Game of endurance goes in Brewers’ favor

September 8, 2012

POSTGAME

> Last night may have been the biggest win of the season for the Brewers up to this point. After a two and a half hour rain delay and a four and a half hour game, they came out on top against the Cardinals in 13 innings, 5-4.

Since Yovani Gallardo was getting the ball, I’m pretty sure all Brewer fans were bracing themselves for the worst. Yo is terrible against the Cards in his career, with a 1-9, 7.05 ERA mark against them going in. And he got off to a bad start, as the Cardinals jumped on him for two in the first inning on an RBI double from Matt Carpenter and a sacrifice fly from Allen Craig. After that, though, Gallardo held serve against the team he’s struggled so much against, going six innings while giving up just those two runs. He struck out six and walked none.

The first Brewers run didn’t come until the fourth inning on Taylor Green’s RBI groundout. Other than that, Kyle Lohse didn’t show many signs of breaking, until the seventh inning. He walked Martin Maldonado and gave up a single to Jeff Bianchi, which prompted Mike Matheny to remove Lohse in favor of Edward Mujica. Mujica gave up what looked like a routine line out from Travis Ishikawa, but right fielder Carlos Beltran misplayed it and let the ball get past him. Ishikawa was given an RBI double.

The Brewers then took the lead in the eighth. Carlos Gomez hit what would have been an infield single anyway, but shortstop Daniel Descalso threw the ball away, allowing Corey Hart to score from second base. After Gomez advanced to second on a stolen base, Maldonado came through with an RBI single to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

But this was far from over. Jim Henderson walked the lead-0ff man in the eighth, like he always seems to do. Then, after recording two outs, he gave up a game-tying home run to Yadier Molina.

The next run didn’t come until the 13th inning, when Braun dealt the Cards their finishing blow with a go-ahead solo shot off Lance Lynn. John Axford came on to nail down the save for a game that ended at 2:05 A.M. CT. Yes, you read that correctly.

[EM’s coverage]

THE NEWS

> Green got the start in place of Aramis Ramirez, who’s still out with an oblique strain/bad back.

But here’s Green’s side of the story. He drove from Nashville to his home in Vancouver (God knows why), only to get the call from the Brewers after he got there. Apparently he lives four hours from the airport, so he had to make that drive, then make the four and a half hour flight to St. Louis so he could be in the starting lineup. Tack on the rain delay and 13 inning game, and Green had himself quite a day.

> Ramirez hopes to return to the lineup for tonight’s game.

> MLB.com re-ranked their top 100 prospects and each team’s top 20 following the September call-ups. Here are the Brewers’ top 20:

1. Jean Segura, SS
2. Tyler Thornburg, SP

3. Taylor Jungmann, SP
4. Jed Bradley, SP
5. Wily Peralta, SP
6. Johnny Hellweg, SP
7. Scooter Gennett, 2B
8. Hunter Morris, 1B
9. Logan Schafer, OF
10. Jimmy Nelson, SP
11. Clint Coulter, C
12. Kentrail Davis, OF
13. Ariel Pena, SP
14. Drew Gagnon, SP
15. Victor Roache, OF
16. Caleb Gindl, OF
17. David Goforth, SP
18. Yadiel Rivera, SS
19. Khris Davis, OF
20. Jorge Lopez, SP/RP

THE NUMBERS

> Brandon Kintzler got his second big league win after pitching a scoreless 12th. His first win in the Majors also came in an extra inning game.

> Beltran’s average has fallen all the way to .261.

> Tonight’s match-up:

Mike Fiers (8-7, 3.11 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (13-10, 3.93 ERA)

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Nothing doing for Brewers against JJ

September 6, 2012

POSTGAME

> I missed most of today’s game because I was in school (day games late in the year drive me insane). But, I didn’t miss much, as the Brewers scuffled to do anything in today’s 6-2 loss to the Marlins, forcing them to settle for a split of the four-game series.

Marco Estrada was knocked around a bit. The Marlins tagged him for four runs on seven hits over five innings. That included a very rough first inning, in which Estrada allowed three consecutive hits- two doubles- to Bryan Petersen, Donovan Solano, and Jose Reyes to start the game. The only Brewers runs came on sacrifice flies from Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki in the third and seventh innings, respectively.

