Verlander wins AL CYA; Brewers make a few announcement

November 16, 2011

> Today was actually a somewhat busy day for the Brewers, probably their busiest since the 2011 Hot Stove started. They made a few announcements concerning their free agents. But, before I get to all that…

> Justin Verlander won the AL Cy Young Award. Although that was probably clarified a few months ago, it was made official today.

Verlander was pretty much guaranteed the award after winning the AL Triple Crown by leading the league in wins (24), ERA (2.40), and strikeouts (250). A few more of his amazing stats were 251 innings pitched (excluding the postseason), a 0.92 WHIP, and an opponent’s batting average of .192.  His overall numbers were 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA as the ace of the Tigers’ pitching staff that would have been absolutely nothing without him.

Verlander also threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in May. It was the second of his career, the first coming against the Brewers back in 2007.

Anyway, Jered Weaver, James Shields, and CC Sabathia came in second, third, and fourth in the voting, respectively.

> Now, onto the Brewers’ announcements.

> Mark Kotsay has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres, meaning he definitely won’t be coming back to the Brewers. The deal will be worth $1.25 million.

In 2011 with the Brewers, Kotsay hit .270 with three home runs and 31 RBIs in 104 games. While those numbers aren’t bad for a player off the bench, Kotsay made multiple defensive miscues, and most of them ended up costing the Brewers (especially in the games he started in the NLCS). In my opinion, Kotsay should probably be a DH for an AL club, but the Padres need all the offense they can get…

> Doug Melvin was named co-executive of the year today, winning it with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. Melvin was expected to compete with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers for the title, as both completely revamped their respective teams, and ended up facing off in the NLDS this year. But, Melvin bringing in starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to turn the starting rotation into a strength probably won it for him. Not to mention his Trade Deadline acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Dombrowski, meanwhile, probably won it because of his Trade Deadline trade for starter Doug Fister. Verlander and Fister combined for a tough 1-2 punch in the Tigers’ rotation.

> Craig Counsell won’t be returning to the Brewers in 2012, Melvin announced today. He’s been a fan favorite for a long time in Milwaukee, and also lives just north of Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay. But, he’s now 41, and is coming off a season in which he hit just .178 off the bench, and was mired in an 0-for-45 streak to tie a Major League record for the longest stretch without a hit. He hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to retire, though.

> The Brewers’ interest in free agent shortstop Clint Barmes apparently heated back up today. Since it appears that Jose Reyes is going to sign with the Marlins, it’s probably better that they’re interested in Barmes.

Barmes hit .244 with 12 home runs in 2011 with the Astros, but is one of the better defensive shortstops in the NL (especially better than Yuniesky Betancourt). The Astros have shown interest in re-signing Barmes, but their financial situation probably won’t allow it.

> Lastly, Melvin and Scott Boras, Prince Fielder’s agent, talked to each other today, and apparently Boras brought up the importance of the 1-2 punch of Ryan Braun and Fielder. He also said that he wants the Brewers to be involved in the bidding for Fielder. I don’t know what to make of this yet, but hopefully it means Boras is becoming a little more considerate.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave thoughts, if you have any.


Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP


Brewers’ roster for NLDS set

October 1, 2011

The Brewers’ roster for the NLDS was unveiled earlier today. I guess it came earlier than everyone thought (or at least me), because it didn’t need to be done until tomorrow morning, but we have it, nonetheless.

There are a couple surprises among the roster. I’ll get to those in a second, but here is the roster:

Pitchers (11): Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe, Chris Narveson, Marco Estrada

Catchers (2): Jonathan Lucroy, George Kottaras

Infielders (7): Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Yuniesky Betancourt, Casey McGehee, Jerry Hairston Jr., Craig Counsell, Taylor Green

Outfielders (5): Ryan Braun, Nyjer Morgan, Corey Hart, Carlos Gomez, Mark Kotsay

So it’s mostly what you expected. The rotation is set, with Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum starting the first three games of the series, along with Wolf in game four, if necessary. Narveson will mainly be used out of the bullpen, either as a long reliever, or possibly a lefty specialist- he’s still the only lefty in the ‘pen.

But I guess there were some surprises. The biggest one was probably Green beating out Josh Wilson for a spot on the roster. They didn’t really need Wilson in the first place, since Counsell can pretty much play the same role that he usually does, and Green can start in place of McGehee, if needed. But, the Brewers probably had planned to put Green on the postseason roster the entire time, since they called him up in late August instead of waiting until September 1st, when rosters expand. Had Green been called up at any point in September, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the postseason roster (barring an injury to a key player).

