Tigers headed to the World Series

October 20, 2012

> Sorry for my inconsistent writing recently. I’ve been pretty under the weather the last few days, and I just haven’t been in the mood to write. But here’s an article covering what’s gone on the past few days.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> Prince Fielder and the Tigers are going to the World Series. They blew out the Yankees and their “offense” yesterday, 8-1, to secure their first trip to the largest stage since 2006. Max Scherzer was stellar, striking out 10 over 5 2/3 innings while allowing just two hits. His counterpart, CC Sabathia, didn’t have such luck, however- he lasted only 3 2/3 innings and was pounded for six runs on 11 hits. The Tigers got home runs from Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, and Jhonny Peralta, who hit two.

But you can bet the Yankees are happy this awful postseason for them is over. They hit .188 in the ALDS and ALCS combined, Alex Rodriguez has been getting hampered by the media for flirting with fans and hitting .125, they lost Derek Jeter to a horrible ankle injury- not much went right.

And you have to wonder what on earth went wrong. A-Rod, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher all hit below .200, and Robinson Cano hit under .100. Mark Teixera hit exactly .200. The lone players to hit over .300 this postseason for the Yankees were Ichiro Suzuki, Eduardo Nunez, and Jeter (before he got injured). And Nunez was left off the ALCS roster until Jeter got hurt.

A strange phenomenon indeed.

> The Cardinals won last night and could have clinched a World Series berth today, but the Giants will live at least another day after their win today. The Cards ambushed the Giants for eight runs last night on great offensive days from Jon Jay, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Pete Kozma, but couldn’t replicate that today. They were completely shut down by Barry Zito, who fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the Giants alive. But the Cards’ biggest mistake was Lance Lynn’s error in the fourth inning, which, had it turned into a double play, could have made this a very different game.

THE NEWS

> The Brewers outrighted Hector Gomez to Triple-A Nashville.

> Fernando Rodney and Buster Posey won the AL and NL Comeback Player of the Year Awards, respectively.

> Delmon Young won the ALCS MVP award.

> Minor moves from the past few days:

Rangers: Outrighted Tyler Tufts to Triple-A.
Blue Jays: Claimed Tyson Brummett off waivers from the Phillies.
Phillies: Outrighted Pete Orr and Steven Lerud off their 40-man roster.
Mets: Outrighted Fred Lewis, who will probably elect free agency.
Athletics: Outrighted Jeremy Accardo, who elected free agency.
Royals: Signed Juan Gutierrez, Devon Lowery, Max Ramirez, Matt Fields, and Nick Van Stratten.
Marlins: Outrighted Nick Green to Triple-A; outrighted Donnie Murphy, who elected free agency.

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Everything goes right for Crew in much-needed win

July 18, 2012

> The Brewers definitely needed this after last night’s disaster. They defeated the Cardinals today, 3-2, to even the three-game series at one apiece. For once, everything went right. Randy Wolf got his first win since April 30th, the bullpen didn’t blow his lead, and the offense was just enough to get by.

Wolf definitely should have more than three wins, but the bullpen has gone all out the past few months to make sure that it didn’t happen until now. But this may have been Wolf’s best outing, at least recently- 6 2/3 innings while giving up two runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out six.

It appeared the Brewers were going to have a rough day after the start Wolf got off to. After retiring Rafael Furcal to start the game, he gave up a single to Allen Craig, then nailed Matt Holliday in the knee with a fastball. Holliday was rolling on the ground in pain, but stayed in the game (he was removed later in the second inning). But, Wolf got Carlos Beltran to ground into a double play, and that was when you knew the Brewers had a chance.

Corey Hart gave the Brewers the lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single. The Cardinals answered back with two in the third inning on a Jon Jay RBI double and Beltran’s sacrifice fly, but Aramis Ramirez knotted the game up in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single.

The Brewers dealt the big blow in the fourth inning on Rickie Weeks’ solo home run to make the score 3-2. It appeared to be Weeks’ way of venting out all of the frustration of his sub-.200 season, as the homer traveled 460 feet to left center field.

And, believe it or not, it was the game-winning RBI. After Wolf was done, the bullpen did something it hadn’t done for quite some time: hold the lead. Jose Veras got the last out in the seventh inning, Manny Parra had a 1-2-3 eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez got the save.

