August 2009

New shirts are done!

Here are  my newest creations. I’d rather not discuss the last 2 games. You understand.

 

 

 

I drank far too many Miller Lites this season, but I finally won my obligatory XL men’s generic Brewers tshirt. This was the result. You know me, I’m not gonna give up anything Brewers related. So instead, I turned something I would never wear into something actually cute.

 

 

 

My very generous cousin told me I could have his Ryan Braun shirt because he knew I was such a big fan. Of course, it was an XXL. But since it had 2 huge holes in the front of it, he was never gonna wear it again. What’s a girl to do? I mean, as if I had any other choice.

 

So, the last couple nights while watching my team do amazing things only to subsequently falter and ultimately fail, I managed to do something productive. Hey, I know I can be hard on those boys, but in the end, I’ll always be a Brewers fan.

 

Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying…

So last night, I’ll admit: I wasn’t 100% focused on the game. I was making a new shirt (pics are forthcoming), flipping to other shows–the game was uninteresting. So, top of the 9th and I turned the tv off, grabbed my iPhone and started taking notes for today’s post. When about 15 minutes or so go by and there was no text telling me that the Brewers lost (which, honestly, I was expecting), I quickly jumped from the note to the internet and checked the score. Well, I ended up emailing myself the note, which turned into more of a short story. I reread it this morning, laughed at the run-on sentences and poor grammer, and decided it makes a much more interesting post than me editing it and whatnot.

So here it is in all it’s unedited, probably misspelled, very grammatically incorrect glory. (I literally phoned this one in.)

Capitalize on the errors. Reds outhit outpitched. Staggering numbers LOB. Suppan came back after a month and was ol reliable suppan. Ahem. Just suppan. Limited pitch count but walked 5, 1 intentional. Doesn’t help the cause. Arroyo has been lights out in second half. Only time he’s faltered against crew was back in early may gave up 9 in less than 2 innings. Solo shot from lopez single brewers run until bottom of 9. Coming back for 5 runs in bottom of frame? Not exactly the brewers forte. Currently watching after having switched to office reruns. And it’s 2 on 1 out top of the order. Red hot lopez could do something big. Hehe! Oops! Another error. Load em up! Clutch counsell is the tying run and then it’s Braun and fielder. Let’s go brewers! Rhodes could be the undoing of the reds once 5-run lead. I know I’m hoping for that. And to think I turned this game off. It seemed weird that it was the top of the 9th when I turned it off and still hadn’t gotten a brewers lost text like 15 minutes later. Walked baby! See what I wouldve missed?? Grand slam– I’m calling it. RB’s done it before against the reds, I say he can do it again. I’ve been seeing a lot of walk-offs lately just none from my crew. Dumb commercials. Game please! Ok I’d love a slam but it’s coco. And I hate it when ryan swings for the fences. But man alive! How exciting. Sweeeeet! I will take it! Now princey can win it. 2 runs in, 6-5. Bases loaded again yet not good enough for fielder. Settle down man. Caseys got this. 2-0 to start it out. And mcgehee looooves to hit strikes. Way to force coco to throw you one. All I know is I don’t want to stay up for extras. Come on casey!! In the dirt. Full count. Who the eff is this corky miller? He is not matching up with the pitchers. Yesssssssss!!! Cordero blew it! I’m thinking all my nay-saying friends facebook statuses are null and void now. Even if the brewers don’t walk away with a win tonight at least they came back. Mikey Cameron? Sure. He could do it. Orrrrrr ryan can get thrown out at home. Blast! Extras. Hoffman will hopefully keep it even at 6 and Frankie C will kickstart another rally in the 10th. And who’s decision is it for Ryan to even run? The reds hve surprisingly good arms out there. Ah well. Hold up. Lopez out? Eh. I’d maybe leave him in the way he’s been hitting tonight. Escobars in though. Could help. Nice play Casey. Not so much that time. 1 out 1 on. Joey votto at the plate. Double play? Hoff can get that done I think. Or a fly out. Whatever. Just don’t let Janish score. Listening to bill and Brian. Lopez is out limping. Prob the hamstring. May need to call on a pitcher to hit in his place as there was no double switch. Ok. Back to the inning at hand. Cams there for the catch. Frankie kendall and escobar up for the crew. I think this win is on the way. It would be a big boost for the brewers to have just come off a winning 4-game series (even if it was vs. the nationals) and to start this homestand with a bang. I def want to see them finish the month with a winning record and back at or above .500. As I’m sure the rest of the fans do. 1 down. And another. How awesome would it be for escobar to walk it off? At this point, swing away alcides. Oooor avoid the ball being flung at your head. Todd coffey and tackleberry are up in the pen. And the brewers are out of bench players. The time is now. Or stupid pit bull-looking laynce nix dives and ends the inning. Poop. Ok really having a hard time staying awake. I need the brewers to win like asap. Ah coffey time. And the reds don’t have too many pitching options left so here’s hoping Todd can keep Cincinnati from scoring. So far so good. Gallardo will lead off the bottom of the frame and it’s guaranteed that at least brauny will hit. Woot woot. Sorry laynce. Can’t be awesome all the time. Too bad miller park emptied out so early. If the crew pulls this off it wouldve been a damn good game to be at. Well, after sitting thru all the non-scoring for 8 innings. Gah. Just be done batting already mcdonald. Seriously stop fouling them off and just make the out. I want to go to bed. Dammit. It’s been 45 minutes since I turned the game back on. I was soooo ready for sleep. Just get me to the bottom of the 11th. If Ryan couldn’t do it. And prince couldn’t do it. And Casey and mike couldn’t do it, can yovani get it done? Maybe. I’d love a yo walk-off HR. How much *** would that kick? Love that I started taking notes by saying the crew needs to capitalize on errors. Haha. Totally did. Coffey? Coffey??? Um ok. I guess just swing? Leading off what’s the worst that could happen? Awe love that the entire dugout is laughing at his swings. Well it was an entertaining at-bat at least. Clutch counsell again? Um no bunt. You’re 39. Prob won’t beat it out. Damn. RB. It’s up to you. Do it for me bc you know how early I have to be at work tomorrow. Gah!!! Ok this is to be continued for me. Coffey will be back out to face whatever part of the order the reds have up. Fielder will lead off the bottom of the 12th and hopefully the win will belong to Milwaukee. And i’m gonna turn the phone off so as to be surprised by the outcome when I wake up in the morning. 
 