Anyway, another “surprise” was Estrada beating out Tim Dillard for the second long reliever in the bullpen behind Narveson. I guess that’s not really a surprise, at least to me- Estrada has actually been decent for the Brewers this year, if you look beyond his numbers. Nothing against Dillard, but Estrada had just been with the team longer, and I expected him to make it.

Ron Roenicke apparently wouldn’t say who’s starting at third base tomorrow. The choices are Hairston, McGehee, and Green. If it were me, I’d throw Green in there, just because it’s Ian Kennedy- a tough right-hander- starting for the Diamondbacks. But, we all know Roenicke doesn’t really have the guts to do that. I guess I can’t blame him this time, though- you don’t want to be too experimental at this point.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I just got finished watching the Yankees-Tigers game get rained out, and now I have no baseball to watch for the rest of the night. But I did watch the Rays pound the Rangers- that Matt Moore kid is something else. So was his battery-mate, Kelly Shoppach, who went 3-for-3 with two home runs in the game today. Did I mention he hit .176 during the regular season?

That proves that the postseason is completely different than the regular season. I have a feeling McGehee will do something like that against the Diamondbacks. But that really wouldn’t surprise me, considering he’s hitting over .500 against them in his career. In fact, D-backs starter Daniel Hudson has never retired McGehee in his career- he’s 5-for-5 against Hudson. Anyway, this should be a very fun series, and I’m going to be there tomorrow. I haven’t been this excited in a long time.


Brewers pound Reds again behind Gallardo’s 13 K’s

September 18, 2011

I knew the Brewers’ offense would come around in this series. I mean, who has a better pitching staff to get an offense going than the Reds? (Well, maybe the Royals, but they aren’t in the NL, unfortunately.)

The Brewers crushed the Reds again today, 10-1. Coming into this series, the Brewers’ offense had mightily struggled against the Cardinals, Phillies, and even Rockies. But, the Reds’ awful pitching staff has helped get them back on track. And, the Brewers are now extremely close to winning their first division title in 29 years, as their magic number now moves to five, thanks to a Cardinals’ loss to the Phillies. Not to mention the Diamondbacks lost to the Padres as well, so they’re now two games behind the Brewers for the second-best record in the National League. Oh, and yet another good thing for the Brewers- they’re one win away from 90 wins.

For the second straight start, Yovani Gallardo had the strikeout pitch working. He went six innings while giving up one run on just two hits. He also walked two and struck out a new career-high 13 batters. It was the second straight start Gallardo struck out at least 10, as he struck out 12 in his last start against the Phillies. And, Gallardo made a little history today as well- he became the second pitcher in Brewers’ history to strike out four batters in one inning, because Jonathan Lucroy couldn’t handle what would have been the third out of the fifth inning. The first Brewers to do it was Manny Parra, who struck out four in one inning last year.

Anyway, onto the offense. Ryan Braun got it started in the first by driving in his 100th RBI of the season with a single off Edinson Volquez. The Reds countered right away with Yonder Alonso’s game-tying solo homer in the second inning, but the Brewers’ offense took off from there.

Yuniesky Betancourt had a good day at the plate (which isn’t something you see too often from him anymore). He hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to give the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and added on a RBI single in the sixth.

But, Braun delivered the knock-out punch to the Reds in the seventh inning with a three-run shot for his 31st homer of the year. Braun finished with a 3-for-5 night, and took the lead in the NL batting title chase. He’s now hitting .333, while Jose Reyes of the Mets is hitting .332.

Anyway, that wasn’t even the end of the offense. Mark Kotsay hit a base-clearing double in the eighth inning, and Nyjer Morgan followed that up with a RBI single. But that would finally be it for the offense.

By the way, Mariano Rivera, the Yankees’ future Hall of Fame closer, earned his 601st career save today, which ties Trevor Hoffman for the most all-time. I was hoping Hoffman would hold onto that title longer, but I guess I wasn’t expecting Mo to have a 40+ save season at his age.

The Brewers will go for a sweep of the Reds tomorrow at 12:10 PM CT. They’ll send Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.87 ERA) to the mound. He’s coming off a short start against the Rockies that was plagued with long at-bats and bad defense, lasting just five innings, but the Brewers would come back and win that game. Anyway, Greinke is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Reds.

The Reds will counter with Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04), who, no matter what he does, can’t find his first win with the Reds. And he’s pitched better than his record and ERA show, in my opinion. Willis is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

UPDATE 10:49a: Willis actually became a late scratch for the Reds earlier today due to back spasms. Matt Maloney (0-2, 6.88 ERA) will start against the Brewers in Willis’ place. This will be Maloney’s first start of the year. He’s also only faced the Brewers in relief, never in a start.


