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

> TakingĀ  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.)

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Brewers pay tribute to Uecker nicely

September 1, 2012

POSTGAME

> Fittingly, on one of the greatest days in Brewers history, the Crew pummeled the Pirates, 9-3. They jumped all over Jeff Karstens for four runs in the first inning, including a Corey Hart two-run blast. Karstens was removed in the first inning with a lingering groin issue, but the Brewers kept it going against their bullpen, with a two-run shot from Aramis Ramirez and RBI hits from Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, all in the eighth inning.

THE NEWS

> The headline today was the debut of Bob Uecker’s statue outside of Miller Park. He’s now immortalized on the same land as Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and- *grimace*- Bud Selig.

Ueck grew up in Wisconsin and played part of his career for the Milwaukee Braves. He’s been calling Brewer games ever since the franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1970, and will continue to do so for as long as he can.

So congrats to the Ueck; he deserved it.

> Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers by the Diamondbacks. This means the strikeout machine has finally returned to the team from which he came.

> Norichika Aoki was a late scratch from the lineup due to a stiff neck, likely due to his collision with Nyjer Morgan in yesterday’s game. Morgan manned right field today.

THE NUMBERS

> Mark Rogers won his third consecutive start. Oddly enough, he hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning in any of them; pitch count has caught him each time.

Also, rumor has it tonight could have been Rogers last start before being shut down.

> Morgan went 3-for-5 in a rare start for him.

> Ramirez and Hart each went 3-for-4.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.67 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-5, 4.02 ERA)


Brewers out-pitched in Cincy opener

July 21, 2012

> Tonight was just an ugly game on all fronts. The Brewers fell to the Reds, 3-1, in the first game of a critical series for the Crew. To put it simply, the Brewers were out-pitched by a Reds pitching staff that’s been pretty hot lately.

The Brewers’ pitching wasn’t, either, but wasn’t enough to match the Reds. Marco Estrada went seven solid innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. But, all three of the runs he gave up came on solo home run balls, coming from Zack Cozart (fourth inning), Jay Bruce, and Scott Rolen (both in the seventh inning). But Estrada had a very Estrada-like start: he mowed through the Reds’ lineup the first time through, nine up, nine down. But he broke in the fourth inning on Cozart’s homer.

Anyway, the Brewers’ only run came in the eighth inning on Norichika Aoki’s RBI double. That was the one blemish on Reds starter Homer Bailey’s line, who was stellar tonight. He went eight innings while giving up one run on six hits. He also didn’t walk a batter and struck out a career-high ten. The one thing I don’t understand is that Bailey was 0-5 with a 6.50 ERA in his career against the Brewers coming into this start, and they had already rocked him twice this year. You could make the argument that Bailey is hot right now, I suppose, but I’m not completely bought into that. Bailey went eight innings in his first start after the All-Star break against the struggling Cardinals lineup, which we saw last series. Maybe this just means the Brewers’ lineup is struggling.

The Reds used Aroldis Chapman to finish off the Brewers, who threw a perfect inning with two K’s. There were no somersaults tonight, though.

> There was one bright spot tonight: Ryan Braun’s 1,000th career hit. He came into today with 998, and got hits in his first two at-bats. He becomes the 11th player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-hit milestone, but got to the milestone the quickest in franchise history, needing just 815 career games to do it. That’s even faster than the likes of Pete Rose, Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount.

> Zack Greinke has confirmed himself that the Brewers have indeed made a contract offer to him, but refused to go any further. The word on the street is the Brewers are willing to give him five years and over $100 million, but Matt Cain’s deal is still larger than that. Unless Greinke gives the Brewers a discount because he likes pitching at Miller Park or something, it seems more and more unlikely that he’s going to get traded (or will just walk into free agency at the end of the season).

> A couple of starting pitching notes: Shaun Marcum will throw off flat ground tomorrow for the first time since he went on the disabled list. There’s still no timetable for his return, however.

Also, Tyler Thornburg has been moved back to the bullpen with the impending return of Greinke. Thorn filled in for Greinke against the Cards the day before yesterday.

> One more thing before I go. I was pretty disturbed at something I saw on Twitter tonight. I tweeted something after Braun made an outfield assist to throw out Rolen at home, and some obnoxious Reds fan made a crack about him being on steroids. It’s really too bad that this had to happen to Braun, because idiots, such as this random guy from the Reds fan base, are going to think for the rest of his career that he did a performance-enhancing drug.

