No HOF inductees this year

January 10, 2013

> Not this year. Arguably the highest debated Hall of Fame election ever ended with no new inductees. The highest percentage a player received was Craig Biggio with 68%. Here are the rest of the results:

Craig Biggio- 68%
Jack Morris- 68%
Jeff Bagwell- 60%
Mike Piazza- 58%
Tim Raines- 52%
Lee Smith- 48%
Curt Schilling- 39%
Roger Clemens- 38%
Barry Bonds- 36%
Edgar Martinez- 36%
Alan Trammell- 34%
Larry Walker- 22%
Fred McGriff- 21%
Dale Murphy- 19%
Mark McGwire- 17%
Don Mattingly- 13%
Sammy Sosa- 13%
Rafael Palmeiro- 9%

(Players who received less than 5% were left off this list)

I’ve never really publicly expressed my opinion regarding the Hall of Fame, particularly with this ballot. But forget about steroids for a second: two players who did absolutely nothing to affect their playing careers- Joe Jackson and Pete Rose- are banned from the Hall of Fame for gambling. That alone makes me start to question the legitimacy of the Hall when two of the greatest players ever don’t even receive consideration (and if they did receive consideration, they’d be in in an instant).

Anyway, I guess if I were held at gunpoint and had to create a ballot, mine would include Biggio, Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Clemens, Bonds, and Schilling. There would probably be some edits if I actually took the time and sat down to think about it, but those are the first names that come to mind for me. Again, though, I’ve never been one to obsess over Hall voting.

> Ryan Braun is going to play for the US team in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 (he also participated in the 2009 game).

I’m probably not as opposed to this as others. It does bring about a higher risk of injury and cuts into Spring Training, but I’d much rather have a position player in the WBC than a pitcher.

> The recently-signed Mike Gonzalez thinks the Brewers are built to win.

> Minor moves: 

Rangers: Signed Lance Berkman (wow) and Jason Frasor to one-year deals; outrighted Eli Whiteside to Triple-A; designated Tommy Hottovy for assignment.
Mariners: Signed Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal; outrighted D.J. Mitchell to Triple-A.
Indians: Signed Nick Swisher to a four-year deal; designated Neal Thomas for assignment; signed Brett Myers to a one-year deal; signed Jerry Gil, Edward Paredes, and Scott Kazmir to minor league deals; acquired Quincy Latimore from the Pirates.
Dodgers: Signed Jeremy Moore and Alfredo Amezaga to minor league deals; signed J.P. Howell to a one-year deal.
Royals: Signed Blaine Boyer and Chad Tracy to minor league deals.
Orioles: Released Elvis Duran; claimed Luis Martinez off waivers from the Rangers.
Blue Jays: Claimed Chad Beck off waivers from the Pirates.
Yankees: Claimed Russ Canzler off waivers from the Indians; designated ex-Brewer Chris Dickerson for assignment.
Cubs: Signed Dontrelle Willis and Zach Putnam to minor league deals.
Red Sox: Signed Jonathan Diaz and Mark Hamilton to minor league deals.
Mets: Signed Omar Quintanilla to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Released Rick VandenHurk; acquired Jeanmar Gomez from the Indians.
Nationals: Re-signed Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal; signed Brandon Mann to a minor league deal.
Athletics: Re-signed Chris Resop to a one-year deal.
Rockies: Signed Manny Corpas to a minor league deal.

Brewers capitalize on first inning mistakes to take series

July 19, 2012

> Despite a very discouraging first game of this series, the Brewers managed to battle back and take a much-needed two-of-three from the Cardinals. They sealed the deal today with a 4-3 nail-biter win. And we’d better get used to these nail-biters- they’ll be happening pretty often with Francisco Rodriguez assuming the closer duties.

The Cardinals have been slumping hard- and I mean hard– recently. If not for John Axford wrapping the gift to give them in the first game of this series, they would be 0-6 since the All-Star break. I thought Axford blowing the game like that was going to give the Cards a new hope and they were going to go on a hot streak from there, but that hasn’t appeared to be the case.

