First of all, hello again, after a lovely vacation from my normal, boring, mundane (redundant?) life.
I spent a big chunk of it driving through some of the most boring landscape all by my lonesome, some of it on a boat, some in the water, eating and drinking a ton and, yes, even a week in the land of the Viqueens. And it couldn’t have possibly been any better.
I came back to Wisconsin ready for back-to-back tailgates and Brewers games, but not quite ready for the inevitable return to work. Boo.
So, there’s lots to cover, no?
Let’s first talk about Christopher and his inability to properly handle a scissors. Or his inability to let an equipment person fix his glove. I mean, what an idiot. Even if you think you’re completely capable of fixing your glove, you should probably let someone else do it. You know, just in case a sharp object has it out for your thumb. If anyone’s gonna suffer the wrath of a vengeful pair of scissors, I’d rather it not be a starting pitcher. Seriously. Dumb.
Because of Narv Dog’s stitches and subsequent DL stint, the Brewers called up Frankie De La Cruz to fill the spot in the bullpen formerly occupied by spot-starter Marco Estrada and Zack Greinke’s scheduled start was pushed up to the opener against Pittsburgh Friday night. Greinke absolutely killed it. So did the Crew’s offense. Brewers win 7-2. No surprise.
Saturday was my first game at Miller Park in, I’m almost ashamed to say, over a month. I was not looking forward to Estrada pitching. I was, however, looking forward to the inaugural lighting of my new blue grill and pretty much just being at a Brewers game. Well, Estrada pretty much put me in my place, pitching 5 scoreless innings before letting the bullpen protect his 1-0 lead. If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the game that Estrada would have a 1-hit shutout thru 5, with 5 Ks, and oh yeah, hit a double and that Yuniesky Betancourt’s solo homer would be the only run on the board, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Thankfully, my doubts were for naught and Milwaukee came out on top over Pitt. Shocking.
So Sunday’s game was Leff’s monthly tailgate, Craig Counsell bobblehead and Bierbrauer day. Excited, kinda excited, could care less. The Pirates already had a run on the board by the time I got my Long Island and pulled pork parfait and I was definitely not in any mood for extras once Ryan Braun tied the game at 1-all in the 9th. But alas, George, Casey and T-Plush all came through quickly in the 10th–single, double, sac fly. Boom. Done. Pirates suck.
After the weekend, Milwaukee has become just the 3rd team in the NL to 70 wins and is still holding onto a 5-game lead over St. Louis in the Central. The Cardinals head to Pittsburgh for a 3-game series and I hate to say it, but if the Pirates play even remotely close to how they played this weekend, they could have a chance to win a couple. I know I wouldn’t be too disappointed with that. The Brewers welcome the 3rd place, sub-.500 Dodgers to MP for 4 games and, you know, I think they’ll be just fine.
And, unrelated, but my mom just walked in and handed me a Hot Dog bobblehead. Awesome.
Tonight’s game: Randy Wolf (9-8, 3.48 ERA) has won his last 3 starts, including an 8-inning, 1-run outing in STL last week. Dodgers starter Ted Lilly (7-12, 4.71 ERA) has a 2.37 ERA in his last 3 starts but has had 2 tough-luck losses. He’d only given up 2 runs in each of those 3 games.
And since Randy’s on the bump, George is behind the plate. Yay!
The Brewers just completed a 3-game sweep of the Rockies, after a strange 4-game roadie on the West Coast that left them with a win apiece against San Diego and LA.
Friday, I was up drinking at a bonfire anyway so I mostly caught game one. I say “mostly” because I can’t get AM radio at my house so we had the TV audio coming through the outdoor speakers. Um, Bill Schroeder? I’d kinda like to know what’s happening with the game. I understand you’re not broadcasting for audio-only purposes, but still. I little more info, please. So anyway, I ran to the window just in time to see Yuniesky Betancourt’s blast tie up the game for the second time. (Casey McGehee did it first.) Needless to say, when the game was in the 14th and Colorado was in the lead, yet again, I made it a point to settle in for the bottom of the frame. Soooooooo glad I did!
