NLCS draws even

October 22, 2012

> The Giants just continue to win elimination games, and their 6-1 win over the Cardinals tonight added to that streak. The NLCS is now tied at 3-3, with the deciding Game 7 to be played tomorrow.

Ryan Vogelsong was the story tonight, as he went seven innings while giving up a run on four hit. He walked one and struck out nine. He finishes with a 2-0 record and a 1.29 ERA in the NLCS, and has been the one consistent pitcher for the Giants this postseason.

The offense for the Giants wasn’t bad, either. Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval, and Brandon Belt each had two hits. In Scutaro’s case, it was his fifth multi-hit game of this series alone, and he has at least one hit in every game. If the Giants wind up pulling this off tomorrow, Scutaro could almost win the NLCS MVP by default (that, or he and Vogelsong should be co-MVPs).

That Giants offense was helped by the Cardinals’ defense, though, who screwed over Chris Carpenter again. Tonight it was shortstop Pete Kozma’s error in the second inning that blew open a four-run frame for the Giants.

THE NEWS

> The Diamondbacks made a pair of early-offseason trades yesterday. First, they acquired shortstop Cliff Pennington and infield prospect Yordy Cabrera from the Athletics in exchange for outfielder Chris Young. Then, the D-backs turned around and traded Cabrera to the Marlins for reliever Heath Bell.

I have to question this series of moves- particularly the Bell move- but Kevin Towers usually seems to know what he’s doing.

> The Red Sox hired John Farrell as their new manager.

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised Curtis Granderson’s option for 2013.
Diamondbacks: Exercised J.J. Putz’s option for 2013; designated ex-Brewer Takashi Saito for assignment.
Rays: Outrighted Wilking Rodriguez and Rich Thompson to Triple-A.
Red Sox: Sent Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays as part of compensation for Farrell.
Blue Jays: Sent David Carpenter to the Red Sox, also part of the Farrell deal.

THE EXTRAS

> I realized today that this Reds commercial has disappeared from TV stations broadcasting the postseason. Makes sense, since the Reds were eliminated, but man am I happy it’s gone.

> The only way Drew Brees can make himself look good: star in a commercial with One Direction.

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Brewers’ BBWAA awards handed out

October 17, 2012

> The Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America handed out their annual awards to Brewers players on Monday. Most of the awards went to the guys you’d expect to receive awards, but there were a few surprises.

Ryan Braun received the MVP award- I want to say unanimously because he received all eight first-place votes, but there were other players to whom the award would have been worthy. Braun backed up an MVP season in 2011 with a 2012 that was just as good: 41 home runs (a career-high for him), 112 RBIs, and a .319 batting average. Braun also stole 30 bases for his second straight 30-30 season. He led the National League in home runs, total bases (356), runs (108), and OPS (.987). He also tied for the league lead in extra-base hits with 80.

Yovani Gallardo took home the best pitcher award, and we can safely say that was unanimous (he also received all eight first-place votes). He put up close to identical numbers to his 2011 season in 2012, going 16-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Those 16 wins led the Brewers by a landslide, and tied him for sixth in the NL. Gallardo also had his fourth straight 200+ strikeout season (204 this year).

Aramis Ramirez won Top Newcomer, taking seven of the eight first-place votes. He hit 27 home runs and had 105 RBIs in his first season with the Brewers. Ramirez also reached the .300 mark on the last day of the season. He led the NL in doubles, was tied with Braun for the most extra-base hits, and was just three shy of Lyle Overbay’s franchise record for doubles. Ramirez was also the best defensive third baseman in the league, as he had the fewest errors and a .977 fielding percentage. Norichika Aoki took the other first-place vote after his sensational rookie season.

Somewhat surprisingly- but deservingly- Marco Estrada won the Unsung Hero award. He went just 5-7, but had a very respectable 3.64 ERA, and was a reliable option after being thrown in the rotation full-time. Carlos Gomez, Martin Maldonado, and Mike Fiers also received first-place votes for the Unsung Hero.

Lastly, John Axford received the Good Guy Award. I’m in agreement with this one since Axford managed to keep a positive attitude through his struggle of a season in 2012. Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Gomez, and Estrada also received first-place votes for this award.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> There are games in progress right now, but here’s the coverage from the last two days.

