Tagged: Tim Lincecum

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. 

My last minute decision pays off!!!

With the excitement that’s still running through me from the awesome game that ended nearly 2 hours ago, I have to tell you about the day that almost wasn’t.

I feel like it’s a long story, but bear with me. It has a very happy ending!

My dad and I purchased 2 seats in a 9-pack for the season and tonight’s game was to be our third. As we had 2 graduation parties to attend, he decided I could have the tickets for tonight. It was a 6:05 start time and he didn’t want to be rushed. Awesome. Of course, I’ll take the tickets.

Then, of course, no one is available to go with me. People are either working, or have plans or are already going. Typical. I had a week to try and unload the second ticket, but no takers. eriously, annoying.

So my dad decides he’ll take my mom, if that’s alright with me. I said sure, since I had just gone to Wednesday’s game. No big deal.

Well, all day I’m getting texts from Mol from her tailgate party asking if I found anyone to go with because I should meet them down there. So now I’m a little jealous I’m not going. And I’m sulking my way through the 2 grad parties and I really wished I could go.

My mom offers her ticket back to me, but my dad wasn’t having it. “Why don’t you just get a standing room only ticket?” she asks. I thought about it and just decided I didn’t want to deal with trying to meet up with people and wandering around until someone texted or called. Plus, at this point, it was a little over an hour before the first pitch.

So, we get home, mom and dad change and are ready to walk out the door and I changed my mind super-last minute and bought myself a ticket when we got down there. I bummed a seat in their section just in time to see Seth McClung throw his first pitch.

Then I was kindly asked to leave the seat. So I move to another and same thing. Three seats later, I just leave to wander and get some food, maybe something to drink and end up behind the right field bleachers with a margarita in my hand.

A nice guy comes and starts chatting me up, because, hello? Why wouldn’t he? And I find out he’s with a bachelor party, the groom had disappeared 4 innings prior, thus there was a seat open, would I like to join him? Why not? My friends, at this point, had not told me where their seats were, nor had offered to meet up with me anywhere.

Now, not that I’m the good luck charm or anything, but on Wednesday when I moved down into the right field bleachers, the Brewers took the lead and thus, won the game. Tonight when I sat down there, the Brewers tied it up 4-4 on a Prince Fielder 3-run homer followed by a first-pitch blast from Casey McGehee. Coincidence? (Probably.)

It’s still tied in the 7th, I finally hear from my friends and I leave the nice bachelor party-goers and head one section up. The panels were open in right field and it was the most amazing breeze I’ve ever felt. Todd Coffey’s pitching, he does an amazing job, and then the Brewers fail to score, prompting Trevor Hoffman to enter the game in the 9th, minus Hell’s Bells. Ugh.

This doesn’t look so troublesome on paper. Except Hoffman proceeds to give up 3 basehits in a row, loaded the bases and 2 Giants’ runs score. Oops. And the 3 batters coming up for Milwaukee aren’t really who you want at the plate in the bottom of the 9th to face Brian Wilson, one of the best closers this season — Mike Rivera, Bill Hall, pitcher’s spot.

Rivera was out and Craig Counsell batted in place Hall. Good move, Macha. Seriously. If anyone can start a 9th inning rally, it’s Counsell. Sure enough, he singled. Jason Kendall stepped in for Counsell as a pinch runner. Mat Gamel pinch hit for Hoffman and walked. Corey Hart’s single scored Kendall and JJ Hardy, who hadn’t done too much offensively all night, singled in Gamel. When Ryan Braun stepped to the plate, we knew it was gonna be a “go big or go home” kind of at bat. And Braun struck out. Eh. Not surprised. Then Prince Fielder saunters up, bat in hand, ready to make some magic happen.

The fans at Miller Park were doing all they could to summon something of greatness from that bat. And we got it. An RBI double to right field scored Hart for the win.

It was absolutely incredible that my little saga of a day ended the way it did! And I was so happy to have been with friends, instead of strange men at that bachelor party when it happened!

So now that the Giants have lost the series, I wonder if they’ll end up sending Tim Lincecum to the mound tomorrow. Their off day this week would mean it’s his day, but not his spot in the rotation. If the do, it would be an Opening Day re-match for Jeff Suppan. Otherwise, it’s Ryan Sadowski with the ball for San Fran. Either way, the Brewers already have the series win and are still holding on to that first place tie in the NL Central with the Cardinals.

However, after tomorrow, the Brewers face some major obstacles to get to the All-Star break with that lead in tact. I guess I should really start thinking one game at a time, since July hasn’t even started yet, and the way Milwaukee’s played these last 2 games, I shouldn’t be too worried. But they’ve got the Mets, Cubs, Cards and Dodgers over the next 2 and a half weeks. Not easy.

Anyway, I shall not dwell. Tomorrow is another day.

