Thoughts from the early offseason presser

October 15, 2012

> This article is well overdue, but I figured it was necessary at some point. A day or so after the offseason, Ron Roenicke, Doug Melvin, and a few others met with the media to discuss their early offseason goals and what we can look for from the Brewers going into 2013. Melvin in particular had some interesting comments, and basically explained what the status of some players are going into 2013.

John Axford is the closer, Corey Hart is the regular first baseman, Alex Gonzalez could be the starting shortstop, and, if he returns, Mat Gamel will serve as a bench player.

These are all some very debatable points. I agree with two of them, I’m relatively neutral with one of them, and then there’s one I think should receive some re-consideration.

The one I favor most is Hart remaining at first base. Following Gamel’s season-ending injury back in May, the Brewers found that Travis Ishikawa wasn’t getting the job done, so they moved Hart in from right field, and it paid off. To go along with his solid offense (which a player needs to be a first baseman), Hart provided Gold Glove-caliber defense at the position as well. If he plays as well as he did this year at first base in 2013, he’s a legitimate Gold Glove candidate. This move also allowed the Brewers to play Norichika Aoki every day in right field, and that also paid off, as Aoki posted a sensational rookie season.

I also agree with placing Gamel on the bench as a utility player. He’s had plenty of chances to start- the best one coming in 2012- but spoiled all of them with injuries or lazy play. Thanks to his ability to play multiple positions (first base, third base, and the corner outfield positions), however, he still has the opportunity to be a valuable utility player, and a power left-handed bat off the bench.

The one I’m relatively neutral (at least for the time being) on is the possibility of Gonzalez starting at shortstop. I liked what I saw from Gonzalez early in 2012 before his season-ending injury and would have gladly taken him back, but that was before the Brewers acquired Jean Segura. If the Brewers really want Segura to start at short for the long-term, they might as well start doing it now. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gonzalez return as another utility bench player, a role I feel he could play well. But I think what will determine this decision is the kind of spring Segura has.

Lastly, I do NOT want the closer’s role simply handed to Axford to start 2013. I’ll admit he finished sort of strong in 2012, but that doesn’t change the fact that he led the Majors with nine blown saves. His home runs allowed and walks significantly rising from his 2011 season definitely contributed to that. I know the excuse is that the Brewers don’t have anyone else who can take over, but that is a false statement. It’s true that the Brewers are slim in the relief corps at all levels, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have anybody. For instance, Jim Henderson threw the ball very well down the stretch. The Brewers could also sign an established reliever this offseason. The closer’s job is still Axford’s job to lose, but, especially if he has a bad spring, it shouldn’t be handed to him by default.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> The Tigers took a 2-0 ALCS lead over the Yankees today. Last night’s game was dramatic as ever, with Jose Valverde blowing a 4-0 lead- which was a non-save situation- including two-run home runs to Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez. But Delmon Young gave the Tigers the lead in 12th inning, which would win the game. The biggest storyline, however, was Derek Jeter’s ankle fracture, which ended his postseason.

The Yankees’ offense continued to stay ice cold in today’s game, as they were shut out, 3-0. It’s hard to say whether or not Anibal Sanchez threw a gem, or if the Yankees’ offense is just awful. That offense killed a stellar start from Hiroki Kuroda, who took a perfect game into the sixth and struck out 11 over 7 2/3 innings.

> The Cardinals took the first game of the NLCS with the Giants. Both starters- Lance Lynn and Madison Bumgarner- got knocked around, but the Cards’ bullpen prevailed in tossing 5 1/3 shutout innings. The offensive heroes were who you’d expect: David Freese, who hit a two-run blast in the second inning, and Pete Kozma, who contributed an RBI double in the fourth. Carlos Beltran also had a two-run homer in the fourth.

THE NEWS

> Tom Haudricourt suggested Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse, and even Brandon McCarthy as possible veteran starting pitching adds for the Brewers this offseason. I wouldn’t mind any of those, but I would also toss Kuroda into that mix, despite the fact the Yankees will want him back badly. Haudricourt also said that the Brewers will more than likely sign an SP through the free agent market rather than trade for one due to all the prospects the Brewers have had to part with in recent years.

