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.


Looking back at the first week of 2011’s offseason

November 7, 2011

> The first week of the 2011 MLB offseason was rather quiet, with none of the top free agents reaching agreements with new teams (or the ones they were already with). But I guess that wasn’t expected. Anyway, despite this, there were a lot of minor moves, with some more significant than others, and later in this article I’ll try to go through every move made. But, before that, there is one Brewers-related piece of news that I should probably share.

> Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy tomorrow. Ugh.

Over the past few days, Sveum has been considered the front-runner to become the new Red Sox manager, but nothing has been confirmed. And now he’s going to have a chance to become the Cubs’ manager, a team he has seen up close and personally for quite a few years now as the Brewers’ hitting coach.

So the reason I said “ugh” earlier is because, no matter who it is, I find it painful to see someone from a team I like leave for a team I hate. For instance, I was crushed a few years back when Brett Favre left the Packers for the Jets, and eventually the Vikings- a team I despise. (That is, until I figured out what a loser Favre was under the surface, but you still get the point.) Anyway, I’d be happy for Sveum no matter where he goes (if he does end up managing), but let me say I’d be much happier if he went to the Red Sox instead of the Cubs.

> But, with that aside, let’s get to all the moves that occurred during this first week of the Hot Stove. I guess I didn’t realize how much I didn’t cover on BreakingWI, but here’s my chance to redeem myself.

> Frank McCourt agreed with MLB to sell the Dodgers, and hopefully put this divorce-bankruptcy crap behind him and the franchise. The Dodgers suffered that for far too long, and hopefully whoever ends up being the team can right that ship.

> The long expected CC Sabathia opt-out never actually happened, as the Yankees managed to retain him by adding an extra year, worth $25 million, to his already-remaining for years on the seven-year deal he signed back in 2008 (after he left the Brewers). So much for that… I was looking forward to him sticking it up the Yankees’… Er, maybe I shouldn’t go there.

> The Indians acquired 15-year veteran starting pitcher Derek Lowe from the Braves. Lowe has definitely been on a decline in recent years, but the Indians hope his veteran presence can anchor their very young rotation.

> The Phillies successfully signed designated hitter Jim Thome to a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. Oh, wait, they’re a National League team… Apparently they expect him to play a little first base and be a power lefty off the bench, but I can’t see this deal working out very well.

> Cards manager Tony La Russa decided to retire after 33 seasons as a Major League manager. He definitely went out on top, that’s for sure…

> Davey Johnson is going to be the Nationals’ manager in 2012 as well, after picking up where Jim Riggleman left off midway through the 2011 season.

> The Giants exercised their option on lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and also signed fellow lefty reliever Javier Lopez to a two-year deal.

> The Dodgers re-signed Juan Rivera to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million after acquiring him from the Blue Jays halfway through the 2011 season.

> The Cubs exercised their half of the option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez declined his half, thus becoming a free agent.

> The Nationals re-signed starter Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal, following three seasons full of injuries- two of which he didn’t even pitch at all. But, before that, he was a dominant starting pitcher for the Yankees.

> The Diamondbacks made a few signings on and off the field, as they locked up shortstop John McDonald with a two-year, $3 million deal, along with a one-year deal worth $1.2 million for catcher Henry Blanco. They also extended GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, both of whom completely turned around what looked to be another disappointing season coming in.

> The Brewers declined their $17.5 million option on Francisco Rodriguez, which was inherited from the Mets. They also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (HOORAY!).

> The Mets pretty much came out and said that they’re not going to be able to retain shortstop Jose Reyes. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s sort of odd that they’d come out and say it like that.

> The Braves have announced that they would trade starter Jair Jurrjens and outfielder/second baseman Martin Prado, if given a good enough deal. Right now, the Royals look like the best destination, at least for Jurrjens.

> The Giants are willing to trade starter Jonathan Sanchez. Not sure who would want that walk-machine, unless they really need starting pitching.

> The Cardinals declined their optionsĀ  on shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel. That was surprising to some (including me).

> The Red Sox picked up their $6 million option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

> The Nationals appear to be in the running for starter Roy Oswalt, whose option was declined by the Phillies prior to the World Series.

> It sounds like the Phillies are literally dying for Michael Cuddyer, which means they’ll probably have him. But that would pretty much nullify the Thome deal, because Cuddyer could play a similar role, but is so much more versatile.

> The Diamondbacks declined options on starter Zach Duke, second baseman Aaron Hill, and shortstop Willie Bloomquist, but are probably open to re-signing Hill and Bloomquist.

