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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Brewers push their way back to .500

September 12, 2012

POSTGAME

> We’ve waited a long time for this. The Brewers finally made it back to .500 (71-71) with their 5-0 win over the Braves tonight, and maybe now they can take it one step further.

Marco Estrada was stellar, going 6 2/3 shutout innings while giving up four hits. He walked one and struck out six. He gave up a few near-home runs that were caught about as close to the wall as you can get, but it doesn’t matter much as long as they were outs.

Tim Hudson looked on his game after giving up a first inning home run to Rickie Weeks. After the second inning, he didn’t allow another baserunner until the sixth. But his wheels fell off in the seventh. Hudson gave up back-to-back singles to Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy to start the inning. Then, two batters later with the bases loaded and one out, Jean Segura beat out a double play ball to drive in a run. That wound up costing the Braves, as Taylor Green and Norichika Aoki hit back-t0-back RBI singles to extend the lead to 4-0. Then, in the eighth inning, Aramis Ramirez hit a mammoth solo home run,¬† his 23rd of the year.

THE NEWS

> Corey Hart was out of the lineup again with his foot problem. He’s going to get custom foot support tomorrow to “ease the pain,” and he should be back in the lineup before long.

> The Brewers extended their player development contract with the Nashville Sounds, their Triple-A affiliate. The deal runs through 2014.

> Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Brewers need to sign a starting pitcher and fix their bullpen problems this coming offseason.

In my opinion, the SP market is going to be so bad that the Brewers might as well stick with the prospects they have and see what they can get; they’ve shown that they’re ready to perform at the big league level. But the bullpen definitely needs to be addressed.

THE NUMBERS

> This is the first time the Brewers have sat at .500 since April, when they were 9-9. Yeah, it’s been awhile.

> After starting the year winless, Estrada has three wins in his last four starts.

> Weeks had one career hit against Hudson coming into the game, but recorded two against him tonight (the home run and a triple). Weeks also had the only hit against Hudson in his last start against the Brewers, a one-hit shutout in May of 2011.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

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


Brewers rally too late against Royals

March 28, 2012

> The Brewers dropped another ST game today, this time to the Royals, losing 9-7. Yovani Gallardo once again struggled against the Royals, giving up four runs in five innings, though he struck out six. But Gallardo wasn’t the only pitcher who was off today. Jose Veras gave up a run, making his ST ERA 4.82, as questions begin to surround his ability to solidify the seventh inning role. Mike McClendon also gave four runs in two innings, and it may not be long before he’s optioned.

On the bright side, though, the offense wasn’t too shabby for the Brewers, although it wasn’t for the Royals either. The Royals took an early 1-0 lead when Yuniesky Betancourt attempted to make Brewers fans want him back by hitting a solo homer off Gallardo. But, to be honest with you, he could hit 25-30 home runs and I wouldn’t want to see him in a Brewers uniform again. Anyway, the Royals got two more runs in the third on Eric Hosmer’s two-run homer. A Mat Gamel throwing error also gave the Royals another run that inning.

The Brewers finally got on the board in the fifth when Gamel hit another home run, his fourth of the spring. But the Royals answered back in the sixth on Mike Moustakas’ solo shot, making the score 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Hosmer hit another two-run homer. But, in the bottom of the inning, Alex Gonzalez continued his red-hot spring with a two-run blast of his own to make the score 7-3.

But the home run parade wasn’t finished until after Max Ramirez’s two-run homer in the eighth. The Brewers scattered four runs via RBI groundouts and scoring on wild pitches, but they couldn’t come all the way back, with the final being 9-7.

> The Brewers finalized Jonathan Lucroy’s contract extension today, after Ken Rosenthal reported it yesterday. The deal is for five years, and will keep Luc in Milwaukee through at least the 2016 season. The deal also has a 2017 club option that would buy out one of Lucroy’s years in free agency.

Lucroy will make a guaranteed $11 million over the five years, but assistant GM Gord Ash said that a second contract the Brewers are working on could bring it up to $13 million.

But, Lucroy specifically said it wasn’t about the money, which is always what you want to hear. Here’s exactly what he said:

“It’s not all about the money for me. I believe his organization gives me the best chance to get better, just because of the fact that you’re playing with people that care. This works best for me and my family. You really can’t ask for anybody better to work with than these guys and our coaching staff. It’s easy to play, it really is. It was a very fair deal based on what I’ve done, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

It’s great to see he thinks that way. Even before that quote, I thought of Lucroy as a likeable guy, but this makes it even better. I’m glad he’s here until 2016.

> Norichika Aoki sat against the Royals today with a tight hamstring. It doesn’t sound like a major injury, but Ron Roenicke thought it wasn’t worth putting him on the field today.

> And that’s about it. If I have time, I’ll get up another article on Reviewing the Brew tonight, but if not it’ll come tomorrow. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


More updates on the Braun controversy…

December 11, 2011

> Last night, it was reported that Ryan Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), and that he was in the middle of an appeal against the results.

But, this morning brought more news. According to Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal), the substance Braun was found guilty of taking wasn’t actually a PED, but another prohibited substance. It’s still unknown what the substance is.

Heck, it’s still unknown if he even took prohibited substance, or if this is all “B.S.” (as Braun said). This is why crap like this shouldn’t be leaked until the whole matter is resolved. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen last night and this morning bashing Braun and giving up and him and all that. Stuff like this makes people uncharacteristically¬† jump to conclusions.

So my question is, why are we all jumping to conclusions when this whole matter might not even be resolved for awhile?

What if it’s not true? There are still going to be people not completely convinced that he didn’t take the substance, and it’s going to leave a bad impression in Braun’s legacy. And that’s too bad.

