April 2009

They’re over .500!

Sorry, Pittsburgh. Miller Park just isn’t getting any easier for you, I guess.

Last night’s win was just what the Brewers needed to keep their current momentum at full force. Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks added to their homerun counts and put the Crew on top of the Pirates in the bottom of the 7th and Milwaukee’s bullpen has never been so sharp in order to keep the lead. Trevor Hoffman notched his first save as a Brewer and the Pirates had fallen under the Miller Park spell a ******** 17 times in a row.

Well, actually, make that 18.

Yovani Gallardo, as I’ve said before, is quickly becoming the new young ace for the Brewers. He pitched 5 hitless innings today, before an Andy LaRoche double. After that, only one more Pirate hit was allowed and the lone run that scored the entire game was also at the hands of the 23 year old pitcher. Gallardo hit his 2nd homerun of the season in the 7th inning and literally one-upped Pittsburgh. Not only did he make it through the 8th only surrendering 2 hits and scored the only run of the ballgame, but Yovani also had a career high 11 strikeouts. Seriously. Watch out for this one.

Gallardo’s stellar outing also helped save a bullpen that had to send in 9 pitchers between Monday and Tuesday’s games. Carlos Villanueva pitched a perfect 9th inning today and notched his second save of the season. (It doesn’t make me any less nervous when he’s on the mound, though.)

So, Milwaukee has their first sweep of the season and is also sitting at .524–the first time the club is over .500 so far in ’09. Not only that, but they’re smack in the middle of a 3-way tie for second place in the NL Central with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. However, the Crew is riding a 3-game winning streak into their 4-game series with Arizona beginning tomorrow night at Miller Park. Buuuuuut, the Diamondbacks blanked the Cubs 10-0 earlier today, so I’m sure they’ve got quite a bit of their own momentum to contend with.

The match-up tomorrow is Jeff Suppan (1-2, 7.32 ERA) against Max Scherzer (0-2, 4.91 ERA). Suppan’s only win came 10 days ago, but his last outing in Houston he took a no decision in an eventual 11-inning, nail-biting win for the Crew.

Here’s to hoping Milwaukee’s on a roll and can come up with a monster of a winning-streak before heading out to PNC Park on Monday. I’m sure those Pirates will have revenge on the brain.

 

I’m never sitting anywhere else again

The Club Level seats have served well the past 2 outings. Sorry, Pittsburgh. First the Grand Slam, now this.

So, I always forget the last minute surge of people going to the lots at Miller Park, thus we missed the first half of the first inning. I was glad to have not seen the Pirates take the early 2-run lead, but disappointed I missed Mike Cameron’s throw home to beat out Freddy Sanchez. Ah, well.

The girls and I made it to our luxurious seats in time to see the Brewers first time at the plate. Within minutes of sitting down, we were on our feet cheering for Ryan Braun’s solo homerun. Yay!

Braden Looper had another pretty good outing, blanking Pittsburgh for the next 3 innings, so thanks for that.

Rickie Weeks, as much as I’ve disliked you the past couple of season, you’re starting to grow on me. Weeks may have only gone 2-5, but with a 3-run homer and 4 RBIs on the night, he’s not so bad, I guess. And all 4 runs came when the Crew really needed them. Nice.

Number 1 Hottie Ryan Braun was 2-2 with 2 walks and was suspiciously hit by a pitch. He was on base every at bat except 1. Not bad. I’m gonna say Jeff Karstens maybe didn’t hit Braun completely on purpose, but it was pretty square between the shoulders. It’s not often a pitcher will miss that badly with a fastball. Either way, both teams were issued warnings and Ryan was picked off first shortly thereafter. Oops.

Moving on. Looper only allowed 1 more run before exiting after 5 innings. Mark DiFelice was the first reliever called upon and he pitched one scoreless inning before big, bad Brad Nelson was sent in to pinch hit in the 6th. Really, Ken Macha? He was 0-12. Nelson, not surprisingly, struck out with the bases loaded. Now he’s 0-13. Maybe you think more about that before you send him in there again, Ken.

Mitch Stetter, once again the lone lefty in the bullpen, came out to face a few in the 7th. He did his thing before Carlos Villanueva was sent to finish the inning. My heart stops for a second when I see him, and it’s not for a good reason. That guy makes me so nervous. Why does it always come down to Villa? Needless to say, it’s now the top of the 8th and the Pirates tied it up 5-5 with him on the mound. Super.

Soooo, there’s 2 outs and the game is now tied. The crowd is begging for reigning hero Todd Coffey, and Coffey we got. I love that they are now timing his sprint from the bullpen to the mound. He clocked in at just over 14 seconds, in case you were wondering. Coffey got the final out and now was the time to step it up.

