Wednesday, August 31, 2011

81-55: Milwaukee couldn't bunt last night

Errors & Can't Bunt

That pretty much sums up last nights game against the Cardinals.  Oh, and lack of run support too.  Shaun Marcum (11-5) tossed an excellent game and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 5th, thanks to Yuni & Prince committing back-to-back errors.  He gave up the only 2 runs in that inning which proved to be the deciding factor in the 2-1 loss last night.  Marcum gave up only 4 hits over 7 innings and he struck out 4. 

The middle of the order put of golden sombreros
Nyjer & Hart both doubled and Morgan drove in the only run.

Newly drafted hurler Jed Bradley will begin his career in the Arizona Fall League for Peoria.  This past summer he did play some ball for the Cape Cod League.  Both Bradley and Freddie Prinz Junior looked damn good.  Bradley was in the booth with BA & Rock last night.  Seemed like a good kid with a level head, albeit he does have a silly hair do. I found in interesting that he was not allowed in Miller Park by his agent when he came to town for a physical prior to the draft.  This is done, of course, to limit the visual splendor that is seeing the (possible) baseball park that you might play in once you sign the dotted line.

Carlos Gomez is going to come off the DL on Thursday, just in time for expanded rosters. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

81-54: Milwaukee Brushes Aside the Cubs

I was on vacation since Thursday so didn't get much of a chance to make a post. 
I was able to listen to most of the Cubs @ Brewers series and it sounds like Corey Hart is heating up.  The pitching has been on-point and Zack Greinke is the most dominate home pitcher in MLB.  He's a perfect 10-0 @ Miller Park.  That's why Doug Melvin made that deal. 

Cool story from USA Today on the sabermetrics of Quality Starts.  Zack and Estrada are mentioned.

Jonathon Lucroy is hitting .413 on Tuesdays this season.  That's bad for the Cardinals.  How do I know this?  Because the morning 1250 am show out of Milwaukee was talking with Lucroy on the air just now and they brought it up.  Lucroy seemed a little annoyed because of the superstition of letting a guy know he's on fire.  It's like telling a pitcher in the 8th innning, "Hey buddy, you know you're throwing a no-hitter?".

Milwaukee will hit 3 million tickets sold this week.  That's insane for the smallest market in all of baseball.  Milwaukee ranks 9th in baseball for attendance and should leap frog the Cubs by the end of the season.
This is the 3rd time since 2008's wild card season.

Milwaukee welcomes the wacko Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals to town for a 3 game series to end the month and open September with.  Come Thursday, Milwaukee will enter their last month of play. 




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

78-53: Brewers are on their way to 30 games over .500

This is insanity....Milwaukee whooped-up on the Pirates AGAIN last night after bouncing back from a let-down game yesterday.  The Crew topped the Bucs 11-4 and were led by an unsung leader in Marco Estrada (4-8, 3-2 as a starter).  Not only did Estrada beat the Pirates for the 2nd time in 11 games from the mound, he also help at the plate with a couple of sac bunts that advanced a couple of baserunners.  Estrada went 7 complete innings and didn't walk a single batter.  He gave up 2 earned runs on 7 hits.
Latroy Hawkins fumbled a bit by giving up 2 earned during his 8th inning.
Nyjer Morgan went 4 for 6 on the night with a double and 2 runs batted in.
Prince Fielder drove in his 100th RBI of the season, first to reach that mark in all of baseballl; this despite going 1 for 11 in the series. He's due to erupt just in time for the Cubs series.  Lucroy had 3 hits and an RBI and McGehee hit his 10th HR of the season.  

Milwaukee now has a 10 game lead over St Louis.  But keep in mind, they still have to play them 6 times.  Their magic number is now 23
Milwaukee has THE biggest divisional lead in all of baseball right now.

Excellent, excellent story by Packers writer Lori Nickel on Nyjer Morgan.  I had no idea that he had a daughter at 19 (girlfriend was 17) and that he gave up the rights to her to play baseball.  At first read, I thought "why the hell did he give up being a parent to play baseball?".  But then you read it again and after the 3rd time you start to understand why.  He was broke and young.  Nyjer gave up the right to see his daugther and father her, in order to make money by playing baseball.  Is it something I would do?  No....but then again, who am I to judge.  He was in a tough spot and had to react.  Just so long as Nyjer is paying child support (and then some), I'm fine with it.

Milwaukee's Ron Ron is trying to down play the SI cover jinx.  Funny stuff seeing him on FSWisconsin last night, just laughing and wincing.  On a serious note, was that not the best cover you see in a long time?  To see 3 grown men (2 of them All-Star candidates) jumping up and down in the air in celebration?  That's what baseball is all about. 

A Breakdown by Sporting News on how the Braves, Brewers, and the NL West representative will match up with the Phillies.
Mark my words, the Brewers now have the Phillies in their sights.  They know damn well how important it will be to clinch home field advantage through out the playoffs.  I truly feel, that the Brewers can catch up to Philly and take the best record in the NL.  Instead of checking the Cardinals score, we need to be checking the Phillies!  Milwaukee has a legitimate shot of obtaining the NL's best record by the end of the season--and all of baseball!  Home-field advantage would give them a huge shot of winning the NLDS & NLCS.  Thanks to the National League beating the AL in the All-Star game--they will get home field advantage in the World Series too!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally.....not since Easter Sunday, 1987......