> Haudricourt doesn’t think the Brewers will trade Hart or Rickie Weeks to create payroll flexibility. Hart has expressed his desire to stay in Milwaukee for the rest of his career, while Weeks’ salary isn’t as big of a deal due the Brewers’ current payroll situation.

> Lastly, Haudricourt said that Nyjer Morgan will probably be non-tendered and easily replaced by Logan Schafer, as we all expected.

> Edwin Maysonet and Juan Perez each declared free agency.

> Today’s minor moves:

Rangers: Outrighted Luis Hernandez, who declared free agency.
Padres: Outrighted Matt Palmer, who declared free agency.
Yankees: Designated Cory Wade for assignment.


Hart finishes off Pirates

September 2, 2012

POSTGAME

> The only way the Pirates were going to make the postseason this year was if they could get over their mental issues against the Brewers and Padres, two non-contending teams they’ve struggled against in the past. It looked for awhile like the Pirates were on the road to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, but, even though they were (and still are) contending, they couldn’t pull the trigger against those two non-contenders.

That trend continued today in a thrilling Brewers win over the Pirates, 3-2. The Pirates put in Joel Hanrahan in a 2-2 game in the ninth, and the first batter he faced was Corey Hart. But Hart quickly disposed of him, hitting a walk-off home run on the second pitch of the inning.

A.J. Burnett held the Brewers hitless through the first five innings, but they broke through against him and took the lead in the seventh on Carlos Gomez’s RBI double (Gomez’s mad run around the bases was what manufactured the first run). Jim Henderson, on in relief of a stellar Marco Estrada, got screwed in the eighth inning on an Andrew McCutchen jam-shot RBI single, crediting him with a blown save he didn’t deserve.

But John Axford, despite being as wild as usual, put up a scoreless ninth, setting the stage for Hart’s blast.

MY TAKE

> I’m going to be very disappointed if Aramis Ramirez doesn’t win the Gold Glove for National League third basemen this year. He had another highlight reel play tonight, and has the fewest errors among NL third basemen. He wasn’t a defensive specialist early in his career (particularly with the Pirates), and I think people still underrate him because of that. He wasn’t too bad defensively his last few years with the Cubs, and is doing something special for the Brewers this year.

Some are going as far to say that Ramirez should also take home the third base Silver Slugger. While he’s been having an unbelievable offensive year since his slow April start, I don’t know if it’s enough for him to win it. The NL is very strong in the third base department: David Freese, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Zimmerman, Chipper Jones, David Wright, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Headley… I could go on.

But I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him take both.

THE NEWS

> Mark Rogers said he disagreed with the idea of being shut down. At least someone is sane about the subject.

> Mat Gamel started hitting off a tee today. 

> Eric Farris was recalled to take Cody Ransom’s spot on the roster. Spots on the roster don’t really matter now that it’s September, but this move was actually made yesterday, so they needed someone to fill in the roster spot for the day.

THE NUMBERS

> Estrada went seven innings while giving up just one run on four hits. He also had 10 strikeouts and one walk. He’s had bad luck with the win total this year, but he’s likely to have a rotation spot next year, where he could thrive when given the full-time job.

> The Brewers are four games under .500 and 7.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. I don’t know; just felt like throwing that out there.

> Tomorrow’s match-up: 

James McDonald (12-6, 3.57 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.52 ERA)

After the starts each got off to, I don’t think anyone expected Gallardo to have better numbers than McDonald at this point of the season. But Yo owns the Pirates, so we should be in for a nice sweep tomorrow.

THE EXTRAS

> Shaun Marcum’s calf injury is worse than I thought. Although I have to wonder what it feels like when your own calf goes camping without you.

> This year’s dose of streaking took place in Seattle last night. Deadspin has the story.


