This post was to have a different, more positive sounding title, but then I read the box score to today’s game against the Giants and it got decidedly more negative. Grrr.
My favorite oft-bearded, high socks wearing pitcher is set to go 4th for the Brewers this season. Dave Bush (who was 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 3 appearances at the time I began taking notes for this entry), is likely the best option for the 4th spot in the rotation, despite allowing a ginormous 7 runs in 6 innings today. What keeps me believing he fits the bill to start after Yovani Gallardo (who’s officially been tabbed as the Opening Day starter for April 5th in Milwaukee), Randy Wolf and Doug Davis is that he’s a legitimately great pitcher who just has some legitimately (really) bad days. I’ll forgive the inordinate amount of homeruns he gives up because he’s pitched multiple near-no-hitters, he’s had a buttload of quality starts and, let’s not forget folks, he’s got the only post season win for the Crew in the last 27 years.
Bush has proved in Arizona this spring (minus today’s hiccup. And, not to put all the blame on DB, it was a bit too little, too late on the offense, Brewers) that he’s back and ready to start. After taking a hard liner off the elbow last season, he spent 2 months on the DL and had the worst record of any of the myriad of Brewers starters to take the mound in 2009. Bush went 5-9 with a 6.38 ERA in just 21 starts, 22 total appearances. But, even after today’s 7 runs, Bush’s current ERA for the spring is 4.34 and, as someone whose opinion is completely taken into consideration by the powers that be, I think he’s going to be a worthy starter for Milwaukee in 2010.
As far as the Crew’s 5th starter goes, it’s been said more than once that a decision doesn’t have to be made until around April 14 because of how the schedule pans out. It’s still up in the air where Manny Parra (1-2, 6.32 ERA, 4 appearances), The Narv Dog (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 appearances) and Jeff Suppan (1-1, 7.71 ERA, 5 appearances) will fall before that make-shift deadline. Is it possible for the Brewers to settle on 6 starters and be an arm short in the bullpen? Sure. Is that likely? Probably not so much. I’ve said it many times, overpay Suppan in the bullpen because that guy hasn’t lived up to the expectations since signing with Milwaukee in 2007. He’s past his prime as a starter and we fans just plain old don’t like him. The Narv Dog has had a pretty good track record when he’s started for the Brewers, but I know his lack of Big League experience is weighing against him. And, I’m just gonna say it: It’s Manny’s year. He’s due for a breakout season and I think the Brewers need to give him that chance or risk losing him.
In addition to the pitching conundrum, the Crew currently has 29 guys on their active roster. And we all know that means some house cleaning will need to be done before next week. Catcher Angel Salome will likely be gone, as will outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Marco Estrada. The Brewers are an arm over in the bullpen so that means one more guy will have to go. There are a lot of guys in that ‘pen that Milwaukee can’t afford to lose, so unless something big happens with how the starting rotation falls into place (ie, getting rid of the odd man out), an established reliever will be on his way out.
Now, as there are 7 days before the best day of the year, I shall share with you the new creation, made especially for the chilly Wisconsin temperatures that we generally get on Opening Day.
So I was grocery shopping with my mom today and we walked past a rack of calendars. It made me think of how, even though it’s December 4th, I had just turned my calendar page yesterday. And who do I see? JJ Hardy. Understandably, JJ wasn’t entirely terrible in 2008 and, yes, was still part of the team so why not put him in the 2009 calendar? Well, the month before had featured Bill Hall. As we all know by now, Hall is now a Mariner.
So I had to walk over to the rack and find a 2010 Milwaukee Brewers calendar and wouldn’t you know it, both Hardy and Hall are featured again!
Of course, baseball is a fickle business and unless you’re locked down to a solid, long-term contract, you’re future could be a pretty big question mark. But Hall was traded in August. Does it really take that long to put a calendar together? I mean, at least wait until late September to submit the pages. There are 25 guys on the team. You only have to pick 12. Bill Hall? Really?
Anyway, we both found it humorous that the 2 biggest slumping players of last season (Brad Nelson notwithstanding) were chosen way back when to be calendar boys for 2010.
