Tagged: Frank Catalanotto

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy…Lefty, lefty, lefty

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

(See above.)

 

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.

 

 

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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…

Maybe better luck against the Nats and Padres this week??

Alright, boys. I didn’t want to have to recap a crappy weekend, but I guess that’s what it’s gonna be because that’s all you’re giving me.

Friday is already forgettable. My big complaint about Friday night is that Manny Parra was taken out too soon. Okay, so I missed the first hour of the game because I took Piper to see G-Force. (Too cute. Totally want a guinea pig now.) But still, Parra out after 5? It was a pretty good last inning, yet Macha takes him out and the game starts to go downhill. Ryan Braun had it tied at 4 with a 2-run shot, but the Brewers would fail to score following that at bat. Over it. Next.

Saturday my mom and I headed to Miller Park for game 2 against the Braves. It was Negro League night and my boys were decked out in the replica Bears unis. Adorable.

Even Rickie was back in the dugout with the rest of the boys. Awe.

I was also quite excited for a match-up of the two hottest Ryan’s in baseball, Braun and Church. I was totally in heaven with all the high socks and Top 10 Hotties. Until Braun flew out to Church. That moment ruined the night just a bit.

This one’s for me.

 

And this one just is funny. I think RB’s too freaking cute in that uniform.

Anyway, the game was great. 4-0 shutout by Yovani Gallardo (it was my first time seeing him pitch all season) and the first RBI was knocked in off Yo’s bat. Such an all-around guy. Love him! Prince was showing all other first basemen how to play solid defense and the rest of the guys got it done with a lot of small ball. Nice.

Two things from last night, however, that I must must must complain about.

One, some obnoxious drunk named Jeremiah was sitting 2 seats down from me. He was completely wasted when he sat down with TWO full bottles of beer in his hands. He never, I mean never, stopped talking for the entire game. Scratch that. He never stopped shouting the entire game. The only silence I experienced was when he got up to get more alcoholic beverages. He continually sang “Your Love” by The Outfield because it’s Frankie C’s at bat song. Not just when Catalanotto was batting. No, no. THE WHOLE GAME!!! (Listen to it now if you want to experience a tiny bit of what I had to hear.You know you want to.) 

Next, I’ve never experienced such a conundrum in the parking lot leaving a game. Never. Mom and I actually re-parked the car because nobody was going anywhere. In any direction. When we finally did move, nearly an hour after the game was over, it was just to sit in more traffic, where we discovered there were very few cops directing cars. Generally, they’re on top of things and keep the flow going, but for some reason, many were absent last night. Gah! The game was over a little after 9 and it was nearly 11 when we rolled into our driveway. Ridic. Thankfully I had my new iPhone to take notes with so I’d remember what I wanted to post about when I got home.

So, onto other news. I’d rather not share my thoughts on today’s 10-2 blowout loss to the Braves, but I do have some other things I’d like to touch on briefly.

First, Telly Hughes interviewed the Brewers newly signed pitcher, Kyle Heckathorn, during today’s game. Future Top 10 Hottie right there. Holy yum. I’d love to post a picture of the 6’6″ righty, but there aren’t any out there yet that do him any sort of justice. Plus, he’s a Southern boy so he’s got that adorably dopey accent. Too cute.

Also, I mentioned earlier that I loved seeing Rickie Weeks back with the boys in Milwaukee. I do miss that guy, but I was thinking, if he weren’t out for the season, Craig Counsell would not be producing the way he is and it’s a pretty sure bet that Felipe Lopez wouldn’t even be in a Brewers uniform. Even though Weeks was having a great start to 2009, his injury has brought some bright spots to the Brewers’ game.

Third, with Dave Bush’s injury keeping him out of the rotation until at least mid-August now, my fellow July 19th birthday buddy, Tim Dillard, was recalled from Triple-A and is likely in line to start Tuesday’s game againsts the Nationals. He transitioned from reliever to starter down in the minors and has been doing relatively well– well enough that Ken Macha is putting the team in Dillard’s hands for the time being. One can only hope that Timmy steps up to the challenge, but I would still like to see Doug Melvin try to get a new starter before the trade deadline. I saw the Phillie’s offer for Roy Halladay was rejected. And included in that offer? J.A. Happ. Are the Phil’s really willing to part ways with Happ, who’s got a 7-1 record and an ERA well under 3.0? Well, probably not for anyone on the Brewers current roster, but a girl can dream can’t she?

