Thursday, April 28, 2011

Brewers set-off on a 10 game road trip

The Brewers should take advantage of their day-off today because they are in for a lengthy road trip down south. Milwaukee's first stop is in Houston to take play them for the 2nd time already this season. It seems like every year it's the Astros that the Brewers play twice right away. After that 3 game series they travel Northeast to Atlanta to. You will probably notice that Milwaukee took both series' against Houston & Atlanta earlier this month. So hopefully, Milwaukee can at least finish April out with 1+ .500. Because they have quite the gauntlet ahead of them with the 1st place Cardinals before they return home.

Next month will be a well-balanced schedule of very-easy teams like the Padres & Pirates (8 games total). But then they play Atlanta, St. Louis, Colorado, Cincy, San Fran, LA, and the Nationals in no particular order listed. Brewers need to take advantage of their 15 home games (13 on the road) and against teams like the Pirates, Nationals, and Padres if they want to escape May with a winning record. Because the following month of June is going to be a bitch.

June consists of only 12 home games and 15 on the road. But most worrisome is the fact that they play the brunt of the inter-league games against the AL East. The murderers row consists of the Yankees & Red Sox (away), Rays & Twins (home), in addition to divisional rivals the Reds, Cards and Cubs (4 game series). So knock out May with a winning record and hope for the best in June. I can see them beating the Rays and Red Sox, which by the way...would be sweet revenge. The last time Milwaukee played the Red Sox was back in 2008 and they got swept. They haven't played the Yankees since 2005 when Randy Johnson was still on the mound for the Yankees. I was at that game when the Brewers beat them 1 out of the 3 games.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

12-12: Crew drops 3rd series of the season

Milwaukee lost to the Reds today 7-6 in 10 innings. Sergio Mitre ended up with the loss after giving up a HR to Drew Stubbs...the strike-out machine himself. Yovani Gallardo struggled from the get-go by allowing 4 earned runs in the 1st half-inning of play. He now drops to 2-1 and his ERA is at a hefty 4.88, which isn't your typical ACE type stuff. When the carnage was done, Yo exited the game after 6 innings; so he did settle down after the bloodbath of an opening.

Ryan Braun broke Robin Yount's record of 23 straight games of reaching base safely today. Albeit it was on a HBP, but Braunie set the new club record of 24 games. He went o'fer on the day. Joey Votto extended his streak as well to 25.

Corey Hart had a solid start to his season by collecting 2 hits in the game. He did leave 1 stranded however. Carlos Gomez drove in 2 off of 1 hit while Betancourt continued his hot streak at the plate by going 2 for 5 (including a double).

I guess we could take away one good thing from the game today....Milwaukee's 3-4-5 hitters all went hitless today, yet they only lost by 1 run.

Sergio Mitre has struggled as of late and is doing his best to compete with Sean Green for Greinke's roster spot. Both are equally sucky as of late, but I see more upside in Mitre.

12-11: Milwaukee finally rips a win away from the Red legs.

The 1st place Milwaukee Brewers beat the 2nd place Reds last night!

What a crazy game last night. Marco Estrada continued to show Wisconsin why he should be the #5 starter. At this point, many fans are starting to see that there is a competition for the fifth spot between Marco & Chris Narveson. Of course, Chris is the #5 starter and it's his to lose. But it certainly puts the pressure on him. On the flip side to that, Marco Estrada is facing the inevitiable; batters from opposing teams are going to start taking him more serious and studying up on him by watching his videos. Regardless, he's been a welcomed addition/fill-in while Zack Greinke is on the mend.
Estrada, in just his fifth major league start, gave up only 2 runs on 2 hits which consisted of an infield hit by Mike Leake and a 2-run longball by Brandon Phillips. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were silenced by the effective Estrada. His velocity was there during his entire 103 pitch outing (64 were strikes) that last 7 innings. Despite not earning the decision, he left the game in good hands with the potent 1-2 punch of Kameron Loe & John Axford. Loe (2-0) earned the win while Axford recorded his 5th save of the season in a 1,2,3 ninth inning.
Most impressive was the power that Milwaukee brought to the park lats night. First off, Ryan Braun (9), Prince Fielder (4), and Rickie Weeks (6) all homered for the home team. Weeks' shot provided the go-ahead run in the 8th inning. Betancourt contributed a pair of hits.

Prince Fielder & Ryan Braun are the most explosive tandem in baseball. The pair lead the league with 23 and 21 (44) RBI. I don't see them keeping this treacherous streak up the whole season, but they are pouring it on when the Crew needs them most. Like I said going in to the season, Milwaukee needs to finish .500 in April in order to have a shot. If they fell in to a whole due to the onslaught of injuries, they may be out of it before you know it. Is any team out of it in April? No, but Milwaukee did a good job of trying to prove that theory to be true last season when Hoffman had all of those blown saves. So here we are with 3 more games left to be played in April. If they finish above .500, they over-achieved this month.

Corey Hart came of the DL early last night and was eligible to pinch hit, which he did (0-1). This was due to the surprise injury to Erick Almonte during BP. He was hit under the right eye from a throw (when he wasn't looking). Almonte was the first player in MLB history to go on the newly created 7-day DL. In order to get paced on there, he had to fail a number of tests administered by MLB. Hopefully he's ok and this isn't a nagging injury like Corey Koskie or Justin Morneau's. Hart will start in todays rubber match at 1:05pm (Wednesday).

Sam Lecure will take to the mound today against Yovani Gallardo. Lecure, RHP, is coming off of 7 days rest as the Reds' swingman.

Milwaukee already sold 2 million tickets as of today, beating last years mark. The franchise record for "fastest to 2 million" was in 2001 when Miller Park opened.

Today in Brewers history....the CHAD MOELLER cycle. Not be be overshadowed by the Jody Gerut cycle.

Cutter Dykstra, the ex-Brewer prospect that was traded to DC as part of the Nyjer Morgan deal, did an interview on his father.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

11-11: Narveson craps the bed

The Reds sent Chris Narveson home early last night after only 2 1/3 innings where he gave up 7 earned on 8 hits. Miserable. Ron Roenicke actually provided the excuse after the game, claiming that he sent the pitcher home to get some rest. So do you blame Narveson or the skipper? I blame no one. That's going to happen people. Keep in mind, the #4 & #5 pitchers are average at best. The more innings they pitch...all the better. Why else do you see ERA's up in the 5's? Unless of course you're the Phillies and you have a World Series MVP as your #4 in Cole Hammel.

Ryan Braun, fresh off of winning NL Rookie of the Week (right after Prince did) socked his 8th HR of the season and pulled ahead of Tulo for the league lead. He also reached base safely for his 22nd game. It's crazy how much his plate discipline has improved from last season. His confidence is at a career high right now.

Prince Fielder went o'fer while Weeks-McGehee-Lucroy all doubled.

