Braun comes in second

November 16, 2012

> I knew all along that the NL MVP voters were going to get it wrong, but at least they didn’t push it too far.

Buster Posey won the NL MVP today, something we’ve felt would happen ever since the regular season ended. I predicted him to win it, but, once again, that doesn’t mean I think it’s the right choice.

Ryan Braun came in second place. That is actually much better than I thought the voters were going to give him. When the five finalists- Braun, Posey, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, and Chase Headley- were announced, I was sure Braun would get fifth as a result of being unfairly penalized for something that he was actually exonerated from. (Looking back, the exoneration literally meant nothing, except that Braun got to play while being showered by boos for the first 50 games as well.)

The voting wasn’t at all close. Posey received 27 of the 32 possible votes, while Braun got just two. However, Braun got the most second place votes by a large margin, with his 15 votes being at least nine more than every other candidate. Posey finished with 422 points to Braun’s 285 (the next closest to Braun was McCutchen with 245).

But, as mentioned earlier, the voters got it wrong. Here’s a complete list of the stats Posey topped Braun in:

1. Batting average
2. OBP
3. OPS+

And Posey didn’t have Braun beat by too much in each of those stats, while Braun murdered him in most of the other stats. Plus, batting average hasn’t been, for some reason, considered as much of a factor because of the rise of sabermetrics (but until Carlos Pena wins an MVP with a sub-.200 batting average, I’m not buying it).

Oh well. Not much else I can do to defend Braun, considering I attempted to defend him when Matt Kemp was in this position last year.

But, had it not been for the false PED accusation, Braun would have won the MVP- easily.

> Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP over Mike Trout. Something told me I wanted him to win it, but I had a much tougher time defending his case than I thought. Perhaps it was because I actually opened my ears a bit more; most Cabrera-backers heard “TRIPLE CROWN!!!!” and nothing else.

> Following a very injury-plagued year for the Brewers as a whole (at least early on), they’re going to “focus as much or more on preventing injuries as on treating them.”

> Minor moves: 

Braves: Signed Gerald Laird to a two-year deal.
Cubs: Signed Dioner Navarro to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Signed Neil Wagner to a minor league deal.
Angels: Signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes, and J.B. Shuck to minor league deals.
Nationals: Signed Will Rhymes to a minor league deal.
Royals: Signed Brandon Wood to a minor league deal.

Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP

Brewers return the favor in extra innings in St. Louis

August 10, 2011

11:13p The Cardinals won a game similar to this one last week in Milwaukee. They got lucky on a bloop RBI single by Lance Berkman to end an extremely dramatic extra inning game that was a crushing loss for the Brewers. Tonight wasn’t as dramatic, but gave the Cards a taste of their own medicine.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers took down the Cardinals tonight, 5-3, in a 10 inning game. Both the Brewers and Cardinals had a lot of chances that they didn’t take advantage of early on. That included a fifth inning in which the Brewers had the bases loaded and no outs against Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson, but allowed him to get out of it with no damage done in just four pitches.

The Brewers got to Jackson in the third inning, when Corey Hart hit a two-run homer off him. From there, Brewers starter Shaun Marcum pretty much cruised through the first four innings, until that pivotal fifth inning happened.

Marcum led off the fifth with a single. Jackson then walked Hart to put runners on first and second. After that, Nyjer Morgan tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but wound up reaching first because of a wide throw by Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird, who struggled behind the plate all night due to Yadier Molina’s suspension. Anyway, this loaded the bases with no outs.

Then, the Brewers did what they seem to do so well on the road. They got Jackson out of the inning on four pitches.

Some of it was just bad luck. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder got themselves out on back-to-back pitches with line drives directly at infielders. Then, with Casey McGehee batting, Laird let a pitch get away from him, so Marcum, who was at third, started to come home. Sadly, Laird recovered quickly, and Marcum had already gone too far down the line, getting him caught in a rundown. Marcum was trying to fake out Laird and third baseman David Freese by rapidly moving back and forth, but, while doing that, rolled over his ankle and collapsed. Freese tagged him out, and that was that- inning over.

Marcum came back out for the fifth and sixth innings, but had to labor through both, and allowed the Cards to tie the game. In the fifth inning, Corey Patterson got the Cardinals on the board with an RBI single. In the sixth, Jonathan Lucroy gave the Brewers an insurance run with an RBI single, but that wouldn’t matter, since Laird and Freese both hit RBI singles in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3-3.

Then, until the 10th inning, it was a battle of the bullpens. Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings, then LaTroy Hawkins got Albert Pujols to fly out in the ninth inning to get out of a jam and send the game to extras.

The Cardinals put in reliever Octavio Dotel to pitch the 10th. Dotel had been lights out for the Cards since being acquired from the Blue Jays before the Trade Deadline. That is, until today.

Morgan led off the 10th with a single. Braun followed up with a strikeout to finish his disappointing night, but then Fielder beat the shift with a single, which advanced Morgan to third. McGehee then got the game-winning RBI with a double that scored Morgan. Yuniesky Betancourt added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to set the stage for John Axford in the bottom of the inning. Axford would come in and record is 33rd save of the year to seal the Brewers 5-3 win.

Breaking: Narveson gets stitches, to be out for awhile

Alright, I just heard this on Brewers Live as I was writing this article, and wanted to get it out as soon as I could. Brewers No. 5 starter Chris Narveson apparently sliced his pitching hand (his left hand) open and had to get eight stitches. Ron Roenicke said that Narveson would definitely be out for awhile, and that he would speak to GM Doug Melvin about what to do for a fifth starter until Narvy can return.

Narveson wasn’t having an extremely spectacular year- he’s 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA- but, in my opinion, was putting up decent numbers, especially for a No. 5 starter. The Brewers have a few options for a replacement, and I’ll put out a few of my ideas in a post later. Anyway, I’ll continue with this one now.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this three-game set in St. Louis tomorrow night. Randy Wolf (8-8, 3.61 ERA) will go for the Brewers and will try to rebound from his last start, which was also against the Cardinals. He gave up five runs in six innings at Miller Park, but still got the win. He had one start earlier this year against the Cards at Busch Stadium, where he got shelled for six runs. Wolf is 6-7 with a 4.01 ERA against the Cardinals in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.83 ERA), whose record is somewhat deceptive to the way he’s pitched this year. In most of his starts, he’s been great through the first five innings, but can’t get out of the sixth inning. This happened in Westbrook’s only start against the Brewers this year, which was at Miller Park. Westbrook is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the Brewers in his career.