I’ve been throwing around a few differen’t headlines for today’s post. There actually is quite a bit to talk about since Monday night’s debacle. So instead of recapping, here’s the condensed rundown of everythig I want to touch on.
MRI reveals Suppan sucks, now on 15-day DL
Villanueva struggles, Crew dissapoints, I leave early
Avoided last night’s game, Brewers fiiiiiiinally beat Nats — Go figure
Series split. Whatev. Milwaukee back at .500
Wins. Plays. Games. (In Triple-A.)
Gallardo should be careful, could hurt back carrying the Brewers
Dear Crew, be less embarassing in San Diego
Pirates trade away entire roster, content with staying in cellar
Lackluster NL Central — does anyone want it?
Cubs acquire Grabow and Gorzelanny, will still choke by end of season
The Brewers head to San Diego for a 3-game series against the perennial cellar-dwellers, the Padres. I will not go on record saying the Brewers will sweep, given the situation with the Nationals this week, but my confidence in the team is slowly going back up, so I say they at least come back with a series win. (Maybe even RHP Kevin Correia?)
Tomorrow’s match-up, Braden Looper (9-5, 4.79 ERA) vs. Chad Gaudin (4-9, 4.57 ERA).
Remember a few posts ago when I said playing the Nationals this season would basically be 8 free wins for the Brewers?
Welllllll, either I was completely off-base thinking a team like the Brewers could easily beat the team with the worst record in the Majors, or every single National read that post and decided to retaliate. (I’m going with the former.) The final tally? 14-6. Ouch.
I don’t turn a lot of games off, and if I do, it’s generally near the end and Milwaukee has an insurmountable lead and I’m fairly confident I won’t miss anything. Not so last night. Jeff Suppan pitched like only Jeff Suppan could and surrendered 8 runs, including the first of 2 grand slams for Washington’s Josh Willingham. Mitch Stetter came on in relief and was resposible for letting the rest of Suppan’s earned runs score, bringing his grand total for the evening to 10.
And, as if a 6-run 5th inning weren’t enough for the Nat’s, they came up to the plate again the next inning and scored 7 more, including that second slam by Willingham off of Mark DiFelice. Oops.
Good thing the Brewers managed to eke out 4 other runs in the game. Or else it could’ve been quite the embarassment. Oh, wait…
So tonight, I have last minute free tickets. You know me. I can’t turn down a game. I’m gonna say that the fire should’ve been lit after last night and if the Crew can’t turn themselves around after that horrific game, then they may as well just surrender the NL Central now.
The match-up? Gah. Carlos Villanueva (2-7, 6.18 ERA) vs. Collin Balester (0-1, 6.00 ERA).
I guess I have to say it…Go Brewers!
Alright, boys. I didn’t want to have to recap a crappy weekend, but I guess that’s what it’s gonna be because that’s all you’re giving me.
Friday is already forgettable. My big complaint about Friday night is that Manny Parra was taken out too soon. Okay, so I missed the first hour of the game because I took Piper to see G-Force. (Too cute. Totally want a guinea pig now.) But still, Parra out after 5? It was a pretty good last inning, yet Macha takes him out and the game starts to go downhill. Ryan Braun had it tied at 4 with a 2-run shot, but the Brewers would fail to score following that at bat. Over it. Next.
Saturday my mom and I headed to Miller Park for game 2 against the Braves. It was Negro League night and my boys were decked out in the replica Bears unis. Adorable.
Even Rickie was back in the dugout with the rest of the boys. Awe.
I was also quite excited for a match-up of the two hottest Ryan’s in baseball, Braun and Church. I was totally in heaven with all the high socks and Top 10 Hotties. Until Braun flew out to Church. That moment ruined the night just a bit.
This one’s for me.
And this one just is funny. I think RB’s too freaking cute in that uniform.
Anyway, the game was great. 4-0 shutout by Yovani Gallardo (it was my first time seeing him pitch all season) and the first RBI was knocked in off Yo’s bat. Such an all-around guy. Love him! Prince was showing all other first basemen how to play solid defense and the rest of the guys got it done with a lot of small ball. Nice.
Two things from last night, however, that I must must must complain about.
One, some obnoxious drunk named Jeremiah was sitting 2 seats down from me. He was completely wasted when he sat down with TWO full bottles of beer in his hands. He never, I mean never, stopped talking for the entire game. Scratch that. He never stopped shouting the entire game. The only silence I experienced was when he got up to get more alcoholic beverages. He continually sang “Your Love” by The Outfield because it’s Frankie C’s at bat song. Not just when Catalanotto was batting. No, no. THE WHOLE GAME!!! (Listen to it now if you want to experience a tiny bit of what I had to hear.You know you want to.)
