Revamped All-Star Rosters

July 11, 2011

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

American League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National League

Rickie Weeks, 2B

Carlos Beltran, DH

Matt Kemp, CF

Prince Fielder, 1B

Brian McCann, C

Lance Berkman, RF

Matt Holliday, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Scott Rolen, 3B

Roy Halladay, SP

American League

Curtis Granderson, CF

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

Jose Bautista, RF

Josh Hamilton, LF

Adrian Beltre, 3B

David Ortiz, DH

Robinson Cano, 2B

Alex Avila, C

Jered Weaver, SP

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

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

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

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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.

Kotsay beats Cordero as Brewers walk-off

July 9, 2011

EDIT- 2:02p It doesn’t look like I’ll be home tonight, as I’m staying in downtown Milwaukee for the night. I doubt I’ll have access to internet where I’m staying, so that means there probably will not be a post tonight.

Anyway, let’s hope the Brewers can take this series from the Reds tonight, and that the Cardinals and the Pirates both lose to give us some breathing room in the Central. Let’s go Crew!

11:18p This probably goes without saying, but that had to be the best Brewer game I’ve ever been to.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

I don’t know if it gets much better than that. The Brewers defeated the Reds, 8-7, in a crazy back-and-forth game. Early on, Zack Greinke was getting roughed up again, but settled down as the game went on. His counterpart, Reds starter Mike Leake, was the opposite. He was great early in the game, but fell apart in the middle innings. But this turned into a game of bullpens.

Things were not looking good for Greinke in the first inning. After Greinke retired the first two (including a caught-stealing of Drew Stubbs), Joey Votto hit a solo homer. Then, after a Brandon Phillips double, Jay Bruce drove him in with an RBI single.

In the third, Greinke got into a bases-loaded jam with no outs. After striking out two and coming close to escaping with no damage done, Scott Rolen hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Mat Gamel. The ball ate up Gamel and got into the outfield, and two runs scored, making it 4-0.

The Brewers would finally answer in the third when Rickie Weeks hit an inside-the-park homer off Leake, making it 4-1. They would score again in the fifth, when Weeks, after a Greinke single, hit an RBI double. Nyjer Morgan then drove in Weeks with a single. Morgan later scored on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly, which tied the game at four. The Brewers would take the lead in the sixth after Mark Kotsay’s go-ahead homer. That would end Leake’s night. He went 5 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out three. Greinke’s night also ended after six innings. He gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits to go along with two walks and 10 strikeouts. He finally lowered his ERA a bit, which now stands at 5.45.

Things started to look bad in the seventh. After Zack Cozart singled, Votto hit what looked like a single to the left fielder Kotsay. But, we’ve learned over the past few days that Kotsay has no idea how to defend in center field, and this was another example of it. The ball skipped past him, which scored Cozart and allowed Votto to advance to third. Phillips then scored Votto on a sacrifice fly. Bruce added on to the lead with a solo shot, making it 7-5. All of this came off of Zach Braddock, who deserved a better fate, but was charged with three earned runs and his first blown save of the year. Ironically enough, Kameron Loe came in to finish the inning. Loe went 1 1/3 scoreless before handing the ball off to Marco Estrada, who also pitched a scoreless inning. Then came the ninth, where all the action happened.

Francisco Cordero, a former Brewer, was on to close it out for the Reds. He had a two run lead, which you think would be enough for a guy like Cordero. But, after giving up a lead-0ff walk to George Kottaras, I could tell it was going to be a rough night for him. Kottaras would advance to second on a wild pitch by Cordero, then Morgan slapped a triple, which scored Kottaras. Corey Hart then grounded out but reached first on a fielder’s choice, as Morgan was thrown out at home attempting to tie the game. After that, Cordero’s command struggles continued, as he walked Fielder. Then, Casey McGehee reached on an infield single, which loaded the bases for Mark Kotsay.

Kotsay would hit a two-strike single to right field which scored Hart. Carlos Gomez, who was pinch-running for Fielder, scored the winning run. He might have been out had Bruce’s throw from right field been on target, but it was airmail, and flew passed catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Brewers get fourth walk-off win of season

If I’ve been counting correctly, this was the Brewers’ fourth walk-off win of the season, but I definitely didn’t picture Kotsay being the star.

I found it ironic that gave us the lead with a homer, then cost us the lead with that error, but wound up giving us the win on his single. I guess the walk-off lets him off the hook for that error, but I hope Ryan Braun is back so Ron Roenicke can stop playing Kotsay in left.

Speaking of Braun…

Braun sits again, but could be back tomorrow

Braun sat AGAIN today, and I’m kind of sick of having to put that in all of my posts. But, I noticed that he came running out of the dugout and was jumping during the walk-off celebration. I don’t think someone with a bad calf could do that, so I’m expecting him to be able to play tomorrow.

Slow curve is slow

For those of you who don’t know Greinke’s pitching repertoire, it looks something like this- fastball, circle change, curveball, slider. The slider is, obviously, is his out pitch. He doesn’t use the curve much, but when he does, it’s a spiked, or knuckle, curveball.

However, on occasion, he uses a half-eephus curve that’s usually only in the mid-60 MPH range. It’s similar to Randy Wolf’s sweeping curve, but Greinke’s doesn’t sweep as much, and it’s usually slower.

Anyway, Greinke was pitching to Chris Heisey (I think that’s who it was), and he threw the eephus curve to him. Heisey must have been looking fastball, because that’s just about how far ahead of the pitch he was. Then, I noticed that the pitch speed on Greinke’s curve was 61 MPH. 61. Now that is slow. It had to be the slowest pitch I’ve ever seen a Brewer throw.

I’m not sure what the slowest curve Greinke has ever thrown is, but that was the slowest I’d seen him throw. When he was with the Royals, the slowest I saw was 62 MPH, making this a new record.

Anyway, I don’t know why I ranted on about his slow curve for so long. I just thought it was worth being in this post. So, let’s move on.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will send Shaun Marcum (7-2, 3.32 ERA) to the mound tomorrow, who has been screwed out of a few wins by the bullpen lately (mainly Loe or Estrada blowing saves after Marcum leaves with the lead). Marcum’s two career starts against the Reds both came this year. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in that span.

The Reds will send their most consistent starter, without a doubt, to the mound tomorrow in Johnny Cueto (5-3, 1.77 ERA). He hasn’t been given the best run support, as evidenced by his five wins, but his ERA is no fluke; he’s really been throwing that well. Cueto is 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Pirates defeated the Cubs, 7-4. The Pirates are now tied for second in the division, while the Cubs are 12 games out.
  • The Astros lost to the Marlins, 6-3. They are now 18 games out. (Note: If the Astros get 20 games out, I’m going to stop putting up what they do on this blog. It’s hilarious how awful they’re doing, though.)
  • The Cardinals lost to the Diamondbacks, 7-6, giving the Brewers the division lead all by themselves. If the Pirates pass them in the division tomorrow… That should be interesting.