Tagged: Pirates

Willie Nelson knows what the Brewers need

It may be a short trip, but thank god they’re on the road again.

It’s been 16 years since the Brewers lost 9 in a row at home. They may only be at 8 losses right now, but that’s not to say they won’t lose again when Houston comes to town next week. The Astros may be the only team in the NL Central with a worse record than the Crew, but the way those boys play at home, anything’s possible.

The Brewers were at Miller Park for a short 6 games, but were outscored by the Braves and Phillies 51-20. Add being swept twice in a row to their already dismal home record, and Milwaukee sits at just 4-14 — ouch.

The Crew now faces the first place Cincinnati Reds for 2 games, then head to PNC Park for 2 against the Pirates before their first bout of interleague play in Minnesota.

The Reds have been on fire and their starting rotation has dominated, going 7-1 in their last 8. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s first trip to Pittsburgh was an all-out annihilation, outscoring the Bucs 36-1, so here’s hoping they can come alive again. 

Adding to the Brewers woes is a new member of the DL in Doug Davis, who was admitted to the hospital Saturday with a minor chest condition. His health issues pushed up the rotation, prompting a trip to the mound a day early (but still on 5 days rest) for Dave Bush. Now, I’d like to think of this as a blessing in disguise, given the poor performances Davis has shown us thus far. I mean, one less bad pitcher in the rotation is a good thing, right?

Looking at the probables for the next 3 games, the Brewers seemingly have the advantage. Despite the Reds’ recent efforts to push the Cardinals out of the top spot, the numbers their starters have posted aren’t much to brag about and hopefully, Milwaukee will be able to take advantage.

 

Tonight:

Yovani Gallardo (4-1, 3.06 ERA) v. Johnny Cueto (2-1, 4.07 ERA)

 

Tomorrow:

Manny Parra (0-2, 3.98 ERA) v. Homer Bailey (1-2, 5.66 ERA)

 

Wednesday (@ Pitts):

Randy Wolf (3-3, 4.66 ERA) v. Brian Burres (2-1, 5.00 ERA)

 

Thursday’s starter is TBD for the Brewers, but the Pirates are looking to send Paul Maholm (3-3, 4.40 ERA) to the mound.

 

Seeing as the road has been kind to my boys so far, I’m hoping it will be kind to me and my ladies, too. Our roadie is finally upon us and if we can’t see wins at home, hopefully (pretty please?) we can see one in Minneapolis.

I know, I know. The Brewers are notoriously bad facing the Twins, but I’m thinking that playing outdoors on actual grass will be advantageous. And, if not, we’re only going to Friday night’s game, so we’re fully prepared to just go out and drink the rest of the weekend. We’re open to suggestions on cute, trendy places to go out (and maybe run into some players? Maybe?), so if any of you Minnesota folks know anywhere good, let me know.

And this girl also has next week off, so I may just venture to Miller Park and torture myse–ahem–prove what a loyal fan I am.

So this will probably be it until the Triplets return from Minneapolis. I’ve gotta plan cute outfits for the near 80 degree weather we’re expecting and bribe the FSN cameramen to put us on TV just like they did in St. Louie.

 

 

 

I somehow feel the Packers attire would be more appropriate in Minnesota…

 

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It’s still early.

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.”

LOL!!!

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.

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

No WAY the bullpen can mess that up!

It’s been a pretty good 3 days here in the Girl’s View household. My nails are growing back, my fantasy team is barrelling towards the top of the standings and My Boys are coming back to Milwaukee with their heads held as high as they can possibly hold them. Life is indeed good.

Not only did the Crew boast outstanding starting pitching in this Pittsburgh series, but their offense came alive, got hot and then sizzled for the series finale. These three games marked the first sweep for the Brewers, as well as the first opening game win, which proved to be all-important in keeping the momentum going.

I won’t go into all the details of the brutal beating the Pirates took this week, but I will throw out some numbers because I still am just in shock as to how this possibly happened. Although, as I Tweeted last night, the Brewers were due and clearly, the Pirates early success was just a fluke.

