Brewers reward Greinke in extras after vintage duel

June 23, 2012

> Today, a Brewers starter went nine innings for the first time since April of 2011. Yet, the Brewers still don’t have a complete game since April of 2011.

> The Brewers defeated the White Sox today, 1-0, in ten innings. This was by far the best pitchers’ duel the Brewers have been involved in this year. You knew it was going to be a duel coming in, with Zack Greinke going for the Crew and Chris Sale for the Sox. Both are having All-Star campaigns, and continued their remarkable seasons today.

Greinke may very well have had his best start in a Brewers uniform today. He fired nine shutout innings while giving up just three hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out four. While the strikeout numbers may have been down, these are the types of starts that Ron Roenicke must be looking for: pitching to contact and keeping the pitch count down, which is exactly what Greinke did today. He threw exactly 100 pitches through nine, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him go out for the tenth. Anyway, it didn’t matter that the strikeouts were down for Greinke tonight, because he didn’t even allow a runner to reach second base. Yeah, he was that dominant.

Sale, on the other hand, also had a stellar start. He went eight shutout innings while giving up four hits. He walked one and struck out seven. The Brewers had a few chances to score against him, particularly in the fifth and seventh innings, when they had a runner on second with one out in each inning. But Sale weaved his way out of trouble in both situations.

Sale was removed in favor of Addison Reed in the ninth, and I was worried that if the Brewers didn’t score that inning, Greinke wouldn’t factor in the decision. Reed did toss a perfect ninth, but Greinke came back for the ninth and matched him.

Aramis Ramirez led off the tenth with a double off Jesse Crain, his second double of the night. He was pinch-run for by Nyjer Morgan. Corey Hart then struck out. But, with Rickie Weeks batting, Crain threw a wild pitch that allowed Morgan to advanced to third. Weeks took advantage of it and slapped an RBI single to left field, which would be the only run of the game.

I was honestly hoping for Greinke to come back out and pitch the tenth, but instead struggling closer John Axford was on. And it looked like he was going to have another rough night, as he walked Gordon Beckham to lead off the inning. But he came back to strike out the American League leader in home runs, Adam Dunn, which was a huge out. But he still had to deal with another great hitter in Paul Konerko. Axford may have caught a bit of luck with him- he hit a ground ball down the line, but third baseman Taylor Green had him positioned perfectly, and from there the Brewers turned a game-ending double play.

> Prior to today’s game, the Brewers reportedly sign veteran starter Livan Hernandez to a one-year contract. But the news was leaked in an odd way- ex-Brewer utility man Bill Hall announced it via Twitter after he ran into Livan at an airport.

Anyway, Hernandez has been around for quite some time. He was most recently released by the Braves on June 18th after putting up a 4.94 ERA out of their bullpen. But Livan could be of help for the Brewers, who could need an extra starter if Shaun Marcum does end up hitting the disabled list, or if Marco Estrada has a setback in his rehab. If neither of the situations happen, though, Hernandez could be a long reliever.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of their last Interleague series tomorrow at 6:15 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.11 ERA) to the mound, who has had just terrible luck his past three starts. He should have won all of them, but the bullpen found a way to blow it each time. So don’t be deceived by the numbers; he’s been a lot better as of late.

The White Sox will counter with Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 3.52 ERA), who will make a spot start in place of the injured Philip Humber.

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

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Close plays, missed chances cost Brewers in loss to Giants

July 24, 2011

Update 10:42a A little more clarification on the ejections and umpires. Bochy wasn’t actually ejected; it was the Giants’ bench coach, Ron Wotus, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. And I figured out that the home plate umpire was not West, but Sam Holbrook. I guess that means Holbrook was the one making the bad calls. But that doesn’t change anything I said about West later in this post. Anyway, sorry for any confusion, and hopefully it’s cleared up now.

11:14p There are a few things that have made me angry during the Brewers’ time in San Francisco. That includes their loss today, but it’s more than that, and I’ll get to that later.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost a close game with the Giants today, 4-2. Randy Wolf was on the mound, and had another solid start, but the Brewers’ bats seem to always shut down whenever he pitches.

The Brewers struck first in the fourth inning, when Ryan Braun hit a solo homer off of Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Rickie Weeks followed up with a double, then Casey McGehee hit a hard single to left field. Weeks tried to score, and he did, but not according to home plate umpire Joe West. Left fielder Cody Ross’ throw was on the money, but catcher Chris Stewart completely missed the tag, and yet Weeks was called out. But West was making questionable calls all night, which was another thing that I wasn’t too impressed about, but I’ll get to more on that later as well.

The Giants immediately answered in the bottom of the fourth, as Nate Schierholtz, who would be a nightmare for the Brewers the rest of the game, hit a two-run double off of Wolf to make it 2-1, Giants.

The Brewers tied the game in the fifth, however, on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI double. But, in the bottom of the inning, the Giants regained the lead on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly.

The Giants added another run on Andres Torres’ RBI single in the eighth inning. Brian Wilson and his shoe polish beard came into finish the game for the Giants, who sealed the 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Morgan “flips off” fans in center

He didn’t, actually. That’s what put me over the top about this.

