Round ’em Up: Sunday

13 07 2008

UPDATE 07-13-08 1:05pm – Take a look at the brawl in the Huntsville Stars game last night!  Also, the error Cole Gillespie has in the highlights is downright embarrassing…(A tip of the cap to Mass Hass at Brewerfan.net for this one)

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(Insert your own witty opening right here.) Let’s jump right into this.

  • Ned Yost says that the defense is drastically improved from last season. He doesn’t want us to look at the number of errors though. That isn’t a realistic representation of the improvement. Yost likes the fact that the outfield has more range than last season. They can get to more balls.Sure, the defense has improved some from last season. It is by no means above-average, however. Bill Hall has a penchant for making the difficult play look easy and botching the routine plays. Ryan Braun may not have an error in left field, but he’s still trying to throw every man out at home and not hitting the cut off man. That allows runners on the basepaths to move up into scoring position after a mere single. Prince Fielder is certainly not above-average at first. The only real improvements are Mike Cameron in center field and Jason Kendall behind the dish. You like how I did that without looking at stats? Ned Yost would be proud.
  • The Brew Town Beat analyzes the trend of the platoon for the Milwaukee Brewers. There is the Bill Hall/Russell Branyan platoon. There is the proposed Dave Bush/Seth McClung platoon. Brew Town suggests a Craig Counsell/Joe Dillon platoon while Rickie Weeks gets sent down to Nashville to work some things out. My guess is Milwaukee is not going to go down that path unless there is a productive trading option – like a Ray Durham.
  • Jon Rauch is receiving a lot of attention on the Trade Market. I would suspect that Milwaukee will or has already kicked the tires. The problem is that Washington is known for trying to screw other teams in a deal. I suspect the asking price will be exorbitant.
  • Battlekow on Brew Crew Ball has a nice overview of the Future’s Game. It actually started about an hour ago, so go check it out on ESPN2. Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta are playing. Check it out.
  • Vinny Rottino and Lindsay Gulin were named to the PCL All-Star team. Rottino has performed better than expected behind the plate. He may be the back-up in Milwaukee next season. Gulin has been one of the only consistent performers in the starting rotation in Nashville. He has been walking too many people lately, but his ERA is still extremely respectable.Luis Pena was a late addition to the All-Star team as well. As it says in The Sunday Harvest, Pena started out horrendously. He’s turned it on lately though. The right-hander will probably be called up to the big leagues in September, if not before.
  • The Hardball Times analyzes the Rich Harden trade. The article takes the position that the Oakland A’s probably got the better end of the deal because they got a surplus of talent that could become everyday players in the bigs.
  • Dugout Central asks who the most disappointing teams in the AL and the NL have been this season. In the AL, I would say the Cleveland Indians have been the most underachieving team. The San Diego Padres take the cake in the National League, in my opinion.
  • The Junkball Blues wonders why the amount of complete games have gone down so dramatically throughout the history of baseball. You can blame strict pitch counts and high salaries for that.
  • Seamheads looks at the Tampa Bay Rays and their attendance. Even though they are having the best season in their history, they just broke the one million mark for attendance. That’s rough for the management. Perhaps they will be moving sometime soon…




Round ’em Up: Saturday

12 07 2008

UPDATE 07-12-08 12:45pm – The big news for BrewersNation is officially going down on Monday.  Be sure to tune in!

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Sorry about the lack of a game wrap last night. We had some bad storms, and I lost my internet connection for the night. High winds knocked down some trees in the area. Nothing too bad though. I made the trek to the library to write the Round ’em Up this morning. You can’t say I’m not dedicated…

Not as bad as last night’s game, at least. The defense was absolutely horrendous, and I’m not including Mike Cameron’s error when he lost the ball in the lights. That happens to everyone a couple times in Miller Park. The errors and wild pitches single handedly cost the Brewers the win last night. Not to mention the fact that Josh Fogg dominated the Crew again. Pitchers that are able to use our aggressiveness against us seem to absolutely dominate us. There were a ridiculous amount of weak pop ups last night.

