Tuesday, September 6, 2011

85-57: Milwaukee's win streak hits 4 / Stifles Red Birds

Milwaukee is back on a roll after sweeping Houston and taking the first game of their series in St Louis. 

The Crew is now 10.5 games ahead of the Cardinals and 4 games ahead of Arizona.  The DiamondBacks are trying to catch up on the Crew in order to get home field advantage.  As it stands, Milwaukee would take on Atlanta in the NLDS.  The DBacks are now 9-1 over their last 10 games and the hottest team in baseball thanks to Ian Kennedy's NL best 18 wins (Verlander has 21 wins in AL). 

This picture (above) was taken before the Brewers were leaving Houston on Sunday.  Nyjer Morgan thought of this idea and even presented a new alter-ego in "Tony Tombstone" (see below).  If I was a fan of any other team in baseball, I would be pretty annoyed by Nyjer.  But it can't be overlooked what he has added to this clubhouse.  Since coming on board in April (Cutter Dykstra trade), Morgan has added some energy and identity to the Crew.  Let it be known that the only personality that wasn't bland in that locker room was Carlos Gomez, and he can barely speak any English.  Let's face it, if I wanted to hang out with a team and drink some beers--the Brewers would not be that team.  Prince would sit there quietly, Braun would be admiring himself in the mirror, McGehee would pet his beard, and only one would be fun....John Axford. 

Although i agree that some of Axford's facebook statuses have been odd and almost nerdy, he's a unique guy that likes to have fun.  Likewise with Nyjer Morgan; both players provide a spark and lighten up the mood when there's a 5 game losing streak or someone is in a funk.  LaTroy Hawkins seems to feed off this energy and often times tweets about it.  He's been quoted numerous times as saying Nyjer only needed some veteran oversight in order to perform at his level in 2011.  Prior to, he was constricted and frowned upon by the young locker rooms in DC & Pittsburgh.  Here in Milwaukee, he's embraced by the state and the team's management.  

With a .308 batting average and season-long resume that includes a number of clutch hits, he's been the best addition to the team this season.  Throw in Jerry Hairston Jr, and you have the GM of the year in Doug Melvin as well as a Manager of the Year in Ron Roenicke.  Sure, the GM of the Diamond Backs could arguably be the pick, while Jerry Manuel for the M of the Y.  But I'm biased...and Milwaukee has a longer history of sucking balls. 

George Kottarus hit for the cycle over the weekend and he's the only one to do so in Major League Baseball this season.  He's been outstanding in the back-up role and he could be used as trade bait in the off-season. 

Mat Gamel: Why didn't he get called-up for expanded rosters?

Neat story by the Post-Dispatch on the Crew.  Apparently Randy Wolf has a brother that umps for MLB; whenever the rotation matches up for him to cover the Crew, they shuffle the older brother out of town to cover a different game.  Apparently he's so popular, he can't visit his favorite restaurants in Milwaukee because of his connection to Randy.  My guess is that the two probably resemble each other (See below, left). 

Milwaukee is looking at (possibly) having a batting king and a league MVP if things work out. Ryan Braun is looking at being crowned the Batting King for the NL. He remains ahead of Jose Reyes by a handfull of points. Prince Fielder and Braun are up for the NL MVP and both could win it (split? could happen). The only other player that's a threat is Matt Kemp, who's hitting .320 with 32 HR's. But the Dodgers are going no where this season and winning does matter in the ballot box. So I would expect to see Braun as the MVP if he takes the batting crown. If he doesn't, Prince Fielder will take the MVP. Of course, this is all barring any injury or prolonged slump.

Q&A w/ Mr. Baseball, def worth a read.
Pujols crying about the shadows at Busch Stadium yesterday.  To his credit, he does have a valid point.  Even the Brewers were apparently griping and even comparing it to Miller Park as being worse.  Both teams should shut the hell up and suck it up.  The stadiums are gems, both of them.

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