Looking back at the first week of 2011’s offseason

November 7, 2011

> The first week of the 2011 MLB offseason was rather quiet, with none of the top free agents reaching agreements with new teams (or the ones they were already with). But I guess that wasn’t expected. Anyway, despite this, there were a lot of minor moves, with some more significant than others, and later in this article I’ll try to go through every move made. But, before that, there is one Brewers-related piece of news that I should probably share.

> Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy tomorrow. Ugh.

Over the past few days, Sveum has been considered the front-runner to become the new Red Sox manager, but nothing has been confirmed. And now he’s going to have a chance to become the Cubs’ manager, a team he has seen up close and personally for quite a few years now as the Brewers’ hitting coach.

So the reason I said “ugh” earlier is because, no matter who it is, I find it painful to see someone from a team I like leave for a team I hate. For instance, I was crushed a few years back when Brett Favre left the Packers for the Jets, and eventually the Vikings- a team I despise. (That is, until I figured out what a loser Favre was under the surface, but you still get the point.) Anyway, I’d be happy for Sveum no matter where he goes (if he does end up managing), but let me say I’d be much happier if he went to the Red Sox instead of the Cubs.

> But, with that aside, let’s get to all the moves that occurred during this first week of the Hot Stove. I guess I didn’t realize how much I didn’t cover on BreakingWI, but here’s my chance to redeem myself.

> Frank McCourt agreed with MLB to sell the Dodgers, and hopefully put this divorce-bankruptcy crap behind him and the franchise. The Dodgers suffered that for far too long, and hopefully whoever ends up being the team can right that ship.

> The long expected CC Sabathia opt-out never actually happened, as the Yankees managed to retain him by adding an extra year, worth $25 million, to his already-remaining for years on the seven-year deal he signed back in 2008 (after he left the Brewers). So much for that… I was looking forward to him sticking it up the Yankees’… Er, maybe I shouldn’t go there.

> The Indians acquired 15-year veteran starting pitcher Derek Lowe from the Braves. Lowe has definitely been on a decline in recent years, but the Indians hope his veteran presence can anchor their very young rotation.

> The Phillies successfully signed designated hitter Jim Thome to a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. Oh, wait, they’re a National League team… Apparently they expect him to play a little first base and be a power lefty off the bench, but I can’t see this deal working out very well.

> Cards manager Tony La Russa decided to retire after 33 seasons as a Major League manager. He definitely went out on top, that’s for sure…

> Davey Johnson is going to be the Nationals’ manager in 2012 as well, after picking up where Jim Riggleman left off midway through the 2011 season.

> The Giants exercised their option on lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and also signed fellow lefty reliever Javier Lopez to a two-year deal.

> The Dodgers re-signed Juan Rivera to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million after acquiring him from the Blue Jays halfway through the 2011 season.

> The Cubs exercised their half of the option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez declined his half, thus becoming a free agent.

> The Nationals re-signed starter Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal, following three seasons full of injuries- two of which he didn’t even pitch at all. But, before that, he was a dominant starting pitcher for the Yankees.

> The Diamondbacks made a few signings on and off the field, as they locked up shortstop John McDonald with a two-year, $3 million deal, along with a one-year deal worth $1.2 million for catcher Henry Blanco. They also extended GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, both of whom completely turned around what looked to be another disappointing season coming in.

> The Brewers declined their $17.5 million option on Francisco Rodriguez, which was inherited from the Mets. They also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (HOORAY!).

> The Mets pretty much came out and said that they’re not going to be able to retain shortstop Jose Reyes. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s sort of odd that they’d come out and say it like that.

> The Braves have announced that they would trade starter Jair Jurrjens and outfielder/second baseman Martin Prado, if given a good enough deal. Right now, the Royals look like the best destination, at least for Jurrjens.

> The Giants are willing to trade starter Jonathan Sanchez. Not sure who would want that walk-machine, unless they really need starting pitching.

> The Cardinals declined their optionsĀ  on shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel. That was surprising to some (including me).

> The Red Sox picked up their $6 million option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

> The Nationals appear to be in the running for starter Roy Oswalt, whose option was declined by the Phillies prior to the World Series.

> It sounds like the Phillies are literally dying for Michael Cuddyer, which means they’ll probably have him. But that would pretty much nullify the Thome deal, because Cuddyer could play a similar role, but is so much more versatile.

> The Diamondbacks declined options on starter Zach Duke, second baseman Aaron Hill, and shortstop Willie Bloomquist, but are probably open to re-signing Hill and Bloomquist.

> The Blue Jays picked up their option on outfielder Edwin Encarnacion, but declined their option on reliever Jon Rauch.

