Henderson joins the club

August 16, 2012

POSTGAME

> Coming into this road trip, I thought the Brewers were going to win six straight games against the National League’s two worst teams.

Unfortunately, I once again underestimated the ways of the Brewers’ bullpen.

The Brewers lost to the Rockies today, 7-6, and were swept by the NL’s second worst team. That comes off the heels of a series loss to the worst NL team, the Astros. The Brewers finished 1-5 on this road trip, and you can say this is the new low point of the season. That is, if you’ve already gotten over the thousand other previous low points.

The Rox jumped on Mark Rogers right away in the first inning, getting three runs on RBI hits from Ramon Hernandez and Chris Nelson. They added another in the second inning on a solo shot from the hot-hitting Eric Young Jr.

Guillermo Moscoso, spot-starting in place of Drew Pomeranz, danced around danger through the first few innings, stranding seven runners through the first four. But the Brewers finally solved him in the fifth. Moscoso walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the inning, then gave up three straight hits to Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart. Moscoso’s 75-pitch limit then came into play, so Jim Tracy brought in Carlos Torres, who only continued the trouble. Torres started his outing by hitting Jonathan Lucroy to load the bases, then gave up a game-tying single to Nyjer Morgan to make the score 4-4. Jean Segura hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly, and that was all the Brewers would get.

Rogers gave up a game-tying single in the bottom of the inning to Nelson, but the Brewers answered back with another g0-ahead hit in the sixth, this one from Morgan.

Up until the ninth inning, the bullpen was doing fine. Jim Henderson came on for the ninth, and struck out the first batter he faced. But, he proceeded to give up back-to-back singles to Wilin Rosario and Young. Then, as if on cue, Tyler Colvin hit a walk-off two-run double.

Make that three closers in the ‘pen who can’t get the job done.

Oh well, nothing here we haven’t seen before. Useless to try and explain it. Again.

MELKY’S OUT

> In very surprising news today, Melky Cabrera was hit with a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone. That means he’s out for the rest of the season, and potentially the National League Division Series, should the Giants somehow make it there without his presence.

Cabrera was hitting .346 while leading the Majors in hits with 159. He was on pace to have a career year and was igniting an otherwise weak Giants offense. He was also the MVP of the All-Star Game.

Now, I’m not going to come down on Cabrera here, because I know I’m going to get nothing but hate as a Brewers fan. People on Twitter were actually directly addressing Brewers fans not to get cocky during this situation, for some reason. Don’t know why you’d call out fans of a team whose MVP was exonerated before even getting on Cabrera- who admitted to taking an alleged substance-  for what he did.

Oh well. Hopefully this humbles any Giants fans who were mocking Ryan Braun earlier this season (I’m pretty sure he was booed in San Francisco).

THE NEWS

> Melky was banned for 50 games, but hopefully you already know that.

> In the midst of the slump I wrote about last night, Braun received an off-day.

> The Brewers are planning for Shaun Marcum to return sometime next week. He’ll make his second- and hopefully last- rehab start tomorrow for the Timber Rattlers.

> Felix Hernandez threw the 23rd perfect game in history today against the Rays. I watched the last three innings, and I don’t know what he looked like early in the game, but he was utterly nasty those last three innings. Rays hitters weren’t even remotely close to making solid contact, or any contact at all, for that matter: King Felix struck out 12.

THE NUMBERS

> The Brewers haven’t won a series at Coors Field since 2005. It all makes sense now.

> This was Henderson’s first career blown save, so maybe it’s not worth throwing him in the trash yet. I still trust him more than John Axford or Francisco Rodriguez.

> The probables for the upcoming series against the Phillies (at home, thankfully):

Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.85 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.36 ERA)

??? vs. ???

??? vs. ???

 

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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


Brewers beat Cordero again on Counsell’s sac fly

July 11, 2011

4:01p Well, we can thank Francisco Cordero for sending us into the All-Star Break on a good note. I can’t imagine he’s going to be the Reds’ closer for too much longer.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Reds again today, 4-3, in yet another thriller. All of the games the Brewers won in this series were one-run games, including two walk-offs. The first was the day before yesterday by Mark Kotsay off of Cordero. Then, there was another one today. Cordero was in again, and this time, Kotsay tied up the game, but there was a new hero- Craig Counsell.

The game got off to a rocky start for both sides. Brewers starter Randy Wolf wasn’t getting much help from the umpires in the first inning. He started off the game by walking Drew Stubbs, but the pitch before could have gotten him the strikeout, had the umpires not been blind, which they were the entire first inning. Wolf would go on to walk Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce (he might have also struck out Bruce, but do I even need to say what happened?). Then, Wolf “hit” Scott Rolen with a cutter that ran inside. It did, in fact, hit Rolen, but he clearly swung at the pitch. The umpires, however, didn’t see it, and a run scored from third base. Jonny Gomes would ground out to finally end the inning.