But the Brewers seemed to have gotten themselves a catcher for next season, and at a more than 50% discount, too. Gregg Zaun, who split time within the Orioles and Rays organizations last year, signed on for 1 year at $2.15 million, with a club option for 2011. The 38-year-old Zaun will have to earn his keep, as Mike Rivera, Angel Salome and George Kottaras are all on the 40-man roster as well. The Brewers were looking to shed payroll of some of their higher-paid guys to open up their options and hopefully acquite some starting pitching for next year. They certainly did so by not making Jason Kendall an offer, who made $5 million in 2009.
Also, Doug Melvin spoke with Craig Counsell’s agent earlier in the week to discuss the possibility of keeping Counsell on for the 2010 season. As I’ve said before, I’m all for keeping Craigy on the team. Left-handed bats are always useful, and as a bench player, he’s certainly versatile. He had an amazing season last year on a bum knee, so hopefully his post-surgery knee will be even better. Plus, I always like hearing Jimi Hendrix when Counsell comes up to bat…
In other news, I just want to say how happy I am to have made the mlblogs leaderboard for the month of November. I love having this outlet to voice my thoughts and OPINIONS, even if I do create a little controversy every now and then. So perhaps thanks are in order to Zack Hample for getting me there? Yes, thanks, Zack, for not being able to handle one person, alllllll the way in Milwaukee, not liking your childish hobby and sending all your loyal minions to flock to my blog. I appreciate it!
As I checked the MLB leaderboards this afternoon on my lunchbreak, the Brewers players (or lack thereof) listed got me thinking about a lot of things. Take a look at some of these numbers and you’ll see what I mean.
MLB Batting Leaders
Prince Fielder – 31 (4th)
Ryan Braun – 26 (Tied, 13th)
Prince Fielder – 107 (1st)
Ryan Braun – 86 (Tied, 6th)
Ryan Braun – .314 (Tied, 15th)
Felipe Lopez – .313 (Tied, 18th)
On Base Percentage
Prince Fielder – .420 (4th)
Prince Fielder – .600 (4th)
Ryan Braun – .568 (9th)
Ryan Braun – 143 (11th)
Felipe Lopez – 140 (Tied, 13th)
Ryan Braun – 85 (6th)
Yovani Gallardo – 11 (Tied, 17th)
Yovani Gallardo – 165 (6th)
Trevor Hoffman – 26 (Tied, 10th)
Mitch Stetter – 57 (Tied, 11th)
Todd Coffey – 56 (Tied, 12th)
I’d say it’s pretty apparent what the problems are here. It’s a major, major issue when only 2 players show up consistently on the batting leaderboards. Admittedly, it’s nice when players hit hot streaks, like Fielder’s current tear. And, of course, not every position player on a team will get hot at the same time. And true, the Brewers have logged double digits in the hits column for what? The last 7 games? But when the one pitcher you see on the boards only takes the mound once every 5 games, things aren’t going to sync up as often as they need to. And even when Gallardo does pitch, the Brewers have trouble giving him ample run support.
It’s no secret that Milwaukee’s pitching staff has taken a perpetual beating this season. Currently, the starting rotation has given up both Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush to the DL, Braden Looper gives up homerun after homerun (to be fair, the entire staff has given up 159 longballs – the most in the majors. Ouch.), Manny Parra spent a few weeks in the minors only to come back and be crazy-consistent, Gallardo is the ace in the making and then there’s Mike Burns, reliever on loan. Even when the starters manage to go the distance, the distance is generally somewhere around 6 innings – definitely not enough.
Which leads me to the bullpen. It’s no wonder the Brewers have 2 relievers showing up as having pitched in the most games. The bullpen works far too often because the rotation can’t get it done. Adding a few new arms out there have so far not paid off. The only thing Jesus Colome, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas have in common with the rest of Milwaukee’s pitching staff? The ability to give up runs in great numbers.
There are only 44 games left for the Brewers this season. If the pitching doesn’t match up with the offense soon, the team will be in serious jeopardy of falling further out of contention. (Despite what it may sound like so far, I do still have faith in my boys.) It’s just really hard to fathom a big comback in either the NL Central or Wildcard races if batting and pitching coming together is about as rare an occurence as a solar eclipse.