Ron Roenicke's philosophy is starting to have a positive impact in the clubhouse and in front of the public. Prince Fielder was doing a post-game interview after Sunday's game and he brought up the fact that Ron has been a good manager and he stated a couple of times that it's fun playing baseball. As opposed to Ken Macha's style of play. Ron treats people like they want to be treated, like an equal. And that can go along way. Where as Kenny Macha always had to be the figure head, stoned-face leader that never showed emotion. It's nice to see a manager celebrate and smile and it tells his team that he's in it to win it. I compare Ken Macha to my old 5th grade teacher. Never had any fun, never laughed, and my memory of him was that he was always mean. Therefore, it told me that I didn't really care about my work. Honestly, if he wasn't going to show me that I did a good job, what's the point?
I'm sure we all heard about the overly excited female fan that hoisted a sign over her head that asked for Ryan Braun to call her cell, and then listed the number. It's been all over the news. Well he called, but the voicemail box was full after the game. I called the number, but dialed in the wrong digits and left a voicemail on some random's mail box. Oops. Regardless, it was nice of Braun to do that.

Corey Hart will return to the Brewers lineup during tomorrow's game. He was slated to go 9 innings today, but there is rain in the forecast down in Nashville. So they may just have him come up early (tonight), but not play.
Takashi Soto is set to return as well!

As of press time...Milwaukee is still 5 players away from 'full strength'.

Milwauee has won 5 of their 7 series this season. We'll find out tonight if they improve that record.

Marv Pfenning, an usher who worked 3,665 games for the Brewers (minor league team), Braves, and Brewers, died at the age of 90. He was a mechanic for the Air Force during WWII and he says his most vivid memory of the war was the waves of aircraft (US & British) flying off from the airfield on their way to attack France (German-held) on D-Day. What a hero.

Ex Brewers rightfielder, Gabe Gross, retired from baseball. He was one of the 4 or 5 ex-Brewers that ended up playing for Tampa Bay the year they went to the World Series.

Zack Greinke had a blah rehab start on Sunday versus the Omaha Storm Chasers. He took to the mound against Jeff Suppan and lost. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Monday, April 25, 2011

11-10: Miller Park Hawk debuts

I was unable to watch or even listen to most of the game yesterday because of the Easter day festivities with the family. But I was able to tune in the final 3 innings to enjoy Milwaukee capping off a 4-1 win and a John Axford save on "John Axford Bobble Head Day". So I was thankful for that.

Brandon Boggs had an excellent day for his first start in a Milwaukee uniform. It's nice to see some productivity in RF (aside from Morgan's play and Kotsay's Friday game). He hit a homerun and started off the day in a nice fashion!

Carlos Gomez continued his solid play this series with a 3-hit game. Weeks added a pair of hits, freshly coming off a day of rest after he sprained his pinkie sliding in to 2b on friday night. Prince Fielder added a double while Ryan Braun continued his consecutive streak of reaching base.

Most impressive was Randy Wolf and his gem of a game. He finished 8 complete and gave up only 4 hits and an earned run. Want to hear something crazy? Randy Wolf has been the best pitcher in the rotation to date. You could actually argue that Yovani Gallardo is the like the 4th best pitcher right now, while Narveson and Marcum (even Estrada) have been playing lights out. This is nice to see with Greinke out. In fact, I probably wouldn't be shocked if Zack came back the 2nd week of May. His uneventfull rehab start yesterday was blah.

What stole the show yesterday? Well, a damn city Hawk got trapped in the park when the roof closed. This huge, angry looking bird put on quite the show for the park and even pummeled a pigeon!

He know has a twitter page too! MillerParkHawk~~~!

10-10: Crew's base running resembles Little League team

That was the ugliest display I have seen by the Milwaukee Brewers in many years. I shouldn't say the entire game was a disaster, because it wasn't. But the 8th inning was one for the books. What should've been an excellent game for my son and I to attend, turned out to be one filled with frustration.

Honestly, most of you probably saw it on TV or at the was horrible.

In the 8th inning Milwaukee was down 6-5 and the bases were loaded. Betancourt was on 3b and Lucroy was on 2B while Almonte laid down a nicely (soft) hit. Betancourt didn't run through to make a play at the plate, which would have STILL resulted in Lucroy and probably even Almonte advancing to 3B & 2B and still having 2 more outs to work with. Instead, Betancourt's dumb ass got caught in a run down and Lucroy's (young) dumb ass got caught as well in between 2nd and 3rd. Almonte amost got pegged off too, but the throw was off to Brett Wallace and he bobbled the ball. When all was said and done, it was pathetic.

Both teams wanted to lose the game.

Than the Crew had one more try to tie it up in the 9th inning and Milwaukee was still down by run when Prince Fielder smacked a line drive down the 1B line. Ryan Braun was on 1B and he booked around the horn to score with a play at the plate. Lucky for Braun, he know's how to slide (unlike Josh Hamilton). That tied the game up. Axford had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th and Sean Green came in to finish the game off and get the decision. Well, he failed miserably. His command was so far off and he looked lost out there on the mound. Green allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and even walked a batter. It took Mitch Stetter the final out before the madness was over.

Houston ended up winning the game. Disgusting game. It showed me that Braun & Fielder can't do everything for this team, it's going to take Betancourt's head to be on straight in order for this team to win.

-The overall experience with my son at the game was pleasant. I was worried that a Saturday night game would bring out the idiots. Well, it did. But I was ready for it. One grown man even walked by my 5 year-old son and (faked) a side kick at him that would have sent him tripping and dropping his box of popcorn. He was drunk, I yelled, and he went on his way. That being said, that was the only thing that happened. Granted, the idiot was just being a guff ball and he didn't actually do anything, but it's the thought that counts.

10-9: Milwaukee smacks the Astros around

What a shallacking. Friday's game quckly got out of hand for the visiting Astros.

Gomez, Bruan, McGehee, and Kotsay each had 3 hits.

Braun, Gomez, and Yovani Gallardo each homered.

McGehee & Betancourt each doubled

Yovani Gallard continued his struggles on the mound. You can't really call them "struggles" I guess, because it's not as bad as one would think. But he did continue his less than stellar streak since he pitched the complete-game shut out. He allowed 4 earned runs on 8 hits, 1 BB, and 7 SO's.

Sean Green allowed 2 earned runs while in relief for Yo. More on him later on Saturday night....ick.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Braun extends contract; Largest in franchise history

The news broke yesterday afternoon that Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers came to an agreement on a contract extension that will keep him here until 2020 (option year in 2021). This came as a shocker to everyone who in baseball and especially this hack of a blogger, me.

First let's cover the basics. This deal comes only 3 years after Braun signed a 5 year contract with Milwaukee in 2008. At that time, that was a monster contract because it beat out Evan Longoria & Troy Tulowitzki's contracts that were signed weeks before. This is even bigger than Tulo's contract extension that was made last November to the tune of 119MM for 6 years...this despite the fact that Troy was under team control until 2014.

What a lot of people don't understand is why the Brewers wanted to do this in the first place? They had him locked up until he was 32, which for most players, is the end of their prime. We all laughed when the Nationals signed Werth at the age of 32. Well, here's another version of that.

Here are a couple of different takes on the deal by bloggers and media heads at ESPN & Co.

