Braun takes home fifth consecutive Silver Slugger

November 9, 2012

> Apparently there’s one award that a false PED accusation can’t take away from Ryan Braun, and that’s one of the three outfield Silver Slugger awards. Braun has basically had this award locked down ever since he arrived in the Majors, this season being the fifth consecutive in which he took home an outfield SS. (The reason I say “one of the outfield awards” is because there is no specific left field award; the awards just go to the three top offensive outfielders regardless of which outfield position they play.)

But Braun winning this award doesn’t make it any better that he was robbed of the Hank Aaron Award, and will be robbed of the MVP. Just something we’ll have to live with for likely the next few seasons.

Anyway, here are the rest of the Silver Slugger winners at their respective positions:

American League

Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski

First Base: Prince Fielder

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Third Base: Miguel Cabrera

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Outfield: Mike Trout

Outfield: Josh Willingham

Outfield: Josh Hamilton

Designated Hitter: Billy Butler

National League

Catcher: Buster Posey

First Base: Adam LaRoche

Second Base: Aaron Hill

Third Base: Chase Headley

Shortstop: Ian Desmond

Outfield: Andrew McCutchen

Outfield: Jay Bruce

Outfield: Braun

Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg

Now for a few pieces of news I’ve missed over the last few days…

> Hunter Morris was named the Topps Southern League Player of the Year. He just can’t stop winning awards; now let’s hope he isn’t falsely accused of using steroids sometime this offseason.

> Carlos Gomez was given the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award for the Brewers.

Defense appears to be second sense to him; now let’s see if Gomez can build off his solid offensive campaign in 2012. If the Brewers don’t sign Hamilton, Gomez is the guy they’re going to fall back on.

> Brock Kjeldgaard left the Arizona Fall League with a broken foot. He is going to have surgery this week, but will be ready for Spring Training.

> Santo Manzanillo also left the AFL due to a sore right shoulder. He got murdered for seven runs in just two innings over the course of three AFL games.

But poor Manzanillo never really managed to get healthy all year. He got into a car accident in late 2011, which affected his arm, and probably his performance.

> Minor moves:

Diamondbacks: Signed Garrett Mock to a minor league deal.
Mets: Signed Greg Burke to a minor league deal.
Indians: Outrighted Kevin Slowey, who elected free agency; signed Hector Rondon and Luis Hernandez to minor league contracts.
Red Sox: Signed Mitch Maier to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Signed Darren Ford and Jared Goedart to minor league deals.
Royals: Re-signed Manny Pina to a minor league deal.
Blue Jays: Acquired ex-Brewer Jeremy Jeffress from the Royals; signed Maicer Izturis to a three-year deal; designated Scott Maine for assignment.
Rangers: Acquired Tommy Hottovy from the Royals.
Angels: Signed ex-Brewer Mitch Stetter to a minor league deal.
Reds: Outrighted Bill Bray and Wilson Valdez, both of whom elected free agency.
Phillies: Re-signed Kevin Frandsen to a one-year deal.


Braun is officially back

August 18, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers took the series from the Phillies today, defeating them 6-2. The stars of the show tonight were Yovani Gallardo, who is showing he’s become quite the second-half pitcher, and Ryan Braun, officially out of his slump.

Gallardo dominated a pretty depleted Philly lineup, going seven inning while giving up a run on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine. He won his fourth consecutive start, bring his season record to 12-8.

Down 1-0 in the fourth, the Brewers posted a two-out explosion against Vance Worley. After Corey Hart hit a single and Martin Maldonado walked, Nyjer Morgan hit a triple that bounced off of right fielder Dominic Brown’s glove. That gave the Brewers the lead. Worley then opted to walk Jean Segura so he could get to Gallardo’s spot in the lineup, but Yo made him pay with a two-run single.

In the sixth inning, Braun hit his third home run- a two-run shot- over the past two games. Looks like the off-day and early batting practice is still paying off.

The Phillies’ last run came on a Kevin Frandsen RBI single in the ninth.

THE NEWS

> Shaun Marcum will make one more start for the Class A Timber Rattlers. He’ll throw 75 pitches, then hopefully return to the Brewers’ rotation, assuming all goes well.

> The Nationals designated Cesar Izturis for assignment today. That’s the second former Brewer shortstop DFA’d this week.

> The Cubs are working on an extension with Starlin Castro.

> Prince Fielder belted two home runs to give the Tigers the win over the O’s today. Looks like he’s starting to figure out Comerica Park.