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got in me today. The Brewers start a 7-game stretch against 2 of the last place teams in the National League tomorrow. Let’s hope they can start something this week before heading off to LA and Houston?

Tomorrow the Nats come to town. Jeff Suppan (5-7, 4.71 ERA) vs. Craig Stammen (3-5, 4.14 ERA).

Go Brewers!

What do you know? Bill Hall can still win games!

I’m gonna go ahead and just skip right past the sweep in Minneapolis this weekend. I’m not gonna go into the starting pitching that fell apart or the offense that could barely produce. I won’t dwell on the terrible playing conditions at the even more terrible Metrodome. I won’t mention the astroturf or white roof–none of that matters now.

What matters is Yovani Gallardo struck out Albert Pujols (among others) and held the Cardinals scoreless for 8 innings yesterday. What matters is Trevor Hoffman came in in a non-save situation and got 3 outs on 7 pitches. Bill Hall does still win games! That’s what matters.

The Brewers are alone again in first place and are so far 4 for 4 in wins over St. Louis, who have now fallen a game behind. And Cincinnati has climbed above the Cubs (Ha! Fourth!) to sit comfortably at third. Well, until the Brewers knock them down a bit more after this coming weekend series.

And Ken Macha sure has had to make some interesting decisions regarding his roster as of late. I’m not sure what the future holds for Mat Gamel after his stint at DH against the Twins didn’t go so well over the weekend. Although, it’s not entirely his fault–there was very little offense to speak of. Outfielder Frank Catalanotto was called up yesterday and lefty RJ Swindle was sent back down to Triple A to make room. Casey McGehee has been doing a fair job filling in at both 2nd and 3rd as needed and there are currently 5 outfielders to play around with, as Tony Gwynn, Jr. was traded to the Padres to follow in his Hall Of Famer dad’s footsteps for veteran Jody Gerut.

As I leave for Las Vegas with the ladies early tomorrow morning, there won’t be any posts for awhile. We will make it a point to watch the Brewers vs. Reds on Friday afternoon while we’re placing some bets at the sports book at ESPN Zone, though. I’m sooooo excited!

And speaking of excitement, here’s a glimpse of what I did this weekend!

This was 2 weeks ago. Mol and I signing our lives away before skydiving! (We were postponed until this past Sunday.)

All ready to go! Sort of. I don’t think you’re ever 100% ready to throw yourself out of a plane!

 

Mol, Nik and I. Nik wasn’t part of our jump group, but she was just as crazy as we were!

Yep. That’s me way up there!

 

Nik and her husband, all ready!

 

Success! Eight went up, and eight came down…well, safely, anyway! Seriously, one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done and would sooooo do it again!

 

But back to baseball, tonight it’s Jeff Suppan (3-3, 4.71 ERA) on the mound against Adam Wainwright (4-2, 3.41 ERA). Unfortunately, I’ll probably sleep through most of the game, I we’ve got a super-early flight tomorrow.

Go Brewers!

 

This chick sure digs the long ball!

Sorry for the hiatus. I promised a Monday post and, as it’s now Wednesday, this one is going to be a bit longer than I had anticipated. (Good thing I was taking notes all weekend!)

Friday. Brewers 3, Cubs 2

Danny Gokey Day here in Milwaukee proved to be eventful. The poor guy looked crazy tired, but he managed to belt out a pretty amazing National Anthem.

 

The first pitch? That didn’t go as well. A bit high, but at least it crossed the plate.

Gah, how annoying to have that American Idol camera that close to your face since 5am!

