Round ’em Up: Sunday

6 07 2008

UPDATE 07-06-08 6:05pm – Tom Haudricourt says the deal is done. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians have agreed on a deal to send C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers. The word is the package is Matt LaPorta and two-lower level prospects. It does not include Lorenzo Cain, as he has been sent to class-AA to fill the void left by LaPorta.

Welcome to Milwaukee, Mr. Sabathia.

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UPDATE 07-06-08 3:38 pmThe first reports of the deal being finalized.

Castrovance is a beat reporter for the Indians for MLB.com. It may have some good credibility.

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Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers no doubt partied a little bit last night, celebrating their walk-off victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s hope the team doesn’t come out and lay an egg against Zach Duke today. Am I the only one that feels like we’ve faced the exact same pitcher three days in a row now?

  • Over at Brew Crew Ball, roguejim posts an article that says Milwaukee is interested in doing a Greg Maddux for Tony Gwynn Jr. swap. His numbers are average and would probably inflate away from the pitcher-friendly park down in San Diego. This says nothing about his full no-trade clause, however. Even if the teams agree, Maddux can veto the trade. With his brother in Milwaukee, he probably would not knock it down though.
  • The Brew Town Beat addresses this Maddux deal and hopes Doug Melvin gets it done, as well as the C.C. Sabathia deal. I really don’t think Maddux is an upgrade over any of our pitchers though. At least, not a big enough difference to warrant giving away TGJ for a rental. Is Maddux really that much better than Dave Bush? My gut reaction is to say yes, just because Bush is painful to watch sometimes, but Bush has the potential to do what he did last night quite often. Seth McClung has been very solid in the back-end of the rotation. Do we really need Maddux and Sabathia? My guess is that Melvin is kicking the tires in case the Sabathia deal falls through.
  • Jim Powell talks about the Sabathia trade rumors. He says that Taylor Green is better than most people are giving him credit for. Powell also makes a good argument that Yovani Gallardo’s injury probably cost us Matt LaPorta and Green if this deal gets done. If Yo hadn’t gotten injured, Milwaukee most likely would not be searching for a high-priced starter right now. Ah, what if’s.
  • Over at Let’s Go Tribe, many fans are hoping Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro can get both Matt LaPorta and Alcides Escobar in the deal. I think if they add Rafael Perez to the deal, they might have a shot at the two blue-chip prospects. It’s always interesting to see what other teams feel their players are worth. Naturally, some think C.C. Sabathia should garner the team some obnoxious bounty, but that is unlikely to happen.
  • Some have speculated that Tampa Bay is a major player in the Sabathia sweepstakes. That now seems unlikely, as they are preparing to put forth a competitive offer for Brian Fuentes from Colorado. It will take one solid piece for them to get the Colorado closer, and everyone knows Tampa’s farm system is stacked. The Rays won’t have much competition if they truly want Fuentes.
  • THonline.com has an article on Nic Ungs from the Huntsville Stars. He lost his mother to cancer recently, which has given him extra motivation when on the mound. The right-hander has pitched brilliantly in Huntsville the last couple weeks after struggling with Nashville to start the season.
  • Bill Chuck from Baseball Digest Daily gives out his mid-season awards. Nobody from the Crew makes the list, but Ben Sheets gets an honorable mention for the NL Cy Young. It will be interesting to see if Edinson Volquez can keep up his unbelievable season. That Volquez/Hamilton deal this off-season has worked pretty well for both teams, no?
  • Again away from Milwaukee, the Seattle Mariners are trying to prove that a managerial change mid-season does not spell disaster for the team. They have gone 10-5 since the switch, and their once-inept offense is now producing. Don’t look for that to last, however.
  • Chipper Jones has been struggling at the plate as of late. As you can see by the probability chart, his odds of hitting .400 for the season is the lowest it has been for a couple weeks. Perhaps he should just get his average over the .400 mark then get injured and shelved on the DL for the season. That would cement it.




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.





Round ’em Up: Wednesday

14 05 2008

Three wins in a row!  It’s funny how momentum can change for a team once they return home.  Carlos Villanueva upped the quality start streak to four games.  Manny Parra looks to continue that tonight.  That would mean, of course, that Ned has to let him pitch through the sixth inning.  Heaven forbid…

I hope you all like Dan Wiersema’s recap of yesterday’s game against the Dodgers.  Dan is now an official contributor to BrewersNation.  I had some reservations about opening my site to another blogger, but the time commitment proved too much for me.  Dan is a great writer, and I’m excited to have him working on BrewersNation with me.  His addition will help keep a constant flow of information and posts heading your way.  No more dead-time when I cannot make it to the computer for a couple days.  Anyway, let’s take a look at the news for today.