Go Brewers!

 

 

It got so close there for awhile…

Well, Brewer fans, as I quietly suspected, yet didn’t want to fully admit, the Giants won their Home Opener against our beloved Crew.

Thankfully, the game was delayed, so I ended up only having to listen to one inning on my ride home from work. Not so thankfully, I had to hear Jeff Suppan give up a bases-loaded triple to Giants 1B Travis Ishikawa. I turned off the car when Suppan was at bat with 2 outs. Mike Cameron had just stolen second and as I was walking up to the house, I said outloud to myself, “Just get one to the outfield, Jeff. Oh, wait. You don’t know how to do that.” I walked in the house and my mom yelled, “Suppan just hit a double!” I thought everything was going to be fine after that.

But, Suppan was, at best, Suppan. He was pegged for the loss with 6 hits and 6 ERs in only 4 innings. He walked one, but only struck out one and allowed an Aaron Rowand 2 run homer.

Now, as I said a couple posts ago, Giants starter Tim Lincecum has his highest ERA versus any opponent with the Brewers. Today made no attempt to try to turn that around. While striking out 5 and allowing no Brewers HRs (which was easy to do since there were none at all!), Lincecum allowed 3 runs and was pulled after 3. Relief pitcher Joe Martinez may have allowed 2 of his own runs, but the Giants soon took the reins again and he gained his first win of the season.

There were 2 high points for the Crew today, though. In my opinion, the first was Mike Cameron proving he can be patient at the plate. Cam walked 4 times and was 1 for 1 in hits, making it on base for all 5 plate appearances, resulting in 2 runs scored. Is this the start of a newer, fewer strikeouts Mike Cameron? I sure hope so. The second high point was that Milwaukee scored all 6 runs playing small ball. They had 4 stolen bases which, coupled with Benji Molina being slightly off, resulted in runs. Yes, I was disappointed to have seen all the longballs come via Giants bats, but, I wasn’t totally disappointed to see the Brewers score 6 without a single HR of their own.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Gallardo vs. Johnson. We shall see.

But Friday is the Brewers Home Opener against the Cubs!! And, since when I’m done writing this, I will be tearing apart the Brewers section of my closet deciding what to wear, today’s pictures are of some of my creations. Enjoy!

 

Girly halter made from giant boys shirt.

 

I hope you all know this one already. Weeks of work and bleeding fingertips. Man, embroidery is tough…

 

That one’s for my niece. Ruffle-y and girly because “Brewer shirts are for boys.”

 

There’s a 19 on the back. You know, for Robin.

 

Bad girl!

Opening Day and I only caught parts of 2 games. Sad. Then, I only saw some of Baseball Tonight with the sound off while the NCAA Championship was on at Leff’s. I would’ve rather watched baseball all night.

But, I must congratulate Mol for winning her first bracket ever! She picked UNC. Nice.

So, anyway, this will only be a quick recap of what I saw and then my picture for the day. I will not recount stats, as I wasn’t able to pay too much attention, but at least the 2 games that I did see most of were the 2 I wanted to see.

First up, Yankees-Orioles. I wanted to see CC Sabathia pitch his first game in Yankee pinstripes, and, as I thought he would, he faltered. Sabathia allowed 5 runs in less than 5 innings and was tapped for the 10-6 loss. Now, it’s definitely not an “I told you so” type of situtation, seeing as it was only the first game of the season, but it was a pretty rough outing. At least this time he’s got 7 years to prove himself.

The next game I caught was Cubs-Astros. The Cubs got off to a good start with a 1st inning HR from Alfonso Soriano. They were up 4-0 in the 9th, when a too little, too late Astros rally only managed 2 runs and the Cubs came out on top, giving Carlos Zambrano his first Opening Day win.

Tomorrow the Brewers take on the Giants, Suppan vs. Lincecum. Yikes. Like I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Francisco take Game 1, but I think the Brewers will wind up with the series win.

Today’s picture comes from CCs first game in a Brewers uniform. Unlike his game today, the Brewers won and CC would go on to be one of the best things to happen to Milwaukee in 26 years. Even if he was only here for a few short months. I will always remember this game because of CC, the Ryan Braun tshirt and the unbearable stench at Miller Park due to the 80+ degree July night. Awesome.

 

cc first pitch.jpg

Brewers first game tomorrow, then 3 days till Drunk Lot!!!

