Brewers outslugged in third straight loss

April 24, 2016

RECAP

> It was an ugly night for the Brewers pitching staff on Saturday when they fell to the Phillies, 10-6. It was clear from the first batter of the game that Chase Anderson (1-2, 4.50 ERA) was going to have a long night, and even though he battled, Philadelphia’s lineup drove up his pitch count too much early on, which was his downfall.

For the second night in a row, the Brewers struck first blood, as Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single in the first inning gave the Brewers an early lead. The Phillies retaliated with three runs in the top of the third, but Milwaukee quickly answered back in the bottom of the third against lefty Brett Oberholtzer. Jonathan Villar worked an eight-pitch walk to lead off the inning, and then, two batters later, Ryan Braun hit his fourth home run of the season, a rope to left field to tie the game 3-3. After another Lucroy single and Chris Carter’s double, Domingo Santana gave the Brewers the lead with an RBI fielder’s choice.

However, the Phillies posted another three-run inning in the third: Cesar Hernandez led off with a walk, Odubel Herrera followed with a single, and then Maikel Franco hit his third home run in two games to give the Phils a lead the would not relinquish. Franco continued to be a thorn in the Brewers’ side, driving in a run with a single in the sixth inning.

Down 7-4 in the eighth, the Brewers rallied and appeared prime for a comeback. Carter led off the inning with a solo shot– his team-leading fifth of the year– off reliever Dalier Hinojosa. Milwaukee would get one more in the inning on Aaron Hill’s sacrifice fly, leaving the Brewers down by one heading into the ninth. Jeremy Jeffress was tasked with holding the Phillies down to set the stage for a comeback in the bottom of the inning, but he was unable to do so: he allowed an RBI double to Hernandez and then a two-run blast to Herrera to put the game out of reach.

> Anderson by no means performed well on this night, but he was victim to some bad luck, especially during the Phillies’ three-run third inning. He walked Herrera to lead off the inning, but then induced back-to-pack pop-ups from Freddy Galvis and Franco and appeared to have a way out without allowing a run. Anderson had the next batter, Ryan Howard, in a 2-2 count and threw what appeared to be a decent pitch, a curveball low and outside. Howard tried to check his swing but couldn’t completely and blooped the ball in the air towards third base. Unfortunately, it was somehow too far over the shortstop Villar’s head (Villar was the only one on the left side of the infield due to the shift) and fell into no man’s land between Villar and the left fielder Braun, resulting in a game-tying RBI single for Howard.

Darin Ruf followed him with the most well-struck ball of the inning, a line drive to right center for a single. Carlos Ruiz then hit a soft ground ball down the right field line for another RBI single; had the first baseman Carter been in his normal position, he probably would have fielded it with ease, but for whatever reason he was playing way off the line. Tyler Goeddel was next in line, and he hit– you guessed it– a bloop RBI single over the head of second baseman Scooter Gennett.

So, in essence, Anderson gave up three runs on four hits in the inning, but it’s not like the Phillies were spraying extra-base hits all over the field. Just one of the four hits– Ruf’s single– was well-struck, and the rest were just poor luck for Anderson.

As a result, Anderson’s line was not pretty: he needed 99 pitches to make it through just four innings. He allowed six runs on eight hits while walking four– uncharacteristically high for him– and striking out two.

> Phillies starter Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.15 ERA), a name Brewers fans might recognize from his days with the Pirates, didn’t factor in the decision. He left the game in the top of the second after pulling a muscle and tripping on his way to first; the initial diagnosis was a hamstring strain. Morton threw just one inning in the game, giving up a run on three hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.

NEWS

> Matt Garza is making strides as he hopes to return from the disabled list earlier than anticipated. He’s been taking batting practice with the team for the last few days, and hopes to start throwing within the next week. Garza was placed on the disabled list shortly after spring training ended with a right lat strain.

> The Brewers recalled outfielder Alex Presley from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday. He was off to a hot start with the Sky Sox, hitting .381 over 34 plate appearances. Presley could compete with Kirk Nieuwenheis and Ramon Flores for the center field job, which is still up for grabs after opening day center fielder Keon Broxton was optioned last week.

In a corresponding move, reliever Tyler Cravy was optioned to Triple-A. Cravy had allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings (3.18 ERA) so far this season. Right-hander Zack Jones was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Presley on the 40-man roster.

STATS

> As Anderson was unable to post a quality start today, the Brewers remain stuck at just four quality starts on the season, which is 29th in the majors. Jimmy Nelson has three of the Brewers’ four quality starts, which were his starts against the Giants (two runs in 7 1/3 innings), Astros (two runs in 6+ innings), and Pirates (three runs in 6+ innings). The other one was Anderson’s start against the Cardinals (three runs in six innings).

