Reds series highlights Brewers shortcomings

12 07 2008

After another devastating loss tonight against the Cincinnati Reds, it’s time to take a look at what has gone wrong. How have the Brewers lost two straight games to a team they are much better than? At home, no less.

These last two games serve as a microcosm for Milwaukee’s struggles in 2008. It’s been the big three for the Brewers.

1) Struggles at the back end of the bullpen – mainly Guillermo Mota and Eric Gagne.

2) Below-average defense.

3) Poor plate discipline and too many strikeouts.

The Bullpen

In tonight’s game against the Reds, David Riske and Brian Shouse simply needed to keep the deficit at 3-2 in the eighth inning. They needed to give the Brewers a chance to put something together against the Cincinnati’s bullpen, as Edinson Volquez dominated through seven innings.

Instead of holding the score 3-2, Riske gave up a one-out double to Jerry Hairston – who has owned the Brewers. Ned Yost then called upon Brian Shouse to strand the runner at second. Thus far in 2008, Shouse could almost guarantee results. He has struggled in the past week, however.

Those struggles continued tonight. After striking out Jay Bruce on three pitches, he gave up an RBI single to Ken Griffey Jr. Shouse has had issues keeping the ball down the past week. The deception of his sidearm delivery can only do so much. He needs to keep the ball down and away from left-handers. That has not been happening, and the team is suffering.

The score is now 4-2 after the Crew couldn’t get anything going against the unimpressive David Weathers. There is still a slim glimmer of hope in the hearts of Brewers fans, however. Maybe the offense can score two off Francisco Cordero in the ninth. Perhaps the Crew can come back against their old teammate. Again, all the bullpen needs to do is keep the deficit the same.

Enter Eric Gagne – the newly-anointed set-up man. Milwaukee’s ten million dollar man has looked extremely solid in his couple outings since coming off the DL. Adam Dunn changed that. Dunn clobbered a 3-2 fastball out of the park to increase Cincinnati’s lead to 5-2. The lead only grew after Edwin Encarnacion went deep to make it back-to-back home runs. Before the inning could end, Gagne gave up four runs on four hits. The lead was now 8-2, and all the hopes of the Brewers winning the game left when Gagne left the game for Guillermo Mota. You know there are problems if you need Mota to get you out of an inning.

Defense

Doug Melvin and the Brewers went out and signed Mike Cameron to a one-year contract to sure-up center field. He has been very impressive patrolling center and has vastly improved Milwaukee’s defense from last year. Bill Hall was forced to learn on the job last season, and Cameron is an obvious improvement with his Gold Glove-caliber defense.

Friday night, however, that exceptional defense was not on display. Cameron got an excellent jump on a ball in the left-center gap (as usual), but he lost the ball in the lights. The ball almost hit the Brewer center fielder in the head, and it resulted in a triple for Jerry Hairston. Did I mention Hairston has owned the Brewers this series? It tied the game up in the seventh.

Then, with a tie game in the eighth inning, Bill Hall fields a routine ground ball at third base. The Brewers moved him to third during the winter to improve on the defense Ryan Braun gave the Crew last season. It hasn’t improved the defense as much as Doug Melvin and the team hoped. Hall rushed his throw and spiked it in the dirt. Prince Fielder was unable to handle the low throw, and the inning continued with two on and one-out, rather than one on and two-out. It turned out to cost the Brewers the game, as Hairston scored on a wild pitch by Salomon Torres.

The sloppy defense directly led to Milwaukee’s loss to the Reds Friday night. If Hall or Cameron could have come up with only one of those plays, the worst the score could have been was a tie game going into the bottom of the ninth. What ifs are pointless, but the sloppy defense does point to a chink in the armor of the Milwaukee Brewers. Doug Melvin certainly improved the defense this off-season, but it is certainly not perfect. The defense will need to improve to catch the Chicago Cubs.

Plate Discipline

Milwaukee has a powerful offense.  No one will dispute that fact.  The team does struggle to score runs when the long ball is not present.  Manufacturing runs does not come easy for a team that strikes out a lot and does not walk very often.  As a whole, the Brewers are too over-aggressive at the plate and make soft-tossing control pitchers like Josh Fogg and Glendon Rusch look like aces.