Not since Easter Sunday, 1987 did the folks over at Sports Illustrated put the Brew Crew on the front cover.  Yes, Braun was on a regional issue a few years back.  But that doesn't count.  Tomorrow's printed edition hits newstands and for once, the smallest market team in all of baseball is on the cover.  It helps that the Crew has won 23 of 26 games!  FYI....Rob Deer was the last player to be on the cover (Team Streak).  I can't wait to read the Lee Jenkins story!

77-53: Milwaukee splits double-header with the Bucs

Milwaukee played a pretty damn good 17 innings of baseball yesterday; but it was 1 inning of play that did them in during their second (night) game.  The Crew took the first game 8-1 and dropped the second game 9-2.

The first game had Chris Narveson making his first start in 3 weeks, having just been activated from the DL list after cutting his thumb while knitting.  He tossed a stellar 5.1 innings of play before exiting with a "nail issue".  He allowed only 5 hits and no runs, walked 1 and fanned 3 (85 pitches, 35 strikes).  What a surprise this hurler has been in 2011 and last season in 2010.  I will admit that I have been suspect of him.  But what I need to realize is that he's the 5th pitcher in that rotation.  You hope that he gets a winning .500 record when he's on the mound.

Kam Loe (16th hold) gave up a hit and Saito (9th hold) combined to pitch an excellent 6th inning.  Tim Dillard did give up a run in 2 innings of work, but still looked pretty decent. 

Braun hit his 25th HR, which was a 2-run shot in the 9th.
Jerry Hairston continued his top notch play by going 2 for 4 with a double and he also walked.  His batting average is now at .267 on the season.  What's going to happen when Rickie returns in mid-September?  At the very least, Milwaukee doesn't have to rush his recovery.  But once he does return, my guess is that Hairston will split some time in CF/RF.  He'll probably give Rickie a day off a week. 

Last night's game was blah.  Zack Greinke was on-point most of the game until the 7th inning when he was charged with 7 earned runs.  His ERA went back in to the 4's (4.22) and his record dropped to 12-5.  Even still, he was cruising through all 6 innings, but he hit the wall fast and labored.  Franky De La Cruz gave an additiional 2 runs off of 3 hits in 1.2 innings of work. 

Corey Hart started the game off with a solo HR during the first pitch of the game.  That was his 19th of the season.  It would be nice to see him finish with 25HR's this season. 

Let's get real people, Milwaukee was due for a horrific inning.  All teams get them.  What's important is how they bounce back today. 

Our beloved Crew has now won 23 of their last 26 games.  Their magic number is 25 and they are ranked #1 in MLB's power poll!

Donate blood and earn Brewers tickets.

Forgot to mention this before, but one time Brewers top prospect, Mark Rodgers (first round pick in 2004) was busted for using a stimulant (failed test).  It should be noted this is his second time getting busted, but it is not for HGH or steroids.
  This guy has struggled to make it in the Brewers farm system.  He's now serving a 25 game suspension starting next season, as he is already out the rest of this season due to carpal tunnel syndrom.  He's only 25 years-old and has time to turn it around.  He did show some promise last season when he was called up in September when he started in 2 games (no decisions) and gave up only 2 earned runs in 10 innings of work.


Monday, August 22, 2011

76-52: Milwaukee sweeps New York

  On to Pittsburgh for a double header today.
Milwaukee has officially turned it aroundon the road.  Yovani Gallard (14-8) earned the win yesterday while Casey McGehee blasted his 9th HR of the season in the Brewers 6-2 route in the final game of the series.  Ryan Braun went 3 for 5 with a double while Prince went 1 for 4 and walked. 

Milwaukee's magic number is 27!  When was the last time we ever said "Milwaukee" and "Magic" together in the same sentence.  (Ok, minus the Bucks vs Magics). 

With Narv Dog coming back off the DL, that makes Felipe Lopez expendable.  He was designated for assignment.  With Hairston playing lights-out and the Brewers love fascination with Craig Counsell, there is no need for a third 3B.  I would like to note that Lopez played pretty decent for as a fill in.  Considering the fact that he was in AAA for Tampa all season before being traded to Milwaukee and thrown in as the starting 2B once Weeks went down last month.

It was tough to see KROD blow a save on Saturday.  I mean, Milwaukee was up by 2 runs and he still couldn't batten down the hatches.  To his credit, if there's one team that knows how to hit him, it's the Mets (or the Phillies).  How about that fire out past RF in New York that night?  It was from a chop shop across the road.



Friday, August 19, 2011

73-52: Lack of offense results in Brewers loss

When you look at the grand scheme of things, this recent homestand that the Brewers just wrapped up could concern someone who looks at his or hers glass half empty.  Sure, Milwaukee went ape shit on their opponents and went 6-1.  But one has to dig deep in a contender to see what's wrong when other are looking at them and thinking of them as being perfect.  Milwaukee outscored Pittsburgh and LA 19-10.  When you think about, besides last Friday's game that opened the homestand against the Pirates (scored 7 runs)--Milwaukee failed to score more than 3 runs in a game.  They scored 1 run in a game twice; likewise with scoring 2 and 3 runs in a game, respectively.  Milwaukee offense has been in hibernation this homestand.  Something to worry about? Doubtful, it shows that they have faith in their pitching.  But on the road, this could turn in to trouble. Milwaukee faces a tough road opponent in the New York Mets (60-63) over the weekend and then it's on to Pittsburgh (58-64).  The latter is shooting for a .500 season and they'll be playing to win it.