The quality start– defined as the starting pitcher going at least six innings and allowing no more than three earned runs– is definitely an overrated and useless stat, but it is alarming that the Brewers only have four at this point in the season. The Brewers have had some other good starts, such as Taylor Jungmann’s first start of the season (one earned run in five innings against the Giants) and Anderson’s first start (five shutout innings against Houston), but both failed to complete the six-inning minimum.

> Franco’s average was .241 coming into this series; he has brought it up to .299 in two games.

> Lucroy extended his hitting streak to eight games.

> The runs Jeffress allowed in the ninth were the first runs he has given up all season.

> Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda, living up to and possibly surpassing the high expectations set for him, is off to a crazy start: he’s allowed just one earned run over his first four starts. That is the lowest total any pitcher has ever given up over his first four starts in the history of the game (minimum 20 innings pitched).

> The Brewers will look to avoid being swept by Philadelphia tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CT. They’ll send the struggling Wily Peralta (0-3, 8.35 ERA) to the mound, who is still in search of his first win; he’ll also hope to bring his ERA down to a more respectable digit. The Phillies will counter with Jerad Eickhoff (1-2, 1.89 ERA), who has actually been spectacular this season, but has just one win to show for it. Peralta is 2-2 with a 6.17 ERA in his career against the Phillies, while Eickhoff has never faced the Brewers.

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Odd baserunning miscue looms large

August 19, 2012

POSTGAME

> Tonight was a strange game, and pretty much all the breaks went against the Brewers. They were narrowly defeated by the Phillies, 4-3, in a game that could have been won 5-4.

The Phils got on the board in the second inning on back-to-back home runs from John Mayberry Jr. and Erik Kratz. The Brewers answered one of those runs in the bottom of the inning on Aramis Ramirez’s solo shot, but the Phillies took it right back on Ryan Howard’s RBI double in the third.

Down 4-1 in the eighth inning, Ryan Braun hit a two-run blast to cut the lead and knock Cole Hamels out of the game, but Jonathan Papelbon came on and got the four-out save and seal the win for the Phillies.

ODDITIES ON THE BASEPATHS

> Before I get too far into this, I’m going to say that I watched the first few innings of the game on a TV with no sound, so I couldn’t hear any analysis or anything.

And hearing some analysis on a play like this would have been useful. In the third inning, with two outs, Jonathan Lucroy, who was hitting second today, hit a single. Braun came up and hit a line drive that bounced off the yellow line on top of the wall in left field, and that usually signifies a home run.

Apparently not, though. Lucroy was running from first base, and Braun, who thought he had extra bases if not a home run, was close behind him. But Braun had to stop about halfway between first and second base, because, for some reason, Lucroy was still sitting at second base. Braun appeared to be screaming at Lucroy and pointing to third base, but by that time Dominic Brown had already thrown the ball back into the infield, and Braun was eventually thrown out.

Turns out Lucroy had missed second base as he was running, and had to go back and step on it again. But, again, the ball was already back to the infield, so one of them would have been thrown out eventually.

I’m confused about a few things here. If there were two outs and Braun hits a fly ball, Lucroy should be running as hard as he can no matter what. Unless he really overran second base that far and had to go back a ways to touch it again, I don’t see why he couldn’t at least make it to third (even if it were a close play), and then there’s runners on second and third with two outs. Again, though, I was watching the game without sound, and the classic FSWisconsin camera work didn’t help me out too much either.

But, Lucroy’s baserunning aside, it appeared Braun should have had a home run. It looked like it hit the top of the wall, which would make hit a home run, regardless of whether or not it bounces back onto the field. FSWisconsin was showing replays of the ball hitting the yellow as well. I listened to some audio later and heard Bill Schroeder say that Braun “missed a home run by inches,” but FSWisconsin didn’t show an angle close enough to the wall for us to see, so I guess we’ll never know.

I guess this is just another frustrating way to lose in a frustrating season.

THE NEWS

> Rickie Weeks got the day off today. Cody Ransom took his place, and I’ll tell you what he did in the numbers section. (But you can probably already guess.)

> Yesterday, Doug Melvin expressed his confidence in John Axford rebounding from his struggles.

“It’s too early to say. We believe in John. I believe in John Axford, I believe in his stuff, I believe in his character, his poise. I think there’s 16 teams that they don’t have the same closer they had at the start of the year. That position, there’s so much pressure on that closer role. You look at other teams. People are yelling for a change after four of five [blown saves].”

> The Astros fired Brad Mills today. The last thing the Brewers will remember him for was him coming out to argue with umpires every five seconds in that last series.