In Friday night’s game against Fogg, the Reds’ veteran right-hander cruised along the first five innings.  He kept the free-swinging Brewers off-balance by rarely throwing a first pitch fastball and inducing a lot of pop-ups.  You know a team has a strikeout problem when Josh Fogg strikes out six in five and a third.  Fogg threw everything but the kitchen sink up there, and the aggressive Brewers hitters obliged by swinging at difficult pitches.

After Friday night’s offensive struggles against Fogg, the Reds threw out the hard-throwing Edinson Volquez to the mound.  I am not suggesting a bad outing against Volquez is indicative of offensive struggles, as almost every team that has gone against Volquez has struggled immensely.  It is the way the Brewers scuffled that indicates potential offensive problems.

Volquez struck out ten Brewers in seven innings.  He kept hitters off-balance with his exceptional change-up, and the aggressive Brewers swung over it again and again.  J.J. Hardy – who has been one of the hottest hitters in the league the past month – whiffed three times against the NL All-Star.  Strikeouts do not move runners over on the basepaths.  Strikeouts do not even give Mike Cameron a chance to score the tying run from second in Friday night’s game in the ninth inning.  Strikeouts do not allow any sacrifice flies to get runners in from third base with no outs or one out.

Right now, the Milwaukee Brewers live and die by extra base hits.  When the team is going well, they will score in bunches.  The over-reliance on extra-base hits is a recipe for offensive slumps, however.  That is what the Brewers have been unable to overcome the past two games against the Cincinnati Reds.

If the Brewers are going to catch the Chicago Cubs and stay ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, the defense will need to improve, the bullpen will need to improve, and the offense will need to draw more walks and play more small ball.





Prince reigns over Pittsburgh

5 07 2008

Prince Fielder may be struggling at the plate, but sure saved the Brewers tonight with timely hitting in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the ninth, Rickie Weeks battled back from a 0-2 count to draw a huge walk to start the frame. That turned out to be a huge boost for the team.

J.J. Hardy then sacrificed his 16-game hitting streak by laying down a sac bunt to move Rickie to second base. Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Yates chose to next intentionally walk Ryan Braun to get to a struggling Prince Fielder and to set up the double play.

Brewers fans rose to their feet in support of their Prince. Yates started him off with a couple fastballs on the outside part of the plate to head in the count 0-2. The right-hander then tried to make Prince chase a ball at his eyes. Prince appeared to be too eager at the plate and almost obliged. Now down 1-2, I thought Yates was going to bury a ball in the dirt, as Prince showed he wanted to swing at everything. Instead, he tried to sneak an outside fastball by the big lefty. It didn’t work. Prince served a line drive to left-center field that scored Rickie from second. 2-1 Brewers. Ball game.

Milwaukee got an absolute gem of a start from right-hander Dave Bush. He changed speeds beautifully all day, and his curveball stayed down in the zone all day. Bushie had fantastic control this evening, especially on the outside corner. I’m not sure how often it has happened all season, but he did not walk an opposing batter all game, while striking out six.

It turned out that Dave Bush needed to pitch well tonight, as Paul Maholm also spun a gem on the mound. Besides a nice opposite field home run from Mike Cameron, Pittsburgh’s left-hander went eight innings without surrendering another run. His curveball and change-up fooled Milwaukee hitters all evening. Tonight’s game was the epitome of a pitcher’s duel.

Even Eric Gagne threw the ball well, pitching the top of the ninth without giving up a run. He gave up a hit and struck out one. While his velocity has gone way down since injuring his shoulder, the command has been a thousand times better. His change-up has been absolutely nasty for him, falling right through the zone and fooling opposing batters. The command on his fastball has been much better. He has been able to work the corners much more effectively than before his stint on the DL.

The lack of velocity will be a hindrance of Gagne, but the better control may land the former closer 8th inning duties. If he is able to keep up the fine performances, I wouldn’t mind that at all. Don’t worry, that’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy at all.

There is some news on the C.C. Sabathia trade front.

