Recapping the Division Series to this point

October 9, 2012

> I’ve been busy the past few days, and there hasn’t been much Brewers news to report. But, seeing as we’re already into the third day of the Division Series, let’s jump right into some postseason coverage.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> A day after Justin Verlander’s 11-strikeout, 121-pitch adventure, the Tigers defeated the Athletics, 5-4, to take a 2-0 ALDS lead. It was a back-and-forth game with some shoddy defense on both sides, but ex-Brewer Grant Balfour finally gave in at the end, allowing a walk-off sacrifice fly from Don Kelly.

> Bronson Arroyo and the Reds dominated the Giants last night, shutting them down 9-0. Arroyo took a perfect game into the fifth, and finished with seven one-hit innings. He was backed by his offense, who crushed Madison Bumgarner and the Giants’ bullpen army. Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, and Ryan Hanigan each had multi-hit days.

> The Cardinals-Nationals series started yesterday, and the Nats came out on top after take advantage of a later error by the Cards. Despite Adam Wainwright’s 10-strikeout game, Tyler Moore’s two-run single in the eighth was the decisive factor.

However, the Cardinals stormed back today with a 12-run outburst, including two home runs from Carlos Beltran.

> The Yankees rode a five-run pummeling of Jim Johnson in the ninth inning last night to a 7-2 win over the Orioles. The ninth inning rally started with a home run from Russell Martin. Former Brewer CC Sabathia nearly went the distance, but was pulled with two outs in the ninth.

The O’s-Yanks game is still in progress right now, but the Orioles are winning 3-2 after 6 1/3 stellar innings from Wei-Yin Chen.

THE NEWS

> A few managerial updates- some surprising, some not so much. The Indians hired Terry Francona, the Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine, and Jim Tracy resigned his post as Rockies manager.

> The Angels signed catcher Chris Iannetta to a three-year extension.

> Minor moves:

Rays: Released Matt Bush.
Yankees: Designated Cory Wade for assignment.

And that’s about it. This is what the post format is going to look like for the rest of the offseason. Since there won’t always be Brewers news to cover, I have to compensate by reporting news from around the league as well.

THE EXTRAS

> Yesterday, Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque kissed the ball before tossing it to first base to record the final out of the ninth. No joke.

But, of course, something as trivial as this had to turn into a fiasco.

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Brewers have reportedly inquired on Ramirez

December 2, 2011

> Not exactly someone I could see the Brewers signing, but I wouldn’t mind if they did.

> According to Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) on Twitter, the Brewers have inquired on free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez had his option for 2012 picked up by the Cubs earlier this offseason, but a clause in his contract gave him a chance to decline the option himself, which he did, hence becoming a free agent.

Ramirez is a 14-season veteran, but has shown over the past few years that he can still produce at the plate (and occasionally on defense). In 2011, he hit 26 home runs with 93 RBIs and a .306 average for the Cubs, being one of the bright spots during their disappointing 71-91 season. Ramirez owns a .284 career average during nine years with the Cubs and six with the Pirates.

In my opinion, the Brewers signing Ramirez would be pretty ironic, actually. Current Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee was acquired off waivers from the Cubs in 2009 because he was blocked at third in the Cubs’ system by Ramirez himself. So, if Ramirez came to the Brewers, it would almost be the same situation McGehee had in Chicago. But, McGehee can also play first base, and, assuming the Brewers don’t re-sign Prince Fielder, he could be an option to play there.

And that was about it for the Brewers news today. Onto some Hot Stove news from around baseball…

> Closer Heath Bell has reportedly signed with the Marlins, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Which is odd, since I thought Bell made a big deal about staying on the west coast to be near his family and home.

Anyway, Bell will replace Leo Nunez– or Juan Carlos Oviedo, whatever the heck that guy’s real name is- in being the Marlins’ closer. This also marks the first big free agent signing by the Marlins this offseason. They’re probably going to make a few more, or at least try, because their payroll is going to raise by nearly $50 million by next year.

> The Red Sox officially made Bobby Valentine their manager today, as he had his press conference. I didn’t see it, but, from what I heard, it must have been pretty good.

I’m still saying that they shouldn’t have let Terry Francona go in the first place, though.

> And that’s about all I’ve got. Today was a bit busier than most of this boring offseason, at least, as yesterday I was reduced to writing about Brewers trades that probably aren’t even going to happen. But it was kind of fun to write about stuff like that, so maybe I’ll do it more often. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


Brewers’ coaching staff all invited back for 2012

November 9, 2011

> Today was just another typical day in the 2011 offseason thus far- the Brewers had close to no news to talk about. I get it, it’s still early on, so not many huge moves are going to be made yet. But honestly, it’s every blogger’s nightmare to have nothing to write about…

> The Brewers did stir a little today, though- they announced that the entire coaching staff has been invited back to serve under Ron Roenicke for the 2012 season. So that means at least bench coach Jerry Narron, pitching coach Rick Kranitz, bullpen coach Stan Kyles, third base coach Ed Sedar, first base coach Garth Iorg, and “eye in the sky” John Shelby will be back.

