Potential relief options for the Brewers

November 25, 2012

> As I stated the other day, relievers could be hard to come by this offseason, largely in part to the multi-year deals that Jeremy Affeldt and Brandon League have already signed with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. But the Brewers are certainly going to need at least one relatively-known name in the bullpen by the end of the offseason in order to shore up what proved to be the anchor of the team in 2012.

Here’s a list of potential closers who are on the market this offseason. Some of them are far out of the Brewers’ reach because they won’t fit financially, some are middle-of-the-pack (the most likely for the Brewers to sign), and some should be stayed away from for other reasons.

Jonathan Broxton
Matt Capps
Francisco Cordero
Kyle Farnsworth
Ryan Madson
Juan Carlos Oviedo
J.J. Putz
Mariano Rivera
Francisco Rodriguez
Joakim Soria
Jose Valverde

You can probably immediately tell who the Brewers are interested in and who they aren’t. In my opinion, the Brewers’ best bet would be Farnsworth, because he’d come relatively cheap and showed huge potential as the Rays’ closer in 2011. It’s doubtful that he’d close for the Brewers, since they seem pretty intent on keeping John Axford in the role, but Farnsworth could fill a gaping hole in the eighth inning if the Brewers fail to sign another setup man (which I’ll get to later). Oviedo- or Leo Nunez, who most probably still know him as- might not be a bad option for that role either, but he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2011 because of identity issues and injuries. Soria and Madson also haven’t pitched in a big league game since 2011. Capps, Valverde, Cordero, and obviously K-Rod were all flat-out ineffective in 2012. I suppose I wouldn’t mind Broxton after the 2012 he had, but I have to wonder where his asking price would be.

So, of that group, Farnsworth would be the most logical signing for the Brewers. I’ll admit my confidence in him wavered after his 2012, but what more do the Brewers have to lose?

Next is a list of free agent right-handed pitchers, ranging from guys with previous closing experience to near no-names. There are far more names on this list that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers bringing aboard.

Jeremy Accardo
Mike Adams
Luis Ayala
Miguel Batista
Todd Coffey
Jose Contreras
Juan Cruz
Chad Durbin
Jason Frasor
Kevin Gregg
LaTroy Hawkins
Clay Hensley
Bobby Jenks
Brad Lidge
Matt Lindstrom
Mark Lowe
Brandon Lyon
Mike MacDougal
Guillermo Mota
Micah Owings
Vicente Padilla
Chad Qualls
Ramon Ramirez
Jon Rauch
Fernando Rodney
Takashi Saito
Rafael Soriano
Yoshinori Tateyama
Carlos Villanueva
Dan Wheeler
Jamey Wright
Jason Grilli

My wish list from this series of names (while trying to stay within the Brewers’ budget) would be Adams, Frasor, Lindstrom, Grilli, and/0r Padilla. Adams, a former Brewer, has become a different pitcher since he left, featuring a nice cutter to go along with nasty breaking stuff. He would slot perfectly into the eighth inning role. Grilli, Frasor, Lindstrom, and Padilla are all power arms, which is what the Brewers are looking for this offseason.

Anyway, Rodney is by far the best name on the list, but he’s going to draw far too many suitors for the Brewers to compete with; same goes for Soriano. I wouldn’t be completely opposed to bringing Hawkins or Saito back on one-year deals, but health is obviously an issue for both of them at this point in their careers. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Villanueva in a Brewers uniform again, but he’s reportedly looking for a job as a full-time starter.

If it weren’t already obvious, the guys the Brewers need to stay away from include Durbin, Jenks, and Qualls.

Lastly, here is the list of lefty relievers on the market. Seeing as Manny Parra might not be back next year (and he wasn’t effective as the only lefty in the bullpen anyway), I’d like to see the Brewers pick up at least one of these guys.

Sean Burnett
Tim Byrdak
Randy Choate
Pedro Feliciano
J.P. Howell
Will Ohman
J.C. Romero
Hisanori Takahashi

Two of these lefties- Burnett and Choate- would be nice additions for the Brewers, but both are more than likely going to re-sign with their current teams. I’d love for the Brewers to sign Howell- which they are probably capable of doing- but the market for him is reportedly at least eight teams. Feliciano, however, could be a very interesting option. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2010 with the Mets due to injuries. But, before that, he was one of the best lefty specialists in the game, and led the league in appearances from 2008-2010. Even though there are some question marks surrounding him, he might be the best option for the Brewers.

