If you thought that I’d wait til I get back to Milwaukee tomorrow to write about George Kottaras and the first cycle of the Major League season, you’d be wrong.
Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this post while sitting in on the boyfriend’s radio show, but hey, why not?
We’re laying on the couch, watching the Brewers in NON-HD (ugh!) and George’s 4th inning laser of a homer was quite exciting. I almost didn’t think it was going over the wall. Not only did it go over but it went over in, like, a split-second. It was awesome.
When he tripled in his next at-bat (a stand up triple, at that), I was happy. Wasn’t thinking ‘cycle’ just yet, but happy. When Craig Counsell homers on the next pitch, well, happier. No doubt. Completely unexpected out of the old man. But of course, I will take it.
So the single came next. After the easy HR and 3B, this had to have been the hardest one for Georgie to get. All the sudden, the cycle was in my head.
I tweeted about it. I was getting texts left and right from all the people that know about my unhealthy Kottaras obsession.
I honestly wasn’t thinking with the lead they had that the Brewers would bat enough in the 8th to get George another AB, but since the Astros sent in the same horrible bullpen that blew the lead Friday night, obviously I thought wrong.
George steps up to the plate one last time and swings. The ball sails out to nearly dead center, takes a hop off the hill and bounces over the fence. Ground rule double. Awesomely awesome awesomeness.
Phone blowing up. Twitter blowing up. Facebook blowing up. Insane.
The lefty-stacked lineup for Ron Roenicke paid off. For sure. The fact that George bats LH was the only reason he was playing last night and he made RR look like a genius.
My only criticism for my bearded, not-so-secret love?
Georgie, your beast needs a little help!
It wasn’t as horrible and timid as Taylor Green’s but it wasn’t good, either.
So since the Crew has once again found their swagger (against Houston. Whatever) after being swept at home by STL, I think they’ll be remarkably fine from here on out. Still, the only team I’m sort of worried about in the final stretch is the Phillies but, eh. That’s only 4 games.
My Boys got this. And since I have like, a million games lined up in September, there’s a good chance I could be present when they clinch the NL Central. I haven’t done that since, well, 2008. I’ll be the good luck charm. Obviously.
Go Reds! (haha)
A mere 4 days ago, I was bragging about my first place Milwaukee Brewers.
It seemed, at the time, that they could do no wrong.
Of course, they had just swept the Cubs, who we all know suck. They split a 4-game series with the Pirates, who we all know try really hard not to suck, but still do. They swept the Mets, who we all know don’t suck as badly as Chicago or Pittsburgh, but still suck in their own right.
The Brewers were winning left and right, turning triple plays, hitting monster bombs — basically just backing up their awesome starting rotation with stellar defense and bursting offense.
Soooooooo when the Cardinals come to town 10 1/2 games back in the NL Central, you’d think the Crew would be able to keep the momentum alive and at least win one.
You know. Or not. Whatever.
Shaun Marcum’s loss Tuesday wasn’t his fault. A couple unearned runs was all it took to lessen the gap. Thank you, errors. Brewers lose, 2-1.
Last night was entirely RAAAAANDY’s fault. (RAAAAANDY may or may not be trademarked by Aziz Ansari. Regardless, I use it. Constantly.) Leadoff home run for Rafael Furcal, one out, follow up dinger from Albert Pujols, settled down, GRAND SLAM FROM PITCHER JAKE WESTBROOK. All pretty standard, no? Oh, not, actually. Somewhere in there the Brewers scored 3 runs, Ryan Braun’s trademark hustle became his downfall while attempting an inside-the-park home run (HILARIOUS, btw!) and, just as RB went down, so did the Crew. 8-3. Boo.
So, today. Nearly a carbon copy of last night, except for Yovani Gallardo was the one giving up 1st inning homers to Furcal and Pujols, and a subsequent grand slam to Prince Albert, which is when I turned off the game to catch up on DVR and pack for the first round of moving to MN. Yo surrendered a career high 4 HRs in a single outing. An outing that lasted less than 5 innings. Evidently, Jonathan Lucroy, Corey Hart and Prince Fielder answered with some too-little-too-late homers but alas, 8-4. Donezo.
And the Brewers were swept for the first time in Milwaukee all season.
The comfortable LoveSac lead has dwindled: 7 1/2 games over STL.
