*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.
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.
Well, folks, I’m back. After 3 days basically spent living at Miller Park, I finally gathered up my notes and am ready to post. Let’s begin, shall we?
Brewers 4, Cubs 3
Good News: Braden Looper had a pretty effective first start in a Brewers uniform.
Bad News: With 10 strikeouts, Rich Harden did way better.
Good News: I found some old friends in my travels throughout Miller Park.
Bad News: I inadvertently ditched my little brother at his first Opening Day. Sorry, Alex.
Good News: Rickie Weeks managed to win this game. Finally, he used everything he knows and knocked in the tying run with a double, stole 3rd and slid in just safely for the win in the bottom of the 9th.
Bad News: That game got waaaay too close for my taste.
Good News: The Brewers rallied to win their 5th straight Home Opener, all 5 since Mark Attanasio took over as principal owner.
Bad News: They did it on only 4 hits. Not cool.
The highlights of Opening Day are generally the same year to year. I never have more fun than when I’m out in the Drunk Lot with my best friends. We had the cornhole out, some serious tipcup action (the girls’ team won, as usual!), despite forgetting grill utensils and having to use marshmallow sticks, the food was great, the beer was flowing–always a good time. I have to say, the game was exciting, but again, too close. Ryan Braun said they’re there to entertain, and they did indeed. But sometimes, my heart can’t take it. I’m very, very greatful for the win, though.
Brother and Sister.
I spent like an hour decorating these. They unfortunately did not survive the ride. They were so cute, too!
At least my artwork came through on the cornhole set!
Girls (and little Bro!) win!
It wouldn’t be a game without Ryan’s bum!
Brewers 5, Cubs 6
Good News: Leff’s Second Day Tailgate was a total success. The ladies and I cleaned up. If it weren’t for those tips allowing us to buy an inordinate amount of alcoholic beverages the rest of the night, we probably would’ve taken the loss much harder.
Bad News: We were cleaning up after the party and missed Prince’s first HR.
Good News: Reliever Mark DiFelice was asked for a groundball from Soriano in the 7th and he got the groundball from Soriano in the 7th.
Bad News: According to many who saw the replay, Soriano was out by half a step, but was called safe. The game is now tied 3-3. Two innings later, DiFelice allowed an Aramis Ramirez HR and was pulled from the game.
Good News: The Brewers built leads twice thanks to Prince Fielder’s 2-run homer and JJ Hardy’s 2-run single.
Bad News: The Cubs came back with 2 9th inning homers of their own.
Good News: At least I had Leff’s after the game to help calm me down.
Bad News: There were way more Cubs fans at this game than Friday, and I couldn’t stand it.
Seriously though, I had so much fun at that game. No, it did not help that this game was so close. No, I did not like to see Carlos Villanueva come in only to blow the save, but those things happen. I was just so happy that the tailgate was hugely successful and that, again, I got to spend the day with the best people. Despite the loss, I really did have an amazing time.
Best bartenders in the whole place!
My Uncle Paul warming up with the band before the gates opened. Hilarious.
Full tip jar and Malcolm, the best Beer Guy ever. Great time!
Ladies at the game. In our awesome new hats!
Ladies with John from the Love Monkeys at Leff’s after the game. Drinking our sorrows away.
Brewers 5, Cubs 8
Good News: The Brewers offense did their thing. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart both had solo HRs, small ball and sac flies worked out and the Crew managed to still score 5 runs.
Bad News: Jeff Suppan sucks. He allowed 6 walks (there were 10 total from Brewers pitchers), his first pitch was a HR to dead center by Alfonso Soriano, he’s got 36 ERs in 32 innings and is winless in his last 8 starts. Suuuuuuper. He should almost always be on the mound because, clearly, he’s just that good.
Bad News: The Brewers bullpen is weak. Jorge Julio comes on to get Suppan out of a bases-loaded, already walked in 3 runs jam and what does he do? Walks in a 4th run. Stupendous. Seth McClung, I’m losing faith in you. Mitch Stetter, as the only lefty working out there, you did your best.
Bad News: Prince Fielder was robbed. A little less pop, or, if Milton Bradley were still in the game, and that thing would’ve been out there.
For being at Miller Park for all 3 games of the Cubs series, I almost had nothing bad to say about the Cubs fans I encountered. Sure, there was some friendly banter exchanged a few times on Friday and Saturday, what with each team having a win so far. But Sunday, I heard nothing but negativity coming out of their mouths. I’ve never heard such rubbish from opposing fans. Every move the Brewers made was criticized. Every time someone walked up to the plate, no matter who it was, someone had something horrible to say about them. I just love to listen to the Cubs fans because I think they truely believe that their team is absolutely perfect. They think Lou Piniella never makes bad calls. Clearly, they never have anyone injured, ever. Their pitchers are always on-point and only throw strikes. Everyone has at least one RBI every time they step up to the plate. The Cubs do no wrong. Ever. That team is the definition of perfection. Gah! They’re all sore losers, but man do they love to rub in the wins. Let me just remind them all that the Cubs are far from perfect. I think the last 100 years or so can dictate that better than I can, though.