Total Runs Scored:

Brewers – 36

Pirates – 1

 

Brewers Hits Totals:

1B – 22

2B – 12

3B – 4*

HR – 8**

*Alcides Escobar hit both triples in Wednesday night’s game

**Prince Fielder finally got the monkey off his back. (And got me 4 points!)

 

Ryan Braun:

Raised his AVG from .367 to .381 during the series

Went 3-4 with  HR, 2B, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB, SB – in Thursday’s game alone

 

Thursday’s Pitchers:

Brewers starter: Randy Wolf

Used 3 relievers, most pitches thrown in relief: Claudio Vargas, 20

Pirates starter: Daniel McCutchen

Used 5 relievers, least pitches thrown in relief: Brendan Donnelly, 20

 

Soooooo anyways, the Brewers are back in Milwaukee to face the Cubs over the weekend. Tomorrow the girls and I will be in attendance and, even with the successes in Pittsburgh, all I can think about is how the last time I saw Jeff Suppan pitch against the Cubs, it was like the worst game I’ve ever witnessed. Buuuuut, at the same time, I can’t let that get me down because, Hello???? Look at those numbers! It’s improbable the Crew can keep going to this extent, but keeping pitching and offense in sync is their best bet for continuing on this winning path.

So, keep it up!

Go Brewers!

Cubs still suck!

 

 

Sausage Shots and Cactus League Nachos = A Must!

Yes, Stargirlmol, I agree that the reasoning for the Brewers horrid start to the season is that we Triplets have yet to participate in our traditions as a threesome. Although, I swear, when I take a lonely Chorizo Shot, those boys try their damnedest to turn it around. (Scout’s Honor, I’ve only done that once. And it did work. Although it could’ve been the bridesmaid shoes, too.) Regardless, come this Friday, we will do our best as superfans to get the Crew that elusive win against the Cubs and I’m feeling like we will succeed.

Why do I feel this way you might ask? I mean, understandably, the Brewers have done very little in the first 2 weeks of the season to warrant any faith on my part. Let’s take a look at this past weekend in our Nation’s Capitol, shall we?

Friday night I went to dinner with some very lovely ladies and only heard the first couple of innings in the car on the way there. Casey McGehee was still on fire, Adam Dunn was ejected in the bottom of the first and by the time we sat down to eat, Milwaukee was leading Washington 3-2. After dinner I checked to make sure the Brewers had indeed won only to find out that they indeed had not. Instead of looking at the box score, I took to the TwitterWorld and found out it was basically LaTroy Hawkins’ fault and it was late inning heroics on the Nats part and lack of late inning offense on the Brewers part. Super. Nice job, guys.

Saturday was supposed to be nice and relaxing for me. I just wanted to sit, make lunch and watch the game. What I did not anticipate was an all out annihilation from Washington. I’m pretty sure that the Brewers picked up Randy Wolf over the winter to help out the otherwise mediocre pitching staff and instead, he winds up with a wallop of a loss. The Nationals slammed my boys 8-0. To be fair, Washington had some above stellar defense on Saturday and the Brewers seemed to barely make it on base. Needless to say, I watched the entire beating, biting off my nails in the process.

*Sidenote*

As I was getting ready to curl up in bed and flip aimlessly through channels until SNL came on, I stumbled across what I thought was sports highlights on the local news. Um, nope. Just your regular old 17th inning of play down in St. Louis. I called to my mom to turn it on and we watched the rest of that game together by shouting across the hallway. I was laughing so hard at Felipe Lopez, not because he was pitching, but because he actually pitched pretty well. That and he reminded me of when I used to work at the zoo and we’d work day-into-night 14, 15, 16 hour shifts and by post-dinner break we were all on our second winds and were just downright giddy for the second half. He was just laughing and having a good time. So adorable. The Cards lost to the Mets after 20. Not that I had to tell any of you that, but it was the most exciting, watchable baseball I’d seen that day.

