Tagged: Marlins

What’s your batting song?

While I am absolutely LOVING that my Boys are finally figuring out how to win on the road, I’m not gonna spend too much time writing about that.

Yes, they finally mustered a win at Great American Ballpark and are currently 4-2 on this 2-city roadtrip, but it hasn’t been easy. I actually only watched one game in Florida so far but all the box scores and recaps I’ve read have led me to believe the Brewers really are just squeaking by. But hey, I’ll take it. A road win is a road win and lord knows Milwaukee will take them any way they can. The Crew has one game left against the Marlins and they’re sending Zack Greinke (4-1, 5.29ERA) to the mound opposite Javier Vasquez (3-4, 6.02ERA). If they pull off a win tonight, it will be the Brewers first official sweep on the road. (I say official because the rainout in Pittsburgh shortened the series.) They’ve been playing relatively smart ball and are somehow managing to get out of jams left and right. Let’s hope tonight is a cake walk compared to what they’ve done in FLA so far and that the Crew can come back home on a hot streak.

What I’ve been DYING to talk about since the season began are batting songs.

My friends and I have an Opening Day tradition to choose the song that best has the ability to pump us up, whether it’s at a tailgate party right before we start to walk to the ballpark or getting ready for a girls’ night out or grilling in our backyards. Most of us change it up year to year, but sometimes those tried and true songs remain on the playlist because they never fail to get us going.

Even for me, someone who would never actually step into a Major League batter’s box, choosing the perfect song is a process. Yes, sometimes I hear a song and think, “That’s it!” Like last year. Who wouldn’t want to step to the plate to “Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins’ theme to “Top Gun”? Yeah. You’d better be careful with your pitches. Because I’m on a highway to the danger zone!

This year was a little more involved. I had it narrowed down to 3, after Nik had already chosen Usher’s “More.” (Damn her!)

No Diggety – Blackstreet

Good Lovin – The Rascals

Gimme Some Lovin – Spencer Davis Group

I thought soooooo hard. I listened to each song over and over and over. And finally, when I couldn’t fight the urge to get up and dance around my room every time I heard it, I knew Spencer Davis was the way to go.

And it was a hit on Opening Day. And it still pumps me up every time I hear it.

I mean, we really have some good ones. Our starting line-up is pretty much guaranteed to hit homeruns. Every time.

Club Can’t Handle Me. Homerun.

All I Do is Win. Homerun. (And it plays at MP when the Brewers win.)

Dynamite. Homerun.

How could you not hit one with songs like that?

So, since I often wonder how players come up with their songs, I’m also pretty intrigued to find out what kind of songs would get you in the mood to swing away.

So my question to you, dear readers, is if you ever got the chance to step up the plate at Miller Park (or any other Major League ballpark, for that matter), what would you want to hear blasting over the sound system?

6 words for June 29, Pt. 2

Yovani : Homers :: Brewers : Wins. (Holds true.)

 

Gabe the Babe inching towards Rays.

 

Rodriguez leading Fish for season’s remainder.

 

Fielder racks’ em up! Go team!

 

Two first basemen, two homers each.

 

Cards smoke Dbacks, lead NLC again.

 

Lee: 3 wins in 3 CG’s.

 

Span knocks three 3Bs. Twins = first.

 

Prince gets bad calls, gets mad.

 

Was that Axford or Hoffman? Yeesh!

 

Finally over. My tapping foot relaxes.

 

Supertramp’s ‘Dreamer’? No post-game at Leff’s.

 

Oh yeah. I dig the longball!

 

 

6 words for June 28

Parra’s wild first yield’s no runs.

 

Rodriguez at home in Puerto Rico.

 

Strasburg pitched? Oh, I hadn’t heard…

 

Zambrano mad! Zambrano need anger management!

 

Edmonds + Counsell = 79. Old Men Brewers.

 

Bourne’s first homer. Off Crew. Shocking!

 

Manny goes wild again. Run scores.

 

Braun homers. Trails Hart. Bizarro Brewers.

 

Pujols: No Derby. Can’t whine afterwards.

 

Strasburg allows 3. *gasp* He’s human!

 

Indians squeeze out win over Jays.

 

Villanueva loads ’em for Coffey. Ehhhh…

 

Aaaaaand Pence ties it. 5 all.

 

I like Braddock better than Coffey.

 

Rolen reaches 300 against former team.

 

Heyward to DL. Active for ASG.

 

Opportunity wasted by Prince, Ryan. Ugh.

 

Bullpen fails. Astros ginormous comeback win.

 

Losses okay when Cubs lose, too.

 

Carlos Lee’s on my fantasy team.