New day today. New game. Brewers win tonight.

  • Morineko from Brew Crew Ball made an interesting observation about Seth McClung, who will take the hill tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers. The big right-hander seems to put together better starts when he is outdoors. He doesn’t like when Miller Park is closed, and he certainly doesn’t like domes (perhaps this is why he never pitched well in Tampa Bay). I think this is more of a statistical anomaly than anything, but we’ll test the theory tonight.
  • Jim Powell has a Brewers Roundtable posted with himself, Anthony Witrado, and Adam McCalvy. I think he must have listened to the podcast Pete put together and got the idea for himself. If only I were that naive and egotistical.
  • Right Field Bleachers has a great recap of the Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL) situation with the CC Sabathia trade. Will it be Michael Brantley or Taylor Green? This situation will probably not be played out until the end of the minor league season. Perhaps Cleveland is simply trying to see who ends the season on a higher note? Either that, or they are waiting for Brantley to come back from his injured ankle to scout him.
  • Team Wisconsin says the Brewers should ditch the retro uniforms. First, the Brewers never seem to win when wearing them. Agreed. Second, the Brewers organization needs to stop dwelling on something that happened a quarter of a century ago. I actually agree with this point a lot. Let this team create their own image. Let them have their own legacy. Stop tying them down by comparing them to the ’82 Brewers. They will never be the same team, nor should they be.
  • Pete from Brewers Fanatics says Dave Bush is starting to step up for the Brewers. I will wait until he puts together a good start on the road before I sing his praises too loudly. Bush teases me with these gems at home, but he cannot duplicate it on the road.
  • Jonathan Lucroy has done nothing but impress in Brevard County. He came in with high expectations because of his performance down in West Virginia. Needless to say, the young catcher did not disappoint. The article even says his defense has looked pretty good behind the plate. It is not mentioned as much as his offense, so I suspect is not up to par as of yet. He has time though.
  • The Texas Rangers should look to the Milwaukee Brewers as a guide for rebuilding their franchise. At least, that is what the Star Telegram says in a recent article. It’s nice to see Jack Zduriencik, Doug Melvin, and Mark Attanasio get some credit for the fine job they have done in Milwaukee. I have never experienced such Brewers fever since I’ve been alive. (A tip of the cap to Team Wisconsin for that one.)
  • Dugout Central asks which ten prospects have the highest chance of being dealt before the deadline? None of the ten are Brewers prospects, but it’s nice to have an idea of the trade landscape before late July comes along. Or maybe it’s just me that likes to track other teams’ prospects…
  • Jason Bay is one of the hottest names on the trading block this July. He has returned to his All-Star form in Pittsburgh, and other teams are taking notice. Sports Illustrated reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals are seriously interested in the left fielder. I suspect Pittsburgh would much rather trade Xavier Nady, as Bay is under contract through the ’09 season.
  • Speaking of the Pirates, they shipped Craig Wilson to Seattle for a PTBNL. I highly doubt that PTBNL situation is nearly as frustrating and exciting as the one in Milwaukee. They also swapped a couple minor leaguers with Cleveland.
  • The Brew Town Beat is reporting that Ryan Braun has been placed on the 60-day DL. That is, Ryan Z. Braun, the relief pitcher from the Kansas City Royals, is on the DL. Way to make my heart skip a beat.
  • This is not about the Brewers, or baseball even, but most Brewers fans are de facto Packers fans. Chuckie Hacks has a very refreshing perspective on the Brett Favre situation in Green Bay. I completely agree. Favre has handled this situation very poorly and completely expected to be welcomed back to the Packers with open arms. It hurt his pride when the Pack didn’t roll out the red carpet and welcome him back like a mom with her kid who comes home from college. You retired, Brett. The Packers started to build their team around Aaron Rodgers. You kind of threw a big wrench in the gears when you said you wanted to come back.There is one thing lost in the situation. The Green Bay Packers just motivated Brett to succeed this season by playing hard to get. I would not be surprised if Brett goes to Baltimore or Tampa Bay and rejuvenates the team. I’m still telling myself Brett doesn’t have the heart to go to Minnesota.

