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!
Parra’s wild first yield’s no runs.
Rodriguez at home in Puerto Rico.
Strasburg pitched? Oh, I hadn’t heard…
Zambrano mad! Zambrano need anger management!
Edmonds + Counsell = 79. Old Men Brewers.
Bourne’s first homer. Off Crew. Shocking!
Manny goes wild again. Run scores.
Braun homers. Trails Hart. Bizarro Brewers.
Pujols: No Derby. Can’t whine afterwards.
Strasburg allows 3. *gasp* He’s human!
Indians squeeze out win over Jays.
Villanueva loads ’em for Coffey. Ehhhh…
Aaaaaand Pence ties it. 5 all.
I like Braddock better than Coffey.
Rolen reaches 300 against former team.
Heyward to DL. Active for ASG.
Opportunity wasted by Prince, Ryan. Ugh.
Bullpen fails. Astros ginormous comeback win.
Losses okay when Cubs lose, too.
Carlos Lee’s on my fantasy team.
After sweeping the Pirates with astronomical numbers, the Brewers were apparently too pooped out to swing the bats (or pitch even remotely well) against Chicago on their home turf.
We fans walk into Miller Park like we own the place (which, we kinda do. Thanks, stadium tax!) when the Cubs come to town. And more and more often, it seems, we leave what’s become known as Wrigley Field North with our tails between our legs. It’s embarassing. I, for one, will no longer stand for it.
Well, okay, it’s not exactly up to me. But Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin and Ken Macha have finally converged and wisened up and made what could be a pivotal decision in getting this ball club, not only back above .500, but headed back to the top of the standings, which is where a 47-runs-in-4-games type of ball club deserves to be.
The much needed turn-around starts with a shake-up to the starting rotation and it seems MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman crawled inside my head while I was sleeping last night and wrote the exact article I would’ve written. Here are a couple of my favorite gems.
“There is no guarantee that Narveson will be the definitive answer in Milwaukee’s 5th starter spot. But he will have the virtue of not being Jeff Suppan.”
I mean, honestly. Go to Miller Park and ask any Brewers fan who would be a better starter the Suppan. The answer? Anyone other than Suppan. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the decision to send Ol’ Reliable to the bullpen was finally made. It was too late, but it was finally made.
“From a pitching rather than a personal perspective, the Suppan situation in Milwaukee has been a mistake for three plus seasons.”
Ummmm, yes! Why can everyone with eyes that follows Major League Baseball, Brewers fan or not, see that, yet it took so long for the people that sign the checks to understand??? Just because management made a mistake in 2007 doesn’t mean the rest of the team should just now be starting to clean up after it.
But the real question is, Is the Narv Dog the answer?
Well, he probably would’ve been 3 weeks ago. Instead, Suppan was on the DL, all but awaiting his turn in the rotation. Meanwhile, Narveson’s Spring momentum of 13 scoreless innings dwindled to a 7.20 ERA in 9 relief appearances so far in regular play.
I mean, I still cannot get over his start last September against the Cubs. The Narv Dog pitched 5 2/3 innings, struck out 10 and allowed only 4 hits, with 1 earned run. Pitching like that is why I adored him going into Spring Training and why I was pushing for him to be the Brewers #5, even over Manny Parra.
This decision is definitely what’s best for the team. Right now, anyway. One can argue that Narveson may not be the best option if Suppan’s destiny is an overpaid slot in the bullpen. However, Parra is scoreless in relief so far and the other viable option to start, Carlos Villanueva, has been pitching extremely well in mid-to-late inning relief. If the Narv Dog’s best days have happened starting the first inning on that mound, then by all means, yes. He’s the best choice.
And if the Brewers have to go through 5 more #5’s before finding a rotation that can get the job done, then let them do it.
Afterall, it’s still early.
I first must tell you all that I have finally gotten a new computer. Therefore, I am blogging from bed, iTunes and Twitter are running simultaneously and should I need to do any last minute research while posting, it will not be a problem. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve been able to run more than one program at a time? No? Well, let me just say it’s been a long *** time. This is sooooo nice!
But on to baseball…
Did you all hear that the Brewers were moving to Orlando? Some dude running for Congress down there wants a Major League team to move, thus some reporter took that to include the Crew, thus we all think he’s an idiot. It would’ve taken 2 minutes to find out that wasn’t true.
A few guys settled before arbitration hearings are to get underway. Dave Bush agreed to terms with Milwaukee, signing for a year and earning $4.215 million. But, there are a lot of possibilities out there for Bush. He may not make the cut when it comes to the starting rotation. Hell, he may not even make the bullpen with the other guys competing out there. Bush also stands to make up to $110,000 in bonuses but if that’s to happen, he’s gotta shrink that 6.38 ERA.
Also signing this week was starter-***-reliever-***-starter-***-reliever Carlos Villanueva. Villa asked for just over a mill, but signed on for 2010 for $950,000.
The only player yet to sign is right fielder Corey Hart. Hart seems to think he deserves $4.8 million coming off a, well, let’s face it, bad year. And 2009 was only made worse by a missed month with an emergency appendectomy. If Hart and the Brewers don’t come to an agreement, Corey could be on his way out and, I’m gonna just say it: that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Milwaukee claimed utility man Joe Inglett off of waivers on Wednesday. This gives the Brewers another left handed bat and an another extremely versatile player should he make the roster out of Spring Traning. His addition meant clearing room on the 40-man, thus designating reliever Chris Smith for assignment. Since Inglett has experience in both the infield and outfield, he’s got increased odds of making the team since the Crew is still in need of bench players that can do either.
