Odd baserunning miscue looms large

August 19, 2012

POSTGAME

> Tonight was a strange game, and pretty much all the breaks went against the Brewers. They were narrowly defeated by the Phillies, 4-3, in a game that could have been won 5-4.

The Phils got on the board in the second inning on back-to-back home runs from John Mayberry Jr. and Erik Kratz. The Brewers answered one of those runs in the bottom of the inning on Aramis Ramirez’s solo shot, but the Phillies took it right back on Ryan Howard’s RBI double in the third.

Down 4-1 in the eighth inning, Ryan Braun hit a two-run blast to cut the lead and knock Cole Hamels out of the game, but Jonathan Papelbon came on and got the four-out save and seal the win for the Phillies.

ODDITIES ON THE BASEPATHS

> Before I get too far into this, I’m going to say that I watched the first few innings of the game on a TV with no sound, so I couldn’t hear any analysis or anything.

And hearing some analysis on a play like this would have been useful. In the third inning, with two outs, Jonathan Lucroy, who was hitting second today, hit a single. Braun came up and hit a line drive that bounced off the yellow line on top of the wall in left field, and that usually signifies a home run.

Apparently not, though. Lucroy was running from first base, and Braun, who thought he had extra bases if not a home run, was close behind him. But Braun had to stop about halfway between first and second base, because, for some reason, Lucroy was still sitting at second base. Braun appeared to be screaming at Lucroy and pointing to third base, but by that time Dominic Brown had already thrown the ball back into the infield, and Braun was eventually thrown out.

Turns out Lucroy had missed second base as he was running, and had to go back and step on it again. But, again, the ball was already back to the infield, so one of them would have been thrown out eventually.

I’m confused about a few things here. If there were two outs and Braun hits a fly ball, Lucroy should be running as hard as he can no matter what. Unless he really overran second base that far and had to go back a ways to touch it again, I don’t see why he couldn’t at least make it to third (even if it were a close play), and then there’s runners on second and third with two outs. Again, though, I was watching the game without sound, and the classic FSWisconsin camera work didn’t help me out too much either.

But, Lucroy’s baserunning aside, it appeared Braun should have had a home run. It looked like it hit the top of the wall, which would make hit a home run, regardless of whether or not it bounces back onto the field. FSWisconsin was showing replays of the ball hitting the yellow as well. I listened to some audio later and heard Bill Schroeder say that Braun “missed a home run by inches,” but FSWisconsin didn’t show an angle close enough to the wall for us to see, so I guess we’ll never know.

I guess this is just another frustrating way to lose in a frustrating season.

THE NEWS

> Rickie Weeks got the day off today. Cody Ransom took his place, and I’ll tell you what he did in the numbers section. (But you can probably already guess.)

> Yesterday, Doug Melvin expressed his confidence in John Axford rebounding from his struggles.

“It’s too early to say. We believe in John. I believe in John Axford, I believe in his stuff, I believe in his character, his poise. I think there’s 16 teams that they don’t have the same closer they had at the start of the year. That position, there’s so much pressure on that closer role. You look at other teams. People are yelling for a change after four of five [blown saves].”

> The Astros fired Brad Mills today. The last thing the Brewers will remember him for was him coming out to argue with umpires every five seconds in that last series.

THE NUMBERS

> What you’ve all been waiting for: Ransom struck out four times in four at-bats. He’s clearly going for a 90% strikeout rate by the end of the season.

> Mike Fiers got roughed up for the second straight outing, giving up four runs in five innings. His ERA has gone from 1.80 to 2.90 in his last two starts.

> The bullpen was uncharacteristically good tonight. Kameron Loe, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jim Henderson combined for four shutout innings.

> Braun hit his 33rd home run, which already ties his total from 2011.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Kyle Kendrick (5-9, 4.53 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (3-9, 5.65 ERA)

 

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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.