    I don’t want to start a comment thread about the Packers, but I thought Packers fans needed to read this post by Chuckie Hacks.





Round ’em Up: Thursday

10 07 2008

UPDATE 07-10-08 1:55pm – Ned Yost says Milwaukee has no interest in releasing Guillermo Mota.  Oh good.

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Well, ladies and gentlemen. The Milwaukee Brewers pretended Glendon Rusch was the second coming of CC Sabathia last night. All the Brewers hitters (perhaps with the exception of Bill Hall) looked utterly lost against the left-hander. It’s not like he had an ERA of over 6 and a half coming into the game…

  • Last night, Pete from Brewers Fanatics ran the first installment of The Brewers Blog Roundtable. Jared from Right Field Bleachers and myself took most of the questions, and we have a podcast for you all to listen to. As of right now, the Roundtable is going to be a sort of question-and-answer format. We are very open to making it a live call-in show if the audience is big enough. Until then, I will simply post the podcasts here for you to listen to.

    The first installment is a little rough, as Pete is getting used to the software. It was also our first run at the program, so it will get smoother down the line. It’s a pretty good product for the first try though. Enjoy.

    Brewers Blog Roundtable

  • Tom Haudricourt says enough is enough with Guillermo Mota. He fully expects Mota to be designated for assignment today. I completely agree that he will be DFA’d, but it will probably not come until after today’s game. What if the Crew needs someone to handle mop-up time? Might as well get a few more innings out of Mota before cutting him loose.

    TH thinks Luis Pena will get the call to the big leagues. He struggled with his stuff to start the season, but has really turned it on as of late. Nashville’s closer has a 1.78 ERA in his last 30 1/3 innings. Not bad at all.

    I think that Doug Melvin and Ned Yost will go with big league experience at this point in the season, however. He may not have much, but Tim Dillard showed that he’s capable of handling himself on a big stage. It’s true that he lost his command a bit, but has been throwing the ball much better with the Sounds lately.

  • In-Between Hops believes it may only take a trip to the DL to get Mota back on track. If only things were just that simple…
  • The Brew Town Beat is absolutely ecstatic that Haudricourt is calling for Guillermo Mota’s head. Mota has been exceptionally awful over the past month and a half, and it is about time for Milwaukee to cut their losses and DFA the big guy.

    I also notice that Brew Town mentions me in their post when they criticize people for saying Mota has thrown good pitches like the pitch against Joe Mauer. I don’t shy away from criticism. That was a good pitch, and Mauer simply beat him. The problem is that Mota has not thrown many good pitches since that point. I did not defend him in the least bit against Arizona or last night. It was one game, and I stick by it. With that said, Mota’s time in Milwaukee has drawn to a close.

  • Brew Crew Pub says something is missing from the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers. It is patience and a high on-base percentage. Agreed. I’m not sure Kenny Lofton is the best choice here. I would much rather send Rickie Weeks away from a high OBP second baseman like you’re suggesting. To my knowledge, Huntsville has not tried Alcides Escobar at second base.

    What would I suggest? This is clearly me in a dreamworld, but how about a package that sends Rickie Weeks, Brad Nelson, and Zach Braddock for Brian Roberts and George Sherrill? Both Roberts and Sherrill will be under Milwaukee’s control past the 2008 season, and it would provide the Brewers with a very solid arm in the bullpen and a bona fide lead-off hitter. The package would probably need another prospect though. Perhaps someone like a Alexandre Periard.

  • Ned Yost does not want Ryan Braun to participate in the Home Run Derby. Milwaukee’s manager does not want Braun messing up his swing for the second half. I’m more worried about his sore hand at this point…
  • Between the Green Pillars takes an excellent look at the Manny Parra situation. He is on pace to throw more innings than the Brewers organization originally wanted him to. History has shown that pitchers are at a higher risk for injury if they make a big jump in innings pitched like Parra is on pace to do. The author believes Milwaukee will not hold him back, as the CC Sabathia trade signifies that the team is all in for this season.

