Braun takes home fifth consecutive Silver Slugger

November 9, 2012

> Apparently there’s one award that a false PED accusation can’t take away from Ryan Braun, and that’s one of the three outfield Silver Slugger awards. Braun has basically had this award locked down ever since he arrived in the Majors, this season being the fifth consecutive in which he took home an outfield SS. (The reason I say “one of the outfield awards” is because there is no specific left field award; the awards just go to the three top offensive outfielders regardless of which outfield position they play.)

But Braun winning this award doesn’t make it any better that he was robbed of the Hank Aaron Award, and will be robbed of the MVP. Just something we’ll have to live with for likely the next few seasons.

Anyway, here are the rest of the Silver Slugger winners at their respective positions:

American League

Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski

First Base: Prince Fielder

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Third Base: Miguel Cabrera

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Outfield: Mike Trout

Outfield: Josh Willingham

Outfield: Josh Hamilton

Designated Hitter: Billy Butler

National League

Catcher: Buster Posey

First Base: Adam LaRoche

Second Base: Aaron Hill

Third Base: Chase Headley

Shortstop: Ian Desmond

Outfield: Andrew McCutchen

Outfield: Jay Bruce

Outfield: Braun

Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg

Now for a few pieces of news I’ve missed over the last few days…

> Hunter Morris was named the Topps Southern League Player of the Year. He just can’t stop winning awards; now let’s hope he isn’t falsely accused of using steroids sometime this offseason.

> Carlos Gomez was given the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award for the Brewers.

Defense appears to be second sense to him; now let’s see if Gomez can build off his solid offensive campaign in 2012. If the Brewers don’t sign Hamilton, Gomez is the guy they’re going to fall back on.

> Brock Kjeldgaard left the Arizona Fall League with a broken foot. He is going to have surgery this week, but will be ready for Spring Training.

> Santo Manzanillo also left the AFL due to a sore right shoulder. He got murdered for seven runs in just two innings over the course of three AFL games.

But poor Manzanillo never really managed to get healthy all year. He got into a car accident in late 2011, which affected his arm, and probably his performance.

> Minor moves:

Diamondbacks: Signed Garrett Mock to a minor league deal.
Mets: Signed Greg Burke to a minor league deal.
Indians: Outrighted Kevin Slowey, who elected free agency; signed Hector Rondon and Luis Hernandez to minor league contracts.
Red Sox: Signed Mitch Maier to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed Darren Ford and Jared Goedart to minor league deals.
Royals: Re-signed Manny Pina to a minor league deal.
Blue Jays: Acquired ex-Brewer Jeremy Jeffress from the Royals; signed Maicer Izturis to a three-year deal; designated Scott Maine for assignment.
Rangers: Acquired Tommy Hottovy from the Royals.
Angels: Signed ex-Brewer Mitch Stetter to a minor league deal.
Reds: Outrighted Bill Bray and Wilson Valdez, both of whom elected free agency.
Phillies: Re-signed Kevin Frandsen to a one-year deal.

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Taking “embarrassment” to a whole new level

June 14, 2012

> I guess we should just start getting used to this.

> The Brewers lost to the Royals today, 4-3, in eleven innings.

But they shouldn’t have lost. Up until the ninth inning, they played one of their better games in a while. They got a nice pitching performance from Randy Wolf (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), good defense, and timely hitting. Third baseman Cody Ransom and shortstop Edwin Maysonet saved Wolf a couple of times, but, other than that, Wolf put up his second consecutive quality outing, a sign he might be settling in to the 2012 season.

The Brewers got their first run in the top of the third on Aramis Ramirez’s RBI infield hit (which was the fourth consecutive infield hit that inning), and then the go-ahead run a Ryan Braun RBI single in the seventh. The Brewers also tacked on an insurance run in the ninth when Norichiki Aoki scored on an error.

Everything was going right. Until the ninth inning, of course.

John Axford, who looked awful in his last outing against the Padres, was on for the save. He got Billy Butler to ground out for the first out of the inning, but the wheels fell off from there. Axford walked Eric Hosmer on four pitches, then came back to induce a Jeff Francoeur flyout. But Axford went on to walk Mike Moustakas, then served up a game-tying triple to ex-Brewer Alcides Escobar.

If you recall, in my post for the last game of the Padres series the other day, I said the Brewers threw their fundamentally worst inning of the year, as far as pitching goes. Well, we may have a competition for that title.

Kameron Loe came in to to start the inning, and promptly gave up a lead-off single to Butler. He then walked Hosmer, and gave up a single to Francoeur. The Brewers “manager” decided he had seen enough, and replaced Loe with Jose Veras. And what does Veras do?

Walk Moustakas on five pitches, with the bases loaded. Good game, guys.

> I just don’t know anymore. I thought this team had hit its low point of the year, but, the way things are headed, it might only get worse. I predicted the Brewers would sweep the Royals this series, and now here we sit, losing a series to one of the worst teams in the American League.