Including wrapping up this current series in Pittsburgh, there are 14 match-ups left in 2009. Only 6 of those series will the Brewers face teams lower in the standings than they are. Also looming for Milwaukee are 3 series against the Cardinals, 2 versus the Cubs and 1 against the Wildcard-leading Rockies. If the Brewers are hoping to take any or all of those series, they had better start by winning more against the teams that, on paper, they’re capable of beating.
And at the risk of sounding selfish, I have at least 6 more games to attend this year, including 2 in St. Louis at the end of the season. I’d like very much to see a major turnaround from my team by then. Well, in addition, I’d like to see the Cubs and Cards take a nosedive, but beggars can’t be choosers. And don’t get me wrong, I know enough about baseball to understand it’s full of ups and downs and I can’t expect the world all the time. But come on, Brewers. I’m really sick of the downs.
Okay, so in other news, Bill Hall’s future will be decided by Friday. It’s entirely possible that Doug Melvin will use Hall as a trading chip. Quite honestly, I hope that he does. Obviously, Hall’s career is far from over and there’s got to be at least a few teams interested in picking him up. The Brewers, if I haven’t made it clear enough yet, need another starter. I’ve been reading the Reds are interested in Billy and, well, they’ve got a couple arms they’re willing to part ways with. And I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Bronson Arroyo or Aaran Harang put on a Brewers uni. But the decision on Hall still has a few more days to be made, so don’t worry – I won’t hold my breath.
Anyway, the Crew is at PNC Park again tonight to try and restore some dignity and stop the downward spiral. Manny Parra (8-8, 6.44 ERA) matches up with Ross Ohlendorf (10-8, 4.30 ERA). Parra’s been nothing short of spectacular since returning from Triple-A just a few weeks ago and since the last time the Brewers saw the Pirates, they’ve gotten rid of the majority of their team. Hopefully, this will bode well for Parra and he’ll be on point again tonight. Hopefully.
Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I was waiting for something really super-awesomely spectacular to happen before I wrote anything else, but since the Brewers have failed to do anything super, awesome or spectacular for quite some time, I suppose I have to comment on today’s actions within the ballclub.
First, dismissing pitching coach Bill Castro isn’t going to change the fact that the rotation is struggling and the bullpen can’t seem to salvage the myriad of situations they’ve been put into. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush are out– let’s not forget that’s still a factor. Carlos Villanueva is par, at best, as a starter, Braden Looper can’t seem to work 2 quality starts in a row and Yovani Gallardo pitches well, but the offense rarely supports him. Since coming back from his latest stint in the minors, Manny Parra has been the only pitcher to garner both quality starts and wins. The marred rotation, coupled with the wishy-washy bullpen (including the recent acquisitions of Jesus Colome and 2 former Brewers, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas) are never going to be enough to consistently win games.
Castro’s replacement, Chris Boscio, has big league experience both as a pitcher (with Milwaukee and Seattle) and as a coach (with the Tampa Bay Rays). The Triple-A Nashville Sounds, whom Boscio is leaving behind for this interim position, have a team ERA of 4.05, which is good enough for 2nd in the league. Hopefully whatever he’s doing with the Sounds will translate to the Brewers and he can help whip the pitching staff into shape.
The second move Doug Melvin and Co. made today was to send shortstop JJ Hardy to Triple-A for the first time in over 2 seasons. Alcides Escobar has yo-yo’d between Nashville and Milwaukee over the past season and a half as has gotten the call as Hardy’s replacement. Escobar is batting .298 in the minors while Hardy has been struggling to make it out of the .220 range all season. The plan for JJ is similar to the one Manny Parra had– regroup, start producing and get his head on straight. Hopefully, it’ll work to his advantage the way it worked for Manny.
Lastly, Bill Hall, the oft-slumping infielder turned outfielder turned infielder turned outfielder, was designated for assignment. Hall was sent to Nashville just a few weeks ago but was quickly recalled after Corey Hart had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Nevermind that he hit a 2-run homer last night, Hall has been platooned for the past 2 seasons and has been unable to match or exceed career-high numbers in the past 3 seasons. Hall’s replacement is a virtually unknown Jason Bourgeois, who missed most of the year so far due to a thumb injury. The Brewers now have 10 days to decide Bill Hall’s future with the team.
So what do I think about all this? I think the shake-ups are good. I think the majority of the players on this team will look at what was decided today and will realize their fates may not be secure if the team can’t turn it around. However, I don’t think this is going to be enough to pull out of the middle of the NL Central.