So anyway, yesterday, I swore off the Brewers. My mom and I were out running some errands and I told her not to turn on the radio and I was doing my best to keep my phone in my purse and not check scores. Well, I’m no good at keeping promises to myself and peeked. Umm, zohmygod. I was not prepared to see a 10-0 score, especially with how crappily the Crew had been doing. Upon closer inspection, I noted that it was THE TOP OF THE FIRST! And there was ONLY ONE OUT! (Mind you, I did actually shout these things. My mom was literally sitting right next to me.) So of course, we turn on Bob Uecker. Which, of course gets us no information whatsoever except that someone hit a grandslam and Doug Davis had a sacrifice fly. Seriously, Bob. Stop the babbling and catch us up on the game! Aren’t you aware that I wasn’t listening until right this second?? So, I go to the box score and find out all the details. Craig Effing Cousell! It takes that guy like half a season to get one homerun these days. Well, not anymore. Looks like he’s hitting grandslams in the first 2 weeks. So by the time we finished our errands and made it home, it was still 10-0, Davis was still pitching and for the first time in 2010, I was actually comfortable with the Brewers lead. Perhaps a little too comfortable… We all know that you don’t count your chickens before they hatch and we Crew fans should really heed that advice when it comes to runs. Just because you have a 10 run lead doesn’t mean you should expect your bullpen to carry you through. And, of course, they didn’t. The Nationals battled and came up with 7, yes 7, runs of their own before Milwaukee tacked on the 11th and final run they could muster. But, alas, it was enough and the Brewers got that all important, sweep avoiding win.

So now the Boys will be in Pittsburgh and the Pirates have actually been doing really well to start the season. This isn’t like last year when the Brewers were in the middle of that 17-0 winning streak or whatever it was. Their last trip to PNC was a sweep. Although, the Pirates came back to Miller Park and were swept right back, but the way the Crew has been playing, it’s gonna be super important for them to finally win a series opener. And I’d really like to see them start that now. Because then maybe they’ll remember how good that feels when the Cubbies come to town on Friday and win while I’m actually there. This time last year I had a pretty good record at Miller Park and, granted, I’ve gone to a lot less games so far, but I’m 1-2. I wanna get back to .500. And I’d like to see the Brewers hit that mark, too. At the very least.

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

May I present the 2010 Top 10 Hotties

True, this may be a little premature. And in actuality, it should really be called the 2009 Top 10 Hotties because this is based on players and performance from last season, but honestly, who cares? It’s really just for my own personal enjoyment, afterall. But this list is official. (For girly baseball nerds, anyway.) For the duration of the 2010 season, I will refer back to it, make amends when someone pisses me off (see #8) and shuffle guys around based on whether or not they’re on my good side at the time.

I’ve chosen not to do the day-by-day countdown like I did last year because **shocker** the Top 3 are the same. Yes, sometimes even Skip Schumaker’s performance doesn’t weigh in on the decisions. If it did, every time he led off and didn’t get on base, it would knock him down a peg. Hell, he’d be well off the list by now. But alas, some things cannot be disputed. Hotness is one of those things.

So without further ado, the Top 10 for 2010.

 

#10

Ryan Church, Pittsburgh Pirates

ryanchurch.jpgFirst of all, thank you, Ryan, for staying in the National League. Church was oft out last season with various injuries (which is no surprise. Concussions, much?) but I feel fortunate enough to have gotten to see him at Miller Park on a couple of occasions. And by fortunate, I mean downright giddy. Ordinarily, Church isn’t the kind of guy I’d see on the street and think, “damn,” but on the field? Well, in a baseball uniform, there’s little you’ve got to do to turn my head.

 

And overall, Ryan Church doesn’t do much. He’s a career .272 hitter and his OBP and SLG are only slightly higher. Church has played for some notoriously bad teams, too. Well, not bad, just not good. And he’s continuing that tradition with the Pirates for 2010. I mean, you could do worse, I suppose. But Pittsburgh is rebuilding and going with Church isn’t such a bad thing.

 

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#9

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

t1_cano.jpgThe only time you will hear me say anything positive about the Yankees is when I’m talking about good looking guys. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t even see a Yankee on this list, but if it weren’t for that damn World Series last year, I probably wouldn’t have fallen for Robinson Cano. Have you ever seen such perfect teeth? And this girl is all about good oral hygiene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poor guy has played his entire career so far with the Yankees but, you know, he’s been holding his own. He managed to scrape by in ’06 by batting a mere .342 and last season eked out .320. And, he’s just one of those guys you love to watch play. He’s young, energetic and hot. What more could you ask for?

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#8

Manny Parra, Milwaukee Brewers


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So what if Manny’s Josh Hartnett-esque good looks haven’t quite caught on yet? I’m still on board. He’s tall and brooding and looks great in high socks – all pluses for me.