Thankfully, the baseball gods were smiling on My Boys when the 2011 schedule was made and they should be able to rebound nicely, facing the already eliminated Houston Astros over the weekend, while St. Louis takes on the Cincinnati Reds.
Now’s the time to gain back the 3 games lost. As they say, there’s no time like the present.
But don’t think I’m at all discouraged by this sweep. It was bound to happen and quite honestly, I’m surprised it hadn’t already.
I will say this, though: Even though the rest of the month seems like a cakewalk (half of the remaining 24 games are against the NL Central, and Chicago and Pittsburgh will very likely be officially out of the running by the time they face Milwaukee again), the Brewers need to bring their A-game now more than ever. I know they’re not a team that would ever rest on their laurels, and I’m certainly not accusing them of that for this series, but this is crunch time, no matter how big the lead.
I still have faith in you, Brewers. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I’m convinced it’s your year every year, going back pretty much for forever. And I’m sure you won’t prove me wrong this season. Because you wouldn’t do that to me, right?
PS, don’t forget to tune in to the Energy Sports Zone on mnenergy.com this Sunday morning from 9-11! College football, NFL, baseball, BREWERS!!! What more do you need?
I never had any doubt that the Brewers would be leading the NL Central by August.
I knew there would be continual sweeps, great pitcher’s duels and offensive outbursts that couldn’t be matched.
I always hoped that Felip-ayyyyyyy Lopez would be back in a Brewers uniform.
There was never once a bit of hesitation whenever asked if Milwaukee was a legitimate contender in 2011.
Of course, you know that none of the previous statements are true. Yes. I’ve had my doubts about this team. Who hasn’t? They got even bigger once I saw the Pirates were forcing their way towards the top and I thought they were going to be insurmountable when Rickie Weeks went down last week against the Cubs. (Though the surprise re-addition of Lopez puts a bandage on that wound, and the pick-up of Jerry Hairston, Jr. is kinda like the Bactine–it really will help, even though you might not want to put it on.)
However, the Brewers swept that series and followed it up with a sweep of the Astros, which isn’t hard to do when both teams are scraping the bottom of the division and Houston decided to part ways with both Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn during the series.
Milwaukee extended their winning streak to 7 with one monster inning against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter last night. Zack Greinke allowed a 2-run homer to Matt Holliday in the top of the first and the Brewers were playing with that deficit because Carpenter was lights out through the first 4, allowing just one hit. The Crew batted around in the bottom of the 5th, starting with Yuniesky Betancourt, and all 5 of the runs scored before the first out was recorded. Turns out, Milwaukee didn’t even need all 5, but hey, any time Tony Plush decides to poke his head out for a little fun (and a bases-clearing double), I’m into it.
But, there were a couple of moments that had my heart racing (and not in a good way). I was not pleased to see a bases-loaded, one-out jam at the hands of Greinke in the 6th. The Brewers probably wouldn’t have gotten out of it without harm if it weren’t for a, well, blown call at first on a Skip Schumaker double play-inducing grounder. We all hate bad calls. Until they go our way. So, obviously, I’m okay with it.
With last night’s win, Milwaukee has a relatively comfortable 3 1/2 game cushion over STL. It’s certainly no LoveSac. More like your standard beanbag chair. But it works. And who doesn’t like a beanbag chair?
But what hasn’t been helping on this little climb to the top? Craig Counsell’s bat.
Remember when Counsell used to come in to PH and would actually do something beneficial? Aside from the walk-off sacrifice fly to finish the first half (which I didn’t actually see, due to a 3rd day of preoccupation with Dave Matthews), I do not. Forty-five ABs without a hit. Four RBIs on the season with a .145 AVG. It’s atrocious. Yes, he’s a veteran presence, yes he can still play above average defense, yes he’s…nope. That’s all I got. I love you, Craigy, but turn this around offensively or it’s gonna have to be time to retire. I don’t particularly like either of the 40-year-old lefties on the bench (seriously, Brewers. Who needs TWO??) but something’s gotta give with Counsell. Like, soon.
Attempting to stretch the current streak to 8 wins, Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33) faces off against Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14). Garcia is tough on left-handed hitters, thus Hairston getting the start in CF over Nyjer Morgan and the only lefty in the Brewers line-up is, of couse, Prince Fielder. On the flip-side, Garcia’s ERA in 2 previous starts at Miller Park is 7.20, so if the Crew can continue to swing and play the same smart baseball they’ve been playing as of late, they may be able to solve the otherwise on-point Garcia.