Morgan, bullpen make sure Brewers get swept

August 6, 2012

> Getting swept by division opponents multiple times is no way to get back into a playoff race. But the Brewers appear to have yet to learn that, as they were shut out by the Cardinals today, 3-0. There are plenty of things we could criticize as to what went wrong today, but I’d just be explaining basically the same thing I’ve been saying all season.

Marco Estrada still couldn’t find his first win, despite putting up another quality start. He went six innings while giving up one run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two. It was a very gutsy outing for Estrada, who, after giving up an RBI double Daniel Descalso in the second inning, was pretty much untouchable. He kept the Brewers in the game while he was in, but was foolishly removed (more on that later).

Anyway, the Cardinals added two more runs late, with Allen Craig hitting an RBI double in the seventh and a David Freese RBI single in the eighth.

(EM’s coverage)

***************************

> So here was what pretty much lost the game for the Brewers. The Cardinals removed starter Kyle Lohse after six scoreless innings, so you’d think the Brewers would be jumping for joy that he was out. And it looked like they were. Cody Ransom promptly led off the seventh with a single off Edward Mujica. Estrada’s spot in the batting order was next, so Ron Roenicke pinch-hit for him with Nyjer Morgan (who, as usual, was massively booed). Estrada is not a good hitting pitcher, so I can understand pinch-hitting for him in this situation. But, as I expected, Morgan was going to bunt anyway, which he did. And what did he do? He tried putting down the sacrifice, popped it up, and catcher Yadier Molina easily fielded it. Ransom, naturally running on the sacrifice attempt, was doubled off at first.

Which brings me to my point: if Morgan was going to bunt anyway, why not let Estrada lay it down instead? Morgan has proven that he’s extremely inconsistent at bunting. And, Estrada’s pitch count was at a manageable 84 through six innings, so he could have given at least one- if not two- more innings and save our horrible bullpen.

But, as we learned even in the great 2011 season, Roenicke likes pinch-hitting for players so that the pinch-hitter can bunt, when the original hitter could have done it himself, and Roenicke hates the idea of pitchers going deep into games. Even though our bullpen is the worst in baseball this year.

I don’t even want to attempt to explain what probably goes on in our manager’s mind.

> For the third straight regular season start, Lohse inexplicably dominated the Brewers. Going into 2011, Lohse was 3-10 with a 5.10 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and didn’t have a win against them as a Cardinal. But, in his last three regular season starts against the Crew, he’s 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA. (That excludes the postseason, when the Brewers beat him in Game 4 of the NLCS.)

> Shaun Marcum is closing in on his return to the starting rotation, as he threw a simulated game at Busch Stadium today.

But, to be honest with you, I’m not looking forward to his return anymore. The Brewers (and Marcum himself) have made it clear that they aren’t going to make a run at re-signing the crafty right-hander, so I don’t want to see him pitch at the end of the season and watch what could have had (but won’t) the next few years.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers return to Miller Park tomorrow to start a three-game series against the Reds. The Reds are a division opponent, so there’s a good chance of the Brewers getting swept by them (again). But we can at least hope that the Brewers win one or two in this series, right?

Anyway, here are the probables:

Bronson Arroyo (7-6, 3.87 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (9-8, 3.92 ERA)

Johnny Cueto (14-5, 2.52 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (5-4, 1.88 ERA)

Mat Latos (10-3, 3.94 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.57 ERA)


Rogers settles down too late as Brewers fall

August 5, 2012

> The Brewers just couldn’t get anything going today against the Cardinals, losing 6-1. Mark Rogers, who had a solid start in his season debut against the Nationals, served up five runs between the second and third innings, and that would be the Brewers’ downfall, with the way their offense was all night.