THE NUMBERS

> What you’ve all been waiting for: Ransom struck out four times in four at-bats. He’s clearly going for a 90% strikeout rate by the end of the season.

> Mike Fiers got roughed up for the second straight outing, giving up four runs in five innings. His ERA has gone from 1.80 to 2.90 in his last two starts.

> The bullpen was uncharacteristically good tonight. Kameron Loe, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jim Henderson combined for four shutout innings.

> Braun hit his 33rd home run, which already ties his total from 2011.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Kyle Kendrick (5-9, 4.53 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (3-9, 5.65 ERA)

 


Will the NL use the DH?

February 5, 2012

> Earlier today, I was reading an article in an issue of Sports Illustrated. I think it was the latest edition, but I’m not sure, because I just found it lying around the house. Anyway, the article regarded the use of the designated hitter, and how the AL has the luxury of throwing money at free agent sluggers more than the NL. Why? Because of the DH.

The DH provides a cushion for hitters as they get older, as we all know. Because of this, AL teams can give out mammoth deals of 6-10 years worth anywhere between $150-200 million. Probably about five to six years into that deal, the hitter- at least defensively- will start to slug off because of age. So, regardless of his position on the field, he can move into what the article referred to as a “semiretirement position”- the DH.

And we’re seeing this happen more and more nowadays. Albert Pujols and his 10-year, $254 million deal with Angels. Prince Fielder’s 9-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers. Pujols is already 31, and Fielder is 28. But, because of the DH rule in the AL, age isn’t a factor.

You would never see an NL team give out a deal like that. NL teams don’t have the comfort of the DH, so, once players get too old to play in the field, they’re forced to retire, or sign with an AL team (i.e. Adam Dunn).

We have seen a few mega-deals, as I like to call them, in the NL over the past few years. Obviously, there’s Ryan Braun, who just keeps getting extensions, and is now under team control until 2020. Then, there’s the Rockies, who signed both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to monster deals prior to the 2011 season. And there’s Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Dan Uggla of the Braves. I could probably keep going.

But, there’s one difference between the deals that the NL give than the AL- most of them are five-year deals. Howard’s and Uggla’s deals are both for five years. The Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, and Braun deals are longer, but they’re a bit younger.

Anyway, I think I’ve made my point- there’s more risk involved when NL teams sign players to huge deals.

But probably not for long.

Starting in 2013, assuming Bud Selig follows through on moving the Astros to the NL, thus forming two 15-team leagues, there will be Interleague games every day. With the rules that are in place right now- the AL using the DH and the NL not- the rules of the game would be changing every day, which would be a hassle for all teams, and just the sport in general. So, there are two possible theories, one of which is going to have to happen- the NL adds the DH rule, or the AL drops it.

You and I both know very well that the AL isn’t going to get rid of the DH rule, after its success ever since it was experimented with in the 80’s.

Which means, inevitably, the NL is going to add the DH. I never thought the day would come, but when Selig announced that he was moving the Astros to the AL (despite the fact he moved the Brewers from the AL to the NL back in 1998, which to this day I still don’t really understand), it came to my mind immediately that the NL would finally have to use the DH.

To be honest with you, I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. A lot of people I know absolutely hate the DH, and, up until recently, I kept telling myself that I did too.

But now I don’t know. It could really benefit the NL, as the cumulative batting average of all pitchers has constantly dropped over the years.

But, whether or not we want it to happen, I think it’s coming.

> Anyway, with all that aside, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been gone for a few days. So, I might as well go through the news that happened while I was away.

> The Brewers came to terms with Shaun Marcum on a one-year, $7.725 million deal on Friday, minutes before their scheduled arbitration hearing. This is alright, I guess, but I was hoping the Brewers would sign Marcum to a multi-year extension. Even a two-year deal would be fine for now, but a one-year deal is dangerous, because Marcum is a free agent after 2012.

The Brewers still have all season to sign him to an extension, assuming Marcum isn’t one of those players who doesn’t allow negotiations during the season, though.

Marcum also said the other day that he’s going to start using his legs more in his pitching motion. His September/postseason faults probably came from him being all arms, and he said using his legs more should generate more velocity.

> And that’s about it for now. Again, sorry for my brief absence, but everything should be back to normal now. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays

NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.


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.


Sveum considered front-runner for Sox managerial position

November 5, 2011

> The Brewers could soon be saying their farewells to their long-time hitting coach, Dale Sveum. Sveumer- a nickname he’s earned over the years in Milwaukee- is considered by many sources to be the primary candidate to occupy Boston’s managerial vacancy, which was left by Terry Francona. In my opinion, Francona didn’t need to be fired, but, after a collapse like the Sox had in September, something had to be done.

