Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Things

1. Brewers are on FSN tonight! 9:05pm CST

2. UWSP-alumnus, Jordan Zimmermann has cracked the starting rotation for the Nationals! Pretty sweet.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

9 Days Left....

The season is rapidly approaching for the Milwaukee Brewers and there is still a number of concerns that come to mind that include the bullpen, starting pitching, and the bullpen....did I mention the bullpen?

This was, yet again, supposed to be the strength of the team coming in to spring training. Call him what you want, but Eric Gagne would be a welcomed addition if he were healthy. David Riske is another reliever that has a uncertainty surrounding him. Coming of shoulder surgery in the off-season, one would think that he would be ready to go. Not so much. He has struggled in his appearences up until Friday's game. He still has a ways to go until he returns to his KC level of play.

With Trevor Hoffman starting the season on the DL (which seems to be the case), Carlos Villanueva will most likely assume the closing duties in his absence. I like the idea of having a 2 inning reliever assuming closing duties. Especially with the weakened pen.

Mitch Stetter will be the left-handed specialist for the Crew this season. This role will have big shoes to fill, replacing Brian Shouse's duties from the last couple of seasons.

Starting pitching, I feel, will be ok. Hopefully Milwaukee can bring in a true ace or a number 2 early in to the season. Peavy would sure look swell in a Milwaukee uniform. If Milwaukee did go out and get one more pitcher, Looper would be the first to go to the bullpen. Unless there is some sort of pre-arranged agreement between Melvin and Braden. Yovanni Gallardo should be just fine as the #1 going in to the season. But will his youth and inexperience wear thin on him going in to the second half.

Milwaukee could start the season with this rotation and do just fine for a month or two. But come June or early July, they better have a true ace on their radar. Thankfully, Milwaukee has an platoon of prospects waiting to get dealt. This of course compromises their train of thought for the past 7 years...build from with-in. But it's time they took that step up.

-The Barrel Man logo is one of the best in baseball...or was the best. Everyone has a fetish with the ball & glove logo used by Milwaukee in the 80's. I like it too, but not as much as the Barrel Man. Journal-Sentinel had an interesting little piece about the history of the barrel man. Apparently he was crafted in 1901, when Milwaukee landed a pro league team in the city. So it's a surprise to me that this logo was created prior to the Milwaukee Brewers we know and love...70+ years prior.

The Brewers defeated the Athletics yesterday 4-2. JJ Hardy had another great game going 2 for 3, with a three-run homer. It's hard to imagine as this player being expendable.
Jeff Suppan has been pitching pretty well the past couple of outings. He went 7 innings, limiting the A's to one run and six hits. Soup also threw six scoreless innings (after the first).

On Friday, David Bush also had an impressive start allowing 4 runs (2 earned) and 9 hits. Bushy is now 3-0 in spring and has a 2.70 era.
The Algona Crop Giant, Brad Nelson (I made that one up while sober!) had a huge day, going yard once. He is now batting .392 in spring ball.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Appealing Rumor

I was listening to MLB radio on XM just now and they were talking about new Jake Peavy rumors. Most noteworthy was the rumor of Peavy being traded to Milwaukee for 4 players (package). One of the players that would be included was JJ Hardy. I didn't hear who the other three were. The show didn't say that a trade was offerred, but it did mention that there were discussions. The radio-guy also didn't cite his source.

I checked the TMZ of baseball, MLBTRADERUMORS.COM and they had no mention of it. MLB Radio has been pretty squared away and somewhat reliable when they break news like this. Comes with the territory of being owned by the MLB.

The radio-guy also questioned why the Brewers would want to ship JJ to San Diego? Apparently he doesn't know too much about Escobar, who is waiting to get the nod. I would also think that Milwaukee would have to ship a plethora of prospects including Salome, Gamel, and Lawrie. Again, none of those names were mentioned...but if prospects are included in the talks, these names would surely be mentioned.

If the Brewers were able to convince Peavy to lift his no-trade to Milwaukee...the Brewers pitching staff would automatically make them the second best in the NL Central (behind Chicago).

I'm getting excited over nothing...
but this would be swell. Peavy wearing Brewer blue and being our ace. This would also take the pressure off Yovanni Gallardo and Jeff Supan. Looper could also be shifted to the bullpen where he has already proven himself as a durable pitcher. This would leave Bush as the 5. Too good to be true.