The sloppiness that has been Cardinals baseball the past few days showed up again today, mostly in the first inning. Norichika Aoki got on base to lead off the game, courtesy to an error by shortstop Rafael Furcal. After Nyjer Morgan hit a single, Adam Wainwright hit Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Corey Hart then came through with a broken bat, two-RBI single to give the Brewers the early lead. Two batters later, one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen occurred. Carlos Gomez hit your routine groundball to Furcal, and he fielded it cleanly. It looked at first like his throw was going to be fine, but it tailed off at the end, forcing first baseman Lance Berkman to come off the bag. But, Berkman’s momentum must have been a lot greater than I thought, and he tumbled over and nearly did a somersault. Not only that, but the ball flew out of his glove as he was rolling. This error allowed two runners to score and gave the Brewers a nice 4-0 lead to work with for the rest of the game.

And that was all they would need. The Cardinals got two runs off Tyler Thornburg: a David Freese solo home run in the second and an Allen Craig solo blast in the third. Other than those two runs, the Brewers’ bullpen shut the Cards down for the most part.

But K-Rod saves are always interesting, and the tale was no different today. After striking out Skip Schumaker to start the inning, Carlos Beltran hit a pinch-hit double. K-Rod then walked Furcal, but came back to strike out Matt Holliday (who was also pinch-hitting). But K-Rod walked Craig to follow that up, and the Cards’ third run came on Freese’s bases-loaded walk. To be honest with you, though, I was fine with that- better off walking him and giving up one run than letting him hit an opposite field bases-clearing double. Anyway, K-Rod finished the game by getting Berkman to fly out.

> Thornburg was making a spot start today in place of Zack Greinke, who is taking ten days off to “recharge” (although I think something else is going on behind the scenes). Thornburg’s start didn’t go all that well: he went just 4 2/3 innings while giving up two runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out five. Those numbers aren’t bad, but he needed 103 pitches to get through just 4 2/3 innings. He also served up two home runs, which brings his season total to seven home runs given up in just twelve innings. But all of the home runs are coming on elevated fastballs in the low 90’s, which, if not set up by the correct pitches, can mean trouble. Thorn has shown flashes of a great breaking ball and a decent change-up, though, which leads me to believe he can be successful in the future.

> But the bullpen managed to pick up Thornburg. Axford, removed from the closer’s role two days ago, came in and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to finish the fifth and sixth innings. Manny Parra threw a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras had a 1-2-3 eighth, and K-Rod got the save, despite walking three batters in the process.

> After an off-day tomorrow, the Brewers move into their final series of this crucial stretch everyone has been talking about- a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the Brewers would probably need a sweep to get out of there as legitimate contenders, which I can’t see happening. But it’s worth hoping for, I suppose.

Anyway, here’s what the matchups for the series look like:

Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (8-6, 3.93 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 3.59 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (4-6, 4.03 ERA)

Michael Fiers (3-3, 2.01 ERA) vs. ???

Back at it again…

January 4, 2012

> It’s been awhile. I don’t think I’ve posted in over two weeks, and my apologies for that. I was on winter break in Florida, which was heaven. Now, it’s back to Wisconsin, where I have to get used to a 60-degree change for the worse in weather. Anyway, BW should start up again on a regular basis after this.

> Not much happened while I was gone, as far as the Brewers are concerned. But, there a few minor things that I’ll go over.

> The Brewers added two peculiar players on Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training- shortstop Cesar Izturis and reliever Juan Perez. Both have a shot at making the Major League club, but I also have my doubts about both.

You’ve probably heard of Izturis at some point. He’s played in the Majors for 11 years, spending time with Blue Jays, Dodgers, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, and, most recently, the Orioles. He was once considered a great defensive shortstop, winning the Gold Glove Award in 2004 with the Dodgers. He’s not at that level defensively anymore, but is still considered an above-average defender (and as long as he’s better than Yuniesky Betancourt, I’ll take it).

The only issue with Izturis  is his extremely weak bat. He has a career .255 average, which isn’t awful, but he has the lowest slugging percentage of an active player at just .322. Over his 11-year career, he only has 15 home runs, never hitting more than four in a season.

Anyway, if Izturis does end up making the Brewers out of Spring Training, he’d probably serve as a backup to the newly signed Alex Gonzalez.

Perez has played professionally for 12 years, but has only spent part of three seasons in the Majors- two with the Pirates, one with the Phillies, which was last year. He has a career 4.79 ERA, but put up a career low 3.60 ERA with the Phillies in 2011. That was in just five innings over eight games, however.