    I would agree with that, but I also do not fall in the camp that believes Parra’s innings should be limited this season. Younger pitchers coming out of high school do need to watch their innings, but Parra does not have a young arm. He has been slowed by injuries, yes, but he is not new to throwing on the mound. Older relievers that have never thrown many innings do just fine when stretching out their arms. In my opinion, Parra is certainly capable of going more than 163 innings. If he starts to experience a bit of “dead arm,” then Ned Yost should worry about it.

  • Something tells me that Jason Kendall was a good pick-up this off-season.
  • The Junkball Blues takes a look at what Chicago gave up to get Rich Harden compared to what Milwaukee gave up to get CC Sabathia. He concludes that Harden did cost a bit more than Sabathia, as he should.

    People keep overlooking the fact that Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, and Eric Patterson have all spent time in the big leagues. The Cleveland Indians did not get that from a single player from Milwaukee. Matt LaPorta may fizzle out before getting to the big leagues. After all, Nelson Cruz is still raking in Triple-A…

  • The Cub Reporter says that Rich Harden may not be under Chicago’s control through the 2009 season like everyone believes. That would certainly change the dynamics of the trade completely. (Tip of the cap to Right Field Bleachers for this one.)
  • Dugout Central says that Billy Beane is a dangerous GM to be making a deal with. He never loses a big trade. Most of the pitchers he loses end up fizzling out due to some sort of injury (Mark Mulder) or ineffectiveness (Barry Zito). I don’t know if I agree with the article when it says Tim Hudson has been mostly ineffective for two seasons. I definitely wouldn’t want that 3.16 ERA from this season or that 3.33 ERA from 2007. What a poor performance…




Round ’em Up: Wednesday

9 07 2008

Those are a couple of pictures I got of CC Sabathia during his pre-game warmup. They’re not very big on here, but program I’m using doesn’t let it get much bigger.

The atmosphere inside Miller Park was absolutely electric last night, and the Brewers did not disappoint. The Crew sent the fans home happy with a 7-3 victory over the suddenly hot Colorado Rockies.

In the first inning, Ryan Braun launched a 430′ home run into the left field bleachers. The guy behind me one row and two guys to the left caught the ball. I was about three feet away from getting my glove on it. How awesome would that have been? Oh well. Another day, another time, maybe.

Let’s get into the news.