> Not exactly the order we usually see the relievers used, right? Well, it appears John Axford has finally put Ron Roenicke over the limit. After Ax’s blown save last night- his sixth of the year already- Roenicke decided to move K-Rod into the closer’s role.

It’s about time. Axford hasn’t been the same after his 49-save streak was snapped. He’s completely lost control of his breaking ball, which makes his high fastball extremely ineffective.

K-Rod hasn’t been great this year, but he’s been a lot better as of late, lowering his ERA down to 3.59. He’s a much better option than Axford at this point.

> Here’s a cause for concern. Ryan Braun left the game early with what is now considered a right groin strain. Braun said it’s been a chronic thing all year, but he’ll see how it is in the morning, and that will determine if he’s good to go or not.

> And that’s about it. There are obviously a ton of things going on behind the scenes with the Brewers that we don’t know about right now, primarily the whole Zack Greinke situation (I actually heard some pretty interesting news about that from a friend who works at Miller Park). But I’ll save that for now, just because I’m not completely sure if it’s true, and I don’t want to go publishing false information.

But it’s a trade rumor about Greinke; I’ll say that much.

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


Pujols has historical World Series Game 3

October 23, 2011

I know I said that I’m cheering for the Rangers in the 107th World Series. But that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by something a certain Cardinals player did today.

Some guy named Albert Pujols had a three-home run, five-hit, six RBI game today in the third game of the World Series- a 17-6 blowout Cardinals win over the Rangers. This was arguably the best World Series game of all time for a single player, as those three homers, five hits, and six RBI haven’t been done since Reggie Jackson- AKA Mr. October- did in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Pujols’ first homer came in the fifth inning off flamethrowing right-hander Alexi Ogando. He gave Pujols a 96 MPH fastball practically over his head, but Pujols wasn’t having any of that- he turned on it extremely quickly and pulled it into the left field seats for a three-run blast.

The second homer came off of left-handed specialist Michael Gonzalez- note that he’s a left-handed specialist– and it was to dead center field.

The third one also came off a left-handed specialist, this time veteran Darren Oliver.

If for some reason you don’t know what a left-handed specialist is, it’s a pitcher whose primary duty is to get out tough left-handed hitters. So that’s what confuses me about this. Why did Ron Washington leave in two lefty specialists- Gonzalez and Oliver- to face the best right-handed hitter in baseball? You could see both of those home runs coming before they even happened. Anyway, I have a feeling Albert will be talking to the media tonight.

But, even though I’m cheering for the Rangers, I’m slightly relieved knowing that the Brewers aren’t the only team who can’t get Pujols out. But, the Rangers apparently figured out how to get David Freese out- something the Brewers also couldn’t do.

Anyway, almost everyone in the Cards’ lineup had hits today. Rafael Furcal had one hit, Allen Craig had a home run, Pujols- actually, just read above, Matt Holliday had a hit, Lance Berkman had a pair of hits, Freese had a pair of hits and RBI, Yadier Molina had two hits and four RBI, and Ryan Theriot had a hit. The only guy who didn’t have a hit in the Cardinals’ lineup was Jon Jay- go figure. He’s having a horrible postseason. Anyway, the Cardinals also scored at least one run off of every Rangers’ pitcher.

But the clown car had yet another long and rough task today. Kyle Lohse had a typical Kyle Lohse (or you could insert the name of any other Cards starter here) start, as he completely unraveled in the fourth inning- just as he did against the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLCS. But, the clown car picked up him, like they’ve had to do so many times this postseason. Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Octavio Dotel, and Mitchell Boggs gave up a combined four runs, but the 16 runs of support were enough for them.

Here’s a funny story- the St. Louis Rams think they’re giving the Cardinals good luck. Haha, good one. You can read that story about the NFL team with no wins here, but I’m not buying it.

Anyway, one more thing about the game before I go- in the seventh inning, the left fielder for the Cards- Holliday- was attempting to read a fly ball that would eventually become a sacrifice fly for the Rangers. But, as Holliday was making the catch, some Rangers fan- at least I think he was a Rangers fan- threw a white ball onto the field. I don’t know if he was attempting to hit Holliday with it, but if he was, the only guy he was embarrassing was himself- his throw went nowhere. And, to top it all off, he was escorted out of the game. Nice job.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I might make some updates later if I have time, but, if not, come back tomorrow for highlights of Game 4.