Braun didn’t get out of it on a “technicality,” he got out of it because of a flaw in the process. Other than that, there wasn’t proof that he did it.

Also, Braun has vindicated himself so far this season. He clearly isn’t doing any drug, otherwise routine drug tests would have shown it by now. Yet he’s still putting up these numbers. That’s the part of this whole thing that fans of other teams seem to be misunderstanding- or just ignoring so they can keep making cracks at him.

> And that’s about it. I leave you with tomorrow’s match-up:

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


A couple of candidates who could replace Sveum

November 21, 2011

> Before I start, I’d just like to thank the Brewers for giving me close to nothing to post about over the past week. This is a blogger’s worst nightmare… Anyway, today was no different- the Brewers made no moves for me to post about.

> So, I’ve decided to talk about a few possible replacements for recently-departed hitting coach Dale Sveum. Now that he’s the manager of the division rival Cubs, the Brewers will need to look for a new hitting coach- hopefully someone that can actually break the slumps of some players, such as Casey McGehee.

> The first candidate is John Shelby, who is currently the Brewers’ outfield instructor. During 11 MLB seasons, Shelby was on two clubs that won the World Series, but hit just a career .239. This is what worries me about this possibility.

But, Shelby has been a coach for the Dodgers, Pirates, and Orioles before joining the Brewers prior to the 2011 season. So he does have a little experience. Although I still have a feeling that it’s very unlikely he’ll get the job.

> Next up is one of the greatest players in Brewers’ history- Paul Molitor. He had a career .306 average over 21 seasons, most of which came with the Brewers. Molitor was also part of the historical 1982 team, in which the Brewers made it to the World Series.

Molitor doesn’t have much coaching experience, although he was the hitting coach for the Mariners a few years ago.

> This one is extremely unlikely, yet possible- Jim Gantner. Like Molitor, he was part of the ’82 team. Gantner was a career .274 hitter, which isn’t spectacular, but at the same time isn’t horrible either. But, Gantner has never been part of a coaching staff before, which is why this is so unlikely.

Anyway, I once knew Gantner in real life- I took hitting lessons from him and knew him for a few years after. So, personally, it would be cool to see him become the hitting coach of the Brewers, as unlikely as it is.

> Robin Yount is arguably the most likely out of the names I’ve mentioned so far. Arguably the greatest player in Brewers’ history (at least in my opinion), he had a career .285 average, and all of his seasons came with the Brewers.

Yount is probably the most likely because he does have previous coaching experience, as he was the Diamondbacks’ bench coach from 2002-2004, and served as the Brewers’ bench coach in 2005 and 2008.

> Of all of these names, the most likely is Sandy Guerrero, who is currently the coach of the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. He’s probably the most likely since he’s the only one of these names that Doug Melvin has actually acknowledged.

> By the way, if you’re wondering, I got these ideal replacements from Bleacher Report. It isn’t a source I use very often, but I figured I would use it today since this is really my first “filler post,” as I call them (meaning posts that aren’t about Brewers’ news, but more of my opinion on certain things).

> Anyway, the only news from around MLB today was that the Phillies acquired the versatile Ty Wigginton from the Rockies. Apparently, the Phillies are attempting to get as many first base replacements for Ryan Howard as they can.

> And that’s about it. Before I go, remember that the AL MVP is going to be announced tomorrow. So far, I’ve gotten all of my award predictions right, and my choice for AL MVP is Justin Verlander– yes, a pitcher. And, whether or not he wins, you’re probably going to see me post an article about why I think Verlander should have won.

> So, feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


Wolf stymies Cards, gives Brewers cushion in Central

August 11, 2011

9:49p Last night’s win against the Cards was big. And that’s what made this win even bigger.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals again today, 5-1. Randy Wolf may have had, in my opinion, his best start of the year. After giving up five runs against the Cards in his last start, he made them look foolish all night tonight, and went eight stellar innings while giving up a run on five hits. He struck out one and walked none. Wolf also only needed 92 pitches to get through eight, but he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth because there were runners on base.

The Brewers jumped on Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook right away in the first when Prince Fielder hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, Westbrook, being the groundball pitcher that he is, got a double play to get out of that inning after Fielder’s sac fly, but that wouldn’t matter as the game went on.

The Cardinals answered in the bottom of the first on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly, but that was the only run they would be getting in the game.

The Brewers took the lead back in the third on Fielder’s RBI double and Yuniesky Betancourt’s RBI single, and that would be it until the ninth inning.

