Seven Brewers to participate in WBC

January 17, 2013

> It seems like the list just keeps getting larger. As of right now, seven Brewers are on their respective countries World Baseball Classic rosters: Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, John Axford, Jim Henderson, Taylor Green, Yovani Gallardo, and Martin Maldonado.

Braun and Luc will play for Team USA (Braun also played for them in 2009). Axford, Henderson, and Green were all selected to Team Canada. Gallardo will play for Team Mexico, and Maldonado for Puerto Rico.

I’m happy for all of these guys, but the one issue with the Classic is that it interferes with Spring Training. I typically don’t have an issue with that, but, as someone on Twitter pointed out earlier today, both of the Brewers’ big league catchers will be participating in the WBC, so the new Brewers pitchers (particularly the relievers) won’t have much time to get familiar with them. That shouldn’t be an issue, but it is something to think about.

Also, the fact that Gallardo will be throwing extra innings due the WBC will probably try and prompt Ron Roenicke to give him some sort of innings limit, knowing his shenanigans. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

> The Brewers added righty reliever Rob Wooten to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. The Brewers’ list of non-roster invitees now stands at 18: pitchers Wooten, Jairo Asencio, Jed Bradley, Darren Byrd, Kelvim Escobar, Donovan Hand, Taylor Jungmann, Arcenio Leon, Travis Webb, catchers Dayton Buller, Anderson De La Rosa, Blake Lalli, Rafael Nada, Adam Weisenburger, infielders Hector Gomez, Hunter Morris, Donnie Murphy, and outfielder Kentrail Davis.

> Four Brewers filed for salary arbitration today: Axford, Burke Badenhop, Marco Estrada, and Carlos Gomez. Axford projects to get the largest contract. The Brewers already avoided arbitration with one of their eligibles, Chris Narveson.

> Minor moves: 

Blue Jays: Signed ex-Brewer Henry Blanco and Adam Loewen to minor league deals; designated Tommy Hottovy for assignment; re-signed Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal; signed Denis Villatora to a five-year deal.
Orioles: Re-signed Nolan Reimold and Tommy Hunter to one-year deals.
Phillies: Signed Rodrigo Lopez, Juan Cruz, and Aaron Cook to minor league deals.
Yankees: Released ex-Brewer Chris Dickerson; re-signed Phil Hughes to a one-year deal.
Angels: Signed Fernando Cabrera to a minor league deal; re-signed Jerome Williams to a one-year deal.
Indians: Released Thomas Neal.
Reds: Signed ex-Brewer Cesar Izturis to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Re-signed Jeff Karstens to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed J.J. Putz to a one-year deal.
Nationals: Signed Delwyn Young to a minor league deal; signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year deal.
Dodgers: Signed Peter Moylan, Jesus Flores, Deivy Castillo, Ariel Sandoval, Ravel Hernandez, and Miguel Urena to minor league deals.
Mariners: Signed Luis Liberato to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Signed Kyle McClellan to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Signed Michael Wuertz, Nick Green, and Austin Kearns to minor league deals.
Tigers: Signed Don Kelly to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Re-signed Wilton Lopez and Josh Outman to one-year deals.

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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)


Braun’s goose-egg ends up drowning Brewers

August 15, 2012

> The Brewers dropped their second straight series to one of baseball’s worst teams tonight, losing to the Rockies, 8-6. You can put some of the blame on Randy Wolf, who got pounded for six runs in five innings, with his ERA escalating to 5.65 in the process. But most of the blame, at least offensively, falls on Ryan Braun, whose inexplicable struggles continued tonight.

The Rockies jumped on Wolf right away in the first inning. Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run single to put the Rox up early, then Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco each followed him with RBI hits. The Brewers didn’t get on the board until the third inning on Norichika Aoki’s RBI bunt single.

Fast-forward to the ninth inning, where the Brewers appeared to be starting a rally. The score was a comfortable 8-3 in favor of the Rockies, so they put in Rex Brothers to hopefully finish the game. But the Brewers jumped all over him, with Corey Hart, Martin Maldonado, and Carlos Gomez getting three straight hits off him to produce a run. Brothers was pulled before he could record an out for closer Rafael Betancourt. Betancourt promptly recorded an out, which was a pretty lucky Jean Segura lineout. But Jonathan Lucroy followed that up with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 8-5. Then Aoki hit a first-pitch RBI single, and things were starting to look interesting. But, Rickie Weeks popped out, then Braun flew out on the first pitch. Rally killed in a matter of seconds.

