Brewers once again Hart-broken

January 20, 2013

> Yesterday, when I got home from school, I saw a tweet regarding Corey Hart and how much he hates Spring Training, but I didn’t take it literally. So I tweeted a joke about how I’d be waiting to hear the news about more of his knee injuries come ST.

But I wouldn’t have to wait very long. In fact, a few seconds later, I checked out the MLB news of the day- something I probably should have done first- and found that Hart will be out for 3-4 months with knee surgery.

Yep, we can’t catch a break. This is the third straight ST in which Hart will have been injured for at least part of the time, and the second time over the past three years that he’ll miss at least the first month of the season.

Anyway, this injury certainly affects how I view the possibility of the Brewers extending Hart. While he’s been a power-threat in the Brewers’ lineup ever since his break-out 2010, I don’t know how much longer the team can put up with his constant early season injuries. Also, if Hart misses more than just the first month of the season- which some speculate he will- it’ll hurt the sort of deal he gets, should he hit the free agent market at the end of 2013.

As for the Brewers, though, it would appear they’re going to give Mat Gamel yet another chance to start at first base. First base prospect Hunter Morris might get a closer look during ST, but it’s unlikely the Brewers would burn one of his options just so he could fill in for Hart for a month or so. Another internal option is Taylor Green, who, along with Gamel, was supposed to be fighting for a bench role going into ST.

Bottom line is, though, that this was a year Hart should have been a bit more careful. There’s evidently chronic issues with his knee that should have been fixed for good by now.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks

> The Brewers’ list of World Baseball Classic players grew after the rosters for each country were announced on Thursday. 14 players were chosen: Ryan Braun (USA), Jonathan Lucroy (USA), Yovani Gallardo (Mexico), Marco Estrada (Mexico), Martin Maldonado (Puerto Rico), Hiram Burgos (Puerto Rico), Carlos Gomez (Dominican Republic), Jeff Bianchi (Italy), Hainley Statia (Netherlands), Mike Walker (Australia), John Axford (Canada), Jim Henderson (Canada), Green (Canada), and Rene Tosoni (Canada). All but three of the players- Statia, Walker, and Tosoni- are currently on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.

> The club has also avoided arbitration with all of its eligibles. Gomez received $4.3 million, Axford $5 million, Estrada $1.955 million, and Burke Badenhop $1.55 million. All were one-year deals. The Brewers had already avoided arbitration with their other eligible, Chris Narveson, a few weeks back.

> The Brewers signed catcher Robinson Diaz to a minor league deal.

> Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan is going to be inducted into the Brewers’ Walk of Fame.

> Today was an extremely sad day for baseball: former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and Cardinals legend Stan Musial both passed away. Weaver was 82 while Musial was 92.

> Minor moves: 

Padres: Re-signed Will Venable, Joe Thatcher, and Everth Cabrera to one-year deals; signed Brad Hawpe and Lucas May to minor league deals.
Red Sox: Signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal; re-signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan, and Jacoby Ellsbury to one-year deals; re-signed Craig Breslow to a two-year deal.
Rangers: Signed Matt Harrison to a five-year extension; re-signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year deal.
Twins: Re-signed Drew Butera to a one-year deal.
Pirates: Designated Zach Stewart for assignment; re-signed Garrett Jones to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed Tony Sipp and Ian Kennedy to one-year deals.
Astros: Signed Rick Ankiel to a one-year deal.
Mets: Re-signed Bobby Parnell and Ike Davis to one-year deals; signed Landon Powell to a minor league deal.
Reds: Re-signed Logan Ondrusek to a two-year deal.
Nationals: Re-signed Drew Storen and Craig Stammen to one-year deals.
Yankees: Re-signed Joba Chamberlain to a one-year deal; signed Bobby Wilson and Reegie Corona to minor league deals.
Athletics: Re-signed John Jaso and Seth Smith to one-year deals.
Angels: Re-signed Alberto Callaspo to a two-year deal; re-signed Jason Vargas to a one-year deal.
Cubs: Re-signed Matt Garza to a one-year deal.
Giants: Re-signed Jose Mijares, Hunter Pence, and Buster Posey to one-year deals.
Indians: Re-signed Drew Stubbs and Chris Perez to one-year deals; signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Re-signed Matt Wieters to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Re-signed Josh Thole to a two-year deal.
Tigers: Re-signed Rick Porcello to a one-year deal.
White Sox: Signed Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal; signed Matt Lindstrom to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Singed Matt Downs to a minor league deal.