Perez has a good shot at making the Major League club, though, because the Brewers are still extremely low on left-handed relievers. The three on the roster with Major League experience- Zach Braddock, Manny Parra, and Mitch Stetter- all had injury-plagued years in 2011. Parra missed the entire year with elbow and back problems, Stetter couldn’t recover from a hip injury, and Braddock struggled with a social disorder. Because of all this, the Brewers spent the majority of the final months of the season with a right-handed dominant bullpen. So, Perez gives the Brewers a little left-handed depth in 2012.

> The Brewers shed a bit of light on the Norichiki Aoki situation. They won rights to sign him in mid-December, and have until January 17th to work out a deal, or Aoki returns to his Japanese team, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

It turns out negotiations with Aoki have started at around just $1.5 million, which shows the Brewers aren’t extremely interested in him. Aoki has speed and can hit for average, but his weak arm and not much power at the plate probably hold him at a reserve, or fourth, outfielder in the Majors. This shows why the Brewers started negotiations so low.

They plan to work him out at their Spring Training complex in Maryvale sometime within the next few weeks before making their final decision.

> Now, for the piece of news Brewers fans have been worrying about for a while now- the Ryan Braun story. Apparently, an MLB official with knowledge on how the whole appeal process works told Tom Haudricourt that he think the ruling won’t be overturned because of previous cases.

But, you have to take into account that the test results are “unlike any test results seen before,” so this guy’s opinion doesn’t really matter.

I’m still holding out hope that Braun can get this cleaned up and be ready for the start of the season. Because there is a first time for everything.

> One more thing Brewers-related- the Brewers have reportedly approached Zack Greinke about a contract extension. I don’t know if negotiations have even started yet, but this is a good sign, because the Brewers need both Greinke and Shaun Marcum extended by the time the season starts.

> And that’s about everything Brewers-related the took place while I was away. However, there was also some stirring around other teams in the NL Central.

> The Cardinals managed to sign outfielder Carlos Beltran to a two-year deal worth $26 million. That sort of helps fill the void Albert Pujols left, but not quite.

With Beltran, the Cardinals now have an outfield trio of Beltran, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday. Normally, this would be a scary trio to have in the lineup offensively, but none of them have very good injury history, so I’m not too worried at this point.

> The Reds and Cubs struck an in-division trade, with the Cubs sending reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds in exchange for three prospects- starter Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt, and second baseman Ronald Torreyes. In my opinion, the Cubs won this trade- the Reds have been giving up way more prospects then they’ve needed to over their past few trades. They also had to give up five prospects to acquire starter Mat Latos from the Padres a few weeks ago.

> The Marlins are reportedly closer to acquiring Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs. And here I thought they were having a productive offseason…

> And I think that’s about it. Before I go, I’d like to wish you all a late merry Christmas and a happy new year. Here’s to hoping for another good Brewers season in 2012. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):


1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays


1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.

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 win slugfest, take 1-0 advangate in NLCS

October 10, 2011

Today’s game was one of the best games I’ve ever been to. From Tony La Russa getting booed so loud that you can’t hear yourself think, to the huge fifth inning for the Brewers, to John Axford closing it out- it doesn’t get much better than that for a Brewers fan.

The Brewers hammered the Cardinals today, 9-6, and took a 1-0 advantage over them in the NLCS. The pitching was pretty shaky for both sides, as seen by the score, which you didn’t expect with today’s matchup of Zack Greinke and Jaime Garcia. But, at least Greinke’s undefeated record at home this year remained unscathed, despite his rough start.

Greinke went 6+ innings while giving up six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six. And even though he gave up six runs, he got the win and remained undefeated at Miller Park this year. I read an article by Mike Bauman earlier today that got a little more in depth on that, but I’ll just say that I can’t believe it, either. No matter how many runs he gives up, he’s still invincible.

Garcia, on the other hand, also had a very shaky start. He went just 4+ innings while giving up six runs on six hits and took the loss. But Garcia made it interesting early by, after giving up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun in the first inning, beaning Prince Fielder on his first pitch to him. Warnings were issued, but nothing else really happened after that, as far as the bad blood between the Brewers and Cardinals.

The Cardinals struck first against Greinke on Matt Holliday’s RBI single in the first inning. But, the Brewers immediately answered back in the bottom of the inning on Braun’s two-run shot I talked about earlier. The Brewers preserved the lead until the fourth inning, when Greinke gave up a three-run home run to David Freese to give the Cards a 4-2 lead. The Cardinals also tacked on a fifth run on Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the fifth, but, after that, they just completely fell apart (pitching-wise, at least).

