Rickie Weeks is out for the season. Damnit.
Just when I was starting to like the guy, he goes and tears a sheath surrounding a tendon in his left wrist. Huh? Regardless, Weeks has been insane so far in 2009 and and the Brewers lead-off spot will be hard to fill.
As far as replacing Weeks on the everyday roster, there are a couple of key infielders down in Triple-A Nashville that are contenders. Hernan Irabarren is the most likely to make the short trip to St. Louis to join the team for tonight’s game. And the recent addition of Mat Gamel in place of the already forgotten Brad Nelson allows a bit more play on the infield for manager Ken Macha, not to mention another left-handed bat.
This injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Brewers stand alone in first place after knocking the Cardinals down in the first 2 games of the series. Tonight’s make-up game from Friday puts former Card’s starter Braden Looper (3-2, 4.7 ERA) on the mound against Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.25 ERA). Hopefully the Brewers will be riding high and breeze through the next few series on this roadtrip. And, hopefully the Cardinals and Cubs will stay at bay for a bit longer.
Oh, and stop being such whiners, St. Louis. The Brewers can untuck their shirts and celebrate their wins. Or maybe you’re just upset that they’ve won the last 8 of 9 games played at your stadium and are just trying to make them look bad. Well, prepare for 9 of 10 and have fun in 3rd place!
(Sorry, Rickie! We’ll miss you!)
I have never enjoyed the Happy Youngster’s blog. I want to read about Brewers baseball, not the circumstances of some 30 year old getting baseballs.
The bullpen coach threw it to me. I caught some BP homers. I put on the opposing team’s hat and called out a first name (“Anyone can read the back of a jersey.”). Big effing deal.
I like writing about the Brewers and if you’re going to post yourself as a Brewers blogger, I’m gonna be a hell of a lot more interested in reading about the happenings of the actual game, not your lame conquests of doing what any 10 year old with a glove and a loud voice could do.
I don’t make it a habit to read Nick what’s-his-name’s blog, but when I stumbled across an article on AOL about a rookie MLB player’s homerun ball, I naturally read it. I read almost anything baseball related I come across, because, unlike Happy, I enjoy baseball for the sport. When I saw it involved a Brewers-Marlins game, I was almost certain I knew it would also involve said blogger.
Keep in mind, only because tonight’s battle of the two NL Central first place teams was rained out am I even writing about this. I already spent more time than necessary reading comments on Happy’s blog after I read the article on AOL. However, I feel I must say something about this whole situation because I’m a fan of, not only the Brewers, but baseball in general.
Chris Coghlan hits his first major league homerun. It’s a pretty big deal. When you’re only, what? 22, 23 years old? It’s a huge accomplishment. The Florida Marlins obviously have enough stock in this kid to bring him up to the Bigs and guess what? He delivered.
Sure, Happy is a ballhawk. Yes, catching homerun balls is a big deal to him. Has he bartered for homerun balls before? Probably. But is having homerun catch no. 50 worth more to him than Coghlan having the ball from his first Major League homerun? Apparently so.
According to Happy’s latest post, he clearly says when the Marlins offered another ball in exchange for the HR ball, that he already has over 775 balls and doesn’t need another one. Then give up the ball right then. What’s the point? Having a couple bats instead? Wow. That’s an enormous difference.
Now, as I’ve said already, I don’t care about catching game balls. I don’t care about batting practice or foul balls or any of that. I like watching baseball for baseball. That doesn’t mean I’ve never wondered what I would do if I miraculously caught such an important ball. As I don’t own a glove and never have or never will bring one with me to a game, it probably won’t happen, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering. I’m sure I wouldn’t be smart enough to request something other than what was offered to me in exchange and you know what? That’s fine. If it was me that caught Coghlan’s ball and the Marlins staff offered me a signed ball in exchange, I’d say okay. I have other player’s autographs. Guess what? They’re really not worth anything. Will anyone pay me for Ryan Braun’s autograph? Probably not. Go to a game, go to a Brewers sponsored event. You’ll get one of your own. But, in the moment, if some official from any MLB team came up to me and said, “Hey, that’s his first homerun. It’s a pretty big deal to him.” then proceeded to offer me anything in exchange for it, I’d give it up right then and there because I AM NOT A MARLINS FAN! What the eff would I want with his ball? Let the freaking kid have it!
