Results tagged ‘ Carlos Gomez ’

Strike while the iron’s…lukewarm?

Sooo the Brewers play their next 18 games within the NL Central.

Given that 9 of the first 12 are against Chicago and Houston, the divison’s losing-est teams, you’d think coming out of those 18 games with a winning record shouldn’t be a problem.

And the fact that Narv Dog is starting the first game against the Cubs tomorrow night shouldn’t hurt, either. He’s 5-0 in his last 11 appearances against Chicago but he’s facing Ryan Dempster, who’s been trouble for the Crew since, oh, just about forever.

Now, coming off a losing series in San Francisco, where little offense, multiple base running blunders and costly errors all weighed heavily on the outcomes of both losses, the Brewers are finally returning to the comforts of home for the first time since the All Star break.

On the plus side of this sad road trip, Ryan Braun seemed to have found his stroke after sitting out the last couple of series of the first half, homering in 4 of the last 5 games, putting him at 20 for the season. (3 of those homers were in his first at-bat.)

On the minus side? Meh. Take your pick.

Prince Fielder struggled throughout the entire roadie, almost as mightily as the swings he took at pitches outside the strikezone. In those 11 games, he went just 8 for 39, with 7 walks. The fact that only one walk was intentional and it came in the first game in Colorado tells the opponents exactly what it told me: Fielder currently isn’t a threat at the plate. Fix that, dude.

Also on the negative side was the injury to OF Carlos Gomez. Yes, he made a spectacular catch but he broke his collarbone in the process. The Brewers called up Brett Carroll from Nashville as a replacement and he made quite a defensive debut in SF yesterday, but went 0-3 at the plate, so I don’t know how beneficial he’ll be just yet.

So will Milwaukee’s recent bad play carry over to what should be one of the easier stretches of the second half? It’s hard to say.

Of course, with Gomez out, no lefties in the bullpen and the defensive woes in the left side of the infield, the Brewers have some holes to be filled and the trade deadline is looming. Of course, which hole is the biggest remains to be seen. The ‘pen hasn’t been working all too hard given the high amount of quality starts coming from the rotation, Carroll, Nyjer Morgan and Mark Kotsay are all capable outfielders, but none are everyday outfielders and Yuniesky Betancourt seemingly is getting sick of people saying he’s useless and went on an offensive tear, even going 3-5 with 2 homeruns in a single game in Arizona.

Relievers, infielders, outfielders–Dougie’s got some choices to make.

So, while they may currently share first place with St. Louis and Pittsburgh (Who knew?!), Milwaukee needs to seriously step it up. Like, now. They’re not gonna hit an easier string of opponents anytime soon and they need to take advantage and make do with what they’ve got until Melvin can find some new blood. I mean, if the Pirates can push and shove their way to the top with complete disregard for how crappy they are, then the Brewers should be able to knock everyone else down a peg or two.

I mean, really. It shouldn’t be that hard.

 

 

Go Brewers!

 

(PS, if you have Showtime, you really should be watching The Franchise. Even if you aren’t a Giants fan. Seriously. Great show. Wednesday nights.)

 

 

Crap on a spatula

It’s gonna be a busy week with Festiva, fireworks and even a wedding, so I don’t know if I’ll have too much time to write an actual post while interleague play finally wraps up.

So here’s my first ever mobile blog.

Thanks to one Leslie Knope, my favorite phrase ever has become my little way of letting the Brewers know they’ve let me down.

After sweeping the surging Twins and leaving town on a pretty high note, the Brewers were utterly embarrassed tonight in the Bronx.

It’s no secret that I loathe the Yankees. It’s no secret that everyone in the world pretty much does, except those with the misfortune of being a New Yorker, born into fandom, blah, blah, blah.

Yet tonight’s blowout loss doesn’t make me hate the Yankees even more. Nope. Tonight’s loss makes me wonder why the hell a little league team filled in for an otherwise sturdy Brewers ball club.

Zack Greinke was absolutely shelled. He gave up 7 ERs in 2 innings. He walked 3 (I think) and didn’t strike out a single batter. For the first time in his career.

Wow.