Despite Marco Estrada's (3-8, 4.28) second straight excellent outing, Milwaukee was unable to muster enough run support to help their substitute pitcher. He went 5 complete, which is an inning more than what most fans expected, and he gave up only 1earned on 3 hits and he struck out 5 batters.  That's pretty damn impressive once you think about it.  Averaging a K an inning is all that you can ask for in a fill-in starter.  Kam Loe was the one that dropped the ball.  He entered the game in the 6th with only a 1 run deficit.  He went 2 complete, giving up 2 runs (1 of them earned) and struck out 2.  Dillard continued to make Milwaukee questions why the hell he is onthe team?  His era climbed to 4.98 after going 1 inning and giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits.  Franky De La Cruz only went 1 inning and he gave up a hit.  It's obvious that once Narveson comes back off the list, Dillard should be shipped down and La Cruz should stay.  There may be another roster move, as Milwaukee plays a double-header in Pittsburgh this weekend.  Willy Peralta could get one of the starts on the DH game. 

Milwaukee is definately a home team.  They rank 4th in batting average in all of baseball with a .281 batting average, 6th in HR's, and 5th in hits. Milwaukee ranks 9th in team ERA with 3.30 and oddly enough, only 3 teams of the 8 teams ahead of them are AL teams (Oakland, Tampa, and Anaheim).  The Brewers, however, are 1st in all of baseball for games won (47) and last in losses (16, which is the best in baseball).  I'd say their only blemish is their number of wild pitches ranks 4th in baseball (29).  Some of that can be directed at the sophomore catcher, Jonathon Lucroy, who has been stellar behind the plate calling games.  As with any young catcher, it takes a while to learn the defense.  I would argue that Lucroy's ability to throw out base stealer trumps the wild pitches card.  Milwaukee ranks 19th with ony 42 SB's against them.

Milwaukee sign-calling is either completely assanine and wrong, or our players are clueless and don't understand baseball sign-language. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

73-51: Brewers spoil rookie's solid outing

Zack Greinke (12-4, 3.92 ERA) set a new mark at Miller Park by winning his 9th straight home decision.  He also out dueled Dodgers highly regarded rooked Nathan Eovaldi, who had an excellent game giving up 2 earned runs in 6 innings of work.  Meanwhile, the Brewers ace went 7 complete and gave up 1 earned run on 5 hits.  He did walk 3 batters, which was unusual for the him.

Milwaukee's offense was led by Jerry Hairston Jr's timely hitting; he had one hit and drove in the Crew's only 2 runs of the game.  Jonathon Lucroy added 2 hits (one was a double) and his batting average is now up to .289 on the season. 

Lucroy is quietly putting up a huge season at the plate.  The national media has yet to even mention him outside the whole LaRussa verbal dust up.  It's crazy how he worked out too.  All things considered, Angel Salome was Milwaukee's catcher of the future.  He was drafted in the 5th round by Milwaukee in the 2004 draft.  He even was apart of a September call up where he went 0 for 3 in 3 games.  That was then, this is now.  Salome was shuttled out of Milwaukee last season and he landed with the Seattle Mariners, Jack Z's team--the very same point man that picked  him in 2004.  Lucroy became Milwaukee's go-to catcher when Salome had some mental wariness problems in June of last year.  Lucky for Doug Melvin, he had the young (at the time) 23 year-old playing in Huntsville in Lucroy.  The 3rd round pick in the 2007 draft was slowly-but surely climbing the ranks and making waves.  Obviously, Melvin and Co. wasn't too worried when Salome fell of the wagon, because they made no moves to bring in minor league catcher.  Instead, they brought in fill ins like George Kottarus at the big league level.  Prior to George, Damien Miller and Estrada were the fossils behind homeplate. 

HERE is a good blog entry on Zack Greinke and his return to ace-hood.  In hind sight, perhaps the back injury to Zack wasn't such a bad thing after all?  I mean, think about it.  I have written about Greinke's anxiety issues in the past.  What better way to curb that all, than to have him sit out the first month of the season on the DL?  By that time, the fans are settled and they are more patient with his results.  Had Greinke started right away in March/early April, well, the fans would have been short on patience and he would've heard about it far sooner than later.  One will never know if Zack actually messed up his back playing pick-up basketball -- I have always called bullshit on that one -- but I am guy that loves a conspiracy theory here and there.  Perhaps, he was held out the first month in order to protect his confidence?  Long shot I'd say, but baseball is mental game more than anything. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

72-51: The Thrill Drill Continues

It's as if it's a drill....a routine....a practise of the fine arts.  The walk-off win was once again used last night and once again, Mark Kotsay was the one who delivered.  Much of the game was a snore-ific.  Trust me, I love pitchers the duel it out and the defense shines--just not in back to back games.  Yovanni Gallardo brought his A-Game but didn't factor in to the decision.  And again, a Milwaukee starting pitcher went deep in to the game.  Yo went 8 complete and gave up only 4 hits, 1 walk, stuck out 9 and allowed 1 earned.  His ERA is now at a respected 3.55 on the season.   Saito (4-1) notched the win and his ERA dropped to 2.20 on year.

