Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brewers are hitting from every position

Congratulations to the Brewers, who, with yesterday’s win equaled their season high of 14 games above .500.

It couldn’t have come at a better time, heading into the weekend series at the Cubs, who are currently 7.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central.

Of course, the last time the Brewers were 14 games above .500 they were 24-10. They then lost 20 of their next 30 games. Let’s not go there again.

Yesterday’s game was full of big moments:

Backup catcher Damian Miller hit his first homerun of the season. It just so happened to be a walk-off 3-run homer. In the 11th inning.

The team swept the Houston for the first time in a 3-game series. We had swept them in a 2 game series in the past – but that really doesn’t count, does it?

Dave Bush came out of the bullpen to pitch the 10th and 11th innings. It was announced after the game that Bush would be the starting pitcher on Sunday at Wrigley.

The Brewers have now won 5 straight series after taking 2 of 3 from the Royals and the sweeping the Astros

This season the Brewers have a promotion called Walk-Off Wednesdays. On Wednesdays you can buy a player’s name and number tshirt for $5 in the Fan Zone shop at Miller Park. If that person hits a walk-off homer, you win an autographed bat. It’s unconfirmed whether or not they bought the shirts at the game, or beforehand, but there was a large group of Damian Miller fans in the stands from his hometown of LaCrosse all wearing Miller Tshirts. Apparently, it was their lucky day.

I was all prepared to talk about Ryan Braun’s hitting proficiency after he had gone 5-8 in the first two games, with a homerun and 3 RBIs. Of course he followed that up with a big 0 in yesterday’s game, thus making him 5-12 in the series, which is not really something to be excited about.

Last weekend’s series was also full of stellar performances. Friday night’s game featured a stellar performance from Ryan Braun who was 4-4 with a walk. Corey Hart had another great start in the leadoff position as he his another homerun.

Saturday’s game featured some creative double plays by the Crew due in part to some horrific base running by the Royals. Shortstop Craig Counsell was about 4 steps into the outfield and caught a pop-up, then flipped the ball to second to tag out the runner who decided to leave the bag on a pop-up.

There was also a 3-6-1 in which Prince fielded a ball and shot it down to second, where Rickie then fired it back to pitched Dave Bush who was covering 1st.

Sunday’s game, despite being a loss, featured spectacular play by Kevin Mench, of all people. Mench had 3 leadoff doubles and was stranded on base each time. He also caught a pop fly to left for an out, then rifled the ball to home where catcher Johnny Estrada made a play at the plate and got the runner out.
Also in extra innings, Mench led a surge that should have won the game for the team, but once again we weren’t able to bring him home. He stretched a single to right center into a double, beating the throw and almost sliding right past the bag. He was hugging the bag for dear life to keep himself anchored.

Corey Hart also stepped up in the bottom of the ninth, after Turnbow had blown another lead. Corey hit a homerun that was so close, I’m pretty sure the outfielder’s glove provided the extra inches to get the ball over the fence.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Also, in the minor leagues...

Brewers pitching prospect Manny Parra threw a perfect game last night in Nashville. It was only his second AAA start. Ever.

The left-hander struck out 11 and threw 107 pitches, 77 for strikes. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on seven hits and four walks while fanning six in six frames in his Triple-A debut against Iowa last Wednesday.

Full story here or here

I wasn't able to find confirmation, but my guess would be that this guy was pulled up from Double A when Yovani Gallardo was called up to the majors. Nothing like making a splash!

Congratulations, Manny!

In a complete reversal of fortunes...

Last season the Brewers were the only team in the majors to not hit a Grand Slam.

Johnny Estrada only seconds ago hit the team's fifth.
Before the All-Star Break.
To now lead the MLB with the most Grand Slams on one team.

Un. Real.

We just had a 9 run 6th inning and batted around the order. And the Astros loaded the bases with 1 out by intentionally walking Prince Fielder. The next batter was Bill Hall, who struck out. But Estrada didn't waste the opportunity and ensured the Brewers their 5th straight series win.