> The Giants defeated the Cardinals, 7-1, on Monday. The Giants got their first start of more than six innings, as Ryan Vogelsong threw seven strong. Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense took advantage of some shoddy Cards defense to knock around Chris Carpenter. Angel Pagan hit a lead-off home run, and Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot had two RBIs apiece.

> The Yankees’ offense remained dormant, as they lost to the Tigers, 2-1, last night. The fact that Justin Verlander was pitching (8 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K) might serve as an excuse, but now the Yanks are a game from elimination. The Tigers, meanwhile, can reach the World Series for the first time since 2006.

THE NEWS

> Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba each elected free agency after rejecting their outright assignments.

> The Brewers added Jesus Sanchez, a righty reliever, to the 40-man roster. He had a 1.62 ERA in 71 2/3 innings combined at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

If only Jesus could have saved our bullpen this year.

> Buster Olney suggested that the Brewers are players for Josh Hamilton, who will more than likely be one of the most highly-touted free agents on the market. The Brewers probably don’t have the money, but might be able to sway him since Johnny Narron is one of their coaches. Narron and Hamilton are very close.

> MLB Trade Rumors looked at the offseason situation for the Brewers.

> The minor moves over the past few days:

Cubs: Acquired Marcelo Carreno from the Tigers to complete the August Jeff Baker trade.
Mets: Removed Justin Hampson and Rob Johnson from their 40-man roster, making them both free agents.
Dodgers: Outrighted Blake Hawksworth, who elected free agency.
Blue Jays: Claimed Scott Cousins off waivers from the Marlins; claimed Cory Wade off waivers from the Yankees; designated Juan Abreu for assignment.
Red Sox: Claimed Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Marlins; designated Che-Hsuan Lin for assignment.
Nationals: Outrighted Carlos Maldonado and ex-Brewer Brett Carroll, both of whom elected free agency.
Orioles: Outrighted Ronny Paulino and Dana Eveland, both of whom elected free agency.
Yankees: Outrighted Justin Thomas, who elected free agency.
Marlins: Outrighted Nick Green, Donnie Murphy, and Gil Velazquez to Triple-A.

THE EXTRAS

> Rumors have been circling ever since Monday’s extra-innings Tigers-Yankees game that Alex Rodriguez was caught flirting with fans while he was in the on-deck circle. Well today it was confirmed, and now there are pictures to go with the story. Turns out one of the blondes he was talking to is a model.


Brewers’ bullpen can’t hang on against Cards

April 9, 2012

> The Brewers had somewhat of a repeat of the first game of the season today, losing to the Cardinals 9-3. Like the first game, the Brewers’ bullpen blew up late, and didn’t give the offense much of a chance to try and catch up. Marco Estrada gave up two runs in two innings, Tim Dillard gave up a run, John Axford gave up two runs in his 2012 debut, and Kameron Loe gave up a run. In other words, every pitcher the Brewers used today gave up a run, which is never good.

Randy Wolf was on the hill for his 2012 debut, and didn’t pitch particularly bad. He went five innings while giving up three runs on nine hits. He struck out seven and walked one. Wolf managed to strand a lot of St. Louis baserunners, but had to work for it, as he threw 108 pitches in just five innings.

The Cards got on the board right away in the first on Matt Holliday’s RBI double. They got another run in the fourth on a Rafael Furcal RBI single, and another in the fifth on David Freese’s RBI single. The Brewers scored in the fifth on yet another Corey Hart home run, this one a solo shot. He’s currently tied for the league lead with three home runs.

The Cardinals got two more runs on Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer in the seventh. They also picked up another one in the eighth on Tyler Greene’s RBI single. The Brewers got their second run of the game in the eighth on Alex Gonzalez’s first hit (and RBI) as a Brewer, which was an RBI double. That followed Norichika Aoki’s first hit in the MLB.

The Cards tacked on three more in the ninth on Shane Robinson’s three-run blast, which pretty much put away the game. Ryan Braun hit his first home run of the year in the ninth inning, but the game was already over by then.

Oddly enough, the Brewers just couldn’t hit Lance Lynn, Chris Carpenter’s temporary rotation replacement. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up a run on just two hits. He struck out eight and walked one.

Then again though, the Brewers have a history of not being able to hit rookie pitchers for their lives, so this start could mean nothing, for all we know.