Take this post with a grain of salt. But let's not forget that Melvin practically cried like a little school girl when rumors surfaced earlier this week, denying them bluntly. Bill Hall also mentioned that the club would be in on Peavy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Milwaukee and the state breathe a sigh of relief....

"No structural damage"... that's what Ryan Braun's MRI results came back with. After Thursdays test, the entire state was crossing their fingers hoping that Braun's tests came back with an all-clear. Although this doesn't necessarily mean the injury isn't serious. It will surely bother him for the weeks to come and could effect his swing and performance. Which is reason for concern considering the lack of productivity we saw from him in September and the post season. Regardless, this is good news and Braun should now take the rest of spring off and frest his side-gut.
Gord Ash added this however,
"From the MRI, you couldn't tell what was new from what was old," Ash said. "The decision was made to continue to treat it and see how it responds. If the swelling doesn't go down, we might need to do another test." - Jsonlin.com
On another side note about Braun, ESPN's Baseball Tonight did a fantasy special last night. Braun was in their top 5 picks-selection (#5 overall).
*Air Tran has formed a partnership with Ryan Braun. This kid is raking in the dough through all of his sponsorships. Smart guy.
*An Appleton newspaper is hoping that Brett Lawrie will be playing for the T-Rats this season.
HERE is a link to his personal blog. I can't wait to see him playing leftfield...and Hart in center.
*Miller Park made a number of "improvements" that probably won't be enjoyed by the blue-collar fans of Milwaukee. The only noteable thing is the re-arranging of the clubhouse store by leftfield. It will now be run by Majestic and have some old County Stadium bricks on one wall.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


With Opening Day rapidly approaching I can't help but with that Milwaukee had just one more week to prepare. That would allow them to find out what the hell is wrong with Ryan Braun. It would allow Trevor Hoffman more time mend. And pitchers like Riske, Villy, and Parra could fine-tune themselves. Because let's face it, the Crew looks pretty shaky heading in to the season.

With that being said, there is plenty of optimism that can be found. There were 5 home runs hit in yesterdays 12-8 win against the Dodgers. Prince Fielder jacked one over 450 feet!

In today's game, Braden Looper made his first "A" game start and bombed it pretty bad. He gave up 7 hits and 6 runs in only 2+ innings (scheduled to go 4). I wouldn't read too much in to this.

Melvin is distraught over the rumors being spread involving their interest in Jake Peavy. We could only wish they were true. Milwaukee could surely use him as their #1. It seems that Bill Hall's loose lips may have brought this upon the Brewers clubhouse.

Milwaukee did indeed cut Trot Nixon yesterday. This leaves a pretty good shot for Brad Nelson to grab that bench spot. I can't wait to see big ass' Prince Fielder and Brad Nelson sitting on the bench with little Craig Counsell in the middle when the Crew is up to bat. HERE is a nice little story by USA Today on Brad Nelson. In my job, I talk with a number of people from Iowa over the phone on a daily basis. One used to play against Brad in high School and they were both drafted the same year. He said Brad used to be a pitcher and was a hell of a hurler. Nelson still has to compete with McGahee and Gwynn Jr. for the fourth outfielder spot.

Milwaukee seems to be the picked finishing in 4th place by a number of publications. THIS one included, which was posted on MLB.com today. Let the Brewers fly under the radar. Their offense is just too good to dismiss. If they can blast homers and lead the NL in that category, I can see the Crew fighting for a wild card. If the bats make up for the lack of pitching, they'll be a tough one to beat.

Lastly, prayers go out for the folks in North Dakota.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No Trevor-Time for opening day?

It is looking more and more like Trevor Hoffman will start the season on the DL. This isn't the end-all however. In his absense, we can expect to see McClung as the fill in. As long as TH is ready to pitch by May, he can take his time resting his injured side. HERE is more on how he is adapting to Milwaukee.

This does however, add to the complications dwelling in the bullpen. Carlos Villenueva is having a horrid Spring Training Camp. David Riske (coming off shoulder surgery) is also struggling. One of our lefties, RJ Swindle was released. And Eric Gagne is no longer with the club.