I turned it off shortly after Zach Braddock jogged to the mound. It was 9-2 at that point.

The Twitter world told me assorted relievers continued to give up more runs, Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak and that even my favorite MLB beard George Kottaras got to partake in the beating.

Final score: 12-2.

Crap on a spatula.

Thankfully interleague play ends after this weekend. Why the Brewers had the misfortune of playing both the Red Sox and Yankees, I don’t quite know.

But at least the get to play Minnesota again. Maybe they just forget about NY and roll into Minne all like, “Yeah, remember when we swept you last weekend? Remember when Carlos Gomez had 4 hits? Remember when Betancourt had an inside-the-parker? We do.” And then sweep ‘em again.

And PS, Narv Dog won Sunday. Just like I said he would.

Go Brewers!

Brewers : Pirates :: Reds : Brewers

The Brewers own the Pirates. Everyone in the world knows this.

But how does that law of physics go? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?

The Reds subsequently own the Brewers.

I, for one, will no longer stand for it. Because, obviously, I’ll be able to do something about it.

The fact that the Reds are the thorn in their sides has to have something to do with the fact that the Brewers basically fall to pieces every time the two match up. I mean, look at the Pirates. (Well, it’s not exactly the same because the Pirates suck.) They used to dominate Milwaukee at PNC. Then the Crew won like, 18 in a row? And suddenly PNC isn’t so threatening.

Milwaukee started the season on the road in Cinci and were swept. The Reds came to town 3 weeks later and took 2 of 3. Considering the Brewers have either won or swept all of their home series, to lose that one was pretty telling. The season so far is 6-1 in favor of Cincinnati and there are 6 games left to play.

Though, the road is a bleak place for the Brewers, no matter who the opponent.

The Reds had sunk in the standings after losing 6 in a row earlier in the month and had a dismal roadie, going just 2-8 in Cleveland, Philly and Atlanta. So you’d think the now second place Brewers would be able to ride another stellar string of games and cruise through Cincinnati pretty easily.

But you’d think wrong.

Last night, Christopher Narveson (Narv Dog is tabled. Again.) let one bad pitch get too far into his head. After Jay Bruce’s 3-run homer in the 4th, Paul Janish pushed the Reds even further ahead with a single and Christopher was done for, with a 5-0 deficit to his name.

Back-to-back homeruns for Carlos Gomez and pinch hitter Josh Wilson (new guy, kinda cute) in the 5th were a welcome sight, but definitely not enough of a rally as the Brewers eventually fell 7-3.

Tonight Zack Greinke (3-1, 5.79) looks to put an end to the road woes as he goes up against Chad Reineke (0-0, -.–), a fill-in from the minor leagues.

Dusty Baker’s pitching staff looks a bit different than usual since struggling starter Edinson Volquez was sent to Triple-A and Homer Bailey added to the DL. Lucky for the Brewers, hot-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman probably won’t be activated during this series, either.

If Milwaukee can capitalize on facing a pitcher who hasn’t seen Major League action in nearly 2 years and get into Baker’s bullpen early, they could have a strong chance to pull off a much-needed win. (Of course, they need to keep the errors to a minimum, too.)

The Brewers line-up tonight really has no surprises but hopefully Corey Hart is back at 100%. Ryan Braun has also been on an offensive tear lately, hitting in 18 of his last 19 (that early ejection against Washington halted his latest streak) and if Nyjer Morgan can get himself on base, I’m gonna need everyone to start using the term “scoring position” when he’s standing on first, too. ‘Cause that dude is fast.

So, seriously, Boys. I like that you dominate the Pirates. It’s kinda comical to be on this end of it because it’s like, why even try, Pittsburgh? But it’s not cool to be on the losing end. Please stop this now before it turns into a 20-something game losing streak. Thanks.

 

Go Brewers!

 

Technically, isn’t homeplate scoring position?

I don’t know if the Brewers know it or not, but it takes more than offense to win games.

It also takes more than quality starts.

It kind of takes a little of both.

Not to mention runners in scoring position. It helps to bring them home.