Tom Haudricourt reports that Doug Melvin is waiting for a response from the Indians on their trade proposal. All signs point to the package being Matt LaPorta/Taylor Green/Lorenzo Cain. The Indians will probably wait until Monday or Tuesday before deciding on anything. They could perhaps ask for more in return, but nothing new seems likely to occur before Monday.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney says that the Indians are fielding other offers from the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tampa seems more focused on a right-handed outfielder and probably lacks the motivation to make a strong offer for Sabathia. If they do decide to make a play, however, Milwaukee may be on the outside looking in. Tampa has an incredible farm system and can outplay the Brewers. They will test the waters, but most likely will look elsewhere.

The Dodgers need a shortstop, but could change gears and hone in on the left-hander. They should have enough to get the deal done. It all depends on the motivation and the transparency of their proposal. Olney says Los Angeles has a tendency to balk at proposals. They will say one player is available, then back off and say he’s not.

Most likely, the Philadelphia Phillies will be the toughest opponent if they choose to be aggressive. Their farm system does not have as many offensive five-star prospects, but they could offer more players to get the deal done. I have heard that Philadelphia prefers Erik Bedard though.

Records: Brewers (48-39); Pirates (40-46)

Hero of the Game: Prince Fielder

The award could easily go to Dave Bush for his gem of a performance, but I came away from the game very impressed with Fielder’s resilience in the ninth inning. He has fought his swing the past couple weeks, but the big guy came up big to win the game. After trying a little too hard on the first three pitches, the fourth pitch from Tyler Yates turned out to be the charm. He didn’t overswing and took the ball where it was pitched. A great win for the Brewers.

Goat of the Game: Jason Kendall

Jason just didn’t look comfortable at the plate tonight. He did call a superb game for Dave Bush this evening, but he went 0-3 at the plate. The catcher doesn’t really deserve the Goat. Sorry, Jason.

On Tap

RHP Jeff Suppan will battle LHP Zach Duke in the series finale at Miller Park. The Crew looks to sweep the Pirates and continue their fine play. The game starts at 1:05pm CT on FSN North.





Did that just happen? Bullpen implodes in Arizona heat

3 07 2008

So much for a winning road trip.

The Brewers seemed to be on cruise control going into the ninth inning against Arizona.  They led the game 5-0.  The bottom of the D’Backs order was coming up.  There was one problem though…

Ned Yost called on Guillermo Mota to finish out the game.  Mota has struggled quite a bit in the last month, and that trend didn’t end today.  After an infield single to Robbie Hammock, a walk to Chris Burke, and another infield single to Augie Ojeda, Yost pulled the right-hander in favor of Brian Shouse.

Mota threw almost exclusively fastballs again today.  His location was awful, as most of his pitches were up in the zone.  With that said, he didn’t deserve the fate he left with.  Two infield singles is not his fault.  He even threw a change-up this afternoon.  It was an awful, hanging change-up, but at least he threw it.

Enter Shouse.  Before the game, everyone sang his praises – and rightfully so.  Not tonight, however.  On the first pitch he threw, Chad Tracy shot a 3 RBI double to the right-center field gap.  3-5 Brewers.

Enter Salomon Torres.  I actually felt very comfortable with Salomon on the mound.  He has been perfect since taking over the closers role.  I guess I shouldn’t have felt so comfortable.  Torres gave up three straight base hits, and the Brewers lost the game.

Seven batters came to the plate and not one out was recorded.  The Brewers blew a 5-0 lead in the ninth inning.  That takes any momentum Milwaukee gained over the past week out of the sails.  Sometimes you can make yourself feel better by saying, “These things happen.”  Not today.  You should never blow a 5 run lead in the ninth inning.  Pathetic.

The horrendous ninth inning did overshadow some good things that happened today though.

  • J.J. Hardy now has a 15-game hitting streak.  He looks fantastic at the plate, driving the ball to all fields with power.  The Brewers shortstop went 4-5 today with 2 doubles, a broken-bat home run, and a single to right field.  What’s more impressive is that he’s upped his batting average 32 points this road trip.  That’s hard to do in July.
  • The home run Mike Cameron hit in the sixth inning truly was a home run.  When they originally showed the replay, I thought it the ball clearly went foul.  Then I found out the third base umpire said it hit the foul poll.  After looking at the replay again, you can see the ball switch directions in midair.  The ball could not have moved like it did without hitting something.  Home run.