Advertisements

Gallardo stellar as Brewers hammer Kennedy

May 26, 2012

> Wait a second.

The Brewers have won two games in a row?

Ron Roenicke let a pitcher go into the eighth inning?

The Brewers crushed their opposing team’s ace?

> Yep, all of those things happened in the Brewers 7-1 win over the Diamondbacks, another thought-to-be contender who have been slow out of the gates. It was the Brewers’ second consecutive win, after beating the Giants the day before yesterday in the finale of that series. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time the Brewers have won consecutive games since the beat the Cubs twice in a row in mid-May. Then, there was Yovani Gallardo, who was absolutely dominant last night. He went 7 1/3 innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked three and struck out five, and lowered his ERA from 4.62 to a much more respectable 4.19. Gallardo was at just 92 pitches through seven innings, but, knowing Roenicke, I was sure that he was done. But Ron did something he’s only done one other time this year: let a pitcher throw in the eighth. Gallardo only got on out in the eighth, getting removed in favor of Francisco Rodriguez. But hopefully this a sign Roenicke is learning, as a manager, to have confidence in his starter. Prior to last night, the only other time a Brewers pitcher went into the eighth this year was when Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings against the Reds.

But onto the offense, which was hot last night. The Brewers got on the board in the second inning on a Rickie Weeks solo home run. Even though he was only hitting .150, you could just tell he wanted to hit one in Arizona to make their fans mad. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think back to the home run derby last year.)

In the fourth, Ryan Braun hammered an opposite field, two-run home run to make the score 3-0. Yesterday was Braun’s fifth anniversary of his Major League debut, so it was only fitting that he would go yard. Later in the inning, Cesar Izturis hit an RBI single. But something would happen to him later in the game, which I’ll get to later. Anyway, in the bottom of the inning, Jason Kubel hit a mammoth home run to get the D-Backs on the board. But that was Gallardo’s only blemish of the night.

Then, in the eighth, Corey Hart hit a home run off of Brewer-killer Josh Collmenter, who has struggled a lot this season. But those were the first regular season runs that the Brewers scored off Collmenter. They did get one off him in the NLDS last year, also coming on a Hart home run.

The Brewers got one more run in the ninth on a Travis Ishikawa sacrifice fly to close out their 7-1 victory.

I know I said earlier that the Brewers hammered the D-Backs’ ace. Well, Ian Kennedy is technically their ace, but hasn’t pitched like it this year. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings last night, and his ERA sits at 4.65. Not what you’d expect from a guy who won 21 games last year. But the Brewers did manage to beat him twice in the NLDS.

> Now for a disabled list update. I might as well just make these a daily thing, considering it feels like at least one Brewer gets sent to the DL every day. Izturis exited last night’s game in the sixth inning, reportedly with a strained left hamstring. As he was trying to score on a Hart single, he stepped on third funny, and just stopped in his tracks, despite the fact Ed Sedar was waving him home. Izturis was removed from the game, and Cody Ransom, who was just acquired from the D-Backs, took his place.

Losing Izturis isn’t a huge blow. In fact, the offense will probably improve without him in the lineup. But it’s unbelievable that the Brewers can have this bad of luck with injuries this year. If we lose another player or two, we might as well be the 2011 Twins.

