News from the last few days

November 22, 2012

> The Mariners have reportedly shown interest in Mat Gamel. I’m going to have an article up tomorrow about how that applies to the Brewers and what they could get in return, but for now I’m going to recap the news I’ve missed over the past few days.

> The Brewers added prospects Scooter Gennett, Hiram Burgos, Josh Prince, Nick Bucci, and Khris Davis to their 40-man roster, meaning they’re protected from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

> The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal. I was holding out hope that the Brewers would some how be able to sign him, but it was unlikely the whole time.

> The Royals signed Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year deal. He could have been another option for the Brewers, though he was seeking a three-year deal, and I think he’s too dangerous to commit to for that long.

> 10 teams have reportedly shown interest in Kyuji Fujikawa. The Brewers could be one of those teams, seeing as Fujikawa is a hard-throwing reliever.

> Minor moves: 

Padres: Re-signed Kyle Blanks to a one-year deal; designated Cory Burns for assignment; added Yeison Asencio, Jaff Decker, and Adys Portillo to their 40-man roster.
Royals: Released Ysmelin Alcantara, Henry Moreno, and Jose Rodriguez; designated Adam Moore, Vin Mazzaro, Chris Volstad, Ryan Verdugo, Brayan Pena, Clint Robinson, and Derrick Robinson for assignment; added Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph, John Lamb, Justin Marks, Mike Montgomery, and J.C. Gutierrez to their 40-man roster; re-signed Brett Hayes to a one-year deal.
Pirates: Signed Felix Pie, Brooks Brown, Erik Cordier, David Bromberg, Luis Sanz, and Alex Valdez to minor league deals.
Indians: Signed Matt Carson and Cedric Hunter to minor league deals; designated Fabio Martinez for assignment; added Tim Fedroff, T.J. House, Chen-Chang Lee, and Trey Haley to their 40-man roster; outrighted ex-Brewer Matt LaPorta and Brent Lillibridge to Triple-A.
Blue Jays: Signed Bobby Korecky, Jim Negrych, Ricardo Nanita, and Alex Hinshaw to minor league deals; designated Mike McDade, Mike McCoy, and Cory Wade for assignment; added Ryan Goins and A.J. Jimenez to their 40-man roster.
Tigers: Released Ryan Raburn.
Mariners: Acquired Robert Andino from the Orioles; designated Chone Figgins and Scott Cousins for assignment; added Julio Morban, Brandon Maurer, Vinnie Catricala, Anthony Fernandez, and Bobby LaFramboise to their 40-man roster.
Orioles: Acquired Trayvon Robinson from the Mariners.
Mets: Signed Carlos Torres, Scott Rice, and Jamie Hoffmann to minor league deals.
Yankees: Claimed Mickey Storey off waivers from the Astros; signed David Herndon to a one-year deal.
Athletics: Designated Brandon Hicks and Jim Miller for assignment; added Arnold Leon, Grant Green, Shane Peterson, and Michael Ynoa to their 40-man roster; signed Justin Thomas and Darwin Perez to minor league deals.
Rockies: Acquired Ryan Wheeler from the Diamondbacks; outrighted Andrew Brown and Matt McBride to Triple-A.
Diamondbacks: Acquired Matt Reynolds from the Rockies; signed Kila Ka’aihue to a minor league deal.
Cardinals: Signed Jamie Romak to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Sam Deduno, Shairon Martis, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, P.J. Walters, Brian Dinkleman, Wilkin Ramirez, James Beresford, Deibinson Romero, Eric Fryer, Tom Boleska, and Jason Christian to minor league deals.
Cubs: Acquired Barret Loux from the Rangers; signed Brian Bogusevic, Alberto Gonzalez, Johermyn Chavez, and J.C. Boscan to minor league deals; outrighted Carlos Gutierrez to Triple-A; designated Bryan LaHair for assignment (I have to wonder when the last time a player was DFA’d following an All-Star season).
Rangers: Acquired Jake Brigham from the Cubs.
Astros: Outrighted Scott Moore to Triple-A.
Red Sox: Signed Jonny Gomes to a two-year deal; designated Danny Valencia, Ivan De Jesus, Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter, and Zach Stewart for assignment.
White Sox: Re-signed Dewayne Wise to a one-year deal; signed Bryan Anderson and David Purcey to minor league deals.
Reds: Signed Emmanuel Burriss to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed Fernando Abad and Caleb Clay to minor league deals.
Dodgers: Signed Nick Evans, Juan Abreu, Kelvin De La Cruz, Miguel Rojas, Hector Correa, Wilkin Castillo, and Gregory Infante to minor league deals.