The Brewers are in desperate need of consistent, quality starts, something the rotation has been lacking in all season. The addition of 3 pitchers to the bullpen is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound. Milwaukee’s starting rotation is suffering and will continue to suffer if a new arm isn’t added soon. And the bullpen is exhausted because they’re constantly expected to clean up the mess. A number of pitchers have recently cleared waivers that are worth taking a long, hard look at, despite what it may cost to finish out the season with them. Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang of the Reds are options. So is John Smoltz, despite a poor showing in 8 starts with the Red Sox. All I’m saying, is anyone is better than what the Brewers have going on right now. The rotation has been in constant flux since April and I think consistency will be key, if the organization decides to add an arm and once everyone is healthy and back with the club.
One can only hope these moves are just minor stepping stones to something bigger. But until then, the Brewers need to figure out how to turn themselves around and start winning again. I will not be looking forward to St. Louis in October if those last 3 games mean nothing.
Tonight, the Crew looks for some sweet redemption from last night’s embarassing showing against the Padres. Carlos Villanueva (2-9, 6.05 ERA) is on the mound against Kevin Correia (7-9, 4.51 ERA).
I’ve been throwing around a few differen’t headlines for today’s post. There actually is quite a bit to talk about since Monday night’s debacle. So instead of recapping, here’s the condensed rundown of everythig I want to touch on.
MRI reveals Suppan sucks, now on 15-day DL
Villanueva struggles, Crew dissapoints, I leave early
Avoided last night’s game, Brewers fiiiiiiinally beat Nats — Go figure
Series split. Whatev. Milwaukee back at .500
Wins. Plays. Games. (In Triple-A.)
Gallardo should be careful, could hurt back carrying the Brewers
Dear Crew, be less embarassing in San Diego
Pirates trade away entire roster, content with staying in cellar
Lackluster NL Central — does anyone want it?
Cubs acquire Grabow and Gorzelanny, will still choke by end of season
The Brewers head to San Diego for a 3-game series against the perennial cellar-dwellers, the Padres. I will not go on record saying the Brewers will sweep, given the situation with the Nationals this week, but my confidence in the team is slowly going back up, so I say they at least come back with a series win. (Maybe even RHP Kevin Correia?)
Tomorrow’s match-up, Braden Looper (9-5, 4.79 ERA) vs. Chad Gaudin (4-9, 4.57 ERA).
Lately, it seems that’s all a team needs to make fools out of the Brewers. Lucky for them, New York didn’t have any to send to the mound in this series. That, coupled with nearly all of their A-squad on the DL, and they pretty much handed the series win to the Crew.
Brewers 10, Mets 6
If it weren’t for Carlos Villanueva, I would say Monday night’s was one of the best games of the season so far. Instead, it was just a really good game with a bit of a blemish.
The Brewers finally rejoined the hit parade, nearly tying their season high of 20. That game was the 15-3 blowout in Cincinatti back in May. Aside from the high hit count, this game had something else in common with that one: the grandslam.
Casey McGehee had the honor in the bottom of the 6th–sweet redemption from the lazy pop-up that entered, then promptly left, his glove in the top of the frame.
But, being the diehard gamer that he is, McGehee didn’t seem to even acknowledge the grandslam. He was too busy mulling the error that eventually led to 2 Mets’ runs to even think about what he’d just done. Either way, he was beckoned back out by the thankful crowd and he reluctantly obliged the curtain call. It was nice to see his post-game interview, too because, one, I’ve never seen him smile or heard him speak and two, I wanted him to show some pride over what he’d accomplished. Way to go, Casey!
There were other things working for the Brewers that night, too. JJ Hardy went 4-4, including a solo HR. Jason Kendall went 3-4 with an RBI, and even when McGehee was taken out, Bill Hall was shockingly able to produce. Hall stepped up, going 2-2 with 2 RBIs.
Villanueva, as I mentioned, was the lone dark spot on an otherwise great game. After Todd Coffey and Mitch Stetter worked a combined scoreless 1+ inning, Villa gave up enough runs (including a Gary Sheffield 2-run shot. Boo.) to warrant a trip to the mound from Trevor Hoffman. Ordinarily, I’m not opposed to seeing Hoffman, but with a 7-run lead going into the 9th, I’d rather not have to. Instead, he comes out with 2 on and 1 out, and with one pitch, the game is over and the shirts are untucked.
