Offensive outburst puts Brewers 2.5 back

September 16, 2012

POSTGAME

> After a rough loss last night, the Brewers proved that they can put bumps in the road like that in the past. They came back and won a slugfest with the Mets tonight, 9-6.

Shaun Marcum and the Brewers got off to a bad start, as the Mets tagged Marcum for four runs over just four innings, including a three-run fourth. But the Brewers finally got to Mets starter Jenrry Mejia, who had been begging for trouble through the first few innings, in the bottom of the fourth. After Logan Schafer hit a two-run triple to cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3, Rickie Weeks hit a go-ahead three-run blast.

MY TAKE

> If the Brewers end up making the playoffs, a lot of the credit could go to Weeks. He got a lot of hate during his sub-.200 first half, but has had a much better second half, including the fact that he’s found his power stroke lately. The home run was his 20th of the season, a milestone I didn’t think he had a chance at reaching after the start he got off to.

THE NEWS

> The Cardinals fell in walk-off fashion to the Dodgers, 4-3. They had a 3-2 lead going into the ninth inning, but Jason Motte managed to blow another save. Former Brewer Luis Cruz was part of the rally, as he hit the game-tying double before Juan Rivera won it with an RBI single. The Brewers are now just 2.5 games out of their Wild Card spot.

Oh, and the Phillies were shut out by the Astros, so the Brewers once again passed them up in the standings.

THE NUMBERS

> Marcum hasn’t completed six innings since returning from the disabled list.

> Zack Greinke was great for the Angels tonight, going 8 1/3 innings in a bid for his first complete game shutout since 2009. But he was pulled with an out in the ninth, only for the usually reliable Ernesto Frieri to blow his lead, and the Angels’ win.

> Johnny Cueto got rocked again tonight, giving up six runs against the Marlins. For awhile I thought he was going to win the Cy Young Award, but now I think it almost unanimously goes to R.A. Dickey.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Chris Young (4-7, 4.39 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (1-0, 3.46 ERA)

THE EXTRAS

> So I was at the game tonight, and was sitting in the terrace level with my friend. Sometime around the seventh inning, I was talking to him and not looking at the field, when I heard the crowd start oddly cheering and people yelling “airplane!” I turned around and saw a paper airplane slowly gliding from a few rows behind us and towards the field.

I thought eventually it would just fall into the seats in front of us, but it just never stopped. It continuously glided until it was finally over the field, and at this point the crowd was going insane. None of the players noticed until Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy turned around and saw it coming down. Aramis Ramirez, who was batting at the time, called time when he saw it and stepped out.

But things got even more ridiculous- the plane landed inches away from second base, and received a standing ovation from the crowd. A bat-boy came out and retrieved the plane, and then Murphy made a clapping gesture towards the seats that the plane came from. Anyway, that was my take and perspective on the whole fiasco; you can watch part of it here.

However, Mets pitcher Manny Acosta wasn’t amused by the prank, and drilled Ramirez on the following pitch.

Advertisements

Nearly astounding comeback falls short

September 10, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers had to have this game, and, after an amazing late comeback, it looked like they were going to get it. But, they couldn’t bring the momentum into extra innings, losing to the Cardinals 5-4 in 10 innings.

The Cards jumped on Shaun Marcum right away in the first inning, with home runs from Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran within a span of three batters. Matt Carpenter gave the Cards another in the second inning on an RBI double, and memories of the Brewers’ last NLCS game in 2011 were brought back. The only two Brewers runs came on a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the second inning and a Jean Segura RBI single in the fourth.

Fast forward to the ninth inning. The Cardinals brought in their flamethrower, Jason Motte, whom the Brewers haven’t been able to touch since he was put into the Cards’ closer role. But today was a different story. Two batters after a Segura double, Norichika Aoki hit a game-tying homer on a 99 MPH fastball from Motte.

After that, I thought the Brewers were going to win for sure; everything’s been going our way lately. But not today- Kameron Loe gave up the walk-off single to Allen Craig in the 10th inning, and that was that.

MY TAKE

> Two out of three in St. Louis is usually good for the Brewers, but they desperately needed the sweep today. The Brewers don’t have any more head-to-head match-ups against the Cards for the rest of the year, and the schedules don’t exactly go in the Brewers’ favor either. The Cardinals get to play 12 of their last 22 games against the Padres, Pirates, and Astros, while the Brewers still have series against the Braves, Nationals, and Reds left.

So I’d love to see the Brewers do what the Cards did down the stretch last year, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

THE NEWS

> Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each had to leave the game early today. Braun has a wrist problem that’s been lingering the entire season, and Hart had a mild sprained ankle. Neither are considered very serious.

Logan Schafer took over for Braun in left field, and Travis Ishikawa came in to play first base.

> The Brewers claimed Miguel De Los Santos off waivers from the Rangers. They had released him on Friday.