  • Jim Powell says CC Sabathia delivered in a big way last night. The “Sabathia era” is now in motion, no matter how short of a time it would be. He has some audio from Sabathia himself, Doug Melvin, and the in-game audio from last night. In Sabathia’s post-game comments, he said he was overly excited and tried to overthrow a bunch of his pitches. I agree with that completely. It’s understandable that he was trying to impress the Miller Park crowd that gave him two or three standing ovations before even throwing a pitch.
  • In some other trade news, Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports is reporting that Milwaukee is showing interest in San Francisco’s second baseman Ray Durham and lefty reliever Jack Taschner. Durham makes a lot of sense for the Brewers, as Rickie Weeks is struggling again to find his swing. Taschner, on the other hand, is a little bit of a mystery to me. Mitch Stetter has better stuff than Jack, and Mitch is much younger. I would much rather Doug Melvin target someone like Jon Rauch from Washington. That would also deepen the bullpen past this season.
  • Milwaukee finally signs second-round draft pick RHP Seth Lintz. There was a bit of confusion last month, as a report had been leaked that Lintz had signed with the Crew when he hadn’t. That’s all inconsequential at this point. The young man went 9-0 with a 0.57 ERA in high school down in Tennessee last season. That’s not too bad. He will report to AZL Brewers very soon.
  • Driving home from the game last night, I turned on ESPN radio to see if the Cubs won or lost last night. After learning that they pulled out a win, I found out they traded for Rich Harden from the As. What?! That was quick! Chicago gave up Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and minor-league catcher Josh Donaldson. The Cubs also received reliever Chad Gaudin to ease the load on Carlos Marmol. Not many Brewers fans are going to admit this after the big Sabathia trade, but this move by the Cubs hurts. I really thought they were going to be stuck with A.J. Burnett. By giving up Gallagher, however, their starting pitching depth is extremely thin. They cannot afford for Harden to get injured, and that is obviously no guarantee.
  • I never thought I would write this in 2008, but FOX Sports’ Dayn Perry actually wrote something positive about the NL Central. In fact, he even says good things about the Brewers! I’ll give you a second to catch your breath. He still gives the edge to the Cubs down the stretch, and it is very hard not to. Perry is right about something else, too. This is going to be a fun ride to the end of the season.
  • How did the Brewers react to the Rich Harden acquisition? Exactly as they should. Ned Yost couldn’t care less, and Doug Melvin loves the competition. The article also quotes Mark Attanasio saying that Doug Melvin is going to be looking for another piece before the trade deadline. Don’t get too excited though. Milwaukee simply cannot afford another big-name player. Their payroll is extremely high right now, and their is no room on the roster to add someone.
  • The Brew Town Beat is reporting that MLB.com contributor for Milwaukee said on the radio this morning that the back-end of the rotation will be a platoon once Jeff Suppan returns from the DL. Seth McClung is going to pitch on the road, and Dave Bush will take the ball at home. The statistics would argue that is a perfect solution, but I think McClung should move to the bullpen. It is extremely unlikely they will both be able to stay fresh pitching every 10th day or so. Give the ball to Bush every fifth and move McClung to the ‘pen. His control has improved greatly and could thrive in a late-inning role.
  • In-Between Hops takes a look at the Home Run Derby swing curse. It has long been suspected that the Home Run Derby messes up a player’s swing for the second half. Case and point, Bobby Abreu. This post, however, says it is a myth and gives some convincing statistics to back it up. Let’s hope Ryan Braun doesn’t come back from the All-Star Break trying to hit a home run every at-bat. Prince Fielder already does that.
  • Chuckie Hacks has an update on Derrick Turnbow in case you forgot about him.
  • Dugout Central hands out the mid-season Cy Young awards for both the NL and the AL. The clear-cut favorites are Edinson Volquez for the National League and Cliff Lee for the American League. There are others in the discussion, however. I just don’t understand how the article cannot even mention Ben Sheets in the Cy Young mix. That 10-2 record with a 2.77 ERA not doing it for you? Yes, Volquez has been better, but give Sheets his due. Mention him in the discussion.




Crew falls victim to Sabathia hangover

7 07 2008

It was something I had seen coming all day.

The opening game for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Colorado Rockies was a trap game.  It fell between the exhilarating news that CC Sabathia is coming to Milwaukee and tomorrow evening’s game when Sabathia makes his debut.  All the media outlets, the fans, and probably the players looked past this game.  It was dangerous right from the get-go.

Seth McClung and the Crew didn’t make it seem that way in the first, however.  The big right-hander cruised through the first and looked to have his A-stuff.  The first two Rockies batters struck out, and Seth had tallied four Ks through three innings.

After the first three innings, however, McClung completely lost his command.  The next inning and two-thirds were a downright struggle for the big guy.  He walked five people and forced Ned Yost to pull him before even reaching 90 pitches.  Amazingly enough, the damage wasn’t too bad.  For how poorly Seth threw the ball in the fourth and fifth innings, he only allowed two runs.  The Brewers still had a chance to pull out a win.

Ubaldo Jimenez and the Brewers offense had different thoughts about that, however.  Jimenez hadn’t pitched effectively on the road this entire season until tonight.  The free-swinging Brewers seem to fall victim to those types of pitchers though, don’t they?  Hard throwing right-handers that struggle to find the strike zone tend to fair well against the Crew, as Milwaukee’s young hitters do not enjoy working the count.