The only question mark on the Brewers’ coaching staff for 2012 is hitting coach Dale Sveum, who has interviewed for the job of manager in both Boston and the north side of Chicago. Sveum has been passed over twice for the managerial role for the Brewers, first after serving as the interim manager for 12 games in 2008, then before this year, when Roenicke was hired.

But, for some reason, I have a feeling that Sveum isn’t going to be back next year. He clearly wants to manage, and this is probably his best chance.

Anyway, with that aside, onto the Hot Stove news…

> The Phillies are apparently close to a deal with closer Ryan Madson. Reports are saying that they’re working on a four-year, $44 million contract for the veteran reliever.

This offseason’s theme must be to overpay relief pitchers as much as possible. Just the other day, the Giants signed Javier Lopez to a two-year deal worth $8.5 million, and picked up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5 million option. And now we see the Phillies pouring it on Madson. In my opinion, especially with a veteran like Madson, it’s better to sign him to a short-term deal (1-2 years). But apparently they haven’t been paying attention to the closing collapses of Trevor Hoffman, Jonathan Broxton, and Ryan Franklin. Honestly, it seems like they can just lose it overnight nowadays.

> Terry Francona interviewed for the Cardinals’ managerial vacancy today. I expected this, and everyone else probably did, too. Francona was cut loose by the Red Sox after their historical September collapse that cost them the postseason, despite the fact it wasn’t his fault- it was the guys having fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse’s fault.

Anyway, Francona is still a great manager, and the Cards probably want someone exactly like him to fill in the void left by a future Hall of Fame manager.

> I’ve recently been hearing that the Nationals and Marlins, the two teams sulking at the bottom of the NL East, are interested in pretty much every big name free agent on the market. The Nationals are reportedly showing interest in Tsuyoshi Wada (a Japanese starting pitcher), Yoennis Cespedes (a defected Cuban outfielder), C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, and Albert Pujols (as unlikely as it is to happen). And the Marlins are interested in most of the same players.

But every big name free agent is going to want to sign with a team that will have to compete with the Phillies every year in the East, right?

> So yeah, another slow news day. But, before I go, I have one thing to announce about the blog itself- we’re now part of El Maquino’s correspondents, something he started today to try and get news about every MLB team in one place. There’s going to be one representative (or more, I guess I don’t know yet) blogger for each team, and I’ve got the Brewers. So I’m looking forward to becoming part of that.

> Anyhow, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts/comments, if you’ve got 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.


Close plays, missed chances cost Brewers in loss to Giants

July 24, 2011

Update 10:42a A little more clarification on the ejections and umpires. Bochy wasn’t actually ejected; it was the Giants’ bench coach, Ron Wotus, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. And I figured out that the home plate umpire was not West, but Sam Holbrook. I guess that means Holbrook was the one making the bad calls. But that doesn’t change anything I said about West later in this post. Anyway, sorry for any confusion, and hopefully it’s cleared up now.

11:14p There are a few things that have made me angry during the Brewers’ time in San Francisco. That includes their loss today, but it’s more than that, and I’ll get to that later.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost a close game with the Giants today, 4-2. Randy Wolf was on the mound, and had another solid start, but the Brewers’ bats seem to always shut down whenever he pitches.

The Brewers struck first in the fourth inning, when Ryan Braun hit a solo homer off of Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Rickie Weeks followed up with a double, then Casey McGehee hit a hard single to left field. Weeks tried to score, and he did, but not according to home plate umpire Joe West. Left fielder Cody Ross’ throw was on the money, but catcher Chris Stewart completely missed the tag, and yet Weeks was called out. But West was making questionable calls all night, which was another thing that I wasn’t too impressed about, but I’ll get to more on that later as well.

The Giants immediately answered in the bottom of the fourth, as Nate Schierholtz, who would be a nightmare for the Brewers the rest of the game, hit a two-run double off of Wolf to make it 2-1, Giants.

The Brewers tied the game in the fifth, however, on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI double. But, in the bottom of the inning, the Giants regained the lead on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly.

The Giants added another run on Andres Torres’ RBI single in the eighth inning. Brian Wilson and his shoe polish beard came into finish the game for the Giants, who sealed the 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Morgan “flips off” fans in center

He didn’t, actually. That’s what put me over the top about this.