> I’m glad this series is over. Now theBrewers move onto a hopefully easier opponent- the Cubs. They’re playing them in Chicago, however, a venue the Brewers haven’t had much success in over recent years. Anyway, here are the pitching matchups (the statistics are from 2011):

Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) vs. Chris Volstad (5-13, 4.89 ERA)

Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (6-14, 3.66 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. ???

Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) vs. ???

Gallardo will probably be facing Ryan Dempster, and Greinke should be up against Matt Garza, but the Cubs haven’t officially announced it yet.

Anyway, all four of these pitchers have above-average career numbers against the Cubs, so this should be a good series for the Crew.

> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

 


Hart, Greinke give Wainwright a warm welcome back

April 8, 2012

> In a bad way, at least for the Cardinals.

> A day after they were outslugged by the Cards, the Brewers stormed back with a needed 6-0 win. They were definitely running on all cylinders today, unlike yesterday. The primary highlights of the game were Corey Hart’s 12th career multi-homer game, and Zack Greinke performing like he should have been the Opening Day starter.

Greinke was flat-out dominant, to say the least. He went seven scoreless innings while giving up just four hits- all singles. He also struck out seven and walked none; his command was literally spot-0n. Greinke was pretty much the polar opposite of what Yovani Gallardo was yesterday- Greinke left almost nothing over the plate and worked the corners, and didn’t walk anybody. This was very encouraging to see from Greinke. Not many people realize this, but this was his longest outing as a Brewer without giving up an earned run.

Greinke threw just 91 pitches in the seven innings, and probably could have gone longer, but handed the ball over to Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras to finish of the game. But hopefully Roenicke pull the string on Greinke (or anyone else for that matter) too early for the rest of the season, like he did a lot of times last year.

The offense wasn’t too shabby either. The Brewers got on the board in the second on Hart’s first home run, which was a mammoth. Adam Wainwright, making his first start for the Cardinals since September of 2010 because Tommy John Surgery made him miss 2011, left a fastball out over the plate, and Hart didn’t miss it one bit. In fact, left fielder Matt Holliday didn’t even move upon seeing the ball fly out- he just turned his head and watched it soar. Those are my favorite type of home run (unless they’re being hit against the Brewers, of course).

Wainwright locked down after that, but it only lasted until the sixth. Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI double for his first hit as a Brewer, and Hart’s second home run of the game followed that to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Hart’s home run actually came off reliever Victor Marte, as Wainwright was pulled after the Ramirez double. If you consider he hasn’t pitched since 2010, he didn’t too bad, going 5 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on four hits. He struck out six and walked one.

The Brewers tacked on two more runs in the eighth on Rickie Weeks’ first home run of the year and a Carlos Gomez RBI double.

> Ryan Braun rebounded from his 0-f0r-4 showing yesterday by going 2-for-3 today with a two doubles and a walk. Unfortunately, though, Mat Gamel couldn’t keep it going and went 0-for-4 today, although he had a few hits taken away from him by the Cards’ defense. Meanwhile, Alex Gonzalez and Nyjer Morgan are still looking for their first hits of the year, as both went 0-for-3 today.

> My thoughts and prayers are with broadcaster Bob Uecker today, and probably will be for awhile. Yesterday, after broadcasting the Brewers’ loss, he learned of a much bigger loss- his 52-year old son, Steve Uecker.

Steve passed away because of Valley Fever, a disease in which the lungs are infected by a harmful fungi.

I’m not sure if Uecker was broadcasting today because I didn’t catch any of the game on the radio. But, during the FOX broadcast, they put the camera on Uecker, who appeared to just be staring into space. I don’t blame him one bit; I probably can’t even start to imagine what kind of pain he’s holding in right now.

Again, my prayers are with Uecker, and hopefully yours are too.

> Prince Fielder, now a member of the Tigers, had a two-home run game today against the Red Sox. Looks like he’s trying to put away the doubters, who don’t think he’ll be able to handle Comerica Park, early.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the rubber game of this three-game series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. Randy Wolf, who went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA last year, will go for the Brewers. He’s 8-8 with a 3.91 ERA in his career against the Cards, but has pitched poorly against them at Miller Park over the past few years.