LOOKING INTO BRAUN’S SLUMP

> Throughout his career, Braun has always been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2007, then took home the National League MVP last year. There was the drug scandal that put doubts into other’s minds, but Braun vindicated himself after his monster first half of this season.

But, the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing a different Braun. He’s been struggling mightily at the plate, something we have seen him do very seldom. Last Wednesday, Braun hit a double in the eighth inning of the Reds-Brewers game, and that snapped an 0-for-17 slump prior to that game. Unfortunately, that hit didn’t snap him all the way out of the slump. Coming into today, Braun was hitting .303 (keep in mind he was hitting around the .320’s not too many weeks ago). An 0-for-5 mark- with five important runners left on- dipped his average below .300 for the first time since May.

Recently, I’ve been analyzing Braun’s at-bats more closely than I have in a while, and here’s what I’ve noticed. Braun is swinging at the first pitch a lot more often than he usually does, and lately it hasn’t been working. You can bet that other teams are scouting this, and pitchers aren’t giving him as good of a pitch to hit on the first pitch. Second, Braun is looking at pitches that he normally wouldn’t, particularly late in the count, such as pitches right down the pipe. I’ll admit the entire team is actually doing that right now, but a hitter of Braun’s caliber shouldn’t be caught guessing that often.

Now, it’s worth noting that Braun has been dealing with blisters on his left hand lately, which can be a nagging issue. But, I highly doubt blisters can cause a slump like this. If they were really a problem, I think Braun would have said something by now.

I’m not trying to put all the team’s struggles on Braun’s back right now, because most of that is on the bullpen. But, when basically everyone in the lineup is productive on a night where they score six runs, yet Braun didn’t even have a hit, you know there were a few runs left on the field. And some of those are due to this slump of Braun’s.

THE NEWS

> Brandon Kintzler was promoted to Triple-A today as he continues his comeback trail following various arm surgeries. Kintzler went down in early 2011, but had been solid going into May, posting a 3.86 ERA. He also spent a little time with the Brewers in September of 2010.

If Kintzler can prove he’s completely healthy, don’t be surprised to see him up come this September.

> There have been rumors flying that the Brewers are going to shut down Jed Bradley, one of their two first-round picks in 2011, for the season. Bradley is currently in Double-A, and has dealt with his share of injuries.

> After designating him for assignment last week, the Royals released Yuniesky Betancourt today. Is it bad that I had a dream about him returning to the Brewers last night?

> Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky passed away yesterday, at age 92. Pesky had a short career in the 40’s and 50’s because of his time spent in the military, but he quietly had a nice career, as his career .307 average shows. He stuck around with the Red Sox organization for basically the rest of his life after his career ended, and proved as a very influential figure for Boston. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with the Sox organization and their fans.

THE NUMBERS

> Weeks and Braun, both of whom ended the ninth inning rally, each went 0-for-5 today, out of the two and three spots, respectively. Figures.

> Maldonado went 2-for-4 to bring his average up to .283, and Lucroy’s pinch-hit single brought his average up to .330. It might be safe to say that they’re one of the better young catching tandems in the Majors, considering either of them can start and put up consistent numbers at the plate while doing it.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.08 ERA) vs. ???


Greinke K’s 12 as Brewers return favor to Cubs

June 7, 2012

> After how terrible last night’s game turned out, today’s game was unbelievable.

> A day after being embarrassingly shut out 10-0 by one of the worst teams in the National League, the Brewers came back and defeated the Cubs, 8-0. The story of the night was Zack Greinke, who, you could argue, had the best start of his Brewers tenure. The Brewers’ offense also broke out for five runs against Cubs starter Paul Maholm to show that it hasn’t completely disappeared yet.

But first I’ll talk about Greinke’s gem. He went seven innings while giving up just two hits. He walked two and struck out 12, a new Brewers-high for him. Like I said, you could make the argument that this was the best stuff he’s ever had as a Brewer, but there was also his eight inning of two-hit ball against the Reds back at the beginning of May. He struck out 11 in that start. But Greinke once again continued his home dominance, improving to 15-0 at Miller Park.