De Los Santos, a left-hander, put up a confusing 5.22 ERA for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate this season. The reason I say confusing is because Baseball America thought De Los Santos had the best change-up in the Rangers’ organization prior to the season.

The Brewers now have two De Los Santos’ down on the farm, having acquired Fautino De Los Santos from the Athletics in exchange for George Kottaras back in early August.

> Mark Rogers said he isn’t ready to be shut down. Neither am I.

> Today is the 20th anniversary of Robin Yount’s 3000th career hit.

> Zack Greinke got the win for the Angels tonight, going seven strong against the Tigers.

THE NUMBERS

> Brandon Kintzler threw two scoreless innings. But I find it strange that he doesn’t have a strikeout in the Majors yet this year, especially with the kind of stuff he has.

> Segura went a perfect 3-for-3. He’ll need to put together a good stretch here if he wants to prove he can be the everyday shortstop next year.

> The probables for the upcoming series against the Braves:

Mike Minor (8-10, 4.58 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (1-0, 5.14 ERA)

Tim Hudson (14-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 3.99 ERA)

Paul Maholm (12-9, 3.67 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.76 ERA)


Astros rotation should flop again

January 19, 2012

Note- This is the first of a new series I’m doing where I’ll be reviewing all of the rotations in the NL Central for 2012. If you’re looking for news, then scroll down- it’ll posted afterwards.

> We all know that the Astros just plain sucked in 2011. They were an MLB-worst 56-106, and finished a whopping 40 games out of first place to the Brewers in the NL Central.

While it didn’t help that they traded away their only position players who were worth something- Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn- at the All-Star Break, their pitching was one of the primary causes for their awful season. The starting rotation was nothing special, but their bullpen was worse. Every time their starter had tossed a solid outing and Brad Mills handed it off to the bullpen, you just knew they were going to blow it some way or another.

Anyway, I’m going to review their starting rotation now, and put them in order of how I think the rotation should go in 2012, along with their 2011 stats.

#1 starter- Bud Norris- 6-11, 3.77 ERA

Norris, in my opinion, is an elite pitcher just waiting to break out. He goes unnoticed because he’s on the Astros, but this kid has one of the nastiest sliders in the MLB. Since he’s a right-handed pitcher, that slider is near impossible for righties to hit, but it makes Norris vulnerable against lefties.

I consider him a strikeout pitcher. In 2011, he struck out 176 batters in 186 innings, with an 8.7 K/9 ratio. That was slightly down from his 9.3 K/9 in 2010, but his overall numbers were much better than 2010. But, he can’t let that strikeout rate drop anymore.

Anyway, Norris now has two full MLB seasons under his belt, which should set him up for nice year next year. But, his win-loss record might not show it, because I have a feeling he’s not going to get any run support.

#2 starter- Wandy Rodriguez- 11-11, 3.49 ERA

In 2011, Rodriguez was probably the Astros’ most consistent starter. Again, his record doesn’t show it (but no Astros’ starter record shows anything other than lack of run support), though. But, he’s already 33, and it’s rumored that the Astros might be shopping him to get rid of his large contract, so he may not be around too much longer.

I guess I haven’t seen Rodriguez pitch enough to determine what kind of pitcher he is, but, judging by the amount of home runs he gives up (25 in 2011), I’d assume he’s a fly-ball pitcher. But, he’s K/9 rate isn’t bad, as it was 7.8 in 2011. His K/9 rate has steadily fell over the past few years, though, which could show a possible decline.

Overall, I think Rodriguez still has a few good years left in him. They probably won’t all be with the Astros, though.

#3 starter- Brett Myers- 7-14, 4.46 ERA

After I did my best to praise the first two starters, I might not be able to do so with the next two. Myers had a great year in 2010, going 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA, and earning him the #1 spot in the rotation. But, he followed it up with an awful 2011, as seen by the basic numbers. He also became nearly a complete off-speed pitcher, with more than 50% of his pitches being change ups and curveballs, rather than fastballs.

Myers gives up enough home runs, as he gave up 31 in 2011. He’s pretty much a fly-ball pitcher, and his K/9 is just 6.7. He also gives up a lot of hits, giving up 9.4 per nine innings.

So I don’t think Myers has much left in him. But he’s on the trade block as well, so he may not be on the Astros for much longer either.

#4 starter- J.A. Happ- 6-15, 5.35 ERA

Happ just had a flat-out bad season. I used to think he had talent, but, after last year, I don’t know anymore. There was a stretch of eight starts in which he gave up at least four runs in each of them, which explains his high ERA. And, even when he did have solid starts, guess what he didn’t get? That’s right- run support.

Happ’sĀ  K/9 in 2011 was 7.7, and he gave up 21 home runs. I guess I don’t really know what kind of pitcher he is, but, whatever kind he is, he needs to get better at it.

