Thursday, April 30, 2009
Best opening to a game recap I’ve read in awhile:
“Wednesday’s game at Chase Field had an unusually early start. How early? Well, the game started about a half-hour before Ryan Dempster did.
The story goes on…
“Dempster – fumbling his Mr. April reputation – and the Cubs were down two to the D-backs shorter after the 12:40 p.m. MST first pitch and before an out was recorded in what became a three-run first inning."
Also, is being known for being most clutch in the first month of the season really a reputation you want?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Well I'm a bit more on the ball this year and All-Star voting started before the first month of the season ended, so it's time once again to band together.
I fill out more than my fair share of ASG ballots because the Brewers give out raffle tickets for every 10 you turn in to a designated table at each game. Each night a winner if pulled and the prizes are signed baseballs, game-worn jerseys and other pretty darn cool things, especially since they're free. I can't resist a good raffle.
Because I fill out so many, I don't spend time picking and choosing AL players. Frankly, I don't care enough to do so. Instead of "wasting" my vote by just punching out random chads, I figure I should use my laziness for the good of others.
Both Milwaukee and Kansas City are like forgotten red-headed step-children when it comes to national media attention and therefore are often under-represented at the ASG. It our goal to prevent that and help each other out.
Royal Blues is the KC blog and they'll be pimping us out in the same manor.
Vote Brewers and Royals
Mike Cameron is just 4 home runs away from joining the 250 HR/25o SB club, which right now has just 19 members.
With 291 stolen bases, it's actually not out of the realm of possibility that Cam could end up with 300 HR and 300 SB - and that would put him in even more exclusive company. Just six other players in the history of Major League Baseball have reached that plateau. And it's a pretty spectacular list of guys to be named with: Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds, Steve Finley and Reggie Sanders.
There's a story about this on MilwaukeeBrewers.com and it included this great quote from Cam:
"So, for all those people on the road who always tell me I stink, I've got a chance to be one of the best players to ever play the game," Cameron said. "To be one of the 20 greatest players [in terms of home runs and steals], that would be a big compliment. If I didn't play in some of those cavernous places, I'd probably already have it."
There's a special place in the heart of my fandom for Cam. I love what he does in the community, I love what he's done in our clubhouse and I love that he has no problem walking around the lobby at the Brewers Winter Warm Up show, drinking beer and talking to fans.
Good luck, Cam!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Over the past four games, in just over a third of the team's at-bats, Rickie, Corey and Braun have combined for:
17 of the team's 41 hits
11 of the team's 27 RBI
12 of the team's 27 runs
10 of the team's 30 walks
Last night these three were on base 10 times.
*An intentional walk to Jason Kendall (hitting .173) to get to Craig Counsell (hitting .250)
This couldn't have been most shocking. The entire crowd simultaneously scratched their
heads when this IBB was issued. I understand pitching matchups and righty vs. lefty, but
Jason Kendall can't hit the broad side of a barn these days, whereas Craig Counsell has a
hard-earned reputation as a clutch hitter. Why pass up on Kendall to get to lil CC?
*Jorge Julio having a 1-2-3, 14 pitch (10 for strikes) and one strikeout inning
There's no one who wanted Swindle sent down over Julio when Trevor Hoffman was brought
up after injury. Julio's ERA prior to tonight was 10.80 over just 5 innings. He had given up
four earned runs last week in Philly, walking three of the first five batters he faced. When he
was up in the bullpen while the Pirates' lead was just 3-1, everyone around me was worried.
Then the Brewers gave up more runs and the game seemed out of reach at 5-1. Why not
bring in Julio at that time, right? We never expected this outcome.
*Corey Hart taking not one or two, but three walks (He of the quote last October: "I'm not going to sit there and walk, though.")
*A Brewers manager risking outs on the bases by sending Corey to steal not once, but twice, with Braun at bat and less than two outs.
*Intentionally walking Prince Fielder - 0-4 on the night and hitting .225 on the season with 3 HR - to get to Cam, who was on base twice tonight, had an RBI and is hitting .313 with 5 HR on the season.
While Prince has started to heat up lately, Cam's walk/strikeout ratio is crazy lower than it's
been the rest of this career (.92 this season, compared with .38 last year and .46 for his
career) and he's striking out just once every five or so at-bats, way up from once every 3.13
last season and once every 3.59 ABs over his career.
