Braun admits to using PEDs, out for 2013

July 23, 2013

RECAP

> The Brewers lost to the Padres last night, 5-3. Tom Gorzelanny was cruising for the most part up until the sixth inning, when he gave up a game-tying double to Carlos Quentin and what would be the game-winning hit to Jesus Guzman. Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning to give the Brewers an early 2-0 lead, but that was about the only damage done to Padres starter Andrew Cashner.

BRAUN GONE

> But last night’s loss almost didn’t feel like anything following the news that was reported earlier in the day. I think we all knew it was coming, but I was surprised at the circumstances. Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of 2013 season (a total of 65 games). He will also miss the postseason should the Brewers make it. (We all know that won’t happen, but that was an official condition of the suspension.)

From a logical standpoint, this isn’t that big of a deal, to be honest. This is a lost season in which Braun wasn’t contributing to already, so not much changes from here on out. I’d rather he miss the rest of this season than the first half of next season. He can come back and have a fresh start.

But I know I speak for a lot of Brewers fans when I say I don’t know what to feel emotionally. Braun has been my favorite player ever since his call-up in 2007, and it was amazing watching what could have been a Hall of Fame career develop during his first few years in Milwaukee.

Yesterday, though, Braun admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. That changes everything. It means he’s been lying for the better part of the last two years. I almost don’t want to believe it. If you’ll recall, the day after his exoneration in March of 2012, he made a speech at the Brewers’ Spring Training complex in Maryvale, Arizona. It was a great speech, in my opinion, and he was so defiant about not having taken PEDs that I wouldn’t have believed for a second that he did it.

But apparently he did. Like I said, the suspension works out well for the Brewers from a logical standpoint, but I don’t think the emotional toll that this takes on the Brewers fan base that has tried to support and defend him through all of this will ever go away.

For me, at least, the worst part of this will be the way other teams’ fans will treat Brewers fans (and the team as well). After the news broke yesterday, I could hardly look at my timeline on Twitter (following Cardinals fans certainly comes back to bite you in situations like these).

Oh well. We all knew it was coming, and now this fanbase is in tatters. But we won’t be the only ones.

> One thing I strongly disagree with, however, is everyone saying Braun should apologize to certain parties, Dino Laurenzi Jr. in particular. The fact that Braun is getting suspended now doesn’t mean he did his job right. In fact, you could argue that it’s even worse. None of this changes the fact that Laurenzi kept Braun’s urine in a refrigerator in his basement overnight. Had Braun been suspended back in early 2012, then sure, maybe apologize to Laurenzi (but that’s assuming he would have done the job correctly). The whole reason Braun didn’t get suspended until now is because of his error.

Braun also doesn’t need to apologize to the Arizona players who feel “cheated” from losing the NLDS in 2011. Because it’s given that ALL of their players were clean at the time, right?

> And my last note on this subject: it’s irritating that MLB went out of its way to isolate Braun from the rest of the pack, meaning everyone else related to the Biogenesis clinic. Those hundreds of players across professional baseball are just as guilty as Braun and have been lying all along as well. I don’t see any reason to go after Braun specifically.

But, with Braun out of the way, MLB is going to stop at nothing to suspend everyone related to the Biogenesis clinic. Alex Rodriguez is going to get absolutely hammered. Yasmani Grandal, Jhonny Peralta, and Melky Cabrera are just a few other names that were on that list. Other fan bases are about to be crushed along with us.

Ryan-Braun

THE NEWS

> Three Brewers relievers have been drawing interest recently: John Axford, Jim Henderson, and Francisco Rodriguez. The Tigers, Dodgers, and Red Sox have reportedly been heavily scouting the Brewers’ relievers recently.

> Yovani Gallardo remains a trade target, but since it was reported that the Diamondbacks and Rockies were interested in him, there haven’t been many rumors surrounding him.

> The Brewers play the second game of this four-gamer with the Padres tonight at 7:10 PM CT. Donovan Hand (0-1, 3.27 ERA) will go for the Brewers and be opposed by spot starter Tyson Ross (0-4, 3.60 ERA).

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Gindl sends Brewers home after 13

July 22, 2013

RECAP

> So I was sitting in the car with my family today listening to the Brewer game on the radio. Their half of the 13th inning was about to begin, and Bob Uecker said Caleb Gindl was going to lead off the inning. After we were done dissing him and talking about his horrendous play in left field, I said, “What if Gindl hits a walk-off homer?”

And not five seconds after cracking that joke, it somehow became reality. Gindl drove Ryan Webb’s 1-0 offering over the left field fence for a walk-off blast to give the Brewers a win after 13 innings. The Crew now has four straight wins and, granted this series was against the Marlins, has some momentum moving into the rest of the second half.

Sadly, Gindl’s home run didn’t come until five innings after Wily Peralta left the game, and he deserved the win. Peralta fired eight stellar innings while striking out seven. He gave up just two hits and two walks. He’s managed to quickly turn his season around, lowering his ERA from above 6.00 to 4.30 in a matter of a few starts.

