Results tagged ‘ Dodgers ’

Brewers sweep the Pirates–And there was much rejoicing

First of all, hello again, after a lovely vacation from my normal, boring, mundane (redundant?) life.

I spent a big chunk of it driving through some of the most boring landscape all by my lonesome, some of it on a boat, some in the water, eating and drinking a ton and, yes, even a week in the land of the Viqueens. And it couldn’t have possibly been any better.

I came back to Wisconsin ready for back-to-back tailgates and Brewers games, but not quite ready for the inevitable return to work. Boo.

So, there’s lots to cover, no?

Let’s first talk about Christopher and his inability to properly handle a scissors. Or his inability to let an equipment person fix his glove. I mean, what an idiot. Even if you think you’re completely capable of fixing your glove, you should probably let someone else do it. You know, just in case a sharp object has it out for your thumb. If anyone’s gonna suffer the wrath of a vengeful pair of scissors, I’d rather it not be a starting pitcher. Seriously. Dumb.

Because of Narv Dog’s stitches and subsequent DL stint, the Brewers called up Frankie De La Cruz to fill the spot in the bullpen formerly occupied by spot-starter Marco Estrada and Zack Greinke’s scheduled start was pushed up to the opener against Pittsburgh Friday night. Greinke absolutely killed it. So did the Crew’s offense. Brewers win 7-2. No surprise.

Saturday was my first game at Miller Park in, I’m almost ashamed to say, over a month. I was not looking forward to Estrada pitching. I was, however, looking forward to the inaugural lighting of my new blue grill and pretty much just being at a Brewers game. Well, Estrada pretty much put me in my place, pitching 5 scoreless innings before letting the bullpen protect his 1-0 lead. If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the game that Estrada would have a 1-hit shutout thru 5, with 5 Ks, and oh yeah, hit a double and that Yuniesky Betancourt’s solo homer would be the only run on the board, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Thankfully, my doubts were for naught and Milwaukee came out on top over Pitt. Shocking.

So Sunday’s game was Leff’s monthly tailgate, Craig Counsell bobblehead and Bierbrauer day. Excited, kinda excited, could care less. The Pirates already had a run on the board by the time I got my Long Island and pulled pork parfait and I was definitely not in any mood for extras once Ryan Braun tied the game at 1-all in the 9th. But alas, George, Casey and T-Plush all came through quickly in the 10th–single, double, sac fly. Boom. Done. Pirates suck.

After the weekend, Milwaukee has become just the 3rd team in the NL to 70 wins and is still holding onto a 5-game lead over St. Louis in the Central. The Cardinals head to Pittsburgh for a 3-game series and I hate to say it, but if the Pirates play even remotely close to how they played this weekend, they could have a chance to win a couple. I know I wouldn’t be too disappointed with that. The Brewers welcome the 3rd place, sub-.500 Dodgers to MP for 4 games and, you know, I think they’ll be just fine.

And, unrelated, but my mom just walked in and handed me a Hot Dog bobblehead. Awesome.

Tonight’s game: Randy Wolf (9-8, 3.48 ERA) has won his last 3 starts, including an 8-inning, 1-run outing in STL last week. Dodgers starter Ted Lilly (7-12, 4.71 ERA) has a 2.37 ERA in his last 3 starts but has had 2 tough-luck losses. He’d only given up 2 runs in each of those 3 games.

And since Randy’s on the bump, George is behind the plate. Yay!

Go Brewers!

Over .500 — Let’s hope this lasts

The Brewers just completed a 3-game sweep of the Rockies, after a strange 4-game roadie on the West Coast that left them with a win apiece against San Diego and LA.

Friday, I was up drinking at a bonfire anyway so I mostly caught game one. I say “mostly” because I can’t get AM radio at my house so we had the TV audio coming through the outdoor speakers. Um, Bill Schroeder? I’d kinda like to know what’s happening with the game. I understand you’re not broadcasting for audio-only purposes, but still. I little more info, please. So anyway, I ran to the window just in time to see Yuniesky Betancourt’s blast tie up the game for the second time. (Casey McGehee did it first.) Needless to say, when the game was in the 14th and Colorado was in the lead, yet again, I made it a point to settle in for the bottom of the frame. Soooooooo glad I did!