*Another comeback win.
After the way this season started, despite our proclivity last season for dramatic wins, I have
had little-to-no faith in this team's ability to hold teams or score our own runs. It would have
had to have been an extremely optimistic Brewer fan that felt the team could pull out the
extra-innings win in Houston after having come back a few times already.
*Jorge Julio getting the win!
Yours truly is now part of that elite crew of female bloggers over at Ladies…
Check us out at ladiesdotdotdot.wordpress.com
I’m also now a contributor at Brew Crew Ball – some of the best Brewer writing on the net.
I’m totally honored and flattered that these sites asked me to join them. Posting may be down a bit here, but I’ll always link over to anything I’ve got going on those sites, so don’t go away just yet.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Heading into this current road trip, Braun was hitting just .212. Even after his 5-for-5 night, the 3-4-5 spots in the order was 28-for-141 this season, good for a .199 batting average.
Of course, since then Braun has picked it up. He had 8 hits in Philly - he was retired just twice in the series.
Through two games in Houston, Braun was 5-for-9 and now that dismal .212 BA has climbed to .359 in just 8 games.
The Oakland Raiders picked defensive end Matt Shaughnessy with the 71st pick overall.
The Detroit Lions selected outside linebacker DeAndre Levy with the 12th pick of the second round. He was taken 76th overall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers picked guard Kraig Urbik with the 79th overall pick.
The New York Giants took tight end Travis Beckum with the final pick of the round, #100.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Cutter about to score a run
Bad pic quality, but good picture, so I'll post it anyway
Corey Kemp, who DH'd, hitting a double
Kemp sliding into second
We decided Marseco is like a mini-Craig Counsell
Can't possibly explain how upset I was when I got this awesome play at third picture and the guy in front of me who didn't sit still the entire game got his noggin in the shot.
I think this is Cody Adams - crazy high leg kick
Proof of how little Michael Marseco really is
Lawrie getting out of the way of an inside pitch
Cutter Dykstra really likes to dance when he's on base. It seemed pre-meditated. Each pitch he stepped of away from the baseline a little and hit arms were always up in a bit of a chicken wing look.
Cutter before the game.
This guy's name and mustache
In the newly remodeled Brewers store in left field you can buy jersey T-Shirts of most anyone on the Brewers roster.
You'll notice Gallardo's are going like hot-cakes.
But the one player who's sold out?
That's right - Craig Counsell!
If that's the case, he's looking at three or so months of rehab.
Read Tom H's post here
As someone who tore the same MCL twice, I can tell you it's no picnic. The MCL is on the inside of the knee and really affects your ability to plant and cut. When I tore it the second time, it officially ended my not-so-illustrious soccer career as I decided the ability to walk for the rest of my life was more important.
Some quick thoughts:
*I was super-impressed with the fielding and the arm of SS Michael Marseco. He's incredibly small - listed at 5'10" and 155 pounds - but both of those seem rather generous. That being said, he made short work of any ball hit his way, including a few short hops and he gunned the ball to first.
The first play he made was an odd hop into his gut which he gathered and rifled to first. It was pretty early in the game and the bf and I were both a little shocked - he doesn't look like he's going to have that kind of arm speed.
He went on to make a few more good plays in the field and hit a ball to the base of the right-center wall for a double, later scoring.
Clearly the kid needs to find some bulk - he's hitting just .119 this year, though he was .311 with 47 hits and 24 RBI last season.
*Brett Lawrie had three hits - but none of them left the infield. There's something to be said for being able to make plays happen and get on base that way - but the lack of power, RBI, or runs scored was probably not a good sign.
*Cutter Dykstra, on the other hand, had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
*Brock Kjeldgaard's home run to right was a no-doubter that was in the second deck.
*The game made us appreciate major-league outfielders. It's not that these guys were bad - but the lack of experience when compared to the guys we see every time at MP was really obvious. The wind was really blowing last night and you could see a few of the outfielders on both teams had trouble getting a read.
July 20, 2004 (while pitching with Toronto) vs. Oakland broken up by Damian Miller
June 19, 2008 vs Toronto broken up by Lyle Overbay
April 23, 2009 vs. Philadelphia broken up by Matt Stairs
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This struck me as odd because, well, we've only been playing for three weeks - why were we trading and moving a guy up to AAA? Why didn't he start there?