Brewers offense breaks out, hits five HRs to back Wolf

September 17, 2011

After eight games of absolutely no 0ffense, I think I can finally stop complaining about what the Brewers have been lacking lately. Well, at least for today.

The Brewers offense broke out today and defeated the Reds, 6-3. They belted five home runs off Reds pitching, but four of them were off Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo’s home runs allowed count ballooned to 44 tonight, and he’s got a legit chance to break the National League record for home runs given up, which currently stands at 48. But back to the Brewers. The home runs were hit by Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay, George Kottaras, and Ryan Braun hit two. (Braun hitting two actually has some significance, which I’ll explain later).

Randy Wolf was cruising against the Reds until the seventh inning, when he allowed three consecutive singles to start the inning. He was then removed, and his final line was 7+ innings with three runs given up on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked none. Wolf had actually only given up one run before he was removed, but an “irritated” Francisco Rodriguez allowed two inherited runners to score before inducing an inning-ending double play. Sometimes, I honestly wonder that when players are mad at their team, no matter what sport they play, that they do bad on purpose (kind of like what Randy Moss did to the Vikings last year). I guess it was hard to tell with K-Rod today. But, I did notice that he didn’t look as intense as he usually does on the mound.

Anyway, congratulations to Braun on becoming the second 30/30 player in Brewers’ history! He entered play today with 28 home runs, and his two home runs rose his season total to 30. Braun is now the second player in Brewers’ history, as I mentioned earlier, to become a 30/30 player. Tommy Harper did it in 1970 for the Brewers, their first season in Milwaukee. Braun is also the second player in the Majors to do it this year, joining Matt Kemp of the Dodgers as the only two 30/30 players this year.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals also won today in 12 innings against the Phillies. The Cardinals had the lead going into the ninth inning, but Jason Motte blew the save, courtesy of some awful defense by right fielder Corey Patterson. But, the Cardinals came back in the 11th, scoring two runs and winning 4-2. The Brewers magic number moves to seven after today.

The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game series against the Reds tomorrow at 6:10 PM CT (on WMLW). Yovani Gallardo (16-10, 3.66 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a stellar start against the Phillies in which he went seven innings while striking out 12. He’s 2-3 with a 5.76 ERA in his career against the Reds, however.

The Reds will counter with Edinson Volquez (5-5, 5.80 ERA), who, as you can see by his mile-high ERA, is having a very inconsistent season. He’s been up and down between the Majors and Triple-A, which you don’t see very often from an Opening Day starter. Anyway, Volquez is 3-1 with a 5.80 ERA in his career against the Brewers.


Brewers hand win to Cardinals in series opener

August 31, 2011

This is exactly the kind of game that will not help you late in the season or in the postseason.

The Brewers fell to the Cardinals today, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Miller Park. It was just the third time since the All-Star break that the Brewers lost at home, and their overall record at Miller Park is now 50-17. It was a pitchers’ duel for most of the game, but, the pitcher for the Brewers didn’t have much of a say in the turnout.

Shaun Marcum tossed a gem. Just like he did his last time out against the Pirates. But, the results were the same. Marcum took a tough luck loss, as he went seven innings while giving up two runs (none earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

And those two unearned runs were the only runs the Cards scored. They came in the fifth inning, and, to start that inning, the Brewers committed two consecutive errors. The first one was by first baseman Prince Fielder, who let a ball that should have been a routine grounder bounce through his legs, allowing Skip Schumaker to reach. The next one was a botched play by second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. He took what should have been a routine double play ball and turned it in to an embarrassing play in which the ball bounced off his chest, followed by him throwing the ball to first base like a girl. That throw allowed Rafael Furcal to reach. Both Schumaker and Furcal would come around to score on a RBI single by the pitcher, Edwin Jackson, and a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay, respectively.

But this is the one thing that drives me absolutely insane about the Brewers. They have pitching. They have offense. Both of those are extremely important aspects of the game. But, they don’t have the third aspect, which is defense. You need all of them to succeed. Having two of three doesn’t cut it. And there’s proof that they have bad defense- Casey McGehee (third base), Yuniesky Betancourt (shortstop), and Fielder (first base) all lead the league in errors at their respective position. That’s saying something.

The only other contending team I can think of that manages to get by with horrible defense is the Rangers. But, the reason they have to account for so many errors is because of their shortstop, Elvis Andrus, who leads the Majors in errors at any position. Anyway, I guess I’m losing my point here, but what I’m saying is the Brewers need to pick it up defensively if they want to go deep in the postseason.

