I think the headline says it all. (Sort of.)
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but the Brewers just beat Roy Halladay and the Phillies 9-0, 6 of those runs belonging to Doc. This coming off of a 12-inning, 6-3 win to open the series last night. And that coming off of a combined 17-8 sweep at the hands of the perpetually last-place Nationals.
Yeah, well, it’s too early to tell how the season will pan out, and we Brewers fans are usually optimistic until the very end, but if the streaky April start is any indication, things to come might not be so pretty for the Crew.
I mean, the 0-4 start? Meh. At least they’re not the Red Sox. Boston started 0-4 and hasn’t really improved. The basement of the AL East isn’t all that familiar to them, yet there they sit.
Winning 7 of 8 games to follow? Welllllll….. It doesn’t mean much when you then get swept by a team with one of the worst batting averages in the National League.
Until tonight, it seemed that the 2011 Brewers were a bit backwards from Brewers of recent seasons’ past. The pitching staff, with the exception of a 12-run hiccup in Cincinnati and a couple blown saves at the hands of John Axford, has been above average and holds a team ERA under 4. The bats, however, haven’t been able to muster more than 6 runs in a game. Until tonight in Philly.
As a team that is now above .500 and sits alone at 2nd in the NL Central, a mere half-game behind the Reds, are the Brewers finally starting to put their wishy-washy ways behind them? Let’s hope so.
We saw Zack Greinke pitch well in his first rehab start tonight. I mean, so what if it was Single-A? Dude can still pitch. And with a handful of starters already at a respectable 3.15 ERA and a combined 84 Ks in 20 innings, I’d say Greinke is definitely not going to hurt things joining in on that rotation. It’s always nice to have a Cy Young award winner in the mix. We all remember what CC Sabathia did for the team in a mere 3 months. Keep Greinke from breaking any more ribs for the rest of the season and I think this ballclub will be able to do what many predicted it would.
The National League Central is up for grabs and because I said we fans are always so glass-half-full, I think the Brewers legitimately have a chance to reach out and grab it.
If the SI.com reports I read last night are true, the Brewers are one of the frontrunners making a play for starting pitcher Roy Halladay. And, if the reports are true, former Top 10 Hottie Manny Parra could be packing his bags for Toronto.
Now, I’m just a fan. I’m no baseball expert and I certainly have no say in who goes where and why. But again, really?
Clearly the Brewers starting rotation isn’t as strong as it could be, but why send off someone like Parra, who’s had nothing but good starts since his stint down in Triple A? Of course, adding Halladay to the rotation would do anything but make it worse and, understandably, the Crew could desperately use a helping hand. For a team that’s been lingering with 4 (sometimes) quality starters and 1 Mike Burns, it would be a huge plus to have a set starting rotation, something that Milwaukee’s been lacking for the majority of the season.
But is there another option that the Brewers are willing to part ways with? I’m not so sure. Right now, Parra is the choice to say goodbye to, and probably rightfully so. Dave Bush is currently on the DL and will hopfully be able to pitch to his ability sooner rather than later, and neither Bush nor Parra should be forced to the bullpen should the Brewers relieve a reliever of his duties to bring Halladay on. I’m okay with Parra being the odd man out, it would just be weird to see him in a uniform other than the Brewers, that’s all.
Now, if the Brewers do acquire Halladay, letting go of a pitcher isn’t the only way they’ll get him. I think Milwaukee is currently overloaded with infielders, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world to see Alcides Escobar go. There’s no room for him unless JJ Hardy gets shipped elsewhere in the near future. And we all saw what trading away top prospects for starting pitching did for the team last season. I don’t think anyone is holding their breath to see it happen again this year, but in a division that’s as wide open as the NL Central, why wouldn’t the powers that be do everything they can to snatch it up while it’s still up for grabs? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m just as concerned about the future of this team as I am the here and now, but why throw away the chance when you’ve got it? The Brewers are great at growing their own players in the farm system. I think they’ll be okay if they let a couple go here and there for the greater good of the team.
All I’m really saying is, the starting rotation for the Brewers this season has been a question mark since parting ways with CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the off-season. I don’t think too many people expected them to do well with the rotation that was set back in April, and that’s starting to become a reality. The Brewers need a solid starter to help them finish out the season if they intend to stay in the NL Central race until October and if Roy Halladay is the one they need, then by all means, I hope they do everything they can to get him.
Next Up: Braves at Brewers. Javier Vazquez (7-7, 2.86 ERA) vs. Manny Parra (4-8, 6.37 ERA)
Alright, so it’s just past the half-way point in the season and the All-Star break is a mere 6 games away. I shouldn’t be too worried, but alas, my team has given me some concerns.