I'm admittedly not up on my prospects, but Gillespie's name sounded familiar, so some quick googling took me to this article, which I think says a lot without saying much - about players and the classiness of Brewers management.
And hidden in it is a, I think, very telling piece of information about Tony Gwynn, Jr.
Turns out Gillespie had elbow soreness as Spring Training broke, so they sent him down to single-A to test the elbow. He performed well in the opening weeks, hitting .349, so they decided they wanted him back at the higher level - but they needed roster room.
Here's the interesting part - Gord Ash admits that no one thought Tony Gwynn would end up in Nashville when he was put on waivers - they thought he'd get claimed. Of course, he didn't, and now the Sounds have a plethora of identical outfielders.
The classy part is that they traded Tyner to an organization that can use him to allow him a shot at keeping his career going instead of out-right dropping him.
But getting back to the TGJ bit - am I the only one that reads that and realizes that NO ONE WANTS TONY GWYNN JR?
I mean, if we were willing to lose him on waivers, I've got to believe he was dangled all winter long and no one nibbled. A bag of balls and some prospects would have been better than losing him off of waivers and getting the wapping $20,000 claim fee, right?
And yet, that didn't happen, leading me to believe there are no offers for TGJ forthcoming...
The catch to this is that if TGJ were to be claimed, he would have had to have been placed on the 25-man roster, so maybe it's not as big a slap as we think - but it still leaves me wondering if everyone out there (management and fans) has been overestimating TGJ's potential.
Here's Manny in July of 2008...
And in June of 2008...
And making a late-season appearance in 2007....
And this was Manny on Tuesday.
Any good uni-nerd would know that Manny's new-found preference for pajama-length, baggy-bottomed pants is the reason for his struggles.
Just ask Dave Bush. He sports the high pants/socks look and took a no-hitter into the 8th inning today.
Coincidence? I think not!
Edit: I forgot to mention that this change (along with the number change noted in the comments) are especially odd for a player as clearly superstitious as Manny. He won’t step on the chalk line on his way in and out of the dugout – he hops over it – but he’ll change his number and his look?
Seems strange – I wish I could ask him about it!
On the upside, Bush was at 115 or so pitches when it happened and was only at 7 1/3 innings, meaning he would have had to have been super economic with his pitches for it to have made sense for us to leave him in to complete the game.
As bad as our pitching is, it wouldn’t have been worth the risk of injury to our most solid/consistent of the past few seasons.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The first is that the visitor's bullpen has little-to-no view of the playing field. According to reliever Todd Coffey, they can see a bit of outfield and second base, but that's about it. And Coffey's not shy about his opinion on the bullpen:
"It's horrible. It's awful. It's the worst bullpen I've ever been in...It's a bad design."
There is a small monitor in the bullpen, but it's actually the Mets TV broadcast feed, so it's on a 5 second delay.
According to Bullpen Catcher Marcus Hanel, the monitor is actually mounted behind the bench, so the guys literally can't sit on the bench and see any version of the game, live or broadcast - they have to turn and watch over their shoulder.
I had heard on the radio yesterday that Coffey joked on Friday that they were closer to one of the field's fancy new restaurants than the field and he was considering going to get food, since there were better views from there.
On the radio today, Uecker had an inning-long rant about the design of the visitor's radio booth - or rather, the seating around them. According to Uecker, there are about six or seven seats in front of them. Whenever one of those people is standing, the radio booth loses all visibility of the batter, catcher and home plate.
Later, watching the game on TV, those announcers also complained about the booth, but didn't elaborate as to why.
Uecker couldn't believe that no one had thought to make sure the booths had clear sight lines and even said that were those six seats about 2 feet further back, they wouldn't cause problems.
JJ Hardy and Corey Hart went to the SALON yesterday and had their hair dyed black to try to change their mojo.
I was in the car for the first two innings of the game, so I didn't see any of this to start the game, but about the 4th inning or so I saw the back of Corey's head as he took off his batting helmet in the dugout and I thought, man his hair looks dark, but attributed it to him being in the shadows, because boys (especially country, non-diva boys like Corey) don't really tend to dramatically dye their hair.
I almost expect the Salon move from Braun, but it leads to a pretty entertaining visual of Corey in a NYC salon getting his hair did.
He also had his goatee dyed to match. According to the blog posting on the Journal, Prince thinks tall, lanky Corey looks like Abraham Lincoln.