The Brewers got on the board first in the fourth inning on Ryan Braun’s RBI single. Cody Ransom followed that with an RBI double. Then, Brooks Conrad, who has acquired a batting average since I last posted, hit a broken bat two-RBI single to cap off a four-run fourth inning. The Brewers also tacked on another run in the fifth on a Corey Hart sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Green was pinch-hitting for the pitcher’s spot in the lineup, and it paid off. He hit his first career home run- a three-run shot- off of Carlos Marmol, who hung him a slider. That pretty much finished off the Brewers’ blowout of the Cubs; nearly the exact opposite of what happened last night.

> The 2012 First-Year Player Draft came to a close today. The highlights of the Brewers’ picks came in the first round and the compensation round. They took catcher Clint Coulter as the 27th pick overall, outfielder Victor Roache as 28th overall, and outfielder Mitch Haniger in the compensation round. All three of these guys are considered big bats, and that was the Brewers’ focus this draft. After snatching up good pitching in last year’s draft (Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley), they wanted to replenish their Minor League system, which is lacking consistent power hitters at the moment.

Another highlight was that the Brewers took manager Ron Roenicke’s son, outfielder Lance Roenicke, in the draft. But that was a common theme in the NL Central: the Cardinals took Mike Matheny’s son, and the Cubs took ex-Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum’s son.

> Other than that, there wasn’t much news today. But, school officially finished for me today, which means I’ll be able to get back to posting here on BW a lot more consistently. Even since school started back in September I’ve been pretty on and off as far as posting goes, but I’m going to try and post every day throughout the summer.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 6.05 ERA) to the mound, and he’s having the definition of a terrible season. But, one of his best starts of the season came against the Cubs back in May: six shutout innings.

The Cubs will counter with Matt Garza (2-4, 4.10 ERA), who the Brewers have struggled a lot against recently. But Garza has had his own struggles as of late, with his ERA ballooning up over 4.00 in his past few starts.

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


Braun’s collector denies blame

February 29, 2012

> I guess things aren’t quite over yet.

Earlier today, the collector of Ryan Braun’s drug test, Dino Laurenzi Jr., denied to take blame for Braun’s positive drug test. Laurenzi wouldn’t comment much on the matter, but did say that it’s “taken an emotional toll on him” and his family. Here’s the only quote he released:

“The situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have don so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated.”

He also explained why he didn’t deliver the drug test to Montreal on time. He said it was a “late hour” and that there weren’t any FedEx offices within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship on that day or the following day, which was a Sunday. At first, I questioned that fact, because I live within 50 miles of Miller Park, and I can name at least a few different FedEx locations. I thought they delivered any day of the week, but I guess I wouldn’t know.

In any case, that is a valid argument. But, this doesn’t change the fact that there was a third person who got to see the sample- Laurenzi’s 22-year old son. That goes against the rules of collecting a drug test.

But we’ll see what happens with this. I can’t imagine that they’ll end up giving Braun the 50-game suspension anyway, but that would be unfair to the Brewers, since they were told he was let off the hook and Braun is already in Spring Training. (Link to article on Laurenzi)

> Left-handed pitching prospect Jed Bradley is going to take Spring Training a little slower for the time being, as he’s been dealing with groin issues, which is never a fun time. At least this is somewhat of a minor injury, and hopefully it doesn’t foreshadow more injuries to come. If you’ll recall, last year in Spring Training, every one of the Brewers starting players got injured in some way. The only two who ended up missing time were Zack Greinke and Jonathan Lucroy, so we got lucky there. But hopefully we don’t have to go through any of that again. (Link to article on Bradley)

> And that’s about it. Aside fromthe somewhat shocking news regarding the Braun case, it was another pretty slow day. But, Spring Training games start next week, so there will be news to cover. Baseball season is finally coming back…

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


Braun withdraws from FanFest

January 27, 2012

> Yesterday, Ryan Braun, in the midst of the whole drug story, decided to back out of the Brewers On Deck that takes place this weekend. This was sort of expected; I can only imagine the tension he’s feeling right now waiting for the arbitrators to decide his fate.

He claimed he withdrew from the fest to avoid questions about the matter. But, if you’re a true Brewers fan, hopefully you wouldn’t have questioned him about it. I would have expected him to get a standing ovation just for how well he’s dealt with this situation, but I guess we won’t know what would have happened now.

The appeal process appears to be almost finished. Braun appealed in front of three arbitrators on January 19, two days before he accepted his MVP award at a dinner in New York. However, he’d reportedly been trying to get an appeal ever since ESPN first leaked the news (that we shouldn’t know about) back in December.

