Brewers once again Hart-broken

January 20, 2013

> Yesterday, when I got home from school, I saw a tweet regarding Corey Hart and how much he hates Spring Training, but I didn’t take it literally. So I tweeted a joke about how I’d be waiting to hear the news about more of his knee injuries come ST.

But I wouldn’t have to wait very long. In fact, a few seconds later, I checked out the MLB news of the day- something I probably should have done first- and found that Hart will be out for 3-4 months with knee surgery.

Yep, we can’t catch a break. This is the third straight ST in which Hart will have been injured for at least part of the time, and the second time over the past three years that he’ll miss at least the first month of the season.

Anyway, this injury certainly affects how I view the possibility of the Brewers extending Hart. While he’s been a power-threat in the Brewers’ lineup ever since his break-out 2010, I don’t know how much longer the team can put up with his constant early season injuries. Also, if Hart misses more than just the first month of the season- which some speculate he will- it’ll hurt the sort of deal he gets, should he hit the free agent market at the end of 2013.

As for the Brewers, though, it would appear they’re going to give Mat Gamel yet another chance to start at first base. First base prospect Hunter Morris might get a closer look during ST, but it’s unlikely the Brewers would burn one of his options just so he could fill in for Hart for a month or so. Another internal option is Taylor Green, who, along with Gamel, was supposed to be fighting for a bench role going into ST.

Bottom line is, though, that this was a year Hart should have been a bit more careful. There’s evidently chronic issues with his knee that should have been fixed for good by now.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks

> The Brewers’ list of World Baseball Classic players grew after the rosters for each country were announced on Thursday. 14 players were chosen: Ryan Braun (USA), Jonathan Lucroy (USA), Yovani Gallardo (Mexico), Marco Estrada (Mexico), Martin Maldonado (Puerto Rico), Hiram Burgos (Puerto Rico), Carlos Gomez (Dominican Republic), Jeff Bianchi (Italy), Hainley Statia (Netherlands), Mike Walker (Australia), John Axford (Canada), Jim Henderson (Canada), Green (Canada), and Rene Tosoni (Canada). All but three of the players- Statia, Walker, and Tosoni- are currently on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.

> The club has also avoided arbitration with all of its eligibles. Gomez received $4.3 million, Axford $5 million, Estrada $1.955 million, and Burke Badenhop $1.55 million. All were one-year deals. The Brewers had already avoided arbitration with their other eligible, Chris Narveson, a few weeks back.

> The Brewers signed catcher Robinson Diaz to a minor league deal.

> Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan is going to be inducted into the Brewers’ Walk of Fame.

> Today was an extremely sad day for baseball: former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and Cardinals legend Stan Musial both passed away. Weaver was 82 while Musial was 92.

> Minor moves: 

Padres: Re-signed Will Venable, Joe Thatcher, and Everth Cabrera to one-year deals; signed Brad Hawpe and Lucas May to minor league deals.
Red Sox: Signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal; re-signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan, and Jacoby Ellsbury to one-year deals; re-signed Craig Breslow to a two-year deal.
Rangers: Signed Matt Harrison to a five-year extension; re-signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year deal.
Twins: Re-signed Drew Butera to a one-year deal.
Pirates: Designated Zach Stewart for assignment; re-signed Garrett Jones to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed Tony Sipp and Ian Kennedy to one-year deals.
Astros: Signed Rick Ankiel to a one-year deal.
Mets: Re-signed Bobby Parnell and Ike Davis to one-year deals; signed Landon Powell to a minor league deal.
Reds: Re-signed Logan Ondrusek to a two-year deal.
Nationals: Re-signed Drew Storen and Craig Stammen to one-year deals.
Yankees: Re-signed Joba Chamberlain to a one-year deal; signed Bobby Wilson and Reegie Corona to minor league deals.
Athletics: Re-signed John Jaso and Seth Smith to one-year deals.
Angels: Re-signed Alberto Callaspo to a two-year deal; re-signed Jason Vargas to a one-year deal.
Cubs: Re-signed Matt Garza to a one-year deal.
Giants: Re-signed Jose Mijares, Hunter Pence, and Buster Posey to one-year deals.
Indians: Re-signed Drew Stubbs and Chris Perez to one-year deals; signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Re-signed Matt Wieters to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Re-signed Josh Thole to a two-year deal.
Tigers: Re-signed Rick Porcello to a one-year deal.
White Sox: Signed Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal; signed Matt Lindstrom to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Singed Matt Downs to a minor league deal.