- Jeff Suppan will get the start for the season opener, April 7th, in San Fran. This is the same guy who completely dropped the ball and hacked up a huge loss for us in the NLDS game 4. Yuck.

-Yovanni Gallardo looked pretty bad yesterday. Keep in mind, it's only spring ball. Could be worse, you could be the Houston Astros. Although his support was lackluster as well. The soon-to-be ace of the club threw 98 pitches.

-It's looking like Trot Nixon may be given the pink slip.

-Who can hardly blame Mike Rivera for getting sick of his lack of playing time. Starting only 13 games last season has to play tricks with your mind. He's a competitor, and a damn good one at that too!
"Sometimes I didn't feel like part of the team"
With Salom waiting in the helm for his chance to replace Kendall, Rivera has to be thinking the worse.

-Remember Luis Villarreal? He pitched with the Crew in 2007. He just got signed!....by the T-Bones.

Friday, March 13, 2009

25 days and counting....

Man, is it just me or Spring Training taking forever this year? I suppose it doesn't help with the WBC going on and the bumping back of Opening Day. There has been a couple of games I briefly watched since the competition started last week. I saw bits and pieces of the Netherlands beating Dominican Republic, which was swell. The US beating Chavezs' boys earlier in the week. It just doesn't do it for me though. It's like the Olympics. Not important unless there's a Cold War going on.

Ryan Braun had a solid game in their loss to Venezuela (second match up). He went 3 for 4.

Now for some important news....

Braden Looper is back on track and should be in the starting rotation come Opening Day. Meanwhile, I think I just heard that Seth McClung kicked the Gatorade jug and whipped his glove across the clubhouse in anger.
This type of injury could come back to haunt him, much like Ryan Braun and his nagging oblique strain he suffered late last season.

While were on the topic....Mike Cameron suffered a muscle strain as well, earlier this week. This is pretty bad news for the Crew. They are already missing Tony Gwynn Jr. in the outfield and are relying on some bigtime help off the bench from players Duffy and Nelson. Although Cam is day to day, any sort of strain like this can easily turn in to a nagging, season-long, injury.

David Riske is finally back from his elbow surgery....first pitch coming back to the Brewers....BOOM...Home Run. Sweet. Man, I really had high hopes for him and his relief role for the Crew. What a disappointment. Granted, he is just coming off of surgery...but I don't see him being a huge contributor to the pen.

Interesting tidbit on Major League ballparks around the country and their obstructed view seats. The new Yankee Stadium has 600 that have obstructed view, thanks impart to a restaurant/bar that went up inside the park. Babe Ruth would be proud.
Miller Park is trying to lower the number of these seats by renovating some parts of the stadium and moving key stairways.

There's another Canadian prospect who will be coming up through the ranks. Outfielder
Chris Dennis is only 20 years old and is said to have a pretty sweet swing. He may be playing for the Timber Rattlers this season. Like his fellow Canadian-brother-in-arms Brett Lawrie, Dennis was drafted as a catcher but was then later assigned to the outfield.

Here's a shocker....Jeff Suppan struggled in the Brewers loss to San Diego. He will be the achilles heal in that rotation. He and his 5 to 5.5 innings a game bullshit. The game ended in a 10-10 tie. Milwaukee did come back after going down 5-runs.
Prince, Kendall, and Cory Hart all homered for the Crew!

Now for a preseason prediction...

I have a gut feeling that Dave Bush is going to have a break out year for the Milwaukee Brewers. The fellas over at Rightfieldbleachers.com feel the same way. As do many other Brewer faithfuls. This guy is ready, and well overdue. Going in to the off-season with a boost of confidence, knowing that you delivered Milwaukee their first post-season win in 26 years can have a lasting impression. He should be the anchor in that rotation and could potentially move up to the #2 spot.
Here is what others are saying...

CC Sabathia was roughed up in his second start for the Yanks. I wouldn't read too much in to this. He will be the CY Young winner of 2009!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Off Day

Players were given the day off today thanks to having an extended camp this spring. They have one more off day coming yet before it's full speed ahead. Starting to get excited here...yep....

Manny Parra threw 4 no-hit innings yesterday in their loss to San Fran.
Casey Mcgahee is tearing it up in camp with his bat. He homered yet again. As many of us read over the winter, Parra and CC Sabathia hung out quite a bit. Manny credits CC for his new pitching approach this season.