 

 

 

 

And so what if his ERA has done nothing but balloon since his debut in 2007? He’s been kicked off the list once already. And this position is a demotion from his #5 spot last year. Poor Manny just has to learn to deal with pressure and the occasional bad game. Plus, he’s competing for a job this year so I’m hoping that, all things considered, he finally has a stand-out year for the Brewers. Lord knows he (and they) need it.

 

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#7

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

 

Joe_Mauer-743353.jpgAhhh, another set of beautiful chompers! Joe’s slipped down in the ratings since last year too, but that’s most definitely not performance based. I just fell in love with some new guys and comparatively, being tall and having nice teeth won’t get you everywhere. But it will get you JJ Hardy’s spot in the Top 10. (Hardy is nowhere near the list this year, btw.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Mauer easily had the most talked about year in ’09. He won the AL MVP without question as he and his .365 average couldn’t be beat. (Not to mention that his first at-bat after coming off an off-season back injury produced a home run – a small glimpse of things to come.) 2010 will be another big year for Joe, as he’s nearing a pretty big contract extension with the Twins. Awe, such the hometown hero.

 

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#6

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

kemp.jpgI never thought much about Matt Kemp being a hottie. That is until I saw him make some appearances on Sports Soup. And, well, yum! I’m a sucker for a guy in glasses. And a guy that knows how to dress. And a guy with a great jawline. And since Kemp’s got all three of those going on off the field, he definitely qualifies as an on-field hottie, as well.

 

 

After watching Mike Cameron in centerfield the past couple of seasons, I’ve been spoiled by hotdogging plays. And by spoiled, I mean watching him go over the top for a routine play and miss. Watching Kemp play last year was way more entertaining because unlike Cam, he only had 2 errors. At the plate, Matt did pretty well, batting .297 and was nearing a 30-30 season, stealing 34 bases but coming in just 4 shy of 30 homers.
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#5

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

andre.jpgI came across a picture of Andre at a signing event in a work newsletter and was shocked at how I’d not considered him for the list before. Shocked. There isn’t much to elaborate on other than he’s gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last season Andre batted .272 with 31 home runs and 106 RBIs but had a great post-season run for the 8 games the Dodgers played. Ethier hit .355 with 3 homers and 6 RBIs. Along with Kemp, the Dodgers are boasting a great looking outfield. Manny Ramirez brings them down a bit, but with the other 2, he doesn’t have to be hot.

 

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#4

Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

jones.jpgWho would’ve ever thought with guys like Ryan Doumit and the brothers LaRoche that the Pirates would’ve ever had 2 players on the Top 10 Hotties list? Well, enter the 2009 season and Garrett Jones. Holy hell, what a good looking man. I recall watching a Brewers-Pirates game on TV last year and seeing Jones for the first time. If I weren’t already sitting, my knees would’ve gone weak. That jaw, the scruff, 6’4″, not to mention one of the most perfect profiles I’ve ever seen – what’s not to love?

Moreover, Garrett Jones made a push (along with Casey McGehee) as one of the older rookies in the game last season. At 28, he batted .293 and hit 44 RBIs and 21 home runs. I saw quite a few of those home runs because he hit what seemed like, oh, all of them, against the Brewers.

 

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#3

Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals

 

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Yes, Skip again. Easily one of the hottest. Again, a sucker for a great scruff-covered jawline and he’s still holding on to the title of “Best Team Photo.” Seriously. Every other player manages to look like they’re posing for a mugshot. Not Skip. After my roadie to St. Louis at the end of last season, I decieded if I ever had to move there for any reason, I could handle it. 1. Because the city is awesome and 2. because of Skip Schumaker making it a little easier to not hate the Cardinals so much. What Skip lacks in height (he’s only 5’10” compared to the 6’+ crowd on the rest of the list) he makes up for in looks from the neck up.

Now, as I said earlier, performance would ordinarily warrant a hiatus from the list, but Schumaker managed a .303 average last year. He could’ve fooled me because every time I saw him in action, he wasn’t doing much at the plate. As a leadoff hitter, I feel like he should be doing more, but Tony LaRussa seems to like him in that spot. He’s also a really useful player on the field, as he’s an experienced outfielder that took over main duties at 2B for the Redbirds last year.