But I’m good. I think that LoveSac is on it’s way.
Sooo the Brewers play their next 18 games within the NL Central.
Given that 9 of the first 12 are against Chicago and Houston, the divison’s losing-est teams, you’d think coming out of those 18 games with a winning record shouldn’t be a problem.
And the fact that Narv Dog is starting the first game against the Cubs tomorrow night shouldn’t hurt, either. He’s 5-0 in his last 11 appearances against Chicago but he’s facing Ryan Dempster, who’s been trouble for the Crew since, oh, just about forever.
Now, coming off a losing series in San Francisco, where little offense, multiple base running blunders and costly errors all weighed heavily on the outcomes of both losses, the Brewers are finally returning to the comforts of home for the first time since the All Star break.
On the plus side of this sad road trip, Ryan Braun seemed to have found his stroke after sitting out the last couple of series of the first half, homering in 4 of the last 5 games, putting him at 20 for the season. (3 of those homers were in his first at-bat.)
On the minus side? Meh. Take your pick.
Prince Fielder struggled throughout the entire roadie, almost as mightily as the swings he took at pitches outside the strikezone. In those 11 games, he went just 8 for 39, with 7 walks. The fact that only one walk was intentional and it came in the first game in Colorado tells the opponents exactly what it told me: Fielder currently isn’t a threat at the plate. Fix that, dude.
Also on the negative side was the injury to OF Carlos Gomez. Yes, he made a spectacular catch but he broke his collarbone in the process. The Brewers called up Brett Carroll from Nashville as a replacement and he made quite a defensive debut in SF yesterday, but went 0-3 at the plate, so I don’t know how beneficial he’ll be just yet.
So will Milwaukee’s recent bad play carry over to what should be one of the easier stretches of the second half? It’s hard to say.
Of course, with Gomez out, no lefties in the bullpen and the defensive woes in the left side of the infield, the Brewers have some holes to be filled and the trade deadline is looming. Of course, which hole is the biggest remains to be seen. The ‘pen hasn’t been working all too hard given the high amount of quality starts coming from the rotation, Carroll, Nyjer Morgan and Mark Kotsay are all capable outfielders, but none are everyday outfielders and Yuniesky Betancourt seemingly is getting sick of people saying he’s useless and went on an offensive tear, even going 3-5 with 2 homeruns in a single game in Arizona.
Relievers, infielders, outfielders–Dougie’s got some choices to make.
So, while they may currently share first place with St. Louis and Pittsburgh (Who knew?!), Milwaukee needs to seriously step it up. Like, now. They’re not gonna hit an easier string of opponents anytime soon and they need to take advantage and make do with what they’ve got until Melvin can find some new blood. I mean, if the Pirates can push and shove their way to the top with complete disregard for how crappy they are, then the Brewers should be able to knock everyone else down a peg or two.
I mean, really. It shouldn’t be that hard.
(PS, if you have Showtime, you really should be watching The Franchise. Even if you aren’t a Giants fan. Seriously. Great show. Wednesday nights.)
Such was the story of Christopher Narveson and the Brewers vs. Bud Norris and the Astros: 24 total strikeouts.
Christopher, who took the loss despite 6 strong innings and 7 strikeouts, has failed to earn his nickname back. He was pretty much dialed in until a towering 3-run homer off the bat of Carlos Lee gave the Astros a bit of insurance on their way to an eventual 5-0 win and series victory.
Brewers relievers Sergio Mitre (who gave up Houston’s 5th and final run) and Zack Braddock tacked on another 5 Ks, bringing the Crew’s strikeout total to 12 for the day.
Bud Norris, however, managed to strand 11 Brewers at the plate all on his own, even though he was the only one of the Astros 4 pitchers to give up any hits. (Mark Melancon notched Houston’s 12th K.)
On a somewhat positive note for Milwaukee, Ryan Braun walked in the first inning which mean’s he’s reached base safely in all 27 of the Brewers games this season. That was pretty much the only bright spot, even though Christopher seemed to have gotten his command back.
