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.

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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.





Round ’em Up: Monday

7 07 2008

UPDATE 07-07-08 3:14 pm How about a few more afternoon reads?

  • Corey Hart has a small lead in the All-Star Game final vote.  Keep voting for Corey!
  • Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com breaks down the prospects Milwaukee gave up to land CC Sabathia – I guess there are no periods between the ‘C’s. I just learned that. Sorry, CC.
  • Jim Molony from MLB.com says the Sabathia will cause a ripple effect as we near the trade deadline. The Wild Card almost certainly will come from the NL Central, with the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs fighting over the division lead. It may cause some teams that were sitting on the fence to become sellers before July 31st.Molony also says the Cubs are taking this Sabathia deal very seriously. The team has almost been forced to make a move for a starting pitcher. Does Chicago’s farm system have the prospects needed, however? Unless they include big league talent, I believe it does not. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are now firmly in the market for the likes of Matt Herges and Brian Fuentes. I doubt one of those two will make the difference down the stretch, but the Cards now know they have to get another player.
  • J.J. Hardy has been named the National League Player of the Week for last week. Is there anyone else it possibly could have been? There is not a human being that is hotter than Hardy right now.
  • This CC Sabathia trade has already boosted ticket sales for the Crew. This morning the team sold 10,000 individual tickets to games at Miller Park for the rest of the season. Normally, Milwaukee sells 500 tickets each morning on the phone.3,000 tickets have been bought for tomorrow night’s game already. Sabathia will get his first start as a Milwaukee Brewers, and everyone wants to be a witness to it. Hell, I already bought my tickets to the game. I’m driving from Appleton to be a part of it. Say hello to higher revenues Mark Attanasio. Say hello to a higher payroll Milwaukee.

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Well…naturally, there is a whole lotta news out there today. So let’s get to it.