Steve Garczynski, a blogger on makes a good argument that this deal was unneeded risk for the club.

ESPN's Keith Law calls it "mostly downside for the club" because he was locked up through 2015.

Jim Langrehr (Brewers Bar) digs deeper and finds the deal to be a little more club-friendly. He points out that with the "standard rate" of inflation of 5%, the deal is equivalent to 71.3 MM in present day dollars. With the way deals are getting done in MLB, the Brewers are thinking outside of the box in getting Braun signed while he still is under team control thru 2015.

Salary Inflation: those two words are going to be the most talked-about issue in baseball this decade. It's going to be interest to see how teams react to a rising inflation rate; instead of your a-typical 2-3% it's going to be 5% so it seems.

ESPN's Chritina Kahrl points out that the $10MM "massive" signing bonus is borderline insane for a small market team like Milwaukee to make. That is money that could be used to add someone before the deadline. Here's the kicker to that argument, Milwaukee has NO trading pieces in their farm system to even make a trade for someone that will need that 10MM. Players like Jose Reyes & Rafael Furcal are going to demand a lot in return. Granted, Milwaukee could make a move to bring in a SS that is a B-Level player, but that sort of after-thought type of player won't demand that much...if that even makes sense. My point is, Milwaukee isn't in a position to even use that 10MM to make a trade.

"I see Ryan Braun making a bigger impact to the Brewers Organization, both now and down the road, then Prince Fielder"

Well, we all know that's true now. With yesterdays news this all but assured us that he on his way out. In his place is Mat Gammel or hopefully someone else that they can pull off a trade for. That's going to be tough to see a power hitter like Prince playing for the Cubbies or Cardinals (depending on what happens with Albert). But let's not forget that he's a 1B that plays slightly-above average defense.

My two cents? I like the deal because it was a risk that could pay-off big in luring other players to come to Milwaukee and play. They now have the face of the franchise locked up years to come and he will be Milwaukee's biggest fan in promoting the city/franchise to other players. Furthermore, with the way salaries are sky-rocketing, this could turn out to be quite the deal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Braun extended thru 2020!

Just a quick news update....Milwaukee extended Braun's contract thru 2020 (option on 2021) @ 105MM and a 10MM signing bonus. Braun will most likely use that signing bonus on buying more fabric for making larger sized shirts for his Remetee fashion line.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

9-9: Back to .500

I will gladly take a 4-4 record for this completed road trip. Granted, it would've been nice to see Narveson hold on to that 3-0 lead today, but most of us knew that it was a matter of time before the Philly offense woke up. Not to mention, had Milwaukee and Pittsburgh played that game last week the trip could've ended with a 5-4 record. That being said, I'm looking forward to the upcoming weekend series with last place Houston. Although the Astros had their way with the Crew all last season.

Chris Narveson looked sharp as a knife during the first 5 innings until he gave up a 3-run hommer in the 6th to Placido Polanco. (4 k's, 3 walks, 4 hits)

Kintzler added to the mess when he allowed Victorino a solo shot.

Lucroy has been solid at the plate this series and it amazes me that he caught today. Honestly, look at the number of innings he put in since Sunday (starting with the double-header). He blasted a homer and also took a walk.

Feilder collected 3 hits, drove in 2 runs, and walked. He doubled off Lee early-on and that set the tone for the rest of the line-up.

AM1250's post-game show felt that the coaching could've been better with their last at-bat. With Weeks on 1B and Gomez facing a 3-1 count.

Bud Selig took over the Dodgers finances today. The messy divorce all-but drained the club.

Going in to today's game, the Crew had the NL's lowest ERA.

Haudricourt is reporting that Shaun Marcum is still slated to start Saturday. His father's surgery went well. I'm stoked! I get to see him throw; taking my 4 year-old!

9-8: Brewers Rock Doc / Milwaukee's is in 1st Place!

How many times in the past would we absolutely go crazy in anger when the Milwaukee had to play Philly? We had every right, they usually have Milwaukee's number. I absolutely despise Philly, ever since they beat the Crew in September of 2008 and then of course when they eliminated them in the NLDS a month later. They're teams bank roll continues to swell and they have, arguably, the best rotation in the history of the game. However, Milwaukee became the first team of the season to beat Philly in a series!

The 2010 Cy Young winner who tossed a no-hitter during the NLDS last season took to the mound against the potent Brewers' offense....and he failed. Milwaukee got to Doc right away and didn't let up by collecting 6 runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings of play. How about that!

Sadly for Philly, their bullpen dropped the ball even more by allowing 6 more runs.

Randy Wolf tossed 6 shut-out innings, giving up only 2 hits and fanning 5. Add those shut out innings up all-together and Wolf accounts for 12.2 for this three city roadtrip.

Even more impressive? That would be Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun's full-out sprints to glove hard hit balls in the gaps (zing!). Braun had a backhanded grab in the LF corner while Gomez snagged his in Center-Right. Probably the funniest thing about Gomezs' catch was his reaction afterwards; MLB TV's Bob Costas commented on the play and Carlos being extremely happy for himself, which was apparent when he raised his hand to the sky and hurled in the ball to Rickie Weeks. You could tell he was pumped up. It's nice to see that excitement in CF. Mike Cameron would've never run down a hit like that, and that's no knock on Cam.

Casey McGahee hit a 3-run homer RIGHT after Doc exited the game in the 7th inning, which was a doosey for Philly.

Prince Fielder recorded 3 hits and RBI while Ryan Braun had 2 RBI.

Green, Braddock, and newly arrived McClendon all tossed scoreless frames with no strike outs and only 1 walk.

Erick Almonte is getting ANOTHER chance in RF for today's noon (eastern) game.

Axford was on the morning MLB Radio show today w/ Ron Dibble (Sirius Radio). Seemed pretty positive about the blown save. Again, look around the league people. Closers are having a huge problem earning that Save. Look at Mariano Rivera in last night's game against the Blue Jays. It's not too often you see him allowing 2 runs.

Now that Cory Hart is joining the line-up on Sunday (0-2 in minor league rehab last night) and Zack Greinke coasting through his first rehab assignment down in Florida where he threw 35 pitches, Milwaukee should have all their pieces back together. Greinke threw 27 strikes of the 35 pitches and gave up only one infield single. This is positive news, as there hasn't been any set-backs thus far in both Hart & Greinke's rehabs. Aside from Saito (just put on the DL this past weekend) and Nyjer Morgan (thigh is loosening up, he claims), Milwaukee will be ready to go for their next homestand this coming weekend and into the the work week. They then go on the road April 29th-May 8th (Houston, ATL, STL). Of course Greinke will still have 2 more rehab games to throw.

My point is this, Greinke will be back in time for the Atlanta series (4 game-series) at Miller Park and then pitch May 9th against the Padres, who's offense is the worst in the league. So we will get to see Greinke pitch against the best in Atlanta (one of the best) and the worse in the Padres. If he has a rough outing, like most do when they come off the DL (see Ubaldo, last night) Zack could bounce back against the vulnerable San Diego lineup....a confidence booster if you will.