Anyway, here’s some info on the new Brewer, Ransom. The Brewers got him off the waiver wire during their off-day, and sent down Edwin Maysonet to make room for him. We could see Ransom get a lot of playing time now with Izturis out, and I’m sort of excited to see what he can do. In his only at-bat last night, he got a single. I also heard he hit 27 home runs at Triple-A Reno, the D-Backs’ Triple-A affiliate, last year. So he could be an untapped source of power waiting to break out.

> Marco Estrada also went on the DL following the Brewers’ win over the Giants on Wednesday. He strained his right hamstring while rounding first base on a double, so you can add him to the thousands of players currently on the DL for the Brewers.

But now the Brewers need to find a replacement for the replacement (Estrada was already filling in for Chris Narveson, who is done for the season). The first possibility that would jump out at you is Manny Parra, a former starter now working in long relief. But the Brewers need to keep him in the ‘pen for long relief/left specialist, so it’s likely we’ll see a call-up from the Minors. The two most ready pitchers in Triple-A are Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta, both of whom have a bit of Major League experience. But neither of them are having years to remember- Fiers is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA, and Peralta is 1-5 with a 5.62 ERA. Mark Rogers is also a possibility, although he’s 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA this year at Triple-A. But he put up a 1.80 ERA in a few starts at the end of 2010 for the Brewers.

If none of these guys work out, the Brewers could dig around at Double-A Huntsville, where Tyler Thornburg has been absolutely dominant. The hot prospect is 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA, but he would have to jump two levels, which is always a bit dangerous to do with a pitcher.

But we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I would love to see one of these Minor Leaguers get a chance.

> And that’s about it. The Brewersplay at 9:10 CT tonight, and will send their other ace to the mound in Greinke (5-1, 2.70 ERA). He’s 0-2 with a 6.12 ERA in his career against the D-Backs, but, with the hot streak he’s on, I think he can beat anybody. Greinke’s ERA in May so far is an astounding 1.33, so he’s hoping to finish the month strong.

The Diamondbacks will counter with rookie Wade Miley (5-1, 2.14 ERA). He made a few starts for them towards the end of 2011, but he came out of nowhere after starting this year in the bullpen, and is performing well. He has never faced the Brewers before.

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


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.


A few predictions for the MLB awards…

November 6, 2011

> It’s been an extremely slow day for me in nearly every aspect. Close to no new baseball news, BreakingWI not getting any views (but I’m pretty used to that by now), and just not much to do. This is why I hate when baseball season ends.

> Anyhow, before I get into my main topic, here’s the Hot Stove news from this slow day:

> It appears Dan Duquette is close to becoming the Orioles’ GM. I talked last night about how it seemed like nobody wanted to fill the O’s GM vacancy, but, sure enough, someone takes it after I say that.

Anyway, Duquette has prior experience as a general manager with the Expos (1991-1994) and the Red Sox (1994-2002). Apparently he’s known for attracting fans to both of those teams during his time with them, but I don’t know how that will translate in Baltimore, who haven’t experienced as much as a winning season since 1997.

But I would like to see someone get that team turned around sometime in the near future. I, along with every other true baseball fan, am sick of the Sox and Yankees dominating the AL East due to high payrolls. But that’s what the Rays are there for, I guess…

> The Cubs managerial search is starting with Pete Mackanin, who has already met with the Red Sox as well. Mackanin serving as the Phillies hitting coach right now, but sounds open to leave for a managerial job. Anyway, the Cubs are also going to talk to Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux- the Brewers’ old pitching coach.

So that’s really all the Hot Stove news for the day. As I said earlier, it’s been a slow and rather boring day…

> Because I really have nothing else to write about, I’ve decided to show you guys my predictions for who’s going to win each award, and the reason why I want them to win. So, I’ll start with the MVPs from each league.

