Results tagged ‘ Mitch Stetter ’

I haven’t forgotten about baseball…

…I’ve just had a super busy week or so that’s barely enabled me to update my Facebook status, let along blog about my beloved Brewers. So, even though I can’t catch you up on all my thoughts about everything, I’m sure as hell gonna try.

First, let me just let out a huuuuuuuuge typewritten LOL to Ben Sheets giving up 9 earned runs out of 10 batters and not recording a single out in a game last week. I found it funny. It’s not an “I told you so” moment or anything by a long shot, especially because it’s only Spring Training, but him saying at least he felt good after it? Whatev. Of course he felt fine. He clearly wasn’t throwing as hard as he could if he couldn’t get anyone out. Sheets is a strikeout kind of pitcher and if he was just lobbing ‘em up there, what else would he feel physically afterwards? I’m just so happy he’s not gonna be a crybaby in Milwaukee anymore. Enjoy it, Oakland.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t mentioned it yet, and if I did, here it is again. It’s exciting for me, so I don’t care. My parents gave the family certificates for Christmas to go to a Brewers game, disclaimers and all. Liiiiiiike, no Diamond Box seats, no Marquee games, etc. So when I suggested maybe getting a table at Friday’s Front Row Grill, I didn’t think it would be heeded. Instead, it was and we got a table right over the bullpen for Robin Yount bobblehead day. It’s probably the game I’m most excited to go to. Yes, the Minnesota roadie with the ladies is still on, but Robin Yount bobble and prime-o homerun ball territory? Awesome. (Don’t worry. I won’t be doing an “ballhawking.” But if a ball happens to land in my food, super.) 

And speaking of that roadie, I’d like to personally thank Target and Joe Mauer for making it near impossible to get reasonably priced tickets. Stupid new stadium and stupid astronomical contract. Lucky for us, we managed to get tickets to the Friday night game, but by the time we were done ordering those, Saturday’s game was sold out. Unless of course we wanted to buy season tickets or a 20-game pack. Gah. So unless we can miraculously find tickets before we leave, the ladies and I are just going to have to find the most obnoxiously Twins-y bar and be our obnoxiously Brewers-y selves. Any suggestions, Twins fans?

And, since I’m obnoxiously Brewers-y pretty much all the time, guess who’s in charge of the new MLB display at work? I mean, duh. As if I even had to ask. The men’s department isn’t even one of my areas, but my boss knows better than to trust anyone else with this task. By the time I bring in some of my personal memorabilia to make it that much cooler (provided I can keep it all out of any human reach), the buyers in New York will finally understand that Milwaukee is NOT a suburb of Chicago and henceforth will never send us any Cubs gear again. Ever. (It will be worked on this week. Pictures shall follow.)

And because I said I haven’t forgotten about baseball, let me touch on a few things related to the world of baseball right now. Let me start with some looming decisions the Brewers staff has to face.

First, pitching. We all know Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis have their spots locked down. And any idiot can tell you that Manny Parra and Dave Bush are prrrrrobably better choices than Jeff Suppan. Even Chris Narveson (whom I shall forever refer to as “The Narv-Dog.” Because he’s awesome. And it will catch on.) has been verging on amazing this spring, but lacks big league experience. I mean, your guess is as good as mine as how this starting rotation will pan out, but please, please, please leave Suppo out of it. Please!

Second, the Brewers have a few guys with “out” clauses whose deadlines are creeping up. Jim EdmOnds (I’d noticed I’d been spelling his name with a ‘u.’ No idea why.) has a 98.4% chance of making the Opening Day roster and I completely agree if and when that decision is made. So his “out” should be pretty much taken care of. Left handed reliever Scott Schoenweiss could make it to the bullpen, but so far, the staff seems content with Mitch Stetter taking on that lefty specialist role, not to mention LaTroy Hawkins being able to hold his own against left handed batters, as well. Schoenweiss may just be on his way out. And earlier today, contending back up catcher Matt Treanor was traded to the Rangers, answering the question of what the Brewers were going to do with him. I have to agree with this move, as I think George Kottaras is offensively better and will make a better back up to starting catcher Gregg Zaun.