I love Prince Fielder! I love that he just watched that ball sail. I love that he had a classy celebration at home plate. I (sort of) love that Felipe Paulino was almost immediately DFA’d after giving up that homerun.
So Saturday’s game…..
What is the flipping deal with FOX? Sorry, but the Cubs-Red Sox is not my market. I do not want to watch the effing scrubs. I want to watch the Brewers and your stupid deal will make my Saturdays miserable for the next 6 seasons of baseball. Major League Baseball, why did you have to make this deal? Why did you have to make me so angry? As I said before, I can’t for the life of me get a radio to get AM at my house. I don’t enjoy using GameDay on my phone. I want to watch the Brewers play. I don’t want to watch whoever it is you think is closest to my team’s market that day. This deal sucks and I want to physically hurt someone because of it.
Grr. Sorry. So Milwaukee won 3-2. Jonathan Lucroy hit his 4th homer. John Axford got the save. I saw none of it.
Though, I saw none of it today, either.
I didn’t even check the score til the 6th inning because I was at a baby shower. But I did wear a yellow and white dress and had on a Brewers necklace, so I was still supporting my boys.
The Brewers closed it out with another win today, 3-1. They’re finally over .500 but just can’t seem to close the gap with Cinci and St. Louis.
Somehow, I did not have tickets for a single game this weekend and I don’t have tickets at all this week, either. I may try to make up for it with some light player stalking post-game Friday night, but the week is still young. I may make it to a game yet. I should probably try to go Saturday since I know I won’t be able to actually watch it otherwise…
But the Nationals are in town first and in order to avoid any further embarassment at the hands of Jim Riggleman and Co, the Brewers need to keep this hot streak alive. I mean, we all remember that sweep back in April. It was not pretty. Yovani Gallardo, Narv Dog and Zack Greinke are slated to face off against, well, Tom Gorzelanny so far. I’d like to think those 3 can handle the Nats, so I’m just gonna run with that.
I don’t know if the Brewers know it or not, but it takes more than offense to win games.
It also takes more than quality starts.
It kind of takes a little of both.
Not to mention runners in scoring position. It helps to bring them home.
Coming off a (supremely) unsuccesful roadtrip, the Crew came back to Miller Park last week and won 5 of 6, including a sweep of the Pirates. (But big deal. The Pirates + Miller Park = LOSERS.)
The homestand started with a Zack Greinke win over San Diego, another win that almost got away from them and then an utterly embarassing loss to wrap that series, which saw comebacks from both the Brewers and Padres, ultimately ending 13-6, thanks to Kameron Loe talking his way into the game. (I won’t even get started on how RR is on my bad side because of that decision…)
After taking a day to think about what they’d done (8 runs in one inning? Seriously, boys. Crap on a spatula), the Pirates were a welcome opponent. The entire baseball community knows Milwaukee pretty much owns Pittsburgh and such was the case over the weekend. Yovani Gallardo, The Narv Dog (yes, he’s earned it back) and Greinke all put another notch in their win columns and the offense came alive (finally!) to move the Brewers back up to 3rd in the NL Central race.
Milwaukee rode the momentum of the sweep all the way to Los Angeles, where Shaun Marcum pitched a doozie and the Brewers only needed 2 runs to bring the winning streak to 4, their longest so far. Though, it could’ve been worse had Carlos Gomez not pulled back a no-doubter from Juan Uribe. Last night, however, the Brewers were not so fortunate. The Dodgers only came up with 3, inlcuding a 2-run opposite field homerun from Top 10 Hottie Matt Kemp. The third run didn’t come until the 8th and as it turned out, LA didn’t even need it. The 4-game streak ended with a 3-0 loss.