 
Ok, so now you can see how much I have to go through to turn my babble into a readable post. And, when I woke up this morning, the text did not have anything positive to say. As it turned out, Coffey came out for a third, yes third, inning of work and proceeded to give up 2 solo shots and the Brewers couldn’t come up with any offense in the bottom of the 12th. But honestly, it was pretty exciting to watch that 9th inning. There were a couple of times that the Crew could’ve walked away with the win without having to go into extras, but whatev. The game is done and nothing will change.
 
So, at nearly game time tonight, the Brewer sit 11 games out of first, tied once again with the Houston Astros. It’s the worst situation they’ve been in so far this season and I will be a glass half-full kinda girl and say things can only get better from here on out. Okay, for selfish reasons, I have tickets to 9 more games and I really would like the Brewers to be contending for something, even if it ends up only being 2nd place. Or, you know, just taking the Cardinals out. Hey, I can dream can’t I?
 
It’s Braden Looper (11-6, 4.95 ERA) against Kip Wells (0-3, 5.91 ERA). I have no idea who Kip Wells is so I don’t want to necesarily say this one is in the bag, but it’s the Reds. The Brewers should really be able to win this one tonight.
 
Go Brewers!
 
 


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There are leaders and there are followers…

As I checked the MLB leaderboards this afternoon on my lunchbreak, the Brewers players (or lack thereof) listed got me thinking about a lot of things. Take a look at some of these numbers and you’ll see what I mean.