Corey Hart & Kotsay each contributed by driving in 2 of the 3 total runs of the game. 

Cardinals Watch..... The Pittsburgh Pirates deflated the St Louis Cardinals hopes even more with their walk-off homerun that put the Pirates in front 2-0 in the series.  Keep in mind, both the Cards and Crew face a sub .500 schedule the remainder of the season.  Granted, the Cards & Crew still face each other 6 more games. 

I vaguely remember when I was a kid and the Brewers won the AL East pennant and then later went on to the win ALCS and loss to the Cardinals in game 7 of the World Series.  I do remember asking my dad questions, nothing in particular, probably all annoying questions--but he took the time to fill me in with the rules and the reasoning behind his loud clapping (a Robin Yount diving catch on one occassion).  Likewise with 2 of my 3 boys (the youngest is...well...too young).  But my oldest, Landon, and I have been bonding over the Brewers.  I was listening to the radio this morning (am1250 Milwaukee FSRadio) and they were talking about this topic.  Over the past week, my oldest boy will "sneak" downstairs and crawl on my lap to watch the Brewers play.  I would ask him what he was doing, and he would say, "Dad, I just want to watch the Brewers".  When I get home from work at 5:25pm my awesome wife has dinner waiting with the boys already sitting at the table. We eat and then I clear the table and then I take 3 of the boys (or sometimes 2 of them) and go on a bike ride to the high school ball diamond and football field.  We play sports, and explain the games to them, and we run around.  I try to relate the Brewers to them in what they do while playing.  I think it's important to show state pride in your teams and support them, even though they make millions more than us common folk to.  At times, I know my boys get annoyed when I turn their tv channel to my station at 7:05pm (most nights).  But after they stop yelling--they watch.
It's nice to bond with my kids over the game of baseball.  And this Brewers season is far different than the rest.  Sure the Crew squeeked in to the playoffs in 2008, but it hasn't been like this 2011 season.  This has been a thrilling ride to date.  My son asked me last night when the baseball season is done.....and I told him when the leaves start to fall of the trees and it gets dark out just after dinner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

71-51: The BEST defensive game I have ever seen by the Crew

Last night was insane.  Despite the first 5 innings being a snore-fest on the offensive side, it was the defense that lit Miller Park up with a Triple Play, 3 Double Plays, and a throw-out from CF that could probably be marked down as a contender for the Play of the Year.  Yes, the triple play that involved Wilson, Betancourt, to Fielder was phenominal and only the 6th one of it's kind in Brewers history; but it was Jerry Hairston's play that surprised the hell out of me.  Miller Park's 38,000+ fans were reved up as each of the 3 double plays occurred.  When the Triple Play happened, the stadium seemed explode, at least on tv it looked that way.  The icing on the cake was the last play of the game when Prince caught a rocket liner and then stepped on 1B to get the force out on the Dodger who was already half-way to 2B. 

Randy Wolf was unstoppable and one could tell that he was ready to go from the start.  When he took to the field last night in the top of first inning, the FSWisconsin camera was focused in on him.  He and Kottarus stood there and you could see Wolfy getting amped up and ready to fire out of the dug out to begin the game.  He went 8 complete and gave up a season high 5 walks on 6 hits, 5 strike outs.  Despite the free-passes, the shut out was on point and well needed. 

Ryan Braun, Jonathon Lucroy, and Corey Hart all homered for Milwaukee.  There 3 HR's were the only difference in the game.  Fielder, Braun, and Hairston all added base hits respectively. 
Odd, there was no doubles or triples in last night's game--but there were 3 HR's.

Axford saved his 35th of the season (32 consecutively).

Every thing is clicking right now, even the defense. 

Milwaukee signed their top 2 draft picks last night, during the 11th hour of negotiations.  Taylor Jungman (2.5 MM) and Jed Bradley (2MM) finally grew a pair and signed the dotted line.  In years past, I would have been sweating bullets and wondering to myself, "Why isn't Milwaukee throwing money at these kids---get them signed!".  This year I'm thinking, screw Jungmann.  Who is he to get all high and mighty.  Sure he had a kick ass regular season, but he also went 1-3 in the post season for the Longhorns.  We needed to sighn Jed Bradley, otherwise that pick would've been gone for next season, since it was the very same pick that rolled over from last year (Covey pick).  Milwaukee was able to sign 33 of their 51 picks.  It's always good when teams can sign 2/3's of their draft picks.  What sucks is that waiting until the August 15th deadline is the new norm.  Also, players are getting paid a pretty penny more than what the MLB 'suggests'.   So in essence, MLB is following in the footsteps of the NFL in over-paying their draft picks; only the NFL made corrections on that during the new CBA.

Milwaukee added a free agent pitcher, Mark Williams of Marietta College (OH).  He's reporting to Helena Brewers.