I’ve already said this multiple times, but, if (when, hopefully) Braun isn’t guilty of taking PEDs, I hope ESPN receives a severe punishment, and I mean severe. ESPN doesn’t give a crap about baseball in the first place, but of course when there’s something that makes the sport look bad, they jump right on it. Skip Bayless better be fired, at the least- and I wouldn’t mind a few of their other irritants leaving either.

If it were up to me, I would have ESPN shut down for this; if Braun is innocent, this will be my last straw for them.

But we all know that isn’t going to happen.

> Two Brewers Minor Leaguers made MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect List, created by Jonathan Mayo. Both were starters- Wily Peralta got 49th, and recently drafted Jed Bradley got 97th.

Peralta is just 22, and is showing some signs maturity. He went a combined 11-7 with a 3.17 ERA at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. In Nashville, he went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA. Peralta will probably reach the Majors at some point in 2012, whether it’s as a spot starter or long reliever.

My only issue with Peralta is what I saw from him in Spring Training 2011. He seemed fine against Minor League teams. But, when pitching against Major League teams in Spring Training, he seemed to lose all of his command. If I recall correctly, he gave up five runs and five walks in just a third of an inning against the Rockies. I assume that was just him getting his nerves out, but hopefully he’s over that and can pitch in the Majors this year.

Bradley was one of two first round picks the Brewers received in 2011, the other being Taylor Jungmann (but he promptly got injured… the Brewers have the best luck with young pitchers). I saw Bradley pitch in the Rising Stars game (or some game in the AFL that was broadcasted on MLB Network), and he looked great, striking out two in what would have been a perfect inning; I believe whoever was playing shortstop made an error.

Anyway, I think Bradley could soon make the Majors. And, if he doesn’t stay a starter, I could definitely see him being a lefty specialist; although that’s probably not what he’s interested in.

> And that’s about it. I was going to write a post for Reviewing the Brew tonight, but I’ll have to once again procrastinate that- I haven’t thought of a topic yet. But I probably will have by tomorrow night.

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


Brewers sign top two draft picks Jungmann, Bradley

August 16, 2011

12:28p As the deadline for signing draft picks approached, I was worried that the Brewers weren’t going to be able to sign either of their top draft picks. But, Doug Melvin pulled it off, as usual.

The Brewers managed to sign both of their first round draft picks- Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley- right before the deadline for signing draft picks, which was last night at 11 P.M. CT, came. It was announced about three to five minutes after the deadline that Bradley signed, and about 20 minutes after that, it was confirmed that Jungmann also signed.

Jungmann was the No. 12 pick overall in this year’s First-Year Player Draft, and the Brewers’ No. 1 pick. He’s coming off his junior year at Texas, where he went 13-3 with a 1.60 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance for them. Jungmann’s great year notched him two awards: the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, and the Dick Howser Trophy (which is pretty much college baseball’s version of the Heisman). Jungmann also pitched the Texas Longhorns to the College World Series.

Bradley, on the other hand, was the No. 15 pick overall, and the Brewers’ second pick in the draft. He went 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts for Georgia Tech.

The reason the Brewers got two first round picks so close together is because Bradley was a compensation pick. The Brewers got a compensation pick because their first round pick from 2010 didn’t sign.

The Brewers also signed 18th round shortstop Chris McFarland. He appeared dedicated to Rice University, where he had a scholarship, but the Brewers lured him away from that.

Overall, the Brewers had a pretty good draft. They signed 33 of their 51 picks, and that included all 12 of their top picks. The Brewers also signed six undrafted players.

As the deadline for signed draft picks approached, all teams were rushing to sign their top (and lower) picks, and some of the were “overslot,” meaning they got pretty big signing bonuses. Jungmann received a $2.525 million signing bonus, while Bradley got a $2 million bonus. McFarland got $315,000, and a promise that the Brewers would pay for his college education.

Anyway, that’s about it for all the Brewers’ draft picks. But, one more thing about the draft- Jungmann was one of the players predicted to help their Major League team in the near future, so hopefully that will come true.

And, one more thing regarding the Dodgers-Brewers game tonight: I got the pitcher for the Dodogers wrong in my post last night. I said it was going to be Clayton Kershaw, but it’s actually going to be Chad Billingsley (10-9, 4.17 ERA). But we can blame MLB for taking forever to put that up on their website. Anyway, Billingsley is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his career against the Brewers. He also has a 5.53 ERA on the road this year, and that doesn’t match up well with the Brewers’ home record, which is the best in baseball.