Also, in a completely unrelated fact, in the history of MLB, no team has ever had a closer with 30 saves, and a player with 30 home runs before the All-Star Break.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Negro League Night

I made it to four baseball games in the past 9 days. I was not at Saturday night's Negro League tribute because I was at Friday's game and today's game.

However, the uniforms were spectacular and I sincerely wish I was there. I have these screen grabs so that I can share the fabulous, uni-related detail.

Notice the Brewers' attention to detail. The black flaps on the butt pockets, the appropriate throwback batting helmets. Even catcher Johnny Estrada (well known for his stirrups and attention to uni detail) had a Negro League logo catcher's mask.

The Royals, on the other hand fumbled on the details.

The pitcher had it together.

Johnny Estrada's mask and a good look at the butt flaps.

Here's a Royal who did not get the memo on how to wear these jerseys.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Because people have such a high opinion of Wisconsin already...

University of Wisconsin hockey player Kyle Klubertanz was arreseted for "cow tipping" a molded cow in front of the Kohl Center last August.

Anything I could say really wouldn't be able to rival the story itself, so here you go:

Badgers' Klubertanz fined for cow tipping

Mike Miller 6/21/2007 2:49 pm

University of Wisconsin hockey player Kyle Klubertanz and former hockey player Jeffrey Slinde were each assessed $200 fines today for tipping over a cow last August in front of the Kohl Center, home of Badger hockey.

Klubertanz, 21, of Sun Prairie, and Slinde, 22, of Madison, were on their way home from the campus bar scene at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 3 when they decided to tip over one of the more than 100 sculpted and decorated cows which graced various parts of Madison last summer as the Wisconsin CowParade.

They tipped over one of three cows which were placed near the Kohl Center and were spotted doing so by workers at the Kohl Center who called police.

When officers arrived at the scene and asked the pair why they tipped over the Badger-red clad cow, Klubertanz replied: "We were stupid."

All three of the Kohl center bovines, "Moo Rah Rah Wisconsin;" "If you want to be a Moosaic, come along with me," and "Looking for Bucky," were tipped over during the summer, according to the Milk Marketing Board, which sponsored the event.

After a brief court session today, Klubertanz, who will be a senior in the fall, said he thought it was the Bucky cow that he and Slinde tipped over. The base of the cow was damaged as was the right side above the udder and the left hoof.

Both Slinde and Klubertanz were charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property, but those charges were lowered today to county disorderly conduct, a forfeiture action which leaves the pair with no criminal record. Along with the fine and court costs, each has already finished 30 hours of community service by volunteering at youth hockey camps, said attorney John Hyland, who represented Klubertanz.

The damage didn't seem to diminish the value of the cows when they were auction after CowParade was finished. "Looking for Bucky" brought $11,500, while "Moo Rah Rah Wisconsin" brought $11,000. The "Moosaic" cow was tied for the top spot at the auction, bringing in $13,000, said Moriah Morris of the Milk Marketing Board staff.

The primary beneficiary of the auction was the new American Family Children's Hospital at the UW.


First questions first: If this happened last August, why are we just hearing about it now?
Secondly, you'll notice that Klubertanz said he thought he was tipping over the Bucky painted cow. What exactly does this have to do with anything? As though, upon hearing this explanation, we will all say, "Oh, ok, if it was supposed to be the Bucky one. Well. Clearly!"

I still don't believe it...

Thierry Henry has left Arsenal and signed a four year deal with Spain's Barcelona.

There were talks of this trade last year, then Arsenal lost to Barca in 2006 Champions League final and the trade went sour. Now Henry joins Eto'o and Ronaldinho giving Barca what is the sickest front line that we've seen in ages.

Barca has apparently been chasing the World Cup winner for more than a year and the departure of vice-chairman David Dein from Arsenal is rumored to have really upset the clubhouse and Henry hasn't made a secret of his disappointment in Arsenal's lack of European success.

While I find it hard to imagine an Arsenal without Henry, I can appreciate the spectacular soccer that Barca is going to be expected to produce next season.

Now that the Henry deal is settled, the rumor mill turns to Arsenal Coach Arsene Wenger and to a lesser extent, Cesc Fabregas. Certainly Arsenal is not without talent without Henry. I would think his departure should mean some more playing time for teenage phenom Theo Walcott, which should prove very interesting.