Advertisements

Comparing the mega-teams from LA

December 17, 2012

> Following the 2011 season, Los Angeles was not in a good state as far as the sport of baseball goes. The Angels and Dodgers hadn’t reached the postseason in 2010 or 2011, posting some of their worst seasons in decades (by their standards). The Angels were struggling to find any offensive consistency to back their decent starting pitching. The Dodgers were having similar issues, but their problems extended off the field as well, as Frank McCourt left them bankrupt.

I don’t think the Dodgers were expecting to contend in 2012 (at least early on) because of where they were financially, but their one huge move was giving Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million deal following his MVP-caliber campaign in 2011. The Angels, however, made themselves early favorites for the World Series by signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal, and C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal.

Fast-forward to the 2012 offseason- following yet another season in which neither of these teams made the postseason- and a lot has changed. The Dodgers are nowhere near bankrupt; in fact, they’re the polar opposite, thanks to Magic Johnson and Co. The Angels are in the same position they were last year, but if they don’t make the postseason this time around, there’s something very wrong.

Anyway, let’s take a look at each of these teams from every angle- the lineup, the rotation, the bullpen, and so on. Both of them are considered near locks for the playoffs, but one has to be better than the other, right?

THE LINEUPS

Angels: 

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Erick Aybar, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Chris Iannetta, C

Dodgers: 

1. Mark Ellis, 2B
2. Luis Cruz, 3B
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Hanley Ramirez, SS
6. Andre Ethier, RF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
8. A.J. Ellis, C
9. Pitcher

OK, first off, Hairston isn’t going to start the entire season. Once Carl Crawford returns from the disabled list, he’ll take Hairston’s spot, and that’ll change the whole culture of the lineup (many project Crawford to hit second). But, until Crawford comes back- which will probably sometime in late May- that’s what I’m guessing the Dodgers’ lineup will look like.

Anyway, those are both powerhouse lineups. The each feature possibly the best 3-4-5-6 combos in their respective league in Pujols-Hamilton-Trumbo-Morales and Kemp-Gonzalez-Ramirez-Ethier. It’s hard to say which is really better than the other; both are going to be very exciting to watch. While I think the Angels’ lineup might be the more exciting with three perennial MVP candidates in Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton, I think the Dodgers have the overall better lineup. The reason I say this is because there are more experienced hitters in the Dodgers lineup, and by experienced, I mean hitters that you know what you’re going to get from them. Kemp, A-Gon, Ramirez, and Ethier aren’t necessarily “veterans” yet, but they’ve certainly been around the block a few times and have shown they can produce consistently at the big league level from year to year. The Angels definitely have that experience in Pujols and Hamilton, but they have a lot of younger, inexperienced hitters who I think we need to see more from. There’s no denying that Trout had the best offensive rookie season in quite some time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be susceptible to a sophomore slump. Trumbo hit over .300 for the most of the season last year, but then flamed out for the last two months and fell to a .268 average.

I think if everyone in the Angels’ lineup performs to their ability (and that includes Kendrick, who everyone thought was going to be a batting champion one day), then they’ll have the better lineup. But until that happens, I’d put my money on the Dodgers’ lineup, especially once Crawford gets back.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp

THE ROTATIONS

Angels: 

1. Jered Weaver
2. C.J. Wilson
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Joe Blanton
5. Garrett Richards

Dodgers

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Zack Greinke
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
5. Josh Beckett

Coming into this offseason, both teams wanted to improve their starting rotations, and I think each did. However, I think the Angels losing Greinke really hurt them. I also wasn’t in complete agreement with them just giving up on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana; I really wonder if they’re going to get what they could have gotten from those two from Hanson and Blanton. And Richards is going to be good somewhere down the road, but I’m not so sure he’s ready for a full-time rotation spot. There are even some question marks surrounding Wilson, who had a terrible second half for the Angels in 2012. Weaver is no doubt the ace, but health is a bit of a concern with him; same goes for Hanson.

To me, the Dodgers obviously have the better rotation, even though there are a few enigmas in theirs as well. Kershaw/Greinke is one- if not the best- 1-2 punches in baseball, and they get to throw half of their games at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. After Kershaw and Greinke, however, there are a few questions. Billingsley can be an All-Star caliber pitcher when he’s on, but that isn’t always the case. Perhaps not having the pressure of being a #2 starter will help him. Anyway, the 4-5 spots in the Dodgers’ rotation should go to Ryu and Beckett, in my opinion. The Dodgers also have veterans Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang, all of whom are capable of starting, but I think Ryu and Beckett will give them better results than any of the other two.