Here’s my reasonable comparison to the whole thing. Imagine that Chris Coghlan was the now free agent Brad Nelson. Brad had a pretty damn good Spring. He made his first Major League roster this April (not counting the call-up last September. This is the one that matters.). Aside from him sucking at the plate, he’s had some pretty close calls. He’s a power hitter. Is it out of the question for Nelson to hit a HR? Absolutely not. So, say Brad Nelson is still with the Brewers and he hits his first homerun in the Majors and the Happy Youngster, because he’s just THAT GOOD, happens to catch it. Now there are numerous people from the Brewers staff requesting he give up the ball for a Brad Nelson signed ball, maybe even a bat because, you know, it’s only Brad Nelson. Instead, Happy requests not only those 2 items, but also a Ryan Braun game used bat because he’s the stud of Milwaukee. And while you’re at it, throw in some Marquee Game Diamond Box seats to the next Cubs series. Does that sound at all reasonable? HELL NO! So why does it seem reasonable to ask for a Hanley Ramirez game used bat? He had nothing to do with Coghlan’s homerun! And why tickets to a game that takes place in Florida? Even if Happy gets himself down there, why? That just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Regarless, as I’ve said already, I’m not a fan of the Happy Youngster. I don’t want to get too much into the why’s and why not’s of it, but national news? Hardly. Let Coghlan have his ball. Don’t be greedy. This kid has worked his whole life to get where he is. Happy puts on a glove and an opposing team’s gear and thinks he’s owed the world for standing in the bleachers for batting practice. I don’t care how many balls you’ve caught. I don’t care that you tie a freaking string to your glove and steal balls out of a bullpen. I don’t care that you have a youtube video at Spring Training or people that wear your lame tshirt. Respect the sport for sport, for the people that love the game and the players that live to play. This thing shouldn’t have ever become such a controversy but quite honestly, I’m kind of glad it did because otherwise I would’ve never had an excuse to vent any of this. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be like this, but I’m glad I was able to get it out. It feels pretty good.
Sorry for the hiatus. I promised a Monday post and, as it’s now Wednesday, this one is going to be a bit longer than I had anticipated. (Good thing I was taking notes all weekend!)
Friday. Brewers 3, Cubs 2
Danny Gokey Day here in Milwaukee proved to be eventful. The poor guy looked crazy tired, but he managed to belt out a pretty amazing National Anthem.
The first pitch? That didn’t go as well. A bit high, but at least it crossed the plate.
Gah, how annoying to have that American Idol camera that close to your face since 5am!
On to the game. Dave Bush, my favorite high-socks wearing pitcher, gave up a couple of runs early on, but then settled into a nice (eh) pitcher’s duel with Randy Wells (?). We all know I’d rather see some action. I guess I did when Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder diving to stop a Ryan Braun liner to third. And, sorry that he got hurt and all, but the ball was still in play. Run to second, RB. Granted, there wasn’t really any more offense that inning, but still. JJ Hardy smacked a homerun in the sixth for the first Brewers run and Braun blasted one after a wild pitch advanced Corey Hart in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead and prompt a nice 1-2-3 visit to the mound by Trevor Hoffman.
Ah, Hell’s Bells. Can’t get enough! (Love the leg kick!)
Saturday. Brewers 12, Cubs 6
As we were unable to skydive due to low cloud cover (boo!), we all pretty much just sat around and drank until it was time for the game. Then we watched and drank some more. Since it was the longest baseball game known to man (not including a 20-ish minute delay due to the lights going out at Miller Park), you can imagine how much that might have been.
This is the kind of game I love. I’m not much for favoring pitchers and defense in a game. Give me the bats and the long ball. That’s what I live for. The Brewers got an early lead, and held on to it. Yovani Gallardo may have only pitched 5 innings, but he managed to hold the Cubs to 2 runs. The score stood at 3-2 in favor of the Crew until the bottom of the seventh, when Milwaukee batted around and then some, scoring 6 runs along the way, including back-to-back homers by Craig Counsell (haha!) and Ryan Braun. Braun’s came after a pitch by Ryan Dempster in the fifth grazed the top of his helmet. Maybe. Either way, he stared Dempster down before trotting off to first.
The top of the eighth wasn’t so lucky for the Brewers. Jorge Julio and Todd Coffey combined for 4 runs, bringing the Cubs within 3 and prompting Hoffman to warm-up in the bullpen. He could relax, though, as another outbust by Milwaukee bats let him sit back down and watch the rest of the game.