 

 

Six Words

I’m sure I’m pretty behind in discovering SMITH Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs, but regardless, I’m hooked. I find myself trying to put every thought that crosses my mind into only six words and one of those thoughts today was, “Blog boring. Baseball in six words.”

So, in an effort to spice up this little blog of mine, I’m gonna try to put game recaps, notable events, big plays, etcetera, etcetera, into just six words. No explanations necessary. (I hope!)

 

 

First inning woes matter no more.

 

Brewers take out Twins. Three. Times.

 

Twins first 3-game sweep. Ha. Ha.

 

Lucroy catches shut-out. Kottaras jobless? Maybe.

 

George Kottaras, I like your beard.

 

Philly monsoon delays inevitable Indians beatdown.

 

Strasburg loses. Is hype done yet???

 

Rollins’ first walk-off in 10 years.

 

Hart amazes. Leads NL RBIs, HRs.

 

RB in LG. Two restaurants = BUSY!

 

Marlins not terrible. Still fire Gonzalez.

 

Mad at Macha removing Manny. Still.

 

Withdrawals. Must. Go. To. Miller. Park.

 

Cubs tied in 11th. Please lose.

 

Brewers wall dismantled at work. Sad.

 

Good day for my fantasy team.

 

See? It’s super fun. I’m completely addicted to putting everything into six words. Well, okay, not everything. Obviously I wouldn’t have written all that. But either way, I’m having a great time with it and I think it’s a great way to simplify things. Maybe I’ll continue only writing six word recaps. It certainly makes blogging less of a chore. (Which it really isn’t, but I’ve been, um, thoughtless lately?) Just think of all the things I could get into this humble little blog if I didn’t have to write full paragraphs. Gah. Such a drag!

Anyway.

 

Keep up the momentum. Go Brewers!

 

(Cubs tied. 13th. Please still lose.)

 

 

 

Hassle the Hoff. See if I care*

*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.

 

 

Who says there’s no baseball in winter?

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Rogers Hornsby


No baseball in winter? Yeah, right!
Alright, maybe no actual MLB games. And trips to the ballpark for me are reserved for meals at Friday’s Front Row or sales at the Brewers Team Store. And I suppose my TV schedule is freed up quite a bit. But there is plenty of baseball in the winter.
True, I wish I didn’t have to go through this period of cold, blustery days of shoveling the driveway (although I do love wearing cute cold weather accessories), worrying about getting in car accidents (which happened for the first time last winter and now I’ve developed a slight phobia of driving in the snow) and waiting for snowman snow (it’s the only kind of snow I actually enjoy). But without those days, what would there be to look forward to except for spring and baseball?
Okay, so winter doesn’t technically start for 25 more days, but for all intents and purposes, it’s already here. And I’ve had lots of baseball to occupy myself with. For starters, shortly after the World Series wrapped, the free agency buzz began. There were a bevy of awards to be given away and the Hot Stove has only begun to cook.
I’ve kept myself busy so far wondering if the Baseball Writer’s Association got everything right. For the most part, I think they did alright. Top 10 Hottie Joe Mauer most definitely deserved the AL’s MVP with just an incredible season for the Twins. But I do have to say that the award is Most Valuable Player, not hitter. To be fair, Albert Pujols had a great year offensively. Again. But as far as all-around players go, how the H did Prince Fielder finish fourth?
Of the top 4 (Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Howard and Fielder), Prince was the only one to start all 162 games, had only 7 errors, giving him the highest fielding percentage at .995 and, if you ask me, he’s come a long way at first base as a defensive player. And that all goes along with his league leading 141 RBIs (albeit tied with Howard) and he only trailed Pujols in homeruns by one with 46, not to mention his career high .299 AVG. So what if the Brewers finished out of contention and below .500? If it weren’t for Fielder, they would’ve done considerably worse. 
Tim Lincecum of the Giants won the NL Cy Young for the second year in a row, although that’s been a sore subject for some. There were quite a few pitchers in the NL that could’ve won and with the way votes are tabulated, there was bound to be some controversy. Zack Greinke completely deserved his Cy Young and both Rookies of the Year were right on (sorry, Casey). The Marlins’ Chris Coghlan hit the ground running and led all NL rookies in batting average and runs and Oakland’s closer Andrew Bailey had an amazing first season with 26 saves in 30 opportunities, not to mention the crazy low ERA and WHIP, 1.84 and .88, respectively. 
As for managers, I couldn’t agree more. I voted for Jim Tracy in TYIB and he did a great job taking over a slumping team in the Rockies and leading them to the National League Wild Card. Mike Scioscia overcame the death of pitcher Nick Adenhart and kept the Angels’ heads up, all the way to the ALCS where they eventually lost to the Yankees in 6, but not without putting up a damn good fight. 
I’ve already touched briefly on Milwaukee’s free agent situation in an earlier post, but since the market officially opened last Friday, I’ve become a Hot Stove junkie. Well, a Brewers junkie, at least. Now, I know I can’t believe everything I read, but can I please have John Lackey, Carl Pavano, Roy Halladay, Derek Lowe and Jarrod Washburn and just start with a clean slate in 2010? Please? That would be super. Oh, wait… stupid Jeff Suppan still has another year on his contract. And I am okay with Yovani Gallardo in the Brewers rotation. And I wouldn’t be totally opposed to giving Dave Bush and Manny Parra another shot (because I do love them so). Okay, fine. I’ll settle for any one of the aforementioned free agent pitchers. Although we all know there are quite a few teams that are going to be contending for starting pitching and that can afford WAY more than Milwaukee can. I guess I’ll hold out a bit longer and see what happens. Hopefully Doug Melvin makes some smarter decisions this off-season…
So anyway, Mr. Hornsby, whoever said there’s no baseball in winter was clearly wrong. There’s a ton. But you’re right. I can’t wait for spring, either. 