Rogers went just five innings while giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five. This is rather cliche, but, other than the third inning in which Rogers gave up four runs, he didn’t pitch all that badly. All seven hits he gave up came between the second and third innings, including six in the third. Carlos Beltran led off the second with a home run that was originally ruled a double, but it was reviewed and overruled to a home run. But it was nothing to argue about; the ball was clearly over the wall. That tied the game at 1-1, but Rogers allowed back-to-back doubles to start the third against the Cards’ eight and nine hitters, Daniel Descalso and pitcher Adam Wainwright. Two batters later, Allen Craig started a string of three straight singles, the others from Matt Holliday and Beltran. After Rogers struck out David Freese, he gave up an RBI single to Yadier Molina. That would be the last run of the inning, but by the end of all of that, the score was 5-1.

The only Brewers run came in the first inning. Carlos Gomez led off the game with a double, Nyjer Morgan moved him over with a groundout, and Ryan Braun drove him in with a sacrifice fly. But that’s been the story of the season for Wainwright: you have to jump on him early, because he’s nearly untouchable after the first inning, especially against a Brewers team he’s had success against. Wainwright went on to throw a complete game gem, allowing just that one run on five hits, along with no walks and seven strikeouts.

> If you didn’t already know, the Cardinals have been celebrating their 1982 World Series championship- which came over the Brewers- this weekend, with the big on-field ceremony coming prior to today’s game. The Cardinals wore their throwback uniforms from around that time, as did the Brewers.

But, as much as I love the powder blue retro road uniforms that the Brewers donned today, I have to question them agreeing to take part in the Cards’ celebration of them winning the ’82 Series. Again, keep in mind the Brewers lost that series, and is to this day their only World Series appearance. It’s almost like the Brewers commemorating the fact that they lost in the World Series.

I guess you could look at it two ways. It’s the Brewers’ only Series appearance in their history, and the ’82 team was arguably the best team the Brewers have ever fielded, so it could be worth celebrating. But, at the same time, I find it somewhat embarrassing that the Brewers would take part in a celebration of a series in which they lost.

But that makes it even more fitting that they lost today.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will try and save themselves the embarrassment of being swept in St. Louis tomorrow at 7:05 PM CT. They’ll send Marco Estrada (0-4, 4.34 ERA) to the mound, who is still in search of his first win. He’ll be opposed by Kyle Lohse (11-2, 2.91 ERA), who doesn’t have a good track record against the Brewers, but has been solid in his last two starts against them.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

 

 


Brewers capitalize on first inning mistakes to take series

July 19, 2012

> Despite a very discouraging first game of this series, the Brewers managed to battle back and take a much-needed two-of-three from the Cardinals. They sealed the deal today with a 4-3 nail-biter win. And we’d better get used to these nail-biters- they’ll be happening pretty often with Francisco Rodriguez assuming the closer duties.

The Cardinals have been slumping hard- and I mean hard– recently. If not for John Axford wrapping the gift to give them in the first game of this series, they would be 0-6 since the All-Star break. I thought Axford blowing the game like that was going to give the Cards a new hope and they were going to go on a hot streak from there, but that hasn’t appeared to be the case.

The sloppiness that has been Cardinals baseball the past few days showed up again today, mostly in the first inning. Norichika Aoki got on base to lead off the game, courtesy to an error by shortstop Rafael Furcal. After Nyjer Morgan hit a single, Adam Wainwright hit Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Corey Hart then came through with a broken bat, two-RBI single to give the Brewers the early lead. Two batters later, one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen occurred. Carlos Gomez hit your routine groundball to Furcal, and he fielded it cleanly. It looked at first like his throw was going to be fine, but it tailed off at the end, forcing first baseman Lance Berkman to come off the bag. But, Berkman’s momentum must have been a lot greater than I thought, and he tumbled over and nearly did a somersault. Not only that, but the ball flew out of his glove as he was rolling. This error allowed two runners to score and gave the Brewers a nice 4-0 lead to work with for the rest of the game.

And that was all they would need. The Cardinals got two runs off Tyler Thornburg: a David Freese solo home run in the second and an Allen Craig solo blast in the third. Other than those two runs, the Brewers’ bullpen shut the Cards down for the most part.