Westbrook ended up going eight solid innings, giving up three runs on six hits. He struck out four, but the number that stuck out at me was his five walks, since he’s typically a control pitcher.

Anyway, the Brewers tacked on two more runs in the ninth inning on Corey Hart’s two-run single. Cards manager Tony La Russa also got ejected that inning, but I’ll have more on that later in the post.

Francisco Rodriguez finished his first game as a Brewer, in relief of Wolf. He got into a bit of a jam after giving up back-to-back singles to David Freese and Skip Schumaker, but got a groundout to end the game. If Rodriguez hadn’t waived his $17.5 million option, which would have come into effect if he finished 55 games, when he came to the Brewers, we obviously wouldn’t have seen him finishing out that game today. But, I guess that’s not a burden to Rodriguez or the Brewers anymore, thank goodness.

La Russa gets ejected on bad call

As I said earlier, La Russa got ejected from this game in the ninth inning. He was ejected for arguing that Josh Wilson, who bunted his way on, was out, and was angry because first base umpire Greg Gibson called him safe.

Replays actually showed that Wilson was out at first and that La Russa was right, but the first baseman Pujols didn’t help out too much with that. The throw from reliever Marc Rzepcyznski was wild, so Pujols had to step off the base for a second to make sure the throw to didn’t get by him. Pujols tried to come back down and first base, which he did, but he stepped on first base repeatedly, thinking he hadn’t touched the bag. That obviously led Gibson to think he didn’t touch the bag, hence calling Wilson safe.

Anyway, whether or not Wilson was safe, it’s always awesome to see La Russa get ejected, especially after the offensive remarks he made about the Brewers and their fans.

De La Cruz called up from Triple-A

Pitcher Frankie De La Cruz was called up from Triple-A earlier today. He’s one of the candidates to replace injured starter Chris Narveson in the rotation until Narvy can return from the DL.

Apparently, De La Cruz isn’t guaranteed to start in place of Narveson yet. Ron Roenicke said he may give reliever Marco Estrada a chance for a spot start, but, with how he’s looked out of the ‘pen lately, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

First five game lead since ’82…

That’s right. With tonight’s win, this marks the first time the Brewers have had a five game lead in a division since 1982. But, they weren’t leading the NL Central. They were leading the American League East. That was back when there were only east and west divisions, and when the Brewers were still in the AL (they moved to the NL in 1998).

But that ’82 year was probably the best year in Brewers history. Stars like Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas… They had all-stars up and down that lineup, including Mike Caldwell in the rotation. Now, I’m not going to go into comparing our team this year to the one in ’82, but the Brewers went to the World Series that year. And who’d they lose to? The Cardinals. At least it isn’t possible for the Brewers to lose to them in the World Series anymore, considering they’re in the same league (and same division). But I’m happy to say we’ve pretty much had the Cards’ number all year so far.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a sweep of the Cardinals tomorrow. Yovani Gallardo (13-7, 3.56 ERA) will go for the Brewers and look for his 14th win, which would tie a career-high for him. Gallardo is 1-4 with a 4.66 ERA against the Cardinals in his career, but his first win against them came earlier this year, when he no-hit them through the first seven innings.

The Cards will counter with Chris Carpenter (7-8. 3.75 ERA). He’s having a better season than his record shows, but has struggled mightily against the Brewers in his career. He’s 4-5 with a 5.50 ERA against them. That includes in 0-2 mark against them this year, during which Carpenter’s ERA against the Brewers is 8.18.

Box Score

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

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 2 2 0 1 .277
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 0 1 0 0 1 3 .324
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 1 0 1 0 1 .321
Prince Fielder, 1B 2 1 1 2 1 0 0 .304
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 .235
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 1 0 1 4 .265
Jerry Hairston, 2B 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 .264
George Kottaras, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .224
a-Josh Wilson, PH 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .262
Randy Wolf, P 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 .190
b-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286
Total 31 5 8 5 5 4 13

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Kottaras in the 9th.

b-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Wolf in the 9th.

BATTING

2B: Kottaras (4), Fielder (28).

RBI: Fielder 2 (87), Betancourt (50), Hart 2 (43).

Team RISP: 4-for-9.

Team LOB: 7.

BASERUNNING

SB: Braun (21).

FIELDING

DP: (McGehee-Hairston-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (W, 9-8 8.0 5 1 1 0 1 0 3.48
Francisco Rodriguez 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2.96

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 92-61, Rodriguez 14-10.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 13-5, Rodriguez 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Rodriguez 5.