MLB Batting Leaders

Homeruns

Prince Fielder – 31 (4th)

Ryan Braun – 26 (Tied, 13th)

RBIs

Prince Fielder – 107 (1st)

Ryan Braun – 86 (Tied, 6th)

Batting Average

Ryan Braun – .314 (Tied, 15th)

Felipe Lopez – .313 (Tied, 18th)

On Base Percentage

Prince Fielder – .420 (4th)

Slugging Percentage

Prince Fielder – .600 (4th)

Ryan Braun – .568 (9th)

Hits

Ryan Braun – 143 (11th)

Felipe Lopez – 140 (Tied, 13th)

Runs

Ryan Braun – 85 (6th)

 

Pitching Leaders

ERA

N/A

Wins

Yovani Gallardo – 11 (Tied, 17th)

Strikeouts

Yovani Gallardo – 165 (6th)

Saves

Trevor Hoffman – 26 (Tied, 10th)

WHIP

N/A

Winning Percentage

N/A

Games

Mitch Stetter – 57 (Tied, 11th)

Todd Coffey – 56 (Tied, 12th)

Innings Pitched

N/A

 

I’d say it’s pretty apparent what the problems are here. It’s a major, major issue when only 2 players show up consistently on the batting leaderboards. Admittedly, it’s nice when players hit hot streaks, like Fielder’s current tear. And, of course, not every position player on a team will get hot at the same time. And true, the Brewers have logged double digits in the hits column for what? The last 7 games? But when the one pitcher you see on the boards only takes the mound once every 5 games, things aren’t going to sync up as often as they need to. And even when Gallardo does pitch, the Brewers have trouble giving him ample run support.

It’s no secret that Milwaukee’s pitching staff has taken a perpetual beating this season. Currently, the starting rotation has given up both Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush to the DL, Braden Looper gives up homerun after homerun (to be fair, the entire staff has given up 159 longballs – the most in the majors. Ouch.), Manny Parra spent a few weeks in the minors only to come back and be crazy-consistent, Gallardo is the ace in the making and then there’s Mike Burns, reliever on loan. Even when the starters manage to go the distance, the distance is generally somewhere around 6 innings – definitely not enough.

Which leads me to the bullpen. It’s no wonder the Brewers have 2 relievers showing up as having pitched in the most games. The bullpen works far too often because the rotation can’t get it done. Adding a few new arms out there have so far not paid off. The only thing Jesus Colome, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas have in common with the rest of Milwaukee’s pitching staff? The ability to give up runs in great numbers.

There are only 44 games left for the Brewers this season. If the pitching doesn’t match up with the offense soon, the team will be in serious jeopardy of falling further out of contention. (Despite what it may sound like so far, I do still have faith in my boys.) It’s just really hard to fathom a big comback in either the NL Central or Wildcard races if batting and pitching coming together is about as rare an occurence as a solar eclipse.

Including wrapping up this current series in Pittsburgh, there are 14 match-ups left in 2009. Only 6 of those series will the Brewers face teams lower in the standings than they are. Also looming for Milwaukee are 3 series against the Cardinals, 2 versus the Cubs and 1 against the Wildcard-leading Rockies. If the Brewers are hoping to take any or all of those series, they had better start by winning more against the teams that, on paper, they’re capable of beating.

And at the risk of sounding selfish, I have at least 6 more games to attend this year, including 2 in St. Louis at the end of the season. I’d like very much to see a major turnaround from my team by then. Well, in addition, I’d like to see the Cubs and Cards take a nosedive, but beggars can’t be choosers. And don’t get me wrong, I know enough about baseball to understand it’s full of ups and downs and I can’t expect the world all the time. But come on, Brewers. I’m really sick of the downs.

 

Okay, so in other news, Bill Hall’s future will be decided by Friday. It’s entirely possible that Doug Melvin will use Hall as a trading chip. Quite honestly, I hope that he does. Obviously, Hall’s career is far from over and there’s got to be at least a few teams interested in picking him up. The Brewers, if I haven’t made it clear enough yet, need another starter. I’ve been reading the Reds are interested in Billy and, well, they’ve got a couple arms they’re willing to part ways with. And I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Bronson Arroyo or Aaran Harang put on a Brewers uni. But the decision on Hall still has a few more days to be made, so don’t worry – I won’t hold my breath.