I love Prince Fielder! I love that he just watched that ball sail. I love that he had a classy celebration at home plate. I (sort of) love that Felipe Paulino was almost immediately DFA’d after giving up that homerun.

So Saturday’s game…..

What is the flipping deal with FOX? Sorry, but the Cubs-Red Sox is not my market. I do not want to watch the effing scrubs. I want to watch the Brewers and your stupid deal will make my Saturdays miserable for the next 6 seasons of baseball. Major League Baseball, why did you have to make this deal? Why did you have to make me so angry? As I said before, I can’t for the life of me get a radio to get AM at my house. I don’t enjoy using GameDay on my phone. I want to watch the Brewers play. I don’t want to watch whoever it is you think is closest to my team’s market that day. This deal sucks and I want to physically hurt someone because of it.

Grr. Sorry. So Milwaukee won 3-2. Jonathan Lucroy hit his 4th homer. John Axford got the save. I saw none of it.

Though, I saw none of it today, either.

I didn’t even check the score til the 6th inning because I was at a baby shower. But I did wear a yellow and white dress and had on a Brewers necklace, so I was still supporting my boys.

The Brewers closed it out with another win today, 3-1. They’re finally over .500 but just can’t seem to close the gap with Cinci and St. Louis.

Somehow, I did not have tickets for a single game this weekend and I don’t have tickets at all this week, either. I may try to make up for it with some light player stalking post-game Friday night, but the week is still young. I may make it to a game yet. I should probably try to go Saturday since I know I won’t be able to actually watch it otherwise…

But the Nationals are in town first and in order to avoid any further embarassment at the hands of Jim Riggleman and Co, the Brewers need to keep this hot streak alive. I mean, we all remember that sweep back in April. It was not pretty. Yovani Gallardo, Narv Dog and Zack Greinke are slated to face off against, well, Tom Gorzelanny so far. I’d like to think those 3 can handle the Nats, so I’m just gonna run with that.

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!

Sugar, we’re going down swinging

Such was the story of Christopher Narveson and the Brewers vs. Bud Norris and the Astros: 24 total strikeouts.

Christopher, who took the loss despite 6 strong innings and 7 strikeouts, has failed to earn his nickname back. He was pretty much dialed in until a towering 3-run homer off the bat of Carlos Lee gave the Astros a bit of insurance on their way to an eventual 5-0 win and series victory.

Brewers relievers Sergio Mitre (who gave up Houston’s 5th and final run) and Zack Braddock tacked on another 5 Ks, bringing the Crew’s strikeout total to 12 for the day.

Bud Norris, however, managed to strand 11 Brewers at the plate all on his own, even though he was the only one of the Astros 4 pitchers to give up any hits. (Mark Melancon notched Houston’s 12th K.)

On a somewhat positive note for Milwaukee, Ryan Braun walked in the first inning which mean’s he’s reached base safely in all 27 of the Brewers games this season. That was pretty much the only bright spot, even though Christopher seemed to have gotten his command back.

The Brewers also committed 5 errors in this 3-game series (if I remember correctly, they were all throwing errors?), so I’m pretty much over hearing Bill Schroeder talking about how great they are defensively. Um, not so much. And while we’re talking about their flaws, how about that Carlos Gomez running the bases? He’s so smooth. I wish I could be just like him. Grr…

Carlos Lee, despite his own bright spot of the homerun, was carted off the field and taken to the hospital during the top of the 7th after he and Angel Sanchez collided going after a Mark Kotsay pop up. Ouchie.

So the Brewers head to Atlanta for 4 games starting tomorrow and Zach Greinke is slated to pitch Wednesday against Tim Hudson. (Yay!) The Braves and Brewers are both in 3rd place in their respective divisions, but Atlanta is coming off a walk-off win against St. Louis to open this series. While the baseball world is waiting with bated breath to see Greinke’s National League debut, Milwaukee will have to take on Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson before that day even comes. Hopefully Yovani Gallardo has shaken off his streaky April and Marco Estrada will shine once again before his likely departure to Nashville.

 

In other baseball news:

If you’re playing in Cleveland as a visitor, plan on going home with your tail between your legs.

Don’t even bother trying to pitch to Andre Ethier because he will hit you.

Don’t make obscene gestures and homophobic slurs to fans of the opposing team. You’ll probably get suspended.

While you’re not doing things, don’t tweet about your ejection from the clubhouse. You’ll probably get suspended.