Corey Hart led off the fifth with a single, followed by Jerry Hairston Jr.’s double. That put runners on second and third with no outs, which brought Braun, a.k.a the new Mr. October, to the plate. He hit a ground-rule double to score Hart and Hairston, which cut the deficit to 5-4. Then, Fielder came up and hit a go-ahead two-run blast on the first pitch he saw from Garcia. That’s about as good as revenge gets.

But the inning wouldn’t stop there. After Garcia was removed, Octavio Dotel entered the game, and promptly made a throwing error on a play Rickie Weeks probably should have been out on. But, Weeks advanced to second on the play, which brought Yuniesky Betancourt to the plate. After a long battle with Dotel, Betancourt crushed a two-run homer to extend the Brewers’ lead to 8-5. After that, the bleeding finally stopped for the Cardinals, but the damage had been done, thanks to one of the greatest innings in Brewers’ postseason history.

The Cardinals’ sixth run came on a run that scored on an Albert Pujols double play, so that almost doesn’t even count. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ ninth run came on a Jonathan Lucroy RBI single (of course he starts hitting AFTER Ian Kennedy is gone).

I’ve been meaning to say this for awhile now, but Braun and Hairston are really having a spectacular postseason thus far. I guess coming in you expected Braun, who had four RBI today and hit .500 in the NLDS, to have a great postseason, but how about Hairston? He’s making Ron Roenicke look like a genius for starting him over Casey McGehee at third base for pretty much every postseason game so far, by hitting .375 in the NLDS. Hairston also went 2-for-4 today.

And here’s another thing I found hilarious today. If you’ve never been to a postseason game before, then you might not know that the announce every player and coach and have them run out onto the field and line up before the games. So, when La Russa ran out, he got booed like crazy, as I mentioned earlier. But I noticed him take off his cap and wave it to the fans, which is probably his way of making fun of those Milwaukee idiots- er, fans. Yes, Tony, Wisconsin absolutely loves you.

Tomorrow should be a pretty good pitching matchup between Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 ERA). Marcum is in the midst of a series of bad outings right now, which started with a bad start against the Phillies, and continued with bad outings against the Rockies and Pirates to finish the season. It’s also bled into the postseason, as he went just 4 2/3 innings his last time out against the Diamondbacks, while giving up seven runs. So hopefully that all ends tomorrow.

By the way, one more thing before I go- the rest of my NLCS posts will probably be in collaboration with El Maquino ( @El_Maquino), who is the owner of a Cardinals blog. We’re probably still going to have to talk about it a little, but hopefully we’ll have it going by tomorrow night. Anyway, you can see El Maquino’s site here. Whether you’re a Brewers fan, Cardinals fan, or any fan, I’d recommend checking it out.

Brewers off-day news and notes

September 16, 2011

The Brewers have an off-day today, one of the most torturing times for a baseball fan during the season, yet a great time for the players. Anyway, there wasn’t much news today surrounding the Brewers, but there were a few things that caught my eye.

Since Prince Fielder is so excited to leave the Brewers, we might as well start off with a topic relating to that. According to MLB Trade Rumors, a possible target for the Brewers this offseason could be Lance Berkman. Berkman is having a great ocmeback season with the Cardinals after a down-season in 2010, when he split time with the Astros and Yankees. MLB Trade Rumors stated that it would be logical for the Brewers to go after Berkman because Fielder will more than likely leave (and he’s even said it himself), but, Berkman has already said that he wants to stay with the Cardinals in 2012.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand Berkman is having a good year. But, his 2010 season is the only issue I have with the Brewers possible signing him. We won’t know until next year whether 2010 was a fluke, or if this year is a fluke. I know that his career says that 2010 was probably a fluke, but we have to take his age into consideration as well. Anyway, what I’m saying is that this may be too experimental of a move for the Brewers, a team hoping to contend in 2012. The Cardinals took a risk signing him and hoping he’d produce, and, for all we know, they could have gotten lucky.

Anyway, MLB Trade Rumors also said that three possible suitors this offseason would be the Rangers, Orioles, and Dodgers. If I were Fielder, I wouldn’t be too excited to go to any of those teams (except maybe the Rangers).

Now, onto Francisco Rodriguez, who also came out and created a distraction yesterday by saying he was “disappointed” and “irritated” that he wasn’t getting any save opportunities. The Brewers promised him that he would get some save opportunities before he was traded, so I guess I see where he’s coming from. But, when you’re playing for a team competing for their first division title in 29 years, you have to put the team first- not yourself. Something K-Rod and Fielder are failing to understand.

