Greinke latches on with Dodgers

December 9, 2012

> Not like no one saw this coming. The Dodgers, who have infinite pockets of cash, finally wooed Zack Greinke into joining them. Greinke’s deal is for six years and $147 million, which is the richest contract for a right-hander in history, surpassing Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5 million deal signed back in March. Greinke also slightly passes lefty Cole Hamels, who received six years and $144 million from the Phillies around the Trade Deadline. CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract remains the largest contract ever given to a pitcher. 

Greinke will slide into the rotation of what should be a powerhouse Dodgers team. That rotation already features the incumbents, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, followed by a few veterans that LA will have to choose from, including Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang. The Dodgers could have one more starter competing for a spot- Hyun-Jin Ryu- if they sign him by tomorrow’s deadline.

Anyway, I see two possible scenarios for Greinke’s LA tenure. The first- and more likely- is that he’ll take advantage of pitching in the NL West, where the ballparks are significantly larger, and have a ton of success on a Dodgers team that should contend for years to come. The other, however, is that his anxiety issue comes back to haunt him in the huge market of LA, and he can’t handle the stress and publicity of pitching there.

The latter is very unlikely. He did fine in Anaheim, a suburb of LA (but basically the same market), posting a 6-2 record with a 3.53 ERA during his time there. Plus, Greinke doesn’t have the pressure of being the ace of the staff; Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher in the NL, has taken that role.

I wish the best of luck to Greinke in LA; he’s a guy who’s easy to root for. I don’t want the Dodgers to do well as a team because of how they’ve set up themselves up financially, but that doesn’t mean Greinke himself can’t have a good season.

Greinke2

> Now that Greinke is off the market, the Brewers’ chances of signing Ryan Dempster have increased. Had Greinke signed with the Rangers, the Dodgers would have probably overpaid a second-tier pitcher like Dempster. But, now that Greinke has gone to LA, it’s unlikely the Rangers are going to bring Dempster back after what he did for them last year.

> I keep forgetting to mention this, but I saw a headline the other day that read: “Yount shoots Sveum.” My immediate first thought was that Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount took some sort of shot- figuratively- at current Cubs manager Dale Sveum.

Nope. Yount literally shot Sveum with a gun while they were on a hunting trip. It wasn’t fatal or anything- one of the pellets from Yount’s rifle grazed Sveum’s ear while he was shooting at a quail.

But this made my day: Sveum started calling Yount “Dick Cheney” after the incident.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Acquired Michael Young from the Rangers.
Rangers: Acquired Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla from the Phillies.
Mariners: Designated Mauricio Robles for assignment.


Nearly astounding comeback falls short

September 10, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers had to have this game, and, after an amazing late comeback, it looked like they were going to get it. But, they couldn’t bring the momentum into extra innings, losing to the Cardinals 5-4 in 10 innings.

The Cards jumped on Shaun Marcum right away in the first inning, with home runs from Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran within a span of three batters. Matt Carpenter gave the Cards another in the second inning on an RBI double, and memories of the Brewers’ last NLCS game in 2011 were brought back. The only two Brewers runs came on a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the second inning and a Jean Segura RBI single in the fourth.

Fast forward to the ninth inning. The Cardinals brought in their flamethrower, Jason Motte, whom the Brewers haven’t been able to touch since he was put into the Cards’ closer role. But today was a different story. Two batters after a Segura double, Norichika Aoki hit a game-tying homer on a 99 MPH fastball from Motte.

After that, I thought the Brewers were going to win for sure; everything’s been going our way lately. But not today- Kameron Loe gave up the walk-off single to Allen Craig in the 10th inning, and that was that.

MY TAKE

> Two out of three in St. Louis is usually good for the Brewers, but they desperately needed the sweep today. The Brewers don’t have any more head-to-head match-ups against the Cards for the rest of the year, and the schedules don’t exactly go in the Brewers’ favor either. The Cardinals get to play 12 of their last 22 games against the Padres, Pirates, and Astros, while the Brewers still have series against the Braves, Nationals, and Reds left.

So I’d love to see the Brewers do what the Cards did down the stretch last year, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

THE NEWS

> Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each had to leave the game early today. Braun has a wrist problem that’s been lingering the entire season, and Hart had a mild sprained ankle. Neither are considered very serious.

Logan Schafer took over for Braun in left field, and Travis Ishikawa came in to play first base.

> The Brewers claimed Miguel De Los Santos off waivers from the Rangers. They had released him on Friday.

De Los Santos, a left-hander, put up a confusing 5.22 ERA for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate this season. The reason I say confusing is because Baseball America thought De Los Santos had the best change-up in the Rangers’ organization prior to the season.

The Brewers now have two De Los Santos’ down on the farm, having acquired Fautino De Los Santos from the Athletics in exchange for George Kottaras back in early August.

> Mark Rogers said he isn’t ready to be shut down. Neither am I.

> Today is the 20th anniversary of Robin Yount’s 3000th career hit.

> Zack Greinke got the win for the Angels tonight, going seven strong against the Tigers.

THE NUMBERS

> Brandon Kintzler threw two scoreless innings. But I find it strange that he doesn’t have a strikeout in the Majors yet this year, especially with the kind of stuff he has.

> Segura went a perfect 3-for-3. He’ll need to put together a good stretch here if he wants to prove he can be the everyday shortstop next year.

> The probables for the upcoming series against the Braves:

Mike Minor (8-10, 4.58 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (1-0, 5.14 ERA)

Tim Hudson (14-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 3.99 ERA)

Paul Maholm (12-9, 3.67 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.76 ERA)


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)


Braun beats out Kemp for NL MVP

November 23, 2011

> And Ryan Braun wins the NL MVP. Let the debating begin.

> Braun beat the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for the award, which has already caused a lot of debate. Most of it is that people think the only reason Braun won is because he played for a contending team. Which was part of it, and I’m not saying I disagree with it, as I said in my post last night. “Best player” and “most valuable player” don’t always mean the same thing.

> Anyway, I’m not going to talk much about the whole debate thing right now, but more about Braun’s numbers and why he was so deserving of this award.

> Braun is the first Brewer to win the MVP since Robin Yount won it in 1989. Yount is arguably the greatest player in Brewers history, so Braun has come along away and is joining some elite company.

Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes, which totals 388 points. Kemp came in second with 10 first-place votes (332), Prince Fielder in third with one first-place vote (229) and Justin Upton in fourth also with one first-place vote (214). Albert Pujols came in fifth with 166 points, but the highest vote he received was one third-place vote.

In 2011, Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs- definitely a MVP-caliber season. Kemp hit .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs. By looking at those numbers, you’d probably wonder why Kemp didn’t win instead.

But what I think separated Braun from Kemp was simply how often Braun came through in the clutch- yes, this is something that effects the voting. Braun coming through in the clutch is what drove the Brewers to the postseason. Kemp didn’t exactly come through in the clutch very often (but he played for the Dodgers, which explains why).

But what I’m saying is that the voting goes beyond the numbers.

> MLB and the players’ union came to an agreement on a five-year labor deal (imagine how jealous the NBA must be right now). Of course, this garnered about as much buzz- if not more- as Braun winning the MVP.

Anyway, it’s good to know that we won’t be seeing another baseball strike anytime soon.

> Jim Crane and his group officially took over the Astros today. They’ve agreed to move the Astros to the AL as early as 2013, as we heard a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Drayton McLane wonders how he sold the worst team in the MLB for $610 million.

> Anyway, I’m kind of short on time right now, so that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


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.