Tagged: Claudio Vargas

A Minne trip sort of worth remembering

Please pardon the absence. I’ve been on vacation all week and there was no way I was gonna sit down and post when I had every opportunity to go out during the week, be lazy during the days and watch my Boys start to turn it around.

Finally, a week later, here’s the Minnesoooooota recap.

 

The weekend began by taking a short jaunt to Madison Thursday night so we could cut off an hour and leave later for Minneapolis the next morning. After making spicy jalapeno mac and cheese and chili lime chicken burgers, we settled in to watch my Hubby, the Narv Dog, lead the Crew to it’s first win in their last 10 games. Not an amazing win by a long shot, but it was nice to go to bed knowing the Brewers weren’t total losers.

So, smoothies in hand, we set out for Minnesota in the pouring rain and Madge, our GPS, was leading the way to The Nook in St. Paul. Three starving ladies just wanted burgers and beer (and in Nik’s case, a malt) to kick off our mini-vacay and let me tell you, this thing was worth the wait.

 

Behold, The Molitor. Two burger patties filled with pepperjack cheese goodness, paired with the best fries I’ve ever had the pleasure of stuffing my face with. It should be an actual crime for all restaurants to NOT soak their handcut fries in vinegar before frying them. I will forever be disappointed with anything else.

If you’re heading to the Twin Cities anytime soon, it is an absolute MUST that you stop at The Nook.

 

From there, we drove the arduous 15 minutes to Minneapolis and once we arrived, it was really hard not to notice the one eyesore of an otherwise gorgeous city: The Metrodome. And, naturally, since Mol and I were wearing Packers shirts (because why wouldn’t you wear Packers shirts when in Viqueens State?), we got out to find Mr. Arnold himself…

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…to take some pics of our disdain for him.

The only mean Minnesotans we encountered all weekend was a drive-by insult at this point, telling us to go back to Wisconsin. I mean, gladly. We have Aaron Rodgers there.

 

Anyway, after that quick stop, we got to our super-cute downtown hotel and got ready for the quick walk to beautiful Target Field. We put on our best Brewers gear and, of course, prepped with a couple Sausage Shots…

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…and the Triplets were off. We made a quick stop at Brothers for Happy Hour in the adorable alley bar…

 

 

…then joined the droves of fellow Brewers fans (and super, super attractive Twins fans) and went to the field.

 

So the game…

First of all, gorgeous, gorgeous stadium. Thank god the Twins don’t have to play at the Eyesore anymore, is all I have to say. Look at this view!

 

Soooo, top of the 1st, eh, who cares? No runs, NBD. Bottom? Holy eff.

Normally, you know, I’m all about Dave Bush. Love the high socks, love the sometimes beard. But on this particular night, I wanted to punch him in the throat. Six runs in 1/3 of an inning and who does Manager of the Year Ken Macha send out to replace DB? Oh, of course. Logical choice. Jeff freaking Suppan. Cue the Triplets leaving their seats and finding the nearest bar (thankfully, Target Field has LOTS of full bars scattered throughout).

Luckily for us, Twins fans are super nice and no one gloated when their score kept climbing and the Crew’s sat at zero. Although, you have to enjoy Carlos Gomez hitting a 3-run bomb and toooootally rubbing it in his former team’s face.

After the game, the ladies and I went back to Brothers to drink away our sorrows, play a bit of darts (of course, me and a dude in a Denard Span jersey won in a total beat-down) and dance our little Brewers-loving booties off.

 

The next day, Nik and I took to the skywalks while Mol slept off her headache. It was pouring yet again, and as nothing was open in the buildings, we had to hoof it on the actual cold, wet streets if we wanted to find food. By the time we were done eating, the skies had cleared and it was getting warmer by the minute so we walked towards the field to check out how unreasonably priced tickets were for that afternoon’s game. Too rich for our blood, so we wandered around a bit longer, went back to the hotel to pick up Mol and go to Brit’s Pub…

 

…to catch the rest of what turned out to be a 12-inning debacle of a game. Not surprising, the Brewers were now down 0-2 in interleague play.