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Ax saves back-to-back games; Wolf cut loose

August 22, 2012

POSTGAME

> Today was the ideal Brewers win: the starter goes seven strong, and the setup man and closer each throw scoreless innings to seal the win.

That’s been very uncommon this year thanks the bullpen, but it happened today in the Brewers’ 3-2 win over the Cubs, as the brooms were brought out. Yovani Gallardo won his fifth straight decision, going seven solid innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine.

Yo gave up a lead-off home run to David DeJesus, but buckled down until giving up another solo homer to Bryan LaHair in the seventh. After the Cubs took the early 1-0 lead, the Brewers responded in the bottom of the first with three straight doubles off Travis Wood from Norichika Aoki, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart. The Brewers added on another run on Braun’s solo home run in the sixth.

Jim Henderson pitched the eighth and struggled a bit with his command, but put up the zero. John Axford struck out the side in the ninth to record his 20th save, so maybe he’s on his way back to being a dominant closer.

THE NEWS

> In a somewhat shocking move, Randy Wolf was released prior to today’s game. With the numbers Wolf was putting up this year, it was extremely unlikely the Brewers were going to pick up his $10 million option for 2013 anyway, but he wasn’t expected to go this early.

Wolf was victim to nine blown saves behind him, but the 5.69 ERA speaks for itself. He was just flat-out ineffective this year and couldn’t duplicate the 2011 season in which he went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA, while also getting a clutch win in the NLCS against the Cardinals.

He went 13-12 with a 4.17 ERA in 2010, including a 2.67 ERA in the second half, which was his first year with the Brewers. Wolf finishes with a career 29-32 record as a Brewer with a 4.37 ERA.

I hope Wolf gets picked up by someone (maybe a contender) down the stretch. He was a real class act, but just wasn’t getting it done for the Brewers this go around.

> In a corresponding move, the Brewers once again recalled Jeff Bianchi.

> Jean Segura was out of today’s lineup, and was witnessed limping in the clubhouse. Last night, Carlos Marmol covered first base the wrong way while fielding a Segura groundout, and Segura stepped on his foot. Segura did stay in the rest of the game.

Cody Ransom got the start at shortstop today, and the Brewers called up Bianchi just in case.

> Axford reportedly asked Ron Roenicke to return to the closer’s role. That’s a very good sign, because it means Ax’s confidence is starting to come back.

> Bartolo Colon, currently pitching for the contending Athletics, was hit with a 50-game ban today. It’s crazy how many players have been suspended this year. It was the second Bay Area player to get knocked out, with Melky Cabrera receiving a suspension last week.

THE NUMBERS

> Braun has been hot since snapping his slump, and continued that with a 3-for-4 day. His average now sits at .308.

> Ransom actually got a hit in his start, going 1-for-2. But, he naturally struck out the one time he was retired.

> Since his record evened at 8-8 following a rough start against the Nationals, Gallardo has won five consecutive decisions, only giving up more than two earned runs in one of those starts.

> Brewers pitchers struck out a cumulative 37 Cubs batters this series (12 in the first two games, 13 today).

> Wolf was released on his 36th birthday. Ouch.

> After an off-day tomorrow, the Brewers start a three-game set against the still-contending Pirates. Here are the probables:

Mike Fiers (6-6, 2.90 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (8-12, 4.00 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (5-3, 3.39 ERA) vs. Jeff Karstens (4-3, 3.79 ERA)

Mark Rogers (1-1, 5.02 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (7-13, 4.76 ERA)

 


Aoki’s big day lifts Crew to series win

June 8, 2012

> Normally, Japanese imports don’t bring extra power to a Major League lineup. And usually, Norichika Aoki doesn’t do that for the Brewers. But, he did today in their 4-3 win over the Cubs in 10 innings. Aoki has had a couple of nice games for the Brewers since coming overseas to the Majors, but today was by far the best one yet. He went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .303 (although it feels like it should be a lot higher than that).