In a move that had little to no rumblings in us fans’ heads, the Brewers signed near-40-year-old Jim Edmunds to a minor league contract yesterday. Just last week Edmunds made it clear that he wanted back in the Bigs and GM Doug Melvin was quick to make a move. Should Edmunds make the squad come April, he’s got a chance to hit some career milestones before officially calling it quits. He’s got the goods should he make it to Miller Park, including a career .284 BA, 4 trips to All-Star games and 8 Gold Gloves. Plus, he’s another lefty that can play any spot in the outfield. It’s been reported that Edmunds stands to make as much as $2-2.5 million if he makes the 25-man roster and reaches certain achievements, such as playing a full season.
So, the Brewers have been busy this week but still have a few things to be addressed before the end of February. If the club can’t come to terms with Hart, there’s right field, for starters. And speaking of starters, Melvin still has his eye on Mark Mulder. It may seem like there’s still a lot of time before the start of Spring Traning, but January’s almost over. I do have to say that I’m quite happy with what’s happened this winter, though. This team is really shaping up to be a contender. So…yay!
With the recent addition of Doug Davis, the Brewers now have 6 pitchers contending for spots in the starting rotation.
The Crew’s wishy-washy starting brood managed to muster a 5.37 ERA last year, the highest in the National League. The Brewers snuck in a few bullpen guys like Seth McClung, Chris Narveson and Mike Burns in there at times to try and help out the slumping rotation, but they did little to remedy the situation.
GM Doug Melvin made it clear that Milwaukee was in the market to shed payroll and use the cash for 1 or 2 useful arms to bolster the starting rotation and the new remedies of Davis and fellow lefty Randy Wolf will hopefully prove successful.
Let’s take a look at last year’s numbers, shall we?
Wimpy: Jeff Suppan
7-12 30 Games 5.29 ERA 161.2 IP 80 SO
Wimpy: Dave Bush
5-9 22 Games 6.38 ERA 114.1 IP 89 SO
Wimpy: Manny Parra
11-11 27 Games 6.36 ERA 140.0 IP 116 SO
Lefty: Randy Wolf (LA Dodgers)
11-7 34 Games 3.23 ERA 214. 1 IP 160 SO
Lefty: Doug Davis (Arizona Diamondbacks)
9-14 34 Games 4.12 ERA 146.0 IP 146 SO
Lefty: Manny Parra
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were worse things happening on the mound for the Brewers last year than Manny Parra. Braden Looper gave up 39 homeruns, just as an example. (However, Looper won 14 games.) Parra just needs to get out of his own head. He gets too caught up in one bad performance, hence the stint in Triple-A last season and the trip to the bullpen in ’08. If Manny can calm down and stop psyching himself out, 2010 should be his breakout year that we’ve all been waiting for.
Doug Davis didn’t have the best year in ’09, either, but compared to Milwaukee’s usual suspects, he’s a godsend. Many fans are welcoming him back with open arms and rightfully so. With all the talk about Mark Mulder, I kind of forgot Davis was still on Melvin’s radar. So I’m happy to have seen this deal work out.
What remains to be seen is how the final rotation will shake out for the start of 2010. The Brewers now have 6 established arms competing for 5 spots. I’m not convinced that Jeff Suppan still has what it takes to be a respectable starting pitcher, but he did manage to squeeze out 2 more wins that Dave Bush. Bush, however, pitched in 8 less games than Suppan (and also took a Hanley Ramirez liner off the elbow). Either way, Soup’s still got a year on his contract. Ick.
But in other Brewers news, the Crew has reached agreements with second baseman Rickie Weeks, center fielder Carlos Gomez, outfielder Jody Gerut (I’d rather see Frankie C, but whatev) and pitcher Todd Coffey. Locking up these 4 players for 2010 only leaves Bush, right fielder Corey Hart and reliever Carlos Villanueva. Since the Brewers have a notorious track record of avoiding arbitration hearings, it should only be a matter of days before they’re locked up, too.
The offseason is starting to finally produce some newsworthy content and I’m happy to report (even though I’m a little behind) that the Brewers organization is actually doing some useful things this winter.
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).
Remember a few posts ago when I said playing the Nationals this season would basically be 8 free wins for the Brewers?
Welllllll, either I was completely off-base thinking a team like the Brewers could easily beat the team with the worst record in the Majors, or every single National read that post and decided to retaliate. (I’m going with the former.) The final tally? 14-6. Ouch.
I don’t turn a lot of games off, and if I do, it’s generally near the end and Milwaukee has an insurmountable lead and I’m fairly confident I won’t miss anything. Not so last night. Jeff Suppan pitched like only Jeff Suppan could and surrendered 8 runs, including the first of 2 grand slams for Washington’s Josh Willingham. Mitch Stetter came on in relief and was resposible for letting the rest of Suppan’s earned runs score, bringing his grand total for the evening to 10.
And, as if a 6-run 5th inning weren’t enough for the Nat’s, they came up to the plate again the next inning and scored 7 more, including that second slam by Willingham off of Mark DiFelice. Oops.
Good thing the Brewers managed to eke out 4 other runs in the game. Or else it could’ve been quite the embarassment. Oh, wait…
So tonight, I have last minute free tickets. You know me. I can’t turn down a game. I’m gonna say that the fire should’ve been lit after last night and if the Crew can’t turn themselves around after that horrific game, then they may as well just surrender the NL Central now.
The match-up? Gah. Carlos Villanueva (2-7, 6.18 ERA) vs. Collin Balester (0-1, 6.00 ERA).
I guess I have to say it…Go Brewers!
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.