Update on Gomez & Weeks; both of which are ahead of schedule. 

2 things on Attanasio....1) He never said he wouldn't buy the Bucks from Senator Herbert Kohl and his cabana boys.  2) The US will not go in to a double-dip recession.  Oddly enough, I believe him more than I believe our president when it comes to the economy. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

70-51: Crew bucs Pirates (ha!)

Outstanding play and confidence in their skills is what propelled the Crew to sweep the Pirates out of town. 
Yesterday's game was a key example of how the Brewers have evolved in to a World Series contender.  A come from behind win that was accomplised thanks to Nyjer Morgan striking out and flying out.  Ha!

Late to work this morning (dr appointment) so I will type more later.



Friday, August 12, 2011

67-51: Carp out duels Yo

Milwaukee's 4 game lead on top of the division is their largest,
this late in to the season since 1982!

Despite Milwaukee getting off to an excellent start in last night's game (2 runs in the 1st), Albert Pujols and company quickly put in work to prevent being swept.  Albert went 4 for 4 with a HR, 2 runs batted in, and scored twice.  The top of the order for the Cardinals offense woke up from their slumber part at Tony's house.  Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter (8-8) was far better on the mound than Yovani Gallardo (13-8).

Yuni Betancourt continued to swing the hot bat for the Crew, going 3 for 4 on the evening.  Mark Kotsay started in LF for Ryan Braun (sat the entire game/rest) and he went 2 for 4 with a double.  Fielder also addded a hit and drove in a run.

Frankie De La Cruz made his Milwaukee Brewers debut after he was summoned from Nashville to fill in for Narveson. He gave up a hit and struck out 1.  The bullpen looked solid again against the Cardinals.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Cards haven't scored against our pen this season?

Milwaukee is back home this weekend to play the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 3 game series.  The Pirates have fallen back to 3rd place (tied with Cincy) and they're 10 games behind Milwaukee.  This team fell apart at the seams when they lost that mis-call against the Braves in extra innings 2 weeks ago.  It didn't help that they cut Lyle Overbay after they brought in Derek Lee.  Why fix something that wasn't broken? 
Tonights Match up: Paul Maholm (6-12, 3.54 era) vs Zack Greinke (10-4, 4.21)
Saturday: Kevin Correia (12-10, 4.75) vs Marco Estrada (2-7, 4.50)
Sunday: Charlie Morton (9-6, 3.56) vs Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.52)

For now on Team Wisconsin is going to have Cardinal Watch in order to keep tabs on Milwaukee's biggest rival during this pennant race.
The Cardinals added veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes to their pen.
Excellent article on LaRussa - Roenicke "feud", if you call it that.  LaRussa probably wants there to be some feud, but Ron Ron is too smart. 
St Louis will remain home for the weekend as they play the Rockies.  Here's a preview.  I can see them taking 2 of the 3 games.  Likewise with Milwaukee.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Read

Lucroy called out LaRussa on AM1250 (Milwaukee) last week.  I remember it perfectly because I was listening to it at work, think to myself, "this kid has balls...but I like him". 

HERE is a story in the Post-Dispatch.  The comments are fun to read.  One guy said something like: in 10 years, no one will remember or know the name Lucroy....LaRussa will be in Cooperstown. 

I wouldn't be too sure of that buck-o.   Lucroy has the makings to be a career catcher in the bigs, baring any injury.

67-50: Milwaukee widens NL Central lead to 5 games

     Make that 5 games straight on the road!  I would have never thought that this was possible back before the All Star break.  But it's true, our Milwaukee Brewers are now 5 games ahead of St. Louis in the what has turned out to be a 2 team race for the pennant.  The Crew is now 17 games over .500 and well on their way to their first pennant since 1982.  But they're aren't there yet and a lot needs to happen in order for them to take the Central.  There are 44 games left and Milwaukee is now down a starting pitcher.  Chris Narveson was placed on the 15 day DL and the Brewers brought up Frankie De La Cruz from Nashville to fill in for Estrada, should he get lit up this weekend. 

     The Crew defeated the Cardinals 5-last night at Busch Stadium behind a strong outing by Randy Wolf (9-8, 5 hits, 1 earned, 1k, 0BB).  Hell, Wolfie is one win away from joining the 10 win club!  He was impressive from start to finish, and he went 8 complete innings when the Brewers needed him the most.  Again, with Narv-dog on the DL the bullpen is going to need the SP's to go the distance.

   KRod closed out the game in the 9th for a non-save opportunity.  He did allow 2 hits in his typical shakey fashion.  But he did finish his first game as a Milwaukee Brewer.

Prince Fielder & George Kottaras each doubled
No Brewer had more than one hit. 
Hart Fielder and Betancourt each drove in a run a piece.  Yuni's was with 2 outs and 2 RISP.

Yovani Gallardo will take to the mound tonight when the Crew goes for the sweep and attempt to win their 7th straight.

Jerry Hariston Jr made his first start at 2B for Milwaukee...and he had a couple of gems too.  He also went 1 for 4 on the evening with a base hit.