> The Royals picked up their $6 million option on closer Joakim Soria, who is coming off a horrible 2011. But, prior to that, he was one of the top closers in the game.

> The Reds picked up their option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but declined the option on closer Francisco Cordero.

> The Padres declined options on starter Aaron Harang, reliever Chad Qualls, and first baseman Brad Hawpe. I thought it was interesting that they didn’t pick up Harang’s option, because he actually quietly put up a good season.

> The Rays exercised their optionĀ  on starter James Shields and closer Kyle Farnsworth, while declining both of those pitchers’ batterymate, Kelly Shoppach.

> Mariners closer David Aardsma, who did not pitch at all in 2011 due to an injury from 2010, has elected free agency. Whichever team that signs him will probably have to wait until at least June for his services in the Majors, however, as he’s still recovering from the injury.

> The White Sox picked up their option on reliever Jason Frasor, who they acquired from the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline.

> The Indians exercised their option on starter Fausto Carmona, but declined the option on the injury-plagued center fielder Grady Sizemore.

> The Pirates declined options on catcher Ryan Doumit, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher Chris Snyder, and starter Paul Maholm. I thought they should have kept Maholm at least, because he’s good- just doesn’t get run support. But they can do whatever the want to keep themselves from having their first winning season since 1992, for all I care…

> The Rockies declined their option on starter Aaron Cook. That was definitely expected, as he’s been injury-plagued and ineffective over the past two years.

> Lastly, the Rangers exercised their option on Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama.

Well, that took awhile, but thanks for reading. Feel free to leave thoughts on these moves, if you have any.


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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


Revamped All-Star Rosters

July 11, 2011

4:58p The All-Star team rosters for both leagues have changed quite a bit since they were announced a week ago. So, here are the new rosters:

American League

Catchers: Alex Avila, Tigers | Russell Martin, Yankees | Matt Wieters, Orioles

1st Basemen: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox | Miguel Cabrera, Tigers | Paul Konerko, White Sox

2nd Basemen: Robinson Cano, Yankees | Howie Kendrick, Angels

Shortstops: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians | Derek Jeter, Yankees | Jhonny Peralta, Tigers

3rd Basemen: Adrian Beltre, Rangers | Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox | Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Outfielders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays | Curtis Granderson, Yankees | Josh Hamilton, Rangers | Michael Cuddyer, Twins | Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox | Matt Joyce, Rays | Carlos Quentin, White Sox

Designated Hitters: David Ortiz, Red Sox | Michael Young, Rangers

Starting Pitchers: Jered Weaver, Angels | Josh Beckett, Red Sox | Gio Gonzalez, Athletics | Felix Hernandez, Mariners | Jon Lester, Red Sox | Alexi Ogando, Rangers | Michael Pineda, Mariners | David Price, Rays | Ricky Romero, Blue Jays | CC Sabathia, Yankees | James Shields, Rays | Justin Verlander, Tigers | C.J. Wilson, Rangers

Relief Pitchers: Aaron Crow, Royals | Brandon League, Mariners | Chris Perez, Indians | David Robertson, Yankees | Mariano Rivera, Yankees | Jose Valverde, Tigers | Jordan Walden, Angels

National League

Catchers: Brian McCann, Braves | Yadier Molina, Cardinals | Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks

1st Basemen: Prince Fielder, Brewers | Gaby Sanchez, Marlins | Joey Votto, Reds

2nd Basemen: Rickie Weeks, Brewers | Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstops: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies | Jose Reyes, Mets | Starlin Castro, Cubs

3rd Basemen: Scott Rolen, Reds | Placido Polanco, Phillies | Pablo Sandoval, Giants | Chipper Jones, Braves

Outfielders: Lance Berkman, Cardinals | Matt Kemp, Dodgers | Matt Holliday, Cardinals | Ryan Braun, Brewers | Jay Bruce, Reds | Hunter Pence, Astros | Andrew McCutchen, Pirates | Justin Upton, Diamondbacks | Shane Victorino, Phillies | Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Phillies | Matt Cain, Giants | Kevin Correia, Pirates | Cole Hamels, Phillies | Jair Jurrjens, Braves | Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers | Cliff Lee, Phillies | Tim Lincecum, Giants | Ryan Vogelsong, Giants

Relief Pitchers: Heath Bell, Padres | Tyler Clippard, Nationals | Joel Hanrahan, Pirates | Craig Kimbrel, Braves | Jonny Venters, Braves | Brian Wilson, Giants

And that’s everybody. Remember that some of these guys got injured and won’t be playing, but their replacements are listed as well. And some of the pitchers who threw yesterday (Sunday) aren’t allowed to pitch in the All-Star Game, due to that stupid new rule. A few examples of guys who can’t pitch because of that rule are Hernandez, Hamels, Cain, Sabathia, Shields, etc.