The bottom line is the Brewers need to add at least one or two of these relievers, but there are certainly more than enough to choose from.

(Note: these free agent lists are courtesy of SportsCity)

> Minor moves: 

Indians: Signed Nate Spears and Jose Flores to minor league deals.

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Giants take Game 1

October 25, 2012

> The Giants took Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, quickly turning the tables on Justin Verlander and the favored Tigers. Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs- two coming off Verlander- in the game, and joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only players to accomplish that feat in a World Series game.

Barry Zito came through for his team again, throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and picked up the win. It’s also worth mentioning that Tim Lincecum, who has found a postseason home in the bullpen, struck out five over 2 1/3 innings of relief for Zito. Verlander, on the other hand, got his head blown off for five runs in four innings. It was his shortest non-delayed outing since June of 2010.

MY TAKE

> Taking  a look around the Internet earlier today, it appeared most of the “experts” were picking the Tigers to win this thing in five or six games. Personally, I chose the Tigers to win it in seven, and I’m going to stand by that, even after tonight’s disaster. But I’m usually wrong in these sorts of decisions.

> Jose Valverde seems to be going all mid-season John Axford on the Tigers this postseason. Phil Coke handled the closing duties during the ALCS, but Valverde got his chance to redeem himself today, since the Tigers were already down by five runs. But he didn’t help the cause, allowing two runs on four straight hits. The one batter he retired was Lincecum on a strikeout, but, unfortunately for him, that doesn’t really count.

> MLB Network compared Marco Scutaro to Paul Molitor. Meh.

Scutaro is having an unbelievable postseason, but I’m not ready to put him up there with an HOFer.

THE NEWS

> According to multiple sources, Norichika Aoki sat in as a guest commentator for the Japanese broadcast of the World Series.

> Davey Johnson of the Nationals won TSN’s Manager of the Year Award, as he received the most first-place votes. But what struck me is that Ron Roenicke received a first place vote.

> Minor moves:

Cubs: Claimed Carlos Gutierrez off waivers from the Twins; designated Anthony Recker for assignment.
Twins: Declined Matt Capps’ option for 2013; outrighted Jeff Manship, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, Kyle Waldrop, P.J. Walters, and Matt Carson off of thier 40-man roster.
Mariners: Declined Miguel Olivo’s option for 2013; released Munenori Kawasaki.

> I was going to write a big article tonight on fan bases, but wound up not having enough time. I’ll have it up tomorrow or the day after. (And I know the topic “fan bases” sounds extremely broad, but you’ll know what it means when I get the article up.)


Maldonado once again provides late-inning power

June 16, 2012

> When Jonathan Lucroy returns from the disabled list, the Brewers are going to find themselves with three catchers on their 25-man roster. While that is a nice luxury to have, it sacrifices a roster spot that a reliever would probably fill. So that means one of those catchers will probably sent down or traded, but the former is more likely. And George Kottaras may find himself the odd man out this time around.

> After a streak of very embarrassing losses (as if I didn’t emphasize that enough the last few days) in Kansas City, the Brewers finally got back in the win column, taking down the Twins, 5-3. Martin Maldonado once again came through in a big spot late in the game, and here’s an interesting stat: the last three games the Brewers have won (the first and third games of the Padres series, and today) have been because of a go-ahead home run by Maldonado in the fifth inning or later. Now that’s clutch. And it was exactly what the Brewers needed; a close win. John Axford recorded the save after being given a two-run cushion, so hopefully he’s getting back on track after a rough series in KC.

The Brewers got off to another dismal start. Struggling Twins starter Francisco Liriano didn’t give up a hit through the first five innings. Sound familiar? Yep, Luis Mendoza, who typically pitches out of the bullpen for the Royals, no-hit the Brewers through the first six innings on Tuesday. My first thoughts, and I’m sure many other people’s as well, were that it doesn’t matter who the Brewers are facing. They can’t hit anybody right now.

