Why does it seem, every season, the Brewers have to face the oft-dominating teams of the AL in interleague play?
Two months ago, I wouldn’t have been to bothered to face Boston. They started the season 0-6 and slid uncomfortably into last place in the AL East, all the while the Brewers held themselves up towards the top of the standings in the NL Central. And, despite a bit of a tailspin, Milwaukee has finally begun to establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with, but they were thrust into their first interleague series after a dismal showing at Wrigley. And, as luck would have it, the first series was on the road at Fenway Park.
After finally posting a W on the third try in a 4 game series in Chicago, I thought maybe the Brewers could split the series and swoop into Boston with a little bit of momentum. Instead, Thursday’s game at the hole that is Wrigley proved to be disastrous and the Crew fell to the Cubs 12-7, handing Zack Greinke his second loss of the season. So any hope of an upswing to start the series in Boston was long gone.
It’s not that the Brewers didn’t try. They just ran into a couple of insurmountable issues from their starting pitchers.
Friday night Milwaukee held a brief 2-0 lead, but starter Shaun Marcum left the game after a 44-pitch first inning with a hip injury. Even after a 2 more RBIs, Marco Estrada took the loss after giving up 3 more ERs, but Boston kept plugging away for an eventual 10-4 win.
Game 1 = crap on a spatula.
Last night’s game handed Randy Wolf an early 2-0 lead after back-to-back homeruns for DH Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart. Ryan Braun followed with a line-drive double but was unable to cross the plate and the Red Sox tied it up at 2 in the second. My favorite (almost) MLB beard George Kottaras had a solo homer in the 3rd, followed by a Casey McGehee RBI single to give the lead back to Milwaukee. Wolf went 7 innings and Kameron Loe held the game at 4-2 for John Axford to come in for the save.
Game 2 = barely squeaking by, but I’ll take it.
Today was horrendous. Yovani Gallardo somehow managed to go 3 full innings, despite basically serving Boston a 6-0 lead on a silver freaking platter in the first. (Yo left with no outs in the 4th and an 8-2 deficit.) Nyjer Morgan hit his 2nd homerun of the season just barely over the right field wall to give the Brewers a couple runs but the bullpen failed to hold the Sox at bay. Sergio Mitre and Mark DiFelice combined for 4 innings and 4 runs. The only pitcher that didn’t allow a run to score was LaTroy Hawkins.
Game 3 = bad. Wicked bad.
The Brewers may have only been on the road for 7 games, but the home confines of Miller Park are going to be a very welcome sight. Tampa Bay comes into town first. The Rays just swept the Marlins in 3 games and if the Brewers are going to put a halt to TBs momentum, they need to shake off the horrid roadtrip. The fact that Marcum’s scheduled start for Wednesday is up in the air could put a damper on things, too. Chris “Narv Dog” Narveson (4-4, 4.48 ERA) gets the nod in game 1 tomorrow. Narv is coming off a good start in Chicago, taking home the only win of the series. He faces Jeff Niemann (1-4, 4.74 ERA), a tall righty who hasn’t won a game since April 28th.
After Tampa, the Brewers have to face the Minnesota Twins, who have been knocking so hard at the basement door, someone finally let them out. Minnesota has won their last 3 series, including a sweep of the Padres. The Twins have always been a tough opponent for Milwaukee but you have to hope with the way the Brewers have been able to play at home that they may have better luck this season. Plus, I’m going on Sunday and the Brewers have yet to lose a Sunday game that I’m at. (Knock on wood.)
So anyway, I’m gonna try to forget the last week’s worth of games and I suggest the Brewers do the same. They’re really gonna need to pick themselves up soon if they’re gonna get out of interleague play alive.
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.
No. Not me, silly.
But there have been some guys getting criticized in the past few of weeks for attending their children’s births.
Geez. Is it really that big of a deal?
First, it was the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. More recently, Kurt Suzuki and Jason Bay.
Seriously, people. I understand that we all take professional baseball pretty seriously. But slamming a guy for wanting to see his own flesh and blood brought into the world? Cut them some slack.
I think Major League Baseball did a good thing implementing paternity leave. If a guy wants to be a good father in addition to being a good player, he should have the right to be with his family. They let guys go to funerals. Why not births? I mean, if the Phillies can part with Roy Oswalt while he deals with tornadoes for a week, why can’t the A’s part with Suzuki a day or two?
Okay, I get the big game scenarios. Your team is on the verge of winning a pennant, game 7 of the World Series is on the line, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I’d probably be upset if a player opted to skip out on his paid duties in a situation like that. Should he have the choice, though? Absolutely.
I don’t get what people are getting so uproarious about. Do their jobs not offer paternity leave? Are they just jealous that someone can still make thousands of dollars while not actually doing their job for a couple days? If their team loses, is it all the new dad’s fault? I don’t know. The whole argument seems absolutely ridiculous to me.
Let these players be good fathers and husbands for a couple days. B effing D. There are 24 other guys out there that can pick up the slack. Seriously, out of 162 games, what’s 1 or 2 missed? Count it as a regular day off and leave it at that.
Now, on the off-chance that someday I’m giving birth to George Kottaras’ gorgeous, tan baby, maybe I’ll change my tune.
And speaking of missing games…
It seems the Brewers have collectively missed their last 6.
They’ve been outscored 31-7 and while they did have a couple of good starts at the hands of Yovani Gallardo (who then lost it) and Shaun Marcum (who didn’t factor, but K-Loe lost it for him), they’re just not doing enough.