NL MVP: Ryan Braun, Brewers

That’s a given. If you’re a Brewers fan, odds are you want Braun or Prince Fielder to win. And either of them would be deserving- Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs, while Fielder hit .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBIs. But, if I had to choose between these two, I’d go with Braun, just because he’s the overall better player. Braun is a true five-tool player- he can hit for average and power, he’s fast, he can play defense (most of the time), and has a great arm. Oh, and he had a 30/30 season. Fielder, on the other hand, is what I would call a one-tool player- he hits for power, and that’s about it. He looked like an idiot defensively this year, can’t run, and, despite the fact he hit .299, he doesn’t normally hit for that high of an average. So, say what you like, but I think Braun is better, and I’m glad we have him signed through 2020 instead of Fielder (if I had to choose between which one I wanted signed that long).

I know there are people out there who want Matt Kemp of the Dodgers to win. And that’s a legitimate argument- he hit .324 with 39 homers and 41 steals, one homer away from the near-impossible 40/40 season. But, he plays for the Dodgers, which is going to not help him in the voting.

Anyway, that’s why Braun is my choice. Aside from Fielder and Kemp, his other competition is going to be Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, but there’s nearly no chance of him winning.

AL MVP: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Yes- I’m choosing a pitcher as the MVP. But, so are many others, and it’s tough to argue with. Verlander had a career year, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA. He also had 250 strikeouts, which won him the AL Triple Crown (an award given for leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts).

Another reason Verlander is a legitimate choice for MVP is that the Tigers would have been nowhere without him, and I mean nowhere. Try imagining their rotation without Verlander- Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, and Phil Coke. I didn’t even put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, they wouldn’t have even been in contention at the Trade Deadline, and wouldn’t have acquired him.

A few other contenders for the MVP in the AL are Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Curtis Granderson (Yankees), and Jose Bautista (Blue Jays). All of those guys had great seasons, but did any of them help their team as much as Verlander helped the Tigers?

NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Like Verlander in the AL, Kershaw won the NL Triple Crown, as he went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, along with 248 strikeouts. If you think that’s remarkable, add this to those stats- he’s only 23 years old.

And, he played for the Dodgers, who, other than Kemp, give close to no run support, so getting 21 wins with a team like that isn’t easy. But he was just one of those guys who, also like Verlander, appeared to be an automatic win every time he took the mound.

Some other competition for the NL CYA are Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks), Roy Halladay (Phillies), and Cliff Lee (Phillies).

AL Cy Young Award: Verlander

I already explained what I could about Verlander in the AL MVP section, and winning the MVP as a pitcher pretty much locks up winning the CYA as well.

Jered Weaver (Angels), CC Sabathia (Yankees), C.J. Wilson (Rangers), and Ricky Romero (Blue Jays) are, in my opinion, Verlander’s best competition for the CYA.

NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Braves

Kimbrel had a remarkable season in his first full year in the Majors, and had big shoes to fill, future Hall of Famer closer (at least in my opinion) Billy Wagner had just retired. But, Kimbrel put those expectation aside and broke the rookie saves record with 46. Yes, Neftali Feliz held it for all of one year.

Anyway, despite the fact he technically ended up costing the Braves their playoff chances, he still had a great season.

A few other good rookies in the NL were Freddie Freeman (Braves) and Josh Collmenter (Diamondbacks).

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

While Hellickson didn’t get much run support, as his 13-10 record shows, he still put up a 2.95 ERA and 189 innings pitched, both of which led rookie starting pitchers in the MLB. Not to mention he pitches in the AL East, arguably the toughest division to pitch in, and to put up those numbers as a rookie in that division is incredible.

Michael Pineda (Mariners), Eric Hosmer (Royals), and Mark Trumbo (Angels) are probably the best competition for the AL ROY.

NL Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

In his first full season as D-backs manager, Gibson completely turned this team around from an awful 2010 season in which his team won only 67 games. After a slow start, the stayed hot the rest of the season and beat out the 2010 World Champion Giants for the NL West division title. Of course, they would lose to the Brewers in the NLDS, but the fact that the even made the postseason this year was remarkable.

