Sooo the Brewers play their next 18 games within the NL Central.
Given that 9 of the first 12 are against Chicago and Houston, the divison’s losing-est teams, you’d think coming out of those 18 games with a winning record shouldn’t be a problem.
And the fact that Narv Dog is starting the first game against the Cubs tomorrow night shouldn’t hurt, either. He’s 5-0 in his last 11 appearances against Chicago but he’s facing Ryan Dempster, who’s been trouble for the Crew since, oh, just about forever.
Now, coming off a losing series in San Francisco, where little offense, multiple base running blunders and costly errors all weighed heavily on the outcomes of both losses, the Brewers are finally returning to the comforts of home for the first time since the All Star break.
On the plus side of this sad road trip, Ryan Braun seemed to have found his stroke after sitting out the last couple of series of the first half, homering in 4 of the last 5 games, putting him at 20 for the season. (3 of those homers were in his first at-bat.)
On the minus side? Meh. Take your pick.
Prince Fielder struggled throughout the entire roadie, almost as mightily as the swings he took at pitches outside the strikezone. In those 11 games, he went just 8 for 39, with 7 walks. The fact that only one walk was intentional and it came in the first game in Colorado tells the opponents exactly what it told me: Fielder currently isn’t a threat at the plate. Fix that, dude.
Also on the negative side was the injury to OF Carlos Gomez. Yes, he made a spectacular catch but he broke his collarbone in the process. The Brewers called up Brett Carroll from Nashville as a replacement and he made quite a defensive debut in SF yesterday, but went 0-3 at the plate, so I don’t know how beneficial he’ll be just yet.
So will Milwaukee’s recent bad play carry over to what should be one of the easier stretches of the second half? It’s hard to say.
Of course, with Gomez out, no lefties in the bullpen and the defensive woes in the left side of the infield, the Brewers have some holes to be filled and the trade deadline is looming. Of course, which hole is the biggest remains to be seen. The ‘pen hasn’t been working all too hard given the high amount of quality starts coming from the rotation, Carroll, Nyjer Morgan and Mark Kotsay are all capable outfielders, but none are everyday outfielders and Yuniesky Betancourt seemingly is getting sick of people saying he’s useless and went on an offensive tear, even going 3-5 with 2 homeruns in a single game in Arizona.
Relievers, infielders, outfielders–Dougie’s got some choices to make.
So, while they may currently share first place with St. Louis and Pittsburgh (Who knew?!), Milwaukee needs to seriously step it up. Like, now. They’re not gonna hit an easier string of opponents anytime soon and they need to take advantage and make do with what they’ve got until Melvin can find some new blood. I mean, if the Pirates can push and shove their way to the top with complete disregard for how crappy they are, then the Brewers should be able to knock everyone else down a peg or two.
I mean, really. It shouldn’t be that hard.
(PS, if you have Showtime, you really should be watching The Franchise. Even if you aren’t a Giants fan. Seriously. Great show. Wednesday nights.)
So I’ve been away for a bit.
There was Summerfest. There was a wedding. There were 3 glorious, albeit sweltering, days of Dave Matthews Band.
But the good news isn’t that I’m back. No. The good news is that I have good news to report. And not even report, really, but just weigh in on. Because, let’s face it, you already know what I’m about to tell you.
The Brewers wrapped up the official first part of the season in a first-place tie with the Cardinals before sending 3 elected starters to the All Star Game. Even though top vote-getter Ryan Braun bowed out of the game with a lingering leg injury, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder were not only starting the game, but participating in Monday’s Home Run Derby. Which we can just gloss over.
But for once, some Brewers players actually helped out during the game. Prince’s 3-run homer off CJ Wilson put the NL on top and subsequently was named MVP. Later, in his 3rd and final at bat, Weeks reached on a fielder’s choice and scored an insurance run. Not too bad of a showing for the Brewers. Minus the Derby, anyway. (Hottie Robinson Cano absoultely killed it.)