  • In case you have not heard, C.C. Sabathia is now a Milwaukee Brewer. Doug Melvin has agreed to send OF Matt Laporta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson, and a player to be named later. How did Melvin convince Cleveland that Zach Jackson had positive trade value?
  • A press conference happened today. Doug Melvin said the much improved play of the team really sparked the deal. He also mentioned that if fans were not coming out to the ballpark in record numbers, this trade would not have happened. That shows what a dedicated fan base can do for a team. Keep going to the ballpark everyone! It does make a difference.
  • On to something I am quite concerned about. Cleveland.com is saying the Player to be Named Later may not be 3B Taylor Green. If it was going to be someone not as good, the deal would become an absolute steal. That may not be the case, however. The blog is saying CF Michael Brantley may be the last player involved in the deal. Let me say, please no. Brantley has quickly become one of my favorite prospects, and I believe he’s more valuable than LaPorta down on the farm because he is good at everything. With Grady Sizemore in center, Brantley probably doesn’t fit with Cleveland, but I can understand why they want him included in the deal. I just hope the rumor is not true, as I would then think Doug Melvin got swindled in this deal. Yes, one prospect can make that big of a deal in the power balance of a trade.
  • Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports says that the Dodgers made a strong push to try to get Sabathia and Casey Blake. That would have been a blockbuster trade. They have shifted their gears to Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson. The New York Yankees were also heavily involved, which is news to me.
  • In a different update, Ken Rosenthal discusses the power shift in today’s game. Prospects are power. Small and mid-market teams can compete with big-market teams if they handle their prospects properly. Rosenthal says the Dodgers may have a better farm system than the Brewers, but they are too afraid to trade prospects for big league talent. He argues the Dodgers could be a much better team if they employed the strategy Milwaukee did this week. It’s not all about money anymore.
  • The Chicago-Sun Times says that the Chicago Cubs are now pushing hard for Rich Harden from the Oakland A’s. I’m not sure Chicago has the pieces to get this done. A.J. Burnett is probably a better fit for them, as they could move Ronny Cedeno to Toronto. I cannot help but think Milwaukee just forced Chicago’s hand on this one.
  • The New York Times blog says that Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers are not done before the trade deadline. Joel Sherman brings up a few names: George Sherrill, B.J. Ryan, and the most interesting Joakim Soria from the Royals.
  • WaitingForNextYear is wondering how much this trade will affect the Cleveland Indians in the next few years. How long will it be before they are next in contention? If Matt LaPorta can provide some offensive fireworks in 2009, they may have the tools to rebuild faster than people believe.
  • Take a look at C.C. Sabathia’s home page. He looks pretty good in a Brewers uniform, yes? (A tip of the cap to Chuckie Hacks for that one.)
  • Lost in the shuffle of the Sabathia news, Brew Crew Pub has a series preview of the Brewers-Rockies series starting tonight.
  • Both The Junkball Blues and Between the Green Pillars have a lot of reservations about the package Milwaukee gave up to Cleveland. If Taylor Green is the other player, the package is probably about the best possible scenario for the Brewers. If Michael Brantley will be included in the deal, Milwaukee gave up too much in the deal.
  • The Yost Infection says “Yes Please” to the Sabathia deal.
  • In-Between Hops says the Brewers strategy of drafting the best available player in the draft made this deal possible. If Milwaukee wouldn’t have drafted Matt LaPorta because they were worried about Prince Fielder blocking him, the team wouldn’t have been in position to make this deal. As all Brewers fans now, Jack Zduriencik knows what he’s doing.
  • Right Field Bleachers is looking forward to the playoffs, where C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets will be an unbelievable 1-2 punch in a five or seven-game series.
  • The Brew Town Beat writes that the Cardinals and Cubs are now absolutely terrified the Brewers are going to catch them now. My guess is that the Cards are not terrified, as Milwaukee tied them after yesterday’s win, but both teams now realize that Milwaukee is a legitimate contender. Both teams may have just been forced to make a deal they didn’t want to make.
  • Chuckie Hacks believes the Milwaukee Brewers just grew up last night. They have graduated from AAAA ball to the big leagues. I’m not sure I would go that far, but I understand the analogy.
  • Two Fisted Slopper wishes the Brewers would have not had to have traded Matt LaPorta. I understand, but sometimes a deal just has to get done so the Brewers can get to the post-season.
  • Team Wisconsin has given Milwaukee a spot in the playoffs now. They also say that Seth McClung will be the odd-man out in the rotation. Could he even be traded? I doubt it, as Doug Melvin believes the team can never have enough pitching. After Spring Training, I completely agree with that. (Hat tip to Right Field Bleachers)
  • Brewers Bar says the Crew gave up a lot to get the deal finalized, but Brew Town should celebrate now that Sabathia is coming to town.
  • Brewers Fanatics believes Sabathia could actually make a difference at the plate as well. He is a career .300 hitter in 40 at-bats. Unfortunately, I don’t think that means anything, but it’s nice to think about.
  • The Bucky Channel wants to run up and down the streets to celebrate the trade, as do the majority of Brewers fans.




Brewers come from behind to bite the D’Backs

2 07 2008

Milwaukee has secured at least a split in the road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The way almost all of the major leagues has played on the road this season, that is a victory in itself.  When you consider Brandon Webb will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon, the magnitude of this win is augmented greatly.

In one of the brightest stories of the 2008 season thus far for the Milwaukee Brewers, Seth McClung continued to impress on the mound as a starter.  I will be the first to admit that he did not have his A-stuff tonight.  The big guy may not have even had his B-stuff, but he battled and scraped together 5.1 innings while only giving up two runs.  The main thing: He gave the Crew a chance to win the game.  That’s what a starting pitcher must do.

Finishing with six strikeouts and only one walk, Seth excited the game in the sixth inning.  He scattered 8 hits and limited the damage.  Five of those hits, however, came in the first two innings.  His fastball had lots of life this evening, and McClung was dialing it up on the radar gun.  The big right-hander kept the team in the game and gave them a chance for a comeback.

And come back they did.