Anyway, back to Sveum. He was the third base coach for the Red Sox back in 2004- one of their World Series years- and 2005. He actually received a lot of criticism due to the rate of runners, who were sent by him, getting thrown out at home. But that doesn’t faze him, apparently.

After Ned Yost was fired with 12 games left to go in 2008 season, the Brewers’ most recent playoff year before 2011, Sveum took over for those 12 games, and the Brewers went 7-5 under his management. But that’s his only managing experience in the Majors.

I guess I wouldn’t mind Sveum leaving- it wouldn’t kill the Brewers. It’s always tough to tell if a hitting coach is doing his job (unless you’re a fan of a team like the Padres, Mariners, Athletics, and so on), but my biggest question for him, at least in 2011, is this- why couldn’t he get Casey McGehee out of his season-long slump? That’s what hitting coaches are there for. But I guess that wouldn’t matter much in Boston- most of the guys over there can already hit, and Sveum wouldn’t even be the hitting coach.

Anyway, if the rumors are true, goodbye and good luck to Sveum- he had a decent run as the hitting coach over here.

> Apparently Matt Kemp, the Dodgers’ star outfielder who is probably Ryan Braun’s biggest competition for the NL MVP this year, thinks that his team will be able to lure Prince Fielder over to Los Angeles this offseason. Here were his exact words:

“Every team can use another big bat, more offense would help us out. We lost a lot of one-run runs (don’t know if that’s a typo, but it’s what the quote says). One more big bat, we’d be more dangerous. Why not do it?”

To answer his question, “why not do it,” here’s the answer- your team is financially devastated.

I’m sorry, but I can’t see it happening. Sure, Fielder would be a decent fit over there, since James Loney proved his uselessness over the course of the 2011 season. But, the Dodgers aren’t even owned by a specific person or group right now, as the whole Frank McCourt episode just ended. It’s going to take time to recover form that, so I just can’t see any huge signings from the Dodgers- at least not early on this offseason.

Plus, despite the fact Fielder is friends with Kemp, Fielder has had his history of bad blood with the Dodgers. Of course, nobody can forget the time he tried to break into the Dodgers’ clubhouse a few years back after being drilled by ex-Brewer Guillermo Mota (who now pitches for the Giants). And, there was an episode earlier this year in a Spring Training game against the Dodgers, when Fielder charged the mound in defense of his teammate, McGehee.

So that’s my reasoning. I just can’t see it happening, with both the financial situation of the Dodgers, and the bad blood.

> The Brewers are going to have to look for a new radio voice to call games alongside Hall of Famer Bob Uecker. As of yesterday, Cory Provus, Uecker’s companion in the radio booth since 2009, had joined the Twins as their lead radio broadcaster.

I don’t listen to games very often on the radio, unless I don’t have access to a TV. But, I’m going to miss Provus; I thought he did a decent job with the Brewers.

Anyway, as for Uecker, who turns 77 in January, he’s already announced that he’s going to be back in the booth for the 2012 season. Which is a good thing, because I can’t imagine Brewers baseball without him, at least not yet.

> So I heard a rumor from a friend today at school about the Brewers possibly signing Jose Reyes. He said he heard about a five-year, $120 million deal.

No idea where, though. When I got home, I looked all over and couldn’t find any rumor like that anywhere.

I’m guessing he was either making it up, or heard something wrong. First off, it’s too early in the offseason to even be talking about deals of that caliber, especially with the top players in the free agent pool- I expect some of them to be out there for a month, maybe even two.

But, if this rumor does turn out to be true, I certainly wouldn’t have an issue with it.

> Anyway, that’s about all the Brewers news I’ve got. Before I go, here’s the Hot Stove news from today:

> Jim Thome is going back to the Phillies. Wow.

Thome re-joined another one of his former teams, the Indians, last year after a trade from the Twins, and now he’s going back to the Phillies. It’s going to be nostalgic for Phillies fans, obviously. But honestly, what was Ruben Amaro Jr. thinking?

Thome’s primary position has been designated hitter over the past few years. The problem? The Phillies aren’t in the AL. I don’t know what position he’s going to play, other than being a power threat from the left side off the bench. Maybe some first base with Ryan Howard out for the first few months of the season, but note that Thome has only played 28 defensive innings since 2007- and he’s 41.

But hey- they’re the Phillies. They always seem to know what their doing.

> The Orioles still can’t find a GM. Apparently there’s nobody out there willing to take on the task of bringing the term “winning” back to Baltimore. But can you blame them? It would probably take three years, maybe two at the earliest, to get that team back on track and in contention.