1. Is it completely impossible for the Brewers to take a series against the Cubs?
I mean, come on. They’ve faced each other 10 times so far and the Brewers are down 3-7. They play 7 more games before the end of the season, too. Now, I’m not saying this is an entirely horrible outlook, but I’m kind of thinking about the next 6 games. It would’ve been nice for the Brewers to come home with some momentum, a little mojo working in their favor–is that so much to ask?
2. I would like a new starter before the trade deadline, please.
So would Ryan Braun. I know the Brewers aren’t going to pick up another CC Sabathia, but another arm out there would be extremely helpful. Will Milwaukee be buyers? Win a few more games, and the answer is probably yes. Is Doug Melvin and Co. ready to talk? Not quite yet. All I’m saying is using your bullpen to start games while Manny Parra takes a mental health break and Dave Bush’s arm is fatigued, or whatever, isn’t working out too well. Mike Burns started 3 games so far, only 1 ending favorable for the Brewers. Seth McClung is a reliever and let’s leave it at that. As evidenced by the opening and closing games of this most recent Cubs series, allowing 14 runs isn’t going to help win games. At least Burns didn’t allow all 7 of his to come off the same bat. Don’t you think after a 3-run Derrek Lee homer you’d be a little more careful with the bases loaded, McClung?
3. Run support needs to happen in all games–not just that occasional blowout.
Saturday’s 11-2 win over Chicago was great. We all know I love to see games like that. But what’s been killing me lately are the 1-run losses. Last week’s 1-0 loss to the Mets was weak. Yovani Gallardo pitched a hell of a game and he deserved a much better fate. Friday’s 2-1 loss (besides being a total joke. That was a strike, sir.) was just sad. It’s inexcusable the amount of men left on base there have been in losses like those. I’m not saying powerful offense is the only way to go, but when your starters are struggling (minus Yo) and the holes in the rotation are being filled with relievers, the offense needs to step up more than usual. Yo and Jeff Suppan gave great starts in each of those games and they were both squandered by the inability to play small ball.
But okay, before I become a total Debbie Downer, there is something positive I must comment on.
Congrats are in order for Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder for making it to the 2009 NL All-Star team! We fans did all we could to get RB that starting spot in left field for the second year in a row. And you gotta love Charlie Manuel for bolstering that roster with heavy hitters like Prince. I’m thinking maybe the NL could win this year? Maybe?
And also, thanks to Matt Snyder of fanhouse.com for giving some well-deserved props to some guys that didn’t get the All-Star nod. I know he’s not eligible this year, but Casey McGehee has been putting up better numbers that a lot of guys in the infield so far this season. So, no All-Star game, but Rookie of the Year, anyone? Also, thanks for mentioning Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers may not have the best rotation lately, but Yo has been proving himself again and again and I agree that he could’ve been a valuable asset to Manuel’s team.
The final 6 games before the break will be played at home and the Crew faces 2 of only 4 teams to have a better record than them in the NL, the Cardinals and the Dodgers. I’m not entirely worried, but I’m glad to have ranted a bit.
Tomorrow night’s match-up: Gallardo (8-5, 2.75 ERA) vs. Wainwright (8-5, 3.32 ERA).
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.
Opening Day and I only caught parts of 2 games. Sad. Then, I only saw some of Baseball Tonight with the sound off while the NCAA Championship was on at Leff’s. I would’ve rather watched baseball all night.
But, I must congratulate Mol for winning her first bracket ever! She picked UNC. Nice.
So, anyway, this will only be a quick recap of what I saw and then my picture for the day. I will not recount stats, as I wasn’t able to pay too much attention, but at least the 2 games that I did see most of were the 2 I wanted to see.
First up, Yankees-Orioles. I wanted to see CC Sabathia pitch his first game in Yankee pinstripes, and, as I thought he would, he faltered. Sabathia allowed 5 runs in less than 5 innings and was tapped for the 10-6 loss. Now, it’s definitely not an “I told you so” type of situtation, seeing as it was only the first game of the season, but it was a pretty rough outing. At least this time he’s got 7 years to prove himself.
The next game I caught was Cubs-Astros. The Cubs got off to a good start with a 1st inning HR from Alfonso Soriano. They were up 4-0 in the 9th, when a too little, too late Astros rally only managed 2 runs and the Cubs came out on top, giving Carlos Zambrano his first Opening Day win.
Tomorrow the Brewers take on the Giants, Suppan vs. Lincecum. Yikes. Like I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Francisco take Game 1, but I think the Brewers will wind up with the series win.
Today’s picture comes from CCs first game in a Brewers uniform. Unlike his game today, the Brewers won and CC would go on to be one of the best things to happen to Milwaukee in 26 years. Even if he was only here for a few short months. I will always remember this game because of CC, the Ryan Braun tshirt and the unbearable stench at Miller Park due to the 80+ degree July night. Awesome.
Brewers first game tomorrow, then 3 days till Drunk Lot!!!