This Year in Baseball

It’s been awhile. I know. Bear with me.

I’ve decided to forego talking about the World Series because I’ve been reading The Yankee Years and my disdain for that team is doing nothing but growing. Needless to say, I was disappointed in the outcome.

I’ve also decided to save my thoughts on the JJ Hardy-Carlos Gomez trade for another entry, as I’m getting kind of sick of people asking me about it and have far too much to say. Let’s leave it at this for now: excellent move for the Brewers. Mike Cameron, I’ll miss you.

Instead of all that, I’ve decided to let you all in on my votes for the This Year in Baseball Awards. I’ve literally been on that website for at least the last hour mulling over the choices. And instead of just voting for all the Brewers nominees and whomever else I liked the most throughtout the season, as I have in the past, I think I’ve actually made some very well thought out decisions this year.

 

Hitter

My team did have 2 nominees this year in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Looking at everyone’s numbers, Braun probably could’ve been bumped off the list, but needless to say, I was happy to see his name.

Naturally, I voted for Fielder. True, his average was kept just shy of .300, but he had held it quite near that mark the majority of the season. Ending at .299 was probably a bit of a disappointment, but his other numbers made up for it. Fielder led the league for RBIs, tied at 141 with Ryan Howard, went 2nd to Albert Pujols with 46 HRs, led in OPS with 1.014 and capped out with 103 runs.

If it weren’t for Prince, I was leaning towards Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and his league-leading .365 AVG and 28 HRs or the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez’s .342 AVG coupled with 106 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.

 

Starter

Of course, with the Brewers’ abysmal starting rotation, there were none of my own boys to choose from, so I went with Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals. I’m sure he’ll walk away with this honor given his 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA, which led all other pitchers in the category. Not to mention he struck out 242 batters.

I picked Greinke over St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, whom I do think is a strong contender for Cy Young this year with his 19-8 record (the Brewers spoiled his 20th win. Ha!) and 212 Ks. I also was considering Detroit’s Justin Verlander because of his 19-win season and 269 Ks, leading in that category.

 

Rookie of the Year

Picking a single winner is going to be tough. As far as batting goes, it’s a tough call. But so is pitching.

You must know that I voted for Casey McGehee, not only because of his strong offensive numbers, but because I was able to watch him on the field all season, too. Sure he led the rooks in RBIs with 66 and was 2nd in just about every other major batting category (.301 AVG, .859 OPS, 58 R and 16 HRs), but he battled his way to an everyday spot starting for the Brewers at third base and did a pretty damn good job at it, too.

If it weren’t for Casey’s name on the list, I more than likely would’ve voted for Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins. Coghlan led with a .321 AVG and 84 R, while knocking in 47 runs, stealing 8 bases and hitting 9 out of ballparks across the country.

As far as pitching, I just find it really hard to compare to everyday players at any other position. Tommy Hanson of the Braves went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA, struck out 116 batters and had a WHIP of 1.18. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey went 26/30 in save opportunities while striking out 91 batters, keeping his ERA well under 2.0 and had a mere .88 WHIP. (But I still finding batting stats way more impressive. Sorry.)

 

Manager

Although the winner will most likely be the Yankees’ Joe Girardi, who led his team to the best record in the MLB at 103-59, my vote goes to Jim Tracy. Tracy took over the sagging Colorado Rockies partway through the season and led them to a NL Wildcard victory with a 92-70 record.