Sunday. Brewers 2, Cubs 4
Ugh. Happy Mother’s Day. Right.
The pink bats usually help, but I guess they only helped the Cubs this year. An early 2-0 lead for the Brewers was quickly erased by a 2-run homer from Alfonso Soriano off of starter Jeff Suppan. They scored 2 more and Milwaukee’s bats were silent the rest of the game. I did have a good time with my mom though, so that’s good. And it was nice to not have any Cubs fans rubbing a win in our faces afterwards. Afterall, the Cubs lost the series and Sunday’s win was nothing to gloat about.
As Monday was an off-day, I anticipated seeing some players at work. Although, of all the guys that have been spotted, I’ve managed to miss them all so far. Lo and behold, I get a text from Mol about 20 minutes too late. Yovani Gallardo was shopping in men’s dress shirts. I was already on my way out the door. Damn!
But I swear I saw Mark DiFelice. No one else did, so it probably wasn’t him. And he wasn’t as tall as I remembered. Maybe I’ll still tell people I saw him to sound a teeny bit cooler.
And last night was definitely my kind of game! While I was at my dad’s softball game and checking the Brewers game on my phone, the score never changed from a 3-2 Marlins lead.
As I walked in to Leff’s afterwards, the whole place erupted. A Rickie Weeks homerun tied it up. This was quickly followed by Prince Fielder’s second HR of the night. (His first was responsible for the Crew’s first 2 runs.) Mike Cameron tacked on a bit of insurance in the 8th with a solo shot of his own and then, Hell’s Bells yet again! It was impressive, of course, but I think that Leff’s needs to blast the AC/DC just as loud as Miller Park does. I just like pretending to have that experience.
In other, non-game news, Milwaukee signed veteran outfielder Frank Catalanotto to a minor league contract. I’m gonna go ahead and say he won’t be in the minors for long. As a left-handed bat, he could be a good replacement for the large-headed Brad Nelson, who, by the way, struck out AGAIN in a pinch-hit situation. Poor Manny Parra kicked *** last night and then that big, dumb, oaf of a guy comes in to bat for him and sucks like always. Smooth move, Ken Macha. Don’t you know this guy is worthless?
And my favorite bit of baseball from the past week was this little quote by Macha, referring to the ball that supposedly hit Ryan Braun in the helmet Saturday night:
“The league frowns upon people throwing at people’s heads.”
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!
The Club Level seats have served well the past 2 outings. Sorry, Pittsburgh. First the Grand Slam, now this.
So, I always forget the last minute surge of people going to the lots at Miller Park, thus we missed the first half of the first inning. I was glad to have not seen the Pirates take the early 2-run lead, but disappointed I missed Mike Cameron’s throw home to beat out Freddy Sanchez. Ah, well.
The girls and I made it to our luxurious seats in time to see the Brewers first time at the plate. Within minutes of sitting down, we were on our feet cheering for Ryan Braun’s solo homerun. Yay!
Braden Looper had another pretty good outing, blanking Pittsburgh for the next 3 innings, so thanks for that.
Rickie Weeks, as much as I’ve disliked you the past couple of season, you’re starting to grow on me. Weeks may have only gone 2-5, but with a 3-run homer and 4 RBIs on the night, he’s not so bad, I guess. And all 4 runs came when the Crew really needed them. Nice.
Number 1 Hottie Ryan Braun was 2-2 with 2 walks and was suspiciously hit by a pitch. He was on base every at bat except 1. Not bad. I’m gonna say Jeff Karstens maybe didn’t hit Braun completely on purpose, but it was pretty square between the shoulders. It’s not often a pitcher will miss that badly with a fastball. Either way, both teams were issued warnings and Ryan was picked off first shortly thereafter. Oops.
Moving on. Looper only allowed 1 more run before exiting after 5 innings. Mark DiFelice was the first reliever called upon and he pitched one scoreless inning before big, bad Brad Nelson was sent in to pinch hit in the 6th. Really, Ken Macha? He was 0-12. Nelson, not surprisingly, struck out with the bases loaded. Now he’s 0-13. Maybe you think more about that before you send him in there again, Ken.
Mitch Stetter, once again the lone lefty in the bullpen, came out to face a few in the 7th. He did his thing before Carlos Villanueva was sent to finish the inning. My heart stops for a second when I see him, and it’s not for a good reason. That guy makes me so nervous. Why does it always come down to Villa? Needless to say, it’s now the top of the 8th and the Pirates tied it up 5-5 with him on the mound. Super.