The big issue, even though Milwaukee and Los Angeles split the series, is RISP. The Brewers left 12 men stranded in Monday’s win but went 0-9 last night.
Yah. Twenty-one baserunners that never made it home. Blurg.
Not that I stayed up to watch either game. Stupid West Coast…
So tonight the Brewers will try to put all the pieces together as San Diego hosts another weird, 2-game series. Gallardo (4-2, 4.88) faces Dustin Moseley (1-5, 3.40). Given the way the two teams performed just a week ago, at this point, it’s anyone’s series.
What’s unfortunate for the Crew is that they have all the elements in place to win the games they’re supposed to win (like against last-place teams…) but they need to find a way for those elements to consistently work together.
Such was the story of Christopher Narveson and the Brewers vs. Bud Norris and the Astros: 24 total strikeouts.
Christopher, who took the loss despite 6 strong innings and 7 strikeouts, has failed to earn his nickname back. He was pretty much dialed in until a towering 3-run homer off the bat of Carlos Lee gave the Astros a bit of insurance on their way to an eventual 5-0 win and series victory.
Brewers relievers Sergio Mitre (who gave up Houston’s 5th and final run) and Zack Braddock tacked on another 5 Ks, bringing the Crew’s strikeout total to 12 for the day.
Bud Norris, however, managed to strand 11 Brewers at the plate all on his own, even though he was the only one of the Astros 4 pitchers to give up any hits. (Mark Melancon notched Houston’s 12th K.)
On a somewhat positive note for Milwaukee, Ryan Braun walked in the first inning which mean’s he’s reached base safely in all 27 of the Brewers games this season. That was pretty much the only bright spot, even though Christopher seemed to have gotten his command back.
The Brewers also committed 5 errors in this 3-game series (if I remember correctly, they were all throwing errors?), so I’m pretty much over hearing Bill Schroeder talking about how great they are defensively. Um, not so much. And while we’re talking about their flaws, how about that Carlos Gomez running the bases? He’s so smooth. I wish I could be just like him. Grr…
Carlos Lee, despite his own bright spot of the homerun, was carted off the field and taken to the hospital during the top of the 7th after he and Angel Sanchez collided going after a Mark Kotsay pop up. Ouchie.
So the Brewers head to Atlanta for 4 games starting tomorrow and Zach Greinke is slated to pitch Wednesday against Tim Hudson. (Yay!) The Braves and Brewers are both in 3rd place in their respective divisions, but Atlanta is coming off a walk-off win against St. Louis to open this series. While the baseball world is waiting with bated breath to see Greinke’s National League debut, Milwaukee will have to take on Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson before that day even comes. Hopefully Yovani Gallardo has shaken off his streaky April and Marco Estrada will shine once again before his likely departure to Nashville.
In other baseball news:
If you’re playing in Cleveland as a visitor, plan on going home with your tail between your legs.
Don’t even bother trying to pitch to Andre Ethier because he will hit you.
Don’t make obscene gestures and homophobic slurs to fans of the opposing team. You’ll probably get suspended.
While you’re not doing things, don’t tweet about your ejection from the clubhouse. You’ll probably get suspended.
Lots of people are having surgery or breaking things. Casey Blake: out. Ryan Zimmerman: out. Panda: out. David Freese: out.
@TonyPlush will be back Tuesday. Lord knows the Brewers need him.
@MLB discovered six words! Yay me!
zkonedog: Twins fave in AL. Sad.
mimi: Love twitter! Thanks for stopping!
Braun leads NL. Outfield starter? Yep.
Heyward no-go, even if voted in.
LaRussa tossed. Multiple mistakes. Cards victory.
Dodgers turn five DPs, tame Giants.
Utley to DL. Thumb injuries abundant.
Almost cried watching Zumaya’s injury. Ouchie 😦
‘Bourn’ not ‘Bourne.’ Oops. My bad.
Google six-word memoirs. Life changing. Addicting.
Davis on way back. Rotation bound?