From Haudricourt's blog on the subject:
New York - There are different ways to "take one" for the team but shortstop J.J. Hardy and rightfielder Corey Hart went above and beyond after a 1-0 loss to the Mets yesterday.
Hardy and Hart, in an effort to "change things up" for themselves and the club, had their hair died jet black. It wasn't a dramatic departure for Hardy, who had brown hair, but the new look was striking for Hart, who normally has blond hair.
Hart even had his beard died black.
"You look like Abraham Lincoln," Prince Fielder told Hart in the clubhouse this morning.
Both players were getting ribbed about their new look but Hardy, who is batting .125, said it was worth trying to change his luck as well as the team's. The Brewers are 3-8.
"They tried talking us out of it (at the salon)," said Hardy. "They said, 'Are you sure?'"
Reliever Todd Coffey died his close-cropped red hair black during spring training but kept his red goatee. Naturally, he approved of the change by Hart and Hardy.
"I think it's outstanding," said Coffey.
If the Brewers win today, look for a mad dash to the hair salon tomorrow by the rest of the team.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Speculation had run rampant this off-season as to which QB would become Madden’s newest fan-boy obsession, but it’s clear that Madden was unable to find anyone to take up the mantle and instead decided to park his bus and live out his life at home with his Favre shrine to keep him company.
There have been other possible heirs-apparent that have entered the league in recent seasons, but no one else has put the twinkle in Madden’s eye like Brett Favre did.
Brady Quinn looked to be an early favorite in the race to become the newest crush in Madden’s arsenal. But despite his looks and charm, having played at Notre Dame, Quinn lacked the rags-to-riches, aw-shucks backstory that Favre had coming out of Southern Miss.
Last year’s rookies Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco carried the out-of-nowhere star aspect, but their instant fame lacked the drama of Favre’s trade to Green Bay.
This year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks includes a possible successor in Georgia’s Matt Stafford. His country background and closet full of Wranglers make him a strong candidate, but Madden is getting on in years and does not have the luxury of waiting to see if Stafford will follow in Favre’s footsteps.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Since when are you more concerned with playing mind games with base runners while they dance around second base than you are about locating a pitch anywhere near home plate?
You’re so not that guy. In fact, I think you checked on base-runners more times Sunday night than you did combined last season.
What happened? Did someone give you a complex about inherited runners over the course of the off-season, or what? Do you have a fear of men on second base?
Did you forget that the players on the bases won’t matter if you take care of the guys at the plate?
Do you realize that you’re completely throwing yourself out of balance and single-handedly taking yourself out of the game and are becoming completely ineffective?
Do you know that you’re dragging the game on , making me want to pull my hair out and gouge your eyes out. You make me start to hate baseball and miss Ben Sheets, which is against nature.
Of all the things I thought I’d miss about last season, I never thought it would be anything to do with Sheets – but you make me long for his 2 hour starts.
Please stop ruining baseball. This season is going to be long enough as it is - you don't need to add to the agony.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I made no bones about my abject dislike of Ned Yost and thus far I’ve been happy with how “un-Ned” Ken Macha has been.
But last night’s seeming refusal to remove a struggling Jeff Suppan from the game smacked of Yost and has left me wondering if we’re in for a season of Ned-like suffering inflicted upon us by Ken Macha.
I can understand that we can’t keep taxing the bullpen and Suppan’s a pro and you have to give him a chance to work out jams when it’s the forth inning. He walks in the first run and it’s time to get someone up in the pen. Macha heads to the mound to by time, Julio starts warming.
I even understand letting Suppan work through this guy. Julio is warming and you still can’t just yank the pitcher. It’s early. You’re giving him a chance.
What I cannot wrap my head around is leaving Suppan in the game to walk in the third straight run. Julio is standing in the bullpen watching – he’s warmed up. By this point, it’s beyond clear that Suppan’s not going to miraculously find the plate. You’ve given him a leash and he’s hung himself and everyone on the team with it. He’s done. Get him out of there.
But no, in a Yostian show of stubbornness, Macha gave Suppan more leash.
I could almost hear the Yost presser comments after the game. “Suppan’s a former NLCS MVP….”
The situation was maddening!