While Morgan was playing center yesterday, he made a great catch to rob whoever was batting of extra bases. Morgan then put up two fingers to signify that there were two outs in the inning, but the fans in the center field crowd, who must have been blind, took it the wrong way. They all assumed that Morgan had flipped them off. Morgan, who is an emotional player and likes to have fun on the field, played along and continued to taunt the fans (which the deserved for being that stupid). Ever since then, Morgan has been booed whenever he makes a play or comes up to bat in a game in this series.

Anyway, Giants beat reporter Henry Shculman made the whole situation worse by tweeting and blogging that Morgan flipped off the center field crowd, which probably got him some extra boos today. Shculman also said that Morgan would probably be suspended for a game or two. I noticed Shculman’s tweet earlier today, and said that he was only signifying that there were two outs (and many others did as well). His reply? “That debate was so yesterday.” I guess Giants fans and affiliates have a little less class than I thought.

By the way,  I don’t normally do things like this on my blog (meaning referring to tweets and things on other blogs). But this was just flat-out stupid and I had to say something.

Anyway… I could go on about past experiences where the Giants didn’t have too much class, such as an incident between Prince Fielder and Barry Zito, and some offensive comments by Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding Buster Posey’s season ending injury. But that would get me WAY off topic…

West is the greatest home plate umpire ever.

Not.

West, who was umpiring home plate for today’s game, was making extremely questionable calls early on in the game, and continued throughout. He actually screwed over Vogelsong on a lot of pitches, which led to him having to throw 103 pitches just to get through the fifth inning. In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy (or another coach in their dugout, I couldn’t really tell due to the camera angles) was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes, which isn’t allowed.

Anyway, back to West. He’s made a pretty bad reputation for himself this year as one of the worst umpires in baseball. This wasn’t the first time he’s made a scene in a game this year. I remember earlier this year when he was umpiring a Boston game, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into an argument with another one of the umpires in the crew. West, of course, had to get into the argument, because, as Francona said after the game, “he’s always getting in other people’s business.”

I’ll stop my ranting after this, but I just want to say one more thing about how bad umpires have been this year. Former Brewer Bill Hall, while he was in a game for the Astros, was at bat, and the umpire was giving him some bad calls. Now, we all know that Hall takes awhile to get set before he steps back into the batter’s box after a pitch, but he took a few extra moments before getting back into his stance. While he was taking his time, the home plate umpire came up to him and said, “Get the **** back in the batter’s box.” (I censored the word because I’m not going to go as far as putting swears on my blog.) Yeah. An UMPIRE said that. Hall clearly wasn’t too happy with that, and, after the game, he made a statement that went something along the lines of “all umpires think that fans come to the games to watch them and try to attract attention to themselves.” Which is completely true. I could name a few umps who appear to think this way, such as West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez… I could go on. But, when did all this craziness with umpires start? Well, I noticed it immediately after Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way too far off topic with these last few topics, so I’m going to get back to the Brewers now. My apologies for all this ranting.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play a rubber match against the Giants tomorrow in the finale of their three game set. Yovani Gallardo (11-6, 3.96 ERA) will go for the Brewers, hoping to become more consistent as the ace of the staff. Gallardo has had success against the Giants in his career, going 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA against them. I should also mention that Gallardo won the first game of his career against the Giants.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-9, 3.72 ERA), who has been victim of even less run support than Wolf, and his having a much better year than his record shows. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals knocked around the Pirates, 9-1. They are tied with us for the division lead and one game back, respectively.
  • The Cubs defeated the Astros, 5-1. They are 12.5 games back and 20 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds blew out the Braves, 11-2. They are four games back.
  • Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen of the Reds were both placed on the DL today. (By the way, I’m going to start putting news about other teams under this section of my posts, if you’re wondering what this is doing here.)

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 X 4 10 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 0 1 1 0 .258
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .327
c-Brett Carroll, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
d-Mark Kotsay, PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Ryan Braun, LF 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 .319
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .285
Rickie Weeks, 2B 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 .275
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, S 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .252
George Kottaras, C 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .207
a-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Randy Wolf, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
b- Josh Wilson, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Total 30 2 7 2 4 7 9

a-Lined out for Kottaras in the 7th.

b-Grounded out for Wolf in the 7th.

c-Batted for Morgan in the 8th.

d-Flied out for Carroll in 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (25), Morgan (10).

3B: Hart (2).

HR: Braun (19).

RBI: Braun (67), Morgan (23).

Team RISP: 3-for-6.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

SB: Weeks (9).

CS: McGehee (2).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (L, 6-8) 6.0 7 3 3 3 6 0 3.62
LaTroy Hawkins 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.15
Kameron Loe 0.1 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.60
Marco Estrada 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 101-62, Hawkins 18-12, Loe 13-7, Estrada 3-3.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 4-6, Hawkins 1-0, Loe 0-1, Estrada 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Hawkins 4, Loe 4, Estrada 2.

Inherited runners-scored: Estrada 2-0.