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.


Brewers push their way back to .500

September 12, 2012

POSTGAME

> We’ve waited a long time for this. The Brewers finally made it back to .500 (71-71) with their 5-0 win over the Braves tonight, and maybe now they can take it one step further.

Marco Estrada was stellar, going 6 2/3 shutout innings while giving up four hits. He walked one and struck out six. He gave up a few near-home runs that were caught about as close to the wall as you can get, but it doesn’t matter much as long as they were outs.

Tim Hudson looked on his game after giving up a first inning home run to Rickie Weeks. After the second inning, he didn’t allow another baserunner until the sixth. But his wheels fell off in the seventh. Hudson gave up back-to-back singles to Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy to start the inning. Then, two batters later with the bases loaded and one out, Jean Segura beat out a double play ball to drive in a run. That wound up costing the Braves, as Taylor Green and Norichika Aoki hit back-t0-back RBI singles to extend the lead to 4-0. Then, in the eighth inning, Aramis Ramirez hit a mammoth solo home run,  his 23rd of the year.

THE NEWS

> Corey Hart was out of the lineup again with his foot problem. He’s going to get custom foot support tomorrow to “ease the pain,” and he should be back in the lineup before long.

> The Brewers extended their player development contract with the Nashville Sounds, their Triple-A affiliate. The deal runs through 2014.

> Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Brewers need to sign a starting pitcher and fix their bullpen problems this coming offseason.

In my opinion, the SP market is going to be so bad that the Brewers might as well stick with the prospects they have and see what they can get; they’ve shown that they’re ready to perform at the big league level. But the bullpen definitely needs to be addressed.

THE NUMBERS

> This is the first time the Brewers have sat at .500 since April, when they were 9-9. Yeah, it’s been awhile.

> After starting the year winless, Estrada has three wins in his last four starts.

> Weeks had one career hit against Hudson coming into the game, but recorded two against him tonight (the home run and a triple). Weeks also had the only hit against Hudson in his last start against the Brewers, a one-hit shutout in May of 2011.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Paul Maholm (12-9, 3.67 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.76 ERA)


Thanks, Jonny

September 11, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Braves are known for having one of the better bullpens and defenses in baseball. But neither were present tonight, as the Brewers handily took advantage of both of those absences to run away with a 4-1 win.

Mike Minor was on his game, but pitch count got him. He needed 115 pitches to get through just 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. But it’s a good thing he needed all those pitches; there’s no telling what would have happened had he remained in the game.

The first run of the game came in the fifth inning on an Andrelton Simmons double play; you know it’s a pitchers’ duel when the first run of the game scores in that way that late. The Braves put in Jonny Venters to start the seventh inning, but he would hand the Brewers the game on a silver platter. He gave up a single to Martin Maldonado and a walk to Jean Segura to start the inning. Jeff Bianchi then put down a bunt that was only meant to advance the runners, but Venters foolishly went for the runner at third base (who he wouldn’t have gotten anyway), and ended up throwing the ball away. That allowed pinch-runner Eric Farris to score and tie up the game.

The Braves removed Venters for Chad Durbin, who let the floodgates open even more. After walking Jonathan Lucroy, he gave up a go-ahead two-run double to Norichika Aoki, who continues to show off his power stroke. Carlos Gomez tacked on the final run with a sacrifice fly.

The bullpen was solid, with Jim Henderson and John Axford putting up scoreless innings to finish off the game.

MY TAKE

> Aoki has come out of nowhere lately as another power threat in the lineup. After putting up a few extra-base hits in yesterday’s game- including a game-tying home run in the ninth- he hit two more doubles today.

> Wily Peralta was solid, going six innings while giving up a run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four.

Peralta actually looked pretty wild, at least early on. He threw close to half of his pitches for balls and worked behind in the count for the most part. But, with as good of stuff as he has, I suppose it isn’t that huge of a factor.

THE NEWS

> Corey Hart was out of the lineup tonight with an apparent injury to the arch of his left foot. He’s considered day-to-day for now.

> In Ben Sheets’ first return to Milwaukee since he left in 2008, he talked to the media about his injuries and doubters since then.

> The Astros released former Brewers closer Francisco Cordero. I’m guessing he’ll just retire now; after the year he’s had, I can’t imagine any team being even remotely interested in him.

THE NUMBERS

> The Braves got caught on the basepaths four- yes, four- times. Martin Prado got caught trying to take an extra base twice, Martin Maldonado picked off Freddie Freeman at first base on a snap-throw, and Maldonado threw out Jason Heyward attempting to steal second base.

> I forgot that the Braves signed former Brewer Lyle Overbay to a Minor League deal awhile back. He hit a single in the seventh inning.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Tim Hudson (14-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 3.99 ERA)

The Brewers haven’t faced Hudson since May of 2011, and it wasn’t pretty. Hudson threw a one-hit shutout that day. In fact, that was the same day Zack Greinke made his Brewers debut.


Nearly astounding comeback falls short

September 10, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers had to have this game, and, after an amazing late comeback, it looked like they were going to get it. But, they couldn’t bring the momentum into extra innings, losing to the Cardinals 5-4 in 10 innings.

The Cards jumped on Shaun Marcum right away in the first inning, with home runs from Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran within a span of three batters. Matt Carpenter gave the Cards another in the second inning on an RBI double, and memories of the Brewers’ last NLCS game in 2011 were brought back. The only two Brewers runs came on a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the second inning and a Jean Segura RBI single in the fourth.

Fast forward to the ninth inning. The Cardinals brought in their flamethrower, Jason Motte, whom the Brewers haven’t been able to touch since he was put into the Cards’ closer role. But today was a different story. Two batters after a Segura double, Norichika Aoki hit a game-tying homer on a 99 MPH fastball from Motte.