 

Closer

Milwaukee’s own Trevor Hoffman was 37/41 with a 1.83 ERA, 48 Ks and a WHIP of .91.  Not the greatest, but he gets my vote because, well, he’s Trevor Hoffman. Jonathan Broxton of the LA Dodgers had a crazy-high 114 Ks and the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera did only blow 2 saves. He also had the lowest ERA with 1.76. But, as I’ve previously stated, I don’t like the Yankees. Therefore, I vote for NO YANKEES!

 

Set-Up

Who to choose? The Giants’ Jeremy Affeldt had the lowest ERA (1.73) and tied Matt Guerrier of the Minnesota Twins with 33 holds. Oakland’s Michael Wuertz led in strikeouts with 102 and with .95, had the lowest WHIP.

Even though there was a Brewer on this list, I just can’t vote for Todd Coffey with guys like Wuertz and Affeldt sharing the nomination. My vote foes to Jeremy Affeldt.

 

Defense

I can’t quite get a grip on what’s better: putouts or assists? Fielding percentage is one thing, but what should I be more impressed with–the number of outs you make, or the number of outs you help make? My vote is for the Angels’ Torii Hunter. He only made 1 error, giving him a fielding percentage of .997, while also having 286 putouts. Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies was also pretty impressive with .986 fielding percetage and 433 assists. But I based my decision solely on fielding percentage and went with Hunter.

 

Performance

Yovani Gallardo offered a stellar game vs. Pittsburgh in late April, taking the win entirely into his own hands. Gallardo went 8 innings, struck out 11 with no ERs and smacked a solo homerun, accounting for the only run the Brewers would need to secure a victory. But I didn’t vote for Yo.

White Sox starter Mark Buhrle gets a lot of praise for his perfect game against the Rays, but with only 6 strikeouts, I think a lot of the credit should really go to his teammates. So I didn’t vote for him, either.

Troy Tulowitzki impressed me the most hitting for the cycle, going 5-5 with 7 RBIs and scoring 2 runs. Why was this feat more impressive than the rest? Welllllllll, it was against the Cubs!

 

Play

I watched evey play, waiting for the best reaction. I needed to be impressed. Making a leaping catch at the wall to rob someone of a homerun? Big deal.

The winner? The flip from Angels’ Maicer Izturis to Erick Aybar. Izturis flipped the ball from his glove directly to the waiting bare hand of the human projectile that was Aybar in time to throw Kurt Suzuki out at first. I watched that clip twice just to be sure I was actually impressed. I was.

 

Moment

Hands down, the Angels’ tribute to fallen pitcher Nick Adenhart after winning the AL West. No other moment put a bigger smile on my face.

 

Oddity

This is the one that I vote on purely because of what makes me laugh the hardest.

I still get a kick out of Milton Bradley’s stupidity, but the absolute take-down of Racing President Teddy Roosevelt had tears in my eyes. That Peirogi was brutal!

 

Executive

Tag-teaming with my vote for Jim Tracy, I picked Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd for being the man with the plan. Who knows where Colorado would’ve finished in ’09 if O’Dowd hadn’t had a hand in firing Clint Hurdle, but kudos for making the move. It certainly paid off.

 

Unsung Star

With numbers all over the place, it was hard to decide on this one. I went with Jayson Werth of the Phillies. His .268 AVG, 36 HRs and 99 RBIs helped get his team to the post season yet again. But with names like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, then adding Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, a name like Werth gets lost in the mix. (Although, after this post season, it probably won’t be lost for long.) Ben Zobrist of Tampa Bay was a very, very, very close second.

 

Post Season Moment

After Dexter Fowler leapfrogged Chase Utley in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the NLDS between the Rockies and Phillies, Colorado stirred up an eventual 4-2 lead going into the 9th. But, Ryan Howard smacked a 2-run double off of Rockies closer Huston Street to tie the game, giving the Phils enough momentum to eventually take the series. Since I’m a bit of a sucker for the Phillies (only after the Brewers, of course!), I chose that moment of Game 4 over Fowler’s gymnastics.

 

So there you have it. My picks. It’ll be interesting to see how many of my choices are actually winners. I’m guessing probably not many, but that’s alright. I have my reasons for voting the way I do and I’m quite impressed with myself for not just outright voting for the Brewers and Phillies like I’ve done in years past.

So that’s all I have in me after not posting for I don’t even know how long. But I promise I’ll keep it up a bit more, especially with all the free angents that will be floating around soon. And with the Brewers mounting need to pick up some key players. There will be much to write about soon enough.