Lots of people are having surgery or breaking things. Casey Blake: out. Ryan Zimmerman: out. Panda: out. David Freese: out.

@TonyPlush will be back Tuesday. Lord knows the Brewers need him.

 

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

 

6 words for June 29

@MLB discovered six words! Yay me!

 

zkonedog: Twins fave in AL. Sad.

 

mimi: Love twitter! Thanks for stopping!

 

Braun leads NL. Outfield starter? Yep.

 

Heyward no-go, even if voted in.

 

LaRussa tossed. Multiple mistakes. Cards victory.

 

Dodgers turn five DPs, tame Giants.

 

Utley to DL. Thumb injuries abundant.

 

Almost cried watching Zumaya’s injury. Ouchie :(

 

‘Bourn’ not ‘Bourne.’ Oops. My bad.

 

Google six-word memoirs. Life changing. Addicting.

 

Davis on way back. Rotation bound?

 

Fielder to SF? For who, Bauman?

 

Softball. Mobile MLB, then bar TVs.

 

Gallardo follows up 12K shutout tonight.

 

Could be two-parter. Tune in post-softball.

 

 

6 words for June 27

Brewers win five of six series.

 

Picked only loss of weekend. Boo!

 

Raaaaaaaandy! What’s up with the homers?

 

Errors. Great baserunning. Hart with 19?

 

Narv Dog killed first, next seven.

 

Rickie’s lead-off spot getting productive. Homerun!

 

Evan, BJ, play nice! Remember Zambrano…

 

Old Man Moyer gives up 506th.

 

White Sox beaten by baby bears.

 

468 feet. Hamilton aiming for god.

 

Yankee Hater. Dodgers hold lead, please.

 

 

 

Ahh, those unpredictable Brewers

Most people, in everyday life, wouldn’t get to take a day or two off work for performing poorly and still get paid. Most people wouldn’t get to sit out the day (unless they’re needed in a pinch) because a certain bigwig is coming and they do a better job working with a right-handed bigwig. Most people don’t do an amazing job 3 or 4 days in a row and then fall off as if they’ve never set foot in their office before.

Well, most people aren’t members of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Yes, it’s only the second week of May, but we all know that I’m not one to sit idly by and wait for actions. I openly air my greivances. And maybe I should’ve been more diligent with my blog and been posting during the last leg of that NL West roadie because then I would’ve been more apt to talk about things like the Narv Dog’s combined 11 Ks in his 2 wins against LA and Arizona. Or Yovani Gallardo’s 10 strikeouts over the Dbacks bringing him his 4th win and put him at 50 Ks on the season. I would be much happier to be talking about Prince’s birthday homer and the Mom’s Day 8th inning offensive outburst.

But, apparently I’m a glutton for punishment and choose not to post until all that positivity came to a crashing halt last night against Atlanta.

Now, I could just say to myself, “Calm down. It was only one game.” But the thing is, with the Brewers, that one game tends to lead to another and then another. They go through obnoxiously waivering spurts of insane offense coupled with sturdy pitching to lead to win after win and that eventually makes way for a few terrible, short starts, poor relief and a lack of bats. Fortunately for the Crew, they’re only 2 games under .500, but are 5 games behind the Cardinals.

So what exactly do I have a problem with. Really, it’s only 2 things.

One, this team seemingly relies on massive offense to pick up average pitching. “But what else is new?” you might ask. Sure, Milwaukee leads the league in runs scored, and that’s great, but then look at the amount of shut-outs they’ve been on the wrong end of (4). Or the number of games they’ve won when scoring less than 3 runs (2). Gah. Very rarely does the entire team, pitchers and batters, work seamlessly for normal wins (and by ‘normal’ I mean scoring single-digit runs and still winning).

My second problem might just be because of the hype I created in my own head, but I think I had waaaaaay too high of expectations for pitching coach Rick Peterson. Here’s a guy that created a system for finding a guy’s ideal pitching conditions. His biomechanic approach to pitching is designed to show exactly where a pitcher’s flaws are, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and then is able to work with each individual on how to improve his pitching game while avoiding any major injury or overexertion. Yet, the Brewers pitching staff is having it’s same old problems with inconsistency. I understand that Peterson isn’t a godsend or anything, but it seems like the amount of money spent to improve the staff and bringing him on board as coach are all for naught, seeing as the 2010 pitching staff is basically the same as the staff from years past–troubled and temperamental.