And sorry, there are no pictures from Sunday. I didn’t want to document that one.
But tonight, the Reds are in town and it’s Edinson Volquez (8.31 ERA, 0-1) going up against Yovani Gallardo (2.7 ERA, 1-0). The Reds are half a game up on the Brewers and these 3 games are the last at home before the Crew roadtrips it to the East Coast for 3 games apiece with the Mets and Phillies and then heads south for 3 against Houston. The Brewers need to come out on top of Cincinnati in this series before heading out on the road. The first half of this schedule is brutal for Milwaukee and of those 3 cities on the trip, the Astros are the only ones below the Crew. It’s time to step it up, boys!
Damn straight, Rodriguez.
I was trying so so so hard to not make any sort of comment on this whole A-Rod situation. So hard. Thankfully, I was working today so I didn’t catch any of the press conference (although that’s not to say it won’t be all over ESPN or CNN for the next few days. Those are the only channels the TVs at work get.), but I got the gist of it from mlb.com.
Here’s my feelings on it, and I’ll try to be brief, but somehow I see myself getting carried away. Rodriguez was 25 when his “cousin” began injecting him with, gee, I don’t know. He didn’t know. (Which I almost believe.) Regardless, this “cousin” (I use quotations because I really don’t believe that.) injected him twice a month, for 6 months each year, from 2001-2003. That’s 36 injections. I find it even harder to believe he didn’t think they were PEDs. HA! Okay, I’m 25. There’s no way in effing hell I would ever let any one of my 30-some-odd cousins inject me with ANYTHING for 3 years, especially if, 8 years after the first injection, I’m still claiming I’m not sure what it was. Don’t blame it on being young and naive and impressionable, Alex. You started playing baseball right after high school, correct? Maybe then I would believe your excuses. But at 25? That’s just stupid. You deserve the asterisk, my friend.
My favorite response by another player regarding this whole thing?
“I’m working with what I’ve got, and I’m going as far as that takes me.” Amen to that, favorite high-socks wearing pitcher, Dave Bush. Amen to that.
Now for the comments regarding the Brewers. Because, afterall, I’d much rather talk about them than anything related to the Yankees.
Shockingly, Eric Gagne has joined the team in Arizona after signing a minor league contract. Whaaaa? It’s ok, though. Sort of. Gag-me has to win a spot on the 40-man roster or else elect free agency before the Brewers season-opener on April 7th. I’m no fan of this guy. He certainly didn’t earn his keep last season. But, at least he has openly admitted to it and and acknowledged his poor ’08 performance. It’s unlikely that he’ll play in the minors, but I’d rather see him back as a free agent by the start of ’09 than back in a Brewers uniform.
New manager Ken Macha has said Yovani Gallardo, whom many hope will fill a large void left by Sabathia and Sheets, is not likely to start for the Brewers on Opening Day. I’m pretty much in agreement with this one. I think it’s a big game with a lot of pressure, even if it is on the road, and it’s probably best to give it to someone with more Big League experience. Gallardo should fit comfortable in the middle of the rotation and, if he repeats what he was able to do in 2007, he’ll definitely be called upon for the big games further down the line.
The Brewers have avoided any arbitration hearings again this year by coming to an agreement with right-fielder Corey Hart. The sides met in the middle, settling on a one-year $3.25 million contract. Seriously? I respect that Hart wanted the most bang for his buck and held out for it. And granted, he was a 20-20 player the past 2 seasons, garnering an All-Star appearance last year. Gah, I’m just not a huge fan of his. He completely fell off mid-season in ’08, definitely lost his speed from the couple years prior to that, and after Ned Yost was fired, it seems like Corey lost a lot of desire to play the game. (I’m sure he wasn’t a huge Yost backer like I’ve always suspected, but it was a pretty big coincidence otherwise.) I hope that playing for a new manager and new coaches will have a positive effect on Hart this season. I mean, with no Gabe Kapler to amaze (and stare at) in right field anymore, who else would be out there?
And last, but not least, to all of you broadcast boycotters out there, please get over Cory Provus. I understand he’s a Cubs fan. I understand he’ll be working alongside Milwaukee legend Bob Uecker this season. I understand how you don’t think that should be allowed. But guess what? I’m guessing very few of you can do his job. Just because you like baseball doesn’t mean you can be broadcasters. I certainly don’t think I could be a journalist because I write this blog. Seriously, until the day he is blantently rooting for the Cubs on Milwaukee radio, stop complaining.
Gah! sorry that was a long one. But only 52 days till Brewers Home Opener! I’ve decided to post pictures from past seasons just to get everyone as pumped as I am!
Me, Mol and Mark Attanasio after the Opening Day win last year. Awesome.