Anyway, the only Brewers run came on a Nyjer Morgan RBI double in the sixth inning. In that same inning, the Brewers 3-4-5 combo- Ryan Braun, Fielder, and McGehee- were due up with a guy on second and no outs. So what do they do? Get retired in order by Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson and strand the baserunner. Great.

The Brewers threatened in the ninth against Cardinals closer Fernando Salas with runners on first and second with Mark Kotsay up, but he grounded into a game-ending double play. That followed a botched bunt by Betancourt that practically turned into a double play itself.

Now, I’d be more angry about this loss if the race in the NL Central were tighter. With the loss tonight, the Brewers still hold a whopping 9.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the Central, which I’m still comfortable with for now. Had the Brewers won, the Cards would have fallen to an 11.5 game deficit.

Anyway, now that I’m done venting about the Brewers’ defense, I’ll get into tomorrow’s game. The Brewers and Cardinals play the second game of this three-game set at Miller Park tomorrow night, and the Brewers will send Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37 ERA) to the mound. Wolf’s last start against the Cardinals was great: he went eight shutout innings and was poised to toss a complete game. Anyway, Wolf is 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA against the Cards in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (10-7, 4.75 ERA), who hasn’t really impressed me any time I’ve seen him pitch. Westbrook is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and both of those losses came this year.


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.


Kotsay gets walk-off single in ninth as Brewers roll

August 17, 2011

9:50p The Brewers seem to find new ways to win every day nowadays, and today was no different.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers again today, 2-1, to continue their winning streak, which now stands at five. The final blow came on Mark Kotsay’s walk-off single in the ninth inning off Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal, who was struggling with his command throughout the inning, but I’ll get to that later.

The Dodgers actually struck first in the second inning against Yovani Gallardo when Aaron Miles hit a RBI single to drive in Matt Kemp. Gallardo struggled with his command early before settling in, but that was the only run he would give up. He ended up going eight innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out nine and walked one. This performance was uncharacteristic of Gallardo against the Dodgers, who came into today with an 0-3 record with a 10.80 ERA against them in his career. He didn’t pick up the win, unfortunately, settling for a no-decision, but that ERA probably took a large drop.

Anyway, the Brewers countered right away in the bottom of the second on Corey Hart’s RBI groundout. The game would become a pitchers’ duel and stay tied until the ninth inning.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley also had a good start (not as good as Gallardo’s, but still good). He went seven innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Following Billingsley’s good outing, however, would be a bullpen meltdown for the Dodgers. They brought in Hong-Chih Kuo, a lefty, to face Prince Fielder leading off the inning. He promptly walked Fielder, which made Dodgers manager Don Mattingly go right back to his bullpen. This time, he brought out the right-handed MacDougal, who didn’t fare much better. He gave up a hit to Casey McGehee, then walked Yuniesky Betancourt to load the bases with no outs. That set the stage for Kotsay’s second walk-off single of the year.

Kotsay comes through in the clutch again

At times throughout the year, I’ve been extremely frustrated with Kotsay. A lot of times, he falters with guys on base by striking out, hitting an easy grounder, etc., but that all seems to change whenever he bats under pressure in the ninth. Kostay already had a walk-off against Francisco Cordero and the Reds earlier this year, and a game-tying single against Cordero and the Reds as well.

Brewers winning without many runs

Over the past four games, the Brewers have scored a total of eight runs. And yet they’re 4-0 in those games. Any other year before this, they would probably have been 0-4, but, this year, the pitching is good enough to bail out the Brewers even when there’s a lack of offense.

The Brewers have also hit only three home runs over the past four games, and all three of them came last night. So that goes to show that the Brewers don’t need the long ball to win, either.

Brewers extend division lead to seven

To go along with a Brewers win tonight, the Cardinals conveniantly lost in Pittsburgh. Garrett Jones hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off newly signed Arthur Rhodes, who has been a bust with both the Rangers and Cardinals this year. The game actually wouldn’t have even had to go to extra innings, had Fernando Salas not given up a game-tying homer to Neil Walker in the ninth. But, I guess that’s what the Cardinals get for not upgrading the back end of their bullpen at the Trade Deadline, despite the fact that was their biggest need. (And no, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Arthur Rhodes don’t count as the “back end.”)

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series win against the Dodgers tomorrow and will send Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.08 ERA) to the mound. Greinke is on a roll since the All-Star break, and is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA since then. He has a 5.40 ERA in five innings for his career against the Dodgers, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who will be making his third Major League start. He shut out the Astros for six innings his last time out, but the Brewers will obviously be much more of a challenge. I still don’t know much about Eovaldi, so I guess we’ll have to see how he does tomorrow.