When all is said and done, Milwaukee leads the NL Central by 1. Awesome.
Brewers 6, Mets 3
Mike Burns vs. Johan Santana. Hmmmm….
This game did not go as many wouldn’ve expected it to. Although, it started that way.
Burns gave up a 2-run homer early in the first to David Wright. His remaining 6+ innings were basically flawless.
Santana, on the other hand, wasn’t as lucky. A series of hits in the 3rd ended up scoring the first Brewers run on a Ryan Braun RBI. One inning later, I found myself hoping for another grandslam. Santana walked Burns on 4 straight pitches then Corey Hart doubled on the most hilarious outfield slip I’ve seen in a long time. (I kid you not. The fall that Fernando Martinez took was classic. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard.) JJ Hardy followed with a walk to load the bases for Braun.
What happened next may as well have been a grandslam, as far as I’m concerned. But I’ll take what I can get.
Braun doubled on an 0-2 count to Gary Sheffield. Burns and Hart scored easily, but a throw to the plate to catch Hardy was deflected past Omir Santos to Santana, allowing the third run. Santana then overthrew third on an attempt to tag Braun out and, despite not technically being a grandslam, that 4th run scored anyway. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy after that play, for I was home alone, screaming like an absolute maniac. (Can you blame me?)
Three innings go by with nary a run scored. Somehow Burns is out of the game in the 7th with a mid-90’s pitch count, while Johan remains in the game, over 100 pitches, and proceeds to give up a solo bomb to Prince Fielder. Just a little insurance, I guess. Looks like Jerry Manuel wasn’t thinking too clearly by leaving Santana in to start the bottom of the 7th. He finally exits the game after that.
A myriad of pitchers come out for both teams and the Brewers narrowly avoided an 8th innings Mets’ threat. And because Hoffman worked a grueling 1-pitch game the night before, it was Coffey on the mound to finish it off. A nice double-play ball put the first 2 outs on the board, but I guess Martinez wanted to make up for his embarassment back in the 4th and hit a homer to the Tundra Territory. Ah well. Too little, too late.
The game ended one batter later, preserving Burns’ first Major League win.
The Brewers now lead the Central by 2 games. Awesome.
Brewers 0, Mets 1
Apparently Yovani Gallardo can’t catch a break against the Mets. The poor guy pitches another great game, yet loses again in a 1-0 shutout.
Newly appointed Top 10 Hottie Ryan Church was responsible for the single RBI of the game, and Gallardo was tabbed for the loss.
Despite outhitting the Mets 7-5, the Brewers were unable to capitalize and give Yo what would’ve been a well-deserved win.
Gallardo struck out a career-high 12 batters in 7 innings pitched. That’s twice as many as Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey.
And Fielder was caught stealing. Shocker.
The Brewers currently lead the Central by a game and a half. Still awesome. Hopefully the Cardinals will get swept.
The Brewers final roadtrip of the first half is a 4-game series this weekend in Chicago. The Cubs have been faltering lately, so I’m not too worried the Crew will come home with their lead in tact. But before the All-Star break, the Cards and Dodgers come to Miller Park. That leaves a bit up in the air. But, as I said in my last post, the second half is relatively easy for Milwaukee. Hopefully the lead will still be theirs come October.
Tomorrow’s match-up: Seth McClung (3-1, 3.55 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (4-5, 4.09 ERA) in a rare Thursday night game at Wrigley.
With the excitement that’s still running through me from the awesome game that ended nearly 2 hours ago, I have to tell you about the day that almost wasn’t.
I feel like it’s a long story, but bear with me. It has a very happy ending!
My dad and I purchased 2 seats in a 9-pack for the season and tonight’s game was to be our third. As we had 2 graduation parties to attend, he decided I could have the tickets for tonight. It was a 6:05 start time and he didn’t want to be rushed. Awesome. Of course, I’ll take the tickets.
Then, of course, no one is available to go with me. People are either working, or have plans or are already going. Typical. I had a week to try and unload the second ticket, but no takers. eriously, annoying.