Next, I’ve never experienced such a conundrum in the parking lot leaving a game. Never. Mom and I actually re-parked the car because nobody was going anywhere. In any direction. When we finally did move, nearly an hour after the game was over, it was just to sit in more traffic, where we discovered there were very few cops directing cars. Generally, they’re on top of things and keep the flow going, but for some reason, many were absent last night. Gah! The game was over a little after 9 and it was nearly 11 when we rolled into our driveway. Ridic. Thankfully I had my new iPhone to take notes with so I’d remember what I wanted to post about when I got home.
So, onto other news. I’d rather not share my thoughts on today’s 10-2 blowout loss to the Braves, but I do have some other things I’d like to touch on briefly.
First, Telly Hughes interviewed the Brewers newly signed pitcher, Kyle Heckathorn, during today’s game. Future Top 10 Hottie right there. Holy yum. I’d love to post a picture of the 6’6″ righty, but there aren’t any out there yet that do him any sort of justice. Plus, he’s a Southern boy so he’s got that adorably dopey accent. Too cute.
Also, I mentioned earlier that I loved seeing Rickie Weeks back with the boys in Milwaukee. I do miss that guy, but I was thinking, if he weren’t out for the season, Craig Counsell would not be producing the way he is and it’s a pretty sure bet that Felipe Lopez wouldn’t even be in a Brewers uniform. Even though Weeks was having a great start to 2009, his injury has brought some bright spots to the Brewers’ game.
Third, with Dave Bush’s injury keeping him out of the rotation until at least mid-August now, my fellow July 19th birthday buddy, Tim Dillard, was recalled from Triple-A and is likely in line to start Tuesday’s game againsts the Nationals. He transitioned from reliever to starter down in the minors and has been doing relatively well– well enough that Ken Macha is putting the team in Dillard’s hands for the time being. One can only hope that Timmy steps up to the challenge, but I would still like to see Doug Melvin try to get a new starter before the trade deadline. I saw the Phillie’s offer for Roy Halladay was rejected. And included in that offer? J.A. Happ. Are the Phil’s really willing to part ways with Happ, who’s got a 7-1 record and an ERA well under 3.0? Well, probably not for anyone on the Brewers current roster, but a girl can dream can’t she?
Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got in me today. The Brewers start a 7-game stretch against 2 of the last place teams in the National League tomorrow. Let’s hope they can start something this week before heading off to LA and Houston?
Tomorrow the Nats come to town. Jeff Suppan (5-7, 4.71 ERA) vs. Craig Stammen (3-5, 4.14 ERA).
If the SI.com reports I read last night are true, the Brewers are one of the frontrunners making a play for starting pitcher Roy Halladay. And, if the reports are true, former Top 10 Hottie Manny Parra could be packing his bags for Toronto.
Now, I’m just a fan. I’m no baseball expert and I certainly have no say in who goes where and why. But again, really?
Clearly the Brewers starting rotation isn’t as strong as it could be, but why send off someone like Parra, who’s had nothing but good starts since his stint down in Triple A? Of course, adding Halladay to the rotation would do anything but make it worse and, understandably, the Crew could desperately use a helping hand. For a team that’s been lingering with 4 (sometimes) quality starters and 1 Mike Burns, it would be a huge plus to have a set starting rotation, something that Milwaukee’s been lacking for the majority of the season.
But is there another option that the Brewers are willing to part ways with? I’m not so sure. Right now, Parra is the choice to say goodbye to, and probably rightfully so. Dave Bush is currently on the DL and will hopfully be able to pitch to his ability sooner rather than later, and neither Bush nor Parra should be forced to the bullpen should the Brewers relieve a reliever of his duties to bring Halladay on. I’m okay with Parra being the odd man out, it would just be weird to see him in a uniform other than the Brewers, that’s all.
Now, if the Brewers do acquire Halladay, letting go of a pitcher isn’t the only way they’ll get him. I think Milwaukee is currently overloaded with infielders, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world to see Alcides Escobar go. There’s no room for him unless JJ Hardy gets shipped elsewhere in the near future. And we all saw what trading away top prospects for starting pitching did for the team last season. I don’t think anyone is holding their breath to see it happen again this year, but in a division that’s as wide open as the NL Central, why wouldn’t the powers that be do everything they can to snatch it up while it’s still up for grabs? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m just as concerned about the future of this team as I am the here and now, but why throw away the chance when you’ve got it? The Brewers are great at growing their own players in the farm system. I think they’ll be okay if they let a couple go here and there for the greater good of the team.