On to the bottom of the 8th–BEST INNING EVER! Poor, poor Tyler Yates. He started off badly and ended even worse. Without any more homeruns (Braun, Weeks and Cam each had one already), the Brewers had a monsterous comeback and put 5 more on the board. Pirates manager John Russell apparently thought it would be a really good idea to intentionally walk Ryan. Maybe he forgot Prince Fielder was on-deck. Either way, the Brewers were leading by 2 at this point (thanks to Weeks and Corey Hart), and Prince just decided to rock out a 2-run triple. It was pretty sweet. Cameron followed with a sacrifice fly to put the score at 10-5 before the final Brewers out was recorded.

And, even though it was not a save situation, Trevor Hoffman was finally with the Brewers club and had started warming up, so he was called upon to close it out. It was crazy-exciting. After Bill Hall struck out to end the 8th, the bells tolled. It was Trevor Time! I’ve been waiting anxiously to hear Hell’s Bells ever since Hoffman signed this past winter. I knew the first time it played, Miller Park would be electric. Granted, it shouldn’t have even been played, since the Crew was up by 5 and it was technically not a chance for a save, but man alive! I can only hope that in the event of an actual save, I get just as excited. It was almost as cool as being there for CC Sabathia’s first pitch in a Brewers uniform. Almost. But Trevor delivered, just as we suspected he would. It was 3 up, 3 down and with that final out, I can sufficiently say that was one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed.

Also, we met Guy Fieri. So, you know, that made it way cooler.

Mol, Me, Guy and Nik. Awesome.

 

The first of many, I’m sure.

And PS, Braden Looper was spotted shopping today. That puts the Brewers at work count at 3 so far.

Ah, my favorite seats in the house tonight!

Tonight is the first Club Level game of the season and I’m sooooo excited!

I love the padded seats and cupholders. I love the small rows and the fact that there are very few children that I need to watch my mouth around. I love the carpeting and fully-stocked bar. I love the fancy bakery and shots. Very excited.

Tonight the girls and I are headed to the Metavante Club, too. Not sure what that will bring, but I’m looking forward to saying I’ve been there, at least.

But what I’m most excited about is another Braden Looper start (he’s started the only 2 wins I’ve been to this season) and the fact that the game is against the Pirates. The Brewers swept the Pirates in 2008, but they’ve been on a tear lately. Boo. But, Ryan Braun hit his grand slam against the Pirates while I was sitting in the exact same seats. Could history repeat itself tonight? Let’s hope!

I’ve got on my newly finished Brewers track jacket (soooo adorable!) and I’m foregoing the bridesmaid shoes for the navy flipflops that won so many games last season. If they don’t win tonight, I’ll consider the fancy shoes for the other 2 games I’ve got lined up this week.

So Go Brewers! Please win without the bridesmaid shoes, because I don’t know how many more games my feet can take in those!

3 in a row!

And, I love Yovani Gallardo!

And get over it, Astros fans. It was clean.

Go Brewers!

That’s all.

I blame myself

It’s my fault. I was too excited to contain the information that I knew.

I was at work checking the score here and there on my phone. I knew the Brewers were up on the Phillies 5-0 thanks to another Ryan Braun HR and a Prince Fielder 3-run double. It wasn’t until the top of the 7th that I even noticed the hits column for Philadelphia.

It stood at zero.

Braun was up with one out and one on and I was being good. I put the phone away. I walked through nearly the entire store without seeing anyone that would care about the game. Then someone asked if I had worn my bridesmaid shoes during last night’s win.

And that’s when I blurted it out. Dave Bush was on the verge of a no-hitter. I immediately wanted to take it back. Of all the superstitions in the game, that’s one of the biggest. You don’t mention the no-hitter until it happens. And I blew it.

By the time I got back to my office, it was the bottom of the 8th. A Bill Hall solo homerun added a bit of insurance. Bush was still on the mound and there were still no Phillies hits to speak of. I put the phone away again, hoping it would stay that way. But I know myself all too well. I couldn’t leave it alone and had to look. Matt Stairs. Ohhhh, Matt Stairs.

It was so close, Dave Bush! I’ll allow you to keep the beard long if this is what you’re going to do from now on. In fact, your Spring Training push to break into the Top 10 Baseball Hotties has carried over to the season pretty well. Your fellow starters Manny Parra and Cole Hamels should really be watching their backs. Just don’t give up any grandslams and by the end of 2009, your spot will be solidified.