 

2009 has officially begun

The first pitch of the year takes place in approximately one half hour. Brett Meyers of the Philadelphia Phillies has the honor. After that, my life will entirely be consumed by baseball and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And since this week will be overwhelmingly about baseball and preparing for Opening Weekend at Miller Park, I figured I’d get two very big entries put into one extremely large entry tonight. I’ll be discussing my thoughts on the Brewers official roster, as well as touching on my predictions for the Opener in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Milwaukee Brewers:

 

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Suppan, RHP

Yovani Gallardo, RHP

Manny Parra, LHP

Braden Looper, RHP

Dave Bush, RHP

 

Bullpen

Todd Coffey, RHP

Mark DiFelice, RHP

Jorge Julio, RHP

Seth McClung, RHP

David Riske, RHP

Mitch Stetter, LHP

Carlos Villanueva, RHP

Catchers

Jason Kendall

Mike Rivera

 

Infielders

Prince Fielder, 1B

Rickie Weeks, 2B

JJ Hardy, SS

Bill Hall, 3B

Craig Counsell

Casey McGehee

Brad Nelson

 

Outfielders

Corey Hart, RF

Mike Cameron, CF

Ryan Braun, LF

Chris Duffy

 

Based on the fact that the Brewers had the best record in the National League coming out of Spring Training, I’m quite happy with the club’s decisions on the 25-man roster. Of the guys contending for spots, I’m glad to see that McGehee, Nelson and Duffy all made it to the team. They all really stepped up in spring, combining for 67 hits, 51 RBIs and 11 HRs (including a McGehee grandslam vs. the Aussies). I think for a power-hitting team like the Brewers, these 3 guys will fit in nicely.

My main concern with this roster is the lack of left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. Although, there really wasn’t much choice for the club this season. Mitch Stetter will have to bring his A-game to every situation he’s needed in in order to solidify his place as the only LHP in the ‘pen.

On the flip-side, I’m digging the addition of 2 additional left-handed bats in Duffy and Nelson. Last season, Counsell was the only lefty that could come off the bench that was with the team for the entire year. This season, I feel Ken Macha will have more opportunities for pinch hit situations with those 2 added lefties.

Until Trevor Hoffman comes of the DL on April 11, I think that the Crew should have sufficient options for a closing scenario. Jorge Julio has experience from his time with the Orioles and Carlos Villanueva could also step up. But again, my push is for Seth McClung to take over until Hoffman comes back, but no one listens to me over at that Brewers organization, so I’ll just have to deal with it.

The obvious heavy-hitters like Braun and Fielder should continue to do well batting 3 and 4, and hopefully the switch of Hardy and Hart in the line-up will boost production, as well. Because the Brewers rely pretty heavily on the longball, I’m hoping to see ample numbers from all 4 of those guys. But Fielder needs to step up his performance on the field if he doesn’t want to become trade-bait later on this season.

Rickie Weeks is still a question mark for me, but the fact that there are 3 bench infielders that could play 2nd makes me feel a bit better. I just don’t see Weeks as a prototypical leadoff guy, nor do I see him being a consistent fielder. As my cousin Kelly says, “You can’t spell Rickie Weeks without a couple Ks and a couple Es.”

Overall, I’m pretty confident with this roster. Looking at what the team has lost, but seeing what they’ve gained, I think the 2009 Brewers will still come out as a front-runner just as they did in ’08. I hope the Crew can bring their hot bats and superb pitching from Spring Training back to Milwaukee.

Now, on to the Brewers-Giants game for this Tuesday’s Opener in San Francisco.

The match-up:

Tim Lincecum vs. Jeff Suppan

Both the reigning NL Cy Young award winner and the reigning, um, Jeff Suppan, are righties, squaring off against each other for the first time.

Here are the pluses, in favor of the Brewers:

Lincecum’s ERA against Milwaukee is 5.25 in 4 starts. That’s his highest ERA versus any opponent.

The Brewers swept San Francisco in 2008, winning all 6 match-ups and outscoring the Giants 49-18.

However, in Spring Training, the Giants won 3 of 5, outscoring the Crew 29-24.

I’m gonna go on record saying that, while I think the Giants have the potential to take the Opener, the Brewers will wind up winning the series 2-1 and come back home hot and be ready to take on the Cubs for their Home Opener.

And, after all that, I still have to post a picture! There are only 5 days until I get to take a seat at Miller Park for the first of many times this season. Today’s pics come from Leff’s Tailgate from last year’s Opening Day. While I slaved over a tapper for 3 hours, Nik and Mol crashed the party. But they gave me a much-needed break, so it was okay.

 

Malcolm missed us by molly.anna.

Me, Mol, Malcolm the Beer Guy, Mom (hidden under there somewhere!) and Nik

 

Molly Michelle & Nikki by molly.anna.

Mol, me and Nik. My cup said “Superfan.” This year, I have a way-cool Brewers mug.

 

The ladies love Lyle by molly.anna.

Mol, my bartending partner Lyle, Me, Mom and Nik

I’m very much looking forward to having the best time at that party. Every year just gets better and better!

 

And since I started writing, the first game of 2009 is already underway and the Braves are up over the Phillies 4-0. Yay Baseball!!!