What started out as an ordinary, boring Monday turned out to be one of the best days ever. Well, if you’re a Brewers fan, anyway.
Jeff Suppan was finally released.
Happy, happy. Joy, joy.
Suppan’s last appearance for the Crew came in Friday night’s 8-0 loss to the Cardinals. I was out watching the game and, upon seeing him come out of the bullpen, immediately wanted to pick up my empty pint glass and hurl it at one of 2 things: the 60 in. NON HD television (seriously? No HD?) or the speaker sitting directly next to it that was blasting Nickelback instead of game analysis. Instead, I calmly set my glass back on the table and excused myself and went into the bathroom for fear of seeing something catastrophic. Thankfully, I didn’t witness the final straw that was 3 hits, 1 walk and 3 ERs.
The organization will eat the $2 million buyout and Jeff will likely sit around, hoping some other team as naive as the 2007 Brewers come along.
But, being the stand-up guy that he is, Suppan will continue to donate to Brewers charities until the end of the season and handled his release extremely professionally.
In reaction to the release, the Brewers bought reliever Chris Smith’s contract from Triple-A Nashville. In 23 appearances for the Sounds, Smith is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings. He’s allowed 17 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), and 6 walks, but has 29 strikeouts. So as far as right-handed relievers go, he’s waaaaaaay better than Suppan.
Also, Todd Coffey was placed on the 15-DL with a thumb injury, so the Brewers are expected to make at least one more roster move to fill the bullpen. David Riske is the likely replacement, who needs to make one more appearance in Triple-A on Wednesday and also needs to be put back on the 40-man roster.
And, since I’ve been talking about pitchers this whole time, how about that Manny Parra, huh?
Last night, Parra pitched relatively unscathed through 4 solid innings, striking out a career-high 10 batters (including 7 in 2 innings. Yes, that’s right.) before giving up a home run to Albert Pujols in the 6th. After that, Parra lost whatever it was that was finally working for him. After walking the bases loaded with only 1 out, Dave Bush was called out of the ‘pen for one batter, Kameron Loe finished out the inning. Loe continued into the first 1/3 of the 8th, but after giving up the game-tying run, Zach Braddock held on for the final 2 outs of the inning and got his first major league win after Corey Hart hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th. Then, you know, John Axford pitched the 10th and, once again, made me forget about Trevor Hoffman for a little bit.
Go Brewers! (Don’t let the Cubs and interleague play ruin this homestand, please!)
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…
…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…
…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.
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.
After sweeping the Pirates with astronomical numbers, the Brewers were apparently too pooped out to swing the bats (or pitch even remotely well) against Chicago on their home turf.
We fans walk into Miller Park like we own the place (which, we kinda do. Thanks, stadium tax!) when the Cubs come to town. And more and more often, it seems, we leave what’s become known as Wrigley Field North with our tails between our legs. It’s embarassing. I, for one, will no longer stand for it.
Well, okay, it’s not exactly up to me. But Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin and Ken Macha have finally converged and wisened up and made what could be a pivotal decision in getting this ball club, not only back above .500, but headed back to the top of the standings, which is where a 47-runs-in-4-games type of ball club deserves to be.
The much needed turn-around starts with a shake-up to the starting rotation and it seems MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman crawled inside my head while I was sleeping last night and wrote the exact article I would’ve written. Here are a couple of my favorite gems.
“There is no guarantee that Narveson will be the definitive answer in Milwaukee’s 5th starter spot. But he will have the virtue of not being Jeff Suppan.”
I mean, honestly. Go to Miller Park and ask any Brewers fan who would be a better starter the Suppan. The answer? Anyone other than Suppan. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the decision to send Ol’ Reliable to the bullpen was finally made. It was too late, but it was finally made.
“From a pitching rather than a personal perspective, the Suppan situation in Milwaukee has been a mistake for three plus seasons.”
Ummmm, yes! Why can everyone with eyes that follows Major League Baseball, Brewers fan or not, see that, yet it took so long for the people that sign the checks to understand??? Just because management made a mistake in 2007 doesn’t mean the rest of the team should just now be starting to clean up after it.
But the real question is, Is the Narv Dog the answer?