> The Blue Jays picked up their option on outfielder Edwin Encarnacion, but declined their option on reliever Jon Rauch.

> The Royals picked up their $6 million option on closer Joakim Soria, who is coming off a horrible 2011. But, prior to that, he was one of the top closers in the game.

> The Reds picked up their option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but declined the option on closer Francisco Cordero.

> The Padres declined options on starter Aaron Harang, reliever Chad Qualls, and first baseman Brad Hawpe. I thought it was interesting that they didn’t pick up Harang’s option, because he actually quietly put up a good season.

> The Rays exercised their optionĀ  on starter James Shields and closer Kyle Farnsworth, while declining both of those pitchers’ batterymate, Kelly Shoppach.

> Mariners closer David Aardsma, who did not pitch at all in 2011 due to an injury from 2010, has elected free agency. Whichever team that signs him will probably have to wait until at least June for his services in the Majors, however, as he’s still recovering from the injury.

> The White Sox picked up their option on reliever Jason Frasor, who they acquired from the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline.

> The Indians exercised their option on starter Fausto Carmona, but declined the option on the injury-plagued center fielder Grady Sizemore.

> The Pirates declined options on catcher Ryan Doumit, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher Chris Snyder, and starter Paul Maholm. I thought they should have kept Maholm at least, because he’s good- just doesn’t get run support. But they can do whatever the want to keep themselves from having their first winning season since 1992, for all I care…

> The Rockies declined their option on starter Aaron Cook. That was definitely expected, as he’s been injury-plagued and ineffective over the past two years.

> Lastly, the Rangers exercised their option on Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama.

Well, that took awhile, but thanks for reading. Feel free to leave thoughts on these moves, if you have any.



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.


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.


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.


Kotsay gets walk-off single in ninth as Brewers roll

August 17, 2011

9:50p The Brewers seem to find new ways to win every day nowadays, and today was no different.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers again today, 2-1, to continue their winning streak, which now stands at five. The final blow came on Mark Kotsay’s walk-off single in the ninth inning off Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal, who was struggling with his command throughout the inning, but I’ll get to that later.

The Dodgers actually struck first in the second inning against Yovani Gallardo when Aaron Miles hit a RBI single to drive in Matt Kemp. Gallardo struggled with his command early before settling in, but that was the only run he would give up. He ended up going eight innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out nine and walked one. This performance was uncharacteristic of Gallardo against the Dodgers, who came into today with an 0-3 record with a 10.80 ERA against them in his career. He didn’t pick up the win, unfortunately, settling for a no-decision, but that ERA probably took a large drop.

Anyway, the Brewers countered right away in the bottom of the second on Corey Hart’s RBI groundout. The game would become a pitchers’ duel and stay tied until the ninth inning.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley also had a good start (not as good as Gallardo’s, but still good). He went seven innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Following Billingsley’s good outing, however, would be a bullpen meltdown for the Dodgers. They brought in Hong-Chih Kuo, a lefty, to face Prince Fielder leading off the inning. He promptly walked Fielder, which made Dodgers manager Don Mattingly go right back to his bullpen. This time, he brought out the right-handed MacDougal, who didn’t fare much better. He gave up a hit to Casey McGehee, then walked Yuniesky Betancourt to load the bases with no outs. That set the stage for Kotsay’s second walk-off single of the year.

Kotsay comes through in the clutch again

At times throughout the year, I’ve been extremely frustrated with Kotsay. A lot of times, he falters with guys on base by striking out, hitting an easy grounder, etc., but that all seems to change whenever he bats under pressure in the ninth. Kostay already had a walk-off against Francisco Cordero and the Reds earlier this year, and a game-tying single against Cordero and the Reds as well.

Brewers winning without many runs

Over the past four games, the Brewers have scored a total of eight runs. And yet they’re 4-0 in those games. Any other year before this, they would probably have been 0-4, but, this year, the pitching is good enough to bail out the Brewers even when there’s a lack of offense.

The Brewers have also hit only three home runs over the past four games, and all three of them came last night. So that goes to show that the Brewers don’t need the long ball to win, either.

Brewers extend division lead to seven

To go along with a Brewers win tonight, the Cardinals conveniantly lost in Pittsburgh. Garrett Jones hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off newly signed Arthur Rhodes, who has been a bust with both the Rangers and Cardinals this year. The game actually wouldn’t have even had to go to extra innings, had Fernando Salas not given up a game-tying homer to Neil Walker in the ninth. But, I guess that’s what the Cardinals get for not upgrading the back end of their bullpen at the Trade Deadline, despite the fact that was their biggest need. (And no, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Arthur Rhodes don’t count as the “back end.”)