After that, we got all dolled up and headed out for a night on the town, which is a totally different beast at night. We don’t like clubs, we don’t like covers and we most definitely don’t like girls that wear underwear as clothes. Needless to say, we called it an early night and went back to the hotel to finish our bottle of reisling in bed.

 

Sunday rolls around and we pack and get ready to hit the road. It was only after we crossed the border back into Wisconsin and finish our KFC Buffet that we finally stumble upon a radio station that carries the game. And only after we are comfortably finished with our Norske’s Nook pies do the Brewers induce near-heart attacks and actually pull off a series finale win. Halle-effing-luja.

 

 

And, since it’s been so long, just a quick few things about the Brewers lately. First off, Narv Dog, no longer my hubby. From now on, ‘hubby’ will refer to George Kottaras. Second, Chris Capuano is back with the club and will likely be inserted into the starting rotation and as a result of his addition, Claudio Vargas was DFA’d. Thirdly, Macha’s been playing with the line-up and as of right now, it’s been paying off. (Although, Braun bats second today. Weird) Fourth, and probably most important, Yovani Gallardo outdueled Johan Santana Friday night. He went to distance with a complete game shutout. Fifth, Corey Hart is the talk of the town, walking off Yo’s insane game with a 2-run homer Friday, grand slamming in the 1st last night and 2-run homering in the 3rd, accouting for 6 of the Brewers 8 runs.

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

No WAY the bullpen can mess that up!

It’s been a pretty good 3 days here in the Girl’s View household. My nails are growing back, my fantasy team is barrelling towards the top of the standings and My Boys are coming back to Milwaukee with their heads held as high as they can possibly hold them. Life is indeed good.

Not only did the Crew boast outstanding starting pitching in this Pittsburgh series, but their offense came alive, got hot and then sizzled for the series finale. These three games marked the first sweep for the Brewers, as well as the first opening game win, which proved to be all-important in keeping the momentum going.

I won’t go into all the details of the brutal beating the Pirates took this week, but I will throw out some numbers because I still am just in shock as to how this possibly happened. Although, as I Tweeted last night, the Brewers were due and clearly, the Pirates early success was just a fluke.

Total Runs Scored:

Brewers – 36

Pirates – 1

 

Brewers Hits Totals:

1B – 22

2B – 12

3B – 4*

HR – 8**

*Alcides Escobar hit both triples in Wednesday night’s game

**Prince Fielder finally got the monkey off his back. (And got me 4 points!)

 

Ryan Braun:

Raised his AVG from .367 to .381 during the series

Went 3-4 with  HR, 2B, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB, SB – in Thursday’s game alone

 

Thursday’s Pitchers:

Brewers starter: Randy Wolf

Used 3 relievers, most pitches thrown in relief: Claudio Vargas, 20

Pirates starter: Daniel McCutchen

Used 5 relievers, least pitches thrown in relief: Brendan Donnelly, 20

 

Soooooo anyways, the Brewers are back in Milwaukee to face the Cubs over the weekend. Tomorrow the girls and I will be in attendance and, even with the successes in Pittsburgh, all I can think about is how the last time I saw Jeff Suppan pitch against the Cubs, it was like the worst game I’ve ever witnessed. Buuuuut, at the same time, I can’t let that get me down because, Hello???? Look at those numbers! It’s improbable the Crew can keep going to this extent, but keeping pitching and offense in sync is their best bet for continuing on this winning path.

So, keep it up!

Go Brewers!

Cubs still suck!

 

 

Go ahead. Stop and stare.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Two posts in two days? Where does she find the time?”

Well, I was just too excited about this to let it go.

Two days of blistering hard work (somewhat). Custom-made vinyl. My very own Ryan Braun on a baseball pedestal (sort of).  I even loaned my own pennants to the store for the season.