Yovani Gallardo managed to compete with Liriano through the first four innings, giving up just one hit up to that point. But the Twins broke through in the fifth on Trevor Plouffe’s solo shot. Then, after giving up back-to-back singles, Gallardo gave up another run on Alexi Casilla’s RBI single. A few batters later, Gallardo got out of the inning relatively unscathed on a Josh Willingham flyout that just missed being a grand slam (Josh Willingham grand slams and the Brewers don’t have a good history).

The way the Brewers have been hitting recently, I thought a 2-0 hole meant the game was over. But they proved me wrong. Liriano started the sixth by walking Edwin Maysonet, then, a batter later, also walked Carlos Gomez. This brought up Ryan Braun, who struck had struck out on three pitches his last time up. But this at-bat was a different story. After chasing a couple pitches to get down 0-2, Braun hammered a hanging slider over the center field wall (which is quite the feat at Target Field). Next thing you know, the Brewers have three runs, but only one hit.

Unfortunately, Gallardo gave up another home run to the hot-hitting Plouffe in the next inning to tie it up 3-3. That was his last inning, and it was a solid start. He finished with six innings while giving up three runs eight hits. He walked two and struck out seven. But Gallardo featured something we haven’t seen out of him in what feels like years- a change-up. It looked like a circle change; pretty much the same velocity as his slider, but breaking the opposite direction.

Anyway, the game remain tied until the ninth. I thought for sure we were in for another extra-inning game and/or embarrassing walk-off loss, but that wasn’t the case today. With Corey Hart on second and two outs in the ninth, Maldonado hit a go-ahead, two run blast off Matt Capps to give the Brewers their 5-3 lead, and eventual win.

> If you saw my post last night, I ranted about how I thought the Brewers’ season was over. I knew I would come to regret that eventually, since it isn’t true- yet. The Brewers record now stands at 29-35, which is fourth in the National League Central. They’re 7.5 games behind the first place Reds, who are red-hot right now, and 3.5 games behind the Pirates and Cardinals, tied for second. The Cards have quietly struggled lately, and they’re just one game over .500 now after their fast start. The Pirates, somehow, have found themselves in the thick of things at the same time they did last year, but I have a feeling they’ll fade off again.

That’s not to say the Brewers are going to magically pass these teams; they’ll need to work for it if they want to get back in this. My only conclusion is they’ll need to pull a long winning streak out of nowhere. The Brewers have struggled to string together wins this year, but have had no issues stringing together losses, hence their record. If they can somehow get back in contention with all the injuries they’ve been dealt, it’ll be some story. The starting pitching is there. The bullpen isn’t yet, but it may be on its way back. The offense isn’t even close, unless the middle of the lineup- rather, the whole lineup, other than Maldonado- gets it going quickly. This is the time the Brewers have to make a run, before it’s too late.

> Minor League starting prospect Cody Scarpetta had Tommy John surgery last month (it was just announced today). He hadn’t gotten to pitch much this year before going down, but the Brewers are still high on him as a future starter in the Majors.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT, sending Michael Fiers (1-2, 4.50 ERA) to the mound. I would say this is Fiers’ last chance to prove he belongs in the Majors, but it sounds like Ron Roenicke is confident that Marco Estrada will move back into the rotation.

The Twins will counter with Liam Hendriks (0-2, 9.00 ERA), who was just recalled from Triple-A for this start.

> Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

> Box Score

(Coming later)


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


Interleague Recap

July 4, 2011

10:54p Well, the Brewers rough Interleague schedule came and went as advertised, and it turned out pretty bad.

I remember last year, sometime towards the end of the year, I was watching a Brewer game. Brewers announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder somehow got to the topic of Interleague, and then Anderson said he was going to show the Brewers’ 2011 Interleague schedule on the screen after the next commercial break. Being a huge fan of Interleague play, I was excited to see who we were playing. When the commercial break ended and Anderson showed the Interleague schedule, my excitement went away.

Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Twins.

At that point, I knew this was the most unfair Interleague schedule in baseball, and that remained correct. I don’t know of any team with a rougher schedule than that.