But, as the title of this article implies, the Brewers are taking the word “embarrassment” to a new level. A walk-off walk? Give me a break. This team is bad, but it isn’t that bad.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will hopefully salvage one game of this series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Shaun Marcum (5-3, 3.50 ERA) to the mound, who has won his last three starts. He’s also 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in his career against the Royals, who he’s no stranger to from his time in the AL. But, unless the offense and bullpen get their crap together, none of those stats really matter, unfortunately.

The Royals will counter with Luke Hochevar (3-7, 6.57 ERA), who was supposed to pitch today, but got pushed back by Jonathan Sanchez. The Royals have always had high hopes that Hochevar would eventually be an ace, but things have gone that way so far throughout his career. He’s never faced the Brewers in his career.

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

> Box Score

(coming later)


Brewers spoil late scoring chances in loss to KC

June 13, 2012

> I thought the Brewers would be able to sweep the Royals in this three-game series. Well, you can scratch that.

> The Brewers fell to the Royals tonight, 2-1, in a game that was pretty embarrassing on many different levels. The headline was Zack Greinke’s return to Kansas City for the first time since being traded to the Brewers in December of 2010. But, by the late innings, that was merely a side-note after all of the other things that took place.

Alex Gordon hit a lead-off homerun off Greinke in the first inning on a 3-2 pitch. And this was no cheap shot, considering it sailed into the waterfall of Kauffman Stadium.

After that, though, Royals starter Luis Mendoza stole the show. Of course, Mendoza was a starter who was making his first start since returning from the bullpen, so naturally he had to dominate the Brewers. And he did just that, firing six no-hit innings to start the game. The Brewers broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh on what would have been an infield single for Ryan Braun, but he wound up reaching third base, courtesy of some little league work by the Royals’ infield. Mendoza then walked Aramis Ramirez, which prompted the sometimes quick hook of ex-Brewer manager Ned Yost. So Mendoza was pulled after 6+ innings, giving up just one hit- the infield single to Braun- while walking two and striking out four.

But the Brewers nearly left that inning without scoring. Taylor Green flew out to the left fielder Gordon for the first out, but Braun tried to tag up, and was thrown out at home by Gordon. Ramirez advanced to third on the play. Then, Rickie Weeks came through against reliever Aaron Crow with a game-tying, RBI single.

That was all the Brewers would get. They eventually lost the lead in the eighth inning, and I shouldn’t even need to tell you who gave it up. Francisco Rodriguez gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Billy Butler.

The Brewers had runners on third in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but failed to drive in any of those runners. Royals closer Jonathan Broxton made it interesting in the ninth, giving up a lead-off single to Ramirez. After that, he struck out Green, but then gave up an infield single to Weeks. Broxton struck out George Kottaras, and induced a Brooks Conrad groundout to end the game.

> This game was an example of some classic Ron Roenicke management. He removed Greinke after seven nice innings, despite the fact his pitch count was only 105. After Greinke was removed, announcer Brian Anderson said that “pitch count got him tonight.” No, Brian. Ron Roenicke management got him. Roenicke needs to learn that a 105 pitch count really isn’t that high, even in this day and age. If Greinke was at 110 pitches or higher after seven, then sure, I could understand not putting him back out for the eighth. But you see all of these pitchers (from other teams) nowadays going the distance using 120-130 pitches. Roenicke barely lets our guys touch 100 pitches, and it’s driving me insane. By the way, it’s worth noting that a Brewer pitcher hasn’t thrown a complete game since April of 2011- the first win of the 2011 season.

Next up is Ron’s pinch-hitting selection in the ninth inning. I’m not going to blame him for using Kottaras, but, in reality, he hasn’t done crap since April. So he isn’t that “reliable, clutch bat off the bench” anymore. But I AM going to blame him for using Conrad as the last batter of the game with a man on third. Conrad was batting .081 going into the at-bat, so the game was obviously over before he even stepped in the batter’s box. Anybody would have been better than Conrad in that situation.

Lastly, the use of the bullpen, which sort of ties in to the Greinke situation. Not only did Roenicke remove Greinke, he removed Greinke in favor of Rodriguez. At this point, every time K-Rod enters a game, you can just consider it a loss, whether it’s tied or the Brewers have the lead. His 0-4 record should tell the story of how bad he’s been, although he’s actually blown more games than that.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.45 ERA) to the mound, who has been pretty bad overall this year, but is coming off a nice start against the Cubs. The Royals are one of the few teams he’s never faced in his career.

The Royals will counter with Luke Hochevar (3-7, 6.57 ERA). If the Brewers can’t beat this guy, we might as well call it a season. However, I predicted today that the Brewers would hammer Mendoza, and he nearly no-hit them. So I’m done making predictions for now.

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