Lindblom does Hart a favor

August 17, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers had to have been happy to finally get out of Coors Field, and they showed it with their 7-4 win over the Phillies- at home. The story of the night was Corey Hart, whose go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning pretty much sealed the win.

Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Phils, and he got off to a very rough start. He gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez in the first inning, giving the Brewers the early 2-0 advantage. Lee would surrender another home run to Braun in the fourth inning. After that, though, the former Cy Young Award winner buckled down and ended up going 7 2/3 innings with 12 strikeouts.

Going into the fifth inning, the Brewers had a 3-1 lead, but Marco Estrada loaded the bases with two outs. Estrada had his typical blow-up inning that he absolutely has to have at some point each game, and Kevin Frandsen hit a go-ahead, bases-clearing double.

Fast forward to the eighth inning, with the score staying 4-3. Lee got two quick outs to start it, striking out Martin Maldonado and inducing a Norichika Aoki pop-out. But, the third baseman Frandsen botched what should have been an inning-ending groundout and let Rickie Weeks reach second on the error. Charlie Manuel decided to go to his setup man, Josh Lindblom (who, keep in mind, has struggled during his short time in Philly).

Lindblom came on and loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Braun, then an unintentional (but probably intentional) walk to Ramirez. That brought Hart to the plate, who hit his opposite-field grand slam just over Dominic Brown’s glove.

There was a bit of ninth inning drama, as Manny Parra allowed two hits to start it. But Jim Henderson came on and rebounded from his rough outing yesterday, recording his third save of the year.

MY QUESTION TO LINDBLOM

> If you watch every Brewer game, you probably know that Hart can’t touch the low-and-outside pitch- the slider in particular. None of the Brewers can really hit it, and the problem is they can’t lay off it. Hart is probably the worst at laying off it.

Anyway, after Lindblom walked Ramirez, I thought the inning was over. All Lindblom had to do was throw Hart three sliders just a little off the outside corner and low, and Hart would swing right through it, as usual. But maybe Lindblom misread the scouting report.

Lindblom did give Hart a few sliders, none of which were high enough in the zone for Hart to chase at. But, on a 2-2 count, Lindblom gave Hart a fastball up in the zone that cut home plate in half, and we know Hart didn’t miss it.

And that’s what I don’t get. On a 2-2 count, why on earth would you give Hart a fastball? There’s still a pitch to screw around with. I guess there’s the danger of bringing the count full, then the pressure of throwing a strike, or else the game is tied. But the odds of Hart eventually swinging at the slider are good, as he’s shown us.

Or we could ask Manuel a question. Why not just bring in Jonathan Papelbon for a four-out save? I highly doubt Papelbon would come in, walk two batters, then give up a go-ahead slam. Papelbon is elite; Lindblom is a struggling reliever that Philadelphia probably already despises. There’s a better chance Papelbon gets through the heart of the Brewers’ order.

I’m not complaining here, but maybe now we know why the Phillies are having as bad of a season as the Brewers.

THE NEWS

> In the middle of his slump, Braun decided to take early batting practice for the first time since he was a rookie (or so he says). I think it worked.

> Shaun Marcum is scheduled for a bullpen session tomorrow. If that goes well, we’ll probably see him back in uniform next week.

> You can also check out my latest article at Reviewing the Brew here. I talk about Marcum, his constant injuries, and his free agent status come this offseason.

THE NUMBERS

> The Brewers’ bullpen didn’t give up a run tonight. And we won. Coincidence?

> After his slump, Braun stormed back, hitting two home runs off Lee. His average also rose to .302 after having fallen below .300 on Tuesday.

> Braun has three home runs in his career against Lee, all coming this year. Oh, and he’s batting .533 against the lefty.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Vance Worley (6-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (11-8, 3.78 ERA)

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Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays

NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.