Another good thing is that Carlos & Nyjer will platoon CF. This will push them to do marvelous things at the plate and out in the field. They will rise to the challenge, especially Carlos. He needs that constant threat of someone trying to take his job away!

MORE on last night's win...From the Canadian point of view...

Milwaukee and Minnesota were the only teams in the BIGS that had yet to score more than 6 runs in a game. Well, that now leaves you Minnesota.

Milwaukee has 4 shut-outs this season, ALREADY, with out Greinke in the rotation.

Milwaukee is 2nd in the league for Quality Starts

Craig Counsell, 40, made his first career appearance in the outfield last night (resting Braun).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

8-8: Back to .500

**Update** Shaun Marcum has been placed on the bereavement leave, his father is having heart surgery. Not looking good, it sounds. Mike McClendon from Nashville has been recalled.
Tom Haudricourt tweet is the source.

The Brewers and Phillies slugged it out at Citizens Bank Park last night for 3+ hours and 12 innings. In the end Milwaukee came out on top 6-3 only after John Axford blew his 2nd save of the season. That will happen to a guy when he tosses 8 straight balls and walks the lead-off hitter (with a one-run lead). Regardless, Axford battled through it and closed out the inning with out allowing any more runs. Yes, it's a blown save and he has yet to throw a clean inning...but that's the in MLB 2011...every single closer in the bigs right now is having problems closing out games. Ax is no different. Look no further than Ryan Franklin of the Cardinals (an All-Star) who has blown 5 straight saves. He's the 2010 Trevor Hoffman of this season.

Shaun Marcum was filthy last night. He now has 18 straight scoreless innings and his ERA dropped to a silly low of 1.90, however he didn't get the win (5k's 0 BB's). Brandon Kintzler stole the spotlight however. Only hours since LaTroy Hawkins came off the DL and Kintzler was the one who was going to get sent back down to Nashville did he throw 2 excellent innings giving up 1 walk and zero hits.

Meanwhile, aside from Axford's 1 run blunder, the bullpen was solid. Especially Mitre, who has been the unsung anchor of that squad. Sergio threw another scoreless inning but did give get charged with a blown save according to the box score....I don't remember how that happened. He did get a liner hit off him that ultimately led to the end of the inning in probably one of the strangest plays I have seen in sometime. Bentancourt (who had some bad defensive plays) was able to catch that liner that bounced off Sergio and then throw to 2B for the double play.

Ryan Braun: 3 for 4, 2 RBI
Jonathon Lucroy: 3 for 5, 1 RBI
Erick Almonte: 0 for 1, batting .95 on the season

- Phillies reliever JC Romero is heading to the 15 day DL with a strained calf from last night's game. What looked like a rolled ankle at first...turned out to be worse.'s Andy Baggot discusses Greinke and Hart coming off the DL. The former expected debut will be on May 4th while Hart is penciled in for this Sunday. How will the Zack and Yo (and even Marcum) handle a penant race? A little soon to discuss that, but all 3 have yet to play a significant role in a post season run. Gallardo was out with a torn ACL in 2008 and Greinke never won more than 87 games.

Greinke will make at least 3 rehab starts.

Nyjer Morgan has a new t-shirt line that touts his alter-ego, TONY PLUSH. Check it out, it's hilarious....

Monday, April 18, 2011

7-7/7-8: Milwaukee gets swept out of DC

What a bunch of ugly games by the Brewers. If it wasn't Yovanni Gallarado getting blasted out of the park, it was the effortless offense the Crew deployed. All in all, these 2 games were miserable. I noticed that the Brewers have been flat when Nyjer Morgan hasn't played. Granted, this controlled experiment only considers the last 3 games. But you can't help but notice it. Wouldn't it be nice if the Brewers some how had the number of prospects to make a trade to land Jose Reyes on a rental basis for the second half of the season? It's never going to happen, we all know. The cupboards are dry. Tom Haudricourt discusses the 2005 Draft, which is probably one of the best in recent memory. Read those top 5 picks! Why haven't we seen Morgan in the field? Because he's been limited due to a deep thigh bruise that he suffered when he ran in to Doummit during the Pirates series. Although, I was reading his twitter posts and I don't recall him saying anything about the matter. In fact, he's been (jokingly) ripping on Ron Roenicke because he hasn't been in the line-up for the Friday game. Is it a thigh bruise or punishment for something? That was a nasy collision at home plate, but why are we just hearing about this yesterday? The Erick Almonte experience should be done and over with. For the love of God, he is horrible in RF and looked like a wounded goat when he slid for that attempted catch yesterday. Oh man this guy is very slow. Likewise with Craig Counsell and his loan crappy hit of the season. Throw in the elderly Kotsay and we have a bunch of senior citizens who are duds. Granted, Corey Hart is starting his rehab assignment tomorrow and should be back by the end of the week. LaTroy Hawkins is coming back later this week....

7-6: Error-filled game

This game was a heart-breaker. While watching this game Friday night, already 9 beers in to the evening, I was ready to write the Crew off. But then Rickie Weeks blasted a homerun in the 9th innings to tie it up, a 2-run blast at that. Finally, in the bottom of the 10th inning the Nationals pulled it off and beat the Brewers when Prince Fielder slight hesitation costed Milwaukee the winning run. Rickie Weeks: 3 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI Chris Narveson: 5 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 4 walks ugh...

Friday, April 15, 2011

7-5: Wolf's Turn

Man, Milwaukee is on fire right now! Here we are 12 weeks in to the season and Prince Fielder already has 15 runs-batted-in and is hitting .372; while Ryan Braun has 8 rbi's and is carries a .325 batting average. If Braunie & Fielder are dialed in at the same time, which they haven't been since 2008, we can expect big things. In addition to that piece, the rotatin is off to their best start far as I can remember.

Randy Wolf went 6.2 innings and he recorded his 1st win of the season. He was lights-out last night striking out 10 and only walking 2 while giving up a lowly 2 hits. Now that's impressive. Granted, it's against the horrific Pirates...who are flat-out bad.

Fielder, Morgan, and Bentancourt all drove in runs. Tony Plus/Nyjer Morgan almost tacked on another triple when he hit a bouncer down the RF line, but he stumbled while rounding 2B and fell, thus leading to him getting tagged out. It was laughable though, at least for Plush and me....he did drive in a run and added to the cushioned lead.

The bullpen was on-point again, however Axford struggled a bit when he walked the bases loaded and then threw a curver in to the dirt....Lucroy tried to block it and it bounced to the backstop, which resulted in the loan run of the night for the Pirates. It was Lucroy's fault, but Milwaukee shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place. Ax did bounce back right away and struck out Alvarez.