Post of the Day

SI.com follows the young Milwaukee Brewers on their recent road trip.  It captures many behind-the-scenes moments that fans normally are unaware of.  I did not realize that J.J. Hardy is such a good ping-pong player.  I also do not understand why the first picture I see when reading the article has Bob Uecker standing in the background with very short shorts.  Questionable choice in photography right there.

  • In a surprise move by Ned Yost, Eric Gagne returned to the closer’s role last night.  It certainly wasn’t pretty, but he got Juan Pierre to pop out to short to end the game.  Jim Powell has an interview with Gagne after the game.  The relief and happiness in Eric’s voice is evident.
  • In that same vein, David Pinto from Baseball Musings believes that Eric Gagne must have been tipping his pitches.  Nobody has offered any concrete evidence for this, but Yost’s comments do seem to imply that Gagne was doing just that.
  • Michael Hunt from the Milwaukee JS says that hitting is contagious.  I was not aware.  I wonder if winning is too…  Perhaps not hitting worth a darn is contagious?
  • Chris Capuano is going to have his second Tommy John surgery.  Unfortunately, I do not see Cappy being able to come off of this surgery and be anything other than a situational lefty.  His velocity will most likely decrease, and it was not overpowering to begin with.  Then again, it would be impressive if Cappy can bounce back at all.  Tommy John is not a pleasant surgery.  Good luck, Chris!
  • Speaking of surgery, Yovani Gallardo had a very successful operation Tuesday morning.  Here’s to hoping that Milwaukee does not rush Yo back to the mound.  He needs to be 100% next season after Ben Sheets has most likely moved on to another team.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers’ farm system and Brevard County will be getting a very welcome addition tomorrow night.  Jeremy Jeffress has served his 50-game suspension for marijuana use and is scheduled to pitch Thursday night for Brevard County.  I suspect that Jeremy will be out on that mound with something to prove to everyone.  He will have a fantastic season, as he will try to silent all of his critics and doubters.  Unfortunately, all that adrenaline will be difficult to harness tomorrow night.  He may struggle with his command tomorrow, but Jeremy will have a great season.
  • The Baseball Analysts examine NL players that are trying to avoid the sophomore jinx.  Ryan Braun is the first on the list.  He’s been heating up lately at the plate, to the tune of six extra-base hits in the past three games.  His walk rate has dropped to 4.9%, which is so bad it’s almost stupid.  Plate discipline is something Ryan needs to work on very hard.
  • In one of the most interesting posts of the day, The Brew Town Beat suggests that the Brewers should offer Tony Gwynn Jr. to San Diego for Greg Maddux.  It is a very intriguing idea, as Greg would presumably waive his no-trade clause for Milwaukee to work with his brother, Mike Maddux.  With that said, the Brewers pitching staff may be coming around at the right time.  Doug Melvin is not one to fix something that isn’t broken.  That, and the Brewers would need to ask for more than Maddux for Tony Gwynn Jr.  The young center fielder has more value than Maddux because of his upside.  As of right now, I would say no to the trade.  If Greg is struggling in the best pitcher’s park in the majors, how will he do at Miller Park?
  • Gabe Gross scored another game winning run last night for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Dan pointed out to me that it is very uncommon for a player to get mobbed heroically by two separate teams in a single season.  I do not know how often that has happened in the past 10 years or so, but my guess is not many.
  • Eric Farris, the number one rated second baseman in the minors for Milwaukee, made his debut for West Virginia on Tuesday.  He spent time in extended Spring Training rehabbing a tweaked left hamstring.  I am extremely interested as to how Eric will perform this season in West Virginia.  The Brewers do not have many intriguing internal options at second base.  I would not be surprised to see Jack Z draft a second baseman in the first few rounds.
  • Speaking of the draft, John Sickels touches on some of the best high school hitters that will be available in this years draft.
  • This is not Brewers related, but The Hardball Times examines what makes a curveball effective.  The graphs really help elucidate why a good curveball is almost impossible to hit.
  • Jim Edmonds is almost certainly going to sign with the Chicago Cubs in the coming days.  Cubs fans really, really do not like this move.  I cannot understand why.  His sub-.200 batting average helps the Milwaukee Brewers a lot.  I like this move for the Brewers Cubs.




Round ’em Up: Monday

12 05 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers won one for the mothers in the stands yesterday.  Ryan Braun looked to have enjoyed using those pink bats.  Let’s hope they can pull out a series win today against the Cardinals!