I remember a lot of people saying that we would have a 14-game losing streak during Interleague. I didn’t think it would be that bad. And, after we acquired Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, I thought we had a shot at those tough teams of the AL East. Turns out that Greinke and Marcum didn’t help us in Interleague at all- Greinke had two disaster starts (against the Yankees and Twins), and one great start (7 IP, 1 ER effort against the Rays), while Marcum pitched just 9 innings total because of a hip injury he suffered in Boston.

The final Interleague record? 6-9.

That was the opposite of last year, when we went 9-6 against the much easier AL West (Rangers, Angels, Mariners, and rival Twins).

It started with a series against the Red Sox- at Fenway Park- where we lost two of three to the Red Sox. Too bad we couldn’t have gotten them at Miller Park, for two reasons. One, we’re just plain better at home. Two, no DH for the Sox (so, in other words, no David Ortiz). But, hey, that’s the luck of the Brewers. The one game they actually won was behind a great effort from Randy Wolf. If I had to have chosen one of the games that the Brewers would have lost in that series, I would have chosen that one. But, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo both faltered in the other starts, and Wolf proved me wrong.

Then, the series at home with the Rays. I thought we would fair better against them, but we didn’t- another lousy one of three series for the Brewers. The one win came on one of Greinke’s rare decent starts, when he held the Rays to one run over 7 strong innings. We actually got kind of lucky in that series, because the Rays didn’t have the DH and had to use Johnny Damon in the outfield. We should have fared better because of his joke for an arm, but I guess it didn’t have that much effect on the outcome of the series.

Next came a much-needed sweep of the Twins at home. Randy Wolf, Yovani Gallardo, and Chris Narveson all picked up wins. Again, the Twins had no DH at Miller Park, so, despite the fact Jim Thome was finally returning from the DL, he could not be used, except for in pinch-hitting roles.

The tables would turn for the Brewers during the next series as the made their first trip to Yankee Stadium since 1997. They were swept at the hands of the Yankees, and the most embarrassing game of all was when Greinke gave up 7 runs in 2 innings- ballooning his career ERA at Yankee Stadium to 11.31.

Then came the series that just ended today, against the Twins at Target Field. Gallardo had a below-average performance and Greinke had another awful start. Narveson also got knocked around, but that was covered up because of the incredible comeback win that the Brewers pulled off against Twins closer Matt Capps.

So, those are a few of my thoughts on the Brewers’ disappointing Interleague series. We still somehow ended it tied with the Cardinals for first in the Central, which we should be thankful for considering we were up against the three top teams in the AL East.

By the way, sorry for venting out on Greinke so much. But he has just disappointed me so much this year. His injury in spring training gave him a bad impression immediately, and his 5.66 ERA isn’t making him look any better. I really hope he picks up the pace soon, because if we want to make a real run at the Central, we need Greinke to do it.


Brewers can’t hold on to early lead, drop series to Twins

July 3, 2011

4:28p Brewers-Twins Wrap-Up

All of the possible worst case scenarios happened to the Brewers today.

Zack Greinke had another rocky start, the bullpen faltered, and the offense couldn’t rally. All of these things diminished what was looking to be a series win for the Brewers early on, and an end to Interleague play on a high note. But the Twins chase of Greinke and late inning rallies against the bullpen ruined that ending, as the Brewers lost 9-7.

Everything was going right for the Brewers early on, except for Jim Thome’s homer off Greinke in the 3rd, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. The Brewers immediately answered, however, as Mark Kotsay crushed a home run off Twins starter Nick Blackburn. It was his first homer as a Brewer, and tied the game at 1-1.

But the huge rally began in the 4th inning, after Nyjer Morgan reached third on a throwing error by second baseman Alexi Casilla and an intentional walk of Prince Fielder. Mat Gamel hit a double, driving in Morgan and advancing Fielder to third. Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a rocket of an infield single that shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka couldn’t handle, which scored Fielder. Mark Kotsay continued his good day at the plate after that with a two RBI triple. Then, after Jonathan Lucroy drove in Kotsay with an RBI single, Blackburn finally got out of the mess. It would be his last inning, as he only went 4 innings while giving up 6 runs on 6 hits. He struck out 2 and walked 1.

But, Greinke began to struggle in 4th inning, when Rene Tosoni smacked a 3-run homer to tighten the screws of a now 6-4 game. Greinke would give up another run in the bottom of the 5th on a Michael Cuddyer RBI single, but had a shutdown 6th inning. He finished with 6 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.