Coming off a (supremely) unsuccesful roadtrip, the Crew came back to Miller Park last week and won 5 of 6, including a sweep of the Pirates. (But big deal. The Pirates + Miller Park = LOSERS.)

The homestand started with a Zack Greinke win over San Diego, another win that almost got away from them and then an utterly embarassing loss to wrap that series, which saw comebacks from both the Brewers and Padres, ultimately ending 13-6, thanks to Kameron Loe talking his way into the game. (I won’t even get started on how RR is on my bad side because of that decision…)

After taking a day to think about what they’d done (8 runs in one inning? Seriously, boys. Crap on a spatula), the Pirates were a welcome opponent. The entire baseball community knows Milwaukee pretty much owns Pittsburgh and such was the case over the weekend. Yovani Gallardo, The Narv Dog (yes, he’s earned it back) and Greinke all put another notch in their win columns and the offense came alive (finally!) to move the Brewers back up to 3rd in the NL Central race.

Milwaukee rode the momentum of the sweep all the way to Los Angeles, where Shaun Marcum pitched a doozie and the Brewers only needed 2 runs to bring the winning streak to 4, their longest so far. Though, it could’ve been worse had Carlos Gomez not pulled back a no-doubter from Juan Uribe. Last night, however, the Brewers were not so fortunate. The Dodgers only came up with 3, inlcuding a 2-run opposite field homerun from Top 10 Hottie Matt Kemp. The third run didn’t come until the 8th and as it turned out, LA didn’t even need it. The 4-game streak ended with a 3-0 loss.

The big issue, even though Milwaukee and Los Angeles split the series, is RISP. The Brewers left 12 men stranded in Monday’s win but went 0-9 last night.

Say what??

Yah. Twenty-one baserunners that never made it home. Blurg.

Not that I stayed up to watch either game. Stupid West Coast…

So tonight the Brewers will try to put all the pieces together as San Diego hosts another weird, 2-game series. Gallardo (4-2, 4.88) faces Dustin Moseley (1-5, 3.40). Given the way the two teams performed just a week ago, at this point, it’s anyone’s series.

What’s unfortunate for the Crew is that they have all the elements in place to win the games they’re supposed to win (like against last-place teams…) but they need to find a way for those elements to consistently work together.

Go Brewers!

She’s having a baby

No. Not me, silly.

But there have been some guys getting criticized in the past few of weeks for attending their children’s births.

Geez. Is it really that big of a deal?

First, it was the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. More recently, Kurt Suzuki and Jason Bay.

Seriously, people. I understand that we all take professional baseball pretty seriously. But slamming a guy for wanting to see his own flesh and blood brought into the world? Cut them some slack.

I think Major League Baseball did a good thing implementing paternity leave. If a guy wants to be a good father in addition to being a good player, he should have the right to be with his family. They let guys go to funerals. Why not births? I mean, if the Phillies can part with Roy Oswalt while he deals with tornadoes for a week, why can’t the A’s part with Suzuki a day or two?

Okay, I get the big game scenarios. Your team is on the verge of winning a pennant, game 7 of the World Series is on the line, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I’d probably be upset if a player opted to skip out on his paid duties in a situation like that. Should he have the choice, though? Absolutely.

I don’t get what people are getting so uproarious about. Do their jobs not offer paternity leave? Are they just jealous that someone can still make thousands of dollars while not actually doing their job for a couple days? If their team loses, is it all the new dad’s fault? I don’t know. The whole argument seems absolutely ridiculous to me.

Let these players be good fathers and husbands for a couple days. B effing D. There are 24 other guys out there that can pick up the slack. Seriously, out of 162 games, what’s 1 or 2 missed? Count it as a regular day off and leave it at that.

Now, on the off-chance that someday I’m giving birth to George Kottaras’ gorgeous, tan baby, maybe I’ll change my tune.

 

And speaking of missing games…

It seems the Brewers have collectively missed their last 6.

They’ve been outscored 31-7 and while they did have a couple of good starts at the hands of Yovani Gallardo (who then lost it) and Shaun Marcum (who didn’t factor, but K-Loe lost it for him), they’re just not doing enough.

