Tagged: Milton Bradley

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.

 

 

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Grape Nuts contain neither grapes, nor nuts. Discuss.

These are just a few topics from the weekend that I’ve got an opinion on. Feel free to “tawk amongst yourselves.” Or, you know, leave your own opinion on the matter.

 

Brewers win 5 in a row!

The Crew has won 8 of their last 10, including sweeps of both the Diamondbacks and Astros, as well as a series split with the Cubs. The playoffs seem to be all but drifting away, yet the Brewers aren’t content, and I’m glad to see they’re still taking the field with their chins up. All it will take to officially be knocked out of the NL Central is a Cardinals win, but if Milwaukee can manage to keep winning (I can dream, can’t I?), the Wildcard isn’t entirely out of the question.

The Cubs are in town for their final showdown with the Brewers starting tonight, with Braden Looper (13-6, 4.89 ERA) going for his 14th win. Looper notched lucky #13, a career high, last Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Chicago has replaced scheduled starter Rich Harden with Tom Gorzelanny (5-2, 5.29 ERA). Harden was done after only 3 innings last week facing Milwaukee and this will be the first time the Brewers lineup has seen Gorzelanny since being traden from Pittsburgh.

Keep up the momentum, Boys, and kill those Cubs!

 

Corey Patterson doesn’t stike out. For once.

That’s right, Patterson swung at a pitch and it actually went into play. And then he was picked off. Super. Who is this guy and why is he here again? It seems like he’s trying just as hard as former Brewer Brad Nelson. I’m over him.

 

Milton Bradley suspended for remainder of season.

The same Milton Bradley who’s done nothing but cause trouble for every team he’s ever been with has been formally sent home for the final 2 weeks. The powers that be in Chicago had enough after Bradley reportedly said some nasty things about, not only Cubs fans, but the entire Cubs organization. I can’t say I blame them for sending him packing. Is is just me, or does the guy ever realize there’s an actual game going on? He was picked up for 3 years over the winter and stands to make $30 million. Astounding. Good luck with that, Cubs. Not only does Bradley hate playing for your team, but he pretty much flat-out sucked this season. It’s gonna be hard to unload that guy. Although, I can’t imagine why. He seems like a real sweetheart…

 

Gallardo shut-down for ’09.

Yovani Gallardo made his 30th and final start for the Brewers yesterday, to a pretty sad weekend crowd of just over 30,000. (My guess is no one wanted that Doug Melvin Bobblehead.) I guess I just don’t understand a world full of pitch counts and innings limitations. If it were up to me, I’d let Gallardo finish out the season. Especially after what he was able to do yesterday to round out the sweep of the Astros.

Yo went 5 scoreless innings, with 7 Ks, 3 hits and 3 walks, all with only 77 pitches. Those 7 strikeouts put him over the 200 mark, making him only the 4th pitcher in club history to hit at least 200 in a season. Rounding out 2009, Gallardo was 13-12 with a 3.73 ERA and struck out 204 over 185 2/3 innings.

I say, with Manny Parra still up in the air, Gallardo should have one more start this season. But I suppose I get that he missed nearly all of last season and the club doesn’t want to push him, especially since he’s the future ace of the Brewers. Okay, fine. Shut him down. But I’m not gonna be happy about it.

 

Cecil Cooper dismissed.

Really, Astros? Your team is out of contention. They have no chance left this season. Sure, Coop let them slide to 9 under .500 in the last 2 weeks, losing 7 in a row. Sure, they just got swept by a team that’s only 4 games ahead of them. But you know, there’s only 2 weeks left to play. Other than spoilers, what role do the Astros have? None. Let him keep his job until the end, at least. Who or what could that possibly hurt? It’s a hard decision for any ballclub to make to fire a manager, coach, whoever. It would be different if Houston was in the forefront leading up to those 7 losses, but they really weren’t. What’s done is done, but it’s a tough break for Cooper. I hope he finds a team for next season. I really like that guy.

 

Melvin questions roster expansions.

As he does just about every year, Brewers GM Doug Melvin had some things to say about the MLBs rules regarding September call ups. I never really thought much about it, but I have to say, I reluctantly agree with Dougie. (Only reluctantly because he’s not been on my good side this season.)

Go right ahead and let rosters expand from 25 to 40. Let the teams call up as many or as few guys as they deem necessary. I believe September is a good time to let the minor leaguers get a taste of the Bigs and I think it’s a good time to throw some extra arms in the bullpen and put some extra bats and gloves on the bench. I think, however, there does need to be some regulation on a game-to-game basis.

Melvin proposes that, after September 1st, teams must submit a limited roster prior to the start of each game, thus evening the playing field. I like the proposed limit of 30 players per team. It still makes each manager strategize before and during a game, yet limits the scenarios of countering pitchers and hitters, which could seemingly go on forever this time of the season.

I think 30 is a good number, allowing a team to put extra players in both the bullpen and on the bench for any number of situations throughout a game. Limiting who a manager can use per game keeps the game interesting, yet fair.

So keep on pushing, Melvin. I’m all for it.

 

Prince sets some new records.

Prince Fielder tied Cecil Cooper’s single-season RBI record at 126 and went 5 games without another one. Fielder finally broke the Brewers record on Saturday, with Cooper in attendance, as he did it against the Astros at Miller Park. Not only did it take him 5 games, but it took him 3 tries that game just to knock in that one run. He finally did it though, and the hometown crowd couldn’t have been happier.

Prince also broke a 9-year old club record for walks in a season held by Jeromy Burnitz. Yesterday, Fielder walked for the 100th time. He also hit his 40th homerun during yesterday’s 6-0 shut-out, making him just the 2nd player in Brewers history to have two 40 homerun seasons. I’m gonna say that he’s got more than 5 but less than 10 more in him in the remaining 13 games. I doubt he’ll hit 50 again this season, but he’s gonna have a big finish. And I think he’s gonna be ahead of Poo Holes in RBIs at season’s end.

 

The creepiest mustache ever.

I am a fan of high socks. I am a fan of stirrups. I am not a fan of people that look like child molesters.

There have been some amazing mustaches in baseball over the years. This is not one of them.

 

Brendan Ryan #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals laughs during batting practice prior to the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

And that’s only the beginning. And only slightly less creepy than what Cardnials SS Brendan Ryan currently has growing on his upper lip.

The full-on thing not only ages Ryan by about 20 years, but it makes me want to grab all small children in his vicinity and run the other way. Creep-o.

 

 

Okay, that’s all. Just wanted to get some of that stuff out. This week is gonna be crazy for me, what with it being the final homestand for the Brewers, and all. I only have 2 games lined up for the week, but they’re doozies.

Wednesday will mark the last time my ladies and I will all be at Miller Park together this season. It’s only a little sad though, since we’ll all be in St. Louis next weekend to give our Boys a proper send-off. On the bright side, every time the Brewers play the Cubs and the 3 of us are all there, the Crew has come out on top. So that’s promising!

Saturday, Nik and I will use up the last of my 9-pack tickets and will officially say farewell to Miller Park until April 5th, 2010 when the season begins anew. I must say, 2009 has been a little bittersweet but I most definitely look forward to the next 2 weeks and everything they have to offer.

Go Brewers!

 

What a weekend.

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?

 

Friday

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!

 

 

Saturday

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.

 

Sunday

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!