First off, though, we witnessed a very rare sighting today: Randy Wolf actually had a good outing. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up an unearned run on four hits. He walked two and struck out six. Wolf has had a very rough year up to this point, coming into today with a 6.05 ERA, but lowered it to 5.45. Arguably his two bests starts this year have come against the Cubs; he also threw six shutout innings against them back in May. Ironically, though, he hasn’t picked up a win in either of the starts.

The Brewers got in the board in the fourth on Aoki’s first hit of the day, a solo shot to make the score 1-0. Technically, Aoki did have one home run prior to this, which was an inside-the-parker against the Rockies. But this was his first legitimate, into the seats home run. Anyway, the Brewers got another run in the sixth on George Kottaras’ RBI single.

But things got bad in the late innings. Wolf started the seventh inning by walking Jeff Baker, then Joe Mather reached on an error by Cody Ransom, who was manning third base today. It looked like things wouldn’t get too out of hand after Wolf induced an Ian Stewart double play, but he then gave up an RBI double to Koyie Hill. Wolf was removed in favor of Jose Veras, who would get out of the inning and save the Brewers’ lead for the time being.

Then came the eighth inning. Francisco Rodriguez started the inning fine, retiring the first two he faced. But then he gave up a single to Alfonso Soriano, followed by a go-ahead, two-run shot by Bryan LaHair (who is slowly but surely becoming a Brewer-killer). This made the score 3-2.

But the Brewers wouldn’t go down without a fight. Aoki led off the Brewers’ eighth with a single, and, two batters later, Corey Hart tied the game with an RBI ground-rule double. But Rickie Weeks struck out with two men on to kill the rally, leaving it 3-3.

John Axford came on and threw perfect innings in the ninth and tenth. This set the stage for Aoki’s biggest moment as a Brewer, a walk-off shot on the third pitch of the tenth inning. Coming into today, Aoki hadn’t hit a ball out of a Major League park yet this year, but did it twice today.

> But K-Rod got his butt saved thanks to Aoki. Just when Rodriguez finally seemed to be settling down into the consistent setup man he was last year after being acquired by the Mets, he goes out and does this. I just don’t know about him any more. He’s like the first half Kameron Loe of last year.

> Aramis Ramirez missed his fourth consecutive start today, including the entire series against his former team. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning, but was intentionally walked, and was pinch-run for by Zack Greinke. But hopefully him pinch-hitting a sign that he won’t be out for too much longer.

> Anyway, that’s about it. The Brewers will start a three-game set with the Padres tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. The Brewers already lost a series to the Padres earlier this year in San Diego, which is pretty embarrassing, considering the Padres have by far the worst offense in the National League. But here’s what the pitching match-ups are looking like:

Edinson Volquez (2-5, 3.42 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (4-3, 3.39 ERA)

Eric Stults (1-2, 4.06 ERA) vs. Michael Fiers (1-1, 3.75 ERA)

Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 4.50 ERA)

And that’s about it. I’ll be starting up box scores again over the summer; I should have that up later. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

> Box Score

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Norichika Aoki, RF 5 3 3 2 0 0 2 .303
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 .228
b-Carlos Gomez, PH-CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .261
Ryan Braun, LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .306
Corey Hart, 1B 4 1 2 1 0 1 1 .255
George Kottaras, C 3 0 1 1 0 1 1 .245
c-Aramis Ramirez, PH 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .249
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .160
Cody Ransom, 3B 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 .236
Edwin Maysonet, SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200
Randy Wolf, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .100
a-Martin Maldonado, PH-C 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .192
Totals 33 4 7 4 2 9 10

a-Struck out for Veras in the 7th.

b-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Morgan in the 8th.

c-Intentionally walked for Rodriguez in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Hart 2 (16).

HR: Aoki 2 (3).

TB: Braun, Kottaras, Aoki 9, Hart 4.

RBI: Aoki 2 (9), Kottaras (10), Hart (26).

Team RISP: 2-for-6.

Team LOB: 6.

FIELDING

E: Ransom (3, fielding).

DP: (Wolf-Maysonet-Hart).