Zack Greinke finally made his first start and it was a doozie. And not in a good way. He was on a limited pitch count as it was, so he only went 4 innings, but gave up 5 runs, 4 earned. Since the rest of the team failed to show up offensively (Tim Hudson all-out dominated in a one-hit, CG shutout), the 6 Ks Greinke mustered up literally meant nothing.

Oh, and what could possibly be the cherry on top of this heaping scoop of crap? How about Nyjer Morgan breaking his finger and going back on the DL? Yay! More Carlos Gomez! (Grrr)

I mean, super duper, boys. You’re really living up to the expectations. I’m so proud of all of you.

Gah.

I guess I have to say it.

Go Brewers!

 

 

 

 

I’m baaaaaaaack!

Well kids, last season I took an extended hiatus shortly before the All Star break. In that time, I’d like to say I was busy accomplishing goals or winning awards or making something of myself. But if I said any of that, I would be lying. In that time, I did very little worth mentioning. So we’ll breeze right past that and use this glorious Opening Day 2011 to re-start the ol’ Girl’s View.

What do you say? Good day to bring back the old format (as fun as the six words thing was, it got kinda hard after awhile) and wax poetic about my favorite sport, favorite team and favorite attractive men.

The Brewers took to Cincinnati to start the season, and start it they did. Sadly, I was taking the place of my boss today at work and was stuck in meetings with no iPhone access to check scores. Thus, I missed the Rickie Weeks/Carlos Gomez one-two punch to kick off the top of the first. By the time I was released of my duties, the Crew was up 5-2, Yovani Gallardo was still pitching and the game was looking pretty good. The car ride home netted a Casey McGehee RBI but also a Joey Votto dinger that brought the Reds within 3. A couple more innings and enter closer John Axford. Ummm, the first game of the season isn’t supposed to give me heart palpitations. And there it goes. That quickly. A sac fly and a 1-out, 3-run Ramon Hernandez homer. Boo. Over it. It’s too early to get worked up.

So aaaaaaaanyway, the Brewers’ home opener is Monday and I am like a kid on Christmas eve. If Christmas eve lasted 4 nights. Of course, you all remember the cupcakes. This year I’m adding cookies. I also managed to find Brewers crazy straws. I made a way cute new sweatshirt (yes, I’m still doing that, too). Unfortunately, I can’t anticipate sunburn this year so my Uggs will probably get another day of use before they get stored for the season.

The usual suspects will be in attendance but our party has grown considerably from years past. Which is a good thing. We’re a hoot, so who wouldn’t want to party with us? We’ve got an Opening Day virgin joining us this year, too.

To make it even better? I’m on vacation allllllll week! Home opener, maybe a random game during the week and then the infamous Leff’s Lucky Town Leadoff Tailgate to wrap up the good times. (That’s me and the rest of the triplets. Yes, we’re the faces of the party. See? A hoot!)

And, since it wouldn’t be A Girl’s View without a little hottie mention, can I just say how incredibly YUM 2011 Ryan Braun is looking??? Got a little extra muscle, got a little scruff, letting the hair grow–I likey.

 

 

And in other hottie news, I got to meet George Kottaras at the Brewers On Deck back in January. Laugh it up, I don’t care. I love him. And even though he’s currently beardless, I still like his beard. It’s not the greatest picture but I could care less.

So there you have it. Baseball is back, my boys are back, I’m back.

I’m pretty excited.

 

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

 

 

A Minne trip sort of worth remembering

Please pardon the absence. I’ve been on vacation all week and there was no way I was gonna sit down and post when I had every opportunity to go out during the week, be lazy during the days and watch my Boys start to turn it around.

Finally, a week later, here’s the Minnesoooooota recap.

 

The weekend began by taking a short jaunt to Madison Thursday night so we could cut off an hour and leave later for Minneapolis the next morning. After making spicy jalapeno mac and cheese and chili lime chicken burgers, we settled in to watch my Hubby, the Narv Dog, lead the Crew to it’s first win in their last 10 games. Not an amazing win by a long shot, but it was nice to go to bed knowing the Brewers weren’t total losers.