In the top of the 6th, Rickie Weeks hit his 15th homer of the year with a solo shot off reliever Anthony Swarzak, which made the game 7-5. That run would prove not to be enough insurance, however.

Things started to fall apart for the Brewers bullpen in the 7th. Zach Braddock had been in in relief of Greinke, but left with two outs and two runners on. Then, Kameron Loe was summoned from the bullpen in an odd spot, considering he’s typically the 8th inning reliever. Things did not go well for Loe, as he first gave up an RBI single to Cuddyer to make it a 7-6 game. He then walked Thome to load the bases. On the next batter, Danny Valencia hit a single to Kotsay. Kotsay, however, couldn’t handle the ball, and it rolled all the way to the track. The bases cleared, and Valencia wound up at third. It was now 9-7, and that was how the game remained.

Matt Capps, who blew the save yesterday, was in to try again, but after allowing back-to-back baserunners and with Prince Fielder on deck, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to bring in lefty specialist Glen Perkins. Perkins struck out Fielder and pinch-hitter Casey McGehee to end the game. McGehee’s struggles were visibly continuing, as he broke his bat over his knee after striking out.

Greinke gets more run support, but struggles continue (and a bit of venting about Loe)

The Brewers, as usual, gave Greinke seven runs of support today, but it proved not to be enough as his struggles continued. Greinke did not take the loss, but his ERA rose a touch to 5.66. If you’re wondering, Loe ended up taking the loss. He’s now 2-7 with a 4.72 ERA. Not to mention he has five blown saves. Yeah, not the greatest numbers for a setup man, if you can even call him that at this point.

Thome wasting no time trying to get to 600

If you were watching the game today, you probably noticed that Thome’s homer off Greinke was on the first pitch. He’s also took a few home run swings at pitches well out of the zone, which shows that he’s trying to get to 600 pretty bad. During this series, he hit his 594th off of Yovani Gallardo, and the one off Greinke today was #595.

McGehee still visibly frustrated about slump

McGehee pinch-hit for Gamel in the 9th inning today to try and get something going against the lefty Perkins. He struck out, however, and, as I mentioned earlier, broke his bat over his knee on the way back to the dugout. That clearly didn’t help his self-esteem, and now there’s no telling how many more days off Ron Roenicke is going to give him.

Braun’s hitting streak on hold

Ryan Braun sat out today’s game nursing a calf strain, so he did not get to continue his hitting streak. He may or may not play in tomorrow’s opener against the Diamondbacks, but his hitting streak remains on hold at 22, the longest active in the Majors.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will open a home series (thank goodness) against the Diamondbacks tomorrow. Shaun Marcum (7-3, 3.16 ERA) will get the start as he tries to bounce back from his below average start against the Yankees. Over Marcum’s past three starts, he has pitched a total of just 9 innings because of worries of a hip strain. Hopefully those are behind him now. The Diamondbacks will send Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.49 ERA) to oppose Marcum. Hudson, in my opinion, is the ace of the Arizona staff, despite getting off to an 0-4 start this year.

Elsewhere around the division…

-The Reds finally beat the Indians today, 7-5, to avoid an Interleague sweep. They are 2 games back.

-The Pirates blew out the Nationals, 10-2. They are now just 1.5 games back, as they continue to be a surprise contender in the Central.

-The Cardinals lost to the Rays, 8-3. The Brewers still maintain a tie atop the central because of this.

-The Astros lost a close one to the Red Sox, 2-1. They are 16 games back.

-The Cubs defeated their southside counterpart, the White Sox, 3-1. They are 10 games back.


Rays hammer Cards, 8-3

July 3, 2011

3:54p Well, here’s some pretty good news for the Brewers. The Cardinals lost to the Rays today, 8-3. It was a pretty tight game until the 8th inning, when the Rays finally put the game away on Johnny Damon’s base-clearing triple. The Cards couldn’t muster up much against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, and even though Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman both homered, Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse could not hold down the Rays.

So, if the Brewers can take down Matt Capps in the 9th inning again today, they will have first place all to themselves for the time being. If not, they’ll remain tied with the Cards in first.