But rumors are saying Fabregas won't stick around now. I wonder if he shouldn't embrace this chance to be the most recognizable name on a roster.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

For your entertainment:

Matt Wise!

According to the Journal-Sentinel, Matt Wise thunked his head on the dugout on the exact day that one year ago he cut his hand on salad tongs.

Talk about being the joke of the clubhouse.


So much has happened since I went out of town last week. I had thought of writing a separate entry for the big games, but I can't imagine that would be worth reading (not that this will be.)

It's hard to decide which of the big events is the most noteworthy:

I think the biggest news is that the Crew won their third straight series and swept a series for the first time since May 9 against the Nationals.
Also, the Cubs aren't doing so hot and now the Cards are in second in the division at 7.5 games back.

*The biggest single play had to be Prince Fielder's inside the park homerun at Minnesota. Not only is it fascinating to watch a guy that big run that fast, but it's hilarious that he keeps right on running into the dugout. Also, the poor outfielder is so far off from catching the ball that it's not even on the screen when it hits the ground. The video doesn't seem to be anywhere but on the Brewers' website. The link is at the top of this article.

This was such a big deal that the Onion even spoofed it. Also, the day after this happened, Prince went from 50,000 or so votes behind Albert Pujols in All-Star voting to leading by 24,000 or so. These numbers are based on online voting only, but if Fielder gets the spot, he'll be the first Brewers All-Star starter since 1999, when Jeromy Burnitz was an injury replacement.

*After Wednesday's 7-5 victory over the Giants, the Brewers are 11-2 in games started by Claudio Vargas

*J.J. Hardy left Wednesday's game with tightness in his lower back. Manager Ned Yost said he pulled him as a precaution, and Hardy is expected to play in the team's next game Friday.

Bill Hall's grand slam in the first inning Wednesday was the team's fourth this season. Last year, the Brewers were the only team in the majors without a grand slam.

*Much hyped pitching prospect Yoveni Gallardo made his major league debut on Monday.
Despite a 31 pitch first inning, Gallardo made it through 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, three walks and three runs, with four strikeouts. From

As might be expected from a young pitcher making his first start, Gallardo had some anxious moments in the first inning. Dave Roberts led off with a single to center and was on second base with two down when Barry Bonds drew a six-pitch walk, setting the stage for Bengie Molina's RBI hit to left on a 0-2 curveball.

Rather than cave in, Gallardo retired Pedro Feliz on a pop-up to short. That out began a stretch in which he set down 15 of 16 hitters.

Not happy to just get things done on the mound, Gallardo proved to be a double threat when he hit a double into the left field corner his first time at bat. His bat is part of what makes him such a special prospect. He batted .250 in Nashville with three doubles and a home run in 24 at-bats, laced a double into the left-field corner for his first hit and RBI.

*Friday night I was sitting in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. We had started out in the outfield, where the outfield wall appears about 4 feet tall. Later in the game, we moved around to behind home plate for a few innings. In right field the stadium features a large scoreboard with the games around league. In the middle, they show things like pitching changes and home runs. Shortly after we moved, I looked up to see what apparently said "Geoff Jenkins hits Grand Slam" We were so stunned we had to check the gamecast on our cell phones to verify.

*Ben Sheets recorded his 1000th strikeout on June 14, becoming only the second Brewer pitcher to reach that plateau. (Teddy Higuera is the other)

*The Brewers had 61 hits from Sunday through Friday, their highest total of any five-game span this season. That comes despite the fact they were no-hit by Detroit's Justin Verlander on Tuesday.

*From the sad, but true files, the Brewers pitchers as a whole are hitting .129 ... And we're excited about that since it's 30 points higher than they were hitting last year. Full story here.

*Finally, the Brewers' turn on The Young and The Restless aired yesterday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Worst blogger. Ever.

Ok, I know I said I'd be back to write, but I haven't the energy. So I thought I'd give a list of the things I will absolutely, positively be covering tomorrow.