So, smoothies in hand, we set out for Minnesota in the pouring rain and Madge, our GPS, was leading the way to The Nook in St. Paul. Three starving ladies just wanted burgers and beer (and in Nik’s case, a malt) to kick off our mini-vacay and let me tell you, this thing was worth the wait.

 

Behold, The Molitor. Two burger patties filled with pepperjack cheese goodness, paired with the best fries I’ve ever had the pleasure of stuffing my face with. It should be an actual crime for all restaurants to NOT soak their handcut fries in vinegar before frying them. I will forever be disappointed with anything else.

If you’re heading to the Twin Cities anytime soon, it is an absolute MUST that you stop at The Nook.

 

From there, we drove the arduous 15 minutes to Minneapolis and once we arrived, it was really hard not to notice the one eyesore of an otherwise gorgeous city: The Metrodome. And, naturally, since Mol and I were wearing Packers shirts (because why wouldn’t you wear Packers shirts when in Viqueens State?), we got out to find Mr. Arnold himself…

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…to take some pics of our disdain for him.

The only mean Minnesotans we encountered all weekend was a drive-by insult at this point, telling us to go back to Wisconsin. I mean, gladly. We have Aaron Rodgers there.

 

Anyway, after that quick stop, we got to our super-cute downtown hotel and got ready for the quick walk to beautiful Target Field. We put on our best Brewers gear and, of course, prepped with a couple Sausage Shots…

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…and the Triplets were off. We made a quick stop at Brothers for Happy Hour in the adorable alley bar…

 

 

…then joined the droves of fellow Brewers fans (and super, super attractive Twins fans) and went to the field.

 

So the game…

First of all, gorgeous, gorgeous stadium. Thank god the Twins don’t have to play at the Eyesore anymore, is all I have to say. Look at this view!

 

Soooo, top of the 1st, eh, who cares? No runs, NBD. Bottom? Holy eff.

Normally, you know, I’m all about Dave Bush. Love the high socks, love the sometimes beard. But on this particular night, I wanted to punch him in the throat. Six runs in 1/3 of an inning and who does Manager of the Year Ken Macha send out to replace DB? Oh, of course. Logical choice. Jeff freaking Suppan. Cue the Triplets leaving their seats and finding the nearest bar (thankfully, Target Field has LOTS of full bars scattered throughout).

Luckily for us, Twins fans are super nice and no one gloated when their score kept climbing and the Crew’s sat at zero. Although, you have to enjoy Carlos Gomez hitting a 3-run bomb and toooootally rubbing it in his former team’s face.

After the game, the ladies and I went back to Brothers to drink away our sorrows, play a bit of darts (of course, me and a dude in a Denard Span jersey won in a total beat-down) and dance our little Brewers-loving booties off.

 

The next day, Nik and I took to the skywalks while Mol slept off her headache. It was pouring yet again, and as nothing was open in the buildings, we had to hoof it on the actual cold, wet streets if we wanted to find food. By the time we were done eating, the skies had cleared and it was getting warmer by the minute so we walked towards the field to check out how unreasonably priced tickets were for that afternoon’s game. Too rich for our blood, so we wandered around a bit longer, went back to the hotel to pick up Mol and go to Brit’s Pub…

 

…to catch the rest of what turned out to be a 12-inning debacle of a game. Not surprising, the Brewers were now down 0-2 in interleague play.

After that, we got all dolled up and headed out for a night on the town, which is a totally different beast at night. We don’t like clubs, we don’t like covers and we most definitely don’t like girls that wear underwear as clothes. Needless to say, we called it an early night and went back to the hotel to finish our bottle of reisling in bed.

 

Sunday rolls around and we pack and get ready to hit the road. It was only after we crossed the border back into Wisconsin and finish our KFC Buffet that we finally stumble upon a radio station that carries the game. And only after we are comfortably finished with our Norske’s Nook pies do the Brewers induce near-heart attacks and actually pull off a series finale win. Halle-effing-luja.