  • For more on yesterday’s win, here’s the Milwaukee JS article.
  • Yovani Gallardo will have surgery tomorrow morning.  The team sought second and third opinions on the injury.  Apparently, the team wanted Yo to avoid having the surgery if possible.  That would have been foolish on the team’s part, in my opinion.  You do not take chances with your young ace.
  • Between the Green Pillars discusses the “dreaded Closer By Committee” now happening in Milwaukee.  Ryan seems to believe that the Brewers do not have someone that can consistently be the closer, as he wishes the team would acquire one elsewhere.  Give Guillermo Mota and David Riske a shot before we go giving players away for a closer.  Plus, there is not a quality closer available right now.  Huston Street is struggling, and the only other worthwhile closer would be George Sherrill in Baltimore.  Not impressed?  Me neither.
  • Al’s Ramblings notes that a starter has not been announced for Thursday’s game.  Perhaps this signifies that Seth McClung will get an opportunity to get a spot start for the Crew.  That would be interesting, even though it would not be my first choice.  It may be a long shot, but Thursday would also be near-regular rest for Mark DiFelice.  He’s put up a 3.91 ERA in Nashville thus far.
  • The Brew Town Beat has some suggestions for the Brewers offense.  They like my idea of a Bill Hall/Russell Branyan platoon.  They also suggest that Tony Gwynn Jr. should get more at bats in lieu of Mike Cameron.  Sure, Cameron has not lit the world on fire with his start for Milwaukee, but no one expected him to hit .300.  Mike is someone that can give you 20/20 stats, but will only hit about .240 with lots of strikeouts.  Those who thought Milwaukee was getting something else is either naive, or didn’t know much about Cameron as a player.
  • Also from The Brew Town Beat…they are wondering if Eric Gagne is tipping his pitches.  After Ned Yost’s cryptic comments the other day, I began to think the same thing.  Brew Town makes a very convincing argument.  If that is the case, Eric should be able to get back on track fairly easily.
  • In-Between Hops says that Prince Fielder is not performing as well because of his vegetarian diet.  Either that or he is trying to hit every pitch 500 feet.  I’m tired of the vegetarian talk.
  • Tom Haudricourt has a preview of the 2008 First Year Player Draft.  Actually, he does not really preview anyone the Crew might draft.  The article simply dwells on the fact that Milwaukee has many more picks early in the draft than usual.  That has been well-chronicled here.  I’d like to see some analysis of actual potential-draftees.
  • The Huntsville Times has an article on Matt LaPorta.  This just in: Matt LaPorta can hit very well.
  • MLB Trade Rumors notes that the Chicago Cubs are considering signing veteran centerfielder, Jim Edmonds.  He would replace Felix Pie in the lineup.  Personally, I hope they sign Edmonds.  He has hit .178/.265/.233 in 103 plate appearances.  That would be an improvement for them…




Brewers sloppy in loss to Phillies

24 04 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers should not have lost this game.  There is absolutely no excuse.  Jeff Suppan pitched seven innings of one-run ball…an absolute gem of a game.

With a right-handed power-laden lineup against a soft-throwing left-hander, this game was made for the Brewers.  The offense, however, could not handle Jamie MoyerRickie Weeks and Bill Hall both got picked-off, which naturally kills any momentum the team had gathered to that point.  Corey Hart tried to stretch a no-out double into a triple, and got gunned down easily.  That cost the Brewers a run.  The Brewers had the bases loaded in the seventh.  No runs scored.  Tony Gwynn Jr. and Rickie Weeks both struck out looking against Tom Gordon.

To top the game off, David Riske lost the game for the Crew in the top of the eighth inning.  He got the first two batters of the inning to strike out, and all things looked up for the Brewers.  Riske then walked Greg Dobbs, however, and gave up two 0-2 hits that cost the Brewers two runs in the inning.  I repeat, two 0-2 hits.  I understand it can happen once, but not twice.  Riske was understandably upset after the game.  He should be.

All in all, the Milwaukee Brewers should forget this game ever happened.  The Philadelphia Phillies practically handed the game to the Brewers, but the team gave it right back to them.  It’s about three and a half hours since the game ended, and I’m still seething mad.

Oh well, we play tomorrow again, right?  At least the Chicago Cubs lost…





Round ’em Up: Thursday

10 04 2008

Your Milwaukee Brewers fell out of first place last night with a loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Let’s hope that Carlos Villanueva can pitch a gem today and get the Crew a series win before heading out of town. Plus, maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates can actually beat the Chicago Cubs in extras today because we all know it will go to extras for the third game in a row.