THE NUMBERS

> Gallardo is now 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA against the Phillies in his career. I have a strong hatred towards the Phillies, so I love that.

> Aramis Ramirez went a dismal 0-f0r-5 with three strikeouts in today’s game.

> It’s worth noting that tomorrow’s starter for the Phils, Cole Hamels, is coming off two consecutive shutouts. Hamels also threw a complete game against the Brewers last year.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Cole Hamels (13-6, 2.91 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (2.63 ERA)

> Sorry about tonight’s short article. I started late and don’t have much time on my hands. Everything here at BWI is kind of scattered right now (you can probably tell by the current setup of the site), but I’m hoping to get everything organized within the next few weeks.


Lindblom does Hart a favor

August 17, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers had to have been happy to finally get out of Coors Field, and they showed it with their 7-4 win over the Phillies- at home. The story of the night was Corey Hart, whose go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning pretty much sealed the win.

Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Phils, and he got off to a very rough start. He gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez in the first inning, giving the Brewers the early 2-0 advantage. Lee would surrender another home run to Braun in the fourth inning. After that, though, the former Cy Young Award winner buckled down and ended up going 7 2/3 innings with 12 strikeouts.

Going into the fifth inning, the Brewers had a 3-1 lead, but Marco Estrada loaded the bases with two outs. Estrada had his typical blow-up inning that he absolutely has to have at some point each game, and Kevin Frandsen hit a go-ahead, bases-clearing double.

Fast forward to the eighth inning, with the score staying 4-3. Lee got two quick outs to start it, striking out Martin Maldonado and inducing a Norichika Aoki pop-out. But, the third baseman Frandsen botched what should have been an inning-ending groundout and let Rickie Weeks reach second on the error. Charlie Manuel decided to go to his setup man, Josh Lindblom (who, keep in mind, has struggled during his short time in Philly).

Lindblom came on and loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Braun, then an unintentional (but probably intentional) walk to Ramirez. That brought Hart to the plate, who hit his opposite-field grand slam just over Dominic Brown’s glove.

There was a bit of ninth inning drama, as Manny Parra allowed two hits to start it. But Jim Henderson came on and rebounded from his rough outing yesterday, recording his third save of the year.

MY QUESTION TO LINDBLOM

> If you watch every Brewer game, you probably know that Hart can’t touch the low-and-outside pitch- the slider in particular. None of the Brewers can really hit it, and the problem is they can’t lay off it. Hart is probably the worst at laying off it.

Anyway, after Lindblom walked Ramirez, I thought the inning was over. All Lindblom had to do was throw Hart three sliders just a little off the outside corner and low, and Hart would swing right through it, as usual. But maybe Lindblom misread the scouting report.

Lindblom did give Hart a few sliders, none of which were high enough in the zone for Hart to chase at. But, on a 2-2 count, Lindblom gave Hart a fastball up in the zone that cut home plate in half, and we know Hart didn’t miss it.

And that’s what I don’t get. On a 2-2 count, why on earth would you give Hart a fastball? There’s still a pitch to screw around with. I guess there’s the danger of bringing the count full, then the pressure of throwing a strike, or else the game is tied. But the odds of Hart eventually swinging at the slider are good, as he’s shown us.

Or we could ask Manuel a question. Why not just bring in Jonathan Papelbon for a four-out save? I highly doubt Papelbon would come in, walk two batters, then give up a go-ahead slam. Papelbon is elite; Lindblom is a struggling reliever that Philadelphia probably already despises. There’s a better chance Papelbon gets through the heart of the Brewers’ order.

I’m not complaining here, but maybe now we know why the Phillies are having as bad of a season as the Brewers.

THE NEWS

> In the middle of his slump, Braun decided to take early batting practice for the first time since he was a rookie (or so he says). I think it worked.

> Shaun Marcum is scheduled for a bullpen session tomorrow. If that goes well, we’ll probably see him back in uniform next week.

> You can also check out my latest article at Reviewing the Brew here. I talk about Marcum, his constant injuries, and his free agent status come this offseason.

THE NUMBERS

> The Brewers’ bullpen didn’t give up a run tonight. And we won. Coincidence?

> After his slump, Braun stormed back, hitting two home runs off Lee. His average also rose to .302 after having fallen below .300 on Tuesday.

> Braun has three home runs in his career against Lee, all coming this year. Oh, and he’s batting .533 against the lefty.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Vance Worley (6-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (11-8, 3.78 ERA)