The Crew will have the luxury of playing the Pirates again in May but then also 3 more series during the last 2 months of the season (along with the double header on Aug 22).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

6-5: Hot Streak Continues

What a game last night. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when I looked at the box score and noticed that the Crew had not yet collected a hit by the middle of the 5th. But then the bats came alive; the offense was led by Prince Fielder and the oh-so confident Nyjer Morgan aka Tony Plush (more on that later). Prince blasted his 3rd HR of the season and recorded another RBI; that's a run batted in every game for the last 6 games. Contract year anyone? Nyjer Morgan continued to show Melvin & Roenicke that he can flat out rake. He hit almost went yard (ended up being a single) and he scored from 1B on a Bentancourt double. Carlos Gomez drove in a run on a sacrifice hit. Shaun Marcum was on-point last night. He recorded (yet another) his first shut out as a Brewer and held the Pirates offense to 4 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings of work (94 pitches). No signs of shoulder of tightness either! The bullpen continued their dominant play with 2 hitless innings between Braddock, Loe, and Stetter. While watching MLB's "Quick Pitch" this morning I noticed the White Soxs' horrific pen and their 6.70 ERA. That's horrible, but that's what Milwaukee was dealing with last season at this time (Trevor Time Anyone?). If you're not on Twitter, even if you hate it, I urge you to google "Tony Plush"+"Twitter" and read some of Nyjer Morgan's tweets. He refers to himself as "Tony Plush", his gentlemanly alter-ego that is well spoken and gives pointers on how to live above the rest. It's hilarious, but you can't help but appreciate his writting. The San Fran native is fond of Coach Roencike, addresses his chewing tobacco use, and the "relentless rain" during Tuesday's rain-out. "" The Pittsburgh rains are relentless. Plush wonders if the Pirates are employing a nefarious dark magick to prevent his triumphant return."" With Luis Cruz being picked up off of waivers by the NY Mets a few weeks ago, Milwaukee suddenly finds themselves short at Shortstop. To make matters worse, Edwin Maysonete just strained his hamstring 2 days ago while playing in Nashville. Lovely. There is literally NO PROSPECTS that play SS in the Milwaukee farm system. So we all know how Milwaukee is going to draft in (early) June's draft. The closest Brewer that Milwaukee has that can play SS is Yadiel Rivera, the 18 year-old Puerto Rican that was signed a few months back. But he's playing extend spring ball in AZ. You know damn well the Bentancourt is going to go down with an injury...sooner rather than later. Time to trade a catcher? My guess is that George Kottrarus will be the most likely to get traded if they can bring in a SS prospect. He could probably net more in return than Nieves, especially if you match him up with Manny Parra or Sergio Mitre, both of which are expendable if truly needed--Saito, Hawkins, Parra all coming back in the next couple of weeks--. Milwaukee will make a trade by the end of next week. Cubs signed Doug get ready to sit through 3.5 hour games when he starts. Jeff Suppan signed a minor league deal with Ned Yost a week ago. Hurray.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Yes the Brewers play tonight...NO they are not on TV. You get to watch the Bucks play instead, if you live outside the Milwaukee metro. The make-up game will be a double-header on August 22nd. Great, nothing like tacking that on just before the home stretch that is September. Zack Greinke threw a simulated game yesterday, albeit indoors, and he impressed Roenicke so much that he's now on path to debut in 2 weeks (end of April). That's about on-par with what they have been saying in the first week of the season. Over the past week or so Melvin was giving the return time some cushion by having Ash and even Roencike say that debut in the first week of May was more likely. Meanwhile, Mannuel Parra was roughed up in the 2nd inning of his Nashville start. He was spotless in the 1st but then allowed 3 earned runs in the following inning. Don't rush back...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Slug Fest?

Milwaukee travels east to the city of Pittsburgh for a 3-game series. Yesterday was the Pirates first day-off this season and it couldn't come soon enough. It was only 4 days ago when their bullpen threw 11 1/3 innings against the Mets. Both clubs are 5-5. Shawn Marcum (1-1) will take to the mound against Kevin Correia. Probably the best, recent, memory of this divisional rivalary was last April when the Brewers took the 3 game series and outscored the Pirates 36-1, which included a 20-0 win. Prince Fielder has been on fire over the past week. He was named NL Player of the Week. 11 RBI's, .44o average, 21 TB, Three "3 hit" games, tied a franchise record with 3 doubles in one game (33 times in MLB history)... Some roster updates: Saito was placed on the 15 day DL yesterday; Kintzler was called up from Nashville. He had the debacle against the Braves that ultimately lost it for them in the first game of that series. Jonathon Lucroy was reactivated off the DL. Instead of Melvin & Roenicke kicking one of the 2 back-up catchers to curb, they decided to keep both of them, using Kotteraus as a (L) pinch hitter. Reed was optioned out to Nashville, which wasn't a shocker considering that Kotsay and Morgan are there to stay. Saito, Hawkins, and Gagne are some of Melvins biggest blunders. However, picking up bullpen help over the recent years has proven to be a challenge. More and more clubs are stacking the cupboards full of depth. Remember last season's "Year of the Pitcher"? That's notion has been around for the past 5-6 years. By the way, Hawkins is looking like he'll come of the DL in the next week. Hockey prepared Nyjer Morgan for the Bigs; cool story about the pint sized fielder. Chris Narveson ranks 6th on the Brewers all-time scoreless innings streak. Jim Slaton owns the top 2 spots with a 20.2 & 16.2 streaks. Thankfully, he will get a shot against the Pirates.

Monday, April 11, 2011

5-5: Casey McGehee Comes Through

Yesterdays game started off with a bang. Despite the shakey start for Yovani Gallardo (5 innings/7 hits/4 earned/4 walks/2 k's), it was the bullpen that came in and saved the day. Furthermore, it was Casey McGahee that delivered Milwaukee it's second straight series win. His line-drive, PINCH HIT, 2 run homer in the bottom of the 8th all but locked it up for John Axford to come in to collect the save (3). Casey was riding the pine yesterday with a 3-21 slump.

Prince Fielder also came up big for the Brewers with 3 hits. He, Braun, and Casey all homered for the Crew.

Probably one of the smartest moves for the Brewers during the off-season was the late addition of Sergio Mitre. So far this man has been awesome. Middle relievers play a huge role in the bullpen and often times get brought in to the game during horrible situations (runners on the corners-1 out). Yes, it's still early in the season and he has only tossed 4 innings. But he has yet to give up a run and he's only allowed 2 hits and ZERO walks. That is huge right there. That right there is the one of the main reasons why the pen has rebounded since the debacle in the Queen City. Furthermore, Mitre is someone that can (and probably will) fill in the starting rotation. Remember, it was between Estrada and Mitre for the start against Atlanta.

It's looking more and more like Zack Greinke will be back in the next couple of weeks. Gord Ash was quoted as saying the first week of May, while others seems to think that they'll push him to come back the Houston series (April 29-May 1). I am of the thought that they should not rush his return. Yes, we all want to see Greinke make his debut, but let's be smart about this. Rib injuries, let alone a cracked rib are nothing to laugh at for a pitcher who typically goes deep in to the games.

His Saturday bullpen session went off with out a hitch, which is assuring to Ron Roenicke & Doug Melvin in deciding when/where Zack will come off the DL...which he has been on basically since mid March. Greinke felt that he would only need a 3 inning start in the minors (Nashville), but the club may have plans for 6, typical start for a starting pitcher.

