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.
The Brewers just completed a 3-game sweep of the Rockies, after a strange 4-game roadie on the West Coast that left them with a win apiece against San Diego and LA.
Friday, I was up drinking at a bonfire anyway so I mostly caught game one. I say “mostly” because I can’t get AM radio at my house so we had the TV audio coming through the outdoor speakers. Um, Bill Schroeder? I’d kinda like to know what’s happening with the game. I understand you’re not broadcasting for audio-only purposes, but still. I little more info, please. So anyway, I ran to the window just in time to see Yuniesky Betancourt’s blast tie up the game for the second time. (Casey McGehee did it first.) Needless to say, when the game was in the 14th and Colorado was in the lead, yet again, I made it a point to settle in for the bottom of the frame. Soooooooo glad I did!
I love Prince Fielder! I love that he just watched that ball sail. I love that he had a classy celebration at home plate. I (sort of) love that Felipe Paulino was almost immediately DFA’d after giving up that homerun.
So Saturday’s game…..
What is the flipping deal with FOX? Sorry, but the Cubs-Red Sox is not my market. I do not want to watch the effing scrubs. I want to watch the Brewers and your stupid deal will make my Saturdays miserable for the next 6 seasons of baseball. Major League Baseball, why did you have to make this deal? Why did you have to make me so angry? As I said before, I can’t for the life of me get a radio to get AM at my house. I don’t enjoy using GameDay on my phone. I want to watch the Brewers play. I don’t want to watch whoever it is you think is closest to my team’s market that day. This deal sucks and I want to physically hurt someone because of it.
Grr. Sorry. So Milwaukee won 3-2. Jonathan Lucroy hit his 4th homer. John Axford got the save. I saw none of it.
Though, I saw none of it today, either.
I didn’t even check the score til the 6th inning because I was at a baby shower. But I did wear a yellow and white dress and had on a Brewers necklace, so I was still supporting my boys.
The Brewers closed it out with another win today, 3-1. They’re finally over .500 but just can’t seem to close the gap with Cinci and St. Louis.
Somehow, I did not have tickets for a single game this weekend and I don’t have tickets at all this week, either. I may try to make up for it with some light player stalking post-game Friday night, but the week is still young. I may make it to a game yet. I should probably try to go Saturday since I know I won’t be able to actually watch it otherwise…
But the Nationals are in town first and in order to avoid any further embarassment at the hands of Jim Riggleman and Co, the Brewers need to keep this hot streak alive. I mean, we all remember that sweep back in April. It was not pretty. Yovani Gallardo, Narv Dog and Zack Greinke are slated to face off against, well, Tom Gorzelanny so far. I’d like to think those 3 can handle the Nats, so I’m just gonna run with that.
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.
Yovani Gallardo has done it again.
I’m not gonna get all gung-ho about last night’s win over the Padres just yet, though. Gallardo definitely has been on point in his last 2 starts and his bat has been doing just as much work as his arm. Last night’s season-high 11 K’s (granted, it was a generous strike zone) held San Diego at just 1 run in 7 innings of work and it was Yo’s solo homerun (he’s now at 5 in his short career) that put the Brewers on top in the 3rd.
After Rickie Weeks added the only insurance with a solo homer of his own in the 5th, I’ll admit, I almost wanted to throw up knowing Trevor Hoffman would be coming out for the save. That feeling was quelled a bit watching LaTroy Hawkins pitch in the 8th. I mean, if he could pitch well again, well, then why couldn’t Hoffman?
And Hoffman did. Thankfully. So now, only 5 away from 600 saves, one would have to think that Trevor may be turning over a new leaf in this second month of play.
So with this new month, we Brewers fans have to hope that April is, although not forgotten, at least behind us. Prince Fielder will notoriously leave his season-opening slump behind him and become the home run machine once again, the rotation will start going deeper into ballgames and the offense will learn that, while we love the power, small ball wins games.
April is gone and May started with a (small) bang. So here’s to moving on. Here’s to beating those fluke-ily good teams. Here’s to getting back on board with Trevor Time and 600 saves. Here’s to the Prince of Power getting his swing back. Here’s to offense and pitching working together. Here’s to pushing above .500. Here’s to becoming the team I know and love again.
Today nearly brought a tear to my eye, as I walked in the front door after work and heard the sounds of Brewers baseball coming from the other room. Yes, folks, today was a televised game all the way from Maryvale Baseball Park in Arizona. And even though I didn’t sit down until the 5th inning, it made me downright giddy with excitement knowing that Opening Day will be here exactly 28 days from today.
What makes me so excited is the uncertainty at this point of who will and won’t make the 25-man roster. The 4-ish innings I watched today were a good indication of what kind of talent the Brewers staff is working with and I definitely liked what I saw. Hello? Jim Edmunds! There’s a guy that’s got something to prove and prove it he has. (Catch or not, that was an amazing play for a guy his age, not to mention for a guy that didn’t play in the Majors at all last season.) And, as was indicated by Mol’s retweet from Journal-Sentinal writer Tom Haudricourt, the starting pitchers have yet to allow a run. Granted, it’s been less than a week of Spring Training play, but for a team that came in dead last in ERA last season, that’s def something to brag about. Even Manny Parra got in on that today, going 3 scoreless innings, with 1 strikeout.
So, since it’s too early to really make any discernible predictions about who may or may not be paraded out at Miller Park come April 5th, I’ll continue on to my Week 4 apparel pictures. (Because I know you all can’t wait to see things you’ve already seen before.)