So that’s all.

If Milwaukee could somehow get their bats to speak up every game (when it counts, Casey. I mean, thanks for avoiding the shutout last night, but still) and their pitchers, both from the get-go and out of the bullpen, to get a little less erratic, they could really get themselves closer to the top. Yeah, yeah, it’s all easier said than done. But come on, I don’t get rewarded for not doing my job correctly.  I mean, Jeff Suppan’s making $12 mil just to sit in the ‘pen for days at a time. Seriously, I know it’s not just me thinking it. It’s about time these guys get out there and do what they’re paid to do.

 

 

Go Brewers!

 

 

 

May I present the 2010 Top 10 Hotties

True, this may be a little premature. And in actuality, it should really be called the 2009 Top 10 Hotties because this is based on players and performance from last season, but honestly, who cares? It’s really just for my own personal enjoyment, afterall. But this list is official. (For girly baseball nerds, anyway.) For the duration of the 2010 season, I will refer back to it, make amends when someone pisses me off (see #8) and shuffle guys around based on whether or not they’re on my good side at the time.

I’ve chosen not to do the day-by-day countdown like I did last year because **shocker** the Top 3 are the same. Yes, sometimes even Skip Schumaker’s performance doesn’t weigh in on the decisions. If it did, every time he led off and didn’t get on base, it would knock him down a peg. Hell, he’d be well off the list by now. But alas, some things cannot be disputed. Hotness is one of those things.

So without further ado, the Top 10 for 2010.

 

#10

Ryan Church, Pittsburgh Pirates

ryanchurch.jpgFirst of all, thank you, Ryan, for staying in the National League. Church was oft out last season with various injuries (which is no surprise. Concussions, much?) but I feel fortunate enough to have gotten to see him at Miller Park on a couple of occasions. And by fortunate, I mean downright giddy. Ordinarily, Church isn’t the kind of guy I’d see on the street and think, “damn,” but on the field? Well, in a baseball uniform, there’s little you’ve got to do to turn my head.

 

And overall, Ryan Church doesn’t do much. He’s a career .272 hitter and his OBP and SLG are only slightly higher. Church has played for some notoriously bad teams, too. Well, not bad, just not good. And he’s continuing that tradition with the Pirates for 2010. I mean, you could do worse, I suppose. But Pittsburgh is rebuilding and going with Church isn’t such a bad thing.

 

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#9

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

t1_cano.jpgThe only time you will hear me say anything positive about the Yankees is when I’m talking about good looking guys. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t even see a Yankee on this list, but if it weren’t for that damn World Series last year, I probably wouldn’t have fallen for Robinson Cano. Have you ever seen such perfect teeth? And this girl is all about good oral hygiene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poor guy has played his entire career so far with the Yankees but, you know, he’s been holding his own. He managed to scrape by in ’06 by batting a mere .342 and last season eked out .320. And, he’s just one of those guys you love to watch play. He’s young, energetic and hot. What more could you ask for?

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#8

Manny Parra, Milwaukee Brewers


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So what if Manny’s Josh Hartnett-esque good looks haven’t quite caught on yet? I’m still on board. He’s tall and brooding and looks great in high socks – all pluses for me.

 

 

 

 

And so what if his ERA has done nothing but balloon since his debut in 2007? He’s been kicked off the list once already. And this position is a demotion from his #5 spot last year. Poor Manny just has to learn to deal with pressure and the occasional bad game. Plus, he’s competing for a job this year so I’m hoping that, all things considered, he finally has a stand-out year for the Brewers. Lord knows he (and they) need it.

 

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#7

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

 

Joe_Mauer-743353.jpgAhhh, another set of beautiful chompers! Joe’s slipped down in the ratings since last year too, but that’s most definitely not performance based. I just fell in love with some new guys and comparatively, being tall and having nice teeth won’t get you everywhere. But it will get you JJ Hardy’s spot in the Top 10. (Hardy is nowhere near the list this year, btw.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Mauer easily had the most talked about year in ’09. He won the AL MVP without question as he and his .365 average couldn’t be beat. (Not to mention that his first at-bat after coming off an off-season back injury produced a home run – a small glimpse of things to come.) 2010 will be another big year for Joe, as he’s nearing a pretty big contract extension with the Twins. Awe, such the hometown hero.