While Morgan was playing center yesterday, he made a great catch to rob whoever was batting of extra bases. Morgan then put up two fingers to signify that there were two outs in the inning, but the fans in the center field crowd, who must have been blind, took it the wrong way. They all assumed that Morgan had flipped them off. Morgan, who is an emotional player and likes to have fun on the field, played along and continued to taunt the fans (which the deserved for being that stupid). Ever since then, Morgan has been booed whenever he makes a play or comes up to bat in a game in this series.

Anyway, Giants beat reporter Henry Shculman made the whole situation worse by tweeting and blogging that Morgan flipped off the center field crowd, which probably got him some extra boos today. Shculman also said that Morgan would probably be suspended for a game or two. I noticed Shculman’s tweet earlier today, and said that he was only signifying that there were two outs (and many others did as well). His reply? “That debate was so yesterday.” I guess Giants fans and affiliates have a little less class than I thought.

By the way,  I don’t normally do things like this on my blog (meaning referring to tweets and things on other blogs). But this was just flat-out stupid and I had to say something.

Anyway… I could go on about past experiences where the Giants didn’t have too much class, such as an incident between Prince Fielder and Barry Zito, and some offensive comments by Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding Buster Posey’s season ending injury. But that would get me WAY off topic…

West is the greatest home plate umpire ever.

Not.

West, who was umpiring home plate for today’s game, was making extremely questionable calls early on in the game, and continued throughout. He actually screwed over Vogelsong on a lot of pitches, which led to him having to throw 103 pitches just to get through the fifth inning. In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy (or another coach in their dugout, I couldn’t really tell due to the camera angles) was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes, which isn’t allowed.

Anyway, back to West. He’s made a pretty bad reputation for himself this year as one of the worst umpires in baseball. This wasn’t the first time he’s made a scene in a game this year. I remember earlier this year when he was umpiring a Boston game, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into an argument with another one of the umpires in the crew. West, of course, had to get into the argument, because, as Francona said after the game, “he’s always getting in other people’s business.”

I’ll stop my ranting after this, but I just want to say one more thing about how bad umpires have been this year. Former Brewer Bill Hall, while he was in a game for the Astros, was at bat, and the umpire was giving him some bad calls. Now, we all know that Hall takes awhile to get set before he steps back into the batter’s box after a pitch, but he took a few extra moments before getting back into his stance. While he was taking his time, the home plate umpire came up to him and said, “Get the **** back in the batter’s box.” (I censored the word because I’m not going to go as far as putting swears on my blog.) Yeah. An UMPIRE said that. Hall clearly wasn’t too happy with that, and, after the game, he made a statement that went something along the lines of “all umpires think that fans come to the games to watch them and try to attract attention to themselves.” Which is completely true. I could name a few umps who appear to think this way, such as West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez… I could go on. But, when did all this craziness with umpires start? Well, I noticed it immediately after Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way too far off topic with these last few topics, so I’m going to get back to the Brewers now. My apologies for all this ranting.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play a rubber match against the Giants tomorrow in the finale of their three game set. Yovani Gallardo (11-6, 3.96 ERA) will go for the Brewers, hoping to become more consistent as the ace of the staff. Gallardo has had success against the Giants in his career, going 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA against them. I should also mention that Gallardo won the first game of his career against the Giants.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-9, 3.72 ERA), who has been victim of even less run support than Wolf, and his having a much better year than his record shows. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals knocked around the Pirates, 9-1. They are tied with us for the division lead and one game back, respectively.
  • The Cubs defeated the Astros, 5-1. They are 12.5 games back and 20 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds blew out the Braves, 11-2. They are four games back.
  • Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen of the Reds were both placed on the DL today. (By the way, I’m going to start putting news about other teams under this section of my posts, if you’re wondering what this is doing here.)

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 X 4 10 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 0 1 1 0 .258
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .327
c-Brett Carroll, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
d-Mark Kotsay, PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Ryan Braun, LF 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 .319
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .285
Rickie Weeks, 2B 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 .275
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, S 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .252
George Kottaras, C 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .207
a-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Randy Wolf, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
b- Josh Wilson, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Total 30 2 7 2 4 7 9

a-Lined out for Kottaras in the 7th.

b-Grounded out for Wolf in the 7th.

c-Batted for Morgan in the 8th.

d-Flied out for Carroll in 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (25), Morgan (10).

3B: Hart (2).

HR: Braun (19).

RBI: Braun (67), Morgan (23).

Team RISP: 3-for-6.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

SB: Weeks (9).

CS: McGehee (2).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (L, 6-8) 6.0 7 3 3 3 6 0 3.62
LaTroy Hawkins 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.15
Kameron Loe 0.1 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.60
Marco Estrada 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 101-62, Hawkins 18-12, Loe 13-7, Estrada 3-3.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 4-6, Hawkins 1-0, Loe 0-1, Estrada 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Hawkins 4, Loe 4, Estrada 2.

Inherited runners-scored: Estrada 2-0.