Soooo, there’s 2 outs and the game is now tied. The crowd is begging for reigning hero Todd Coffey, and Coffey we got. I love that they are now timing his sprint from the bullpen to the mound. He clocked in at just over 14 seconds, in case you were wondering. Coffey got the final out and now was the time to step it up.
On to the bottom of the 8th–BEST INNING EVER! Poor, poor Tyler Yates. He started off badly and ended even worse. Without any more homeruns (Braun, Weeks and Cam each had one already), the Brewers had a monsterous comeback and put 5 more on the board. Pirates manager John Russell apparently thought it would be a really good idea to intentionally walk Ryan. Maybe he forgot Prince Fielder was on-deck. Either way, the Brewers were leading by 2 at this point (thanks to Weeks and Corey Hart), and Prince just decided to rock out a 2-run triple. It was pretty sweet. Cameron followed with a sacrifice fly to put the score at 10-5 before the final Brewers out was recorded.
And, even though it was not a save situation, Trevor Hoffman was finally with the Brewers club and had started warming up, so he was called upon to close it out. It was crazy-exciting. After Bill Hall struck out to end the 8th, the bells tolled. It was Trevor Time! I’ve been waiting anxiously to hear Hell’s Bells ever since Hoffman signed this past winter. I knew the first time it played, Miller Park would be electric. Granted, it shouldn’t have even been played, since the Crew was up by 5 and it was technically not a chance for a save, but man alive! I can only hope that in the event of an actual save, I get just as excited. It was almost as cool as being there for CC Sabathia’s first pitch in a Brewers uniform. Almost. But Trevor delivered, just as we suspected he would. It was 3 up, 3 down and with that final out, I can sufficiently say that was one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed.
Also, we met Guy Fieri. So, you know, that made it way cooler.
Mol, Me, Guy and Nik. Awesome.
The first of many, I’m sure.
And PS, Braden Looper was spotted shopping today. That puts the Brewers at work count at 3 so far.
Well, I didn’t much feel like posting anything yesterday due to the terrible Brewers loss to the Royals. Looks like I didn’t pick a very good day today, either.
Yesterday’s loss started with a poor showing by Milwaukee’s next supposed ace, Yovani Gallardo. This kid didn’t even last a full inning, allowing 4 singles and issuing 3 walks. Seven runs scored that first inning, although only 5 were earned by Gallardo. An all-too-common Rickie Weeks error contributed to the 7 runs. And although those would be the only runs Kansas City would get the rest of the game, it was more than enough. The only Brewers run came, once again, via the longball. This time Brad Nelson had the honor. But it was too little, too late. Even though Nelson went 2 for 4, the run came in the 9th with no outs and the Brewers were unable to spark anything after.
Today’s game was a bit more promising. Top 10 Hottie Manny Parra pitched 4 (yes, 4!) scoreless innings against the hometeam San Francisco Giants. The Brewers needed 4 relievers today, and only Mitch Stetter came up with a clean inning. Milwaukee led 2-0 for 3 innings before the Giants tied the game in the 5th and from there, it was anyone’s game. Eduardo Morlan came in for a save opportunity in the 9th with a 6-5 lead. He faced 3 batters and allowed 3 hits, the final being the walk-off HR by Ryan Rohlinger. Thank you, Eduardo Morlan. Ummmm, where the H was Trevor Hoffman??
But last’s night’s game of USA v. Venezuela was pretty awesome, no? Wellllll, until that ginormous 8-run 6th. Then I kind of just wanted to go to bed. But I did stay up to see a few more runs score. I missed Ryan Braun’s HR, although I read it could’ve been contested. But at that point, what’s one more run? I also thoroughly enjoyed Jimmy Rollins dancing in the dugout. I knew there was reason to love that guy other than his adorable size!
And so, without further ado, here is today’s picture(s) in the countdown to Opening Day at Miller Park. I missed yesterday, so again, a couple related pics for days 33 and 32 (Oh man, it’s getting so close!). My favorite place in the city has numerous photo op spots that are probably meant more for the enjoyment of little ones, but my friends and I just can’t help ourselves sometimes!
Mol and I with the most horrible likenesses of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun in the teeny dugout. I mean really. Same size? Ha.
Nik, me and Mol in the giant glove. (Note the flipflops.)