    Cam also showcased his Gold Glove defense in center field today.  He made many difficult plays look routine in the field.  Manny Parra actually should dedicate his shutout outing to Cam, as Milwaukee’s center fielder saved him a couple runs.  To top it off, Cam has been looking much more comfortable at the plate.  When he’s right, that short stroke is a joy to watch.

  • Manny Parra may have gone six innings of shutout ball, but he did not have his best stuff.  On one hand, it shows how much Manny has grown as a pitcher in the past couple months.  He is learning to limit the damage and keep the team in the game.  On the other hand, I would caution anyone from getting too excited about today’s outing.  The southpaw’s control was not there, and he started off too many innings with runners on base.  That will eventually come back to bite him.
  • MLB Trade Rumors says the Brewers are willing to shop either J.J. Hardy or Rickie Weeks before the trade deadline.  It suggests that the Crew could go after A.J. Burnett, as Toronto is yearning for a talented shortstop.  J.J.’s trade value is incredibly high at this point in the season.  It also shows how strongly the team feels about Alcides Escobar down in Huntsville.  It wouldn’t even be an option for the team if Alcides was not major league ready.
  • This may be a knee-jerk reaction on my part, but today’s game highlights the team’s need for pitching in the bullpen.  A top-flight starter would be nice, but Milwaukee needs someone to pitch the eighth inning.  Guillermo Mota certainly isn’t the answer at this point.  Eric Gagne pitched a 1-2-3 inning, but his velocity was down and looked uncomfortable on the mound.  I’m not ready to hand the ball to him.  David Riske should be the option down the road, but he’s still getting comfortable on the mound.

    Milwaukee need a quality arm in the back-end of the ‘pen that they can control for the next couple years.  The latest rumor is that Milwaukee has a trade in the works with Arizona.  That could be for someone like Tony Pena or Juan Cruz.  Either would be upgrades for the ‘pen.

Records: Brewers (46-39); Diamondbacks (43-43)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

Wow.  J.J. is scorching hot at the plate.  He was an over-the-shoulder catch away from a 5-5 game with 3 doubles, a home run, and an opposite-field single.  Hardy is showing why Milwaukee’s coaches rave so much about him.  The defense is still stellar – did you see that diving play and flip to Weeks? – and the bat can still produce.  Milwaukee’s shortstop may be pushing for a bench role in the All-Star Game.  It is unlikely, but he’s playing like an All-Star right now.

Goat of the Game: The bottom of the ninth inning.

Read above.  I’m too upset to recap it again.

On Tap

The Milwaukee Brewers return home for a long homestand before the All-Star break.  Ben Sheets will face the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Tom Gorzelanny, who looked much better in his last outing.  The Brewers ace will try to help fans forget about what happened this afternoon.  It will be hard to accomplish, however.





Round ’em Up: Monday

30 06 2008

I think all Brewers fans are relieved that Interleague play is over.  More specifically, I think we’re all happy to get out of Minnesota.  They are playing some very, very good baseball right now.  They made the Milwaukee Brewers – who are playing good ball in their own right – look very pedestrian.

The Crew now moves on to Arizona to take on the D’Backs tonight.  Let’s see what’s in the news.

  • I hope you all have some medicine handy.  The Milwaukee Brewers activated Eric Gagne from the 15-day DL and sent down Mark DiFelice.  Gagne has been analyzed every way possible, so I’ll leave that alone.

    DiFelice, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise this season.  He has struggled against left-handers in the big leagues, but still posted a 3.95 ERA in 10 appearances.  The word is that he’s going to start in Triple-A.  That should bring some relief to a horrid starting rotation in Nashville.

  • Jayson Stark from ESPN.com says that one GM that has talked to Doug Melvin reported that Milwaukee will not be afraid to ship its prospects to Cleveland to get C.C. Sabathia in a Brewers uniform.  It will be interesting to see if this is true.  Will Doug be willing to ship the likes of Jeremy Jeffress, Matt LaPorta, or Mat Gamel to Cleveland?  I’m not so sure he is.