In other news, Uggla extended his hit streak to 31 games last night.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

66-50: Brewers deliver in the clutch

Despite leaving the bases loaded on one occassion and going 3-8 with RISP, Milwaukee was still able to deliver when it counted most.  In 10 innings the Crew defeated the 2nd place Cardinals 5-3 behind an excellent outing by Milwaukee pitching staff.  Shaun Marcum went 6 complete giving up 3 earned on 8 hits (3 k's, 1 BB).  John Axford notched his 33rd save of the season and his 30th straight, while Latroy Hawkins earned his first win of the season in a huge 9th inning appearence.  Krod also looked good in his inning of work during the 8th.

Corey Hart looks like he recovered from getting hit on his left hand; he started things off right with a 2-run homer in the3rd inning.  Jonathon Lucroy is contuing his kick ass 2011 campaign.  He's now hitting .286 on the season and last night he drove in a key run and went 2 for 4 from the plate.  Defensively, he looked good as well--having key stops on some wild pitches by Shaun Marcum and Axford.

Shaun Marcum may have tweaked his hamstring or was cramping-up during the game.  After smacking a double in the 5th inning and making it over to 3B eventually, he was then caught in a run down.  During that blunder of a play, it looked like he rolled his ankle.  Then during the 6th inning he labored through out the inning by taking 30-45 second breaks in between pitches.  He was working his legs and stretching during those breaks and he 'winced' at times.  He was in obvious discomfort, but he finished the inning. 

Chris Narveson sliced his throwing hand with a pair of scissors last night while fixing his glove.  I'm calling bullshit there.  That means he must have done it doing something even more stupid.  That being said, the 8 stitches will keep him out 7-10 days and he fore sure miss his Friday start at home versus the Pirates.  This shouldn't effect the rotation as there have been a couple of off days in the last week. 

KRod is saying and doing all the right things!
"Obviously, when I got traded here, I was told that I would get a chance to close out games," Rodriguez"Unfortunately, I haven't got any opportunities yet, but that's something that I guess has worked out well. We're winning. We're in first place. As long as we win, I will be happy"

It was agent Scott Boras that was preaching to the MLB that if anyone trades for his client, they better have him closing games.  The last thing teams want is an unhappy closer.  Stupid move on Boras' part, really.  After all, it's KRod that has to prove to other teams that he can play for any team out there -- and get paid.  He's turning in to a great team player, or at least acting like it. 
Probably the most brilliant thing about adding Krod to the team was that GM Doug Melvin was able to cock block a team like the Cardinals from landing a big name closer.  Now they have they're own problems, LIKE THIS.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let the rivalry continue.....

Huge game tonight down in St Louis between the Crew & Cards.  The sabers were already being rattled by Tony Larussa for this coming series, last week. 

Let's get our blood flowing already!....

"This is not like those cup-stacking beer bashes that the totally uneventful Cards-Cubs series have disintegrated into.

Cards vs. Brewers is what a genuine baseball rivalry ought to feel like. Provocative, contentious, but most of all competitively significant."
....from THIS story in
"I couldn't agree more with this writer is saying.  Gone are the days of the Cubs being the divisional rival for both Milwaukee and St Louis.  It was so 2010 to think that the Reds and Cards are the biggest rivalry.  Now Cincy is sitting back 9 (or so) games out of 1st place.  It's a two team pennant race that starts tonight! 
A year ago, it was a snarling grudge with the Cincinnati Reds that broke out in lots of sniping, trash talk, bad blood and brawling on the infield. This year, it is the Brewers who are the adversaries and are being treated as victims of some grudge that Brewers fans are convinced was conjured up in the vivid and belligerent mind of La Russa.

They are wrong, of course.
La Russa's mind isn't particularly belligerent. It is rooted in Old Testament baseball, where sins against the old-school code are handled in primeval ways. The La Russa way has produced a long line of haters and bitter rivals. But his Cardinals do not seem to mind how long the line. Instead, they wear it like a badge of honor, quite frankly."
Another great piece from that story.  Look, I despise LaRussa because he's a F*CKING Cheat.  Not because he honors the old testament of baseball.  It's because he's calling Milwaukee a bunch of cheats, while he's standing next to Mark McGwire (hitting coach) in the dug out.  Seriously, I understand and love the idea of payback baseball, protecting your players; but LaRussa is a filthy cheat. 

5 things to watch for during this series....

You want a feel-good story about Craig Counsell?  HERE you go.  Let's not forget that he's had 1 hit since the Canucks were still in the NHL playoffs.  Ha!

Monday, August 8, 2011

65-50: Crew breaks out the brooms in Houston

Never, in franchise history have the Milwaukee Brewers ever swept the Astros in Houston.  Prince Fielder erupted for 9 hits in the series, 2 of which were towering shots to RF.  Craig Counsell even broke his hitless streak.
Yuni Betancourt raised his batting average to .268 on the season; he did so by raising in 5 points along in yesterdays game.  Betancourt is THEE hottest SS in the National League right now. 

The weekend sweep did have some bad news that came along with it.  Corey Harts was beamed on his wrist (negative x-rays) and Casey McGehee who banged his knee on the final play of Saturday's game.  Both missed Sunday's game and Hart could miss Tuesday's game. 