So, without further ado, here it is, my 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Display. And, since I don’t want any crazy stalkers (because who wouldn’t want to stalk me?), I’m gonna forego telling you where it actually is. But if you do come across it in your Milwaukee travels, just keep me in the back of your mind and know that yes, with me, everything really is all about the Brewers.

 


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I hope you enjoyed. I know I did.

 

Oh, PS, Suppan’s starting the season on the DL. Sounds like somebody doesn’t want to be stuck in the bullpen…

 

PPS, The Narv Dog  continued to hold on to his 0.00 ERA today (3 innings, 5 Ks, 3 hits). And Manny Parra, LaTroy Hawkins and Claudio Vargas have so far kept the Angels at nada. Currently 1-0, bottom of 7th. Nice.

 

6 days.

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

 

Great things happen when the TV is turned off

It’s that time of year again. I no longer have to plant myself in front of the television for nearly 3 straight hours on Thursdays to catch all the zany action in Pawnee, Scranton, New York and Philadelphia. The Top Chef has been chosen, Dexter killed his last victim until next year and I still don’t know how Ted met his kids’ mother. The freetime I have is astounding. I mean, just check out what I did last night in the same amount of time I would’ve spent on my couch with some of my favorite fictional friends.

 

Cute, huh?

I seriously don’t understand why I give so much of my life to television when I see what I’m able to do instead. I still can’t manage to turn away from The Jersey Shore or Tough Love, though. Ah, well. We all have our weaknesses.

 

But moving on to baseball.

The Brewers finalized their deals with new pitchers Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins and also worked out a 1-year deal to bring Craig Counsell back next season. (Yay!) The Crew is also only a physical away from having Claudio Vargas back in their bullpen even though they probably could’ve had Seth McClung instead. Sorry, Big Red. I’ll miss you! In addition to McClung, the Brewers non-tendered catcher Mike Rivera and pitcher Mark DiFelice, though DiFelice later signed a minor-league contract with the club.

A couple of Milwaukee’s free agents have found homes this week, as well. Mike Cameron is heading to Boston, while Jason Kendall will be the Royals new backstop and Corey Patterson will be sucking in the Mariners minor league system. But the biggest news this week was undoubtedly the 4-team deal involving Toronto, Oakland, Seattle and Philly. The deal sent post-season superstar Cliff Lee to the Mariners and Roy Halladay can finally breath easy, having landed in Philadelphia after much trade speculation for the last six or seven months. Halladay wanted be part of a contending team in 2010, the Phillies seemed like the perfect team for him and he finally approved the trade.

And the TYIB winners were announced today. My picks didn’t fare so well. Obviously, Joe Mauer was winning Hitter. I just had high hopes for Prince Fielder. I was right on with Zach Greinke for Starter, was waaaaay off the mark picking Casey McGehee for ROY, but got back on track by choosing Jim Tracy for Manager. Stupid Yankee Mariano Rivera got closer. Again. I did pick Jeremy Affeldt for Set-Up, so way to go me, but Torii Hunter wasn’t even close to Jacoby Ellsbury for Defense. Mark Burhle, blah, blah, blah. Really? Dewayne Wise? The best play of the year? Sure, he kept perfection in order, but it was just robbing a homerun. It happens pretty much every game. Over it. How the Angels celebrating the post season in honor of Nick Adenhart didn’t beat out everything else for Moment is beyond me. Phillies Dad got his 15 minutes. Over that, too. Ruben Amaro, Jr. was pretty deserving for Executive. I tooooootally picked the Unsung Star in Jayson Werth and, yes, I’m a Yankee hater so their post season anything didn’t deserve to win. But anyway, congrats to all the winners. These awards mean nothing, so way to go.

And, lastly, since Christmas is only a week away and I work in retail, don’t expect any new posts for a bit. I mean, unless the Brewers manage to do something astounding in the next 7 days. Which is pretty unlikely.

 

Fiiiiinally Doug Melvin does the right thing

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. 