THE NEWS

> Estrada claimed that he “wasn’t ready” for today’s game, saying he lost track of time and to rush through his pregame routine.

“I rushed a little bit. By the time I was done, the game had already started and (Josh) Johnson had a pretty quick inning. It’s my fault, I can’t let things like that happen.”

I don’t know how he “lost track of time,” but, regardless of what happened, it’s pretty inexcusable.

Again, I wasn’t watching today’s game, but looking at the box score, Johnson had a hit batter and a walk in the first inning. Both came without the assistance of a double play, so the inning couldn’t have gone that quickly. But I don’t know. This is one of the stranger excuses I’ve seen.

> Aramis Ramirez was held out of the lineup with a lower back/oblique strain. He was pulled from the game when he was in the on-deck circle for his final at-bat last night.

> A few September call-ups made their season debuts today. Josh Stinson threw a third of an inning, and Logan Schafer got a pinch-hit single following an eight-pitch at-bat in the ninth inning.

THE NUMBERS

> Braun now sits at 99 RBIs on the season.

> No one in the lineup had more than one hit today.

> Match-ups for the upcoming Cardinals series:

Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.79 ERA) vs. Kyle Lohse (14-2, 2.81 ERA)

Mike Fiers (8-7, 3.19 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (13-10, 3.93 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.53 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.54 ERA)

Gallardo- who’s 1-9 with a 7.05 ERA in his career against the Cardinals- is pitching this series. Wouldn’t be surprised to see his ERA sail over 4.00 after that game.


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.


The Greinke agency is open

January 30, 2012

> Earlier today, starter Zack Greinke said that he’s still open to negotiations, as far as a contract extension goes. However, the only twist is that Greinke is his own agent. He’s been operating that way for awhile now, having cut ties with his former agency, CAA Sports, after being traded to the Brewers from the Royals in December of 2010.

Greinke said it was interesting to be his own agent, because he gets to see what happens behind the scenes, which players don’t normally get to do.

“I’ll talk to them about it. I don’t really want to talk to anyone else about it. But I like the business of baseball. It’s exciting for me. It’s not like I plan on being my agent, but it is exciting being able to know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

In other words, the Brewers are negotiating with Greinke directly, instead of an agent representing him- at least for now. Whether or not your a Brewers fan, pray that his next agent isn’t Scott Boras.

Greinke also complimented Brewers owner Mark Attanasio when regarding how he’d enjoyed his time in Milwaukee so far.

“Everything feels really good at the stadium and stuff, the team is great, and I love the whole coaching staff and front office, too. The owner [Attanasio] is probably the best owner in baseball, maybe. He’s incredible.”

And that’s coming from Greinke, arguably the most brutally honest player in baseball. So when he says something like that, you know he means it.

Anyway, the Brewers have been trying to extend Greinke since December. And he definitely deserves it. He went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 2011, which doesn’t reflect his best work. But, he did have 201 strikeouts in just 161 1/3 innings, which is incredible. His K/9 ratio was also the best in baseball (among qualifiers). The Brewers won all of his starts at Miller Park (17), where he went 11-0 during the regular season (12-0, if you include a win against the Cardinals in the NLCS).

The only thing I’d like to see from Greinke do better next year is go deeper into games. He never once finished the eighth inning all season, with every other Brewers starter doing it at least once. I understand that it isn’t always his fault, as Ron Roenicke can sometimes have an unusually short leash, but still.

Anyway, hopefully a deal gets done. I’d love to see Greinke stay in Milwaukee for awhile; he and Yovani Gallardo form a formidable tandem atop the Brewers rotation. I wouldn’t mind Shaun Marcum getting extended, either.

> The Brewers On Deck event was today. I was thinking about going, but decided against it. I would have probably mainly gone for autographs anyway, and I hate sitting in long lines for hours on end waiting for that type of thing. I also heard there were thousands of people there. But that shows that the Brewers are once again become popular in Milwaukee after a few down years.