They include, but won't be limited to:

Prince Fielder's inside the park homerun and subsequent jump in the All-Star voting

Yoveni Gallardo's first major league outing

Geoff Jenkins' grand slam

My trip to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore

Brewers' first series sweep since early May

and the Brewer boys on Young and the Restless - which I'm about to go watch now

hasta manana....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm ba-ack!

But I wont' be blogging today. Got a call last night for free tickets to tonight's Brewers-Giants game, so I'm off to that as soon as I get off work.

But I promise pictures and such soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Out of touch

So I'm on vacation starting 5 am tomorrow morning. As such, I won't be posting anything. I'm off to Washington D.C. and Baltimore for a long weekend. I'll be attending a game at Camden Yards and hitting all the sites in D.C. and eating crabs and doing all sorts of things that don't involve Milwaukee.

I'll be back on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brewers give up a no-hitter

Detroit's Justin Verlander struck out 12 (a career high) and his fastball reached 100 mph last night as he threw a no-hitter against the Brewers last night.

Story here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Brewers' world is upside down

Francisco Cordero lost his second straight save last night and Geoff Jenkins was the team hero.

The game wasn't televised, so I can't tell you much, other than it was 6-6 going into extra innings. The Rangers scored those runs on 10 hits. We scored them on 20 hits. We left guys stranded all over the field - 17 in all. We ended up with 9 runs on 22 hits.

Geoff Jenkins hit a three-run homer in the 12th to lead the team to victory. Apparently Ryan Braun reached second on a error and Corey Hart singled off someone's leg.

The Brewers looked to have gained the lead in the 10th, but Tony Gwynn Jr. was called out at the plate.

From "The Brewers caught another of many bad breaks in the top of the 11th when Johnny Estrada led off with his fourth hit of the night. Tony Gwynn pinch-ran and moved to second on Bill Hall's sacrifice bunt. Tony Graffanino then rapped his fourth hit of the night to center, and centerfielder Kenny Lofton came up throwing.
Replays showed that Gwynn got his hand down on the plate a split-second before catcher Adam Melhuse tagged him on the arm, but home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor saw the bang-bang play otherwise and called Gwynn out."

Go figure, one of the more exciting games of the season and it wasn't televised here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Brewers lost twice to worse team in baseball; Cordero finally blows a save

While I'm incredibly disappointed in the outcome of this series, I've been on record before saying that there was on way Cordero would keep the pace he's been on.

That being said, I can't believe we blew a 3-0 lead in the 9th to the frickin' Rangers. With two outs. And nobody on. And it's Cordero's former team. I mean, if you're going to self-destruct, do it in grand fashion, right?

You know, these are the Rangers who have lost 12 of the last 16 and currently hold the worst record in the league.

From "The comeback spoiled an impressive outing by Brewers starter Ben Sheets, who gave up five hits over seven scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked two and was in line to win for the sixth time in his last eight starts.Texas didn't get an extra-base hit off Sheets and advanced only one runner as far as third base. Derrick Turnbow retired the side in order in the eighth inning, but the Rangers broke through against Cordero."

If I were our starting staff, I'd be mighty frustrated with the bullpen.
Dave Bush, Sunday night's starter, has been victimized by three blown saves in his 12 starts and the Brewers have lost his last five starts.
Sheets pitched 7 scoreless innings last night and didn't get the win.
Cappy threw a beautiful game last week only to have it thrown away by Turnbow.

It's so frustrating to see a team have so many pieces fitting together not be able to pull games out in the end. We have to get something happening in the bullpen or it's going to be a long season. Matt Wise is NOT THE ANSWER. Jose Cappellan is NOT THE ANSWER.

Chicks rule, guys drool

Filly Rags to Riches came from out of nowhere yesterday to win the Belmont Stakes. She's the first female to do so in 102 years. In fact, yesterday was EXACTLY 102 years since the last filly won the race.

Rags to Riches became the third filly to capture the Belmont -- Ruthless took the first running in 1867 and Tanya won in 1905. Only 22 fillies have tried the Belmont, with Rags to Riches the first since Silverbulletday finished seventh in 1999.