After Mike Cameron laced a two-out double in the seventh inning, Ned Yost called on Rickie Weeks to pinch hit.  Rickie has been out with a stomach virus the past two games, so it was a risky call on the part of the skipper.  Beware of the weary, however.  Weeks absolutely crushed an 0-2 pitch out of the park to left field.  3-2 Brewers.

The lead was short-lived though.  David Riske – who did throw more than fastballs today, by the way – gave up a first pitch bomb to Justin Upton.  It was almost a carbon copy of the Weeks home run.  3-3 Brewers.

For all the flak Mike Cameron has been getting from Brewers fans the past couple weeks, he came through in a big way tonight.  After Russell Branyan led off the inning with a single that ricocheted off Arizona first-baseman Mike Reynolds, Cam fought off a couple tough pitches before depositing the eventual game-winning single to left-center field.  That’s clutch hitting from the veteran center fielder.  That is why Doug Melvin signed him in the off-season.

Salomon Torres converted his 14th save after Branyan tagged third and threw a bullet to first base to end the game on a double play.  It was a big play by Russell, as Salomon worked himself in a spot of trouble after Orlando Hudson led off with a single and got to second after a deep fly ball to left.  All was for naught, however, as the Crew pulled out another one-run victory.

A couple other things to note after tonight’s game.  Did anyone else think that Stephen Drew’s cleat shot to Jason Kendall in the eighth was a cheap shot?  I understand he was trying to knock the ball loose from Kendall’s glove, but he risked seriously injuring Milwaukee’s catcher by spiking him in the gut.  I thought Kendall showed his true veteran mentality when he simply walked away from the situation.  Whether or not the Brewers catcher pursued the matter, I’m a little surprised a fine player like Stephen Drew would do that.  It was in the heat of the moment, but those metal spikes are no joke.

Joe Dillon pinch hit this evening and continued his fine approach at the plate.  He hit an absolute rocket out into deep left-center.  It looked to have a chance to get out of the park.  It certainly was going to give Milwaukee some insurance on the scoreboard.  That is, until Chris Young came out of nowhere to make a spectacular play, jumping into the wall and hanging on to the ball.  Fine play, Mr. Young.

Big Prince Fielder is still struggling at the plate.  He is going to very much welcome a little home cooking starting this weekend.  I’m not so sure Miller Park is going to help much unless he changes his approach at the plate, however.  He has a natural upper cut on his swing, which is why he hits so many home runs.  The upper cut is so pronounced right now though, that it is getting to Jim Edmonds territory right now.  Flatten out the swing, big boy.  That and don’t try to hit every ball out of the park.  That may help too.

This may be jinxing him, but J.J. Hardy continued his hit streak.  It is now at 14 games after a 2-4 performance with a clutch RBI in the sixth inning to start off the scoring for the Crew.  His bat is staying through the hitting area much longer right now, and he’s naturally getting better wood on the ball as a result.  That two-spot fits J.J. well, I think.

I have been unable to confirm this, but Arizona commentator Darron Sutton apparently said there is a deal going on between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers.  I did find it a little strange that Doug Melvin and Gord Ash have been attending this series, but there has been no confirmation.  The words were that the deal was going to come through “very, very soon.”

The only thing I can think of is a little help in the bullpen.  Arizona has some expendable arms with the likes of Tony Pena, Juan Cruz, and Chad Qualls.  They would almost certainly be looking for a bat in return.  Could Mike Cameron find himself on a plane to Arizona soon?  It could make some sense, as Gabe Kapler has been terrific.  Perhaps Gabe is the one in question.  Or perhaps this is completely unsubstantiated and nothing will happen.  Only time will tell.

Records: Brewers (46-38); Diamondbacks (42-43)

Hero of the Game: Mike Cameron

Mike came through today in a big way at the plate.  He almost hit one out of the park in the second inning, but it hit a little too far down on the trademark.  That at-bat was a sign of things to come for Mike, as he finished the game going 2-4 with two huge RBI.  His single in the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game.  This is the type of player Mike Cameron can be on a daily basis.  Hopefully he can get on a hot streak sometime soon.