 

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#2

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

 

 


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I mean, honestly. If it weren’t for, well, nothing. I find nothing wrong with this man. Even the flavor savor doesn’t bother me because Chase Utley can do anything he freaking wants to. It’s no wonder he’s so beloved by The Gang, Mac, in particular.

 

 

 

 

He’s a power-hitting second baseman. “Do you know how rare that is?” Last year, Chase hit .282 in the regular season and hit 31 homers. His post season was even better. He batted .296 and hit 6 homers, 5 of which came in the World Series alone. Not too shabby. Chase Utley is one of the main reasons the Phillies are my second favorite NL team.

 

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#1

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

 

Ryan%20Braun.jpgAs I’ve said many times before, Ryan is a stud. He’s the total package. He’s a tall, ripped, major league baseball player who’s got a bit hardware to back up the goods (ROY, a couple Silver Sluggers – you know). I like the attitude. I like, in his words, the swagger. It works in his favor because what girl doesn’t fall for the bad boy? And it doesn’t hurt when the bad boy is hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we all know what Ryan is capable of on the field, too. He finished out ’09 with a .320 average, 114 RBIs and 32 HRs and led the National League with 203 hits. Braun continues to be one of the best players around today and I look forward to another stellar season in 2010. And I look forward to just looking at him, too.

 


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Well, there they are. The 2010 Top 10 Hotties in all their glory. I hope you enjoyed my clearly feminine view on the Boys of Summer. Well, some of them anyway. Trust me, it’s hard work narrowing the list down to just 10. The few that got bumped from last year’s list are still lingering along with a handful of newbies, just ready to take someone’s place should anyone falter this season. But fear not, if that does happen, the loyal readers of A Girl’s View will be the first to know. Because I know you all care so much.

 

Baseball, the cure for the common hangover

Whilst I was recovering from New Year’s Eve Friday afternoon, my dad read me Tom Haudricourt’s Top 10 Brewers Highlights of 2009 from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Before he began the short but sweet countdown, I tried guessing what might be on the list. I was way off base, considering Mr. Haudricourt’s and my definition of “highlight” were a little different. 

See, Tom had things like signing Trevor Hoffman as a highlight, whereas I would’ve just put Hoffman’s save streak or how many scoreless innings he had pitched, because it goes without saying that he was signed. Duh. He also put drawing 3 million fans. I wouldn’t have included that, either, since the club did that in 2008, too. Whoopideedoo.
At any rate I got to thinking about his list, what with all the time I had spent lying on the couch that day-turned-into-night, and, well, he left some good stuff off of it.  
Here’s Tom’s Top 10 (with comments, of course), followed by a couple additions that must be worthy, since 2009 was really a season not worth bragging about.

Here is My (Tom’s) list of Top 10 Highlights for 2009:

1. First baseman Prince Fielder shatters Cecil Cooper’s 26-year club record (126) with 141 RBI, tying Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the major league lead. Fielder, who also set a club record with 110 walks, became the first Brewer to lead the majors in RBI since Cooper tied Boston’ Jim Rice in 1983.

**Alright, yes, agreed. Prince Fielder had an amazing year, I’ll give you that. And we fans did wait with baited breath for, like, 7 games for him to finally break that RBI record. And that Cecil Cooper was in town when he did was pretty exciting.

2. Closer Trevor Hoffman signs a free-agent deal, then pitches scoreless ball for his first 18 games and converts 37 of 41 save opportunities, with a 1.83 ERA in 55 games.

**Was signing the All-Time Saves Leader a big deal? Hell yeah. A highlight of the season? Well, let’s just say by the time the season begins and the good stuff (like actually getting to watch and/or go to games) starts, the off-season is a mere distant memory. Let’s just focus of what Hoffman did for us. Those are the real highlights.

3. Leftfielder Ryan Braun leads the National League with 203 hits, the club’s first 200-hit season since Paul Molitor in 1991 (216).

** Again, here’s where the definition differs. There are any number of Ryan Braun ‘highlights’ that contributed to his league-leading 203 hits. He had numerous multi-home run games, a grand slam, a near cycle. Either way, I agree this was a big deal for the club.