So my dad decides he’ll take my mom, if that’s alright with me. I said sure, since I had just gone to Wednesday’s game. No big deal.
Well, all day I’m getting texts from Mol from her tailgate party asking if I found anyone to go with because I should meet them down there. So now I’m a little jealous I’m not going. And I’m sulking my way through the 2 grad parties and I really wished I could go.
My mom offers her ticket back to me, but my dad wasn’t having it. “Why don’t you just get a standing room only ticket?” she asks. I thought about it and just decided I didn’t want to deal with trying to meet up with people and wandering around until someone texted or called. Plus, at this point, it was a little over an hour before the first pitch.
So, we get home, mom and dad change and are ready to walk out the door and I changed my mind super-last minute and bought myself a ticket when we got down there. I bummed a seat in their section just in time to see Seth McClung throw his first pitch.
Then I was kindly asked to leave the seat. So I move to another and same thing. Three seats later, I just leave to wander and get some food, maybe something to drink and end up behind the right field bleachers with a margarita in my hand.
A nice guy comes and starts chatting me up, because, hello? Why wouldn’t he? And I find out he’s with a bachelor party, the groom had disappeared 4 innings prior, thus there was a seat open, would I like to join him? Why not? My friends, at this point, had not told me where their seats were, nor had offered to meet up with me anywhere.
Now, not that I’m the good luck charm or anything, but on Wednesday when I moved down into the right field bleachers, the Brewers took the lead and thus, won the game. Tonight when I sat down there, the Brewers tied it up 4-4 on a Prince Fielder 3-run homer followed by a first-pitch blast from Casey McGehee. Coincidence? (Probably.)
It’s still tied in the 7th, I finally hear from my friends and I leave the nice bachelor party-goers and head one section up. The panels were open in right field and it was the most amazing breeze I’ve ever felt. Todd Coffey’s pitching, he does an amazing job, and then the Brewers fail to score, prompting Trevor Hoffman to enter the game in the 9th, minus Hell’s Bells. Ugh.
This doesn’t look so troublesome on paper. Except Hoffman proceeds to give up 3 basehits in a row, loaded the bases and 2 Giants’ runs score. Oops. And the 3 batters coming up for Milwaukee aren’t really who you want at the plate in the bottom of the 9th to face Brian Wilson, one of the best closers this season — Mike Rivera, Bill Hall, pitcher’s spot.
Rivera was out and Craig Counsell batted in place Hall. Good move, Macha. Seriously. If anyone can start a 9th inning rally, it’s Counsell. Sure enough, he singled. Jason Kendall stepped in for Counsell as a pinch runner. Mat Gamel pinch hit for Hoffman and walked. Corey Hart’s single scored Kendall and JJ Hardy, who hadn’t done too much offensively all night, singled in Gamel. When Ryan Braun stepped to the plate, we knew it was gonna be a “go big or go home” kind of at bat. And Braun struck out. Eh. Not surprised. Then Prince Fielder saunters up, bat in hand, ready to make some magic happen.
The fans at Miller Park were doing all they could to summon something of greatness from that bat. And we got it. An RBI double to right field scored Hart for the win.
It was absolutely incredible that my little saga of a day ended the way it did! And I was so happy to have been with friends, instead of strange men at that bachelor party when it happened!
So now that the Giants have lost the series, I wonder if they’ll end up sending Tim Lincecum to the mound tomorrow. Their off day this week would mean it’s his day, but not his spot in the rotation. If the do, it would be an Opening Day re-match for Jeff Suppan. Otherwise, it’s Ryan Sadowski with the ball for San Fran. Either way, the Brewers already have the series win and are still holding on to that first place tie in the NL Central with the Cardinals.
However, after tomorrow, the Brewers face some major obstacles to get to the All-Star break with that lead in tact. I guess I should really start thinking one game at a time, since July hasn’t even started yet, and the way Milwaukee’s played these last 2 games, I shouldn’t be too worried. But they’ve got the Mets, Cubs, Cards and Dodgers over the next 2 and a half weeks. Not easy.
Anyway, I shall not dwell. Tomorrow is another day.
I’m gonna go ahead and just skip right past the sweep in Minneapolis this weekend. I’m not gonna go into the starting pitching that fell apart or the offense that could barely produce. I won’t dwell on the terrible playing conditions at the even more terrible Metrodome. I won’t mention the astroturf or white roof–none of that matters now.