I think Happ will bounce back in 2012, but not by much.

#5 starter- Jordan Lyles- 2-8, 5.36 ERA

Lyles was called up during the year to give him a taste of the big leagues, and I think he has potential. He has an extremely relaxed pitching motion, which usually means good things for a pitcher. I still haven’t seen enough of him, but I’m guessing he’ll break the rotation next year.

And that’s my review of all of them. There are a few more Astros starters who could break the rotation, like Kyle Weiland, but I think these are the five who have the best shot.

Overall, I think the Astros rotation will, like the rest of the team, once again flop in 2012. Aside from Norris, I don’t see much coming from them next season.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for another review- I’m thinking I’ll do the Cubs.

> Today, I heard that earlier this week Tony La Russa said at some lunch circuit thing that he did tell Jason Motte to intentionally hit Ryan Braun in the wild game in August.

That’s so typical of him, though. He lied and flipped out at the reporters after that game. So, after he retires, he comes out and tells the truth when he’s untouchable.

Needless to say I’m happy that prick retired. I’ve had it with his crap; I don’t care if he’s a HOF manager- he certainly doesn’t have the personality of one.

> And that’s about it. Sorry for calling TLR a “prick,” I don’t usually use language like that on BW. But trust me, I could have called him something much worse…

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


La Russa finishes managerial career on top…

November 1, 2011

Even I wasn’t expecting this from the most hated man in Wisconsin.

Yes, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, after 33 seasons as a Major League manager, has called it quits. Obviously, unless he told you in August (like he did to a few coaches), you probably weren’t expecting it, especially after he won his third career World Series title.

Now, if you’re a Brewers fan, then you, much like myself, don’t really have any respect left for this guy anymore. The last straw for me was a Brewers-Cardinals series at Miller Park in late August, in which La Russa made himself look like an idiot. First, he complained that the Brewers were manipulating the stadium lighting while the Cardinals were batting. Then, following an accidental hit-by-pitch of Albert Pujols by Takashi Saito, La Russa sent Jason Motte to the mound, only to hit Ryan Braun, then taken out of the game. After the game, La Russa said something like: “We didn’t hit him on purpose, we were just trying to send a message.” That quote pretty much put me over the top- how can a future Hall of Fame manager make himself look so stupid? I still wonder that to this day, but, enough of me bashing him- let’s get onto his astounding stats during his 33 year managerial career.

La Russa has managed just three teamsĀ  in 33 years- when you see a 33-year managerial career, you tend to think of maybe five or six different teams. But La Russa stayed with each of his three teams for an extended period of team- the White Sox (1979-1986), Athletics (1986-1995), and Cardinals (1996-2011). He didn’t have much success with the White Sox, as he only made the playoffs with them once, but he won one World Series title with the Athletics (1989) and two titles with the Cardinals (2006, 2011). He won a total of six pennants- three in the AL, three in the NL.

Anyway, despite the fact I don’t have respect left for La Russa, I can’t argue with the fact that he’s one of the greatest managers of all time.

So today was the first day of what looks like is going to be a busy offseason. Before I go, I’m just going to quickly go through all of the moves that were made today (other than La Russa retiring, we already went through that):

CC Sabathia decided not to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. Instead, he signed a one-year, $25 million contract, which is just added on to the four years already remaining on his contract. Guess he just can’t get enough money… But it’s hard to argue with, considering he’s 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA in his three season with the Yanks thus far.

The Indians picked up starter Fausto Carmona’s $7 million option. Carmona has been wildly inconsistent over the past three years, as he had a bad 2009, solid 2010, and now a bad 2011.

The Indians also declined center fielder Grady Sizemore’s $9 million option, simply because the 25-year old has been far too injury prone the past few years. But you can’t blame Cleveland for no longer wanting him after five surgeries in just three years.

Now for the last move the Indians made, and arguably the biggest- they acquired starter Derek Lowe from the Braves in exchange for a Single-A lefty, Chris Jones. Lowe is nearly out of gas, as he’s 38 and his numbers are declining- he’s coming off a 9-17/5.05 ERA year. But, the Indians just wanted him for veteran experience at the back of a young rotation that already includes young names such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Carmona, Justin Masterson, and Josh Tomlin.

Now for a few more option moves- the Royals exercised their 2012 option on closer Joakim Soria, and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez declined his option with the Cubs and is now a free agent.


Rangers take 3-2 lead in World Series

October 25, 2011

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

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

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

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


Looking onwards to Game 3…

October 12, 2011

If you saw the Brewer game last night, you probably know why I titled this post the way I did.