As for the rest of the team, way to back up your pitcher. Today’s Brewers were the Brewers that we fans have come to expect. Excellent offense and defense. It’s what you need to do when you know your pitcher is flirting with the first no-hitter for the Crew in 22 years and they most certainly did it. It was also the first series win of 2009 and the first series win in Philly for the Brewers in 3 years. Way to go, boys. Sorry I missed it.

Tomorrow the Brewers face the Astros. Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 4.58 ERA) goes up against Felipe Paulino (0-0, 0.00 ERA), whose 1 start in ’09 was a dandy. I don’t know much about Paulino, but 6 innings with 6 strikeouts and no ERs is pretty good. Well, compared to Brewers standards, anyway.

The Crew needs to ride this momentum from the last 2 games all the way back to the homestand. Mainly because I have 3 games lined up next week, but also because it’s about time they start to heat up and they could certainly use the wins.

 

Fiiiiiiinally!

I know the Brewers did just win 2 games ago, but it really seems like a crazy-long time since Sunday.

JJ Hardy hit another homerun to put the Brewers on top after Braden Looper and Joe Blanton battled it out for a few scoreless frames. Looper got his second win after a handful of relievers held the Phillies at zero and Todd Coffey came in for the save. Granted, Coffey did give up his first run in a Brewers uniform, but it was still a nice outing. As much as we fans all want it, he can’t be perfect all the time!

Last night’s rain-delayed loss was definitely avenged tonight. Despite the on-and-off rain in Philadelphia again tonight, the Brewers managed to hold the opposition scoreless for 8 2/3 innings. And that little shake-up to the line-up had Hardy and Mike Cameron able to produce, just as Ken Macha had hoped.

And I didn’t really want to talk about last night’s 11-4 debacle, but I do have to mention Ryan Braun’s insanely awesome game. All 4 RBIs belonged to him and he went 5-5, including 2 homeruns and 3 infield hits. I love him.

Tomorrow’s game pits near Top 10 Hottie Dave Bush (0-0, 5.40 ERA) against Top 10 Hottie Cole Hamels (0-1, 11.17 ERA). Last time Bush saw the mound was Friday night against the Mets. His first inning was horrific, putting him briefly on my other list, but then he settled down nicely. Hopefully Milwaukee’s offense can take advantage of Hamel’s struggles so far this season and add to his ERA, while backing up what I can only hope will be a quality start for Bush.

Go Brewers!

 

Todd Coffey, you’re my hero!

I waited patiently (sort of) all weekend to finally catch a Brewers win over the Mets.

I tried everything I had up my sleeve: the shoes, the shotglass, changing Brewers apparel on more than one occasion during the games. Nothing seemed to be working.

Friday night, even with Ryan Braun’s 3-run homer, the Crew fell to within a run of the Mets and it was sad. Saturday was an even-keeled match-up with Yovani Gallardo and Johan Santana, but eventually Milwaukee gave up the only run scored the entire game and it was equally sad.

Then it was Jeff Suppan’s turn on the mound again on Sunday. I wasn’t holding out much hope. And seeing the newly black-haired Corey Hart and JJ Hardy made me feel like they were really reaching, looking for anything to get pumped. But, again, it was a pretty even game between Suppan and New York starter (and former Brewer) Nelson Figueroa. Suppan allowed 2 runs on 8 hits, but the Brewers shot back in the 3rd and tied it up. Thanfully for Suppan, Milwaukee had some outstanding defensive plays (obviouly not counting Hardy’s inexplicable inability to handle a ball yesterday) to keep Mets’ baserunners at bay and Mike Cameron slammed his 4th homerun for a bit of insurance.

But the hero of the day truely was Todd Coffey. You know the second that guy starts sprinting out of the bullpen that he’s ready to do what he’s got to do. Since coming to Milwaukee last September, he has yet to allow a run and yesterday was no different. He not only notched a 2 2/3 innings save, but he was also part of that awesome 1-2-3 double-play to end the game, Brewers 4, Mets 2.

Today was an off-day (boo!) but tomorrow the Crew starts a 3-game series in Philly, beginning with a lefty-on-righty match-up between Top 10 Hottie Manny Parra (0-2, 6.97ERA) and Joe Blanton (0-1, 9.00ERA). I’m hoping for some momentum from the Brewers.

And maybe a few more black-haired heads?

 

Really, Mets? Cut us some slack with the lefties

Uuuuuuuuugh!

Brand-spanking-new Citi Field got a win tonight. Boo to you, Citi Field! And to your inordinate amount of advertising! And to your centerfield, that apparently no ball can fly out of!

Okay, I’m done. It does look like a really nice park, though.

Anyway, to the game!