Additionally, other players will be coming off the DL soon and Roenicke will be faced with some tough roster moves. What do you do with Marco Estrada once Manny Parra & LaTroy Hawkins comes back? My guess is that Estrada will be optioned down to Nashville and Sean Green (4.2 innings, 2 earned runs, 4 hits) will follow suit, despite both of their success in the recent days. Corey Hart & Jonathon Lucroy will come back, thus resulting in Will Nieves getting bounced down along with Jeremy Reed? Kotsay isn't going anywhere, but Almonte could.

Carlos Gomez broke an unwritten rule in Saturday's game when he stole 2 bases while the Brewers were up 6 runs and it was a shut-out. Both managers acknowledged it too. But Roenicke was thinking that 5 runs could easily be made up in an inning. Which we all know is a long shot. Regardless, this is probably the one rule that pisses off opposing teams quite a bit; Mike Quade seemed irked, but didn't get too vocal on it.. It's not like he bunted during a no-hitter, or walked over the pitchers mound, or stole signs. But it's showmanship. I agree that it was wrong, but I'm also of the thought that if you don't like

Saito is set to pitch Tuesday, if the opportunity presents itself.

4-5: Crew rebounds

Thankfully Chris Narveson (1-0) has picked up some of Randy Wolf slacks. It's nice to have a back of the rotation hurler become your club's hottest pitcher. As of right now, Narveson is the anchor of that rotation. Now will he be able to keep this hot streak? Probably not, I mean 13 scoreless innings is a great accomplishment; but I don't see the Pirates succombing to it's extension. Too much talent in that offense (it's just too bad they can never win). He was on fire, once again, Saturday night by lasting 7 innings complete and giving up 6 hits and only 1 walk. Prince Fielder is off to his hottest start of his career (a contract year!)....He collected 3 doubles (4-season) and drove in 4 runs. Braun added a double and a RBI while Nyjer Morgan added a tripple.

3-5: Crew drops first game to the Cubs

Carlos Zambrano continued his dominance at Miller Park on Friday, leading his tams to a 7-4 victory to open up the series. Bentancourt & Nyjer Morgan each had two hits while George Kottarus further anchored his role as the back-up catcher to Jonathon Lucroy by hitting in 2 runs. Randy Wolf was blah as usual. He is off to a horrible start. Wolf went 6 complete giving up 6 runs, but only 2 of them were earned.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The I-94 Series

Starting tonight, the Chicago Cubs will be traveling 83 minutes north up I-94 to Miller Park to take on the Milwaukee Brewers. This relatively new rival (14 years) has taken center stage in the NL Central and is growing more and more popular for MLB (center stage with Cubs-Cardinals rivalry). The teams first played each other on June 15th, 1998 at Wrigley. Prior to Milwaukee's switching to the National League, the I-94 Series was the match up between the Twins & Brewers. For many, it still is. Not for this guy. The Cub-Brewers rivalry is heated and typically, the two teams dislike each other. Granted, the Cardinals and Crew hate each other as well. But it's the Cubs that have finished higher than the Brewers in the Central (aside from last season).

*Chicago leads the series 107 - 95*

It doesn't help the love loss when the only home team to record a no-hitter in Miller Park was the Cubs. It was only 2 seasons ago when Carlos Zombrano recorded that no-hitter in September 2009. That really stings.... But hey, that's what happens when your team hasn't had a solid starting rotation in the past 25+ years. Sure we had Sheets & CC, but that was short lived and Ben never even played in the post season that year (2008).

Meanwhile, you have the filthy Cubs. A team that is old as dirt, yet haven't won the World Series since 1908. The last time they made it to the big show was in 1945...just when World War II was ending. I realize that Milwaukee doesn't have much to hang their hat on either...but the Milwaukee franchise has only been around 42 years. While the Cubbies haven't won a world series in 103 years. So Milwaukee has time to make a bigger impact.

During most (if not all) of the rivalry, Cub fans have been taking over Milwaukee and calling it "Wrigley North". Although in recent years, the mix of fans have been 60/40 Cub fans to Milwaukee and a couple of games that were 50/50. But it's true, Chicago fans have literally taken over the park. But that's about to CHANGE.

Tonight pits the Brewers southpaw Randy Wolf, who is winless against the Cubs in a Brewers uniform, against Carlos Zambrano...the hot head who had the no-no at Miller Park. GO BREWERS!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

3-4: Marcum Delivers / Carlos Gomez Leads Charge

Well done Brew Crew....well done.... Shawn Marcum rebounded big time from last Friday and delivered a redeeming performance that resulted in a 4-2 win. Milwaukee takes the series 3 games to 1 over the 2010 Wild Card Braves. Chicago comes to town for a 3-game series over the weekend. Marcum went 6 complete, giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits and only 2 free passes. The bullpen delivered another blow by not allowing any runs and only giving up 3 hits in 3 innings of work. That makes it 6 scoreless innings over 2 games. This time it was Mitch Stetter, Sergio Mitre, Kam Loe, and John Axford. Axford looked spot-on again and only gave up 1 hit to Matt Young (his first career hit). Once again, the offense showed vast improvement from their previous series in Cincy. Everyone in the line-up collected a hit except for Bentacourt and the pitchers spot. Gomez, Braun and Kottarus each had 2 hits with Braunie contributing 2 RBI's. The only concern I had was the RISP (w/ 2 outs) Milwaukee had. Nyjer Morgan led the 4 players who stranded runners, he left 2 on base. This has been the problem for Milwaukee over the past 2 seasons. This has to improve. **Doug Melvin reportedly said that Chicago Cub fans purchasing tickets at Miller Park for the upcoming series has dropped 50%. I heard this from a couple of sources, but can not confirm it. It makes sense. Their roster stinks and the city is fed up.

2-4: Prince Ignites Offense

Prince Fielder picked a great time to snap out of his mini-funk last night against the Braves. Milwaukee hung on to beat the Atlanta 5-4 thanks impart to Fielder's 3 for 4 evening; he was apart of all 5 runs last night. He drove in 3 runs on three nicely placed singles and collected 2 runs. Furthermore, he seemed to have his confidence back at the plate; not necessarily swinging for the fence. Marco Estrada was just called up Tuesday evening and he had little time to prepare, but he had an solid outing in recording his first major league win. The ex-Washington National was able to play catch with his old teammate Will Nieves doing the play calling. He looked at ease and comfortable on the mound, never once showing any stress. All things considered, he did leave a fastball hanging for Jason Hayward to blast out of the park for a 3-run dinger. Other than that, he was johny on the spot with most of his pitches, seldomly having come from behind in the count. The bullpen was excellent last night and they sealed the deal for the win. Zach Braddock made his 2011 debut and had threw a scoreless 7th inning. In fact, Braddock-Loe-Axford didn't even give up a hit and they recorded 2 strike-outs. Now that's the 1-2-3 punch Milwaukee has been looking for. Keep in mind, this is against a very potent offense. Carlos Gomez recorded a timely hit and ran the base path very well. The man has blazing speed, along with Nyjer Morgan (who also collected a hit) that resulted in Gomez being tagged at the plate. If you ask me, he was safe. The very next play Mark Kotsay (2 for 2) drove in the decisive run that resulted in Prince sliding head first in to home. Although the television viewers at home (as well as Brian & Bill) all knew he was out. I would very much like to see Nyjer Morgan as a platoon outfielder until Corey Hart returns later this month (fingers crossed). Let him give Carlos Gomez a day or two off every week and then fill-in at RF, rotating with Kotsay & Almonte. He needs to see the field early-on this season, because once Hart comes back--he will go to a limited role that mainly involves pinch hitting/running. -Jeff Suppan signed a minor league contract with the Royals. He will be returning to the state of Missouri where he used to play for the Cardinals (twice in his career). Even better? We get to hear Yost bullshit "Soup pitched a good game this evening".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1-4: Gallardo Tosses A Gem!