Reds starter Dontrelle Willis, making his first Major League start in over a year, didn’t have the greatest of starts to the game, either. After Rickie Weeks led off with a double, Carlos Gomez bunted him over to third, which set up an RBI single for Corey Hart. Willis would walk Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, but got out of it after a pop-out and a groundout.

The second inning was also rocky for both sides. Joey Votto hit an RBI single to drive in Zack Cozart, but that was all the Reds would do against Wolf in the second. In the Brewers’ half, Willis walked Weeks, then Gomez hit an RBI triple to tie the game at 2-2.

In the fourth, Weeks was trying to turn a double play, but the ball sailed past Fielder. Ramon Hernandez, who started the inning with a single, scored on the error. After that, there was no more scoring until yet another Brewer’ rally in the ninth.

Wolf exited after seven strong innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked four and struck out two. Willis, meanwhile, made a solid return to the Majors, going six innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four.

After Willis left the game, flamethrower Aroldis Chapman entered the game and fired two perfect innings, continuing his domination of the Brewers. He struck out four, including in the seventh inning, when he struck out the side.

Then, Cordero came in, and you can figure out what happened from there. But, I’ll tell you anyway.

After Cordero retired the first batter he faced in Yuniesky Betancourt, Nyjer Morgan stepped up, pinch-hitting for Josh Wilson. Morgan, who has turned himself into one of the most clutch players on the Brewers, singled, then stole second while George Kottaras was batting. Kottaras eventually drew a walk, then Kotsay, the hero from a few nights ago, stepped to the plate.

Kotsay wouldn’t win the game, but he did tie it with a single that scored Morgan. Cordero nearly caught Kotsay’s line drive, but it deflected off his glove. Then, the struggling Counsell stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded an one out. Coming into to today, Counsell’s career average with the bases loaded was .382. So, you can probably figure it out now.

It wasn’t a hit, but it was a sacrifice fly that scored Kottaras from third. That was enough, as the Brewers won 4-3, and defeated Cordero yet again.

“Coco’s gone loco”

Came up with that phrase myself, mind you.

But it’s true. Cordero has blown three consecutive saves in as many opportunities, including the two blown saves against the Brewers in this series. He had also blown one before this series in the Reds’ previous series with Cardinals, giving up a game-tying homer to Jon Jay in the ninth inning of what would have been a huge Cardinals comeback, had the Cards not lost it in extra innings.

Cordero didn’t look like himself all series. He was walking guys like crazy, his velocity was somewhat down, and couldn’t contain Kotsay, who beat him and tied the game to blow the saves for Cordero.

Loe seemingly doing better in less-pressured role

Kameron Loe came in the game today, so naturally, I started to think the Reds would extend their lead. Instead, he threw two perfect innings and struck out two. He also had to work around a lead-off walk in the eighth inning, courtesy of Zach Braddock, who came in to try and retire Bruce. Loe was rewarded with the win. I’m still no too thrilled with his seven losses, but three wins aren’t bad I guess.

Kotsay, Weeks establish themselves as Reds-killers

Kotsay and Weeks both had a great series. Kotsay, obviously, beat Cordero twice in the ninth inning, but Weeks really dominated the Reds as well. Weeks was already a Reds-killer before this series, but continued it this series. He had one homer, which was the inside-the-parker off Mike Leake in the second game of the series.

Braun sits again, won’t start All-Star Game

Well, I was scared it would come to this, and it did. Ryan Braun announced that he will not start the All-Star game and didn’t play in today’s game, either. It was his eighth consecutive missed game. To be honest, I’m surprised we got by this series with the Reds without our most consistent hitter. Not to mention it was the Reds, the team we struggle the most against.

Braun will be replaced by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Don’t get me wrong, I think McCutchen is a good player. But, when he saw that he didn’t make the All-Star team when the rosters were announced, he started complaining because he didn’t make it and thought he should have. I can’t stand guys who smart about stuff like that.

By the way, Cordero was also smarting because he didn’t make the All-Star game. That was a few days ago, when his ERA was 1.49. Now, hopefully he sees why he didn’t make it.

Up next for the Crew…

There’s your first half for the Brewers. When they come back from the break, they’ll start a four-game set against the Rockies. Yovani Gallardo (10-5, 3.76 ERA) will be the most likely starter for the opening game. Gallardo has had a rough career against the Rockies, going 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA.