They did try early in the game.  Craig Counsell took a lead-off walk, and J.J. Hardy continued his hot hitting with a single up the middle.  Two on and no out in the bottom of the first.  All looked well for the Crew, especially after Seth mowed down the top of Colorado’s order.  That changed quickly after Ryan Braun grounded into a double play.  I know I talk about momentum a lot in these games, but that is a momentum killer.  It allowed Jimenez to get out of the inning without giving up a run when he struck out Corey Hart to end the frame.  The Crew struggled with runners in scoring position early in the game, and struggled to get runners in scoring position late in the game.

Milwaukee showed signs of life in the eighth, however.  Gabe Kapler reached on a fielding error, and Craig Counsell somehow got a pop-up to the catcher to fall for a hit.  J.J. Hardy takes a walk.  The bases are loaded, and the Brewers are down 0-4.  Rally time!

Nope, nevermind.  Ryan Braun steps into the box and smokes a grounder up the middle.  It ricochets of the mound and into the glove of Colorado shortstop Clint Barmes, who turns the double play.  All the wind is knocked out of Brewers fans sails.  That is, until Prince Fielder hit a towering shot to center field to pull within one.  The Crew never got closer.  4-3 Rockies.

On a side note, did anyone else find it annoying how Jimenez successfully picked off the Brewers twice early in the game?  It erased two big base runners and simply frustrated me beyond belief.  The guy made two or three moves towards Braun and Hart at first, yet they both got picked off relatively easily.  I admit Jimenez does have a very quick move, but he is a right-handed pitcher.  It’s not that quick.  Pay attention on the basepaths.

Records: Brewers (49-40); Rockies (38-52)

Hero of the Game: Prince Fielder

It was nice to see Prince get a hold of one in the eighth inning.  It was pretty much the only highlight of the game for the Crew.  Someone does need to talk to Prince about his back foot though.  It slips out on every swing.  That cannot be good for his power.  I do not remember it being that bad last season.  Perhaps that is the reason for his inconsistency in 2008?

Goat of the Game: Ryan Braun

Ryan grounded into two crucial double plays and got picked off of first.  It was a game to forget for Ryan.  Shake it off and have a big day tomorrow, young man.  That is why there is more than one game in a series.

On Tap

CC Sabathia makes his Milwaukee debut tomorrow evening against left-hander Mark Redman.  I will be at the game tomorrow evening, so a game wrap is unlikely.  I’m extremely excited to see the big guy pitch.  I wouldn’t be surprised if CC struggles with his command tomorrow, as he will be amped up.  Hopefully that doesn’t happen though.





Sweep overshadowed by trade winds

6 07 2008

UPDATE 07-06-08 9:37pm – Tom Haudricourt has more information as to who is included in the deal.  Apparently, the deal included four prospects.

Matt LaPorta is still the centerpiece of the deal.  That is a big blow, but the minor league system is stacked full of guys that can hit but don’t have a position.  LaPorta is replaceable.

LHP Zach Jackson will be on his way to Cleveland.  My reaction?  You can have him Cleveland.  Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needs.  Jackson has been terrible since coming to Milwaukee in the Lyle Overbay trade.

RHP Rob Bryson is also included in the deal.  Rob is a bright young prospect who has struggled a bit this season with a 3-2 record and a 4.25 ERA in 22 outings.  Baseball America thinks that Bryson has the stuff to be a closer in a few years, but that is still years away.  This loss doesn’t hurt the system too much, especially with the tons of pitchers drafted this season.

The deal still includes a “player to be named later.”  Most believe this is still Taylor Green.  Haudricourt believes the Indians want to move him to second base and need more time to scout him.  If they deem Green unfit for second base, there will be another player involved in the deal.

Don’t worry, Brewers fans.  Doug Melvin didn’t give up too much to get last year’s AL Cy Young winner.  Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, Angel Salome, Michael Brantley, Brad Nelson, Zach Braddock, Chris Errecart, and Jeremy Jeffress are all safe.  It feels good to say that.

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It was not the prettiest win of the season, but the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Pirates this afternoon with offensive fireworks.

Too bad the win got lost in the news that Doug Melvin and the Brewers just agreed in principle to a deal with the Cleveland Indians that will send C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee for Matt LaPorta and two lower level prospects.