 

Anyway, the Crew is at PNC Park again tonight to try and restore some dignity and stop the downward spiral. Manny Parra (8-8, 6.44 ERA) matches up with Ross Ohlendorf (10-8, 4.30 ERA). Parra’s been nothing short of spectacular since returning from Triple-A just a few weeks ago and since the last time the Brewers saw the Pirates, they’ve gotten rid of the majority of their team. Hopefully, this will bode well for Parra and he’ll be on point again tonight. Hopefully.

Go Brewers!

 

Will all this be enough?

Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I was waiting for something really super-awesomely spectacular to happen before I wrote anything else, but since the Brewers have failed to do anything super, awesome or spectacular for quite some time, I suppose I have to comment on today’s actions within the ballclub.

First, dismissing pitching coach Bill Castro isn’t going to change the fact that the rotation is struggling and the bullpen can’t seem to salvage the myriad of situations they’ve been put into. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush are out– let’s not forget that’s still a factor. Carlos Villanueva is par, at best, as a starter, Braden Looper can’t seem to work 2 quality starts in a row and Yovani Gallardo pitches well, but the offense rarely supports him. Since coming back from his latest stint in the minors, Manny Parra has been the only pitcher to garner both quality starts and wins. The marred rotation, coupled with the wishy-washy bullpen (including the recent acquisitions of Jesus Colome and 2 former Brewers, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas) are never going to be enough to consistently win games.

Castro’s replacement, Chris Boscio, has big league experience both as a pitcher (with Milwaukee and Seattle) and as a coach (with the Tampa Bay Rays). The Triple-A Nashville Sounds, whom Boscio is leaving behind for this interim position, have a team ERA of 4.05, which is good enough for 2nd in the league. Hopefully whatever he’s doing with the Sounds will translate to the Brewers and he can help whip the pitching staff into shape.

The second move Doug Melvin and Co. made today was to send shortstop JJ Hardy to Triple-A for the first time in over 2 seasons. Alcides Escobar has yo-yo’d between Nashville and Milwaukee over the past season and a half as has gotten the call as Hardy’s replacement. Escobar is batting .298 in the minors while Hardy has been struggling to make it out of the .220 range all season. The plan for JJ is similar to the one Manny Parra had– regroup, start producing and get his head on straight. Hopefully, it’ll work to his advantage the way it worked for Manny.

Lastly, Bill Hall, the oft-slumping infielder turned outfielder turned infielder turned outfielder, was designated for assignment. Hall was sent to Nashville just a few weeks ago but was quickly recalled after Corey Hart had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Nevermind that he hit a 2-run homer last night, Hall has been platooned for the past 2 seasons and has been unable to match or exceed career-high numbers in the past 3 seasons. Hall’s replacement is a virtually unknown Jason Bourgeois, who missed most of the year so far due to a thumb injury. The Brewers now have 10 days to decide Bill Hall’s future with the team.

So what do I think about all this? I think the shake-ups are good. I think the majority of the players on this team will look at what was decided today and will realize their fates may not be secure if the team can’t turn it around. However, I don’t think this is going to be enough to pull out of the middle of the NL Central.

The Brewers are in desperate need of consistent, quality starts, something the rotation has been lacking in all season. The addition of 3 pitchers to the bullpen is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound. Milwaukee’s starting rotation is suffering and will continue to suffer if a new arm isn’t added soon. And the bullpen is exhausted because they’re constantly expected to clean up the mess. A number of pitchers have recently cleared waivers that are worth taking a long, hard look at, despite what it may cost to finish out the season with them. Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang of the Reds are options. So is John Smoltz, despite a poor showing in 8 starts with the Red Sox. All I’m saying, is anyone is better than what the Brewers have going on right now. The rotation has been in constant flux since April and I think consistency will be key, if the organization decides to add an arm and once everyone is healthy and back with the club.

One can only hope these moves are just minor stepping stones to something bigger. But until then, the Brewers need to figure out how to turn themselves around and start winning again. I will not be looking forward to St. Louis in October if those last 3 games mean nothing.

Tonight, the Crew looks for some sweet redemption from last night’s embarassing showing against the Padres. Carlos Villanueva (2-9, 6.05 ERA) is on the mound against Kevin Correia (7-9, 4.51 ERA).

Go Brewers!

 

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