    This is not a very reliable source, but a post in the Brewerfan.net forum gives a recap of a radio show in which Doug Melvin appeared.  He said that the Brewers are interested in adding a #2 or #3-type starter to the rotation.  There are some untouchables in the farm system.  He says he will not trade someone he can control for six years for someone he only has for a couple months.  It would be a “quantity trade.”

    To me that “quantity trade” sounds like something right up Billy Beane’s alley in Oakland.  Rich Harden anyone?

  • Right Field Bleachers gives a little review of the past week.  I didn’t realize that Ryan Braun was tied for third in the NL in outfield assists.  He does have a great arm out there, that’s for sure.
  • The Brew Town Beat wonders if Ned Yost is setting up the Milwaukee Brewers for another Summerfest Swoon.  I still think it is crazy how their post after winning Saturday’s game is all about how 08 is totally different than 07, yet after a single loss, the whole season is going down the drain.  It’s a long season.  There are going to be ups and downs throughout the whole season.  I enjoy their writing at The Brew Town Beat, but their outlook on the season changes game-by-game.  Look at the bigger picture boys.
  • Our friend Aaron has a Brewers-Diamondbacks preview for you all.  Give it a look, as he spends a lot of time writing those previews.  It’s good stuff.
  • The Yost Infection is back after a long hiatus, and his target is Michael Hunt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The hilarity of his name aside, Mike Hunt is apparently a little slow in figuring out that Ben Sheets was going to test free agency all along.
  • The newly drafted Evan Frederickson has performed so well in Helena in the couple weeks he’s been there, that he has been promoted to West Virginia.  (Hat tip to battlekow at Brew Crew Ball.  He certainly knows how to get it done.)
  • There has been a lot of movement in the Brewers farm system in the past week or so.  Let me give you a run down of some of the promotions, demotions, etc.

    RHP Jason Shiell – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    RHP Jake Orodizzi – Sent to AZL Brewers
    RHP Josh Wahpepah – Transferred from Huntsville to Brevard County
    LHP Troy Cate – Acquired from Orange County and sent to Huntsville
    RHP Joe Bateman – Transferred from Huntsville to Nashville
    LHP Steve Bray – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    RHP Nic Ungs – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    LHP Evan Frederickson – Transferred from Helena to West Virginia
    C Martin Maldonado – Transferred from Brevard County to Huntsville
    C Chris Corporan – Transferred from Huntsville to Nashville





Round ’em Up: Sunday

29 06 2008

UPDATE 06-29-08 1:08pm – Guillermo Mota successfully lowered his ERA after appealing a scoring decision that occurred against the Houston Astros.

It’s good to know Mota is far more concerned with his personal stat line than whether or not his team wins the game. Ned Yost didn’t seem too pleased about Mota’s stunt either.

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Ben Sheets will lead the Milwaukee Brewers against the hottest team in baseball right now. If the Crew can win this afternoon, it will be an excellent series win and a successful road trip. Who would have thought I would be saying that right now?