No one is happy that Jeff Suppan is one of our starting pitchers. I’d wager even Ken Macha and Doug Melvin wish it weren’t so. Therefore, we can’t help but have him in there every five days until he self destructs so much that they have no choice but to stop pitching him. (Never mind the argument that his performances in SF and last night put him well down that path…)
There are many that have a problem with Suppan being the #1 guy – but even that I can handle. Maybe I’m giving the coaching staff too much credit, but I’ve hypothesized that the move is strategic.
Hear me out on this one:
We don’t have a starter that compares to the aces on other teams. There is no Lincecum, Zambrano, or Johan on this team. Sure, YoGa might get there – but he’s not there yet.
So if we can’t out-pitch their ace, why put our “best” guy against him and “waste” the outing? If we have the better arms to go up against the back end of their rotation, we’ve theoretically got a better chance, right?
It’s not that far-fetched and is, I think, a pretty solid strategy for a pitching staff with low expectations and a high ceiling. They didn’t want to put pressure on Gallardo and therefore wouldn’t name him the ace. If you put him up against the aces of some of these other squads, he ends up with awful stats and who knows what other problems.
Dave Bush has been as reliable of a starter as a market like this could ask for, especially for the minimal money we’re paying him. Keeping him at the back end of the rotation with YoGa in the 2 spot means that you’re going to get solid outings from innings eaters and should give our bullpen a chance to catch it’s breath.
Until Manny can find some consistency and we find out what Looper can do, we’ve got Suppan, Parra and Looper going only 4-5 innings, putting a lot of innings on the bullpen arms. Spreading out Gallardo and Bush just makes sense.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Top of the 8th, Runners on first and second, one out
"Two on and here comes the muscle. Corey Hart up to bat."
It could be a long season if Mr. Don't Boo Me, I Don't Walk, Why Should I Be Patient At The Plate Corey Hart is this team's Muscle
I know Opening Day for a lot of people was yesterday, but we Milwaukeeans had to wait til today.
But finally, we have baseball!!!
So far, Suppan had a better outing than I'd imagined he would (the triple early was a good pitch at the knees, so I can't blame him for that.)
We chased Tim Lincecum after just 3 innings.
We scored 5 runs without hitting a home run.
But, surprise, surprise, our bullpen is struggling. Seth McClung walked in a run, Dave Bush gave up a homer, a double and a questionable extra-base hit that flirted with foul.
Bush opted to come out of the bullpen here to keep his rotation fresh as opposed to doing a simulation, but that's not going well. Dave Bush was the least of my pitching worries, but now even that's suspect.
The Brewers have had 7 free baserunners (5 walks, 2 HBP) and haven't taken advantage. However, Mike Cameron had three of those walks and stole two bases after a free ride, so I like the patience and aggressiveness. Braun also stole a base.
It's 9-5 Giants in the bottom of the 7th and until this inning, I thought the game was still in reach.
That being said, who expected us to win a game where we pitch Suppan and they pitch Lincecum?
Moral of the story? Good and bad to be seen here and it's not bad enough to make me want to hide my head in the sand (yet).
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Read the whole thing here
The list looks like this:
1. Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
2. The University of Kansas in Lawrence
3. Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana
4. Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
5. Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington
Here's Marquette's write up:
4. Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
There is no football team at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That means students and alumni are even more dedicated to the men's basketball team, they say.
Marquette may be a Jesuit university with just over 11,000 students, but it boasts one of the highest attendance rates at basketball games in the country. Students at Marquette don't pitch tents like at Duke, but the games are so popular, some will bring their sleeping bags 10 hours before the game to get the best seat in the house
"It's such a great feeling to know you can walk anywhere in the city when you have a Marquette shirt on a basketball day and people will talk to you about basketball," said Sarah Dembkowski, a sophomore at the university. "It gives this city a bonding feeling."
Although the West region No. 6-seeded Golden Eagles lost to the University of Missouri in the tournament last week, a trip to the Bradley Center, where the Marquette men's basketball team plays (and where the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks play) is well worth the visit.
Marquette students, called the Superfans, are famous for their peculiar behavior, dressing up in costumes to support their team and distracting opponents with oversized cutouts of celebrities' heads.
On campus are several bars, including the Union Annex, that tout cheap beer pitchers and food specials for fans. Just several blocks from the university is downtown Milwaukee. On Water Street, where most of the fans crowd on game day, visitors can hang with the locals and enjoy a hub of sports bars, taverns and restaurants.