In case you forgot what happened, let me refresh your memory.

After his 16-game hit streak ended last night on a sacrifice bunt, J.J. Hardy started a new streak in a big way this afternoon. In the bottom of the first, the Brewers shortstop snuck one just inside the right field foul poll to start off the scoring. Rickie Weeks started the game off with a walk, so Milwaukee got out to a 2-0 lead quickly.

The lead grew 4-0 after the first once Ryan Braun hit a solo shot, and Bill Hall continued his fine hitting against southpaws with an RBI single that plated Corey Hart.

All looked good for the Crew. That changed in the top of the second when Jeff Suppan gave all four of the runs right back. Soup did not look sharp tonight. The umpire was squeezing him a bit at the bottom of the zone, but that is no excuse for giving up six runs in three innings of work. When your offense spots you four runs in the first inning, you have to maintain that lead and momentum. It appeared to be a long day in the making after the third inning ended.

The bullpen has been taking a lot of heat lately, but the collective group banded together and shut the door on the Pirates for the rest of the game. Ned Yost pulled Soup after three innings and handed the ball to Mitch Stetter, who pitched two scoreless innings and got the win. The ‘pen came through in a big way today, picking up the team after Soup struggled to keep the Pirates off the scoreboard.

Guillermo Mota even looked pretty good. He mixed up his pitches well. The pitch count was quite high for only an inning on the mound, but a scoreless inning should do wonders to help his confidence.

In other news, Ryan Braun is going to be a starter for the NL in the All-Star Game. Congrats, Ryan. You certainly deserve it. You all can also vote for Corey Hart to get the last spot on the squad. Vote, vote, vote!!!

Finally, on to C.C. Sabathia, the newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Man, it feels good to say that.

After thinking it over and reading online threads and whatnot, I could not be more excited about this trade for the Brewers. How often can a team get a bona fide Cy Young-caliber pitcher at the trade deadline and not sacrifice anyone completely integral to the team’s future?

Yes, I understand Matt LaPorta is a rare player, but he is blocked in Milwaukee’s system right now. Not to mention, a prospect is a prospect is a prospect. The young man has not proven a thing yet against major league pitching. He may very well be a star in the big leagues, but there are no guarantees. Best take a proven player when given the chance. That is what C.C. brings to the club. He is a proven winner.

It is unclear who the last two prospects are, but one can assume Taylor Green is one of them. The other may be someone like a John Axford or Alexandre Periard. Either way, I firmly believe Doug Melvin gave away more last season to get Scott Linebrink than he is giving away in the C.C. deal, and Milwaukee is receiving much more in return. The 1-2 punch of Ben Sheets and Sabathia is only rivaled by Dan Haren-Brandon Webb in Arizona. That is a legitimate playoff top of the rotation right there.

Finally, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Milwaukee will not be able to resign Sheets or Sabathia after the season. That could secure 5 draft picks through the first supplemental round. That is a draft where the team can restock the minor leagues. Even if Milwaukee doesn’t make the playoffs this season-which would classify the trade as a failure in my eyes-the team still will benefit from the gluttony of draft picks in the 2009 draft.

If nothing else, this trade has thrust Milwaukee into the national spotlight. It will generate massive revenue at the ticket office. I, for one, have already bought my tickets for Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies. I did not want to miss Sabathia’s debut as a Brewer. There will be more ticket sales, which will result in more money for the team. More money for the team means more money to spend on free agents or on our own players. If the team makes the playoffs, it will only augment the revenue gain.

The deal is looking better and better for the Brewers, and I am seeing the excitement everywhere I look from Brewers fans. Nice job getting the deal done, Doug Melvin. I, of course, will keep you all up-to-date on who Milwaukee is sending to Cleveland when the information becomes available.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Brewers are tied with the Cardinals for the Wild Card lead. Big day for the Crew all around.