Clayton Kershaw

It’s evident that both of these teams will have to back up their rotations with those huge lineups, but I think the Dodgers are better off starter-wise.

THE ‘PENS 

(NOTE: I only put the six guys who I thought were guaranteed spots. There are probably going to be a few other long relievers in each bullpen>)

Angels: 

Ryan Madson
Ernesto Frieri
Scott Downs
Sean Burnett
Kevin Jepsen
Jerome Williams

Dodgers: 

Brandon League
Kenley Jansen
Ronald Belisario
Scott Elbert
Matt Guerrier
Javy Guerra

This is actually the one category in which I think the Angels are better off. There’s only one guy that I think the Dodgers can count on to be consistent, and that’s Jansen. The rest of the guys- including League, who they named their closer and threw $22 million at- have had up-and-down careers.

The Angels, on the other hand, have a nice mix of young flamethrowers and veteran guys who know how to pitch. I loved the Madson pick-up; I expect him to have a good year even though he missed all of 2012. Frieri can also close if need be. Then they have a great tandem of lefties in Downs and Burnett. This has the makings of a great bullpen for the Angels.

Frieri

These are both going to be very exciting teams to watch, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw an LA vs. LA World Series (though it never seems to work out that way). I think the Dodgers have the slight edge, but that’s not to put a damper on the team the Angels are going to field.

> The Phillies signed Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal (plus a vesting option for a third year), so that puts to bed any rumors that spoke of his possible return to Milwaukee. But Doug Melvin probably wouldn’t have been willing to give him $6 million a year anyway.

> The Mets are being the Mets once again, as they have a deal in place to send the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner- R.A. Dickey- to the Blue Jays in a seven-player deal. The deal also includes Josh Thole and another prospect going to the Jays along with Dickey, while the Mets are getting back Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and a prospect.

I’m starting to wonder why the Mets gave an extension to David Wright if this is what they intended to do all along, but that’s their screwed-up organization for you. But I like the deal for the Blue Jays. They may have hurt themselves in the long run, but they’re making themselves favorites for the AL East next year. They’ve assembled a pretty nice rotation in Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, all of whom have been considered aces at some point in their careers.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Signed John Lannan to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Jonathan Albaladejo and Ed Lucas to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Javier Herrera to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Mike Pelfrey to a one-year deal.


After blowing giant lead, Brewers rally against Isringhausen

August 21, 2011

6:37p The Brewers streak of great pitching ended today, but, their offense came to life when they needed it most.

Brewers-Mets Wrap-Up

The Brewers pulled one out today against the Mets, 11-9, in back-and-forth game where both teams made incredible comebacks. Randy Wolf, who was seemingly cruising early on and being backed by multiple home runs, ran into trouble in the seventh, and the bullpen failed to pick him up. Wolf went 6 1/3 innings while giving up five runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. But, the story of the day was the offense.

The Brewers jumped on Mets starter (and ex-Brewers) Chris Capuano in the first inning, when Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer to give the Brewers an early lead. The Mets answered in the bottom of the inning on Jason Bay’s RBI single, but the would be the only tally against Wolf until the seventh.

In the third inning, Prince Fielder crushed a three-run shot off Capuano to extend the Brewers lead to 5-1. The Brewers also got two runs in the sixth on Yuniesky Betancourt’s two-run homer to extend the lead even more. At that point, with the way Wolf was pitching, I thought the game was over. But I was wrong. By a long shot.

The Mets suddenly stormed back in the seventh with a five-run inning. Wolf was removed after giving up two runs in the inning and was replaced by Takashi Saito, but he couldn’t hold down the Mets, either. The lead was cut to 7-6 for the Brewers.

But that wasn’t the end of the Mets incredible rally. Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez came in to pitch the eighth, and wasn’t exactly given a warm welcome back to Citi Field. But it wasn’t his fault, either. With a guy on first, Josh Thole hit a line drive to center fielder Jerry Hairston. Hairston horribly misjudged the ball, and it bounced off his glove. Thole was given a double for some reason, and the game was tied, 7-7. Then, Angel Pagan, who shouldn’t have even been batting, hit a two-run shot off K-Rod to give the Mets a 9-7 lead.

But, the Brewers, who’ve done a great job of finding ways to win lately, weren’t done yet.

Jason Isringhausen was on for the save, but he struggled with his command right out of the gate. He walked the first two batters, Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan, before giving up a single to Corey Hart to load up the bases. Isringhausen would then walk pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to cut the Brewers deficit to 9-8.