But K-Rod saves are always interesting, and the tale was no different today. After striking out Skip Schumaker to start the inning, Carlos Beltran hit a pinch-hit double. K-Rod then walked Furcal, but came back to strike out Matt Holliday (who was also pinch-hitting). But K-Rod walked Craig to follow that up, and the Cards’ third run came on Freese’s bases-loaded walk. To be honest with you, though, I was fine with that- better off walking him and giving up one run than letting him hit an opposite field bases-clearing double. Anyway, K-Rod finished the game by getting Berkman to fly out.

> Thornburg was making a spot start today in place of Zack Greinke, who is taking ten days off to “recharge” (although I think something else is going on behind the scenes). Thornburg’s start didn’t go all that well: he went just 4 2/3 innings while giving up two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out five. Those numbers aren’t bad, but he needed 103 pitches to get through just 4 2/3 innings. He also served up two home runs, which brings his season total to seven home runs given up in just twelve innings. But all of the home runs are coming on elevated fastballs in the low 90’s, which, if not set up by the correct pitches, can mean trouble. Thorn has shown flashes of a great breaking ball and a decent change-up, though, which leads me to believe he can be successful in the future.

> But the bullpen managed to pick up Thornburg. Axford, removed from the closer’s role two days ago, came in and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to finish the fifth and sixth innings. Manny Parra threw a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras had a 1-2-3 eighth, and K-Rod got the save, despite walking three batters in the process.

> After an off-day tomorrow, the Brewers move into their final series of this crucial stretch everyone has been talking about- a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the Brewers would probably need a sweep to get out of there as legitimate contenders, which I can’t see happening. But it’s worth hoping for, I suppose.

Anyway, here’s what the matchups for the series look like:

Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (8-6, 3.93 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 3.59 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (4-6, 4.03 ERA)

Michael Fiers (3-3, 2.01 ERA) vs. ???


Brewers hang on after wild ninth

April 30, 2012

> Sorry for the lack of posts lately (it feels like I have to say that too often nowadays). Schoolwork and things like that have been piling up recently, so I just decided to take a bit of a hiatus from Breaking Wisconsin and Reviewing the Brew to make sure I stayed on top of my work. Plus, the Brewers had a three-game losing streak going into today, so it wasn’t like I was missing much, as far as posting goes.

> But I figured today would be a good day to come back. The Brewers managed to salvage one game out of this dismal series with the Cardinals, winning 3-2. Zack Greinke notched his third win of the season, and the Brewers managed to defeat Jaime Garcia at Busch Stadium for once. And, although the offense wasn’t somewhat non-existent for the third consecutive day, it was enough to take down the Cards.

For the second straight start, Greinke didn’t have his best stuff, but managed to pull a win out of his pocket. He went six innings while giving up one run on seven hits. His command wasn’t the sharpest, as he walked four and struck out just two. But, both of the strikeouts came against the Cards’ hottest hitter, David Freese, so it’s nice to know we have someone on the team capable of getting him out.

The Cardinals got on the board first in the second inning on Rafael Furcal’s RBI single. After that, I thought the Brewers were in for another rough day of bad pitching. But Greinke managed to dance around trouble every time he got into a jam after that.

The Brewers finally tied up the game in the sixth on Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single. A few batters later, Jonathan Lucroy hit a go-ahead, two-RBI double to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t again give up.

But they had to work for it. John Axford came on for the save in the ninth inning, and it didn’t start well. He walked Matt Holliday to lead off the inning, then gave up a single to Carlos Beltran. That advanced Tyler Greene (pinch-running for Holliday) to third. Axford then rallied to strike out Freese (man did it feel good to see him strike out three times). Axe then struck out another hot-hitting Cardinal, Yadier Molina, and that’s when the drama started. As Molina struck out, Beltran broke for second base. Lucroy threw down to second where Alex Gonzalez caught the ball, and they had Beltran in a rundown. As Gonzalez was chasing Beltran back to first, Greene broke for home in a dangerous attempt to tie the game. Gonzalez then threw back to Lucroy at home, and they tagged out Greene for a shocking finish to the game.