And just to be sure the excitement we Brewers fans were feeling after the ASG wasn’t wavering, Doug Melvin wanted to present us with one more little nugget before bedtime: Francisco Rodriguez was joining the team.
Yeah. You know, Mets closer. Little bit of a temper, apparently. But hey, for a spotty bullpen, any arm helps.
All Dougie has to do is send off 2 minor league prospects and K-Rod is his. Not a bad deal.
I mean, let’s face it. The ‘pen needs help. It needs consistency. It maybe even needs a guy that isn’t afraid to assault an old man. I don’t know. It needs someone. Maybe Rodriguez isn’t the solution. But maybe he is. Melvin’s stated K-Rod won’t officially take over the closer’s role from John Axford but he won’t not close, either. So he’ll apparently be a set-up/closer on an “as needed” basis, sharing both roles with Axford.
But, you know, I can’t knock it til I try it.
I learned that lesson with Nyjer Morgan. I hated that guy for all the bases he stole against Milwaukee and all the fights he started on the field. But hot damn do I love me some T. Plush now!
So, welcome, Francisco. I hope you help.
Now. Middle infielders, anyone…?
And, just because there are so many American Leaguers fresh in my mind after the All Star Game, my running tally of MLB Hotties will get a final run-through on this wonderful off-day. I expect to have the official list up in the coming weeks.
I know you can’t wait.
But real baseball is back tomorrow. Milwaukee takes on the NL West this week. Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants.
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.
Only need three: Giants stomp Brewers.
Get Off My Mound? Braden: “No.”
Two post-snub homers? I’m voting Votto.
Official: Yo to DL, Davis activated.
Hart going with Prince’s winning pitcher.
New beard in town: Joe Inglett.
Johan’s first homer. Take that, Reds!
Escobar’s glove is hurting. Night off.
Good god, Pablo Sandoval is large!
Wolf through 4. No score, 6Ks.
George still can’t catch runners. Ugh.
Counsell’s error leads to 2 runs.
Sixth inning unraveling. 5-0 Giants. Boo.
Late throws make George look worse.
Johnny Damon notches 2500th hit. Congrats!
(Briefly leaves Crew for The Hills.)
Zohmy. Fan falls at Rangers game.
Wolf: 3 up, 3 down seventh.
Zimmerman’s 2 HRs help Nats, me.
Mariano Rivera out, gives NL chance?
Favorite MLB beard goes 0-fer. Again.
New beard gets only RBI. Fiiiiiiinally!
Corey stops at 20. Bad break.
Youkilis exits. Bo-Sox need more milk.
Damon walks off. Tigers in 11.
A-Rod’s slam puts him within 4.
MLB’s night not over. Mine is.
One hour without internet. Missed much!
Counting Crows, great. Dave Matthews, greater!
Parra gives up 5, still wins.
Brewers batter Cards for series split.
Gallardo strains oblique, maybe avoids DL.
Corey Hart is only Brewers constant.
Weeks ejected for first time ever.
Escobar’s many errors prove costly. Ouch.
(This girl distracted by Always Sunny…)
ASG rosters announced: Stars and Snubs.
Mauer leads with over 5 million.
Votto with early lead in Finals.
Braun, Hart represent Crew, Gallardo out.
Hart to pound out in Derby.
Lilly gives up 4 long balls.
Baby bears routed by Reds, Stubbs.
15 innings, 5+ hours, Rockies prevail.
Torii racks ’em up over Royals.
Kershaw forgets direction of basepaths. Whoops!
Carl Pavano + Brendan Ryan = Creepy Mustaches.
Bush pulled, relievers falter, Crew loses.
Brewers’ only run was walked in.
Hart still manages hit. Streak: 20.
Crew, Giants lefties only for series.
Geoff Jenkins retiring as Brewer Friday.
Need Miller Park trip before ASG.
Come on Brewers, step it up!
@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.