She's also the first filly to win a Triple Crown race since 1988, when a filly won the Kentucky Derby.

As if there weren't enough pressure, being the only girl in the race, but he owner and trainer were running a bit of a losing streak. Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez, who both ended long droughts in Triple Crown races: Pletcher was 0-for-28, Velazquez 0-for-20.

But Rags to Riches has some seriously noteworthy bloodlines. Her grandfather was Seattle Slew. And her half brother won last year's Belmont.

Devil Rays are desperate

How desperate you ask? There bullpen is so overworked because their starters have been so inconsistent that SS Josh Wilson pitched an inning Friday night.

Not only that, but he pitched a scoreless frame and had a fastball reaching about 87 mph. He gave up just one walk and one single.

This game was interesting in that there was a 1 hour rain delay, after which TB came out swinging, getting an 8-2 lead. They then gave up a grand slam. So in two innings the bullpen gave up 8 runs. That's when they brought in Wilson, who outpitched the whole staff. If I'm the DRays manager, I show that video to my whole pitching staff and ask them why an infielder is doing better than they are. Then I threaten to send them to the minors and tell them to get their shit together.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Some more national attention

This article from the Dallas Morning News discusess how Doug Melvin has transformed the Brewers. Melvin was once GM of the Rangers.

MLB draft

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand a thing about the baseball draft. There are tons of supplemental picks that you get if you lost a free agent and those picks come between the first and second round. Then there are all the rules about signing and sending guys to the minors and then there's the guys you can sign conditionally and send to junior college. I don't have a clue how this works. The only system more confusing to me is hockey.

Anyway, the real interesting thing about yesterday's draft is that Milwaukee had the #7 pick.

And they took a left-fielder.

Of course, we currently have two of those, Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench in addition to a large cadre of outfielders.

The Journal-Sentinel article said: "The Milwaukee Brewers saw a power-hitting leftfielder, not a power-hitting first baseman, when they selected Matt LaPorta out of the University of Florida with the seventh pick of the first round of the draft Thursday.
The Brewers raised some eyebrows when they selected LaPorta, who played first base for the Gators, because they already are set at that position for years to come with 23-year-old Prince Fielder.
But Jack Zduriencik, the Brewers' director of amateur scouting, quickly explained that the Brewers view LaPorta as their leftfielder of the future.
Above all else, it was LaPorta's offensive capabilities that caught the Brewers' collective eye.
"We felt that this, in our estimation, was one of the best hitters in the country and one of the best power hitters in the country," Zduriencik said.
The numbers certainly support that belief.
In his senior season at Florida, LaPorta hit .402 with 20 home runs, 52 runs batted in and 55 walks. He's a finalist for the Golden Spikes award given to the nation's top amateur baseball player."

The full article is here.

Apparently someone in the front office is finally realizing the Jenkins is not the future of this team. There is a new draft rule that says your picks have to be signed by August or you lose rights, so this guy should be playing single A ball before the end of the summer.

Hank Aaron gets commemorative plaque

As previously noted, some very enterprising people at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee decided to do a lot of really complicated math and figure out exactly where Hank Aaron's 755th home run landed.

This week they had the ceremony dedicating the plaque.
The story is here.
A video is available here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Billy Donovan can't decide

First he left Florida to become head coach of the Orlando Magic. Now it appears he's changed his mind and wants to go back to Florida and he's asking the Magic to let him out of his contract.


More here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Talking college football already

Over at Hey Jenny Slater, they've put together a Google Spreadsheet as an aggregate of many of the preseason top 25s out there.

Check out the spreadsheet here.

The overall consensus has Wisconsin at a cushy 7, with different polls putting us anywhere from 4 to 13. Considering we have a QB question mark, I find this surprising, but hey, I'll take it.