The Cardinals will counter with Lance Lynn, who is filling in for the injured Chris Carpenter. He’s a hard-throwing righty who the Brewers saw a bit of last year when he came out of the ‘pen, but there’s no telling what the Cardinals will get from him in the rotation until Carp returns.

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


Back after two weeks

March 25, 2012

> It always feels good to come back to blogging after a long layoff.

Unfortunately, though, this seems to have been happening to me a lot lately. But, now it shouldn’t happen again for a few months.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back. Posts will gradually start up again regularly (hopefully right away, actually), both on here and Reviewing the Brew. I don’t think much happened Brewers-related while I was away, but I’ll cover the little that did happen during that time now.

> The Brewers’ Spring Training recordhasballooned to an ugly 7-12 over the past few weeks. I know ST really doesn’t mean anything, but it is a bit of a cause for concern. The offense hasn’t done much lately, and the starting rotation is starting to return to earth after their stellar start to the spring. It’s not that they’re putting up bad numbers, but it isn’t much compared to what they were doing a few weeks ago.

Despite the lack of offense, there have been a few guys here and there who are turning heads early on. New shortstop Alex Gonzalez is hitting .400, and hit his first homer of the spring today against the White Sox. Jonathan Lucroy is continuing to tear it up, as he’s hitting .483 (although he was in the .600’s for awhile before falling to that average). If you consider the awful start Aramis Ramirez had, then his .276 average isn’t bad. Ramirez also hit his first homer of the spring today. Then there’s Mat Gamel, who’s hitting just .256, but his case is similar to Ramirez’s.

Unfortunately, Ryan Braun still hasn’t found his stride- he’s hitting just .095. But I’m not too worried about that; he’s Ryan Braun. He’ll find it eventually.

Like I said earlier, the pitching isn’t what it was earlier this spring, but it’s still solid. Yovani Gallardo’s ERA is 2.77, Zack Greinke’s is 0.73, Chris Narveson’s is 2.70, and Randy Wolf’s is 3.26. Most of those are actually great, but if you consider that all of them had 0.00 ERAs throughout the first few weeks of spring, they’re returning to earth.

Also, regarding Shaun Marcum’s status, he has yet to pitch in an ST game. But, it’s sounding more and more like he’ll be ready for Opening Day, which is a good sign.

That’s about it, Brewers-related at least.

> Chris Carpenter was probably dropping f-bombs about this one. It was reported that he’s been diagnosed with nerve inflammation in his right shoulder. That injury may be somehow related to the injuries he suffered earlier in his career during the 2004 and 2008 seasons.

Carpenter was the Cardinals’ projected Opening Day starter after going 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA last year (along with a 3-0 postseason mark). But now the job is going to go to Kyle Lohse, who went 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 2011. The Cardinals also have to use Lance Lynn in their rotation now with Carpenter out. So their rotation, in order at this point, is Lohse, Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright, Lynn, and Jake Westbrook.

> Meanwhile in Cincinnati, it appears the Reds have lost their projected closer for this year. Ryan Madson, who was signed to a one-year deal a few months back, is having season-ending Tommy John surgery before he even appeared in a Cactus League game. The Reds will probably have to turn to lefty Sean Marshall to be there closer now, as he’s one of the only choices in their bullpen after they let Francisco Cordero walk.

> Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now. I should have a post up on RtB tomorrow; I think I’ve got an idea for a topic. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


As season winds down, Brewers make multitude of roster moves

October 26, 2011

It’s that time of year again. There’s only a maximum of two games left in the baseball season- possibly one, if the Rangers can finish off the Cardinals for the crown tomorrow.

But, every other team is looking onwards to next year- and that includes the Brewers. They made several roster moves earlier today to set the stage for this offseason, and the 2012 season.

First and foremost, pitcher Chris Narveson has undergone left-hip surgery, the Brewers announced earlier today. The odd thing is that we- the fans- were never told of a hip injury with Narveson. He was on the DL in late August and early September, but that was due to a freak accident in which he cut open his left hand.

Narveson went 11-8 with a 4.45 ERA in the regular season before being used out of the bullpen in the postseason. He struggled in the postseason, putting up an 11.05 ERA and giving up five home runs in just 7 1/3 innings, but Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash claims that the hip had nothing to do with that performance. Ash also said that the hip injury has been a chronic thing that Narveson has been dealing with for a few years now.