> The Cardinals and free agent starter Roy Oswalt are talking about a deal- or are they? Beats me. Over the past few days, there have been a ton of conflicting sources regarding the matter. Two days ago, a few sources said Oswalt and the Cards were nearing a deal with each other, but last night GM John Mozeliak shot the rumors down. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

But, if they do end up signing Oswalt, who would probably slot as their fourth starter, they’ll have competition for the final spot between Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook. Lohse will likely get it, with Westbrook probably moving to the bullpen. The Cards have been trying to find trade suitors for both, but Lohse has the ability to veto any trade (which he would do if given the chance), and Westbrook just plain sucks, so no one wants him.

The Brewers have seen Oswalt a lot over the years, as he spent his first ten years or so in the Majors with the Astros. They’ve knocked him around at times, and other times he’s had their number.

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


Wolf comes through as Brewers even series at 2-2

October 14, 2011

This is exactly what the Brewers needed. Making a comeback after an early deficit, and a good start from someone not named Yovani Gallardo.

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 4-2, in a crucial win for them. Had they lost today, the Cardinals would have needed only to win tomorrow to go to the World Series. But, with the win today, the NLCS is now evened up at 2-2- and it’s still there for anyone to take.

Randy Wolf came through right when the Brewers needed him. He went seven strong innings while giving up two runs on six hits. He also walked one and struck out six. If you compare this to Wolf’s last start- when his ERA finished at 22.50 after four innings in a start against the Diamondbacks during the NLDS- this was as good as it gets.

The Cardinals struck first yet again today. They’ve now scored the first run in every game this series. Today, the first run came from a Matt Holliday “home run”- if you can even call it that. Holliday got way under- and I mean way under- a pitch away from him, and it just stayed inside the foul pole, and barely made if over the wall. I swear, it was the luckiest home run I’ve ever seen (other than maybe Jake Westbrook’s grand slam earlier this year against the Brewers). Anyway, the second Cardinals run came on a home run by Allen Craig. At least he deserved his home run…

But the Brewers finally got some clutch hits, starting in the fourth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a RBI double to cut the deficit to 2-1, then Yuniesky Betancourt followed up with a RBI single to tie it up. The Brewers would then take the lead in the fifth on Ryan Braun’s RBI single. They scored their fourth and final run in the sixth inning when George Kottaras reached on a fielding error by second baseman Ryan Theriot, which allowed Rickie Weeks to score.

Anyway, the Brewers finished with scoreless innings from Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford. And Axford hit 99 MPH for the first time, at least that I’ve seen.

Here’s kind of a crazy stat about Cardinals pitching in this series- none of their pitchers have made it past the fifth inning, and their cumulative ERA is over 7.00. I can’t even believe they’re winning games with their pitchers not going deep. But the clown car- excuse me, the Cardinals’ bullpen- has had to do a lot of work. They got it done yesterday after Chris Carpenter’s five innings start, but couldn’t today after Kyle Lohse’s 4 1/3 inning start. It was actually Mitchell Boggs who allowed the go-ahead to Braun, but the runner was inherited from Lohse, so he still took the loss.

Tomorrow is a big game for the Brewers. If they win, they take the series lead and have the advantage to win, but same goes for the Cards if they win. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a rough start in Game 1. He allowed six runs in 6+ innings, but still took the win, thanks to nine runs of support. The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA), who also had a rough start in Game 1: he gave up six runs in four innings. But, Garcia has pitched much better at Busch Stadium than on the road this year- in fact, he has a complete game shutout against the Brewers at Busch this year.


A few things to note about the Cardinals

September 13, 2011

The Cardinals lost to the Pirates today, 6-5. This gives the Brewers a 6.5 game lead in the NL Central, which is big, and their magic number also falls to single digits, at long last. Anyway, Marc Rzepczynski blew the Cards’ lead and ended up taking the loss, while Fernando Salas served up the go-ahead double to Pedro Ciriaco.

But, I’m sure that Cards fans aren’t too worried about this loss, since something better happened for them today- Chris Carpenter is now guaranteed to be a Cardinal next year. And the year after. The Cardinals and Carpenter reportedly agreed to two-year extension worth $21 million, and the first year of that contract replaces his $15 million option that the Cards probably would have picked up for next year anyway. Carpenter has been pitching for the Cardinals since 2004, and owns a 93-42 record with a 3.10 ERA. He also won the 2005 Cy Young Award. Before coming to the Cards, Carpenter wasn’t having any success with his old team, the Blue Jays, going 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA with them. Anyway, Carpenter is having a somewhat of a down-year this year, as he’s 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA. The ERA is respectable, but you’d expect the record to be better.