Thankfully Milwaukee has a true ACE in Yovani Gallardo... Yo led the Crew to a 1-0 victory in his best performance of his young career. He threw a 2-hit complete game shut-out against the offensive powerhouse in the Atlanta Braves. Derick Lowe was no slouch either, limiting the Crew to only 1 run on 5 hits and lasted 6 innings. His loan mistake was giving up an RBI single to Ryan Braun in the 4th inning. Braunie reached 1B four times last night (2 hits/2 walks).

Prince Fielder & Rickie Weeks went o'fer.

Probably the most encouraging news last night, aside from Yo, was the Nyjer Morgan and his first start for the Brewers. He went 3 for 4 and advanced 2 runners. Morgan was a blazer on the base path when he hit a triple that he placed nicely in right-center field, making McClouth and Hayward look like stooges.

Ron Roenicke earned his first win as a manager, which is long overdue, but nice nonetheless. Do you think Kenny Macha would let Gallardo finish his complete game shut out?? Perhaps, but you know he would've been thinking heavily on giving Rick Peterson a call...if this was 2010. Now we have the 2011 Crew, and Ron did the right thing. He probably made up for his blunder on Monday when pulled Narveson after he threw a gem.

After the post-game media session Roenicke was ambushed by his players and coaches and was given a "water" shower to celebrate his first win. Pretty neat gesture from a team that can't stop saying enough positive things about him.

"He’s awesome,” said first baseman Prince Fielder. “He’s been great to us ever since he got here. He’s put everybody in a position to succeed. He’s such a good dude and a manager. “I’m happy for him because he deserves this.

That being said, it was a win last night but it wasn't one to brag about. Once again the Brewers couldn't muster much offense. They will eventually snap out of this funk, but what hell Prince this NOT your contract year?

After Brandon Kintzler's horrible performance during Monday's home opener, Doug Melvin decided to send him down Nashville and bring up Marco Estrada. Remember Marco was the fellow that Milwaukee picked up off of the waiver wire from Washington 2 off-seasons ago. He's was solid this past spring and decent in season clean-up work last season.

UPDATE: Estrada is starting tonight (Wednesday) against the Braves. Marcum will be bumped to the Thursday matinee.

It's looking like Greinke will return before Hart. It's looking like he will throw off the mound later this week as he begins his rehab back to the rotation. I wonder if he'll get a start in Appleton for the Timber Rattlers? They are at home April 15th-20th.

Despite the slow start this season, the demand is higher than ever for Brewers tickets according to this source.

I think I mentioned this before, but Robin Yount gave the team a nice speech to close out spring training last week. He was a 'special instructor' to the team, since he lives in Arizona this worked out nicely. Robin praised Ron Roenicke, his staff, and the team for their work ethic and focus. He's thinking that the Brewers will make a run this season....

Last but not least....Milwaukee sports radio is on fire over the Nyjer Morgan-Carlos Gomez decision. Many are of the thought that the Nyjer Morgan era started last night with his 3 for 4 performance. I'm off the belief that Gomez should continue to get starts, but allow him enough leash length to last the month. If he doesn't prove himself in 3+ weeks, then it's all Nyjer's role. But again, the 3 weeks are subject to Nyjer's spot starts and how well he does. So basically you could platoon them for a few weeks and make them push each other.

Monday, April 4, 2011

0-4: Saito blows lead

The Crew can't catch a break when it comes to their newly acquired players. First it was Zack Greinke who let the entire state down with his news of him cracking a rib playing basketball. Then Shawn Marcum experiences shoulder tightness in spring training and flops in his first 2 innings of being a Brewer. Now we have Takashi Saito, the reliever Milwaukee picked up from Atlanta to take the place of Trevor Hoffman (and LaTroy Hawkins' old ass). He gives up a game winning HR to Martin Prado in the 7th inning. It's going to happen, all pitchers have their ups and downs, but now? Most frustrating is Carlos Gomez. Yet again, he failed to reach base and struck out twice (once chasing a ball). So the Carlos.2 experiment is off to a horrible start (aside from his HR). It's early, we all know that, but one can't help but remember last season and his time in NYC and Minneapolis. Rickie Weeks crushed his 3rd homerun of the season in the 3rd inning. Sadly enough, Yunesky Bentacourt (double and a single) and Ryan Braun's single was the only offense Milwaukee could muster. Chris Narveson was spectacular. Honestly, this was probably one of his best outings of his career. He took a 3-hit shut 6 complete innings before being prematurely yanked by Ron Roenicke. Narveson only had 98 pitches in 6 innings, so one can't help but wonder why he was pulled. Prince Fielder....wake up please....this is a contract year for you. The only cool news? Ryan Grant of the Packers was stranded in NYC and was scheduled to help throw the first pitch. READ HERE. He ended up paying for a private jet to make the game in time.

(Home) Opening Day! -- Miller Park turns 10!

Miller Park turns 10 today and it's hosting the Brewers home opener. Chris Narveson takes to the mound today against the Brandon Beachy and the 2-1 Atlanta Braves. The latter coming off a series win against the Nationals.

Atlanta brings a powerful offense to the Brew City in the likes of Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Chipper Jones, Omar Infante, and rookie prospect Freddy Freman (1B). The Braves also have a potent starting rotation with the likes of Minor & Hudson getting the call for Tuesday-Wednesday's game.

Nyjer Morgan is starting in CF for Carlos Gomez.

Milwaukee will take 2 of 3 and win and the series, my prediction.