Anyway, onto the next moves. Infielder Josh Wilson and right-handed reliever Mark DiFelice have both been outrighted to Triple-A Nashville. Wilson served as a utility infielder for the Brewers after being acquired off waivers from the Diamondbacks early in the season. He played all four infield positions, and also made a few appearances in left field. At the plate, he hit .224 with two home runs and five RBI.

DiFelice was with the Brewers for a week in late June before being optioned back to Triple-A, and he put up a 12.00 ERA in just three innings of work. After being sent back down, he was plagued with shoulder problems that ruined any chance of him returning in 2011.

Brandon Kintzler has also been reinstated from the DL, and will attend the Arizona Fall League. Kintzler went on the DL on May 13, and had surgery in late July on a stress fracture in his right forearm. In 14 2/3 innings for the Brewers this year, he went 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA before going on the DL.

Lastly, Manny Parra and Mitch Stetter- two left-handers for the Brewers- have come off the DL as well. Parra didn’t pitch at all in 2011 because of several setbacks with his elbow and back, but will hopefully be ready for Spring Training 2012. And, I hate to say this, but if he has any more setbacks, I can’t see the Brewers being this patient with him anymore, and he’ll probably be let go. Hopefully he doesn’t have to endure anymore setbacks, though.

As for Stetter, he pitched seven innings for the Brewers this year before going on the DL, and put up a 5.14 ERA.

Oh, and the Brewers re-signed Minor League infielder Edwin Maysonet to a Minor League deal. He spent all year in the minors in 2011, and hit .290 while there. I don’t know much about this guy, but I’m going to guess he’s probably an Erick Almonte-type player- pretty much just a utility guy.

And I still haven’t heard anything about Zach Braddock, a lefty who was sent up and down and had multiple stints on the DL this year.

Anyway, last night I said I was going to write an article about Chris Carpenter today, bu, instead, I’m just going to give a brief explanation right here. I was going to call him out for using even more profanity last night after getting an out against the Rangers- yeah, the Brewers aren’t the only ones. I’m sorry, but he’s about as un-classy as it gets. After inducing a Mike Napoli fly-out to get out of a runners on first and third jam, he turned around to Napoli and cussed him out. I know some people are making a case that he was yelling to himself, but, after watching a replay this morning, you can clearly see he’s yelling at Napoli- he turned around and started screaming “F*** you!” with spit flying everywhere. But hey- that’s typical Chris Carpenter. I’m just saying you don’t see other aces- most of whom are class acts- such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Justin Verlander, making reactions like that to getting outs.

Now, I don’t have an issue with a fist pump or maybe a “Hell yeah!” to yourself after getting a key out, but there’s absolutely no reason to turn to the player you just got out and start screaming profanity at him. There’s just no place in baseball for that.

And I know there are going to people comparing Carpenter yelling to the Brewers’ “Beast Mode” to attempt to counter this article- please, don’t even try. There’s a difference between yelling swears at your opponent, as opposed to just having fun.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave your thoughts below, and thanks much for reading.



Rangers take 3-2 lead in World Series

October 25, 2011

I don’t have much time on my hands right now, but I’m going to write as much as I can.

The Rangers are just one win away from their first World Series title in their history (excluding ones won as the Washington Senators). The hero was Mike Napoli, whose two-run double in the eighth inning proved to be the decisive factor. The Rangers also got monster home runs Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre, both of which came off of Chris Carpenter. I also have something to say about Carpenter, but I’m going to save that until tomorrow. I might do a whole article on it, actually.

Anyway, for the second straight night, Tony La Russa’s clown car again backfired. Napoli’s two-run double came off of Marc Rzepczynski, a left-hander (Napoli is a righty). But, after Napoli’s double, La Russa went to get Lance Lynn- a right-hander- out of the bullpen. So Lynn intentionally walks Ian Kinsler, and then La Russa yanks him and puts in Jason Motte. I know La Russa loves cycling through relievers as fast as he can, but is it really necessary to waste pitchers like that? Because what if the Cards tied the game, and it went into extra innings? Lynn, who used to be a starter, would have been valuable to eat up some those innings. But that wouldn’t have happened, because La Russa wasted him for an intentional walk.

I’ll update more tomorrow. Also note tomorrow is a travel day, so there’s no game, but the day after tomorrow, Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) and Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA) will face off in St. Louis.