Goat of the Game: Prince Fielder

I understand Prince is an incredibly streaky hitter, but that swing needs to get a little flatter.  The plate discipline needs to improve.  He’s far too talented to fall into huge funks like he has this season.  Prince sorely needs to see Miller Park again.

On Tap

Manny Parra will take on Brandon Webb tomorrow afternoon in the series finale.  Parra has looked much better on the mound lately, and he’ll have to pitch effectively for Milwaukee to stand a chance against the fantastic Brandon Webb.





Home runs cannot push Crew past Twins

27 06 2008

The offense did it’s part, but it wasn’t enough.

Corey Hart’s two homers were not enough to overcome Minnesota’s seven runs.  J.J. Hardy confused everyone watching by socking a two-run home run to the opposite field.  A monster blast by Russell Branyan was not enough.  The 12 hits pounded out by the Crew were not enough to pull out the ‘W’ tonight.

A long story short…one cannot blame Milwaukee’s offense for losing tonight’s game against the Twins.  Even Rickie Weeks continues to swing a pretty good bat since coming off the DL this week.  It may just be me, but Rickie always seems to rake after coming off an injury.  Just an observation.

The infallible Seth McClung came down to earth a bit this evening, struggling through 4.2 innings and giving up five runs.  Minnesota managed nine hits off the big right-hander.  Seth simply didn’t have his ‘A’ stuff tonight.  Heck, he didn’t even have his ‘C’ stuff.  After the bunch of fine performances in the past couple weeks, however, I am more than willing to look past this start.

Seth’s control was spotty at best today, as he found far too much of the plate far too often.  He seemed a little reluctant to throw the curveball this evening, and the Twins hitters jumped on his fastball.  The big man put together a poor outing in every sense, and he will look to rebound next week.  Let’s hope he does in a big way.  The rotation has begun to rely on Seth at the back-end.  If he begins to lose his command, the Brewers may seriously begin to push the C.C. Sabathia envelope.

With a tie game, Ned Yost turned to Guillermo Mota to preserve the 6-6 tie.  Mota has been struggling over the past month, but he looked to be throwing the ball quite well tonight.  Even Joe Mauer’s go-ahead solo shot was a 96 mph fastball at his shoulders.  That is not a location mistake.  A pitcher cannot do anything but tip his cap to the hitter at that point.  It was a good pitch.  Mota couldn’t go to the slider on an 0-2 count to a lefty.  If he hung it, it was gone.  He and Kendall made the right decision, and Mota threw it where Kendall wanted it.  Joe Mauer simply connected.  Ballgame.

The Brewers made it interesting in the top of the ninth against closer Joe Nathan, but were unable to capitalize.  Prince Fielder was up at the plate with runners and first and second.  A grounder to first base ended the threat, however.  Fielder is still over-aggressive when he has the chance to win the game in the ninth.  He needs to relax more at the plate.  Maturity will help alleviate that tension though.  It will come.

Records: Brewers (43-36); Twins (44-36)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

I know Corey Hart hit two home runs today, but J.J. did something I never thought I would see again.  He drove the ball with authority to the opposite field and hit a home run.  The Brewers shortstop went 2-5 in the two-hole in the lineup.  He has continued to look pretty good since being moved to the two spot.  If Hardy can consistently drive the ball to right field with authority, pitchers will have to pitch him inside again.  Brewers fans should know what Hardy can do with an inside fastball.  His scorching start to the 2007 season should be an indicator of that.  He mashes the inside fastball.

Goat of the Game: Seth McClung

This award cannot go to Guillermo Mota tonight.  He did not throw a bad 0-2 pitch to Joe Mauer.  It was shoulder-high and at 96 mph.  What more can you ask for from Guillermo?  The all-star catcher simply deposited his strikeout pitch over center field.

Seth McClung, on the other hand, had a terrible outing.  The big right-hander was unable to preserve any lead Milwaukee had over Minnesota, and it eventually came back to bite the Crew.  I look forward to next week when fans can see how he responds to this start.  He’s done nothing but impress thus far, so I suspect that will continue next week.