The code for figuring out which poll's are included is as follows

1. Southern California
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Michigan
5. Florida
6. Texas
7. Wisconsin
8. Oklahoma
9. Virginia Tech
10. Louisville
11. Ohio State
12. California
13. Auburn
14. Arkansas
15. Georgia
16. Rutgers
17. Tennessee
18. Nebraska
19. UCLA
20. Texas A&M
21. Texas Christian
22. Penn State
23. South Carolina
24. (tie) Boston College
24. (tie) Wake Forest

Brewers finally win a series

My attendance at today's game ensured a win for the Crew, giving their first series win in over a month. The last time we won a series was May 9, against the Washington Nationals. Since then we lost series to the Mets, the Phillies, the Twins, the Dodgers, and the Braves and we were swept by the Giants. At the end of the Nationals series we were at 24-10. Since then, we've been 8-15. The Brewers are a National League-best 21-10 at home

Our starting pitchers were superb this weekend. Despite getting absolutely screwed by the relievers, Chris Capuano was the king of yesterday's game. He had a career high 10 strikeouts and hit a home run.

Today, Ben Sheets struck out seven and walked one to move to 5-1 in his past seven starts. He pitched 6 shoutout innings.

Derrick Turnbow came in for the eighth and needed just 9 pitches to retire the side. Francisco Cordero remained perfect for saves, notching his 21st.
It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops, though, as we stranded the bases loaded two straight innings and had a total of 17 men LOB for the game.

Some pics from today:

Corey Hart. Sockless. Boo.

The Racing Sausages (and mini-sausages) exited the field right in front of us.

Chevy, an official sponsor of course, had a big display out front for the All-Star game.

In relief under the paint was each team's logo. The truck had all the logos and each car had the appropriate logo for the league. This is hard to see, but it's the Brewers logo on the truck. (and a very clear view of my Bucky Badger bag)

These are the articles I love to read

I'll link to ESPN whenever they have writers lead off a column like this :

The Chicago Cubs are the worst team in baseball. This is an indisputable, irrefutable fact, as obvious as the ivy on the outfield walls or the steel trough urinals in the Wrigley Field men's bathrooms.

Oh, what a good day to be a Brewer fan hanging out in Chicago Part 1

So I happened to be hanging out in Chicago on Saturday for my alumni association's crawfish boil (mmmm I love me some crawfish) Anyway, this was the day after the now infamous fight and I just happened to be in a bar on the north side during Lou's tirade.

It's spectacular to see a team self-destruct that isn't the Brewers. Hating the Cubs is something of a statewide pastime around here and I'm happy to say that they're coming to play at Miller Park starting tomorrow. We are notorious for having problems against them, so I don't want to do too much trash talking. But I'd like to say that you never see anything like this in Miller Park:

Oh, what a good day to be a Brewer fan hanging out in Chicago Part 2

Oh, I also took these pictures of Downtown. We were near the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Fullerton El exit (on the Red Line)


Chris Capuano struck out ten, allowed 2 runs on three hits, single handedly scored half the Brewers runs for the day and didn't get a decision.

Friday, June 01, 2007

2 out of 3 ain't bad

The Brewers seem to have turned things around a little, winning last night and on Tuesday to make it the most wins we've had in awhile.

Wednesday's game featured spectacularly horrible pitching by Derrick Turnbow and I have to say that I'm nearing the end of my leash with this guy. I don't care how fast he throws, if he can't find the plate (or anywhere in a ten foot radius of it) or if he can't throw anything other than a fastball, he's more than useless to us. At some point we have to realize he does more harm than good.

Last night Francisco Cordero racked up his 19th save, making him a perfect 19/19 on the year. My only worry is that there's no way he can keep this pace. No one could expect him to. He's human and he certainly didn't show talent like this in season's past. That's how we got him traded to us. Unfortunately, no one's going to realize that and it's going to be all about how another pitcher is sucking it up.

I saw literally the two most unusual outs in the past week that I've ever seen before. I was at Tuesday night's game and it took multiple innings before someone could explain this to us. The ball hit Ben Sheets' bat, hit him, rolled foul and he was thrown out at first. It was a double hit.

Last night, in the ninth, Coco threw a pitch inside and the guy at the plate ducked and covered. The ball hit the knob end of his bat flat, rolled into fair territory and we threw him out at first.

Finally, Rickie Weeks was placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to May 30 due to chronic pain in the wrist he had surgery on at the end of last season. To replace him in the lineup, we recalled pitcher Jose Capellan.