What matters is Yovani Gallardo struck out Albert Pujols (among others) and held the Cardinals scoreless for 8 innings yesterday. What matters is Trevor Hoffman came in in a non-save situation and got 3 outs on 7 pitches. Bill Hall does still win games! That’s what matters.
The Brewers are alone again in first place and are so far 4 for 4 in wins over St. Louis, who have now fallen a game behind. And Cincinnati has climbed above the Cubs (Ha! Fourth!) to sit comfortably at third. Well, until the Brewers knock them down a bit more after this coming weekend series.
And Ken Macha sure has had to make some interesting decisions regarding his roster as of late. I’m not sure what the future holds for Mat Gamel after his stint at DH against the Twins didn’t go so well over the weekend. Although, it’s not entirely his fault–there was very little offense to speak of. Outfielder Frank Catalanotto was called up yesterday and lefty RJ Swindle was sent back down to Triple A to make room. Casey McGehee has been doing a fair job filling in at both 2nd and 3rd as needed and there are currently 5 outfielders to play around with, as Tony Gwynn, Jr. was traded to the Padres to follow in his Hall Of Famer dad’s footsteps for veteran Jody Gerut.
As I leave for Las Vegas with the ladies early tomorrow morning, there won’t be any posts for awhile. We will make it a point to watch the Brewers vs. Reds on Friday afternoon while we’re placing some bets at the sports book at ESPN Zone, though. I’m sooooo excited!
And speaking of excitement, here’s a glimpse of what I did this weekend!
This was 2 weeks ago. Mol and I signing our lives away before skydiving! (We were postponed until this past Sunday.)
All ready to go! Sort of. I don’t think you’re ever 100% ready to throw yourself out of a plane!
Mol, Nik and I. Nik wasn’t part of our jump group, but she was just as crazy as we were!
Yep. That’s me way up there!
Nik and her husband, all ready!
Success! Eight went up, and eight came down…well, safely, anyway! Seriously, one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done and would sooooo do it again!
But back to baseball, tonight it’s Jeff Suppan (3-3, 4.71 ERA) on the mound against Adam Wainwright (4-2, 3.41 ERA). Unfortunately, I’ll probably sleep through most of the game, I we’ve got a super-early flight tomorrow.
The Brewers split their 4-game series against the Diamondbacks this weekend, starting and ending with wins.
Of course, I had to attend one of each. (I have yet to get 2 wins in a row.)
Thursday, win, Friday, loss, blah blah blah.
Saturday, the ladies and I suited up and headed out to the left field bleachers at Miller Park to be close to our favorite Hottie, Ryan Braun. When we arrived and saw Chris Duffy standing on that worn spot in the grass, we figured it was just a night off. We were disappointed, sure, but Sunday was Ryan Braun bobblehead day. He needed to rest up, because, as history has it, the bobblehead generally has a big game that day. No big deal.
The game was a crappy one, including the giant group of ungrateful, drunk underagers that maintained everyone else was sitting in their seats, even though no one could produce a ticket to prove otherwise. I got flipped off by a little girl wearing a denim mini-skirt with yellow leggings. She was wholly inappropriate and interrupting and all I said was she was an inconvenience, everyone around me agreed, and she got upset. I wanted to grab that finger she waved in my face and break it, but since I’m 25 years old and was far from being nearly as inebriated as she, I played nice and held back. Eventually we moved away from them and attempted to enjoy what was left of that awful game.
Sunday, quite tired, the ladies and I met up again, headed to Starbucks, then proceeded to the drunk lot, where, I believe for the first time ever, none of us consumed a single alcoholic beverage. Weird. Not in the game, either. Again, we were near left field, and this time, we see resident suck artist Brad Nelson. What? Where’s Ryan? (Chris Duffy eventually filled in, after Nelson proved to the world that he deserves to play no higher than Single A ball. Maybe. 0-16 now?)
Break out the Blackberries. Ryan Braun is out with a stiff upper back. Huh. Wonder how something like that got by me, got by all of us. Someone would’ve surely known about that. Weird. So, it’s Ryan Braun bobblehead day and those little bobble-y figurines were about all we saw of him. Well, we borrowed some binoculars to catch a glimpse of him in the dugout.