All I’m really saying is, the starting rotation for the Brewers this season has been a question mark since parting ways with CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the off-season. I don’t think too many people expected them to do well with the rotation that was set back in April, and that’s starting to become a reality. The Brewers need a solid starter to help them finish out the season if they intend to stay in the NL Central race until October and if Roy Halladay is the one they need, then by all means, I hope they do everything they can to get him.
Next Up: Braves at Brewers. Javier Vazquez (7-7, 2.86 ERA) vs. Manny Parra (4-8, 6.37 ERA)
As Meatloaf says, two out of three ain’t bad.
So a Brewer finally won the Homerun Derby. Nice. I was certainly not expecting Prince to pull it off, but the big man went all out and took home the trophy. And how about that 503 foot bomb? It’ll be ages before someone does that again. But the big question has been, was there too much pressure on Albert Pujols? Probably. But he’s a pro, right? What I loved the most was the press in St. Louis going on and on about how it was good Pujols didn’t win. He could’ve messed himself up for the second half swinging for the fences all night. He can’t be perfect all the time and he needed to rest up for the All-Star game the next night. (Because he did so amazingly well, right?) And, of course, Prince should be so greatful for the applause and reception all those people in Busch Stadium gave him, so he should’ve kept his shirt tucked in at the end of the night. Seriously? Get over it, St. Louis.
I was holding out a glimmer of hope that the NL could pull off a winat the All-Star game this year. I thought Jerry Manuel put together a pretty good team. And they contended right up until the end, when that damn Mariano Rivera came in and saved another one. Blast! Manuel’s team even had a lead at one point. Fielder had a pinch-hit RBI double, RB had a nice catch (but he’s in the middle of an offensive slump) and Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless inning. Way to represent, Brewers!
And last night was the start to the second half and, despite the hiccup by Seth McClung in the 8th, the Brewers pulled off the win. Braden Looper went 3-3 with an RBI and the only starter to not get a hit was Craig Counsell, although he reached on a fielder’s choice and scored a run. RB even broke the 0-17 slump with an infield hit. The offense produced mostly will small ball, but Fielder’s 3-run homer carried over nicely from the Derby and Hoffman notched his 21st save. Not a bad way to kick it off, boys.
Tonight is game 2 of the 4-game series in Cincinnati and it’s Jeff Suppan (5-6, 4.70 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 5.38 ERA). I’ll be at Leff’s with the gang celebrating my birthday (and the win!) a couple days early.
I have very little to say regarding this weekend’s wrap-up of the first half. The Brewers continued to fall further behind in both the NL Central and Wildcard races and, aside from RB, no one really had too much to say about it. I think I’ll remain mum on the subject and instead focus my bloggin energy on tonight’s Homerun Derby.
Carlos Peña, Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers
Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
(Top 10 Hottie) Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
These 4 hitters combined so far for 82 homeruns, 24 coming off of Peña’s bat alone. Mauer has already surpassed his career high with 16 longballs so far in 2009 and leads the AL in hitting.
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres
NL skipper Charlie Manuel was smart enough to bolster his roster with power-hitting firstbasemen and all 4 are competing in the derby this year. Pujols leads the NL with 32 homers, but add in the other 3 bats, and there are 100 longballs represented so far this season.
So who’s gonna win? Well, based on last year, it’s clearly anyone’s game. Josh Hamilton certainly outslugged eventual winner Justin Morneau, but playing by the rules sometimes has a tendency to turn the tables. The obvious favorite to win is Pujols. He’s clearly got that homefield advantage working for him. I’m gonna hope that this year Fielder will hit more than 3 and make it at least to the 2nd round. I also think that Mauer has a chance to make it pretty far, even though of the 8 contenders, he has the least HRs going into it.
But no matter who wins, it always turns out to be a pretty exciting event. I look forward to it every year, mostly to see the comraderie of all the players and their families out on the field. I always look forward to seeing a Brewer get his turn to take some hacks and there’s always a good cause attached to the Derby.
So I spent 13 hours working today. Well, I spent around 8 hours working, the rest was in the car driving to and from downtown Chicago, thus I didn’t see any of today’s game.
Manny Parra was brought back up to the Big League’s to start today’s final game against the Cardinals. And for once, he had nothing to do with the loss. He went 7 scoreless. Nice. Yet again, lack of run support (and a weakened bullpen) was the culprit.
I have no idea what the box score was, I have not a single inkling of who did what, or more importantly, who did nothing, so I can’t be too judgey. But seriously. 5-1? I know I said I was sick of the 1-run losses, but I didn’t necessarily mean scoring only 1 run. I meant losing by 1. But I guess this is kind of the same thing.