Brewers spoil rally in ninth on game-ending DP

September 7, 2011

A couple notes to the Brewers after this game: skip Yovani Gallardo in the rotation when we face the Cardinals. Second: start Taylor Green in place of Casey McGehee at third more often.

The Brewers spoiled a possible ninth inning rally today against the Cardinals, and ended up losing, 4-2. I expected Gallardo to be bad against the Cards yet again- it was his seventh career loss against them- but I didn’t expect Kyle Lohse to shut out the Brewers for six innings. Anyway, this loss lowers the Brewers division lead to 9.5, which, luckily, isn’t too big of a dent in that lead.

Gallardo didn’t have as bad of a start as he usually does against the Cardinals, but it was good enough to lose, nonetheless. He went six innings while giving up three runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out five, but Gallardo gave up two more home runs against the Cards, ballooning his total of homers allowed to 24 on the year. That’s already twice the number of home runs he gave up in 2010. But here’s another scary stat about Gallardo- he’s given up six home runs over his lasat seven innings against the Cardinals. As I said earlier, two of those came tonight, both in the third inning- a solo shot to Jon Jay, and a solo shot to Matt Holliday.

But Lohse was uncharacteristically good against the Brewers, and picked up his first win against the Crew as a Cardinal. He went six shutout innings while giving up four hits. He walked three and struck out six.

The Brewers offense was pretty non-existent, but Jonathan Lucroy hit a RBI double in the eighth inning, thanks to an awful misplay by the center fielder Jay. That followed another hit by Taylor Green, who is now 7-for-13 (.538) in the Majors.

But Green should be getting more starts in place of McGehee. McGehee just so happened to ground into a game-ending double play to kill a ninth inning rally the Brewers had going (which had already included a Prince Fielder RBI single). McGehee also went 0-for-4 and left five men on base today. I don’t know what’s going on with the 2010 team leader in RBIs, but I can already see one issue- bat speed. He’s fouling off pitches that he would have normally taken to the opposite field last year. And then there’s his batting stance, which looks slightly more sluggish than it was last year.

Anyway, with that awful game aside, let me say that the Brewers made on more call-up- probably their last, according to Ron Roenicke- in reliever Tim Dillard. This will be Dillard’s third stint with the Crew this year, and he had a 4.81 ERA in both stints combined before this one.

The Brewers will play a rubber match against the Cards tomorrow at 7:15 PM CT. Zack Greinke (14-5, 4.00 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a solid start against the Astros. Greinke is 5-2 with a 3.95 ERA in his career against the Cards.

The Cardinals will counter with Chris Carpenter (8-9, 3.92 ERA). Carpenter has struggled against the Brewers in his career, going 5-5 with a 5.18 ERA against them, but does have a win against the Crew this year.


Brewers beat Cordero again on Counsell’s sac fly

July 11, 2011

4:01p Well, we can thank Francisco Cordero for sending us into the All-Star Break on a good note. I can’t imagine he’s going to be the Reds’ closer for too much longer.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Reds again today, 4-3, in yet another thriller. All of the games the Brewers won in this series were one-run games, including two walk-offs. The first was the day before yesterday by Mark Kotsay off of Cordero. Then, there was another one today. Cordero was in again, and this time, Kotsay tied up the game, but there was a new hero- Craig Counsell.

The game got off to a rocky start for both sides. Brewers starter Randy Wolf wasn’t getting much help from the umpires in the first inning. He started off the game by walking Drew Stubbs, but the pitch before could have gotten him the strikeout, had the umpires not been blind, which they were the entire first inning. Wolf would go on to walk Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce (he might have also struck out Bruce, but do I even need to say what happened?). Then, Wolf “hit” Scott Rolen with a cutter that ran inside. It did, in fact, hit Rolen, but he clearly swung at the pitch. The umpires, however, didn’t see it, and a run scored from third base. Jonny Gomes would ground out to finally end the inning.

Reds starter Dontrelle Willis, making his first Major League start in over a year, didn’t have the greatest of starts to the game, either. After Rickie Weeks led off with a double, Carlos Gomez bunted him over to third, which set up an RBI single for Corey Hart. Willis would walk Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, but got out of it after a pop-out and a groundout.

The second inning was also rocky for both sides. Joey Votto hit an RBI single to drive in Zack Cozart, but that was all the Reds would do against Wolf in the second. In the Brewers’ half, Willis walked Weeks, then Gomez hit an RBI triple to tie the game at 2-2.