 

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#6

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

kemp.jpgI never thought much about Matt Kemp being a hottie. That is until I saw him make some appearances on Sports Soup. And, well, yum! I’m a sucker for a guy in glasses. And a guy that knows how to dress. And a guy with a great jawline. And since Kemp’s got all three of those going on off the field, he definitely qualifies as an on-field hottie, as well.

 

 

After watching Mike Cameron in centerfield the past couple of seasons, I’ve been spoiled by hotdogging plays. And by spoiled, I mean watching him go over the top for a routine play and miss. Watching Kemp play last year was way more entertaining because unlike Cam, he only had 2 errors. At the plate, Matt did pretty well, batting .297 and was nearing a 30-30 season, stealing 34 bases but coming in just 4 shy of 30 homers.
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#5

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

andre.jpgI came across a picture of Andre at a signing event in a work newsletter and was shocked at how I’d not considered him for the list before. Shocked. There isn’t much to elaborate on other than he’s gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last season Andre batted .272 with 31 home runs and 106 RBIs but had a great post-season run for the 8 games the Dodgers played. Ethier hit .355 with 3 homers and 6 RBIs. Along with Kemp, the Dodgers are boasting a great looking outfield. Manny Ramirez brings them down a bit, but with the other 2, he doesn’t have to be hot.

 

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#4

Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

jones.jpgWho would’ve ever thought with guys like Ryan Doumit and the brothers LaRoche that the Pirates would’ve ever had 2 players on the Top 10 Hotties list? Well, enter the 2009 season and Garrett Jones. Holy hell, what a good looking man. I recall watching a Brewers-Pirates game on TV last year and seeing Jones for the first time. If I weren’t already sitting, my knees would’ve gone weak. That jaw, the scruff, 6’4″, not to mention one of the most perfect profiles I’ve ever seen – what’s not to love?

Moreover, Garrett Jones made a push (along with Casey McGehee) as one of the older rookies in the game last season. At 28, he batted .293 and hit 44 RBIs and 21 home runs. I saw quite a few of those home runs because he hit what seemed like, oh, all of them, against the Brewers.

 

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#3

Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals

 

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Yes, Skip again. Easily one of the hottest. Again, a sucker for a great scruff-covered jawline and he’s still holding on to the title of “Best Team Photo.” Seriously. Every other player manages to look like they’re posing for a mugshot. Not Skip. After my roadie to St. Louis at the end of last season, I decieded if I ever had to move there for any reason, I could handle it. 1. Because the city is awesome and 2. because of Skip Schumaker making it a little easier to not hate the Cardinals so much. What Skip lacks in height (he’s only 5’10″ compared to the 6′+ crowd on the rest of the list) he makes up for in looks from the neck up.

Now, as I said earlier, performance would ordinarily warrant a hiatus from the list, but Schumaker managed a .303 average last year. He could’ve fooled me because every time I saw him in action, he wasn’t doing much at the plate. As a leadoff hitter, I feel like he should be doing more, but Tony LaRussa seems to like him in that spot. He’s also a really useful player on the field, as he’s an experienced outfielder that took over main duties at 2B for the Redbirds last year.

 

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#2

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

 

 


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I mean, honestly. If it weren’t for, well, nothing. I find nothing wrong with this man. Even the flavor savor doesn’t bother me because Chase Utley can do anything he freaking wants to. It’s no wonder he’s so beloved by The Gang, Mac, in particular.

 

 

 

 

He’s a power-hitting second baseman. “Do you know how rare that is?” Last year, Chase hit .282 in the regular season and hit 31 homers. His post season was even better. He batted .296 and hit 6 homers, 5 of which came in the World Series alone. Not too shabby. Chase Utley is one of the main reasons the Phillies are my second favorite NL team.

 

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#1

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

 

Ryan%20Braun.jpgAs I’ve said many times before, Ryan is a stud. He’s the total package. He’s a tall, ripped, major league baseball player who’s got a bit hardware to back up the goods (ROY, a couple Silver Sluggers – you know). I like the attitude. I like, in his words, the swagger. It works in his favor because what girl doesn’t fall for the bad boy? And it doesn’t hurt when the bad boy is hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we all know what Ryan is capable of on the field, too. He finished out ’09 with a .320 average, 114 RBIs and 32 HRs and led the National League with 203 hits. Braun continues to be one of the best players around today and I look forward to another stellar season in 2010. And I look forward to just looking at him, too.