 

 

And, since it’s been so long, just a quick few things about the Brewers lately. First off, Narv Dog, no longer my hubby. From now on, ‘hubby’ will refer to George Kottaras. Second, Chris Capuano is back with the club and will likely be inserted into the starting rotation and as a result of his addition, Claudio Vargas was DFA’d. Thirdly, Macha’s been playing with the line-up and as of right now, it’s been paying off. (Although, Braun bats second today. Weird) Fourth, and probably most important, Yovani Gallardo outdueled Johan Santana Friday night. He went to distance with a complete game shutout. Fifth, Corey Hart is the talk of the town, walking off Yo’s insane game with a 2-run homer Friday, grand slamming in the 1st last night and 2-run homering in the 3rd, accouting for 6 of the Brewers 8 runs.

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy…Lefty, lefty, lefty

With the recent addition of Doug Davis, the Brewers now have 6 pitchers contending for spots in the starting rotation.

The Crew’s wishy-washy starting brood managed to muster a 5.37 ERA last year, the highest in the National League. The Brewers snuck in a few bullpen guys like Seth McClung, Chris Narveson and Mike Burns in there at times to try and help out the slumping rotation, but they did little to remedy the situation.

GM Doug Melvin made it clear that Milwaukee was in the market to shed payroll and use the cash for 1 or 2 useful arms to bolster the starting rotation and the new remedies of Davis and fellow lefty Randy Wolf will hopefully prove successful.

Let’s take a look at last year’s numbers, shall we?

 

Wimpy: Jeff Suppan

7-12     30 Games     5.29 ERA     161.2 IP     80 SO

 

Wimpy: Dave Bush

5-9       22 Games     6.38 ERA     114.1 IP     89 SO

 

Wimpy: Manny Parra

11-11   27 Games     6.36 ERA     140.0 IP     116 SO

 

Lefty: Randy Wolf (LA Dodgers)

11-7    34 Games     3.23 ERA     214. 1 IP     160 SO

 

Lefty: Doug Davis (Arizona Diamondbacks)

9-14    34 Games     4.12 ERA      146.0 IP     146 SO

 

Lefty: Manny Parra

(See above.)

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were worse things happening on the mound for the Brewers last year than Manny Parra. Braden Looper gave up 39 homeruns, just as an example. (However, Looper won 14 games.) Parra just needs to get out of his own head. He gets too caught up in one bad performance, hence the stint in Triple-A last season and the trip to the bullpen in ’08. If Manny can calm down and stop psyching himself out, 2010 should be his breakout year that we’ve all been waiting for.

Doug Davis didn’t have the best year in ’09, either, but compared to Milwaukee’s usual suspects, he’s a godsend. Many fans are welcoming him back with open arms and rightfully so. With all the talk about Mark Mulder, I kind of forgot Davis was still on Melvin’s radar. So I’m happy to have seen this deal work out.

What remains to be seen is how the final rotation will shake out for the start of 2010. The Brewers now have 6 established arms competing for 5 spots. I’m not convinced that Jeff Suppan still has what it takes to be a respectable starting pitcher, but he did manage to squeeze out 2 more wins that Dave Bush. Bush, however, pitched in 8 less games than Suppan (and also took a Hanley Ramirez liner off the elbow). Either way, Soup’s still got a year on his contract. Ick.

 

But in other Brewers news, the Crew has reached agreements with second baseman Rickie Weeks, center fielder Carlos Gomez, outfielder Jody Gerut (I’d rather see Frankie C, but whatev) and pitcher Todd Coffey. Locking up these 4 players for 2010 only leaves Bush, right fielder Corey Hart and reliever Carlos Villanueva. Since the Brewers have a notorious track record of avoiding arbitration hearings, it should only be a matter of days before they’re locked up, too.

 

 

Fiiiiinally Doug Melvin does the right thing

The offseason is starting to finally produce some newsworthy content and I’m happy to report (even though I’m a little behind) that the Brewers organization is actually doing some useful things this winter. 