But this is just classic ESPN. Can’t wait for the truth to come out. Odds are, none of us should even be talking about this right now. But no.

> Anyway, I’m going to quit ranting about if for now, because, unlike most people I’ve seen so far, I’m going to wait for the truth to come out.

In the meantime, here are some links you can look at. Most of them make me think Braun is actually innocent, but you can see them for yourself below…

Source: Braun didn’t take PED (Tom Haudricourt/@Haudricourt, JSOnline)

Braun: ‘I am completely innocent’ (Tom Haudricourt, JSOnline)

If I find any more links regarding this (particularly ones that defend Braun), I’ll put them up.

> So that’s about it, for now. I’ll continue to update as the news comes. But, for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Thank you, Angels.

December 8, 2011

> Oh, how ironic this is.

> The Cardinals can say good-bye to their longtime All-Star first baseman and omnipotent MVP candidate, Albert Pujols. Meanwhile, the Brewers can rejoice not having to face Pujols for at least 10 more years.

It was announced today that Pujols has signed a monster deal with the Angels. The deal is reportedly for 10 years worth between $250 and $260 million, and has a full no-trade clause, which is what separated the Angels’ deal from the Marlins’ offer.

Pujols was exactly what the Angels needed, because, like many other west coast teams, they have close to no offense. Pujols can act as an entire offense, if needed. He has a career .328 average and 445 home runs.

But the irony in this is that, probably around a month and a half ago, I announced on Twitter that I would be cheering for the Rangers in the World Series, instead of the Cardinals. Naturally, I got hate from some conceited Cardinals fans (who were already bashing to the Brewers anyway, which is why I don’t see why they thought I’d be cheering for the Cards).

But one of the haters (who was¬† Cards fan, obviously) got into a full-out argument with me. After we’d been having the argument for awhile, this is what he said (and I’m quoting him directly):

@BreakingWI also we will see next year when we smash u again. No prince = no playoffs he’s as good as gone. Pujols will come back 2 repeat

You’ll first notice his complete absence in grammar, but that isn’t the point. “Pujols will come back 2 repeat?” He probably wasn’t expecting it, but it makes him look like a complete idiot at the moment. As much as I want to, I’m not going to call him out using his actual Twitter username, and I doubt he reads this blog. But I hope he feels like crap right now.

So sorry, Cards fans, but “Pujols isn’t coming back 2 repeat.” (And I’m actually legitimately sorry to the classy Cardinals fans who read this blog, but I had to put this out there.)

> Back to the Angels. They also signed starter C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal today. With Pujols and Wilson on their side, they’re actually a legitimate contender to go deep into the playoffs next year.

And they did all this after announcing at the beginning of the offseason that they’d only have about $15-20 million to spend. This is just slightly more…

> Finally, onto some Brewers news. According to Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal), the Brewers have signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal with a vesting option.

Offensively, Gonzalez is similar to Yuniesky Betancourt, unfortunately. He hit just .241 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs, which is actually worse than Betancourt on a few different fronts.

But his defense is just spectacular, which is why I like him more than Yuni. His .981 fielding percentage crushes Betancourt’s 2011 fielding percentage of just .965. Gonzalez can also routinely make those highlight reel plays you see all the time. Not to mention he has an extremely strong arm, which is what a shortstop needs.

> Just to clarify from last night, Francisco Rodriguez did in fact accept the Brewers’ arbitration offer. This cuts their chances of possibly bringing back Prince Fielder, but it doesn’t put them all the way out of the running for Aramis Ramirez.

> It’s still pretty early, so I’ll update more as the day goes on. But, for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Brewers have reportedly inquired on Ramirez

December 2, 2011

> Not exactly someone I could see the Brewers signing, but I wouldn’t mind if they did.

> According to Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) on Twitter, the Brewers have inquired on free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez had his option for 2012 picked up by the Cubs earlier this offseason, but a clause in his contract gave him a chance to decline the option himself, which he did, hence becoming a free agent.

Ramirez is a 14-season veteran, but has shown over the past few years that he can still produce at the plate (and occasionally on defense). In 2011, he hit 26 home runs with 93 RBIs and a .306 average for the Cubs, being one of the bright spots during their disappointing 71-91 season. Ramirez owns a .284 career average during nine years with the Cubs and six with the Pirates.

In my opinion, the Brewers signing Ramirez would be pretty ironic, actually. Current Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee was acquired off waivers from the Cubs in 2009 because he was blocked at third in the Cubs’ system by Ramirez himself. So, if Ramirez came to the Brewers, it would almost be the same situation McGehee had in Chicago. But, McGehee can also play first base, and, assuming the Brewers don’t re-sign Prince Fielder, he could be an option to play there.

And that was about it for the Brewers news today. Onto some Hot Stove news from around baseball…

> Closer Heath Bell has reportedly signed with the Marlins, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Which is odd, since I thought Bell made a big deal about staying on the west coast to be near his family and home.

Anyway, Bell will replace Leo Nunez– or Juan Carlos Oviedo, whatever the heck that guy’s real name is- in being the Marlins’ closer. This also marks the first big free agent signing by the Marlins this offseason. They’re probably going to make a few more, or at least try, because their payroll is going to raise by nearly $50 million by next year.

> The Red Sox officially made Bobby Valentine their manager today, as he had his press conference. I didn’t see it, but, from what I heard, it must have been pretty good.

I’m still saying that they shouldn’t have let Terry Francona go in the first place, though.

> And that’s about all I’ve got. Today was a bit busier than most of this boring offseason, at least, as yesterday I was reduced to writing about Brewers trades that probably aren’t even going to happen. But it was kind of fun to write about stuff like that, so maybe I’ll do it more often. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.