 


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Well, there they are. The 2010 Top 10 Hotties in all their glory. I hope you enjoyed my clearly feminine view on the Boys of Summer. Well, some of them anyway. Trust me, it’s hard work narrowing the list down to just 10. The few that got bumped from last year’s list are still lingering along with a handful of newbies, just ready to take someone’s place should anyone falter this season. But fear not, if that does happen, the loyal readers of A Girl’s View will be the first to know. Because I know you all care so much.

 

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. 

This Year in Baseball

It’s been awhile. I know. Bear with me.

I’ve decided to forego talking about the World Series because I’ve been reading The Yankee Years and my disdain for that team is doing nothing but growing. Needless to say, I was disappointed in the outcome.

I’ve also decided to save my thoughts on the JJ Hardy-Carlos Gomez trade for another entry, as I’m getting kind of sick of people asking me about it and have far too much to say. Let’s leave it at this for now: excellent move for the Brewers. Mike Cameron, I’ll miss you.

Instead of all that, I’ve decided to let you all in on my votes for the This Year in Baseball Awards. I’ve literally been on that website for at least the last hour mulling over the choices. And instead of just voting for all the Brewers nominees and whomever else I liked the most throughtout the season, as I have in the past, I think I’ve actually made some very well thought out decisions this year.

 

Hitter

My team did have 2 nominees this year in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Looking at everyone’s numbers, Braun probably could’ve been bumped off the list, but needless to say, I was happy to see his name.

Naturally, I voted for Fielder. True, his average was kept just shy of .300, but he had held it quite near that mark the majority of the season. Ending at .299 was probably a bit of a disappointment, but his other numbers made up for it. Fielder led the league for RBIs, tied at 141 with Ryan Howard, went 2nd to Albert Pujols with 46 HRs, led in OPS with 1.014 and capped out with 103 runs.

If it weren’t for Prince, I was leaning towards Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and his league-leading .365 AVG and 28 HRs or the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez’s .342 AVG coupled with 106 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.

 

Starter

Of course, with the Brewers’ abysmal starting rotation, there were none of my own boys to choose from, so I went with Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals. I’m sure he’ll walk away with this honor given his 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA, which led all other pitchers in the category. Not to mention he struck out 242 batters.

I picked Greinke over St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, whom I do think is a strong contender for Cy Young this year with his 19-8 record (the Brewers spoiled his 20th win. Ha!) and 212 Ks. I also was considering Detroit’s Justin Verlander because of his 19-win season and 269 Ks, leading in that category.

 

Rookie of the Year

Picking a single winner is going to be tough. As far as batting goes, it’s a tough call. But so is pitching.

You must know that I voted for Casey McGehee, not only because of his strong offensive numbers, but because I was able to watch him on the field all season, too. Sure he led the rooks in RBIs with 66 and was 2nd in just about every other major batting category (.301 AVG, .859 OPS, 58 R and 16 HRs), but he battled his way to an everyday spot starting for the Brewers at third base and did a pretty damn good job at it, too.

If it weren’t for Casey’s name on the list, I more than likely would’ve voted for Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins. Coghlan led with a .321 AVG and 84 R, while knocking in 47 runs, stealing 8 bases and hitting 9 out of ballparks across the country.

As far as pitching, I just find it really hard to compare to everyday players at any other position. Tommy Hanson of the Braves went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA, struck out 116 batters and had a WHIP of 1.18. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey went 26/30 in save opportunities while striking out 91 batters, keeping his ERA well under 2.0 and had a mere .88 WHIP. (But I still finding batting stats way more impressive. Sorry.)

 

Manager

Although the winner will most likely be the Yankees’ Joe Girardi, who led his team to the best record in the MLB at 103-59, my vote goes to Jim Tracy. Tracy took over the sagging Colorado Rockies partway through the season and led them to a NL Wildcard victory with a 92-70 record.