Anyway, K-Rod also needs to understand that John Axford has been unbelievable for the Brewers this year, and they aren’t just going to give some veteran some save opportunities just because he wants to close. And, Axford is making 4% of what K-Rod is making. But, K-Rod doesn’t understand playing for a small market team yet (the only other two teams he’s played for are the Angels and Mets).

Anyway, one more thing before I go- manager Ron Roenicke and GM Doug Melvin continue to say that they don’t believe that Fielder and K-Rod are creating distractions. I’m not buying that, though, because the way this team is playing, there are obviously distractions surrounding them. But, getting off that topic, I’ll end with the probables for the Brewers-Reds series:

Randy Wolf (12-9, 3.44 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (8-11, 5.28 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (16-10, 3.66 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (5-5, 5.80 ERA)

Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.87 ERA) vs. Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04 ERA)

Brewers can’t recover after Westbrook’s grand slam

September 1, 2011

I hate to say it, but the Brewers’ hot streak may have officially come to an end tonight.

The Brewers lost to the Cardinals today, 8-3, in what was probably one of the Brewers’ worst games since the All-Star break. It was mostly the pitching that failed the Brewers today- Randy Wolf had an extremely disappointing start. He went just five innings while giving up six runs on seven hits. He struck out three and didn’t walk anybody, but he did hit two batters, and both of those hit batters proved costly.

The Cardinals scored eight runs, but four of them came in a very bitter way. Wolf hit David Freese and Lance Berkman to start the fourth inning, then allowed a single to Yadier Molina (no idea how Freese didn’t score on it, but that wouldn’t matter). Then, after a missed double play chance in which the Brewers only recorded one out, Jake Westbrook, the opposing pitcher, hit a grand slam.

Yes, the opposing pitcher hit a grand slam. But, Westbrook was actually pretty lucky, in my opinion. First off, the ball was a line drive and barely stayed fair. I actually thought it was going to be foul off the bat. Secondly, it appeared as if Westbrook barely even swung at Wolf’s pitch, which looked like a cutter on the inside corner. But, Westbrook must have gotten good wood on it to send it that far and keep it fair.

But today just wasn’t Wolf’s day. On top of Westbrook’s slam, he gave up two solo homers in the first inning to Rafael Furcal (big surprise) and Albert Pujols (another big surprise). But, Wolf’s career numbers coming into today weren’t great- he was 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA. This is why I kind of wish Chris Narveson would have been starting today, just because of the success he’s had against the Cards in his career. Instead, Narveson came in for one scoreless inningn of relief.

Anyway, there isn’t much else to say about this game, so I’m going to move onto a topic that starts to come into effect tomorow: expanded rosters. Tomorrow is September 1st, meaning that the normal 25-man rosters expand to 40-man rosters. So far, the rumors I’m hearing are that the first September call-ups will be catcher Martin Maldanado and outfielder Logan Schafer. And starting pitcher Mike Fiers shouldn’t be far behind- he tossed a three-hit shutout today for the Nashville Sounds (AAA affiliate of the Brewers) and is 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA in Triple-A. Also, one more move- center fielder Carlos Gomez will be returning from the DL tomorrow, so he should jump right back into the center field platoon with Nyjer Morgan.

By the way, Taylor Green made his long-awaited Major League debut today in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter for Wolf. He ripped a Westbrook changeup into right field for his first career hit in his first career at-bat. And I can just tell that this kid has a bright future with the Brewers.

The Brewers will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals tomorrow in an afternoon game. The Brewers will send Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37 ERA) to the mound, and he’ll be in search of his 16th win. However, it’ll be against an opponent that he’s mightily struggled against in his career. Gallardo is 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA in his career against the Cards.

The Cardinals will counter with rookie Brandon Dickson (0-0, 0.00 ERA). He pitched in a few relief appearances earlier this season, but this will be his first Major League start. Green may get the start at third tomorrow, though, because he has experience against Dickson from the Minor Leagues.

Crew can’t get anything going against Carpenter in loss to Cards

August 12, 2011

10:41p The good news is the Brewers are still in first by four games. The bad news is we could have been in first by six games with a win tonight, which didn’t happen.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost to the Cardinals today, 5-2, which snapped a seven-game winning streak that the Brewers had going. Yovani Gallardo got roughed up by the Cards, going just five innings while giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out three. And he wasn’t helped by the defense, which committed two costly errors, and an offense that couldn’t do anything to Chris Carpenter beyond the first inning. An RBI double by Mark Kotsay and an RBI single by Prince Fielder in the first were all the Brewers could muster for the entire game.