Ron Roenicke (Brewers) and Tony La Russa (Cardinals) both probably have a better chance at winning than Gibson, but I still think Gibson is deserving.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Rays

With a week left in the season, it didn’t look like the Rays would be going to the postseason. But, Maddon, who is arguably the most motivational manager out there, kept driving his team on, and the eventually passed the Red Sox for a playoff berth on the last day of the season.

Other candidates in the AL include Ron Washington (Rangers) and Jim Leyland (Tigers).

> Anyway, those are all of my predictions. Feel free to leave a comment saying if you agree or disagree with them (or you can post your own). These are purely from my opinion, and I don’t expect a couple of them to win. But I think they’re all deserving.


Brewers win slugfest, take 1-0 advangate in NLCS

October 10, 2011

Today’s game was one of the best games I’ve ever been to. From Tony La Russa getting booed so loud that you can’t hear yourself think, to the huge fifth inning for the Brewers, to John Axford closing it out- it doesn’t get much better than that for a Brewers fan.

The Brewers hammered the Cardinals today, 9-6, and took a 1-0 advantage over them in the NLCS. The pitching was pretty shaky for both sides, as seen by the score, which you didn’t expect with today’s matchup of Zack Greinke and Jaime Garcia. But, at least Greinke’s undefeated record at home this year remained unscathed, despite his rough start.

Greinke went 6+ innings while giving up six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six. And even though he gave up six runs, he got the win and remained undefeated at Miller Park this year. I read an article by Mike Bauman earlier today that got a little more in depth on that, but I’ll just say that I can’t believe it, either. No matter how many runs he gives up, he’s still invincible.

Garcia, on the other hand, also had a very shaky start. He went just 4+ innings while giving up six runs on six hits and took the loss. But Garcia made it interesting early by, after giving up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun in the first inning, beaning Prince Fielder on his first pitch to him. Warnings were issued, but nothing else really happened after that, as far as the bad blood between the Brewers and Cardinals.

The Cardinals struck first against Greinke on Matt Holliday’s RBI single in the first inning. But, the Brewers immediately answered back in the bottom of the inning on Braun’s two-run shot I talked about earlier. The Brewers preserved the lead until the fourth inning, when Greinke gave up a three-run home run to David Freese to give the Cards a 4-2 lead. The Cardinals also tacked on a fifth run on Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the fifth, but, after that, they just completely fell apart (pitching-wise, at least).

Corey Hart led off the fifth with a single, followed by Jerry Hairston Jr.’s double. That put runners on second and third with no outs, which brought Braun, a.k.a the new Mr. October, to the plate. He hit a ground-rule double to score Hart and Hairston, which cut the deficit to 5-4. Then, Fielder came up and hit a go-ahead two-run blast on the first pitch he saw from Garcia. That’s about as good as revenge gets.

But the inning wouldn’t stop there. After Garcia was removed, Octavio Dotel entered the game, and promptly made a throwing error on a play Rickie Weeks probably should have been out on. But, Weeks advanced to second on the play, which brought Yuniesky Betancourt to the plate. After a long battle with Dotel, Betancourt crushed a two-run homer to extend the Brewers’ lead to 8-5. After that, the bleeding finally stopped for the Cardinals, but the damage had been done, thanks to one of the greatest innings in Brewers’ postseason history.

The Cardinals’ sixth run came on a run that scored on an Albert Pujols double play, so that almost doesn’t even count. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ ninth run came on a Jonathan Lucroy RBI single (of course he starts hitting AFTER Ian Kennedy is gone).

I’ve been meaning to say this for awhile now, but Braun and Hairston are really having a spectacular postseason thus far. I guess coming in you expected Braun, who had four RBI today and hit .500 in the NLDS, to have a great postseason, but how about Hairston? He’s making Ron Roenicke look like a genius for starting him over Casey McGehee at third base for pretty much every postseason game so far, by hitting .375 in the NLDS. Hairston also went 2-for-4 today.