Gindl

MY TAKE

> Even though Peralta’s great outing today came against the weak-hitting Marlins who haven’t scored a run since the fourth inning of their last game before the All-Star break, we can’t blame it all on their inability to hit. Peralta has dominated some contending teams lately, such as the Braves, Nationals, Reds, and Diamondbacks. It’s safe to say his comeback is legitimate.

> Normally, I’d hammer Ron Roenicke for yanking Peralta after just 97 pitches through eight innings, but I guess he had good reason to today. Can’t blame him for trying to jumpstart the offense by pinch-hitting with Jonathan Lucroy in the eighth.

> But I will hammer him for continuously refusing to put the best team possible on the field. Today, he held Lucroy, Ryan Braun, and Carlos Gomez out of the lineup. I sort of understand with Gomez and the slump he’s in, but sitting him for the likes of Gindl isn’t the best idea. (I know Gindl hit the walk-off, but maybe if Gomez and the rest are in the lineup this game ends earlier and Peralta gets the win). I love Martin Maldonado defensively, but his .170 average isn’t going to cut it. And taking Lucroy out of the lineup on a consistent basis when he’s on an absolute tear is unacceptable. Lastly, Braun needs as much playing time as he can get before the inevitable happens, so there’s no reason to hold him out.

THE NEWS

> Lucroy said today that he has first base and the outfield in mind for next year so he can avoid a situation similar to what happened today. I have to wonder if he’s fast enough to play the outfield, but both right and left field could in be in question if Norichika Aoki departs via free agency and if Braun’s suspension bleeds into next year.

> Alfredo Figaro began his rehab today with the Arizona Brewers (R).

> The night before last, Brandon Barnes hit for the cycle for the Astros and they still lost. Last night, starter Erik Bedard didn’t allow a hit for the Astros and they still lost. Ha.

THE STATS

> Gindl was the first player in Brewers history to a hit walk-off home run for his first MLB homer.

> This is the first time the Brewers have thrown three straight shutouts since 1990, which was the only other time the feat was accomplished in franchise history.

> Peralta has a 0.31 ERA over his last four starts.

> Probables for the upcoming series against the Padres:

Andrew Cashner (5-5, 3.81 ERA) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (1-3, 1.88 ERA)

Tyson Ross (0-4, 3.60 ERA) vs. Donovan Hand (0-1, 3.27 ERA)

??? vs. Kyle Lohse (6-7, 3.49 ERA)

Edinson Volquez (7-8, 5.73 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (8-8, 4.58 ERA)


Brewers embarrased by Padres’ bullpen

June 10, 2012

> Today was an embarrassing day for the Brewers’ offense, to say the least. They lost to the Padres, 5-2, and gave up 13 hits to the worst offense in the National League. And the Brewers could barely get any hits for themselves, despite the fact Padres starter Andrew Cashner left after just 2 1/3 innings. I thought the Brewers would start hitting after that, since Cashner was coming at them with a huge fastball- topping out at 101 MPH- and a 90 MPH change up that complimented the fastball nicely.

The Brewers got one run off Cashner, which was an RBI double by Rickie Weeks in the first inning. After he left the game, the Brewers could only get one more run: an RBI single by Martin Maldonado that gave them a temporary 2-1 lead. But the Padres jumped on Michael Fiers in the sixth inning for three runs, and a lead they wouldn’t again lose.

> I wouldn’t be as mad about the Brewers getting shut down by the Padres’ bullpen if we were still in 2011. Last year, the Pads actually had a bullpen they could brag about, with guys like Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson, and so on. But that isn’t necessarily the case this year. Today, the Padres used Ross Ohlendorf (who went 4 1/3 innings of long relief), Gregerson, Joe Thatcher, Dale Thayer, and Huston Street. The Brewers should have been able to hammer Ohlendorf, like they did back in his days with the Pirates. Same goes for Street, whose save percentage against the Brewers is hovering around 60%. Other than Gregerson, none of these guys should have been too tough for the Brewers to handle. But I guess I can’t expect too much out of the Brewers’ offense with all the injuries. Regardless, though, it’s embarrassing.

> The only positive that came out of today’s game is that the Brewers only needed to use three pitchers. The enigma that is Fiers went six innings while giving up four runs on ten hits. He walked one and struck out six. Then, Manny Parra went two innings, and Francisco Rodriguez handled the ninth.

> And that’s already about it; really not much to talk about today. The Brewers will play a rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. They’ll send Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 4.50 ERA) to the mound, who will hope to come back from a sub-par outing against the Cubs his last time out. It was an odd start- he had good stuff, as shown by his ten strikeouts, but gave up five runs in six innings.

The Padres will counter with Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.21 ERA), who has shown flashes of being a decent pitcher at times this year. But, his ERA has escalated over his past few starts. Bass has never faced the Brewers.