So, since I have no details to report on and I’m way too tired to look anything up (I left my house at 4:30 this morning. Why am I even still awake?), I guess this is just a short, sweet little post. Well, not sweet. Just short.
Nik and I are going to the game tomorrow night and hopefully the Brewers will start winning again. As luck would have it, they’ve won the last 3 games I’ve attended, all come from behind. I’m not looking for a come from behind win tomorrow, but any win whatsoever would be nice. Thanks in advance, Boys.
Tomorrow night: Braden Looper (7-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Chad Billingsly (9-4, 3.14 ERA)
Alright, so it’s just past the half-way point in the season and the All-Star break is a mere 6 games away. I shouldn’t be too worried, but alas, my team has given me some concerns.
1. Is it completely impossible for the Brewers to take a series against the Cubs?
I mean, come on. They’ve faced each other 10 times so far and the Brewers are down 3-7. They play 7 more games before the end of the season, too. Now, I’m not saying this is an entirely horrible outlook, but I’m kind of thinking about the next 6 games. It would’ve been nice for the Brewers to come home with some momentum, a little mojo working in their favor–is that so much to ask?
2. I would like a new starter before the trade deadline, please.
So would Ryan Braun. I know the Brewers aren’t going to pick up another CC Sabathia, but another arm out there would be extremely helpful. Will Milwaukee be buyers? Win a few more games, and the answer is probably yes. Is Doug Melvin and Co. ready to talk? Not quite yet. All I’m saying is using your bullpen to start games while Manny Parra takes a mental health break and Dave Bush’s arm is fatigued, or whatever, isn’t working out too well. Mike Burns started 3 games so far, only 1 ending favorable for the Brewers. Seth McClung is a reliever and let’s leave it at that. As evidenced by the opening and closing games of this most recent Cubs series, allowing 14 runs isn’t going to help win games. At least Burns didn’t allow all 7 of his to come off the same bat. Don’t you think after a 3-run Derrek Lee homer you’d be a little more careful with the bases loaded, McClung?
3. Run support needs to happen in all games–not just that occasional blowout.
Saturday’s 11-2 win over Chicago was great. We all know I love to see games like that. But what’s been killing me lately are the 1-run losses. Last week’s 1-0 loss to the Mets was weak. Yovani Gallardo pitched a hell of a game and he deserved a much better fate. Friday’s 2-1 loss (besides being a total joke. That was a strike, sir.) was just sad. It’s inexcusable the amount of men left on base there have been in losses like those. I’m not saying powerful offense is the only way to go, but when your starters are struggling (minus Yo) and the holes in the rotation are being filled with relievers, the offense needs to step up more than usual. Yo and Jeff Suppan gave great starts in each of those games and they were both squandered by the inability to play small ball.
But okay, before I become a total Debbie Downer, there is something positive I must comment on.
Congrats are in order for Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder for making it to the 2009 NL All-Star team! We fans did all we could to get RB that starting spot in left field for the second year in a row. And you gotta love Charlie Manuel for bolstering that roster with heavy hitters like Prince. I’m thinking maybe the NL could win this year? Maybe?
And also, thanks to Matt Snyder of fanhouse.com for giving some well-deserved props to some guys that didn’t get the All-Star nod. I know he’s not eligible this year, but Casey McGehee has been putting up better numbers that a lot of guys in the infield so far this season. So, no All-Star game, but Rookie of the Year, anyone? Also, thanks for mentioning Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers may not have the best rotation lately, but Yo has been proving himself again and again and I agree that he could’ve been a valuable asset to Manuel’s team.
The final 6 games before the break will be played at home and the Crew faces 2 of only 4 teams to have a better record than them in the NL, the Cardinals and the Dodgers. I’m not entirely worried, but I’m glad to have ranted a bit.
Tomorrow night’s match-up: Gallardo (8-5, 2.75 ERA) vs. Wainwright (8-5, 3.32 ERA).
Lately, it seems that’s all a team needs to make fools out of the Brewers. Lucky for them, New York didn’t have any to send to the mound in this series. That, coupled with nearly all of their A-squad on the DL, and they pretty much handed the series win to the Crew.
Brewers 10, Mets 6
If it weren’t for Carlos Villanueva, I would say Monday night’s was one of the best games of the season so far. Instead, it was just a really good game with a bit of a blemish.
The Brewers finally rejoined the hit parade, nearly tying their season high of 20. That game was the 15-3 blowout in Cincinatti back in May. Aside from the high hit count, this game had something else in common with that one: the grandslam.
Casey McGehee had the honor in the bottom of the 6th–sweet redemption from the lazy pop-up that entered, then promptly left, his glove in the top of the frame.