Records: Brewers (49-39); Pirates (40-47)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

For now, I will assume J.J. is the hero until proven otherwise. There is no human being on earth that is hotter than J.J. right now. Maybe I should get plunked in the helmet like he did in Arizona. It seems to have helped him…

Goat of the Game: Jeff Suppan

You simply cannot, cannot give back runs after your team spots you four runs in the first inning. A veteran pitcher should know that he had the opportunity to take all the wind out of Pittsburgh’s sails right there, but nope. He wanted to leave after three innings instead. If he didn’t have a big contract in his pocket, Soup may be heading to the ‘pen now that Sabathia is on the team.

On Tap

RHP Seth McClung will take on LHP Ubaldo Jimenez at 7:05pm CT at Miller Park tomorrow. The Crew will look to stretch the winning streak to four games, and Seth will try to prove he belongs in the starting rotation. It could be a mini-audition for the big man now that Sabathia is in the rotation.





Round ’em Up: Thursday

3 07 2008

Let’s get down to business and see what’s going on in the blogosphere.

  • The site had been predicting Ryan Braun’s day off for a couple days now.  Yost seems to think it could be his hand, but his plate discipline has been especially terrible lately.  Taking a few pitches wouldn’t hurt him.  I think he may be sitting this afternoon as well, as Yost hopes a little time off will help Braun clear his head a bit.
  • Brew Crew Pub has a game wrap from yesterday’s game.  Aaron does make a great point about Brian Shouse.  The veteran southpaw came in the game in a tight spot last night in the seventh, but he once again helped the Brewers escape unscathed.  In a tough spot, there is no one else – besides Salomon Torres – that I would like to see on the mound.
  • TheJay from Brew Crew Ball analyzes the road/home split of the Brewers offense against relief pitchers.  Milwaukee is not especially stellar against relievers as a whole, but they struggle mightily on the road.  I don’t have any stats to back this up, as I have not analyzed this thoroughly, but it seems that Milwaukee hitters are incredibly impatient against relievers.  Even more so than against starters, if that is possible.  Needless to say, that may have to change.
  • Al’s Ramblings notes that Peter Gammons said on the air that Milwaukee will not trade two of the Huntsville 5.  That means a trade package will not include two of Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, Michael Brantley, and Alcides Escobar.  What’s crazy is that Huntsville still has Cole Gillespie and Chris Errecart in the starting lineup.  Double-A is stacked.
  • Some are starting to think that Guillermo Mota is tipping his pitches.  I personally think that is a lame excuse.  Every time a pitcher struggles, he does not have to be tipping his pitches.  I do think Eric Gagne was doing so, but not Guillermo.  Perhaps he could actually throw his change-up, so hitters are able to sit on the fastball.  He does not throw his slider for strikes.  Therefore, hitters sit on the fastball.  He’s not tipping his pitches…
  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro says that the Indians are clearly sellers at this point in the season.  That means the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes are about to begin.
  • Speaking of C.C. Sabathia, ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox are not going to be serious players in acquiring last year’s Cy Young winner.  That means the front-runners will be Milwaukee and Philadelphia.  Some say that the Angels will be players, but I believe they are looking for offense.  Apparently, they covet Matt Holliday.
  • Eli’s MLB Rumors says the St. Louis Cardinals are also after Matt Holliday.  Eli did not provide a link, however, so I am unsure if there is any truth to that.
  • SportsBubbler has this week’s Prospect of the Week, OF Caleb Gindl.  The young outfielder has really turned it on over the past month in West Virginia.  Add Caleb to the glut of quality outfield prospects in Milwaukee’s system.
  • Mound Talk has a new ranking of the Top 50 Prospects.  The Brewers have four players that make the list: Matt LaPorta (who is #2), Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, and Jeremy Jeffress.  Not bad at all.
  • Fan Graphs says Jeremy Jeffress is something special.  Tell us something we don’t know already.
  • Do you remember Grant Balfour?  He made a brief appearance for Milwaukee last season before being traded for Seth McClung.  Last night, Balfour pitched the ninth against the Boston Red Sox for a save.  Balfour has always had great stuff, but he hasn’t been able to harness it.  Hopefully this is the beginning to a great career for Grant.