I was having internet issues last night, therefore didn’t post anything. But I had such a happy day yesterday!
I made my first trip to Miller Park in 2009. It was spectacular, magical, everything I remember. Okay, fine, it wasn’t really so much a trip to Miller Park as it was a quick jaunt to the ticket office and a nice little dinner at Friday’s Front Row. But it was still nice to be there!
Mol, Nik and I had maaaaaaany vouchers we needed to exchange for tickets and since we, and apparently the 25 other people waiting in the cold, have jobs, we couldn’t go until late. The sun was setting and we stood outside freezing for a good 15 minutes while people asked the dumbest questions. You know these people. The ones that ask questions that the answers to which are clearly spelled out on the back of the voucher. Questions that you should be smart enough to know the answers to already.
“So, if I have the voucher, but not my ticket stub, does that still work?”
Absolutely not, moron.
“My tickets were originally in the terrace. Can I upgrade to Club and pay the difference?”
“If I can’t go to any of the games offered, is there any way I can get money off for a different game?”
OMG, are you kidding me?
I’m serious. People were that stupid. So while we’re waiting to simply exchange the vouchers, date and seats pre-determined, we have to listen to these moronic people ask their ridiculous questions and get turned down. When it was finally our turn, it was ticket for ticket and we were done in 3 minutes, tops. The one question we did ask was could we keep our ticket stubs if they somehow voided them out. No. Even though they were from the night Ryan Braun hit his walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against the Pirates. The ticket man understood our frustration, but he wasn’t allowed. If it wasn’t a Club Level seat, I would’ve just sacrificed the free ticket. Whatev. I’m over it.
Dinner at Friday’s was amaaaaazing afterwards. I liked seeing the stadium completely empty. It was kind of weird, but kind of cool. Mol and I, because we’re such big Guy Fieri fans, had the bacon-wrapped BBQ shrimp. Awesome. Neither of us left a single thing but shrimp tails on our plates. And it was still Happy Hour, so that was good, too. (Can’t go to Miller Park without an alcoholic beverage!)
And yesterday, while Jeff Suppan sucked it up, the Brewers came through with a MONSTER 7-run 5th inning against the visiting Padres. Corey Hart, Jason Kendall and Prince Fielder all homered, but in the end, the Crew settled for a 10-10 tie.
And, I’ve been thinking about pictures for these next few weeks of counting down, and I’ve decided that pretty soon, I’ll start with my Top 10 Baseball Hotties. I’ve mentioned enough of them lately and it’s about time I get the official list together. It’s been varying lately, due to some performance issues (because even though it seems mostly like physical criteria, the list would be nothing without baseball!), but I think I’ve got it almost narrowed down. So stay tuned for that.
Today’s pictures come from the one and only away game I’ve ever been to. Last September, I drove to Cincinnati and back in less than 36 hours, just to see my boys somewhere other than Miller Park. The Brewers lost to the Reds that day, so the trip kind of sucked. But, here’s some memories of it anyway.
It was so weird to be in the middle of a game and see the stadium that empty. Does the ballpark ever sell out, Reds fans? I was baffled. I mean, even if I weren’t a Brewers fan, I’d want to see Ryan Braun play.
And CC Sabathia. Wouldn’t you want to see him pitch while he was still in the National League?
Toooootally jealous of that couple. I want to do that on my wedding day! Well, except not at Great American Ballpark. And I’d throw because that’s way cooler.
Oops. Slight hangover = forgetting to post my countdown pic yesterday. So here are 2 pics of one of my fave memories from last season.
Although my friends and I have been featuresd on the scoreboard on various occasions, this was probably the most exciting. Mol and I went to see CC pitch his first game as a Brewer, had awesome seats and got there early enough to have our pic taken with Ryan Braun. (OK, a cardboard cut-out of Ryan Braun. Regardless, it was tradition during the entire season and had to be done.)
FINALLY, after nearly 3 months of trying, our picture made it! It was definitely the kisses and leg pops that got ours chosen over the super-cute little kids in front of us in line.
Mol, Ryan and me.
Um, we still have the certificate in our posession and have yet to pick up our Ryan Braun tshirt. I hope they let us get one this season…
Damn straight, Rodriguez.
I was trying so so so hard to not make any sort of comment on this whole A-Rod situation. So hard. Thankfully, I was working today so I didn’t catch any of the press conference (although that’s not to say it won’t be all over ESPN or CNN for the next few days. Those are the only channels the TVs at work get.), but I got the gist of it from mlb.com.