And that would be it for Isringhausen. He left the game without retiring a batter, handing the ball over to Manny Acosta. At least Acosta is able to say he retired a batter.

After inducing a Braun flyout, Acosta gave up a game-tying single to Fielder. Casey McGehee then followed with a go-ahead, two-run single to give the Brewers an 11-9 lead. John Axford would record the save in the bottom of the inning for his 34th consecutive save.

Brewers tie franchise record for division lead

Well, this is definitely a good sign. With the Cardinals being shut out by the Cubs today, the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5 games, which ties a franchise record for the most games they’ve led a division by. It’s also the largest division lead in baseball, with the Phillies in second in the NL East (7.5 game lead over the Braves).

Cards falling off a bit

With their loss to the Cubs today, the Cardinals have lost back-to-back series to sub-5.00 teams in the Pirates and Cubs. I don’t know if they just aren’t playing well right now or if they’ve accepted the fact that they probably won’t catch the Brewers, but, whatever it may be, it’s helping the Brewers.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep in New York tomorrow in a day game. Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA) will go for the Crew, and he’s coming off a great start against the Dodgers, in which he gave up a run in eight innings. He had to settle for a no-decision, however. Gallardo is 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA in his career against the Mets, and that one win is a complete game shutout against them in 2010.

The Mets will counter with the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 ERA). He’s been victim of low run support all year, as shown by is record and ERA. Dickey is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his career against the Brewers.


After long delay, Marcum, Brewers dominate Mets

August 20, 2011

11:54p The Brewers definitely needed a game like this to at least show that their offense is still alive.

Brewers-Mets Wrap-Up

The Brewers beat the Mets today, 6-1, in a game that was nearly rained out. But, after a two hour and 46 minute long rain delay, the Brewers were able to beat up on the Mets, and also got another great road start from Shaun Marcum. Marcum went seven innings while giving up a run on six hits. He walked one and struck out three, and lowered his road ERA to 2.47.

The Brewers jumped on Mets starter Mike Pelfrey right away in the first inning, when Prince Fielder hit an RBI single following an error by third baseman David Wright.

That would be it until the fifth, when the Brewers broke it open. They got back-to-back RBI singles from Fielder and Casey McGehee, then Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a RBI double.

The Brewers tacked on two more in the sixth inning on another McGehee RBI single, and a gifted run from the Mets (in other words, a wild pitch by reliever D.J. Carrasco, allowing Fielder to score from third).

The Mets avoided the shutout in the seventh inning on Josh Thole’s RBI single, but they couldn’t muster up enough offense to avoid the loss.

Tempers flare in New York

At first, I was angry about this, but was able to laugh it off later. In the eighth inning, Mets reliever Tim Byrdak threw WAY inside to Fielder, and Fielder wasn’t happy with the pitch location. He kept it to himself, until after he grounded out and started running back to the dugout. As Byrdak was walking back to the Mets’ dugout, he said something to Fielder (which you obviously don’t want to do to him). It clearly phased Fielder, who got in Byrdak’s face. The umpires managed to break it up before the benches completely cleared, but a few guys from each dugout made their ways out. Now, for the funny part.

Jerry Hairston Jr. was one of those guys who came out from the Brewers’ dugout, and he got into it right away. He started pointing at the Mets’ dugout, and I couldn’t tell why at first. But, during the next inning, announcer Brian Anderson showed that Hairston was pointing at his brother, Scott Hairston, who just so happens to be on the Mets, and was sitting in the dugout at the time. I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing the brothers get at it.

Braun get ejected

Ryan Braun got ejected in the third inning today for arguing balls and strikes. But, it was an awful pitch, so I can’t blame Braun for fighting back. Home plate umpire Angel Campos, who ejected Braun, was making questionable ball-strike calls all night, however. He was giving them to Pelfrey more than he was Marcum, but, it’s nice when the Brewers beat the umpires as well as the opposing team.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game set in an afternoon game tomorrow. Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30 ERA) will go for the Crew, and is coming off a great start against the Dodgers, in which he went eight shutout innings. He’s also won four consecutive decisions. Wolf has pitched a lot against the Mets in his career, being a former Phillie, and he’s had success against them. He’s 12-5 with a 3.21 ERA against the Mets in his career.

The Mets will counter with ex-Brewers Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58 ERA). He’s having a season worse than any he ever had with the Brewers for the Mets thus far this season. He has one career start against the Brewers, which came earlier this season, when he gave up a run over six innings and got the win.