Morgan, Brewers find way to win against Pirates

August 14, 2011

4:38p At this point, the Pirates might as well stop trying when they’re at Miller Park.

Pirates-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers, despite being shut out for the first seven innings of the game, found yet another way to take out the Pirates, with the final score being 2-1. The final blow was Nyjer Morgan’s sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, which kept the Brewers undefeated (8-0) against the Pirates this season.

The Pirates actually got on the scoreboard first, as the jumped on Brewers starter Shaun Marcum early. He was hanging a few pitches early on, and Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen took advantage of that by hitting back-back doubles in the first inning.

After that, however, Marcum was lights out. He ended up going 7 2/3 innings, his second longest outing of the season, while giving up one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Unfortunately, the Brewers offense didn’t arrive in time, and Marcum had to settle for his third consecutive no-decision. But, he kept the Brewers in the game, and that would prove big, because of the Pirates starter on the other side.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton pretty much knocked out the Brewers for the first seven innings. He ended up going 7 1/3 innings while giving up a run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five. But, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle made a decision that pretty much cost him the game in the eighth inning. With a runner on second, Hurdle pulled Morton for reliever Jose Veras. Veras came in and got the second out of the eighth, but then Hurdle made another change to bring in his All-Star closer, Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan came in and did his job: he struck out Nyjer Morgan to end the inning. Or, that’s what should have happened.

Hanrahan’s pitch to Morgan was a slider in the dirt, and Morgan swung over it. But, catcher Michael McKenry couldn’t handle it, and bounced away from him. Morgan ended up reaching first, and Jonathan Lucroy, who was on second, advanced to third. That set the stage for Ryan Braun.

Braun tied the game with a RBI single back up the middle, and, from there, the Pirates knew that it was happening all over again.

Hanrahan got out of that inning, then pitched a scoreless ninth. He handed the ball over to Chris Resop for the 10th inning, and he would be the victim of the Brewers walk-off.

George Kottaras hit a one-out single in the 10th, and Casey McGehee followed with a double to put runners on second and third. That set the stage for Morgan’s walk-off sacrifice fly.

Miller Park continues to be house of horrors for Pirates

If I were the Pirates, I would never want to come to Milwaukee. Since the beginning of 2007, the Pirates are 3-36 against the Brewers at Miller Park, which includes an 0-6 mark this year. Obviously, it’s a mental thing for them at this point, but that’s their problem if they can’t get over it.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers start a three-game set at home against the Dodgers tomorrow. Randy Wolf (9-8, 3.48 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off a great outing in St. Louis his last time out. He gave up one run in eight innings against the Cardinals. Wolf, the former Dodger, is 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA against his former team. He has already taken a loss against the Dodgers earlier this year.

The Dodgers will counter with the former Cub, Ted Lilly (7-12, 4.71 ERA). Lilly is having somewhat of a down season, as his record and ERA show, but he’s doing well in August. Lilly is 5-2 with a 3.54 ERA against the Brewers in his career, most of those numbers from his days with the Cubs.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 7 2

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Felipe Lopez, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .210
b-Casey McGehee, PH-3B 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 .239
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 .317
Ryan Braun, LF 3 0 2 1 1 1 0 .326
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 .305
Mark Kotsay, RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .258
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .270
Craig Counsell, 2B 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 .151
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .285
1-Jerry Hairston, PR 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .255
c-Corey Hart, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .272
Shaun Marcum, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .156
a-Josh Wilson, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .266
George Kottaras, C 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .232
Total 33 2 7 2 2 8 9

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Hawkins in the 8th.

b-Flied out for Lopez in the 8th.

c-Flied out for Saito in the 10th.

1-Ran for Lucroy in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: McGehee (19).

RBI: Braun (77), Morgan (28).

Team RISP: 1-for-6.

Team LOB: 7.

BASERUNNING

CS: Betancourt (4).

FIELDING

E: Fielder (12), McGehee (16).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shaun Marcum 7.2 5 1 1 2 5 0 3.50
LaTroy Hawkins 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.67
John Axford 1.0 1 0 0 0 3 0 2.40
Takashi Saito (W, 3-1) 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 2.35

Pitches-strikes: Marcum 116-76, Hawkins 1-1, Axford 22-14, Saito 23-11.

Groundouts-flyouts: Marcum 7-8, Hawkins 1-0, Axford 1-0, Saito 3-0.

Batters faced: Marcum 30, Hawkins 1, Axford 5, Saito 6.

Inherited runners-scored: Hawkins 2-0.


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

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
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.

BATTING

2B: Kotsay (8).

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

Team RISP: 1-for-6.

Team LOB: 7.

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

DP: (Betancourt-Lopez-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
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.