Dave “Trim Your Beard” Bush had a rough first inning, giving up 3 singles to the Mets’ first 3 batters. All 3 would go on to score. Boo. He was on my list for a bit there. (My other list. The one he doesn’t want to be on.) Then, as he usually does, he settled down nicely and didn’t allow any more runs and was in line for the win after Number 1 Hottie Ryan Braun (finally!) remembered what it means to be at the top of that list and hit his first homerun of 2009. It was a nice, 3-run dinger to put the Brewers up 4-3.

After that, Mitch Stetter (who also apparently likes to shop where I work) came into the game in the 7th and gave up former Brewer Gary Sheffield’s 500th homerun. Awesome. He was then left to face a flurry of Mets left-handers. Awesome. He gave up 2 hits and walked 2. Awesome. He got 1 out. Awesome.

Out comes Todd Coffey to save the inning, and the next one. I’m really starting to like that Todd Coffey. He hasn’t allowed a run yet this season.

But then came the other redhead, Seth McClung. Normally, big fan, as you all know. So far this season? Eh. I’m on the fence. It’s not that he’s been awful, it’s just that he’s not the Seth I came to know and love last season. Anyway, they got so close. Runners at 2nd and 3rd and Luis Castillo drives a grounder quickly to JJ Hardy, who juuuuuuust missed the throw to 1st. Man, that Castillo is fast! Thus, the winning run was knocked in just in the nick of time for the Mets. But kudos to Hardy for the throw, and even more to Prince for stretching that massive body out there in an attempt to make the out.

So, the 1-game winning streak stands at 1. Boo. I knew I should’ve put my shoes on tonight!

Good news: Suppan’s start is pushed back, Gallardo is on the mound tomorrow afternoon, the shoes will be on and perhaps Racing Sausage shots will be taken just for good measure!

 

Feet, don’t fail me now!

DSCN0388.JPG

 

I’m sorry to report that I had to resort to the lucky bridesmaid shoes so early in the season, but I’m happy to say that they worked! (Maybe.)

I braved sitting in the near-nosebleeds at Miller Park in these 4-inch puppies. I rode the bar shuttle and walked down 3 levels of ramps in these shoes. I told people at work I was thinking about wearing them and they all told me I was crazy. Well, look who’s crazy now! (Okay, it’s probably still me.)

Braden Looper had an awesome outing. Mike Cameron hit 2 homeruns. Rickie Weeks had one of his own. The Brewers played really smart ball tonight. They scored 9 runs of 9 hits and finally came out on top of the Reds. And, for the first time since coming home last week they didn’t need that final at-bat.

Now, it may not have been the shoes. It may have been Mol telling Corey Hart earlier in the day to try to rub off his current good-ness on the rest of the team. (He was shopping at our place of work. Funny story. She told me he was shopping 5 feet away from me and I didn’t even notice. Too busy brushing mannequin hair, I suppose. Then 10 minutes later, 3 different people called me to tell me he was in the store and there was a mob of people gathered to see what I would do, including the store manager. I did nothing and continued working. It was only Corey Hart. Ryan Braun, and I might have done something crazy.) It may have also been because it was my niece’s first game. She was such a cutie. Everyone was so in love with her enthusiasm. She cheered for everyone and was loving the homeruns because she loves to watch Bernie go down that slide!

So, anyway, go Brewers! Thanks for the win (finally!), no matter what I think it was that made you win! (It was soooo the shoes!)

 

What a weekend.

Well, folks, I’m back. After 3 days basically spent living at Miller Park, I finally gathered up my notes and am ready to post. Let’s begin, shall we?

 

Friday

Brewers 4, Cubs 3

 

Good News: Braden Looper had a pretty effective first start in a Brewers uniform.

Bad News: With 10 strikeouts, Rich Harden did way better.

Good News: I found some old friends in my travels throughout Miller Park.

Bad News: I inadvertently ditched my little brother at his first Opening Day. Sorry, Alex.

Good News: Rickie Weeks managed to win this game. Finally, he used everything he knows and knocked in the tying run with a double, stole 3rd and slid in just safely for the win in the bottom of the 9th.

Bad News: That game got waaaay too close for my taste.

Good News: The Brewers rallied to win their 5th straight Home Opener, all 5 since Mark Attanasio took over as principal owner.

Bad News: They did it on only 4 hits. Not cool.  

The highlights of Opening Day are generally the same year to year. I never have more fun than when I’m out in the Drunk Lot with my best friends. We had the cornhole out, some serious tipcup action (the girls’ team won, as usual!), despite forgetting grill utensils and having to use marshmallow sticks, the food was great, the beer was flowing–always a good time. I have to say, the game was exciting, but again, too close. Ryan Braun said they’re there to entertain, and they did indeed. But sometimes, my heart can’t take it. I’m very, very greatful for the win, though.