Billy Hall should be back by the home opener (Giants) and Braden Looper is still in the air. Thus far, Ken Macha has Craig Counsell penciled in ahead of Mcgahee and Lamb. Hopefully this changes or he opts to platoon that position.

Slow day in Brewer news...

So slow that we have to revisit the Escobar vs wife feud still going on. TH mentions Keith Law's blog (ESPN.com) in this TIDBIT.

Since I like food, I have to discuss Milwaukee's Hotel Metros' hiring of Jerry Garcia. If you recall, he is the one who does the cooking tips (Piggly Wiggly I think) during the FSN broadcasts of the Brewers and Bucks. I have tried a couple of them and have been pleased with the outcome. This has every thing to do with baseball.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Anthony Witrabo feels that Escobar is the most MLB-ready player. I would have to agree with him. It seems that Gamel has some maturing to do (on-field & off-field), Salome has some injury issues, and Lorenzo Cain isn't quite ready yet. Of course there are a bunch of other prospects, but Escobar could step in on Opening Day and have a solid outing. Witrabo poses a good questions (I know...Witrabo?!!?!), who will Milwaukee keep? JJ Hardy or Escobar as their SS of the future? My money is on JJ Hardy, who is probably the least heralded SS in the National League, but has the best skills.

Eric Gagne, the man that was paid 10MM for one year of service by Milwaukee...has been released. His run with the Crew is officially over. Although there were times that I hated this man and yelled obscenities at him from my seat or at the tv...he helped the team when needed most...that was September and October. Plus, he did a pretty cool thing in buying a number of seats for the fans at the end of the season.

Minor League prospect Brae Wright is done for the season with Tommy-Lee-Jones surgery. Too bad, apparently this southpaw had a crack at the rotation in Nashville. The good lord knows Milwaukee is in need of lefties...heck, we need pitching in general.


In other news....Milwaukee also has a basketball team in the NBA. Although I used to absolutely love the Bucks, I must say we have drifted apart. I don't blame the Bucks...I simply blame the NBA and David Stern. The league has embraced the hip-hop culture and it's ranks swelled with thugs. Ever since the brawl between the Pacers and Pistons, my attention has shifted elsewhere.

I can't help but notice the Bucks this season however. They are fighting for their lives. Although the team can't buy a (significant) win streak, they are still managing to hold on. With 16 games left to go, it is now crunch time. I will surely jump on the band wagon should they make it to the playoffs. But at the same time, question why they are there....a losing record gets you in these days, ugh.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Predictions for 2009

National League
1. Cubs Will that rotation hold up? Choke in post season...yet again.
2. Brewers Too much offense to be left out of wild card race
3. Reds Not their year quite yet, 2010 they will shine
4. Cards And we thought Milwaukee's pitching was bad?
5. Astros Lance and Hunter not enough
6. Pirates "rebuilding year"

1. Phillies Still a contender
2. Marlins-x Surprise team of the year, this years Rays.
3. Mets Emanuel won't last, either will Johan.
4. Atlanta Their outfielders hit how many HR's combined last season?!?!
5. Nationals Not their year, next year will be after Jordan Zimmerman gets his feet wet.

1. Dodgers Stupid Manny is all they needed
2. D-Backs It was a toss up with the Pads
3. Padres " " , They won't miss TH.
4. Giants How's Zito treating ya?
5. Rockies No Holliday, no .500

American League
1. Twins M&M duke it out for MVP
2. Indians Best position players in the Central
3. White Sox I don't know what to think of them....
4. Royals Alex Gordon's break out year? Mike Jacobs will surely help.
5. Ligers Cabrera will make a run for MVP.

1. Angels This is their year...it has to be...or else....
2. Seattle Jack Z. assembled a well-balanced team
3. Athletics Holliday will help, but still not enough
4. Rangers Hamilton won't make it, I have DL on the mind.