  • Eric Gagne expects to be back with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. I’m not so sure he’s ready for game action though. Normally, Ned Yost is one for hyperbole when talking about his injured players. He always says something like, “[Insert name here] is throwing the ball great in the bullpen” or “[Insert name here] is absolutely mashing the ball in BP.” Not with Gage though. Concerning Gagne’s bullpen session, Yost says that Gagne’s fastball control was “decent.” Oh good…
  • Jim Powell has a new post up, and he echoes my concern about Gagne. In fact, he says Gagne’s bullpen session was “just okay.” He had control issues. Why bring him off the DL if he’s not ready?
  • The Junkball Blues has a very interesting look at the Brewers offense. He hypothesizes that a team that walks a lot, hits lots of home runs, and strikes out a lot will have a more consistent offense because they do not rely on luck very much. How so? All three of those categories do not involve the opposing defense at all. It’s an interesting way to look at it, but the result is that Milwaukee needs to walk more. That’s what BN reader Aaron has been saying allllll along.
  • The post of the day goes to Between the Green Pillars. He talks about what the Brewers need to do concerning acquiring another starting pitcher. The article says that Milwaukee would be much better off trading for someone like Rich Harden, Zach Greinke, or Eric Bedard at this point, as all would be under team control beyond this season. I completely agree when BTGP says making a move for C.C. Sabathia would make 2008 an all-or-nothing season. If the Brewers make the playoffs with C.C., it would be a huge success. If they don’t, however, Milwaukee has nothing to show for their troubles. I would much rather have the likes of a Bedard/Harden/Greinke than Sabathia at this point.
  • Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, and he reports that Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn is becoming much more attractive given his recent success. That wouldn’t be a bad move if the price was right.
  • The Brew Town Beat notes that one year ago, the Brewers lost to the Chicago Cubs on that Aramis Ramirez walk-off home run. That marked the downfall of the Milwaukee Brewers last season. This year, however, the Crew started off slow, but has caught fire in June. My how things change.
  • The Huntsville Times has a nice article on OF Michael Brantley and how his father impacted his life in the game of baseball. An interesting part of the article says that Michael is the best player on the Stars ballclub. That’s a bold claim, but he has the entire package.
  • If you haven’t seen the recap of the Dodgers-Angels game from last night, check it out. Jerod Weaver for the Angels combined with Jose Arredondo to no-hit the Dodgers, but still lost the game 1-0. Two errors and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning spelled doom for the Angels. Crazy game.




Round ’em Up: Saturday

28 06 2008

The Crew lost a wild one last night in Minnesota, but they will lace ’em up and take the field again tonight. Let’s hope young Manny Parra can lead Milwaukee to a much-needed win against the scorching hot Twins.

Not to sound cryptic, but I wanted to let you know that there is some big news coming up about BrewersNation. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the specifics, but you will hear the exciting news as soon as I am able to relay that information to you. Stay tuned!

  • All signs pointed towards the Brewers activating Eric Gagne today, but the plans have changed. Gagne will now throw another bullpen session to determine whether or not he is ready to come off the DL and rejoin the Brewers. It is obviously not a coincidence that the plans changed after Gagne struggled mightily in his final rehab outing. Perhaps Milwaukee will leave him on the shelf for a little while longer…just to be sure.
  • FOX Sports has a video where they talk about the Milwaukee Brewers and their chances going forward. There isn’t much for substance, but I thought I would switch it up and include a video in the Round ’em Up today.
  • The Brew Town Beat laments over last night’s loss and Guillermo Mota’s struggles. I know I said it last night, but I will say it again. The pitch Joe Mauer took out of the park was a good pitch. It was a 96 mph fastball above the letters. What else do you want Mota to do? He can’t throw his slider to left-handed hitters, and his change-up is perfect for Mauer to hit to the opposite field like he does so much. The only real option was to take Mauer up the ladder. Unfortunately, Mauer made a great swing. You just have to tip your cap to the young catcher at that point. You cannot blame Mota.
  • Two Fisted Slopper has a list of what’s gone wrong this season. Fortunately, it’s not too much. I think I would include the injuries to Yovani Gallardo and Chris Capuano to that list. If Yo was still in the rotation, the Brewers would not be looking to land C.C. Sabathia right now.
  • Peter Gammons notes that Rickie Weeks has been one of the biggest disappointments of the year in the MLB. Yet, Peter still predicts that Rickie will turn it around and be one of the biggest contributors of the second half. That would be absolutely fantastic if that is true.
  • LHP Mark Mulder is now back in the big leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards activated Mulder for the 15-day DL and placed him in the bullpen to get some work. It will be interesting to see if Mulder still has it after being injured for so long.

That’s about it, folks. As usual, there is not too much going on in the blogosphere over the weekends.

I also got an email last night asking if BrewersNation got rid of the Sunday Harvest feature. The answer is no. I was just out of town last weekend. It will be up and running tomorrow once again. I’m glad to hear people like that feature, as it is one of my favorites.

UPDATE 06-27-08 1:00 pm – Assistant GM Gord Ash says that the Milwaukee Brewers are actively scouring the trade market in search of starting pitching.  I’m not sure if we are to understand that as the team is in the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes, or they are on the trail of someone like Cliff Lee.