Doug Melvin promised us all that he would do his best and be aggressive in getting at least one new arm to the starting rotation and he has done exactly that in signing lefty Randy Wolf to a 3-year contract. Wolf is coming off his best season in years after posting a 3.23 ERA with the Dodgers in 2009, going 11-7 in 34 starts. He stands to make $29.75 million and has a 4th year club option. Wolf is excited to come to Milwaukee, where he’ll fit into a young(er) rotation of Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra for sure, and possibly Dave Bush (who is arbitration-eligible) and Jeff Suppan, who unfortunately still has a year left on his contract. Although, nowhere in Suppan’s contract does it stipulate he must hold a spot in the starting rotation, all of us fans will just have to hold our breath and hope that, come spring, he will not. 
With the Brewers team ERA being the lowest in the Majors last year (5.37), Melvin and Co. are not only looking for improved arms in the starting rotation, but are looking for stability and health in the bullpen as well. Last year, the pitching staff was oft-injured, the bullpen was tapped for spot-starters and therefore was stretched very thin and there were some problems with, um, mental health? The addition of Wolf will be nothing but an improvement and the Brewers have begun to add to the bullpen, too.
LaTroy Hawkins was signed to a 2-year, $7.5 million contract after the Houston Astros couldn’t guarantee him a multi-year deal. Last season, Hawkins was nothing short of outstanding, posting a 2.13 ERA in 65 appearances, including 11 saves. With Mark DiFelice out for 2010 (and possibly off the team), Hawkins is a much-needed lefty out of the bullpen and should work well as a set-up man for closer Trevor Hoffman. 
The Crew is close to finalizing a deal with RHP Claudio Vargas (although I’m not sure why…) and have 3 other arbitration-eligible right-handers awaiting offers in Todd Coffey (highly likely), Carlos Villanueva (pretty likely) and Seth McClung (unfortunately, not likely). Also on the 40-man roster are lefties Mitch Stetter and Chris Narveson, as well as RHP Chris Smith. David Riske is recovering from Tommy John surgery but could rejoin the club at some point in 2010 and there are a lot of pitchers in the farm system that could fit well with the team after Spring Training wraps up. 
The Brewers also picked up 23-year-old lefty Chuck Lofgren in the Rule 5 Draft from the Indians. Lofgren would likely come out of the bullpen, but worked well as a starter in the Indians Double- and Triple-A affiliates. 
Although it seems right now there is no shortage of pitching in Milwaukee’s bullpen, it seems Dougie isn’t quite done with his search. However, I hope he remembers that he’s got one more thin spot that should be addressed: the outfield. 
The JJ Hardy trade brought Carlos Gomez to centerfield to accompany team stud and Top 10 Hottie Ryan Braun in left. Everyday right fielder Corey Hart is eligible for arbitration this year and unless Melvin has some big deal planned, I don’t see him leaving Milwaukee any time soon. Back-up outfielder Jody Gerut also has to wait until tomorrow’s arbitration deadline to see if a deal will come his way. I can be on board with the Braun-Gomez-Hart combo, but it wasn’t until later last season that Gerut really stepped up and I’d almost rather have more power coming off the bench than what Gerut can provide. But beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. 
It also seems that the Brewers have more infielders than they know what to do with. The Crew picked up 2 catchers in Gregg Zaun and George Kottaras, thus leaving little room for arbitration-eligible Mike Rivera. They added Adam Heether to the 40-man roster, picked up Luis Cruz and are continuing to negotiate Craig Counsell’s return.
But so far, it seems like the team is really taking shape. The additional pitching will only be helpful, provided all the pieces can fall into place after the arbitration deadline. If the Brewers can get one more discounted starter after tomorrow, the could really be in business for 2010. With the majority of the power hitters still in place, Milwaukee may finally have that 1-2 punch of pitching and offense they’ve been lacking. I know we fans say it every season, but this really could be their year. 

The start to the new Brewers?

I’m not dwelling on JJ Hardy’s departure. Sure, the Brewers lost a true hottie, a Top 10 Hottie no less, but here’s to hoping they gain much more. Much more by way of speedy, young center fielder Carlos Gomez.