But, being the diehard gamer that he is, McGehee didn’t seem to even acknowledge the grandslam. He was too busy mulling the error that eventually led to 2 Mets’ runs to even think about what he’d just done. Either way, he was beckoned back out by the thankful crowd and he reluctantly obliged the curtain call. It was nice to see his post-game interview, too because, one, I’ve never seen him smile or heard him speak and two, I wanted him to show some pride over what he’d accomplished. Way to go, Casey!
There were other things working for the Brewers that night, too. JJ Hardy went 4-4, including a solo HR. Jason Kendall went 3-4 with an RBI, and even when McGehee was taken out, Bill Hall was shockingly able to produce. Hall stepped up, going 2-2 with 2 RBIs.
Villanueva, as I mentioned, was the lone dark spot on an otherwise great game. After Todd Coffey and Mitch Stetter worked a combined scoreless 1+ inning, Villa gave up enough runs (including a Gary Sheffield 2-run shot. Boo.) to warrant a trip to the mound from Trevor Hoffman. Ordinarily, I’m not opposed to seeing Hoffman, but with a 7-run lead going into the 9th, I’d rather not have to. Instead, he comes out with 2 on and 1 out, and with one pitch, the game is over and the shirts are untucked.
When all is said and done, Milwaukee leads the NL Central by 1. Awesome.
Brewers 6, Mets 3
Mike Burns vs. Johan Santana. Hmmmm….
This game did not go as many wouldn’ve expected it to. Although, it started that way.
Burns gave up a 2-run homer early in the first to David Wright. His remaining 6+ innings were basically flawless.
Santana, on the other hand, wasn’t as lucky. A series of hits in the 3rd ended up scoring the first Brewers run on a Ryan Braun RBI. One inning later, I found myself hoping for another grandslam. Santana walked Burns on 4 straight pitches then Corey Hart doubled on the most hilarious outfield slip I’ve seen in a long time. (I kid you not. The fall that Fernando Martinez took was classic. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard.) JJ Hardy followed with a walk to load the bases for Braun.
What happened next may as well have been a grandslam, as far as I’m concerned. But I’ll take what I can get.
Braun doubled on an 0-2 count to Gary Sheffield. Burns and Hart scored easily, but a throw to the plate to catch Hardy was deflected past Omir Santos to Santana, allowing the third run. Santana then overthrew third on an attempt to tag Braun out and, despite not technically being a grandslam, that 4th run scored anyway. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy after that play, for I was home alone, screaming like an absolute maniac. (Can you blame me?)
Three innings go by with nary a run scored. Somehow Burns is out of the game in the 7th with a mid-90′s pitch count, while Johan remains in the game, over 100 pitches, and proceeds to give up a solo bomb to Prince Fielder. Just a little insurance, I guess. Looks like Jerry Manuel wasn’t thinking too clearly by leaving Santana in to start the bottom of the 7th. He finally exits the game after that.
A myriad of pitchers come out for both teams and the Brewers narrowly avoided an 8th innings Mets’ threat. And because Hoffman worked a grueling 1-pitch game the night before, it was Coffey on the mound to finish it off. A nice double-play ball put the first 2 outs on the board, but I guess Martinez wanted to make up for his embarassment back in the 4th and hit a homer to the Tundra Territory. Ah well. Too little, too late.
The game ended one batter later, preserving Burns’ first Major League win.
The Brewers now lead the Central by 2 games. Awesome.
Brewers 0, Mets 1
Apparently Yovani Gallardo can’t catch a break against the Mets. The poor guy pitches another great game, yet loses again in a 1-0 shutout.
Newly appointed Top 10 Hottie Ryan Church was responsible for the single RBI of the game, and Gallardo was tabbed for the loss.
Despite outhitting the Mets 7-5, the Brewers were unable to capitalize and give Yo what would’ve been a well-deserved win.
Gallardo struck out a career-high 12 batters in 7 innings pitched. That’s twice as many as Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey.
And Fielder was caught stealing. Shocker.
The Brewers currently lead the Central by a game and a half. Still awesome. Hopefully the Cardinals will get swept.
The Brewers final roadtrip of the first half is a 4-game series this weekend in Chicago. The Cubs have been faltering lately, so I’m not too worried the Crew will come home with their lead in tact. But before the All-Star break, the Cards and Dodgers come to Miller Park. That leaves a bit up in the air. But, as I said in my last post, the second half is relatively easy for Milwaukee. Hopefully the lead will still be theirs come October.
Tomorrow’s match-up: Seth McClung (3-1, 3.55 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (4-5, 4.09 ERA) in a rare Thursday night game at Wrigley.