Now, here’s the starting lineup for both leagues:

National League

Rickie Weeks, 2B

Carlos Beltran, DH

Matt Kemp, CF

Prince Fielder, 1B

Brian McCann, C

Lance Berkman, RF

Matt Holliday, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Scott Rolen, 3B

Roy Halladay, SP

American League

Curtis Granderson, CF

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

Jose Bautista, RF

Josh Hamilton, LF

Adrian Beltre, 3B

David Ortiz, DH

Robinson Cano, 2B

Alex Avila, C

Jered Weaver, SP

Braun would be starting in the outfield for the National League, had it not been for that stupid calf injury. At least we’ve got Weeks and Fielder in the starting lineup, though.

Weaver and Halladay should be a good matchup. To be honest, I would have rather seen Jurrjens starting instead of Halladay so it would have been the two ERA leaders facing off. But that was Bruce Bochy’s decision, not mine.

Anyway, the Home Run Derby is starting in an hour, so I’m pretty excited for that. I’ll have some coverage up after the derby ends.


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.


Full 2011 All-Star Rosters

July 3, 2011

12:52p The full All-Star rosters for 2011 have been officially announced. Starters, pitchers, reserves, etc., we know them all now. So, right before the Brewer game starts, I thought I’d list all of the players who made the All-Star Game at their respective positions. (Starters are listed first.)

American League

Catchers: Alex Avila, Tigers; Matt Wieters, Orioles; Russell Martin, Yankees

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees; Howie Kendrick, Angels

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees; Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Outfielders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; Curtis Granderson, Yankees; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Matt Joyce, Rays; Michael Cuddyer, Twins; Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Carlos Quentin, White Sox

Designated Hitters: David Ortiz, Red Sox; Michael Young, Rangers

Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Tigers; Jered Weaver, Angels; Josh Beckett, Red Sox; James Shields, Rays; Gio Gonzalez, Athletics; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; David Price, Rays; C.J. Wilson, Rangers

Relief Pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Jose Valverde, Tigers; Chris Perez, Indians; Aaron Crow, Royals; Brandon League, Mariners

National League

Catchers: Brian McCann, Braves; Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First Base: Prince Fielder, Brewers; Joey Votto, Reds; Gaby Sanchez, Marlins

Second Base: Rickie Weeks, Brewers; Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Mets; Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; Starlin Castro, Cubs

Third Base: Placido Polanco, Phillies; Chipper Jones, Braves

Outfielders: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Lance Berkman, Cardinals; Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Matt Holliday, Cardinals; Hunter Pence, Astros; Justin Upton, Diamondbacks; Jay Bruce, Reds; Carlos Beltran, Mets

Starting Pitchers: Roy Halladay, Phillies; Cole Hamels, Phillies; Cliff Lee, Phillies; Jair Jurrjens, Braves; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Matt Cain, Giants; Ryan Vogelsong, Giants

Relief Pitchers: Jonny Venters, Braves; Brian Wilson, Giants; Joel Hanrahan, Pirates; Heath Bell, Padres; Tyler Clippard, Nationals

AL Final Vote Candidates: Alex Gordon, Royals; Adam Jones, Orioles; Paul Konerko, White Sox; Victor Martinez, Tigers; Ben Zobrist, Rays

NL Final Vote Candidates: Michael Morse, Nationals; Shane Victorino, Phillies; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Todd Helton, Rockies; Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

So the Brewers have three All-Stars in the starting lineup, a franchise record. The Brewers did not get any reserves or pitchers, but I guess there wasn’t really a chance because Bruce Bochy (NL manager) chose three of his own pitchers (Cain, Lincecum, Vogelsong). Not to mention Wilson got a players’ vote. I was hoping Yovani Gallardo and his nine wins would get in somehow, or Marcum and his decent ERA, but you can’t really compete with Giants or Phillies. (I forgot to point out that the stars of the Philadelphia rotation- Halladay, Hamels, and Lee- all made it. I bet Roy Oswalt would have made it as well, but he’s injured.)

As far as the AL goes, it’s the typical starting lineup for them, meaning the Yankees and Red Sox took most of the positions. Every starter for them is a player of the AL East, save for Avila and Hamilton.


Brewers overcome 7-0 deficit, tie Cards atop Central

July 3, 2011

Brewers-Twins Wrap-Up

9:26p I cannot tell you how happy I am that my first post will be about this incredible game. I’ve got a lot to go over, so let’s get started.