On Tap

Rookie left-hander Manny Parra will battle veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez tomorrow night in Minneapolis.  The game will start at 6:10pm CT.  Manny looks to rebound from a below-average start, but it will not be an easy task against the surging Twins.  Control will be key for Manny tomorrow evening.





Round ’em Up: Monday

16 06 2008

Unfortunately, I had to move to a new place yesterday, so I was unable to watch the game. It is pretty hard to give analysis of the game without watching it. The last thing I want to do is patronize you all with secondhand commentary.

Here are a couple game wraps for you – SportsBubblerMilwaukee JS.

Today’s Round ’em Up will be much better than yesterday’s. There is much more for you all to read, as the work week started. Let’s take a look:

  • The bullpen looks to be getting some help with the return of David Riske next week, but Eric Gagne could be coming back in a few weeks. He threw his first bullpen session since being injured. It’s not much, but it is a start. Salomon Torres appears to have the closer’s role secured upon Gagne’s return, but Eric will be a very valuable part of the middle relief squad.
  • Perhaps the best story of the year has been the success of Seth McClung in the starting rotation. After another very solid start yesterday, Brew Crew Ball analyzes the release point and movement of McClung’s pitches. Both have been much, much more consistent since he’s switched to the starting rotation. That mysterious “mechanical fix” has worked wonders for the big right-hander. He’s throwing much more over-the-top, which makes his curveball very much like that of Ben Sheets.
  • Speaking of David Riske and his imminent return, The Brew Town Beat hopes Doug Melvin and Ned Yost will send down Julian Tavarez rather than Mark DiFelice. I understand the reasoning, but Ned’s preference for gritty veterans will help Tavarez stick in the bigs. DiFelice would have more upside, however.
  • The Brew Town Beat also says that Brewers fans should give Lyle Overbay a huge standing ovation upon his return to Milwaukee tomorrow. I completely agree. Let’s not be like Cubs fans. Lyle gave the Brewers many good years, and he deserves to be congratulated for it. Brewers fans proved they are classy when giving Randy Johnson a standing ovation after moving into second in the career strikeout list. They should give that same respect to one of their own, Lyle Overbay.
  • Brew Crew Pub takes a look at the situations at third base and in center field. I agree that Russell Branyan has done nothing but prove he deserves more playing time. His defense has been better than anyone thought, as well. In center field, I’m not sure what should happen. There are arguments for both Mike Cameron and Tony Gwynn Jr. I will have to think about this a little more before coming up with a conclusion.
  • Brew Crew Ball interviewed RHP Garrett Sherrill, the Brewers’ 12th-round pick from Appalachian State University.
  • Brewerfan.net has their Farm Hops for May 2008. It’s a little late, but it has a great overview of the whole system. It even takes a look at a couple of the players the players drafted in the MLB First Year Player draft. They particularly like Jake Orodizzi with the sandwich pick. He’s compared to Will Inman, which cannot be anything but positive.
  • Fire Ned Yost is quite concerned with the Helena Brewers. Yost’s son, Ned IV is now the manager. Oh goodness…
  • There were a couple promotions yesterday in the minor leagues!LHP Chris Cody has been promoted to Brevard County.
    C Jonathan Lucroy has also been promoted to Brevard County.

    Congratulations to both players. They both were a bit old to be playing in West Virginia, so this promotion was a long-time coming.

UPDATE 06-16-08 – Jeff Sackmann from Brew Crew Ball is done with Tom Haudricourt and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

I agree with the sentiment that Haudricourt and Witrado can be snippy at times, but the Milwaukee JS still has incredible ties to the Brewers organization.  They can get information that no one else can.

I’m not willing to sever ties with the Milwaukee JS at this time.  I may change my mind if the trend continues, however.  His comments to Mass Hass at Brewerfan.net were inexcusable.  Mass Hass is a fantastic resource and extremely credible.  Tom Haudricourt was out of line.