The Rockies will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8, 4.14 ERA). Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

The Brewers swept a three-game set with the Rockies earlier this season at Miller Park.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Astros lost to the Marlins, 5-4. They are 19 games out. And remember, if they reach 20, I’m just going to stop putting what they do on here.
  • The Pirates beat down the Cubs, 9-1. They are one and 12 games back, respectively. (I’m still having a tough time comprehending that it’s the Pirates who are one game back. Then again, the Cubs being one game back would be scary as well.)
  • The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks, 4-2. We remain tied with them for first.

Weeks’ homer helps Brewers edge Reds

July 8, 2011

10:13p The Brewers beating the Reds? That’s not something you hear too often, at least over the past few years.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers took game one of a four-game set against the Reds today, 5-4. It turned into a bit of a thriller at the end, but was a win for the Crew, nonetheless.

The scoring started in the second inning, when Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Prince Fielder with a sacrifice fly. Fielder had doubled to begin the inning, then Mark Kotsay moved him to third on a groundout.

The Reds answered in the third, when Miguel Cairo hit an RBI single to drive in Homer Bailey, who doubled earlier in the inning. The Reds then took their only lead of the game in the fourth, when Ramon Hernandez hit an RBI single to drive in Zack Cozart, who was making his Major League debut. Cozart had a solid debut, going 1-for-3 with a single.

In the fifth, however, after Jonathan Lucroy singled and Chris Narveson walked, Rickie Weeks took Bailey deep with a three-run shot to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Later in the inning, Kotsay added an RBI single to make it 5-2. Bailey would go one more inning after that, finishing with six innings, while giving up five runs on eight hits along with two walks and a strikeout.

Narveson turned in a solid outing, going six innings while giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five. It was Narveson’s first career win against the Reds. Coming into today, Narveson was 0-3 against the Reds with an ERA above seven.

The Brewers bullpen was a bit shaky after Narveson left. Takashi Saito tossed a scoreless seventh, but LaTroy Hawkins ran into trouble in the eighth. He got out of a jam after giving up one run. Closer John Axford’s save didn’t come easily, either, as he gave up a lead-off homer to Hernandez in the ninth. After allowing back-to-back hits to Miguel Cairo and Joey Votto, Axford fielded a Brandon Phillips comebacker to record the save.

Bullpen surprisingly shaky

I was surprised that the bullpen had a rough time today, considering Kameron Loe didn’t enter the game. Both Hawkins and Axford, who are two of the most consistent guys out of the bullpen, gave up runs. It appears Saito is getting settled back in from the DL, considering he tossed a scoreless inning.

But I am happy that Ron Roenicke used Hawkins in the eighth again today. That marks back-to-back days that he’s done that, and that could symbolize a role change for Loe, who just hasn’t been doing it in the setup role. That could very well be the case, because I was actually at the game today and noticed that Loe was warming up in the sixth inning. It was probably just in case Narveson got in trouble. But that was the role Hawkins was used in for awhile, which is why I think they may have changed roles, at long last.

Braun sits AGAIN…

Alright, it didn’t surprise me today, because Roenicke said yesterday that Ryan Braun probably wasn’t going to play today. But note that this is fifth consecutive day not on the field, and if it gets longer than this, Braun might need some rehab time before coming back to the Brewers. I hope it doesn’t get that far, though, because we’re going to need him back soon.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of the four game series with the Reds tomorrow (I’m actually going to that game too…). Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.66 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he is in need, and I mean in NEED, of a good start. He is 7-3 with a 5.66 ERA, and let me tell you, I’m sick of seeing that high of an ERA next to his name. It’s just so uncharacteristic of him. He’s coming off a start in Minnesota where he gave up five runs (four earned) in six innings. But he really needs to get it together, and a start against the Reds could be what he needs. In two career starts against the Reds, he is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

The Reds will send Mike Leake (8-4, 4.03 ERA) to the mound, who has made two starts against the Brewers this season, but didn’t take a decision in either of them. Those are his only two career starts against the Brewers, and he has a 3.46 ERA against them over that span.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals and Diamondbacks just got out of a delay, and the Diamondbacks are leading 3-0. Joe Saunders was tossing a gem against the Cards, but the D-backs turned to their bullpen, meaning the delay didn’t let him finish. If the Cards lose, they will be tied with the Brewers for first in the division.
  • The Cubs defeated the Nationals, 10-9. They are 11.5 games back.
  • The Astros were shut out by the Marlins, 5-0. They are a whopping 17.5 games back. (I have no idea why I even put what they do on here, but they are part of the division, despite they aren’t contenders.)
  • The Pirates had an off-day today. They are 1.5 games back.