1. Red Sox Well coached, unsung contributors, and a well-oiled rotation
2. Yankees-x Not even that much money can help Girardi.
3. Rays Burrell certainly helps, but it's just too good of a division to repeat.
4. Orioles Decent infield...but not much else.
5. Blue Jays (worse record in MLB) No pitching

Wild Cards: Yankees & Marlins

NLCS: Dodgers vs Marlins
ALSC: Red Sox vs Angels

World Series: Angels over the Marlins

AL MVP: Justin Morneau
NL MVP: Hanley Rameriz

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia

AL ROY: David Price

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Joel Heyman crafts a Brewers Post Card

Words by Heyman...who is probably trying to patch things up from when he wrote a couple of weeks ago.

Despite the Brewers lack of pitching depth, I still believe that the Crew will find a way to get it done this season. They have far too many solid hitters in that lineup to be written off. Corey Hart will have another break out (full) season. Despite the fact that I hated him in the post season last year, the man carried the Brewers offensively prior to the All Star break.

My prediction: Hart will hit 28 HR's this season...mark it down.

Injuries, Problems...and more

Ken Macha released a pretty-detailed injury report on a number of Brewer players/prospects.

I was surprised to find Angel Salome on it. I was not aware that his injury was that significant and has kept him out this long. This is crappy timing because Mike Rivera is sidelined with a strained hammy.

I am starting to get a wee-bit concerned with the number of injuries. To date, the Crew is with out (most notably) Braden Looper, Eric Gagne, Tony Gwynn Jr, Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, and now Mike Rivera...just off the tip of my brain. I realize that this is only spring ball and the regular season is a month away.... Looper and Gange's injury seem the most serious. Although Braden could be back as early (fingers-crossed) as next week.

One thing to be cheery eyed about this season is Ryan Braun. He went yard today for Team USA in their win over the Phillies. Arguably one of the best young hitters in baseball. Oh, and he's Jewish.

Yesterday the Crew had the day off, only one of three total this spring training. They face off with Team Australia today. Seth McClung got the start and pitched 3 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 homerun and two runs. Tim Dillar(d) and Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning each as well. Last I saw, the Crew were up 9 runs to 5 in the 8th inning.

Brewers' popularity on the rise! Bizjournal reported that the Crew were the most successful professional sports team in the state, and ranked 7th out of all 30 teams in the MLB. That's like totally awesome. I was popular once...in high school. Or at least I thought I was. Now I'm overweight.....

Yesterday I wrote a letter to the President of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Rob Zerjaz, asking him to have the Timber Rattlers visit a couple of stadiums in Wisconsin this summer. Similar to the concept of the game being held at Miller Park....why not have them play a game in Wausau and Madison. That way they have the feeling of a "State" team, worthy of being called "Wisconsin". The WISCONSIN Woodchucks (Northwoods League) do something similar by playing a game down in Stevens Point.....He has not responded to me yet, at press time. Keep in mind, both Wausau and Madison have ballparks that could certainly hold such an event. Granted, the one in Wausau is pretty dated and undersized...but it's one game. Why not try to grow the fan base? I'm not asking them to play at the softball diamonds near Jon Thiel's house in Reeseville for crying out loud.

As expected, Cleveland Indians' top prospect Matt LaPorta has some hefty expectations to live up to.

In some good injury news....Alex Rodriguez may be out until mid June! Not to sound mean...oh hell, with him I could care less....he is having a cyst removed from his waste. Makes me wonder if there is more to the story. This is some pretty bad news for the Yankees. I would expect to see them making a move to bring someone on to fill in.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Looper: Damaged Goods?

As expected, we all knew some kind of significant injury would emerge out of spring ball. Milwaukee took one on the chin today when it was announced that Braden Looper could start the season on the DL. He is apparently suffering from an oblique muscle strain, which is similar to what Braun had experienced late in the 2008 season. Looper was scratched from last Saturdays start versus LA (W, 5-3) and was also scratched from today's start.

Milwaukee finally signed the last player on their 40-man roster. Yovanni Gallardo singed a one-year deal.

Jeff Suppan continues to prove his worth. Yes yes, it's only spring ball. Even still, this doesn't look good at all.

Corey Hart continues to mash, going 3 for 3 yesterday. Famous for his second half colossal collapse after getting voted in to the All Star game, Hart slugged a two-run home run and a double.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host the Peoria Chiefs at Miller Park on April 24th.

Brewers brass continues to eye-up Brad Nelson for the outfield. Pending the results of Gwynn's MRI, Nelson could edge out Chris Duffy and Trot Nixon. The latter two were non-roster invitees.