In the fourth, Weeks was trying to turn a double play, but the ball sailed past Fielder. Ramon Hernandez, who started the inning with a single, scored on the error. After that, there was no more scoring until yet another Brewer’ rally in the ninth.

Wolf exited after seven strong innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked four and struck out two. Willis, meanwhile, made a solid return to the Majors, going six innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four.

After Willis left the game, flamethrower Aroldis Chapman entered the game and fired two perfect innings, continuing his domination of the Brewers. He struck out four, including in the seventh inning, when he struck out the side.

Then, Cordero came in, and you can figure out what happened from there. But, I’ll tell you anyway.

After Cordero retired the first batter he faced in Yuniesky Betancourt, Nyjer Morgan stepped up, pinch-hitting for Josh Wilson. Morgan, who has turned himself into one of the most clutch players on the Brewers, singled, then stole second while George Kottaras was batting. Kottaras eventually drew a walk, then Kotsay, the hero from a few nights ago, stepped to the plate.

Kotsay wouldn’t win the game, but he did tie it with a single that scored Morgan. Cordero nearly caught Kotsay’s line drive, but it deflected off his glove. Then, the struggling Counsell stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded an one out. Coming into to today, Counsell’s career average with the bases loaded was .382. So, you can probably figure it out now.

It wasn’t a hit, but it was a sacrifice fly that scored Kottaras from third. That was enough, as the Brewers won 4-3, and defeated Cordero yet again.

“Coco’s gone loco”

Came up with that phrase myself, mind you.

But it’s true. Cordero has blown three consecutive saves in as many opportunities, including the two blown saves against the Brewers in this series. He had also blown one before this series in the Reds’ previous series with Cardinals, giving up a game-tying homer to Jon Jay in the ninth inning of what would have been a huge Cardinals comeback, had the Cards not lost it in extra innings.

Cordero didn’t look like himself all series. He was walking guys like crazy, his velocity was somewhat down, and couldn’t contain Kotsay, who beat him and tied the game to blow the saves for Cordero.

Loe seemingly doing better in less-pressured role

Kameron Loe came in the game today, so naturally, I started to think the Reds would extend their lead. Instead, he threw two perfect innings and struck out two. He also had to work around a lead-off walk in the eighth inning, courtesy of Zach Braddock, who came in to try and retire Bruce. Loe was rewarded with the win. I’m still no too thrilled with his seven losses, but three wins aren’t bad I guess.

Kotsay, Weeks establish themselves as Reds-killers

Kotsay and Weeks both had a great series. Kotsay, obviously, beat Cordero twice in the ninth inning, but Weeks really dominated the Reds as well. Weeks was already a Reds-killer before this series, but continued it this series. He had one homer, which was the inside-the-parker off Mike Leake in the second game of the series.

Braun sits again, won’t start All-Star Game

Well, I was scared it would come to this, and it did. Ryan Braun announced that he will not start the All-Star game and didn’t play in today’s game, either. It was his eighth consecutive missed game. To be honest, I’m surprised we got by this series with the Reds without our most consistent hitter. Not to mention it was the Reds, the team we struggle the most against.

Braun will be replaced by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Don’t get me wrong, I think McCutchen is a good player. But, when he saw that he didn’t make the All-Star team when the rosters were announced, he started complaining because he didn’t make it and thought he should have. I can’t stand guys who smart about stuff like that.

By the way, Cordero was also smarting because he didn’t make the All-Star game. That was a few days ago, when his ERA was 1.49. Now, hopefully he sees why he didn’t make it.

Up next for the Crew…

There’s your first half for the Brewers. When they come back from the break, they’ll start a four-game set against the Rockies. Yovani Gallardo (10-5, 3.76 ERA) will be the most likely starter for the opening game. Gallardo has had a rough career against the Rockies, going 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA.

The Rockies will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8, 4.14 ERA). Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

The Brewers swept a three-game set with the Rockies earlier this season at Miller Park.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Astros lost to the Marlins, 5-4. They are 19 games out. And remember, if they reach 20, I’m just going to stop putting what they do on here.
  • The Pirates beat down the Cubs, 9-1. They are one and 12 games back, respectively. (I’m still having a tough time comprehending that it’s the Pirates who are one game back. Then again, the Cubs being one game back would be scary as well.)
  • The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks, 4-2. We remain tied with them for first.