Regardless of all that happened, this was Axford’s 48th consecutive save, and he’s well into elite company at this point. 48 is the fourth longest save streak in Major League history, which is incredible, especially if you know Axford’s back story.

> The Brewers made a couple of roster moves prior to today’s game, sending Mike McClendon back to Triple-A. They called up journeyman Vinnie Chulk, who last pitched in the Majors in 2009 for the Indians.

But it was only a matter of time before McClendon was sent down. I used to have high hopes for this guy, especially when he was called up in September of 2010- he looked great. But now his mechanics are completely out of whack, and he doesn’t have any command. He ate up some valuable innings while he was up, but the 10.13 ERA was too much.

> On a non-Brewers note, Prince Fielder hit a home run today off another ex-Brewer, CC Sabathia. Fielder looked like a fool against CC in Interleague play last year, but the homer he hit today was a mammoth- and I mean a mammoth. But the Yankees still wound up winning, as the Tigers’ recent struggles continue.

> Tomorrow, the Brewers head out to the west coast for the first time this year, and will take on the Padres in a three-game series. Here are the pitching match-ups:

Randy Wolf (1-2, 7.17 ERA) vs. Joe Wieland (0-3, 4.76)

Shaun Marcum (1-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-2, 3.60 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (1-2, 6.08 ERA) vs. Cory Luebke (3-1, 2.61 ERA)

As you can see, Wolf is going tomorrow, and he’s coming off a solid start against the Astros. But he struggled for the most part in his first three starts. Anyway, despite the fact the Padres have close to no offense, Wolf has had a tough time with his former team in his career, going 6-5 with a 5.51 ERA against them. Not quite sure how he has a winning record, though.

The Pads will counter with Wieland, who was called up a few weeks ago because of an injury to Tim Stauffer. From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t pitched particularly bad, but has just fallen victim to the “run support” of the Padres.

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


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.

 


Gallardo chased by Cards in Opening Day loss

April 7, 2012

> The good news is, baseball is officially back. The bad news? The Brewers just virtually relived Game 6 of the 2011 NLCS.

The Brewers got crushed by the reigning World Champion Cardinals today, 11-5. Yovani Gallardo, who was making his third consecutive Opening Day start, still couldn’t win on the occasion, as he was hammered early. He gave up six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings, while walking five and striking out three. The five walks show that his command clearly wasn’t there, and there may have been some nerves. Either that, or he just plain sucks against the Cardinals like he always does, which is probably the case.

The Brewers got on the board first on Carlos Gomez’s RBI triple off Jaime Garcia in the first inning. Aramis Ramirez followed that with an RBI groundout for his first RBI as a Brewer. This gave the Brewers an early 2-0 lead. But things went downhill from there.

Yadier Molina led off the second inning with a solo shot off of Gallardo to cut the score in half. Then, in the third, Gallardo gave up not one, not two, but three home runs to the Cards- they came from Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and David Freese. Freese tacked on another RBI with a single in the fourth. Another run wouldn’t come until the seventh on Shane Robinson’s RBI single. The Cards got two more in the ninth on RBI doubles by Matt Carpenter and Rafael Furcal.

The Brewers got three more runs in the ninth on a George Kottaras three-run blast, but by then the game was already too far out of reach.

> I’m really starting to worry about Gallardo. I know you can’t judge a pitcher based on one game, but I’m not basing this on one game- it’s starting to become a trend. Gallardo gave up a career-high 27 home runs last year, 15 more than his 2010 total. I was hoping he’d be able to put that behind him, but then he starts the year by giving up four home runs in less than four innings- that isn’t a good sign.

I’ve been saying this all along, but he hasn’t been consistent ever since the first half of 2010. Following an oblique injury after the All-Star break, he was just never the same since then. Yes, I know he went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 2011, but that was because he either had a great outing, or got shelled. He’s just never been consistent. I’m not saying he has to be Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee consistent, but just something better than he is now.

And, despite the fact I’m tempted to use the excuse that Gallardo is just historically bad against the Cardinals (he was 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA against them coming into today), I don’t think that was it today. Like I said earlier, he had no command, hence the five walks, and everything was out over the plate.