And here’s another thing I found hilarious today. If you’ve never been to a postseason game before, then you might not know that the announce every player and coach and have them run out onto the field and line up before the games. So, when La Russa ran out, he got booed like crazy, as I mentioned earlier. But I noticed him take off his cap and wave it to the fans, which is probably his way of making fun of those Milwaukee idiots- er, fans. Yes, Tony, Wisconsin absolutely loves you.

Tomorrow should be a pretty good pitching matchup between Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 ERA). Marcum is in the midst of a series of bad outings right now, which started with a bad start against the Phillies, and continued with bad outings against the Rockies and Pirates to finish the season. It’s also bled into the postseason, as he went just 4 2/3 innings his last time out against the Diamondbacks, while giving up seven runs. So hopefully that all ends tomorrow.

By the way, one more thing before I go- the rest of my NLCS posts will probably be in collaboration with El Maquino ( @El_Maquino), who is the owner of a Cardinals blog. We’re probably still going to have to talk about it a little, but hopefully we’ll have it going by tomorrow night. Anyway, you can see El Maquino’s site here. Whether you’re a Brewers fan, Cardinals fan, or any fan, I’d recommend checking it out.


Greatest moment since 1982…

October 8, 2011

At the beginning of the season, every sports magazine predicted a Red Sox-Phillies World Series. The moment I saw that, I counted them both out. And I guess I was right- neither of them even made it out of the NLDS. What a bunch of busts.

Anyway, let’s move on from the busts. The Milwaukee Brewers are going to the NLCS for the first time since 1982, and it’s going to be eerily similar to 1982. The Cardinals, who just finished off the Phillies’ season, will oppose the Brewers. Where have we heard that before? Oh, just the 1982 World Series. Obviously, it’s impossible for them to face off in the World Series, since they’re in the same league, but this is as about as close as it gets.

Before I get into the Cards-Brewers NLCS, let’s recap this crazy Brewers-Diamondbacks game first. It was a rematch of Game 1- Yovani Gallardo vs. Ian Kennedy- and both had decent starts. Gallardo needed 112 pitches for just six innings, but gave up just one run, nonetheless. That one run was a Justin Upton homer.

Anyway, it was a 2-1 game going into the ninth, and John Axford, owner of 44 consecutive saves, was in to finish it off, and clinch the Brewers’ first CS appearance since 1982. But not so fast- the Snakes weren’t going down that easily. Gerardo Parra led off the ninth with a double, and Sean Burroughs followed with a single, giving the D-backs guys on first and third with no outs. Then, Willie Bloomquist laid down a squeeze bunt. Prince Fielder might have had a play at the plate, but Axford somehow tripped him (still trying to figure out how that happened), so Fielder couldn’t make the play. And there’s Axford’s first blown save since April against the Phillies.

At that point, I thought the Brewers’ season was over. The last thing I wanted was for the Brewers’ season to end today, and then I’d have to wait until next April to see another game. But, Axford wound up getting out of the ninth inning jam, and came back out to pitch a scoreless 10th. He also received the win, and you’re about to figure out why.

Doug Melvin acquired Nyjer Morgan from the Nationals in late March, just a couple days before the season started. At that point, I was actually against this trade. I wasn’t too familiar with Morgan then, and the only reason I knew him was because of the bench-clearing brawl he caused in a game against the Marlins. I wasn’t too impressed with that, and I was worried he would be a bad influence. I honestly don’t think I’ve been more wrong about anything in my life.

Morgan had a few walk-off wins during the regular season, but none were as big as this. The D-backs put in their closer- J.J. Putz- to pitch the 10th inning. Carlos Gomez, who has been swinging an extremely hot bat lately, reached on a one-out single off Putz. Then, catcher Henry Blanco (if you were a Brewers fan in the late 90’s, you probably remember this guy) couldn’t handle one of Putz’s pitches, and that allowed Gomez to go to second base. That set the stage for Morgan’s walk-off single, which is definitely going to go down as one of the biggest hits in Brewers history.