  • Here are the starting lineups for today. I’m not one to normally criticize Yost’s lineups, but I agree with Tom Haudricourt on this one. Are we really going to have Gabe Gross start ahead of Gabe Kapler simply because the stats say he should? The theoretical stats, that is. Because if you looked at the actual stats, you would see that Gross is hitting .091 and Kapler is hitting .412. You’re right though, Ned. Gabe makes much more since here.
  • I had a sneaking hunch that Tony Gwynn Jr. was going to be put on the DL. His “tight hamstring” seemed to be a little more than that. Today, Tony was put on the 15-day DL. Who got called up? Triple-A center fielder, Hernan Iribarren. Hernan has been fairly impressive in Nashville thus far. I thought that Laynce Nix was going to be called up, but I remembered that he would be out of options then. He’d have to clear waivers after Tony came back.In addition to Tony getting put on the DL, Yovani Gallardo will join the team today. He will not be taken off the 15-day DL yet, but it will be nice to have Yo back in the clubhouse. Perhaps he will be the one to personally tell Dave Bush that he may be heading to the bullpen. Probably not, but I would like that.
  • Between the Green Pillars takes a look at Eric Gagne. Gagne may have blown the save, but he did not throw the ball poorly. As of right now, I’m sticking with my stance that he will be just fine in the closer’s role. But I do have the right to change my mind and be seething mad at Eric if he blows a save during today’s game.
  • Prince Fielder will be wearing #42 to honor Jackie Robinson. Wouldn’t it be better if anyone on the Brewers could wear it if they wanted to?
  • The Hardball Times says that Mat Gamel is one of the minor league hitters to watch in 2008. It is a very good analysis of his swing and his improvement in the last three years. It even has video of his swings from 2006 and 2007 for you to compare and analyze. I like it.
  • The Sports Bubbler takes a look at Rickie Weeks and how he obviously makes the team immensely better when he is right. Nothing groundbreaking, but give it a look anyway.
  • Continuing with the Sports Bubbler, they continue their look at prospects in Milwaukee’s system that have something to prove. Today’s category is defense. Who needs to improve their glove to improve their stock as a prospect? Obviously Mat Gamel and Brent Brewer fall into that category right away. They also add Matt LaPorta to that list. I’m not sure if I necessarily agree with that, as Matt has been okay in left field. He does not need to be a Gold Glover with that bat he has. He just needs to be average. I think he is on track to hit that benchmark this season.




Round ’em Up: Tuesday (cont’d)

8 04 2008

Sorry the previous Round ’em Up was so short.  I wanted to make up for it by finishing up this evening.  Here’s some more for you:

  • The Milwaukee JS has the lineups for later tonight.  Still no Tony Gwynn Jr. That is probably not an ideal thing to hear…
  • (Hat tip to BN reader, Nate, on this one) The Wisconsin Sports Bar points out that Gabe Kapler and Ryan Braun are the first Jewish tandem to hit a home run in a single inning.  They also have the same nickname: The Hebrew Hammer.  I’ve come to realize that if Kapler hits a home run in a game, that simply means that Braun has to later.  It’s not complicated…just science…
  • Jeff Sackmann, writer of Brew Crew Ball, has a very interesting article posted that discusses the over-right-handedness of the Brewers lineup.  Jeff notes that it should only turn out to cost the Crew about a win over the whole year.  I don’t care if you are left-handed or right-handed heavy in the lineup.  If you are seeing the ball well and have talented hitters, they will produce.  I’m not trivializing the subject, but stats can only take you so far…

    In case you were wondering…I have an interview in the works with Jeff Sackmann.  Jeff was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.  Hopefully, it will be posted in the next couple days.

  • The Hardball Times says that the Milwaukee Brewers have started off on a very high note.  Hold back the shock on that one, please.  They believe that the Crew has performed a bit over their heads on the defensive end, but the author seems to come away impressed with Milwaukee thus far in the season.  It could be the Brewers are playing over their heads on the defensive side of the ball, or perhaps moving Ryan Braun to left and Bill Hall to third really helps the team overall.  And maybe, just MAYBE, some of the younger players worked on their defense in the off-season.  Nah, that can’t be the reason though, right?
  • In the most interesting article of the day, Francisco Cordero seems to hold a little grudge against the Brewers.  He wanted to sign an extension in the Spring of last season, and when Melvin did not offer it to him, the Brewers effectively lost their chance at the closer.

    If what I am reading is correct, Cordero is upset that the Brewers organization wanted to see him perform before offering him a high-priced contract.  Oh the humanity!!!  I think that Cordero pitched wonderfully for most of the season in ’07, and he greatly contributed to the Brewers having a winning record last season.  All the fans should be grateful to Coco and treat him with respect when the Reds visit Miller Park the next couple days.  At the same time, Coco going to the Reds greatly benefited Milwaukee, in my opinion.  It opened some cap room that allowed us to sign David Riske, acquire Salomon Torres, and sign Mike Cameron.  Resigning Cordero would have handcuffed the team to a big, big contract.

  • The love-fest surrounding Johnny Cueto continues, this time on Dugout Central.  Let’s hope that the Brewers bats can quite this enthusiasm a bit.  It will be hard though.  Cueto has electric stuff.
  • Turning away from the Milwaukee Brewers for a second, is anyone else surprised by the Detroit Tigers and their 0-7 start?  The Boston Red Sox shut them out today to prolong the agony for Tigers fans.  David Pinto takes a statistical look at their playoff chances.

There.  Hopefully this makes up for the short post earlier in the day!!!