Brewers take advantage of… the sun?

September 24, 2012

POSTGAME

> The score might not indicate it, but today was hard-fought win for the Brewers. They defeated the Nationals, 6-2, but a few of the Brewers’ key hits came courtesy of Nats outfielders losing fly balls in the sun.

The Brewers got on the board against Chien-Ming Wang in the fourth inning. Ryan Braun got a gift double after center fielder Bryce Harper misplayed a ball in the sun, then Jonathan Lucroy took advantage with an RBI single three batters later. Logan Schafer followed that up with an RBI double.

But the Nats tied it up in the fifth inning against Yovani Gallardo. Yo got himself into trouble quickly after walking Ian Desmond and allowing a double to Danny Espinosa. Chad Tracy put up an incredible at-bat against him, which resulted in an RBI single. Jayson Werth tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

The Brewers took the lead again in the seventh on Lucroy’s second RBI single. Carlos Gomez followed that with the second gift hit of the day- an RBI single thanks to the right fielder Werth giving up on the fly ball in the sun.

MY TAKE

> Schafer should be getting more playing time. He’s shown that he can hit when given the chance, with a clutch RBI triple against the Mets last week, and two more hits today.

But the way Schafer is playing gives the Brewers a world of options for 2013. It allows them to get rid of the left-handed hitting Nyjer Morgan- who isn’t getting playing time anyway- since Schafer is also a lefty. And, if Gomez winds up not working out as the everyday center fielder, we’ve got Schafer to fall back on.

> If Harper wins the Rookie of the Year Award, I’m going to explode.

THE NEWS

> Today was Schafer’s first big league start.

> Ken Rosenthal brought up the point that the Brewers spent about $180 million less on Aramis Ramirez than the Tigers paid Prince Fielder, but have gotten very similar production.

So where are the “Braun is going to be pitched to differently” haters now?

>The Cardinals defeated the Cubs again. They now start a three-game series against the Astros, then their easy nine-game stretch ends (not to mention the Brewers’ tough 10-game stretch will end as well).

As far as the teams behind the Brewers in the Wild Card race, the Dodgers and Pirates both won, while the Phillies lost.

THE NUMBERS

> Braun went 2-for-3 to bring his average up to .317. If he manages to get it into the mid-.320’s, I have no idea how you don’t give him the MVP- his other numbers are already so much better than the rest of the MVP candidates.

> The bullpen was lights-out. Brandon Kintzler, Francisco Rodriguez, Jim Henderson, Jose Veras, and John Axford combined for four scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

> Marco Estrada, tomorrow’s starter, is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA over his last six starts. Prior to that stretch, he didn’t have a win all year.

> The Brewers have now won Gallardo’s last 11 starts (although Yo himself didn’t pick up the win today).

> Ramirez, who hit two doubles today, now has 49 for the season. That’s four away from breaking Lyle Overbay’s franchise record of 53.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Marco Estrada (4-6, 3.56 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (11-8, 2.96 ERA)

The Crew will have their hands full with the Wisconsin native Zimmermann, who has already defeated them once this year. Estrada, the former National, is the midst of his hot streak, but let’s hope he’s ready for his noon start this time.

THE EXTRAS

> OK, the Cardinals can do what they want in their clubhouse, but this is going a little far.

> So apparently Eric Chavez of the Yankees doesn’t approve of celebrating after home runs.

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Latest Fielder rumors…

January 15, 2012

> Last week was an odd week, as far as the rumors for free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder go. First, it was reported that the Nationals said that they weren’t going to bid on Fielder, at least at his current asking price. Then, the Rangers met with Fielder in Dallas (after specifically saying that they weren’t going to be in on him, but I’ll talk more about that later). But, last night, it was reported that the Nationals were still in the running for Fielder.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty confused at this point.

The Nationals are seemingly a good fit for Fielder. They have Adam LaRoche under contract until the end of 2012, and have an option on him for 2013. But, he hit just .172 in 43 games last year before going on the DL. There have been speculations about a possible trade to get rid of LaRoche, hence allowing the Nats to sign Fielder, but it doesn’t appear that anyone wants him.

There are also some question marks on whether or not that Nationals are going to contend over the next few years. They have a capable- but injury-prone- rotation in Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Chien-Ming Wang, and John Lannan and Ross Detwiler fighting for the last spot. Their bullpen is stellar, headed by Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen. But, there are a lot of questions about their offense, even if they signed Fielder. Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse are their only consistent hitters right now, and the rest of their offense is very inconsistent, which is why they were near the bottom of the NL in team batting average. And, in a division where the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins are all expected to be contenders next year, that Nationals chances at the postseason aren’t the best.

And then there’s the financial situation. The Nationals are considered a large market team. But, if they sign Fielder, to, say, a deal close to what Albert Pujols got, they could be in financial trouble very soon. They’re already dealing with what could turn into a disastrous deal with Jayson Werth, and a lot of the pitchers I listed earlier will soon be arbitration-eligible and could become much more expensive by the time they become free agents. So, in my opinion, the Nationals signing Fielder could really hurt them financially in the future.

Nolan Ryan said the Rangers weren’t going to go after Fielder this offseason, but, in the back of my mind, I knew they’d become contenders for him at some point. With Mitch Moreland out for the first few months of 2012, Fielder would make sense for the Rangers. And, if they did add him, that would be by far the most devastating lineup in the Majors.

But, it’s been said that the Rangers are just using the Fielder discussions as bait to accelerate the Yu Darvish negotations. This is the last week the Rangers can negotiate with Darvish, or else he returns to Japan. The Rangers could just be saying to Darvish, “If you don’t accept this money, fine, we’ll use it somewhere else.” That “somewhere else” being Fielder.

> Speaking of Japanese players, it sounds like the Brewers and Norichika Aoki will reach an agreement after all. The Brewers appear to like what they saw at Aoki’s workout in Maryvale, Arizona, and offered him a deal. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s to Aoki’s liking, though.

> This has nothing to do with the Brewers, but, the day before yesterday, it was reported that the Mariners and Yankees made a blockbuster trade for two young players with high potential. Pitcher Michael Pineda is headed to New York for catcher Jesus Montero. This gives both the Yankees and Mariners exactly what they needed- the Yankees got pitching to bolster their rotation, and the Mariners finally have some offense after finishing last in runs scored in 2010 and 2011.

The Yankees also signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal, so their rotation is set.

> And that’s about it. Sorry for not posting for awhile, but BW has really been going down the tubes lately, even when I have been posting. Hopefully that changes soon…

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