> The Blue Jays acquired reliever Trystan Magnuson from the Athletics earlier today. He put up a 6.14 ERA in nine Major League relief appearances this year.

And that’s all. Not much news today, but the Thome signing really caught me off guard. I’m curious to see how that turns out.


See you next year, “beasts of the east”

October 9, 2011

It’s the worst nightmare for every sports station: ESPN, FOX, all of them. There aren’t any teams from the east coast in either championship series. So that means TV ratings are going to be down! It’s the apocalypse because the bandwagoners won’t be watching! HELP!

I honestly could care less. I say screw the east and their gigantic payrolls. None of the top nine payrolls in baseball made it out of the NLDS, which just proves that having a big payroll doesn’t mean anything. Actually, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t mean anything- it means that you have the power to overpay worthless players to underperform for your team. Yes, I’m talking to you guys, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and so on.

But if you’re not on the bandwagon of the Yankees or Red Sox, then here’s what I have to say to you: welcome to the midwest. You’re going to be here awhile.

The final four teams standing are all located in the midwest. The Brewers, Cardinals, Tigers, and Rangers (who are actually in the AL West, and I’m still trying to figure out why) are those teams. Here are their respective payrolls, and where the rank among MLB teams:

Tigers, 10th: $105,705,232

Cardinals, 11th: $105,433,572

Rangers: 13th: $92,299,265

Brewers, 17th: $85,497,333

That’s right. The only one even in the top 1o is the Tigers, and that’s saying something, considering Detroit isn’t a very big market.

But this just hasn’t been a good year for any east coast team, which, in my opinion, is exactly what baseball needed. The Yankees’ offense became too inconsistent in the ALDS against the Tigers, and that wound up costing them. The Red Sox had a historical collapse, as the entered September with a nine-game Wild Card lead, and blew it. The Braves also blew a big lead of their own, as they had an eight-game lead in the Wild Card, and blew that. The Rays, who had so much momentum coming into the postseason, were made fools of by the Rangers. But the biggest one was the Phillies- they won a franchise record 102 games, and yet couldn’t make it out of the NLDS against a Wild Card team (the Cardinals).

And the Phillies’ season ended on a rather fitting note. As Chris Carpenter induced a Ryan Howard groundout to finish his shutout and advance his team to the NLCS, Howard could only limp out of the batter’s box, and collapsed about a fourth of the way to first base. While the Cardinals celebrated in the middle of the infield, medical trainers rushed out to see what happened to Howard. A few minutes later, the helped him off the field. But, earlier today, it was revealed the Howard ruptured his left Achilles, which is a tendon on the back of your foot. It was also said that Howard won’t be back until May or June of next year.

But at least the Phillies know that their team is going to fail next year beforehand. The Phillies were expected to win it all this year, like they are every year. And they never live up to those expectations. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know that I absolutely hate the Phillies. So thank you, Cardinals.

But now, let’s get on to what matters. The teams with arguably the most bad blood between them this year are facing off in the NLCS. The Brewers and Cardinals have hated each other all year, and it may already have stirred up even more before the series even started because of an interview earlier today.

Zack Greinke was interviewed earlier today because it was a workout day for the Brewers. He was asked a lot of questions, but the highlight of it was when he was asked about the how much the Brewers and Cardinals hated each other. Here’s what he had to say:

“Maybe now. No one really likes (Chris) Carpenter. But, besides that, I think they respect mostly everyone on their team.”

He was later asked about the Carpenter thing, and here’s what he had to say about that:

“I don’t know. They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude. But — and then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad. There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know, a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”

You can see the entire interview here, but this was by far the best part, and I found it hilarious and true. Carpenter is a good pitcher and all, but his attitude is pretty bad. And I don’t see why a veteran like him should be acting like that. But this will make the series interesting right off the bat, which is what I want to see.

Anyway, the matchup tomorrow will be Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA). Greinke is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA against the Cards this year, and 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA overall, but really hasn’t had a bad start against them this year. Garcia, meanwhile, threw a two-hit shutout against the Brewers in his first start against them this year, but was tagged for seven runs his second time out, so I guess we don’t know how he’ll be tomorrow. But we should be glad Shaun Marcum isn’t starting- Garcia has a three-run homer against him this year. (Not to mention Marcum has been awful at Miller Park this year. I hope he doesn’t start Game 2.)

By the way, Yovani Gallardo will be starting Game 3, Ron Roenicke announced earlier today. He’s also going to start in the event of the possible Game 7, but I’m not comfortable with him starting either- Yo is 1-7 with an ERA of nearly 6.00 in his career against the Cards.