Here’s my feelings on it, and I’ll try to be brief, but somehow I see myself getting carried away. Rodriguez was 25 when his “cousin” began injecting him with, gee, I don’t know. He didn’t know. (Which I almost believe.) Regardless, this “cousin” (I use quotations because I really don’t believe that.) injected him twice a month, for 6 months each year, from 2001-2003. That’s 36 injections. I find it even harder to believe he didn’t think they were PEDs. HA! Okay, I’m 25. There’s no way in effing hell I would ever let any one of my 30-some-odd cousins inject me with ANYTHING for 3 years, especially if, 8 years after the first injection, I’m still claiming I’m not sure what it was. Don’t blame it on being young and naive and impressionable, Alex. You started playing baseball right after high school, correct? Maybe then I would believe your excuses. But at 25? That’s just stupid. You deserve the asterisk, my friend.
My favorite response by another player regarding this whole thing?
“I’m working with what I’ve got, and I’m going as far as that takes me.” Amen to that, favorite high-socks wearing pitcher, Dave Bush. Amen to that.
Now for the comments regarding the Brewers. Because, afterall, I’d much rather talk about them than anything related to the Yankees.
Shockingly, Eric Gagne has joined the team in Arizona after signing a minor league contract. Whaaaa? It’s ok, though. Sort of. Gag-me has to win a spot on the 40-man roster or else elect free agency before the Brewers season-opener on April 7th. I’m no fan of this guy. He certainly didn’t earn his keep last season. But, at least he has openly admitted to it and and acknowledged his poor ’08 performance. It’s unlikely that he’ll play in the minors, but I’d rather see him back as a free agent by the start of ’09 than back in a Brewers uniform.
New manager Ken Macha has said Yovani Gallardo, whom many hope will fill a large void left by Sabathia and Sheets, is not likely to start for the Brewers on Opening Day. I’m pretty much in agreement with this one. I think it’s a big game with a lot of pressure, even if it is on the road, and it’s probably best to give it to someone with more Big League experience. Gallardo should fit comfortable in the middle of the rotation and, if he repeats what he was able to do in 2007, he’ll definitely be called upon for the big games further down the line.
The Brewers have avoided any arbitration hearings again this year by coming to an agreement with right-fielder Corey Hart. The sides met in the middle, settling on a one-year $3.25 million contract. Seriously? I respect that Hart wanted the most bang for his buck and held out for it. And granted, he was a 20-20 player the past 2 seasons, garnering an All-Star appearance last year. Gah, I’m just not a huge fan of his. He completely fell off mid-season in ’08, definitely lost his speed from the couple years prior to that, and after Ned Yost was fired, it seems like Corey lost a lot of desire to play the game. (I’m sure he wasn’t a huge Yost backer like I’ve always suspected, but it was a pretty big coincidence otherwise.) I hope that playing for a new manager and new coaches will have a positive effect on Hart this season. I mean, with no Gabe Kapler to amaze (and stare at) in right field anymore, who else would be out there?
And last, but not least, to all of you broadcast boycotters out there, please get over Cory Provus. I understand he’s a Cubs fan. I understand he’ll be working alongside Milwaukee legend Bob Uecker this season. I understand how you don’t think that should be allowed. But guess what? I’m guessing very few of you can do his job. Just because you like baseball doesn’t mean you can be broadcasters. I certainly don’t think I could be a journalist because I write this blog. Seriously, until the day he is blantently rooting for the Cubs on Milwaukee radio, stop complaining.
Gah! sorry that was a long one. But only 52 days till Brewers Home Opener! I’ve decided to post pictures from past seasons just to get everyone as pumped as I am!
Me, Mol and Mark Attanasio after the Opening Day win last year. Awesome.
Well, it’s official. Braden Looper will be donning the Brewers uniform for the 2009 season. And lord only knows I’ve been pulling for another starter since the bittersweet departure of CC Sabathia and the bit-more-welcome send-off of the perpetually injured Ben Sheets. I think this was a good move for management. The pitching staff seems much more solid now. And since pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just a few hours, it should be clear in the coming weeks how the acquisition will pay off. (And if my predictions for Seth McClung are correct.)
On a sad note, near-Top 10 Hottie Vinny Rottino was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Looper. I know he hadn’t spent much time with the Brewers, but the few times I did get to see him play, he was really, really hot. I saw him hit his first double in the majors in 2007 in a crazy, offense-laden 14-2 win over the Astros. He also took over at first for Princey that game, sooo that was kinda weird. I saw him in the second-to-last game of ’07. You know, the game that forced San Diego and Colorado into a tie-breaker, the game that gave the Brewers their first winning season in 15 years. Sure, Tony Gwynn, Jr. was the hero with the game-tying triple. But it was Vinny that knocked him in to win it. And the many times he was behind the plate to catch the first pitch, only to sit out the rest of the game on the bench. Man, I loved watching that fine, fine looking man play baseball.
But whatever. Spring Training is officially underway tomorrow! The 2009 season will soon be here and this girl is getting giddier (is that a word, I wonder?) by the day! Is it too soon to start planning what I’m gonna wear for Opening Weekend?