All three games in Houston were led by some damn good starting pitching 2 of the 3 nights.  Yovanni Gallardo (13-7) led the way on Friday night by going 8 complete innings and giving up only 1 earned on a lowly 4 hits, 6 K's, and one walk.
Chris Narveson (8-6) only went 5.1 innings and he gave up 4 earned on 2 Homers that he gave up.  John Axfort notched his 32nd save of the season and Milwaukee had to use 5 relievers to get the job done.  KRod looked most impressive when he set-up Ax in the 8th.  He fanned 2 and the 3rd grounded out.
Zack Greinke (10-4) continued his 2nd half dominance, only this time, on the road.  He went 7 complete giving up an earned run, 3 walks (season high), and fanned 6 all on 4 hits.  Kam Loe looked on-point in the closing 1.1 innings by fanning 3 and giving up 1 hit. 

Milwaukee has yet to sign their first 2 draft picks from June's selection.  August 15th is the deadline; these 2 hold-outs will sign by the deadline.  It's just the new norm; agents holding out until the last mintute.  Kind of sucks because Taylor Jungman was actually being considered for a late season call-up.  I thought that was a long shot, but now that he's not even signed yet--it won't happen. 

Up next?  The Crew travels to St Louis to meet their divisional rivals.  The Cards have also won their last 4 games, just like the Brewers.  Both teams did so by playing horrible NL teams.
Tuesday: Marcum (10-3, 3.58 era) vs Edwin Jackson (8-8, 4.11 era)
Wednesday: Randy Wolf (8-8, 3.51 era) vs Kyle Lohse (9-7, 3.45 era)
Thursday:  Yo Gallardo (13-7, 3.56 era) vs Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.83 era)
Milwaukee then travels back home to take on the imploding Pirates (lost 10 straight) at Miller Park.  Then LA travels to town to start off next week for a 4 game series; 7 game homestand is in store once Milwaukee returns from St Louis.



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

62-50: Cardinal Beat Down By Milwaukee


  Hey LaRussa, take what ever dignity you have left and get out of town. 

Milwaukee destroyed St Louis 12-5 in todays matinee.  The rubber match turned out to be a shoot out with the two teams cranking out the hits with Milwaukee notching that category 15 to 11. 
Casey McGehee led all Brewers with a huge game; he notched his first career 3 HR game and he drove in 5 runs and scored 3 times himself. 
The top of the batting order was potent as well, with Hart adding a HR and a single.  Morgan & Braun each added a pair of hits each, with the latter hitting a double. 
Felipe Lopez also added 2 hits.

Randy Wolf (8-8) went 6 complete, giving up 5 earned on 9 hits (2 k's / 2 bb).
The bullpen was lights out!  Loe, Hawkins, and Axford each pitched an inning and they only allowed 2 hits in 3 innings. 

Milwaukee owns St Louis this season, that's for sure.  At home, St Louis has only won 1 game out 6 attempts. 

No retalation in today's game. 

Ron Roenicke says Rickie Weeks is making progress, just got off crutches
Milwaukee surpassed 2010 ticket sales already

THIS is funny....LaRussa actually called Rock and talked with him about Bill's use of words in last nights commentating of the game and the incident that took place.  Why the hell would a major league skipper call an opposing team's tv announcer and take issue with words that were said.  Unreal, LaRussa is off his rocker.

Pujols was a woeful 1 for 14 in the series. 

Erik Komatsu, who was part of the deal that brought us Jerry Hariston Jr, has "hitting in his genes".  I agree. He's going to be a star and I don't agree with Milwaukee dealing him away.  He's a good OF option.

Awesome story that was done on the Brewers and the city of Milwaukee, by Sports Illustrated.  I'm waiting for them to feature the Crew on the front page.  That hasn't happened since 1987 with Rob Deer and Team Streak...I think.

61-59: Crew & Cards Bring the PAIN

Milwaukee lost a nail-biter last night in extra innings, 7-8.  Yes, it sucks that the Crew lost and they snapped their 7 game winning streak. 

But lets skip the fact that Marcum gave up 6 earned runs in 6 innings of work on 7 hits.  Or that Prince Fielder had yet another throwing error trying to throw out a Albert Pujols at home (albeit he did make up for it later in the game a throw to home). 

The real question is: Did Milwaukee intentionally hit Pujols (Saito's pitch)?
The second question is: Did LaRuss make the call to hit Braun? 

Here are the sources:
-AM 620 interview after the game with LaRussa; The Cardinals skipper called Milwaukee fans "idiots" but quickly reworded that.  He claims that he did not give the sign to beam Braun, instead he told Motte to pitch inside (like Milwaukee did, allegedly).

-Tony Larussa is arguing that Miller Park/Milwaukee Brewers are cheating at home.  He claims that the stadiums perimeter lights that seperate the upper and lower bowls (used for ads).  Tony says that it's brighter when the opposing teams are pitching as compared to it being dimmer when the home team was on defense.  I noticed those lights being extra bright during the game (a vibrant blue).  But I didn't notice who was up to bat.
Of course MLB would rule against LaRussa.  This is obsured.  It goes to show that the Cardinals are sad little children that have a sense of entitlement because they're club has been around for over a century. 

-Pujols didn't speculate about the Brewers intentions...but he said that the pitcher better "keep the ball low".