2009 had been a horrible year for Hardy offensively. His career-low .229 AVG helped earn him an extended stay at Triple-A Nashville and it’s no surprise that with the way Alcides Escobar stepped up at shortstop that Hardy was on his way out of a Brewers uniform before the 2010 season could get underway. The move came quite quickly after the end of the World Series, sending Hardy to Minnesota in exchange for Gomez. 
So what the H do I know about Gomez? Not much other than what all the articles are telling me. He’d been spotty offensively for the Twins, losing his leadoff role and receding his time in the field. Although he’ll likely be the everyday center fielder for the Crew, as the Brewers have chosen not to pursue Mike Cameron, Gomez will have to be content with another spot in the lineup. Milwaukee recently reinstated second baseman Rickie Weeks and believe that with the way he started out last season, the leadoff spot will belong to him once again. I’ve read Gomez is quite fast, both on the base paths and in the field, so hopefully he’ll be a sufficient replacement for Cameron.
I am a bit sad to see, that because of this move, Mike Cameron will no longer be a part of the team. Although he never actually won any of his Gold Gloves with the Brewers, he sure showed us all why he’s earned them. I do not mind, however, him taking his strikeouts elsewhere. When Cam hits, he hits hard, but when he doesn’t, well… We’ve all seen the strikeouts. There have been far too many. I will miss his ginormous, infectious smile and the great attitude he brought to the team, though. I wish him nothing but the best wherever he ends up.
Infielder extraordinaire Craig Counsell filed for free agency yesterday. I would like to see the Brewers make him an offer for 2010. At 39, he had arguably his best season to date (even though he does have that 2001 World Series under his belt) and was seemingly able to come through in the clutch every time his team needed him. As a Wisconsin native and resident of Whitefish Bay, I’d like to see Counsell round out his career with the Brewers. That’s not to say he’s anywhere near done, but if he continues to play the way he did last season, Milwaukee should be sure to hang on to him as long as they can. He’s just an excellent utility man.
Now, I don’t really know who Adam Heether is, but he’s been added to the 40-man roster. Heether is another all-around infielder (who’s also played a bit of left field) that batted .293 last year in Nashville with 16 HRs and 59 RBIs. We’ll see what he can do come Spring Training, I suppose.
Now on to the rest of Milwaukee’s free agents… 
Aside from Cameron and Counsell, right-handed relievers David Weathers and Claudio Vargas have officially filed, although Weathers’ filing was simply a formality, as the club has already declined his 2010 option. As far as Vargas goes, if anyone in the Brewers organization listens to what I have to say, stay away. He’s been on this team twice now and both times I feel like he’s just been mediocre. If the team wants to get back to that winning record and another shot at the playoffs, dumping sub-par pitching needs to be done.
Corey Patterson, you suck. Good luck out there. You’re now free to strikeout anywhere other than in Milwaukee.
Frankie C, I’m gonna miss laughing at your name not fitting on the scoreboard if the Brewers don’t pursue you. Although, Catalanotto did do a relatively good job filling in for Corey Hart in right field last season and also did a fair job when called upon to pinch hit. I suppose I wouldn’t mind seeing him back next year.
Felipe Lopez did great while filling the hole left by the injured Rickie Weeks. But since Weeks will be back in 2010, it’s highly unlikely the Crew will be able to find an everyday job for Lopez. Weeks is set to take over at 2B and as leadoff, thus Lopez’s services probably won’t be needed. Awe. It’s really too bad. I’ve been pretty much in love ever since his 4-4 first game in a Brewers uni. 
Jason Kendall is still one that I’m up in the air over. Kendall really likes Milwaukee and has said he would like to continue playing with the team. And I don’t necessarily disagree with keeping him here. I think he brings experience and has the ability to call a great game. On the other hand, what would losing him mean? I don’t know if Mike Rivera is an everyday catcher and I really have no idea what Angel Salome is capable of. I do really like Kendall. I think the Crew should definitely keep that door open.
So, the Brewers have a lot of decisions to make before Spring Training. (Duh.) The most daunting task will be to find quality starting pitching. But since the 15-day deadline to file for free agency has really just begun, a bevy of pitching should become available in the coming days. I dare not make any big predictions here, but Milwaukee is in desperate need of at least one starting pitcher (ahem, John Lackey??) and should definitely make that their primary focus. As if it weren’t already…

Chris Narveson! Who knew!?