Still one of my favorites.
And, not that I ever wear them together, the matching shorts.
I am currently working on a new shirt for my 5-year-old niece. She picked it out and decided what she wanted. It will look eerily similar to another top I’ve made, but only because I had to give her limited options. She’s 5. Who knows what she would’ve come up with otherwise.
The Brewers will take on a whole slew of teams before next Monday, including the Cubs, Reds, Padres and Giants. Should anything noteworthy happen before then, I’ll try my best to make some sort of comment. But until then, Go Brewers!
Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I was waiting for something really super-awesomely spectacular to happen before I wrote anything else, but since the Brewers have failed to do anything super, awesome or spectacular for quite some time, I suppose I have to comment on today’s actions within the ballclub.
First, dismissing pitching coach Bill Castro isn’t going to change the fact that the rotation is struggling and the bullpen can’t seem to salvage the myriad of situations they’ve been put into. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush are out– let’s not forget that’s still a factor. Carlos Villanueva is par, at best, as a starter, Braden Looper can’t seem to work 2 quality starts in a row and Yovani Gallardo pitches well, but the offense rarely supports him. Since coming back from his latest stint in the minors, Manny Parra has been the only pitcher to garner both quality starts and wins. The marred rotation, coupled with the wishy-washy bullpen (including the recent acquisitions of Jesus Colome and 2 former Brewers, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas) are never going to be enough to consistently win games.
Castro’s replacement, Chris Boscio, has big league experience both as a pitcher (with Milwaukee and Seattle) and as a coach (with the Tampa Bay Rays). The Triple-A Nashville Sounds, whom Boscio is leaving behind for this interim position, have a team ERA of 4.05, which is good enough for 2nd in the league. Hopefully whatever he’s doing with the Sounds will translate to the Brewers and he can help whip the pitching staff into shape.
The second move Doug Melvin and Co. made today was to send shortstop JJ Hardy to Triple-A for the first time in over 2 seasons. Alcides Escobar has yo-yo’d between Nashville and Milwaukee over the past season and a half as has gotten the call as Hardy’s replacement. Escobar is batting .298 in the minors while Hardy has been struggling to make it out of the .220 range all season. The plan for JJ is similar to the one Manny Parra had– regroup, start producing and get his head on straight. Hopefully, it’ll work to his advantage the way it worked for Manny.
Lastly, Bill Hall, the oft-slumping infielder turned outfielder turned infielder turned outfielder, was designated for assignment. Hall was sent to Nashville just a few weeks ago but was quickly recalled after Corey Hart had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Nevermind that he hit a 2-run homer last night, Hall has been platooned for the past 2 seasons and has been unable to match or exceed career-high numbers in the past 3 seasons. Hall’s replacement is a virtually unknown Jason Bourgeois, who missed most of the year so far due to a thumb injury. The Brewers now have 10 days to decide Bill Hall’s future with the team.
So what do I think about all this? I think the shake-ups are good. I think the majority of the players on this team will look at what was decided today and will realize their fates may not be secure if the team can’t turn it around. However, I don’t think this is going to be enough to pull out of the middle of the NL Central.
The Brewers are in desperate need of consistent, quality starts, something the rotation has been lacking in all season. The addition of 3 pitchers to the bullpen is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound. Milwaukee’s starting rotation is suffering and will continue to suffer if a new arm isn’t added soon. And the bullpen is exhausted because they’re constantly expected to clean up the mess. A number of pitchers have recently cleared waivers that are worth taking a long, hard look at, despite what it may cost to finish out the season with them. Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang of the Reds are options. So is John Smoltz, despite a poor showing in 8 starts with the Red Sox. All I’m saying, is anyone is better than what the Brewers have going on right now. The rotation has been in constant flux since April and I think consistency will be key, if the organization decides to add an arm and once everyone is healthy and back with the club.
One can only hope these moves are just minor stepping stones to something bigger. But until then, the Brewers need to figure out how to turn themselves around and start winning again. I will not be looking forward to St. Louis in October if those last 3 games mean nothing.
Tonight, the Crew looks for some sweet redemption from last night’s embarassing showing against the Padres. Carlos Villanueva (2-9, 6.05 ERA) is on the mound against Kevin Correia (7-9, 4.51 ERA).
I’ve been throwing around a few differen’t headlines for today’s post. There actually is quite a bit to talk about since Monday night’s debacle. So instead of recapping, here’s the condensed rundown of everythig I want to touch on.
MRI reveals Suppan sucks, now on 15-day DL
Villanueva struggles, Crew dissapoints, I leave early
Avoided last night’s game, Brewers fiiiiiiinally beat Nats — Go figure
Series split. Whatev. Milwaukee back at .500
Wins. Plays. Games. (In Triple-A.)
Gallardo should be careful, could hurt back carrying the Brewers
Dear Crew, be less embarassing in San Diego
Pirates trade away entire roster, content with staying in cellar
Lackluster NL Central — does anyone want it?
Cubs acquire Grabow and Gorzelanny, will still choke by end of season
The Brewers head to San Diego for a 3-game series against the perennial cellar-dwellers, the Padres. I will not go on record saying the Brewers will sweep, given the situation with the Nationals this week, but my confidence in the team is slowly going back up, so I say they at least come back with a series win. (Maybe even RHP Kevin Correia?)
Tomorrow’s match-up, Braden Looper (9-5, 4.79 ERA) vs. Chad Gaudin (4-9, 4.57 ERA).