-St Louis Post-Dispatch discussion board is filled with interesting comments.

-Let's not forget Yadier Molina's rant with the home plate umpire that resulted in him chest-bumping and spitting in the face, thus resulting in him getting tossed.  He should get 3-4 games suspension when all is said an done.

Let it be known, Saito did not intentionally hit Pujols.  That would've made zero sense because Albert would've made 3 men on base with 2 outs (I believe) with the game tied.  That makes absolutely no sense.

Milwaukee.....WE HAVE A RENEWED RIVALRY.  Screw the Reds-Cards "rivalry".  The Reds are out of it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

61-49: Greinke Blows Past the Red Birds

  Milwaukee extended their win streak to 7 and they are now 12 games above .500 on the season!
Zack Greinke (9-4, 4.41) delivered last night against the Cardinals.  Despite giving up a 2-run homer to Matt Holliday in the 1st inning, Greinke was cool-calm---and collected.  Honestly, Zack has on point most of the game despite the high temps and humidity on the playing field (not confirmed).  Their was so much humidity that Chris Carpernter's hat was drenched in sweat.  Everytime he lowered his head sweat would literally pour of his hat.  The heat got to Carpenter--or--the Brewers eventually did, because once the 5th inning hit the Brew Crew ignited to score 5 runs on 6 straight hits and then added another run in the 7th. 

Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, and Ryan Braun all collected 2 hits, with Morgan adding 3 RBI. 
Prince Fielder failed to collect a hit, but did walk twice. 

LaTroy Hawkins was called upon to go 2 complete innings, which he did. After getting of to a rocky start in the 7th inning, he setteled down; collecting 1 K and 2 walks on 1 hit.  Kam Loe sealed the deal in the 9th and didn't give up a hit. 

It was nice to see Tony LaRussa get out-managed by Ron Roenicke.  No longer is LaRussa the best manager in the NL Central...Roenicke has him beat THIS season.  The squeeze bunt by Zack Greinke which ended up with everyone staying safe and Zack reaching 1st safely was a gem.  Casey McGehee was alert and he decided to stay at 3B instead of running blindly to home plate.  It was the veteran Cardinal players that botched the play when catcher Molina hesitated with his throw thanks to Albert Pujols running in and pointing to 3B, when Molina had an easy play at 1B. 

Nyjer Morgan could be mentioned as team MVP when it comes to the end of the season.  I realize Prince Fielder is up for the league MVP, but when it comes to making a huge impact within the team--from someone unexpected, Nyjer has to be considered.  He's .324 on the season and has an .817 OPS.  His hitting with RISP is in the mid .300's and he's clutch. 

KROD & Axford are turning in to a dynamic duo.  HERE is a NYTimes story that went behind the scenes of the biggest mid-season trade of the season.  Yes, it's bigger than Michael Bourne going to Atlanta or Hunter Pence going to Philly.  Milwaukee landed best closer in the game and threw him in the set-up role.  They needed an extra arm in the pen and they went out and got it.

It's August, the Crew has a 3.5 game lead in the NL Central and they are 12 games over are starting to plan on the playoffs and how they will promote the ticket sales.


Monday, August 1, 2011

60-49: Milwaukee notches their best record of the season; 11 games above .500

Milwaukee did what they were supposed to do over the weekend; they swept the Astros right out of Wisconsin.  All things considered; Hunter Pence being traded to Philly during the middle of the game on Friday night and Michael Bourne going to Atlanta before yesterday's game should have (and did) given the Brewers a huge edge....

It's August 1st and the Brew Crew has a season best of 11 games over .500, which translates in to a 60-49 record.  Kind of feels weird, it's August 1st and the Milwaukee Brewers are 11 games over .500 and they are in first place of the NL Central.  Odd.

One could write about all the terrific things that occurred this weekend, but I'd rather look ahead to task at hand.  The St. Louis Cardinals are coming to town for a 3 game series.  Tonight, Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68) will take to the mound against our prized off-season addition...Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50).  Now is the time for Zack Greinke to show Wisconsin why he's worth giving up on Alcides Escobar and Jake Odorizzi.  To date, he's made a decent argument--especially from his past few starts. 

St Louis is 2.5 games behind Milwaukee; so if the Crew wanted to seperate themselves
 from their biggest threat--they should do so starting tonight.

-Jerry Hairston Jr. was traded to Milwaukee from the Washington Nationals.  I like this move, although it was a lot to give up for a 35 year-old veteran.  The Brewers had to give up their Minor League Player of the Year in Eric Komatsu (OF) in doing so; but a move that was needed.  With Craig Counsell on the verge of (being forced to) retiring since he's been mirrored in a 0-44 slump.
"When I walked in the clubhouse, I saw (leadoff hitter) Corey Hart hit a home run," said Hairston. "That was good to see." -Hairiston Jr.

So now Milwaukee has a handyman in the crafty, .253 career hitter.  Jerry has played 3B while filling in for Jordan Zimmerman in addition to playing SS, 2B, and the outfield. 

-The Pittsburgh Pirates have now dropped to 4.5 games out of 1st place after being swept by the Phillies this weekend, but they should be able to have a decent shot of sweeping the Cubbies over the next couple of days at PNC Park.