Sunday’s game was much better for us. Dave Bush pitched a hell of a game. Well, up until the 3 homeruns he gave up in one inning to tie up the game. Oops. But, the Brewers charged back with a Chris Duffy RBI groundout in the 8th and Hell’s Bells came on to win it again. I love Trevor Hoffman!
My record so far is 4-3. I like being over .500. I hope I can stay above it after the 2 games against the Cubs this weekend!
But tonight, the Brewers had me a little worried. PNC Park, a place of past nightmares for Milwaukee, was seeming to go that direction once again. Not only was Braun still out, he wasn’t even at the park yet. Bill Hall subbed for his first Major League start in LF and Casey McGehee garnered only his second start for the Brewers, his first at 3rd base. Hall dove for his first catch in the first inning and came up with a hamstring cramp which took him out of the game. Mike Cameron slammed into the wall and looked like he was going to be done. He was a trooper, though and managed to stay in, while Chris Duffy filled in for Hall.
Yovani Gallardo had another quality start, and coming off his last game, you could imagine he felt he had a lot to live up to. But he stayed in it, despite allowing 3 runs early on. Pirates started Paul Maholm blanked the Brewers after giving up 1 run in the first. He came out after 7 1/3 and I’m not quite sure what John Russell had in mind when he went through 3 more pitchers to finish out the 8th. Milwaukee tied up the game at 3 apiece with a Ryan Braun pinch-hit 2-run double. Love that guy. He doesn’t even show up in the dugout until the 5th inning and then he goes and does that. Then stays in the game to play left. Awesome. Then Mark DiFelice came out to pitch for the Crew in the bottom of the inning and Pittsburgh was only able to muster up one more run to regain the lead, but a poor outing by Pirates closer Matt Capps in the 9th. JJ Hardy had the go-ahead RBI with a sacrifice fly, then Rickie Weeks hits this 3-run bomb to left field. I was jumping on the bed at this point.
And then, of course, Trevor Hoffman saves the day.
Man, I love Brewers Baseball!
Sorry, Pittsburgh. Miller Park just isn’t getting any easier for you, I guess.
Last night’s win was just what the Brewers needed to keep their current momentum at full force. Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks added to their homerun counts and put the Crew on top of the Pirates in the bottom of the 7th and Milwaukee’s bullpen has never been so sharp in order to keep the lead. Trevor Hoffman notched his first save as a Brewer and the Pirates had fallen under the Miller Park spell a ******** 17 times in a row.
Well, actually, make that 18.
Yovani Gallardo, as I’ve said before, is quickly becoming the new young ace for the Brewers. He pitched 5 hitless innings today, before an Andy LaRoche double. After that, only one more Pirate hit was allowed and the lone run that scored the entire game was also at the hands of the 23 year old pitcher. Gallardo hit his 2nd homerun of the season in the 7th inning and literally one-upped Pittsburgh. Not only did he make it through the 8th only surrendering 2 hits and scored the only run of the ballgame, but Yovani also had a career high 11 strikeouts. Seriously. Watch out for this one.
Gallardo’s stellar outing also helped save a bullpen that had to send in 9 pitchers between Monday and Tuesday’s games. Carlos Villanueva pitched a perfect 9th inning today and notched his second save of the season. (It doesn’t make me any less nervous when he’s on the mound, though.)
So, Milwaukee has their first sweep of the season and is also sitting at .524–the first time the club is over .500 so far in ’09. Not only that, but they’re smack in the middle of a 3-way tie for second place in the NL Central with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. However, the Crew is riding a 3-game winning streak into their 4-game series with Arizona beginning tomorrow night at Miller Park. Buuuuuut, the Diamondbacks blanked the Cubs 10-0 earlier today, so I’m sure they’ve got quite a bit of their own momentum to contend with.
The match-up tomorrow is Jeff Suppan (1-2, 7.32 ERA) against Max Scherzer (0-2, 4.91 ERA). Suppan’s only win came 10 days ago, but his last outing in Houston he took a no decision in an eventual 11-inning, nail-biting win for the Crew.
Here’s to hoping Milwaukee’s on a roll and can come up with a monster of a winning-streak before heading out to PNC Park on Monday. I’m sure those Pirates will have revenge on the brain.