When I found out Narveson would be starting one my final games at Miller Park this season, let alone against the Cubs, I had to just grin and bear it. The Brewers season was over, afterall, but I don’t ever like to go into a game with the anticipation of a loss. Even though Narveson won his previous start, Milwaukee had very little to show for so far in the series, amassing a measly 4 runs in 2 games, while giving up 17 to Chicago.

As it turned out, I had absolutely no reason to be worried.

After Nik, Mol and I settled in to our seats, we looked around at the poor showing for a marquee game. Attendance was just over 31,000 for the night and we girls pretty much just got to chatting about anything other than the game.

All of the sudden, it’s the top of the 3rd and my most hated Cub, Reed Johnson, leads off the inning with a double. As I groaned the obligatory, “I hate Reed Johnson,” I glanced at the scoreboard to see that his hit was the first allowed in the game and Narveson had already recored 3 strikeouts. And then Johnson was unable to score. Darn!

The Brewers walked away with a 3-2 win last night, all 3 runs coming via the longball. Prince Fielder smacked a 2-run dinger, his 42nd of the year, in the 4th and also coasted above Poo Holes in the RBI column once more, now with 131, while Jody Gerut added that 3rd insurance run in the 6th.

The obvious hero of the game was Chris Narveson, though, striking out 10 over 5 2/3 innings, only allowing 4 hits. The only mistake he made was a first-pitch fastball to Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija to start off the 6th. That mistake didn’t end up costing the game, but it was Samardzija’s first major league hit, so I’m sure he felt pretty good about it. After that, Narveson padded the already impressive strikeout total by fanning Tyler Colvin and Derrek Lee before being pulled after throwing only 70 pitches.

Todd Coffey made his amusing sprint to the mound in record time to then finish out the 6th and the only other Chicago run allowed came from a small string of hits put together while Police Academy’s Tackleberry look-a-like David Weathers was on the hill in the 7th. No biggie though, as Felipe Lopez, second baseman extraordinaire, was able to pull off a very close play at first, then had an amazing line-drive catch to end the inning. If it wasn’t a WebGem, it certainly deserved to be. Claudio Vargas pitched a scoreless 8th, proving me wrong in my wavering trust in his abilities, then before we knew it, it was Trevor Time. Hoffman recorded his 35th save of the season and added to his All-Time lead, now standing at 589.

Chris Narveson looks to get at least one more start this season, but with Monday’s scheduled off-day, it could turn into 2. I’m pretty much sold on him to get as many in as the powers that be deem worthy. I know last night could be a fluke, but it could also be a window into what this guy’s capable of. I’d like to think of it as the latter. Narveson deserves to be seen and deserves to be put into consideration to stay with the team for 2010. I realize the Brewers have other, far more pressing pitching issues to take care of in the off-season, but throw Narveson in the mix. I’m pretty much all over that guy.

So tonight the Phillies look to close in on the post-season, sending J.A. Happ (10-4, 2.77 ERA) to the mound to face Jeff Suppan (7-10, 4.76 ERA).

The Phillies lead the NL East by 6.5 games over Atlanta, whose elimination number is 5. It’s a possibility during this 4-game series that Philadelphia, unless Milwaukee can hold them off, could be celebrating once again at Miller Park. Last season, of course, we all remember Philly winning the Division Series and the champagne being uncorked in the visitor’s clubhouse. The Brewers need to embrace the spoiler role and do everything they can to not let that happen again this year.

Go Brewers!