After Gallardo was given that early lead, he immediately gave it right back in the bottom of the first when he gave up solo homers to Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols.

The unearned run came in the third when Lance Berkman hit an RBI single, following an error by second baseman Felipe Lopez. Gallardo allowed his last two runs in the fifth on a Pujols RBI single. Pujols eventually got around to third, and scored on a wild pitch by Gallardo. From there, nothing else really happened offensively.

Pujols gets it going against Crew

Coming into today, Brewers pitching had done a good job of containing Pujols all year, as he was hitting just .119 against the Brewers. Apparently Gallardo didn’t get the memo, however, as he allowed Pujols to get three hits off of him. And they weren’t cheap hits- they were all line drives that were hammered.

Pujols also tacked on another later to give him a pefect 4-for-4 night. He is now hitting .196 against the Crew this year. Obviously, that’s still an awful average, but he’s improving. Hopefully that doesn’t become a trend for the rest of the year.

De La Cruz makes Brewers debut

Frankie De La Cruz, who was called up to replace injured starter Chris Narveson on the roster, made his Brewers debut today in the seventh inning. In my opinion, he looked pretty good. His fastball velocity reached 95 MPH, and his slider had some pretty nasty break.

But, he won’t be starting tomorrow. Or at all, at least in the near future. Zack Greinke was bumped up in the rotation to start tomorrow and will be starting on normal day’s rest due to an off-day before this series. Ron Roenicke said that Marco Estrada will be starting Saturday, but I don’t know how much I like the sound of that. Estrada was decent earlier this year while filling in for Greinke, but he’s been awful as of late. He has a 4.80 ERA as a starter and in the ‘pen.

Gallardo’s struggles against Cards continue

Gallardo hadn’t had a very good time against the Cardinals in his career coming into today, as he had a 1-4 record with a 4.66 ERA. That one win was his no-hit bid earlier this year against them in St. Louis, but, his start today proved that it was a fluke.

I’d also like to point out that those two homers Gallardo gave up in the first inning were his 17th and 18th of the year. He gave up just 12 all year last year. I don’t know what’s up with him this year as far as giving up home runs, but he’s just never really found a groove with his breaking stuff this year and hangs a lot of pitches.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will return to Miller Park to face the Pirates tomorrow. Yes, the Pirates. The Brewers are 5-0 against them this season, and, since the beginning of 2007, they are 33-3 against the Pirates at Miller Park.

As I mentioned earlier, Greinke (10-4, 4.21 ERA) got bumped up in the rotation and will make a start tomorrow. He is 2-0 with a 5.56 ERA against the Pirates in his career. He made one start against them earlier this year, during which he gave up five runs in five innings. It was one of his more odd starts, however, because he was no-hitting the Pirates through the first four innings, then imploded after with a five-run fifth inning, in which he had to throw 50 pitches.

Paul Maholm (6-12, 3.54 ERA) will go for the Bucs. He’s having a better year than his record shows, but he, like so many other Pirates pitchers, has had no success against the Brewers in his career. He’s 3-7 with a 4.41 ERA against them.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 2
St. Louis Cardinals 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 X 5 9 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Corey Hart, RF 4 1 1 0 0 1 3 .277
Nyjer Morgan, CF 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 .323
Mark Kotsay, LF 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 .258
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 1 1 0 1 3 .303
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 .235
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 3 0 0 1 1 .270
Felipe Lopez, 2B 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 .216
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .282
Yovani Gallardo, P 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 .231
a-Craig Counsell, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .154
b-George Kottaras, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .221
Total 33 2 10 2 3 6 19

a-Singled for Loe in the 7th.

b-Popped out for Dillard in the 9th.


2B: Kotsay (8).

RBI: Kotsay (22), Fielder (88).

Team RISP: 1-for-6.

Team LOB: 7.

E: Lopez (4), Hart (1).

DP: (Betancourt-Lopez-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Yovani Gallardo (L, 13-8) 5.0 7 5 4 1 3 2 3.67
Kameron Loe 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3.98
Frankie De La Cruz 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Tim Dillard 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4.35

WP: Gallardo.

Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 92-56, Loe 12-7, De La Cruz 12-8, Dillard 15-10.

Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 6-4, Loe 0-1, De La Cruz 2-0, Dillard 3-0.

Batters faced: Gallardo 23, Loe 4, De La Cruz 4, Dillard 4.

Brewers return the favor in extra innings in St. Louis

August 10, 2011

11:13p The Cardinals won a game similar to this one last week in Milwaukee. They got lucky on a bloop RBI single by Lance Berkman to end an extremely dramatic extra inning game that was a crushing loss for the Brewers. Tonight wasn’t as dramatic, but gave the Cards a taste of their own medicine.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers took down the Cardinals tonight, 5-3, in a 10 inning game. Both the Brewers and Cardinals had a lot of chances that they didn’t take advantage of early on. That included a fifth inning in which the Brewers had the bases loaded and no outs against Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson, but allowed him to get out of it with no damage done in just four pitches.

The Brewers got to Jackson in the third inning, when Corey Hart hit a two-run homer off him. From there, Brewers starter Shaun Marcum pretty much cruised through the first four innings, until that pivotal fifth inning happened.

Marcum led off the fifth with a single. Jackson then walked Hart to put runners on first and second. After that, Nyjer Morgan tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but wound up reaching first because of a wide throw by Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird, who struggled behind the plate all night due to Yadier Molina’s suspension. Anyway, this loaded the bases with no outs.

Then, the Brewers did what they seem to do so well on the road. They got Jackson out of the inning on four pitches.

Some of it was just bad luck. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder got themselves out on back-to-back pitches with line drives directly at infielders. Then, with Casey McGehee batting, Laird let a pitch get away from him, so Marcum, who was at third, started to come home. Sadly, Laird recovered quickly, and Marcum had already gone too far down the line, getting him caught in a rundown. Marcum was trying to fake out Laird and third baseman David Freese by rapidly moving back and forth, but, while doing that, rolled over his ankle and collapsed. Freese tagged him out, and that was that- inning over.

Marcum came back out for the fifth and sixth innings, but had to labor through both, and allowed the Cards to tie the game. In the fifth inning, Corey Patterson got the Cardinals on the board with an RBI single. In the sixth, Jonathan Lucroy gave the Brewers an insurance run with an RBI single, but that wouldn’t matter, since Laird and Freese both hit RBI singles in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3-3.

Then, until the 10th inning, it was a battle of the bullpens. Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings, then LaTroy Hawkins got Albert Pujols to fly out in the ninth inning to get out of a jam and send the game to extras.

The Cardinals put in reliever Octavio Dotel to pitch the 10th. Dotel had been lights out for the Cards since being acquired from the Blue Jays before the Trade Deadline. That is, until today.

Morgan led off the 10th with a single. Braun followed up with a strikeout to finish his disappointing night, but then Fielder beat the shift with a single, which advanced Morgan to third. McGehee then got the game-winning RBI with a double that scored Morgan. Yuniesky Betancourt added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to set the stage for John Axford in the bottom of the inning. Axford would come in and record is 33rd save of the year to seal the Brewers 5-3 win.

Breaking: Narveson gets stitches, to be out for awhile

Alright, I just heard this on Brewers Live as I was writing this article, and wanted to get it out as soon as I could. Brewers No. 5 starter Chris Narveson apparently sliced his pitching hand (his left hand) open and had to get eight stitches. Ron Roenicke said that Narveson would definitely be out for awhile, and that he would speak to GM Doug Melvin about what to do for a fifth starter until Narvy can return.

Narveson wasn’t having an extremely spectacular year- he’s 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA- but, in my opinion, was putting up decent numbers, especially for a No. 5 starter. The Brewers have a few options for a replacement, and I’ll put out a few of my ideas in a post later. Anyway, I’ll continue with this one now.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this three-game set in St. Louis tomorrow night. Randy Wolf (8-8, 3.61 ERA) will go for the Brewers and will try to rebound from his last start, which was also against the Cardinals. He gave up five runs in six innings at Miller Park, but still got the win. He had one start earlier this year against the Cards at Busch Stadium, where he got shelled for six runs. Wolf is 6-7 with a 4.01 ERA against the Cardinals in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.83 ERA), whose record is somewhat deceptive to the way he’s pitched this year. In most of his starts, he’s been great through the first five innings, but can’t get out of the sixth inning. This happened in Westbrook’s only start against the Brewers this year, which was at Miller Park. Westbrook is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the Brewers in his career.