4. The Brewers draw 3 million fans (3,037,451) for the second consecutive season with their second-best attendance in club history. Considering the market size, it is an astounding feat.

**Not a highlight. They did it last year, the year prior and they’ll more than likely do it again this year, even coming off a losing season. I m
ean, let’s get real. I individually contributed to at least 135, 294 of those tickets. It won’t be a problem in 2010.

5. On July 29 against Washington at Miller Park, 2-year-old Mackail McGehee, suffering from cerebral palsy, throws out the ceremonial first pitch with the help of Prince Fielder. His father, Casey, later socks a pinch-hit two-run homer that provides the difference in a 7-5 victory. McGehee finishes his rookie season with a .301 batting average, 16 HRs and 66 RBI in 116 games.

**Fo’ sho’ agreed. It was a pretty exciting game.

6. On Sept. 6 against San Francisco at Miller Park, the Brewers turn a triple play, then win on a walk-off homer by Prince Fielder in the 12th inning, with teammates greeting him by sprawling backward at the plate and tumbling to the ground in a “boom goes the dynamite” celebration that drew some criticism around the game.

**Yes. This is a true highlight. A walk-off home run after 12 innings and the greatest ‘new school’ celebration I’ve ever seen. Don’t hate. The Brewers had already lost that series, were all but out of contention and, if you really think about it, were probably just happy they won a damn game

7. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo becomes the fifth pitcher in team history to record 200 strikeouts in a season when he reaches 204 in his final start Sept. 20 against Houston.

**For an ace in the making, this is a big accomplishment. My favorite Yovani highlight will be in the Haudricourt addendum. 

8. Prince Fielder wins the All-Star Home Run Derby on July 13 in St. Louis, socking a 503-footer in the process and topping Texas’ Nelson Cruz in the finals.

**This has no outcome on the team, therefore I do not count it as a Brewers highlight, but merely a Prince Fielder career highlight. 

9. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder lead all major league teammates with a combined 255 RBI.

**Impressive, no doubt. Again, doesn’t fit in my definition of ‘highlight.’ But, then again, there isn’t a whole lot to be proud of from 2009, so I’ll take it.

10. Right-hander Dave Bush pitches no-hit ball for 8 1/3 innings in Philadelphia on April 23 before pinch-hitter Matt Stairs smacks a home run off the right-field foul pole to end his bid for a no-hitter.

**Since Dave Bush didn’t have much else to be proud of last season, yes, this works as a highlight.

As for the addendum, I have 2 highlights by my definition and 1 by Tom’s. Where any of these fall on the list is up for interpretation.

First, it was the Yovani Gallardo Show when the Pirates came to town back on April 29. Yo went 8 scoreless innings, striking out 11. And the only run scored in the 1-0 Brewers win? Yep. Gallardo’s solo shot in the bottom of the 7th. Nice. 

Second, was the roller-coaster game in Cleveland that ended in an eventual 14-12 win for the Crew. The Brewers managed to blow up after the Indians blew not one, but two, 5-run leads. In this game, Ryan Braun was one hit shy of the cycle and managed to contribute 5 RBIs while Prince Fielder had a career-high 6 RBIs of his own and also smacked his first career grand slam. Not too shabby.

For the Haudricourt-esque highlight, let’s talk about 2 outstanding pitchers. It’s important to remember that, aside from Gallardo and Hoffman, the Brewers did have other bright spots in their pitching staff. Albeit teeny, tiny bright spots. Todd Coffey pitched 83.2 innings in 78 games with an ERA just shy of 3.0 and a WHIP of 1.16. His hiccups in the relief role were minute compared to others’ and he provided the team a much-needed, reliable arm out of the bullpen. Another reliever to be mentioned was lefty-specialist Mitch Stetter, who set an MLB record of 15 straight outs via the strikeout  between June 9-25. This record came amid a streak of 17 straight appearances without allowing a run from May 27- July 8. 

So, alright. Tom had some things right, but I like my choices, too. True, 2009 could mostly go down as forgotten, but the Brewers did some pretty great things in there. While I’m completely looking forward for the new season to get underway, I had a good time reminiscing about last year. It helped me forget my massive hangover. (For a little while, anyway.) 

Oh, and Happy New Year. Is it time for baseball yet?

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.