 

Closer

Milwaukee’s own Trevor Hoffman was 37/41 with a 1.83 ERA, 48 Ks and a WHIP of .91.  Not the greatest, but he gets my vote because, well, he’s Trevor Hoffman. Jonathan Broxton of the LA Dodgers had a crazy-high 114 Ks and the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera did only blow 2 saves. He also had the lowest ERA with 1.76. But, as I’ve previously stated, I don’t like the Yankees. Therefore, I vote for NO YANKEES!

 

Set-Up

Who to choose? The Giants’ Jeremy Affeldt had the lowest ERA (1.73) and tied Matt Guerrier of the Minnesota Twins with 33 holds. Oakland’s Michael Wuertz led in strikeouts with 102 and with .95, had the lowest WHIP.

Even though there was a Brewer on this list, I just can’t vote for Todd Coffey with guys like Wuertz and Affeldt sharing the nomination. My vote foes to Jeremy Affeldt.

 

Defense

I can’t quite get a grip on what’s better: putouts or assists? Fielding percentage is one thing, but what should I be more impressed with–the number of outs you make, or the number of outs you help make? My vote is for the Angels’ Torii Hunter. He only made 1 error, giving him a fielding percentage of .997, while also having 286 putouts. Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies was also pretty impressive with .986 fielding percetage and 433 assists. But I based my decision solely on fielding percentage and went with Hunter.

 

Performance

Yovani Gallardo offered a stellar game vs. Pittsburgh in late April, taking the win entirely into his own hands. Gallardo went 8 innings, struck out 11 with no ERs and smacked a solo homerun, accounting for the only run the Brewers would need to secure a victory. But I didn’t vote for Yo.

White Sox starter Mark Buhrle gets a lot of praise for his perfect game against the Rays, but with only 6 strikeouts, I think a lot of the credit should really go to his teammates. So I didn’t vote for him, either.

Troy Tulowitzki impressed me the most hitting for the cycle, going 5-5 with 7 RBIs and scoring 2 runs. Why was this feat more impressive than the rest? Welllllllll, it was against the Cubs!

 

Play

I watched evey play, waiting for the best reaction. I needed to be impressed. Making a leaping catch at the wall to rob someone of a homerun? Big deal.

The winner? The flip from Angels’ Maicer Izturis to Erick Aybar. Izturis flipped the ball from his glove directly to the waiting bare hand of the human projectile that was Aybar in time to throw Kurt Suzuki out at first. I watched that clip twice just to be sure I was actually impressed. I was.

 

Moment

Hands down, the Angels’ tribute to fallen pitcher Nick Adenhart after winning the AL West. No other moment put a bigger smile on my face.

 

Oddity

This is the one that I vote on purely because of what makes me laugh the hardest.

I still get a kick out of Milton Bradley’s stupidity, but the absolute take-down of Racing President Teddy Roosevelt had tears in my eyes. That Peirogi was brutal!

 

Executive

Tag-teaming with my vote for Jim Tracy, I picked Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd for being the man with the plan. Who knows where Colorado would’ve finished in ’09 if O’Dowd hadn’t had a hand in firing Clint Hurdle, but kudos for making the move. It certainly paid off.

 

Unsung Star

With numbers all over the place, it was hard to decide on this one. I went with Jayson Werth of the Phillies. His .268 AVG, 36 HRs and 99 RBIs helped get his team to the post season yet again. But with names like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, then adding Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, a name like Werth gets lost in the mix. (Although, after this post season, it probably won’t be lost for long.) Ben Zobrist of Tampa Bay was a very, very, very close second.

 

Post Season Moment

After Dexter Fowler leapfrogged Chase Utley in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the NLDS between the Rockies and Phillies, Colorado stirred up an eventual 4-2 lead going into the 9th. But, Ryan Howard smacked a 2-run double off of Rockies closer Huston Street to tie the game, giving the Phils enough momentum to eventually take the series. Since I’m a bit of a sucker for the Phillies (only after the Brewers, of course!), I chose that moment of Game 4 over Fowler’s gymnastics.

 

So there you have it. My picks. It’ll be interesting to see how many of my choices are actually winners. I’m guessing probably not many, but that’s alright. I have my reasons for voting the way I do and I’m quite impressed with myself for not just outright voting for the Brewers and Phillies like I’ve done in years past.

So that’s all I have in me after not posting for I don’t even know how long. But I promise I’ll keep it up a bit more, especially with all the free angents that will be floating around soon. And with the Brewers mounting need to pick up some key players. There will be much to write about soon enough.

 

 

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