I’m sorry for freaking out over one game (and I’m actually not really, I’m just worried about what Gallardo is turning into). I know there are 161 games left. But Gallardo’s outing today really puts worries into my mind about his future.

> None of the newcomers to the Brewers did much offensively today, with Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez both going 0-for-4. Although you could tell the defense on the left site was much improved. On the bright side, though, Mat Gamel went 2-for-4, so hopefully that’s a precursor of a good season to come for him.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers play the second game of this series tomorrow at 3:10 PM CT (and remember it’s on regular FOX, not FSWI). The Brewers will send Zack Greinke to the mound, who went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA last year. He’s been better against the Cards in his career than Gallardo, to say the least, so hopefully we won’t see a merciless beating again tomorrow.

The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright, who missed all of last year due to Tommy John Surgery. We’ll see how he bounces back in his first Major League start since the end of 2010.

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


Pujols has historical World Series Game 3

October 23, 2011

I know I said that I’m cheering for the Rangers in the 107th World Series. But that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by something a certain Cardinals player did today.

Some guy named Albert Pujols had a three-home run, five-hit, six RBI game today in the third game of the World Series- a 17-6 blowout Cardinals win over the Rangers. This was arguably the best World Series game of all time for a single player, as those three homers, five hits, and six RBI haven’t been done since Reggie Jackson- AKA Mr. October- did in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Pujols’ first homer came in the fifth inning off flamethrowing right-hander Alexi Ogando. He gave Pujols a 96 MPH fastball practically over his head, but Pujols wasn’t having any of that- he turned on it extremely quickly and pulled it into the left field seats for a three-run blast.

The second homer came off of left-handed specialist Michael Gonzalez- note that he’s a left-handed specialist– and it was to dead center field.

The third one also came off a left-handed specialist, this time veteran Darren Oliver.

If for some reason you don’t know what a left-handed specialist is, it’s a pitcher whose primary duty is to get out tough left-handed hitters. So that’s what confuses me about this. Why did Ron Washington leave in two lefty specialists- Gonzalez and Oliver- to face the best right-handed hitter in baseball? You could see both of those home runs coming before they even happened. Anyway, I have a feeling Albert will be talking to the media tonight.

But, even though I’m cheering for the Rangers, I’m slightly relieved knowing that the Brewers aren’t the only team who can’t get Pujols out. But, the Rangers apparently figured out how to get David Freese out- something the Brewers also couldn’t do.

Anyway, almost everyone in the Cards’ lineup had hits today. Rafael Furcal had one hit, Allen Craig had a home run, Pujols- actually, just read above, Matt Holliday had a hit, Lance Berkman had a pair of hits, Freese had a pair of hits and RBI, Yadier Molina had two hits and four RBI, and Ryan Theriot had a hit. The only guy who didn’t have a hit in the Cardinals’ lineup was Jon Jay- go figure. He’s having a horrible postseason. Anyway, the Cardinals also scored at least one run off of every Rangers’ pitcher.

But the clown car had yet another long and rough task today. Kyle Lohse had a typical Kyle Lohse (or you could insert the name of any other Cards starter here) start, as he completely unraveled in the fourth inning- just as he did against the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLCS. But, the clown car picked up him, like they’ve had to do so many times this postseason. Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Octavio Dotel, and Mitchell Boggs gave up a combined four runs, but the 16 runs of support were enough for them.

Here’s a funny story- the St. Louis Rams think they’re giving the Cardinals good luck. Haha, good one. You can read that story about the NFL team with no wins here, but I’m not buying it.

Anyway, one more thing about the game before I go- in the seventh inning, the left fielder for the Cards- Holliday- was attempting to read a fly ball that would eventually become a sacrifice fly for the Rangers. But, as Holliday was making the catch, some Rangers fan- at least I think he was a Rangers fan- threw a white ball onto the field. I don’t know if he was attempting to hit Holliday with it, but if he was, the only guy he was embarrassing was himself- his throw went nowhere. And, to top it all off, he was escorted out of the game. Nice job.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I might make some updates later if I have time, but, if not, come back tomorrow for highlights of Game 4.