Doug Melvin promised us all that he would do his best and be aggressive in getting at least one new arm to the starting rotation and he has done exactly that in signing lefty Randy Wolf to a 3-year contract. Wolf is coming off his best season in years after posting a 3.23 ERA with the Dodgers in 2009, going 11-7 in 34 starts. He stands to make $29.75 million and has a 4th year club option. Wolf is excited to come to Milwaukee, where he’ll fit into a young(er) rotation of Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra for sure, and possibly Dave Bush (who is arbitration-eligible) and Jeff Suppan, who unfortunately still has a year left on his contract. Although, nowhere in Suppan’s contract does it stipulate he must hold a spot in the starting rotation, all of us fans will just have to hold our breath and hope that, come spring, he will not. 
With the Brewers team ERA being the lowest in the Majors last year (5.37), Melvin and Co. are not only looking for improved arms in the starting rotation, but are looking for stability and health in the bullpen as well. Last year, the pitching staff was oft-injured, the bullpen was tapped for spot-starters and therefore was stretched very thin and there were some problems with, um, mental health? The addition of Wolf will be nothing but an improvement and the Brewers have begun to add to the bullpen, too.
LaTroy Hawkins was signed to a 2-year, $7.5 million contract after the Houston Astros couldn’t guarantee him a multi-year deal. Last season, Hawkins was nothing short of outstanding, posting a 2.13 ERA in 65 appearances, including 11 saves. With Mark DiFelice out for 2010 (and possibly off the team), Hawkins is a much-needed lefty out of the bullpen and should work well as a set-up man for closer Trevor Hoffman. 
The Crew is close to finalizing a deal with RHP Claudio Vargas (although I’m not sure why…) and have 3 other arbitration-eligible right-handers awaiting offers in Todd Coffey (highly likely), Carlos Villanueva (pretty likely) and Seth McClung (unfortunately, not likely). Also on the 40-man roster are lefties Mitch Stetter and Chris Narveson, as well as RHP Chris Smith. David Riske is recovering from Tommy John surgery but could rejoin the club at some point in 2010 and there are a lot of pitchers in the farm system that could fit well with the team after Spring Training wraps up. 
The Brewers also picked up 23-year-old lefty Chuck Lofgren in the Rule 5 Draft from the Indians. Lofgren would likely come out of the bullpen, but worked well as a starter in the Indians Double- and Triple-A affiliates. 
Although it seems right now there is no shortage of pitching in Milwaukee’s bullpen, it seems Dougie isn’t quite done with his search. However, I hope he remembers that he’s got one more thin spot that should be addressed: the outfield. 
The JJ Hardy trade brought Carlos Gomez to centerfield to accompany team stud and Top 10 Hottie Ryan Braun in left. Everyday right fielder Corey Hart is eligible for arbitration this year and unless Melvin has some big deal planned, I don’t see him leaving Milwaukee any time soon. Back-up outfielder Jody Gerut also has to wait until tomorrow’s arbitration deadline to see if a deal will come his way. I can be on board with the Braun-Gomez-Hart combo, but it wasn’t until later last season that Gerut really stepped up and I’d almost rather have more power coming off the bench than what Gerut can provide. But beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. 
It also seems that the Brewers have more infielders than they know what to do with. The Crew picked up 2 catchers in Gregg Zaun and George Kottaras, thus leaving little room for arbitration-eligible Mike Rivera. They added Adam Heether to the 40-man roster, picked up Luis Cruz and are continuing to negotiate Craig Counsell’s return.
But so far, it seems like the team is really taking shape. The additional pitching will only be helpful, provided all the pieces can fall into place after the arbitration deadline. If the Brewers can get one more discounted starter after tomorrow, the could really be in business for 2010. With the majority of the power hitters still in place, Milwaukee may finally have that 1-2 punch of pitching and offense they’ve been lacking. I know we fans say it every season, but this really could be their year. 

The start to the new Brewers?

I’m not dwelling on JJ Hardy’s departure. Sure, the Brewers lost a true hottie, a Top 10 Hottie no less, but here’s to hoping they gain much more. Much more by way of speedy, young center fielder Carlos Gomez.