0-3: Milwaukee swept out the door

Ugh...that's really all I can say right now. What a lack-luster effort by Milwaukee's pitching this opening series. When all is said and done, I can't believe I'm looking forward to Chris Narveson pitching today. Randy Wolf went back to his 2010's first half ways by sucking it up big time. This shouldn't come as a shocker, since he was piss poor this spring. Rickie Weeks & Ryan Braun both homered for their second dinger of the year. Probably most discouraging was Carlos Gomez....who homered in the season opener during his first at-bat (just like 2010, how's that for a jinx?). The last 2 games he's chased balls and swung the bat wildly, which lead to him NOT reaching base in the last 2 games of the series. Looks like Carlos of the past. Nyjer Morgan is no god send either. But perhaps Roenicke should have a shortened leash on Carlos in hopes that Morgan can apply pressure for him to play well. There's no other alternative until Hart comes back, and then Kotsay can fill in (stomach grumbling). Randy Wolf (0-1) lasted 4 innings. Yes that's right, Marcum and Wolf last 8 and 2/3 combined innings. How's that for a turn-around? My last spring training post I went on about the promising hope that Milwaukee's starting rotation will go deeper in to the games, perhaps 6 or 7 complete innings when Gallardo, Marcum, and Greinke are on the mound. I realize it's earlier and stupid ass pitch counts need to be kept in check (which is complete bullshit). But 4 innings is unacceptable. Utter bullshit. Randy gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits. Even worse, was the bullpen. Kintzler, Stetter, and Green each gave up an earned run. Brandon's was most gut wrenching because Milwaukee was 4 runs down. Making matters even worse was the the 5 relievers who took to the mound in Saturday's game only collected 1 strike out, TOTAL. That was Kintzler. The other 4 pitchers couldn't even whiff a batter. On a small good note, Kameron Loe & John Axford didn't give up any runs. This leads me to my rant.... My brother, father, and myself just got done moving a huge dining room hutch in to my home on Sunday (found it at a garage sale; this think is prestine!) when we decided to get some eats at Culvers in Merrill. How hard is it for eateries and pubs in the state of Wisconsin to have the Brewers game on the tv. It should be a gimmie that all establishments have the game on. I shouldn't have to ask for it. And then when I ask an employee, look at me like I'm a toothless crack whore. Is that really to much for me to as?

0-2: Marcum is no Marksmen...yet

Holy balls, Milwaukee was out of this game from the very start. Shawn Marcum was pretty far off in his Brewers debut. His first 3 innings were horrible and hard to watch. Folks all across the Badger state couldn't help but wonder if this was Jeff Suppan.2 unfolding before our eyes. That being said, he actually settled in and looked decent the last 1 and 2/3's innings.

Marcum walked Johnny Gomes with 4 straight pitches, thus matching his career- high for walks (5). He opened the game with a walk and had he fell behind every batter in the first 2 innings. It was a horrible sight, or sound, because the stupid game wasn't on tv.

So....was it lingering shoulder tightness that he suffered from this spring? Did he force this start? I mean, Brewer fans across the land (or state of the matter) would have been ready to throw in the towell if both Greinke & Marcum were both put on the DL to start the season. Time will tell if this is a shoulder issue, because Marcum can paint the strikezone's corners like nobody's business. He doesn't have overwelming heat, he's on-point. But Saturday night he was nothing of the sorts.

Prince Fielder recorded 2 hits while Erick Almonte his his 2nd career HR, 8 years to the day since he hit his first. Week's went o'fer.

All in all it was a hard game to stomach.

Friday, April 1, 2011

0-1: Brewers Blow It

Unreal. Despite all of the good things we saw in yesterdays game it was all thrown out the window when Ramon Hernandez (catcher) hit a 3-run homerun in the bottom of the fricking 9th inning. Brewers closer John Axford, who struggled most of the spring training but came around the last week or so, left a fast ball hanging and Ramon blasted it out of the park.
One could also put blame on the mishap of Casey McGahee. He missed a routine tag play on Brandon Phillips and overthrew 1B when. Kameron Loe also gave up a HR in the 7th inning. All in all, it was devastating blow to the start of the season. I say this because the Crew has off today and won't be able to get this taste out of my mouth until their shot on Saturday. Sadly enough, Casey's excuse was that he thought Phillips left the baseline. Really? Come on now....act like a pro and take the hit. He did say that he should've made the throw to 1B, but after hearing his first excuse...I was already pissed off.

That being said, Milwaukee's offense was stellar and even made franchise history when Rickie Weeks (lead-off) and Carlos Gomez opened the season with back-t0-back HR's. It was also the first time to open the season since 1969 when Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan did it, oddly enough. Quite impressive to say the least. Gomez also reached base on a walk. Granted, he also opened last season with similar numbers (1 HR); so hopefully he'll pan out better this season. One thing is for sure, he was patient at the plate and didn't seem too wild. This is encouraging; one can only hope that the addition of Nyjer Morgan a few days ago will light a match under his ass. If he goes back to his old ways, the Morg-Dog goes in.

Ryan Braun also homered for the Crew

Closer, John Axford gave up 4 runs in 1 inning...awesome

Yovani Gallardo had a solid day on the mound (but not at the plate) for the Crew. He went 6 complete innings giving up 2 earned runs on 7 hits (3 walks, 4 K's).

One thing we should see a lot more of this season are the starting pitchers going deeper in to the game. Instead of the 5+ innings that we have been forced to stomach over since Ben Sheets left, hurlers like Marcum & Greinke (and eventually Gallardo) will hopefully give 6+ innings. That leads to one less appearence by Kameron Loe and Co. The ultimate goal, in a perfect world, is giving the ball to Saito (2 hits in 1 inning, zero runs) and then off to the closer (Axford, as of press time).

Let's not get overly anxious with Axford. A long-time friend of mine (Rat, the only known reader of this blog) referenced his distaste for Doug Melvin letting Fransisco Cordero walk over to the Reds after 2007...instead relying on Eric Gagne for the 2008 (which was their play-off season!). I quickly reminded him that Co Co wanted a 4 year deal at the time, which Melvin wasn't allowed to do under the current ownership's restraints on payroll. Although he did pay Gagne 10MM x 1 year contract. I also pointed out that Salmon Torres did a fine job as fill-in closer notching 20-25 saves (can't recall off the top of my head). Likewise in 2009 when Trevor Hoffman was untouchable and even an All Star! Although in 2010, Hoffman blew hard and he set the Crew back in to a hole that they never got out of....John Axford killed it when he recorded 24 saves out 27 attempts...for a rookie none the less.

Note this....please....everyone.....

Milwaukee's offense is going to be the best in the NL if not the entire league. Their defense will be average at best. The starting rotation should be above average (aiming low there) and the bullpen has a huge question mark. Not just because of yesterday's blunder....but because no one knows if Axford, Loe, and Braddock can continue their success from last season, when there was NO stress and no season on the line. Give Ax some breathing room and hopefully he will rebound.

Plan B?

Saito moves to the closer role and hopefully by then, Hawkins or Parra will be back to possibly fill in for set-up. Parra is a long reliever, so he probably isn't even an option considering that he's also left handed. But Hawkins was signed as a set-up man to Trevor Hoffman...he just has too many injuries and blunders when he did make appearences. Jeremy Jeffress would probably be tapped to be the set-up man, but he's in KC now. So that leaves us with...well....SERGIO MITRE?

Again, I said it last season and I will say it in 2010...a marginal improvement with the starting rotation will give the Crew that needed bump to the top. We certainly didn't see it last season, but there HAS TO BE some light at the end of the tunnel with the current cast.

The famous Bronx Zoo king cobra was found....a bit of good news from yesterday. Oh, and Albert Pujols went 0-5 in his opening day. He hit in to 3 double plays and accounted for 8 outs!