On to the game. Dave Bush, my favorite high-socks wearing pitcher, gave up a couple of runs early on, but then settled into a nice (eh) pitcher’s duel with Randy Wells (?). We all know I’d rather see some action. I guess I did when Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder diving to stop a Ryan Braun liner to third. And, sorry that he got hurt and all, but the ball was still in play. Run to second, RB. Granted, there wasn’t really any more offense that inning, but still. JJ Hardy smacked a homerun in the sixth for the first Brewers run and Braun blasted one after a wild pitch advanced Corey Hart in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead and prompt a nice 1-2-3 visit to the mound by Trevor Hoffman.

Ah, Hell’s Bells. Can’t get enough! (Love the leg kick!)

 

Saturday. Brewers 12, Cubs 6

As we were unable to skydive due to low cloud cover (boo!), we all pretty much just sat around and drank until it was time for the game. Then we watched and drank some more. Since it was the longest baseball game known to man (not including a 20-ish minute delay due to the lights going out at Miller Park), you can imagine how much that might have been.

This is the kind of game I love. I’m not much for favoring pitchers and defense in a game. Give me the bats and the long ball. That’s what I live for. The Brewers got an early lead, and held on to it. Yovani Gallardo may have only pitched 5 innings, but he managed to hold the Cubs to 2 runs. The score stood at 3-2 in favor of the Crew until the bottom of the seventh, when Milwaukee batted around and then some, scoring 6 runs along the way, including back-to-back homers by Craig Counsell (haha!) and Ryan Braun. Braun’s came after a pitch by Ryan Dempster in the fifth grazed the top of his helmet. Maybe. Either way, he stared Dempster down before trotting off to first.

The top of the eighth wasn’t so lucky for the Brewers. Jorge Julio and Todd Coffey combined for 4 runs, bringing the Cubs within 3 and prompting Hoffman to warm-up in the bullpen. He could relax, though, as another outbust by Milwaukee bats let him sit back down and watch the rest of the game.

Sunday. Brewers 2, Cubs 4

Ugh. Happy Mother’s Day. Right.

The pink bats usually help, but I guess they only helped the Cubs this year. An early 2-0 lead for the Brewers was quickly erased by a 2-run homer from Alfonso Soriano off of starter Jeff Suppan. They scored 2 more and Milwaukee’s bats were silent the rest of the game. I did have a good time with my mom though, so that’s good. And it was nice to not have any Cubs fans rubbing a win in our faces afterwards. Afterall, the Cubs lost the series and Sunday’s win was nothing to gloat about.

As Monday was an off-day, I anticipated seeing some players at work. Although, of all the guys that have been spotted, I’ve managed to miss them all so far. Lo and behold, I get a text from Mol about 20 minutes too late. Yovani Gallardo was shopping in men’s dress shirts. I was already on my way out the door. Damn!

But I swear I saw Mark DiFelice. No one else did, so it probably wasn’t him. And he wasn’t as tall as I remembered. Maybe I’ll still tell people I saw him to sound a teeny bit cooler.

And last night was definitely my kind of game! While I was at my dad’s softball game and checking the Brewers game on my phone, the score never changed from a 3-2 Marlins lead.

As I walked in to Leff’s afterwards, the whole place erupted. A Rickie Weeks homerun tied it up. This was quickly followed by Prince Fielder’s second HR of the night. (His first was responsible for the Crew’s first 2 runs.) Mike Cameron tacked on a bit of insurance in the 8th with a solo shot of his own and then, Hell’s Bells yet again! It was impressive, of course, but I think that Leff’s needs to blast the AC/DC just as loud as Miller Park does. I just like pretending to have that experience.

In other, non-game news, Milwaukee signed veteran outfielder Frank Catalanotto to a minor league contract. I’m gonna go ahead and say he won’t be in the minors for long. As a left-handed bat, he could be a good replacement for the large-headed Brad Nelson, who, by the way, struck out AGAIN in a pinch-hit situation. Poor Manny Parra kicked *** last night and then that big, dumb, oaf of a guy comes in to bat for him and sucks like always. Smooth move, Ken Macha. Don’t you know this guy is worthless?

And my favorite bit of baseball from the past week was this little quote by Macha, referring to the ball that supposedly hit Ryan Braun in the helmet Saturday night:

“The league frowns upon people throwing at people’s heads.”

Haha!

Go Brewers!