2009 had been a horrible year for Hardy offensively. His career-low .229 AVG helped earn him an extended stay at Triple-A Nashville and it’s no surprise that with the way Alcides Escobar stepped up at shortstop that Hardy was on his way out of a Brewers uniform before the 2010 season could get underway. The move came quite quickly after the end of the World Series, sending Hardy to Minnesota in exchange for Gomez. 
So what the H do I know about Gomez? Not much other than what all the articles are telling me. He’d been spotty offensively for the Twins, losing his leadoff role and receding his time in the field. Although he’ll likely be the everyday center fielder for the Crew, as the Brewers have chosen not to pursue Mike Cameron, Gomez will have to be content with another spot in the lineup. Milwaukee recently reinstated second baseman Rickie Weeks and believe that with the way he started out last season, the leadoff spot will belong to him once again. I’ve read Gomez is quite fast, both on the base paths and in the field, so hopefully he’ll be a sufficient replacement for Cameron.
I am a bit sad to see, that because of this move, Mike Cameron will no longer be a part of the team. Although he never actually won any of his Gold Gloves with the Brewers, he sure showed us all why he’s earned them. I do not mind, however, him taking his strikeouts elsewhere. When Cam hits, he hits hard, but when he doesn’t, well… We’ve all seen the strikeouts. There have been far too many. I will miss his ginormous, infectious smile and the great attitude he brought to the team, though. I wish him nothing but the best wherever he ends up.
Infielder extraordinaire Craig Counsell filed for free agency yesterday. I would like to see the Brewers make him an offer for 2010. At 39, he had arguably his best season to date (even though he does have that 2001 World Series under his belt) and was seemingly able to come through in the clutch every time his team needed him. As a Wisconsin native and resident of Whitefish Bay, I’d like to see Counsell round out his career with the Brewers. That’s not to say he’s anywhere near done, but if he continues to play the way he did last season, Milwaukee should be sure to hang on to him as long as they can. He’s just an excellent utility man.
Now, I don’t really know who Adam Heether is, but he’s been added to the 40-man roster. Heether is another all-around infielder (who’s also played a bit of left field) that batted .293 last year in Nashville with 16 HRs and 59 RBIs. We’ll see what he can do come Spring Training, I suppose.
Now on to the rest of Milwaukee’s free agents… 
Aside from Cameron and Counsell, right-handed relievers David Weathers and Claudio Vargas have officially filed, although Weathers’ filing was simply a formality, as the club has already declined his 2010 option. As far as Vargas goes, if anyone in the Brewers organization listens to what I have to say, stay away. He’s been on this team twice now and both times I feel like he’s just been mediocre. If the team wants to get back to that winning record and another shot at the playoffs, dumping sub-par pitching needs to be done.
Corey Patterson, you suck. Good luck out there. You’re now free to strikeout anywhere other than in Milwaukee.
Frankie C, I’m gonna miss laughing at your name not fitting on the scoreboard if the Brewers don’t pursue you. Although, Catalanotto did do a relatively good job filling in for Corey Hart in right field last season and also did a fair job when called upon to pinch hit. I suppose I wouldn’t mind seeing him back next year.
Felipe Lopez did great while filling the hole left by the injured Rickie Weeks. But since Weeks will be back in 2010, it’s highly unlikely the Crew will be able to find an everyday job for Lopez. Weeks is set to take over at 2B and as leadoff, thus Lopez’s services probably won’t be needed. Awe. It’s really too bad. I’ve been pretty much in love ever since his 4-4 first game in a Brewers uni. 
Jason Kendall is still one that I’m up in the air over. Kendall really likes Milwaukee and has said he would like to continue playing with the team. And I don’t necessarily disagree with keeping him here. I think he brings experience and has the ability to call a great game. On the other hand, what would losing him mean? I don’t know if Mike Rivera is an everyday catcher and I really have no idea what Angel Salome is capable of. I do really like Kendall. I think the Crew should definitely keep that door open.
So, the Brewers have a lot of decisions to make before Spring Training. (Duh.) The most daunting task will be to find quality starting pitching. But since the 15-day deadline to file for free agency has really just begun, a bevy of pitching should become available in the coming days. I dare not make any big predictions here, but Milwaukee is in desperate need of at least one starting pitcher (ahem, John Lackey??) and should definitely make that their primary focus. As if it weren’t already…
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