Fielder to SF? For who, Bauman?
Softball. Mobile MLB, then bar TVs.
Gallardo follows up 12K shutout tonight.
Could be two-parter. Tune in post-softball.
Brewers win five of six series.
Picked only loss of weekend. Boo!
Raaaaaaaandy! What’s up with the homers?
Errors. Great baserunning. Hart with 19?
Narv Dog killed first, next seven.
Rickie’s lead-off spot getting productive. Homerun!
Evan, BJ, play nice! Remember Zambrano…
Old Man Moyer gives up 506th.
White Sox beaten by baby bears.
468 feet. Hamilton aiming for god.
Yankee Hater. Dodgers hold lead, please.
Most people, in everyday life, wouldn’t get to take a day or two off work for performing poorly and still get paid. Most people wouldn’t get to sit out the day (unless they’re needed in a pinch) because a certain bigwig is coming and they do a better job working with a right-handed bigwig. Most people don’t do an amazing job 3 or 4 days in a row and then fall off as if they’ve never set foot in their office before.
Well, most people aren’t members of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Yes, it’s only the second week of May, but we all know that I’m not one to sit idly by and wait for actions. I openly air my greivances. And maybe I should’ve been more diligent with my blog and been posting during the last leg of that NL West roadie because then I would’ve been more apt to talk about things like the Narv Dog’s combined 11 Ks in his 2 wins against LA and Arizona. Or Yovani Gallardo’s 10 strikeouts over the Dbacks bringing him his 4th win and put him at 50 Ks on the season. I would be much happier to be talking about Prince’s birthday homer and the Mom’s Day 8th inning offensive outburst.
But, apparently I’m a glutton for punishment and choose not to post until all that positivity came to a crashing halt last night against Atlanta.
Now, I could just say to myself, “Calm down. It was only one game.” But the thing is, with the Brewers, that one game tends to lead to another and then another. They go through obnoxiously waivering spurts of insane offense coupled with sturdy pitching to lead to win after win and that eventually makes way for a few terrible, short starts, poor relief and a lack of bats. Fortunately for the Crew, they’re only 2 games under .500, but are 5 games behind the Cardinals.
So what exactly do I have a problem with. Really, it’s only 2 things.
One, this team seemingly relies on massive offense to pick up average pitching. “But what else is new?” you might ask. Sure, Milwaukee leads the league in runs scored, and that’s great, but then look at the amount of shut-outs they’ve been on the wrong end of (4). Or the number of games they’ve won when scoring less than 3 runs (2). Gah. Very rarely does the entire team, pitchers and batters, work seamlessly for normal wins (and by ‘normal’ I mean scoring single-digit runs and still winning).
My second problem might just be because of the hype I created in my own head, but I think I had waaaaaay too high of expectations for pitching coach Rick Peterson. Here’s a guy that created a system for finding a guy’s ideal pitching conditions. His biomechanic approach to pitching is designed to show exactly where a pitcher’s flaws are, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and then is able to work with each individual on how to improve his pitching game while avoiding any major injury or overexertion. Yet, the Brewers pitching staff is having it’s same old problems with inconsistency. I understand that Peterson isn’t a godsend or anything, but it seems like the amount of money spent to improve the staff and bringing him on board as coach are all for naught, seeing as the 2010 pitching staff is basically the same as the staff from years past–troubled and temperamental.
So that’s all.
If Milwaukee could somehow get their bats to speak up every game (when it counts, Casey. I mean, thanks for avoiding the shutout last night, but still) and their pitchers, both from the get-go and out of the bullpen, to get a little less erratic, they could really get themselves closer to the top. Yeah, yeah, it’s all easier said than done. But come on, I don’t get rewarded for not doing my job correctly. I mean, Jeff Suppan’s making $12 mil just to sit in the ‘pen for days at a time. Seriously, I know it’s not just me thinking it. It’s about time these guys get out there and do what they’re paid to do.