struggled a lot at Miller Park. He was 0-6 in his career at the home of the Crew coming into today. He pitched a decent game today, going seven innings and giving up just two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Wolf, meanwhile, couldn’t find his rhythm, and had one of his worst starts of the year. He was forced to go six innings because of a taxed bullpen, giving up seven runs on 10 hits, while walking four and striking out four. He likely would have been taken out earlier, but Brewers starters haven’t been going very deep into games lately, leaving the bullpen with a lot of work.

Braun sits for third straight game

This is not a good sign.

Ryan Braun sat out for the third time in as many games, still appearing to be nursing his strained calf. Utility man Josh Wilson started in left field instead, making his first career start in the outfield. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke claimed that he did not want to use Mark Kotsay for the fourth straight game, considering Kotsay has had health issues in his career. Roenicke also wanted a right-hander in the lineup against the lefty Duke, as he’s usually pretty tough on lefties, which is why Roenicke opted not to use the lefty outfielder Nyjer Morgan.

Braun was actually going to pinch-hit in the ninth inning with two men on base, but Hart grounded out for the last out of the game.

Brewers can’t continue home dominance

Coming into today, the Brewers were the only team in the Majors to not have lost consecutive home games. That changed after back-to-back losses to the Diamondbacks at Miller Park. To be honest, I was eager to see if the Brewers could go the entire season without losing back-to-back home games, which would have been quite the feat. Sadly, that won’t happen now.

Fielder announces Home Run Derby picks

Fielder, named the captain of the National League Home Run Derby team, finalized his picks today. These will be the sluggers joining him in the first ever team derby this year:

Prince Fielder (captain), Brewers- 22 home runs

Rickie Weeks, Brewers- 15 home runs

Matt Holliday, Cardinals- 10 home runs

Matt Kemp, Dodgers- 22 home runs

Kemp was obviously a must-have for the team, being tied with Fielder for the league lead in homers at 22. Weeks kind of surprised me, but I’ve heard he kills the ball during batting practice (which is pretty much what the derby is, competitive batting practice). Holliday surprised me the most. He’s had a few stints on the DL this year and has just 10 homers, but he was in the derby last year and should be a help to the NL team.

And, as long as we’re on the topic, I’ll list the American League team, led by Boston’s David Ortiz:

David Ortiz (captain), Red Sox- 17 home runs

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox- 16 home runs

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays- 27 home runs

Robinson Cano, Yankees- 14 home runs

I’m actually kind of surprised Gonzalez accepted the invitation to the derby, since he isn’t exactly what you’d call an extreme home run hitter, and you’d think that trying to hit homers on purpose would mess with his swing. Cano was the main surprise of the AL team for me, since he has only 14 homers. If it were me, I would have chosen Mark Teixeira over Cano, but I’m not the derby captain. Lastly, I don’t think I need to say anything about Bautista- those 27 home runs speak for themselves.

Haha, I guess I got pretty off topic with that whole derby thing. So let’s get back to the Brewers now.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will attempt to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks tomorrow, and will send Yovani Gallardo (9-5, 3.92 ERA) to the mound, in hopes he can bounce back from a rough outing against Minnesota. He gave up five runs (three earned) against the Twins his last time out. In his career against the Diamondbacks, he is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, will counter with Josh Collmenter (4-5, 3.17 ERA), who will hope to get back on track. In six starts after being moved out of the bullpen to the starting rotation, he compiled a stellar 1.05 ERA. However, in four starts since, he is 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA. Hopefully the Brewers will jump on him while he’s still struggling, because he can be hard to pick up when he’s on his game.

Elswhere around the division…

  • The Cubs lost to the Nationals again, 3-2. They are 12 games back.
  • The Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-1, and overtook the Brewers in the Central. Hopefully this doesn’t last long, but I guess the Pirates are finally proving their worth. I doubt this will change the fact that the Brewers destroy the Pirates, however.
  • The Cardinals defeated the Reds, 8-1. They are in first in the division and four games back, respectively.

Quick blog update…

Earlier today, I added a new page to BreakingWI. It was list of all of the Brewers currently on the 25 man roster, and I thought it would be handy to have a page for it on BreakingWI. I might add a page for the 40 man roster later as well.


Interleague Recap

July 4, 2011

10:54p Well, the Brewers rough Interleague schedule came and went as advertised, and it turned out pretty bad.

I remember last year, sometime towards the end of the year, I was watching a Brewer game. Brewers announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder somehow got to the topic of Interleague, and then Anderson said he was going to show the Brewers’ 2011 Interleague schedule on the screen after the next commercial break. Being a huge fan of Interleague play, I was excited to see who we were playing. When the commercial break ended and Anderson showed the Interleague schedule, my excitement went away.

Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Twins.

At that point, I knew this was the most unfair Interleague schedule in baseball, and that remained correct. I don’t know of any team with a rougher schedule than that.

I remember a lot of people saying that we would have a 14-game losing streak during Interleague. I didn’t think it would be that bad. And, after we acquired Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, I thought we had a shot at those tough teams of the AL East. Turns out that Greinke and Marcum didn’t help us in Interleague at all- Greinke had two disaster starts (against the Yankees and Twins), and one great start (7 IP, 1 ER effort against the Rays), while Marcum pitched just 9 innings total because of a hip injury he suffered in Boston.

The final Interleague record? 6-9.

That was the opposite of last year, when we went 9-6 against the much easier AL West (Rangers, Angels, Mariners, and rival Twins).

It started with a series against the Red Sox- at Fenway Park- where we lost two of three to the Red Sox. Too bad we couldn’t have gotten them at Miller Park, for two reasons. One, we’re just plain better at home. Two, no DH for the Sox (so, in other words, no David Ortiz). But, hey, that’s the luck of the Brewers. The one game they actually won was behind a great effort from Randy Wolf. If I had to have chosen one of the games that the Brewers would have lost in that series, I would have chosen that one. But, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo both faltered in the other starts, and Wolf proved me wrong.

Then, the series at home with the Rays. I thought we would fair better against them, but we didn’t- another lousy one of three series for the Brewers. The one win came on one of Greinke’s rare decent starts, when he held the Rays to one run over 7 strong innings. We actually got kind of lucky in that series, because the Rays didn’t have the DH and had to use Johnny Damon in the outfield. We should have fared better because of his joke for an arm, but I guess it didn’t have that much effect on the outcome of the series.

Next came a much-needed sweep of the Twins at home. Randy Wolf, Yovani Gallardo, and Chris Narveson all picked up wins. Again, the Twins had no DH at Miller Park, so, despite the fact Jim Thome was finally returning from the DL, he could not be used, except for in pinch-hitting roles.

The tables would turn for the Brewers during the next series as the made their first trip to Yankee Stadium since 1997. They were swept at the hands of the Yankees, and the most embarrassing game of all was when Greinke gave up 7 runs in 2 innings- ballooning his career ERA at Yankee Stadium to 11.31.

Then came the series that just ended today, against the Twins at Target Field. Gallardo had a below-average performance and Greinke had another awful start. Narveson also got knocked around, but that was covered up because of the incredible comeback win that the Brewers pulled off against Twins closer Matt Capps.

So, those are a few of my thoughts on the Brewers’ disappointing Interleague series. We still somehow ended it tied with the Cardinals for first in the Central, which we should be thankful for considering we were up against the three top teams in the AL East.

By the way, sorry for venting out on Greinke so much. But he has just disappointed me so much this year. His injury in spring training gave him a bad impression immediately, and his 5.66 ERA isn’t making him look any better. I really hope he picks up the pace soon, because if we want to make a real run at the Central, we need Greinke to do it.


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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