Brother and Sister.

 

I spent like an hour decorating these. They unfortunately did not survive the ride. They were so cute, too!

 

At least my artwork came through on the cornhole set!

 

Girls (and little Bro!) win!

 

It wouldn’t be a game without Ryan’s bum!

 

 

Saturday

Brewers 5, Cubs 6

 

Good News: Leff’s Second Day Tailgate was a total success. The ladies and I cleaned up. If it weren’t for those tips allowing us to buy an inordinate amount of alcoholic beverages the rest of the night, we probably would’ve taken the loss much harder.

Bad News: We were cleaning up after the party and missed Prince’s first HR.

Good News: Reliever Mark DiFelice was asked for a groundball from Soriano in the 7th and he got the groundball from Soriano in the 7th.

Bad News: According to many who saw the replay, Soriano was out by half a step, but was called safe. The game is now tied 3-3. Two innings later, DiFelice allowed an Aramis Ramirez HR and was pulled from the game.

Good News: The Brewers built leads twice thanks to Prince Fielder’s 2-run homer and JJ Hardy’s 2-run single.

Bad News: The Cubs came back with 2 9th inning homers of their own.

Good News: At least I had Leff’s after the game to help calm me down.

Bad News: There were way more Cubs fans at this game than Friday, and I couldn’t stand it.

Seriously though, I had so much fun at that game. No, it did not help that this game was so close. No, I did not like to see Carlos Villanueva come in only to blow the save, but those things happen. I was just so happy that the tailgate was hugely successful and that, again, I got to spend the day with the best people. Despite the loss, I really did have an amazing time.

 

Best bartenders in the whole place!

 

My Uncle Paul warming up with the band before the gates opened. Hilarious.

 

Full tip jar and Malcolm, the best Beer Guy ever. Great time!

 

Ladies at the game. In our awesome new hats!

 

Ladies with John from the Love Monkeys at Leff’s after the game. Drinking our sorrows away.

 

Sunday

Brewers 5, Cubs 8

 

Good News: The Brewers offense did their thing. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart both had solo HRs, small ball and sac flies worked out and the Crew managed to still score 5 runs.

Bad News: Jeff Suppan sucks. He allowed 6 walks (there were 10 total from Brewers pitchers), his first pitch was a HR to dead center by Alfonso Soriano, he’s got 36 ERs in 32 innings and is winless in his last 8 starts. Suuuuuuper. He should almost always be on the mound because, clearly, he’s just that good.

Bad News: The Brewers bullpen is weak. Jorge Julio comes on to get Suppan out of a bases-loaded, already walked in 3 runs jam and what does he do? Walks in a 4th run. Stupendous. Seth McClung, I’m losing faith in you. Mitch Stetter, as the only lefty working out there, you did your best.

Bad News: Prince Fielder was robbed. A little less pop, or, if Milton Bradley were still in the game, and that thing would’ve been out there.

For being at Miller Park for all 3 games of the Cubs series, I almost had nothing bad to say about the Cubs fans I encountered. Sure, there was some friendly banter exchanged a few times on Friday and Saturday, what with each team having a win so far. But Sunday, I heard nothing but negativity coming out of their mouths. I’ve never heard such rubbish from opposing fans. Every move the Brewers made was criticized. Every time someone walked up to the plate, no matter who it was, someone had something horrible to say about them. I just love to listen to the Cubs fans because I think they truely believe that their team is absolutely perfect. They think Lou Piniella never makes bad calls. Clearly, they never have anyone injured, ever. Their pitchers are always on-point and only throw strikes. Everyone has at least one RBI every time they step up to the plate. The Cubs do no wrong. Ever. That team is the definition of perfection. Gah! They’re all sore losers, but man do they love to rub in the wins. Let me just remind them all that the Cubs are far from perfect. I think the last 100 years or so can dictate that better than I can, though.

And sorry, there are no pictures from Sunday. I didn’t want to document that one.

 

But tonight, the Reds are in town and it’s Edinson Volquez (8.31 ERA, 0-1) going up against Yovani Gallardo (2.7 ERA, 1-0). The Reds are half a game up on the Brewers and these 3 games are the last at home before the Crew roadtrips it to the East Coast for 3 games apiece with the Mets and Phillies and then heads south for 3 against Houston. The Brewers need to come out on top of Cincinnati in this series before heading out on the road. The first half of this schedule is brutal for Milwaukee and of those 3 cities on the trip, the Astros are the only ones below the Crew. It’s time to step it up, boys!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.