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series win against the Dodgers tomorrow and will send Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.08 ERA) to the mound. Greinke is on a roll since the All-Star break, and is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA since then. He has a 5.40 ERA in five innings for his career against the Dodgers, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who will be making his third Major League start. He shut out the Astros for six innings his last time out, but the Brewers will obviously be much more of a challenge. I still don’t know much about Eovaldi, so I guess we’ll have to see how he does tomorrow.


Brewers return the favor in extra innings in St. Louis

August 10, 2011

11:13p The Cardinals won a game similar to this one last week in Milwaukee. They got lucky on a bloop RBI single by Lance Berkman to end an extremely dramatic extra inning game that was a crushing loss for the Brewers. Tonight wasn’t as dramatic, but gave the Cards a taste of their own medicine.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers took down the Cardinals tonight, 5-3, in a 10 inning game. Both the Brewers and Cardinals had a lot of chances that they didn’t take advantage of early on. That included a fifth inning in which the Brewers had the bases loaded and no outs against Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson, but allowed him to get out of it with no damage done in just four pitches.

The Brewers got to Jackson in the third inning, when Corey Hart hit a two-run homer off him. From there, Brewers starter Shaun Marcum pretty much cruised through the first four innings, until that pivotal fifth inning happened.

Marcum led off the fifth with a single. Jackson then walked Hart to put runners on first and second. After that, Nyjer Morgan tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but wound up reaching first because of a wide throw by Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird, who struggled behind the plate all night due to Yadier Molina’s suspension. Anyway, this loaded the bases with no outs.

Then, the Brewers did what they seem to do so well on the road. They got Jackson out of the inning on four pitches.

Some of it was just bad luck. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder got themselves out on back-to-back pitches with line drives directly at infielders. Then, with Casey McGehee batting, Laird let a pitch get away from him, so Marcum, who was at third, started to come home. Sadly, Laird recovered quickly, and Marcum had already gone too far down the line, getting him caught in a rundown. Marcum was trying to fake out Laird and third baseman David Freese by rapidly moving back and forth, but, while doing that, rolled over his ankle and collapsed. Freese tagged him out, and that was that- inning over.

Marcum came back out for the fifth and sixth innings, but had to labor through both, and allowed the Cards to tie the game. In the fifth inning, Corey Patterson got the Cardinals on the board with an RBI single. In the sixth, Jonathan Lucroy gave the Brewers an insurance run with an RBI single, but that wouldn’t matter, since Laird and Freese both hit RBI singles in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3-3.

Then, until the 10th inning, it was a battle of the bullpens. Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings, then LaTroy Hawkins got Albert Pujols to fly out in the ninth inning to get out of a jam and send the game to extras.

The Cardinals put in reliever Octavio Dotel to pitch the 10th. Dotel had been lights out for the Cards since being acquired from the Blue Jays before the Trade Deadline. That is, until today.

Morgan led off the 10th with a single. Braun followed up with a strikeout to finish his disappointing night, but then Fielder beat the shift with a single, which advanced Morgan to third. McGehee then got the game-winning RBI with a double that scored Morgan. Yuniesky Betancourt added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to set the stage for John Axford in the bottom of the inning. Axford would come in and record is 33rd save of the year to seal the Brewers 5-3 win.

Breaking: Narveson gets stitches, to be out for awhile

Alright, I just heard this on Brewers Live as I was writing this article, and wanted to get it out as soon as I could. Brewers No. 5 starter Chris Narveson apparently sliced his pitching hand (his left hand) open and had to get eight stitches. Ron Roenicke said that Narveson would definitely be out for awhile, and that he would speak to GM Doug Melvin about what to do for a fifth starter until Narvy can return.

Narveson wasn’t having an extremely spectacular year- he’s 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA- but, in my opinion, was putting up decent numbers, especially for a No. 5 starter. The Brewers have a few options for a replacement, and I’ll put out a few of my ideas in a post later. Anyway, I’ll continue with this one now.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this three-game set in St. Louis tomorrow night. Randy Wolf (8-8, 3.61 ERA) will go for the Brewers and will try to rebound from his last start, which was also against the Cardinals. He gave up five runs in six innings at Miller Park, but still got the win. He had one start earlier this year against the Cards at Busch Stadium, where he got shelled for six runs. Wolf is 6-7 with a 4.01 ERA against the Cardinals in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.83 ERA), whose record is somewhat deceptive to the way he’s pitched this year. In most of his starts, he’s been great through the first five innings, but can’t get out of the sixth inning. This happened in Westbrook’s only start against the Brewers this year, which was at Miller Park. Westbrook is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the Brewers in his career.