The Brewers also committed 5 errors in this 3-game series (if I remember correctly, they were all throwing errors?), so I’m pretty much over hearing Bill Schroeder talking about how great they are defensively. Um, not so much. And while we’re talking about their flaws, how about that Carlos Gomez running the bases? He’s so smooth. I wish I could be just like him. Grr…
Carlos Lee, despite his own bright spot of the homerun, was carted off the field and taken to the hospital during the top of the 7th after he and Angel Sanchez collided going after a Mark Kotsay pop up. Ouchie.
So the Brewers head to Atlanta for 4 games starting tomorrow and Zach Greinke is slated to pitch Wednesday against Tim Hudson. (Yay!) The Braves and Brewers are both in 3rd place in their respective divisions, but Atlanta is coming off a walk-off win against St. Louis to open this series. While the baseball world is waiting with bated breath to see Greinke’s National League debut, Milwaukee will have to take on Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson before that day even comes. Hopefully Yovani Gallardo has shaken off his streaky April and Marco Estrada will shine once again before his likely departure to Nashville.
In other baseball news:
If you’re playing in Cleveland as a visitor, plan on going home with your tail between your legs.
Don’t even bother trying to pitch to Andre Ethier because he will hit you.
Don’t make obscene gestures and homophobic slurs to fans of the opposing team. You’ll probably get suspended.
While you’re not doing things, don’t tweet about your ejection from the clubhouse. You’ll probably get suspended.
Lots of people are having surgery or breaking things. Casey Blake: out. Ryan Zimmerman: out. Panda: out. David Freese: out.
@TonyPlush will be back Tuesday. Lord knows the Brewers need him.
It has recently come to my attention that Bill Bob, the Brewers bear who lives in my car, had much more adventurous of a time on Opening Day at Miller Park than I was led to believe.
For those of you who don’t know, this is Bill Bob.
Bill Bob was acquired for $1.50 and 3 tries at a claw machine at my friendly neighborhood Toys R Us and has resided in my car ever since. I thought he was content in there, listening to games on the radio and hanging out in the Miller Park drunk lot. But I guess I was wrong. (He did get to come to the hotel on our Minnesota roadtrip last season, but failed to cheer Mol up.)
Well, I suppose being smushed under an easy-up tent in the backseat probably wasn’t the start to Opening Day Bill Bob was hoping for.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that he was stowed away in someone else’s trunk by the end of the day. Poor guy. But it recently came to light that Bill Bob wasn’t exactly kidnapped, as I had previously thought. No, no. Bill Bob was just happy to be out on his own.
Although, it appears he may have had too much wop. Or yucca. Or beer. Or all of the above, as he needed Nik to help him out in the pee tent.
But he must have pulled himself together because he somehow got into the game and from what I can gather from the picture, it appears that Bill was trying to get himself some more alcohol.
Oh, Bill Bob. High Life? Have I taught you nothing?? Always go to Friday’s for the Long Islands!
Well, needless to say, when all was said and done and I discover him in someone else’s car, I guess I’m a little hurt.
Because it appears it wasn’t a kidnapping, but an escape. (Or a quest for more beer!) I’m sorry Bill Bob. I promise to let you out and enjoy the Brewers. Clearly, you’re too enthusiastic to be cooped up in my car all the time. I mean, just look at the #1 finger. You didn’t even take it off to throw up in the pee tent. That’s what I call loyalty!
So while Bill Bob’s first official trip into Miller Park yielded a loss, hopefully he’ll be more content to come inside the house and watch tonight’s game on TV.
The Brewers make their first trip to Minute Maid Park and Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.73 ERA) will hopefully continue to roll as he and a more familiar line-up take on Brett Meyers (1-0, 3.31 ERA) and the Astros.
Brewers strike first, yet can’t win.
Bush better, Villanueva gives it away.
There are shadows! Deal with it!
Damn Astros and their Wednesday wins.
A-Rod’s only 5 away from 600.
Josh Hamilton at 23. Neverending story?
LaRussa drinking again? Supports AZ immigration.
Holy Vlad! Five RBIs vs. Angels.
Cubs can’t deliver. Lose in 10.
Awe. Sad. Utley going under knife.
Brewers at Busch. No more woes!
Guess who’s playing tonight? George’s beard!
Guess who’s happy about it? Me!
Go Brewers! Go Brewers! Go Brewers!