Brewers watch from sidelines as World Series begins

October 20, 2011

Today was the first game of the 107th World Series. This year, it’s the Rangers and the Cardinals facing off for the title.

It could say “Brewers” in place of “Cardinals” in that sentence, but there are various reasons that couldn’t happen.

The Brewers’ season came to a very disappointing end on Sunday, as they lost to the Cardinals, 12-6. The Cardinals are now in the World Series, and won the first game of it, 3-2, against the Rangers.

But, during the last two games of the NLCS, I realized that the Brewers were not a team that deserved to go to the World Series. As a die-hard Brewers fan, it’s extremely hard for me to say that, but it’s beyond true. If you were unlucky enough to see a string of three consecutive errors- two of which happened on the same play- during the Brewers’ final game of the season, you probably agree with me. Oh, and I was definitely one of the people unlucky enough to see it- I had a great view from six rows behind the plate at Miller Park. It was in the fifth inning, and it started when right fielder- if you can even call him that anymore- Corey Hart picked up a base hit off the bat of David Freese. But, Hart promptly let it roll past him, and allowed Matt Holliday, who’d been on first, advance to third.

But that wasn’t even close to the worst of it. On the next play, third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. botched what would have been a double play by letting it bounce of his glove. He then tried to make up for his mistake by shoveling the ball to second baseman Rickie Weeks, but it went in between Weeks’ legs, and had to be recovered by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. It was literally the ugliest defense I had ever seen.

But, after the ball went through Weeks’ legs, I simply sat there laughing, and thought to myself- I actually thought these guys were going to win the World Series?

Don’t get me wrong here. The Brewers had one of their best season in decades. They racked up a franchise record 96 wins, had the best starting pitching they had in years, and so on and so forth.

But I think they just got too comfortable, and I’m talking about the team as a whole when I say that. I loved “Beast Mode,” but it really made them look pretty stupid when they were getting the crap beaten out of them. But one thing that really comes back and makes the team look stupid is the tweeting of Nyjer Morgan back in September. Following a loss to the Cardinals, he went on Twitter and started making fun of how the Cardinals would be watching the Brewers while they were in the playoffs. I’ll admit it was sort of funny at the time, but I have a feeling when he said that the Cardinals watching the Brewers in the playoffs, he meant at home- not in the opposing dugout. But the Cards got an up-close and personal look at how bad the Brewers’ defense really is.

I also have something to say about Ron Roenicke, but I’ll save that for tomorrow- I’m pretty limited on time right now.

Anyway, before I go, I just want to talk about something that happened to me on Twitter last night. So I came across this tweet by some Cardinals radio talk show host (at least that’s who I think he was). He said something like along the lines of “only two states in the country have more than 60% of their baseball fans saying that the Rangers are going to win game 1. Texas, and Wisconsin. How cute.” (That wasn’t exactly the tweet, but that’s the point he was making.) I get infuriated by these types of tweets, so, out of mostly anger, I replied with something like, “You really expected us to cheer for the Cardinals? What planet are you from?” But, instead of replying to me and telling me how he felt, he re-tweeted me to his 5,000 or so followers, so I was getting hated on by conceited St. Louis idiots, who clearly didn’t know a thing about baseball, for the next hour. But it was amusing enough, I guess.

I’ve only met one classy Cards fan all year. The rest have pretty much been scum who gave up on their team in August, then came back and started bragging again after they clinched the Wild Card. And the Cards are supposed to have the best fan base in baseball. That really got exposed this year.

Anyway, my point is I’m not cheering for a team whose manager called me and the rest of Brewers fans “idiots.” That isn’t the way the world goes round. The reason I say that is because one of the haters accused me of having no NL pride. Why should I have pride in a manager who tries to make jabs at my favorite team and its fanbase all year?