This signing pretty much defines what the Cards’ rotation will look like over the next few years. This is what it will look like (plus their numbers this year):

Adam Wainwright (Didn’t pitch in 2011)

Chris Carpenter (9-9, 3.75 ERA)

Jaime Garcia (12-7, 3.68 ERA)

Kyle Lohse (13-7, 3.62 ERA)

Jake Westbrook (12-8, 4.61 ERA)

Edwin Jackson is also in the rotation right now, but, with Wainwright returning from Tommy John Surgery next year and everyone else already signed, that pretty much forces Jackson to leave via free agency. Which is ironic, since his 3.39 ERA with the Cardinals is the best out of that entire rotation. I’m sure they’d take him over Westbrook any day, but they kind of have to keep him.

Anyway, some games to keep an eye on- the Braves are losing to the Marlins in the 12th inning, 5-4, but they have a guy on second against Leo Nunez. I guess we’ll have to wait to see how that one turns out. On the other side of the country, the Dodgers are beating the Diamondbacks, 1-0, in the fifth inning. If the D-backs lose, they’ll fall a full game behind the Brewers for the second best record in the NL. If they win, they’ll tie the Brewers for the second best. (Oh, by the way, Ted Lilly has a no-hitter going against the D-backs through 4 1/3. I probably just jinxed it, but I’m just putting that out there.)


Brewers extend division lead behind stellar Wolf

September 6, 2011

I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but I think it’s safe to say that the Brewers have the division clinched.

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 4-1, and extended their division lead to 10.5 games. That’s tied for the largest lead they’ve had all season, and, with a little more than 20 games to go, I think we can say that the Brewers are going to win the division. As I said earlier, I don’t like jumping to conclusions, but it’s hard not to with this giant lead (which is the largest division lead in the Majors… Again).

The Brewers scored four runs, and two came via the home run ball. Ryan Braun crushed his 27th homer of the year off Jake Westbrook in the third inning, and Tony Tombstone- er, Nyjer Morgan- hit his fourth home run of the year in the seventh inning. But that was all Randy Wolf would need to mow down the Cards.

Wolf went eight innings while giving up one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five to earn his 12th win of the year. Wolf has also proved that he’s pitched much better against the Cardinals in Busch Stadium, rather than Miller Park- over his last two starts at Busch, Wolf is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA. Anyway, John Axford finished it off in the ninth inning and recorded is 41st save of the year. That’s tied with Tigers closer Jose Valverde for the second most saves in the Majors (Craig Kimbrel of the Braves leads with 42).

Taylor Green didn’t have a great game today, but he did get one hit- a double- in his second Major League start. He continues to tear apart Major League pitching, hitting .500 since his call-up. I can just tell this kid’s going to have a great future with the Brewers.

And here’s another big story- Ryan Braun is leading the NL in batting average! He’s hitting .335, and, since Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 today, he’s down to .332, allowing Braun to take the lead. If Braun can maintain a high batting average down the stretch, I have a feeling he’s going to take home the batting title- something no Brewer has ever done before.

Anyway, get ready for a slugfest tomorrow- Yovani Gallardo (15-9, 3.68 ERA) is going for the Brewers, while the Cards will counter with Kyle Lohse (12-8, 3.72 ERA). Both of these pitchers are terrible- and I mean terrible– against the opposition. Gallardo is 1-6 with a 5.79 ERA against the Cardinals in his career, and Lohse is 3-8 with a 5.10 ERA in his career against the Brewers. In fact, Lohse doesn’t have a win against the Brewers while with the Cardinals. But, I have a gut feeling that tomorrow will be a battle of the bullpens, in the end.

By the way, tomorrow marks the day that I have to make some decisions about this blog, as school starts for me tomorrow (I’m in high school, if you didn’t already know that). For the first few days, I doubt we’ll get much homework, but, after about a week in, we’ll probably get hammered with it. So it’ll be tough to find time to post, so expect posts late at night, no matter when the Brewer game is.