A day after taking the all-important game 1 of the NLCS, the Brewers were destroyed by the Cardinals in game 2, 12-3. But, in my opinion, the Brewers didn’t lose to the Cardinals- they lost to Albert Pujols. The Machine went 4-f0r-5 with three doubles, a two-run homer, and five RBI. The only Brewers pitcher to retire Pujols was Chris Narveson, who made him ground out in the eighth inning. After that out, the Milwaukee crowd stood up and gave a standing ovation, probably with a sense of sarcasm. Anyway, two Pujols’ four hits came off struggling Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, who is in the middle of a horrible stretch.

Now, there are a couple theories as to why Marcum is having such a tough time on the mound right now. My first guess is that he’s just running out of gas, because he’s never pitched this many innings in his career. Marcum threw 200 2/3 innings this year, which was a career-high for him. If you include his two awful postseason starts, he’s thrown 209 1/3 innings. The other theory is that he’s just nervous because this is his first time in the postseason- his former team, the Blue Jays, were rarely ever contenders while he was there.

Anyway, despite this blowout game by the Cardinals, Tony La Russa still found a way to use practically every pitcher in his bullpen. He removed starter Edwin Jackson after just 4 1/3 innings because his pitch count was getting high early, and he didn’t trust Jackson to get out of a fifth inning jam. So, from there, La Russa went on to use Arthur Rhodes, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte. This has to be the first time I’ve seen the team on the winning side of a blowout game manage to use six relievers (seven total pitchers). Even the Brewers only had to use five pitchers, despite Marcum going just four innings. And Kameron Loe pitching one third of inning while giving up four runs (that 108.00 ERA fits him well).

Tomorrow will be a battle of aces- Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (11-9. 3.45 ERA). This should be an interesting matchup, considering neither has had much success against the opposing team. Gallardo is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA in his career against the Cards, while Carpenter is 5-4 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

By the way, Jeff Suppan is apparently going to be throwing out the first pitch before game 3. I don’t know if this is the Cardinals’ way of making fun of the Brewers, but I don’t see why they’d have any other reason to let this former bust throw out the first pitch. Anyway, if you don’t know the story of Suppan and the Brewers, well- actually, just consider yourself lucky.

Oh, and here’s another funny thing before I go- Theo Epstein is more than likely becoming the general manager of the Cubs. I let you laugh at that yourself instead of giving a long explanation. Because even I can’t explain why the Red Sox GM would want to become the Cubs GM.


Brewers offense breaks out, hits five HRs to back Wolf

September 17, 2011

After eight games of absolutely no 0ffense, I think I can finally stop complaining about what the Brewers have been lacking lately. Well, at least for today.

The Brewers offense broke out today and defeated the Reds, 6-3. They belted five home runs off Reds pitching, but four of them were off Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo’s home runs allowed count ballooned to 44 tonight, and he’s got a legit chance to break the National League record for home runs given up, which currently stands at 48. But back to the Brewers. The home runs were hit by Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay, George Kottaras, and Ryan Braun hit two. (Braun hitting two actually has some significance, which I’ll explain later).

Randy Wolf was cruising against the Reds until the seventh inning, when he allowed three consecutive singles to start the inning. He was then removed, and his final line was 7+ innings with three runs given up on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked none. Wolf had actually only given up one run before he was removed, but an “irritated” Francisco Rodriguez allowed two inherited runners to score before inducing an inning-ending double play. Sometimes, I honestly wonder that when players are mad at their team, no matter what sport they play, that they do bad on purpose (kind of like what Randy Moss did to the Vikings last year). I guess it was hard to tell with K-Rod today. But, I did notice that he didn’t look as intense as he usually does on the mound.

Anyway, congratulations to Braun on becoming the second 30/30 player in Brewers’ history! He entered play today with 28 home runs, and his two home runs rose his season total to 30. Braun is now the second player in Brewers’ history, as I mentioned earlier, to become a 30/30 player. Tommy Harper did it in 1970 for the Brewers, their first season in Milwaukee. Braun is also the second player in the Majors to do it this year, joining Matt Kemp of the Dodgers as the only two 30/30 players this year.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals also won today in 12 innings against the Phillies. The Cardinals had the lead going into the ninth inning, but Jason Motte blew the save, courtesy of some awful defense by right fielder Corey Patterson. But, the Cardinals came back in the 11th, scoring two runs and winning 4-2. The Brewers magic number moves to seven after today.

The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game series against the Reds tomorrow at 6:10 PM CT (on WMLW). Yovani Gallardo (16-10, 3.66 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a stellar start against the Phillies in which he went seven innings while striking out 12. He’s 2-3 with a 5.76 ERA in his career against the Reds, however.

The Reds will counter with Edinson Volquez (5-5, 5.80 ERA), who, as you can see by his mile-high ERA, is having a very inconsistent season. He’s been up and down between the Majors and Triple-A, which you don’t see very often from an Opening Day starter. Anyway, Volquez is 3-1 with a 5.80 ERA in his career against the Brewers.