Zack Greinke finally made his first start and it was a doozie. And not in a good way. He was on a limited pitch count as it was, so he only went 4 innings, but gave up 5 runs, 4 earned. Since the rest of the team failed to show up offensively (Tim Hudson all-out dominated in a one-hit, CG shutout), the 6 Ks Greinke mustered up literally meant nothing.
Oh, and what could possibly be the cherry on top of this heaping scoop of crap? How about Nyjer Morgan breaking his finger and going back on the DL? Yay! More Carlos Gomez! (Grrr)
I mean, super duper, boys. You’re really living up to the expectations. I’m so proud of all of you.
I guess I have to say it.
Casey gets enough. It’s outta here!
Edmonds is incredible! (For being old.)
My favorite MLB beard goes yard.
Corey’s sitting pretty on 16-game streak.
Skip Schumaker is hot. Don’t hate.
Poor Yadi. Can’t hit. Must suck.
Prince adds to fantasy team. Thanks!
K-Loe almost doesnt, then does. Whew!
Axford! Corey! Brewers win! Brewers win!
Crew takes Game 1, next 3?
Former Hubby on hill for #2.
Go Narv Dog and Go Brewers!
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!)
*Except I do care. Please stop hassling him, and the rest of the Brewers pitchers. Thanks.
It’s time yet again, to complain about the team I still, for reasons that I can hardly explain, hold so dear.
Monday, the Narv Dog was awesome. Yeah, awesome until he and/or Manager of the Year Ken Macha decided he could go ahead and get that final out of the 5th inning and instead gave up a game-tying homerun. Then the bullpen came out and that’s where things really got out of control. Brewers lose, Marlins win. Ugh. (Oh, yeah. Neither here nor there, really, but Cameron Maybin had an inside the park HR, too. Super.)
Yesterday, my old favorite bearded Brewers (current fave: George Kottaras) pitcher, Dave Bush, struggled in the first inning, giving up a Marlins team cycle and 3 runs before he even had 2 outs under his belt. He settled in (sort of) after that, pitching 5 scoreless innings and the Brewers tied the game with HRs from Prince Fielder and Corey Why-am-I-not-on-the-All-Star-ballot Hart, thus putting Bush in line for the win. But, alas, DB was suffering from a blister (ahhhhh, so that’s why he couldn’t find the zone all game) and left after 6.
Enter Trevor Hoffman.
Dude comes in to the pitch in the 7th and gives up hit after walk after hit after hit for an eventual Marlins 6-3 lead by the time he managed to scrape up a 3rd out and walk off the mound. Yes, Hoffman, the all-time saves leader. The man with 4 more saves to go until 600. The man with a 1-4 record this season and an 11.65 ERA in SEVENTEEN INNINGS!!!!!
Sooooooo, the Crew calls upon the new guy, the beastly 6’8″ Kameron Loe, to pitch the 8th. And what does this guy do? Shows Hoffman how it’s done. Loe goes 1,2,3 with 2 strikeouts.
Alright, so now it’s time to play the blame game.
We can argue all day about who’s fault it is that the Brewers are having a wickedly bad start to the season. I can tell you who’s fault it isn’t: the offense.
I don’t like to throw numbers around, but this is something that cannot be disputed. There is at least 1 Brewers player in the Top 10 of every major batting category in the National League. Clearly, offense can’t do it alone (CLEARLY!), but these numbers don’t lie.
HR- Corey Hart, #1 (seriously. I know.)
RBI- Casey McGehee, #1
AVG- Ryan Braun, #4 (T)
OBP- Prince Fielder, #7 (notice lead-off man Rickie Weeks is absent)
SLG- Hart, #1 (T)
SB- Braun, #5 (T)
H- Braun, #2 McGehee, #7 (T)
R- Braun, #2
As a team, Milwaukee ranks 2nd overall in the NL in OPS and SLG, 3rd in HR and OBP and 5th in SB. So, you know, the Brewers are pretty damn good offensively.
One might argue that since it’s not the bats’ fault, it must be the pitchers’. One might be right. The only name you’ll see among the NL pitching leaders is Yovani Gallardo with 5 wins, 2.78 ERA, 73 Ks and a .714 WPCT.
The team ERA? 5.36, good for 14th in the National League. That’s right. Good enough to not be last but so terrible that it’s nowhere near 1st. And for a team that scores enough runs per game to be ranked 2nd in that category, the pitching staff allows 5.78–also 14th.
So, here the Brewers sit at a massive 10 games below .500 with a starting rotation that’s seen more guys come and go in the last 2 months than your friendly neighborhood brothel. The only bright spot, besides Gallardo, seems to be that just about every guy that’s been called up from Triple-A to help salvage the mess has been doing his part and then some.
But, there are still those that believe it’s not even the pitching staff’s fault. Because someone had to have hired that staff, right?
I mean, yes, Doug Melvin had his hand in signing insanely awesome acquisitions like Jeff Suppan. But then again, he saw something in Yovani Gallardo, too. Sure, Mark Attanasio is keeping Melvin around. But that guy? He basically brought baseball back to Milwaukee (according to a guy I know). And what about Manager of the Year Ken Macha? Well, he’s just making some bad decisions. That is, when he can make up his mind at all. (Find a line-up and stick with it, Keebler Elf!)
So, blame whoever you want to blame. The point is, the Brewers, my team, my Boys, suck right now. And that’s putting it mildly because what I really want to say would just get all starred out on here (thanks, censorship!).
And, now, game on.
Go Brewers, I guess.