Anyway, now I’ll move onto the NLCS, which, as I said earlier, is going to be a rematch of the ’82 Series. The Cardinals rode Chris Carpenter’s shutout to the the NLCS, but that means he’s not going to be available until Game 2, at the earliest. Same goes for Gallardo for the Brewers, however.

So that means Zack Greinke is going to be starting Game 1 for the Brewers. I’m guessing the Cardinals are going to go with Kyle Lohse or Jaime Garcia, but I would guess it’s going to be Lohse, because he hasn’t pitched since Game 1 of the Phillies series. Anyway, here’s to the beginning of one of the most exciting series since 1982.

One more thing before I conclude- I never really thought about this up until I heard it on MLB Network, but the final four teams in the playoffs are from the Midwest. That’s right- every “beast of the east” (ugh, I hate basketball terms) is gone. The Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Phillies, Braves- all gone. And we’re left with the Brewers, Cardinals, Tigers, and Rangers. So screw all the east coast bias- the midwest has it this year.

I haven’t really taken the time to say anything like this yet on here, but the Brewers are having an incredible season. I know the defense can be frustrating at times and the offense has been inconsistent, but the pitching. If you compare our pitching now to what it was last year, there’s practically no comparison. Gallardo, Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson is one of the best rotations in baseball. Compare that to last year- Gallardo, Wolf, Narveson, Dave Bush, and a mix of Manny Parra, Doug Davis, and Chris Capuano. You could say that the Brewers didn’t even have a rotation last year.

But they do this year. And that’s why we are where we are- and have the potential to go even further.


Season on the line for Brewers

October 7, 2011

Tomorrow is the day. Whoever wins moves onto the NLCS; maybe beyond. Whoever loses goes home for the year, wondering what they did wrong to waste away a great 162 game season in just one game.

But that’s how the playoffs work, and this is the case for the Brewers and Diamondbacks. Their NLDS is tied at 2-2, the wins for each team coming at their respective home fields. The Brewers, who had home field advantage, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on the D-backs, and appeared set to clinch their first CS appearance since 1982. But, the Diamondbacks used their own home field to get right back into the series, tying it 2-2. Tomorrow’s game is at Miller Park, thankfully.

Anyway, the last two games were awful for the Brewers. Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf gave up seven runs in back-to-back starts, giving the D-backs two easy blowout wins. It didn’t help that the Brewers gave up grand slams in back-to-back games, but let’s just say that Brewers fans probably aren’t too fond of rookie Paul Goldschmidt, or the tattooed freak, Ryan Roberts, right now.

Tomorrow’s game will be a rematch of game 1: a battle of aces, Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy. Gallardo took the cake in game 1, going eight stellar innings and improving to 6-0 against the Diamondbacks in his career. Kennedy, on the other hand, was stubborn the entire game, and, had he used the intentional walk in two situations, he could have saved his team three runs. But, he said he didn’t issue one intentional walk all year, and didn’t want to start in the postseason. Great decision.

Anyway, I know a lot of people are thinking, “What are the odds the Brewers beat Kennedy twice in a row?” Which is a good point. Kennedy had just four losses all season (five, if you count game 1 of this series), so the odds of beating him again aren’t great. But, the odds of the Diamondbacks beating Gallardo are worse, because, as I mentioned earlier, Yo is 6-0 against them in his career, with an ERA around 1.00.

That’s all I’ve got for now, actually. Sorry for such a short article, but I’ve already stayed up late enough so I could see the Tigers advance to the ALCS. That was a crazy game, and here’s a quick fact about the Yankees- Alex Rodriguez has struck out to end the Yankees’ season two seasons in a row. I just can’t get the image of Neftali Feliz striking him out to get the Rangers to the World Series in the 2010 ALCS, and Jose Valverde did something similar this year (except Feliz didn’t have a cool dance to go with it).

Anyway, here’s to a Brewers’ win tomorrow. We will make it, no matter what.