> Anyway, I’ll have up the box score later. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

> Box Score

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 3 5 .258
Norichika Aoki, RF 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 .297
Ryan Braun, LF 5 0 1 0 0 2 1 .306
Aramis Ramirez, 3B 4 0 2 0 1 0 0 .259
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 1 1 0 0 3 .159
Cody Ransom, SS 2 1 0 0 2 2 2 .226
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 0 0 2 1 .230
Martin Maldonado, C 2 0 1 1 1 0 1 .233
b-George Kottaras, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .241
Michael Fiers, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
a-Brooks Conrad, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .081
c- Taylor Green, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .245
d-Carlos Gomez, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .258
Totals 33 2 8 2 4 11 15

a-Struck out for Fiers in the 6th.

b-Struck out for Maldonado in 8th.

c-Batted for Parra in the 8th.

d-Singled for Green in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (9), Ramirez (17).

TB: Maldonado, Braun, Ramirez 3, Weeks 2, Aoki, Morgan, Gomez.

RBI: Weeks (15), Maldonado (7).

Team RISP: 2-for-8.

Team LOB: 11.

BASERUNNING

SB: Aoki (4).

FIELDING

DP: (Ransom-Weeks-Hart), Hart.

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Michael Fiers (L, 1-2) 6.0 10 4 4 1 6 0 4.50
Manny Parra 2.0 2 1 1 1 2 0 4.30
Francisco Rodriguez 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 4.50
Totals 9.0 13 5 5 2 10 0

WP: Fiers, Rodriguez.

Pitches-strikes: Fiers 91-62, Parra 32-19, Rodriguez 14-10.

Groundouts-flyouts: Fiers 2-4, Parra 2-0, Rodriguez 0-0.

Batters faced: Fiers 27, Parra 9, Rodriguez 4.


Brewers cruise after Maldonado’s homer

June 9, 2012

> You can’t blame Martin Maldonado for only hitting .214 right now. He was thrown into a fire that he probably wasn’t ready for: being a starting catcher in the Majors. Defensively, he’s handled himself well, but is still finding his way with the bat. Maldonado was never known as an offensive catcher until last year, when he broke out for a .321 average in Triple-A. But still, he was forced into the situation thanks to- technically- Jonathan Lucroy’s wife. Anyway, just as it took Lucroy a while to get used to hitting in the Majors back after his call-up in 2010, it’s taking Maldonado a while as well.

> But Maldonado took a big step forward offensively today in the Brewers’ 9-5 win over the Padres. His home run in the fourth was the decisive blow in the slugfest, and gave the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t again relinquish. But Maldonado wasn’t the only offensive story tonight. Corey Hart had yet another multi-home run game- two solo shots, both off of Pads starter Edinson Volquez (who the Brewers have a history of hammering from his days with the Reds).

Shaun Marcum didn’t have his prettiest start of the year, but it was good enough tonight. He went 5 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on six hits. He also walked three and struck out six for his fifth win of the year.

The Brewers got on the board immediately in the first on Hart’s first home run of the game, which was a leadoff shot. But, in the third, Everth Cabrera hit an inside-the-park home run, courtesy of a misplay by center fielder Carlos Gomez. The Padres then took the lead in the fourth, thanks to a bases-loaded walk to Cabrera by Marcum.

But then came Maldonado’s big blow. In the Brewers’ fourth, Maldonado hit a go-ahead three-run shot to make the score 4-2. This was by far his biggest moment as a Major Leaguer so far.

In the fifth, the Brewers tacked on two more runs on Hart’s second homer of the game, then an Aramis Ramirez RBI groundout. The Padres then got one run back on Cameron Maybin’s solo home to make it 6-3. But, in the seventh, the Brewers extended their lead even more, first on a Rickie Weeks sacrifice fly. Then, Taylor Green hit his second career home run, a two-run blast.

The Padres got two more runs in the ninth on Logan Forsythe’s two-RBI triple, but it wasn’t near enough to start a rally.

> Here’s an interesting (and encouraging) fact. The last Brewer to hit his first two career home runs in pinch-hit appearances was Prince Fielder. We all saw what kind of career he had in Milwaukee before joining the Tigers before free agency, and it was one heck of a run. But the reason I bring this up is because Green’s first two home runs have come under the same circumstances: both were in pinch-hit appearances. Obviously, other than those two home runs, Green has shown the potential to be a utility guy who comes through every so often, at least in the Majors. But we have to remember he was an extreme power hitter in the Minors, with 36 home runs and a .336 batting average in Triple-A last year. So he could be hitting his stride after a few months in the Majors, and I’m just saying- he and Fielder had similar starts.

> The Brewers have successfully signed their top two Draft picks from a few days ago. They signed their first pick (27th overall), power-hitting catcher Clint Coulter, with a $1.675 million bonus. Power-hitting (but injury-prone) outfielder Victor Roache, their second pick (28th overall), signed with a $1.525 bonus.

Anyway, I might do a more in-depth analysis of these guys sometime next week.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this series tomorrow at 3:10 PM CT. They’ll send Michael Fiers (1-1, 3.75 ERA) to the mound for his third career start. He’s had mixed results in his first two: he dominated the Dodgers in LA last week, but lost to the Pirates after serving up back-to-back long balls in the fifth.

The Padres will counter with ex-Cub Andrew Cashner, who the Brewers have seen a bit of out of the Chicago bullpen. Cashner was used out of the bullpen by the Padres earlier this season, and put up a 3.81 ERA. This is his first start of the season.

Anyway, I’ll probably add the box score tomorrow. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.