The Brewers made what was probably their best comeback win of the season so far, defeating the Twins 8-7.

Now, a few things stuck out that the Brewers don’t often do- they overcame a 7-0 deficit, something that many teams cannot do very often. Secondly, this win was on the road- and I think we all know what the Brewers have (or haven’t, in this case) been capable of on the road this year.

The game started out extremely ugly for the Brewers. The Twins jumped on starter Chris Narveson (5-5, 4.86 ERA) early in the 1st inning, as Danny Valencia knocked in Alexi Casilla for an RBI single.

Then, in the 3rd, Narveson’s struggles continued, as he gave up back-to-back homers to Michael Cuddyer and Valencia, giving the Twins an early 3-0 lead.

The 4th was probably Narveson’s worst inning. He gave up five consecutive hits, with RBIs by Cuddyer, Valencia, Luke Hughes, and Jason Repko. He would eventually get out of it, but only lasted 4 2/3 innings. He gave up 7 runs on a career-high 14 hits allowed, while striking out one and walking two.

The Brewers finally started a rally against Twins starter Carl Pavano in the 5th, but it came in an odd yet convenient way. Yuniesky Betancourt singled with one out in the inning, then Mark Kotsay flew out to fairly deep center. Betancourt, surprisingly, attempted to tag up on the out, and center fielder Ben Revere’s throw appeared to be on the money, but the replays showed otherwise. Casilla had dove to tag Betancourt out before he got to 2nd, and wound up doing what looked like a cartwheel. Betancourt then jumped over Casilla’s tag, and landed on 2nd safely. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue, but the safe call remained. Jonathan Lucroy proceeded to drive in Betancourt with an RBI single, but Pavano got out of the strange inning after that. The Brewers would go on to score again in the 6th inning on Nyjer Morgan’s 2-run homer, making the game 7-3, and that would be the end of the scoring for awhile. Relievers Marco Estrada and Takashi Saito held the Twins offense scoreless until the ninth, when the Brewers would make their final strike.

Twins closer Matt Capps was in for the save, but the Brewers had other ideas. The inning started with Betancourt singling to center, then Kotsay followed up with a single of his own, advancing Betancourt to 3rd. Lucroy then drove in Betancourt and advanced Kotsay to 2nd with an RBI single. Capps then got a big out, inducing a Craig Counsell pop up. He also got Rickie Weeks to fly out, but Kotsay advanced to 3rd. After that, the real rally started.

Morgan, who was celebrating his 31st birthday, hit a 2-RBI double to deep right center, which tied the game at 7-7. George Kottaras, pinch-hitting for Carlos Gomez, came up and drove in what would be the winning run with a single. That would end Capps’ night, who was booed off the mound after blowing his AL-leading 6th blown save. Phil Dumatrait then came in to finish the inning. John Axford came in the bottom of the 9th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, including a game-ending strikeout of pinch-hitter Jim Thome, for his 21st save of the year.

Brewers snap 4-game losing streak

With the win tonight, the Brewers snapped a depressing 4-game losing streak, giving them a 1-4 record on this road trip. The losing streak started with a sweep at the hands of the Yankees, then a loss to the Twins last night.

1st inning troubles continue for starting pitchers

Narveson gave up a run in the first inning today, but that wasn’t an uncommon theme for the Brewers recently. The Brewers have given up a total of 17 runs in all of the first innings combined during Interleague play.

Braun extends streak to 22

Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak to 22, the longest active hitting streak in the Majors right now, and a career-high for him. He went 1-for-4, the hit being a 4th inning double off of Pavano.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will finish up the three-game set with the Twins tomorrow with a rubber match. The Twins will send Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64 ERA) to the mound. The Brewers will counter with Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.63 ERA), who will be hoping to rebound from his short outing against the Yankees. He gave up 7 runs in just 2 innings at Yankee Stadium, where his career ERA is 11.29.

Elsewhere around the division…

-The Pirates went 1-1 in a double-header with the Nationals. They are 2.5 games back.

-The Cubs offense faltered against the White Sox, despite Matt Garza’s complete game. They are 11 games back.

-The Astros were hammered by the Red Sox, 10-4. They are 16 games back.

-The Cardinals lost to the Rays, 5-1, allowing the Brewers to tie the Central lead.

-The Reds woes against the Indians continued, as they lost 3-1. They are 3 games back. (Even the Pirates are ahead of them. That’s saying something.)

So… I hope you guys enjoyed. This was my first official post, and I hope to continue posting like this on a day-to-day basis. I’m excited to keep doing this, as I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but never really had the guts to do it.

EDIT: The chart below was supposed to be the box score, haha. I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate that into the post. It should be up within the hour.