Well, he probably would’ve been 3 weeks ago. Instead, Suppan was on the DL, all but awaiting his turn in the rotation. Meanwhile, Narveson’s Spring momentum of 13 scoreless innings dwindled to a 7.20 ERA in 9 relief appearances so far in regular play.
I mean, I still cannot get over his start last September against the Cubs. The Narv Dog pitched 5 2/3 innings, struck out 10 and allowed only 4 hits, with 1 earned run. Pitching like that is why I adored him going into Spring Training and why I was pushing for him to be the Brewers #5, even over Manny Parra.
This decision is definitely what’s best for the team. Right now, anyway. One can argue that Narveson may not be the best option if Suppan’s destiny is an overpaid slot in the bullpen. However, Parra is scoreless in relief so far and the other viable option to start, Carlos Villanueva, has been pitching extremely well in mid-to-late inning relief. If the Narv Dog’s best days have happened starting the first inning on that mound, then by all means, yes. He’s the best choice.
And if the Brewers have to go through 5 more #5’s before finding a rotation that can get the job done, then let them do it.
Afterall, it’s still early.
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!)
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
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!
Cubs still suck!
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.
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.
This post was to have a different, more positive sounding title, but then I read the box score to today’s game against the Giants and it got decidedly more negative. Grrr.
My favorite oft-bearded, high socks wearing pitcher is set to go 4th for the Brewers this season. Dave Bush (who was 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 3 appearances at the time I began taking notes for this entry), is likely the best option for the 4th spot in the rotation, despite allowing a ginormous 7 runs in 6 innings today. What keeps me believing he fits the bill to start after Yovani Gallardo (who’s officially been tabbed as the Opening Day starter for April 5th in Milwaukee), Randy Wolf and Doug Davis is that he’s a legitimately great pitcher who just has some legitimately (really) bad days. I’ll forgive the inordinate amount of homeruns he gives up because he’s pitched multiple near-no-hitters, he’s had a buttload of quality starts and, let’s not forget folks, he’s got the only post season win for the Crew in the last 27 years.
Bush has proved in Arizona this spring (minus today’s hiccup. And, not to put all the blame on DB, it was a bit too little, too late on the offense, Brewers) that he’s back and ready to start. After taking a hard liner off the elbow last season, he spent 2 months on the DL and had the worst record of any of the myriad of Brewers starters to take the mound in 2009. Bush went 5-9 with a 6.38 ERA in just 21 starts, 22 total appearances. But, even after today’s 7 runs, Bush’s current ERA for the spring is 4.34 and, as someone whose opinion is completely taken into consideration by the powers that be, I think he’s going to be a worthy starter for Milwaukee in 2010.
As far as the Crew’s 5th starter goes, it’s been said more than once that a decision doesn’t have to be made until around April 14 because of how the schedule pans out. It’s still up in the air where Manny Parra (1-2, 6.32 ERA, 4 appearances), The Narv Dog (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 appearances) and Jeff Suppan (1-1, 7.71 ERA, 5 appearances) will fall before that make-shift deadline. Is it possible for the Brewers to settle on 6 starters and be an arm short in the bullpen? Sure. Is that likely? Probably not so much. I’ve said it many times, overpay Suppan in the bullpen because that guy hasn’t lived up to the expectations since signing with Milwaukee in 2007. He’s past his prime as a starter and we fans just plain old don’t like him. The Narv Dog has had a pretty good track record when he’s started for the Brewers, but I know his lack of Big League experience is weighing against him. And, I’m just gonna say it: It’s Manny’s year. He’s due for a breakout season and I think the Brewers need to give him that chance or risk losing him.
In addition to the pitching conundrum, the Crew currently has 29 guys on their active roster. And we all know that means some house cleaning will need to be done before next week. Catcher Angel Salome will likely be gone, as will outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Marco Estrada. The Brewers are an arm over in the bullpen so that means one more guy will have to go. There are a lot of guys in that ‘pen that Milwaukee can’t afford to lose, so unless something big happens with how the starting rotation falls into place (ie, getting rid of the odd man out), an established reliever will be on his way out.
Now, as there are 7 days before the best day of the year, I shall share with you the new creation, made especially for the chilly Wisconsin temperatures that we generally get on Opening Day.