Round ’em Up: Friday

27 06 2008

Hi everyone!  After a week-plus off, I’m back in the saddle.  Dan did a great job while I was gone, and I very much appreciate it.  Kudos to you, sir!

Anyway, I have quite a bit of news for you today.  Here we go:

  • As you can all tell by the Minor League Boxscores from yesterday, Eric Gagne struggled quite a bit in his second rehab outing in Nashville.  That’s obviously not something you want to see.  Between the Green Pillars wonders what Ned Yost is going to do with Gagne.  Most likely, Gagne will be a seventh inning guy until he can prove himself capable of pitching in close games.  Either that, or Ned Yost will be stubborn and throw him out in a one-run game in the eighth inning just to prove something to the fans.  I hope its the former.
  • Tom Haudricourt also writes about Gagne’s struggles, but brings up a good point.  Randy Choate has been lights-out in his rehab outings thus far.  The Brewers have a decision to make.  They can put him on waivers and hope he can clear.  Choate would then be sent to Triple-A Nashville.  It seems unlikely that a veteran left-hander would make it through waivers, so the Crew may simply have to promote him to the bigs.  That would mean Mitch Stetter may be saying goodbye to Milwaukee once again.
  • Brew Crew Ball has a poll up about C.C. Sabathia.  Should the Brewers offer up stud prospects for a rental?  37% say the Brewers should trade for Sabathia, but only if no big name prospects were given up.  That’s obviously not going to be possible.  That leaves the 35% who say the Crew should trade for a lesser big name pitcher.  Like who?  Randy Wolf?  Please…
  • Bugs and Cranks lets Brewers fans see how C.C. would look as a Milwaukee Brewer.  I don’t even know what to say about that.  It’s quite hideous, in fact.
  • I wouldn’t be so quick to be so excited about a pending C.C. Sabathia acquisition.  NJ.com is reporting that the Cleveland Indians are attempting to sign the big left-hander to an extension.  This is most likely a token offer, however, as Sabathia has repeatedly stated that he does not wish to talk about his contract mid-season.

    Plus, MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Brewers most likely will not make a major acquisition before the trade deadline.  Starting pitching has been a major strength for the Brewers in the past month or so.  Why fix it if it ain’t broken?  If only it were that simple, right?

  • The Milwaukee JS has a piece up about Salomon Torres.  Where would the Brewers be without their veteran closer?  He’s been one of the most pleasant surprises this season.  I think we all knew Doug Melvin had a steal when he acquired Torres for two no-name prospects during the winter.
  • Here’s a Brewers-Twins series preview from SportsBubbler.com.  I wonder if a young man wrote the article.  I wouldn’t have guessed by the picture atop the article.
  • SportsBubbler also recognizes LHP Zach Braddock as the player of the week.  He must have that “invisi-ball” working once again.  It will be extremely interesting to see how he fairs the rest of the season.  His arm is fragile, so his pitch count will most likely be quite strict throughout the year.  There is also a Vinny Rottino sighting in the Three Up section.
  • Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta have both been invited to play in the the U.S. Futures game.  Congratulations to both of them.  It is much deserved.
  • Battlekow from Brew Crew Ball has been been quite proficient on the Minor League side of the game.  Today, he maps out the performances of some of the top prospects in the Brewers system.  Sure, the ranking is quite arbitrary, but it is still quite interesting to read.
  • Get to know Tim Dillard from the Nashville Sounds.  I now know that if Tim is approached with the option A or B, he will choose C.  Interesting.
  • Recently drafted RHP Trey Watten has been quite impressive in Helena thus far.  He only has two outings, but Trey has managed his nerves quite well in the beginning of his big league career.
  • The Charleston Daily Mail has a nice article on 1B Curt Rindal from the West Virginia Power.  He has struggled with consistency for most of the year, but the young man has heated up quite nicely in June.  Let’s hope he can sustain this production for more than just one month.
  • The Baseball Analysts have a list of the Best Players of Each Decade.  Both Hank Aaron and Robin Yount make the list.  Both very deserving.  Does anyone else from Milwaukee deserve to be mentioned?