After that, I thought the Brewers were going to win for sure; everything’s been going our way lately. But not today- Kameron Loe gave up the walk-off single to Allen Craig in the 10th inning, and that was that.

MY TAKE

> Two out of three in St. Louis is usually good for the Brewers, but they desperately needed the sweep today. The Brewers don’t have any more head-to-head match-ups against the Cards for the rest of the year, and the schedules don’t exactly go in the Brewers’ favor either. The Cardinals get to play 12 of their last 22 games against the Padres, Pirates, and Astros, while the Brewers still have series against the Braves, Nationals, and Reds left.

So I’d love to see the Brewers do what the Cards did down the stretch last year, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

THE NEWS

> Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each had to leave the game early today. Braun has a wrist problem that’s been lingering the entire season, and Hart had a mild sprained ankle. Neither are considered very serious.

Logan Schafer took over for Braun in left field, and Travis Ishikawa came in to play first base.

> The Brewers claimed Miguel De Los Santos off waivers from the Rangers. They had released him on Friday.

De Los Santos, a left-hander, put up a confusing 5.22 ERA for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate this season. The reason I say confusing is because Baseball America thought De Los Santos had the best change-up in the Rangers’ organization prior to the season.

The Brewers now have two De Los Santos’ down on the farm, having acquired Fautino De Los Santos from the Athletics in exchange for George Kottaras back in early August.

> Mark Rogers said he isn’t ready to be shut down. Neither am I.

> Today is the 20th anniversary of Robin Yount’s 3000th career hit.

> Zack Greinke got the win for the Angels tonight, going seven strong against the Tigers.

THE NUMBERS

> Brandon Kintzler threw two scoreless innings. But I find it strange that he doesn’t have a strikeout in the Majors yet this year, especially with the kind of stuff he has.

> Segura went a perfect 3-for-3. He’ll need to put together a good stretch here if he wants to prove he can be the everyday shortstop next year.

> The probables for the upcoming series against the Braves:

Mike Minor (8-10, 4.58 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (1-0, 5.14 ERA)

Tim Hudson (14-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 3.99 ERA)

Paul Maholm (12-9, 3.67 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.76 ERA)


Brewers can’t get anything going against Garza in finale

September 22, 2011

I didn’t get to see much of today’s game. Stupid day games during school… And what makes it worse is that the Brewers never win while I’m at school.

The Brewers fell to the Cubs today, 7-1. That means the magic number will remain at three for the time being, while we wait for the outcome of the Cardinals-Mets game (the Mets are currently winning, 4-3 in the third inning). Anyway, today was the Brewers’ final road game of the season, and it did not go well. Matt Garza threw a complete game, despite some shaky defense from his team in the ninth inning. Garza became the fifth pitcher to go the distance against the Brewers this year, the others being Tim Hudson, Jaime Garcia, Cole Hamels, and Chris Carpenter.

Randy Wolf did not have a good start, going six innings while giving up six runs on 10 hits. He walked one and struck out five. Now, I’m not one to make excuses, but it was obvious Wolf’s start took a turn for the worse after he was hit in the left forearm (his pitching arm) while trying to lay down a bunt in the third inning. He was cleared to stay in the game, but Wolf said afterwards that the injury affected his cutter.

The biggest blow of the game came in the sixth inning on Marlon Byrd’s three-run homer that broke the game open for the Cubs. Coincidentally enough, the pitch Byrd hit out was a cutter from Wolf.

According to Mike Bauman of MLB.com, the NL MVP race is now a two-horse race between Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. I was hoping that someone wouldn’t say that, because now it’ll probably jinx both Braun and Fielder, and Matt Kemp or Justin Upton will end up winning. Out of those four, Braun is my choice (not because I’m biased, simply because he’s been the most consistent out of them). Kemp will for sure get votes taken away from him because he’s on a non-contending team in the Dodgers (that’s just how the MVP race works). And I don’t know about Upton. I know he’s having a great season, but for some reason there’s just something about him that makes me think he’s not going to win the MVP.

There’s also been talk recently of Albert Pujols winning the MVP, but I just can’t see that happening this year. He’s finally over .300 (he was hitting .304 to begin the day) and he leads the league in home runs, but his RBI total is down. Before last year, I would have also said that he was injured for two weeks, but Josh Hamilton was injured for nearly a month and still won the AL MVP in 2010, so I guess I can’t use that excuse anymore. But again, I don’t see Pujols winning it this year (I don’t even think the Cards making the playoffs could help at this point).

After ANOTHER September off-day tomorrow, the Brewers will start their final homestand of the year on Friday, and probably clinch the division in front of home fans, hopefully against the Marlins in the first series. Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.60 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a 13-strikeout performance against the Reds his last time out. He’s struck out a total of 25 batters over his last 13 innings, and is now in fifth place for strikeouts in the NL. And I thought his strikeout numbers were down this year… Anyway, Gallardo has crushed the Marlins in his career, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA against them.

The Marlins will counter with Chris Volstad (5-12, 5.13 ERA), who, in my opinion, really hasn’t pitched as bad as his record and ERA show. He’s been victim of low run support, especially lately. Volstad is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

UPDATE: The Cardinals ended up winning against the Mets, 6-5. The Cards were actually losing, 4-3, but Pedro Beato gave up a go-ahead homer to David Freese in the seventh inning. Anyway, the Braves are choosing the worst time of year to fall apart. They lost again today, and now the Braves lead the WC by 1.5 games. And a few weeks ago I thought all the races were over…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.