Recap of the past few days…

July 29, 2011

3:29p Sorry for not posting for the past few days. I was out of town again and wasn’t able to post. I usually put up some kind of notice before I go, but I forgot to this time, so my apologies for that. But, a lot has happened in the past few days for the Brewers, and they’re starting to stir as the Trade Deadline approaches.

Weeks to 15-day DL

The biggest piece of news is the worst: Rickie Weeks, the Brewers’ starting second baseman, was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday morning. He sustained a severe ankle sprain in the game against the Cubs the day before yesterday, and it was not fun to watch. He was trying to leg out an infield single, and he was safe. But, on his last stride towards first base, he stepped on the wrong part of the bag, and his ankle completely twisted the wrong way. He went flying off the bag in pain and laid on the ground for a while. Weeks was eventually escorted off the field by Ron Roenicke and the medical trainer, but he couldn’t walk by himself and couldn’t put weight on the ankle.

Now, this is NOT the time of year that we need key guys getting hurt. First it was Carlos Gomez, our right-handed center fielder, and now Weeks. We can’t keep losing guys when we’re in the middle of a pennant race.

Anyway, the Brewers have a few options to replace Weeks at second base for the time being. Eric Farris was called up and sent back down to Triple-A within a day, but he remains a candidate to fill in for part of the time. The Brewers also acquired Felipe Lopez, who played for the Brewers in 2009, from the Rays in exchange for cash considerations, and his contract was purchased from Triple-A earlier today, so he’s also an option. Then, there’s versatile infielders Craig Counsell and Josh Wilson, who are both capable of playing second, but their offense is a question mark, especially since Counsell is mired in an 0-for-41 slump.

Brewers sweep Cubs, gain lead in Central

Despite Weeks’ absence for the last game of the series, the Brewers swept the struggling Cubs out of town yesterday, and gained some breathing room in the NL Central. They now lead the Pirates and Cardinals, who are in a tie for second right now, by 1.5 games. The Reds, meanwhile, are quickly falling out of contention. They were just swept in four games by the Mets and are now 6.5 games back. Sadly, we can’t count out the Reds yet, since they have the easiest schedule for the rest of the year out of any of the contending teams in the Central.

Brewers FINALLY get rid of Nieves…

It was music to my ears when I heard this. The Brewers traded, or sold, whichever you prefer, catcher Wil Nieves to the Braves. They supposedly did it to give Nieves a better chance to return to the Majors this year, and to clear a spot in Triple-A Nashville for catching prospect Martin Maldonado.

The Brewers signed Nieves this offseason to have a backup catcher in case something happened to Jonathan Lucroy or George Kottaras. And, sure enough, Lucroy got injured in Spring Training, so Nieves became the Opening Day catcher. Then, when Lucroy got back, the Brewers optioned Kottaras because they thought Nieves was a better defensive catcher than him. Turns out he was awful offensively and defensively. The Brewers finally outrighted him to Nashville after he hit .109 at the Major League level. He also flopped in Nashville, batting .170 until the Brewers traded him.

Anyway, here’s the funny part about this trade: GM Doug Melvin received $1 from the Braves in return for Nieves. That’s right- one dollar, about what you’d pay for a snack from a vending machine. That’s because the Braves have to pay for the remaining $775,000 of Nieves’ salary. But still, one dollar?

I think I’ve covered all of the important things I didn’t post about while I was away (that is, if you consider getting one dollar in exchange for a catcher important). But, there are a few more things I’d like to say before I end the post.

First off, the Brewers are starting a three-game series with the Astros tonight. (We must be blessed to get the Cubs and Astros consecutively at this point in the season.) Randy Wolf (6-8, 3.62 ERA) will go for the Brewers and is seeking his first win since June, and tonight is the perfect time to get it. Wolf, a former Astro, has done well against his former team in his career, going 7-5 with a 3.15 ERA against them.

The Astros will counter with rookie starter Jordan Lyles (0-5, 4.55 ERA). His record is somewhat deceiving, as he’s actually had a few decent starts this year, but hasn’t gotten any run support. This will be his first career start against the Brewers.

Anyway, one more thing before I go- the Cardinals made somewhat of a big trade yesterday, acquiring pitchers Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and outfielder Corey Patterson from the Blue Jays. But, they had to give up a key piece of their outfield- Colby Rasmus. They also parted with relievers P.J. Walters, Brian Tallet, and Trever Miller. Anyway, that doesn’t really have anything to do with the Brewers, I just thought I’d throw it out there.


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