PITCHING

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf 6.2 4 1 0 2 6 0 5.45
Jose Veras (H, 6) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.28
Francisco Rodriguez (BS, 2) 1.0 3 2 2 0 1 1 4.68
John Axford (W, 1-2) 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3.22
Totals 10.0 7 3 2 2 8 1

WP: Rodriguez.

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 117-76, Veras 2-2, Rodriguez 27-17, Axford 23-15.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 7-4, Veras 0-1, Rodriguez 1-1, Axford 2-2.

Batters faced: Wolf 27, Veras 1, Rodriguez 6, Axford 6.

Inherited runners-scored: Veras 2-0.


Bullpen makes things interesting in ninth vs. Cubs

April 10, 2012

> Going into the ninth inning of today’s game, it didn’t appear that the Brewers would have any issues closing out this game. But, a few bullpen moves by Ron Roenicke made for a tight finish on the north side.

First off, though, the Brewers did defeat the Cubs, 7-5. Shaun Marcum picked up the win in his first start of the season, as he managed to make those dismal postseason starts in 2011 an afterthought. The offense wasn’t bad either, but again, the bullpen- at least in the ninth inning- nearly rose a few questions.

Marcum’s start was solid, as he went six innings while giving up three runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked none. Although he gave up two home runs in the first two innings, he did a good job of missing bats, something he was struggling with towards the end of 2011.

The Brewers scored right away in the first inning on an Aramis Ramirez sacrifice fly. Ramirez was making his first start in Chicago since leaving the Cubs, and it probably made Cubs fans miss him. Anyway, the Cubs answered back right away in the bottom of the inning on Darwin Barney’s solo home run. The Cubs then took a 2-1 lead in the second on a solo shot by Bryan LaHair. But, the Brewers tied it back up in the third on Rickie Weeks’ second home run of the year- yet another solo shot.

In the fourth inning, the Brewers made the first of two successful squeeze plays, this one by Marcum. But the Cubs evened the score in the fifth on a Blake DeWitt sacrifice fly. That followed a “triple” by Geovany Soto, but he only reached third because center fielder Nyjer Morgan lost the ball in the light and wind on what would have been a routine fly ball.

The Brewers then took a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish in the sixth on a Mat Gamel RBI triple. Jonathan Lucroy followed that up with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3. Ramirez then hit an RBI double in the seventh. Carlos Gomez tacked on one more run in the eighth on the second squeeze of the game by the Brewers.

Then came the ninth, where things got interesting. The Brewers held a 7-3 lead up until that point. Jose Veras and Francisco Rodriguez had handled the seventh and eighth innings respectively, so you’d think John Axford would come in for the ninth (despite the fact it wasn’t a save situation). But, like many managers do nowadays, Roenicke took the four-run lead for granted and put in Manny Parra instead. As we all know, he’s just returning after missing all of 2010, so he hasn’t had much work lately.

So, sure enough, Parra gave up a leadoff double to Ian Stewart. He then induced a groundout from LaHair, but Steward advanced to third on the play. Although it was already a save situation, Roenicke had Axford warming up along with Tim Dillard. So he decided to put in Dillard for some reason, I’m still not quite sure why. Dillard came in and walked Soto, and that was all he did. Roenicke then brought in Axford at last, but things were still starting to go downhill. On what could have been a game-ending double play, the third baseman Ramirez booted an easy grounder, which allowed Stewart to score, and left guys on first and second. Steve Clevenger followed that up with an RBI single, but the center fielder Gomez committed a missed catch error, allowing runners to reach second and third.

But Axford managed to strike out David DeJesus for the second out of the inning. He then walked Barney to load the bases. But, Axford finished the game by striking out Starlin Castro on three pitches.

> The back-end of the bullpen isn’twhat worries me at the moment, but more so the middle relievers. Dillard, Parra, and Kameron Loe haven’t looked particularly sharp so far. I know we’re only four games into the season, but hopefully this gets fixed soon.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this four-game series tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT. Chris Narveson will go for the Brewers, making his first start of the season. He’s dominated the Cubs in his career, going 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA against them.

The Cubs will counter with free agent acquisition Paul Maholm, who has seen a lot of the Brewers with the Pirates over the past few seasons. He’s 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA in his career against the Crew.

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