And, I hope you all know what’s coming next.

THERE ARE 14 EFFING DAYS TIL OPENING DAY!!!

That means 2 weeks until cupcakes and cute shirts and flipcup tourneys and tailgating and wearing hats in appropriate, non-dirty hair situations and raspberry Long Islands and blue flipflops and cornhole and Ryan Braun’s bum and high socks and Sausage Races and Bernie’s Slide and, one things I’m most excited for at Miller Park this season, 50/50 raffles!

Seriously, 2 weeks until the best day of the year. Two weeks until My Boys are back to kick off 162 glorious games. I heart baseball.

 

Go Brewers!

Baseball, the cure for the common hangover

Whilst I was recovering from New Year’s Eve Friday afternoon, my dad read me Tom Haudricourt’s Top 10 Brewers Highlights of 2009 from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Before he began the short but sweet countdown, I tried guessing what might be on the list. I was way off base, considering Mr. Haudricourt’s and my definition of “highlight” were a little different. 

See, Tom had things like signing Trevor Hoffman as a highlight, whereas I would’ve just put Hoffman’s save streak or how many scoreless innings he had pitched, because it goes without saying that he was signed. Duh. He also put drawing 3 million fans. I wouldn’t have included that, either, since the club did that in 2008, too. Whoopideedoo.
At any rate I got to thinking about his list, what with all the time I had spent lying on the couch that day-turned-into-night, and, well, he left some good stuff off of it.  
Here’s Tom’s Top 10 (with comments, of course), followed by a couple additions that must be worthy, since 2009 was really a season not worth bragging about.

Here is My (Tom’s) list of Top 10 Highlights for 2009:

1. First baseman Prince Fielder shatters Cecil Cooper’s 26-year club record (126) with 141 RBI, tying Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the major league lead. Fielder, who also set a club record with 110 walks, became the first Brewer to lead the majors in RBI since Cooper tied Boston’ Jim Rice in 1983.

**Alright, yes, agreed. Prince Fielder had an amazing year, I’ll give you that. And we fans did wait with baited breath for, like, 7 games for him to finally break that RBI record. And that Cecil Cooper was in town when he did was pretty exciting.

2. Closer Trevor Hoffman signs a free-agent deal, then pitches scoreless ball for his first 18 games and converts 37 of 41 save opportunities, with a 1.83 ERA in 55 games.

**Was signing the All-Time Saves Leader a big deal? Hell yeah. A highlight of the season? Well, let’s just say by the time the season begins and the good stuff (like actually getting to watch and/or go to games) starts, the off-season is a mere distant memory. Let’s just focus of what Hoffman did for us. Those are the real highlights.

3. Leftfielder Ryan Braun leads the National League with 203 hits, the club’s first 200-hit season since Paul Molitor in 1991 (216).

** Again, here’s where the definition differs. There are any number of Ryan Braun ‘highlights’ that contributed to his league-leading 203 hits. He had numerous multi-home run games, a grand slam, a near cycle. Either way, I agree this was a big deal for the club.

4. The Brewers draw 3 million fans (3,037,451) for the second consecutive season with their second-best attendance in club history. Considering the market size, it is an astounding feat.

**Not a highlight. They did it last year, the year prior and they’ll more than likely do it again this year, even coming off a losing season. I m
ean, let’s get real. I individually contributed to at least 135, 294 of those tickets. It won’t be a problem in 2010.

5. On July 29 against Washington at Miller Park, 2-year-old Mackail McGehee, suffering from cerebral palsy, throws out the ceremonial first pitch with the help of Prince Fielder. His father, Casey, later socks a pinch-hit two-run homer that provides the difference in a 7-5 victory. McGehee finishes his rookie season with a .301 batting average, 16 HRs and 66 RBI in 116 games.

**Fo’ sho’ agreed. It was a pretty exciting game.

6. On Sept. 6 against San Francisco at Miller Park, the Brewers turn a triple play, then win on a walk-off homer by Prince Fielder in the 12th inning, with teammates greeting him by sprawling backward at the plate and tumbling to the ground in a “boom goes the dynamite” celebration that drew some criticism around the game.

**Yes. This is a true highlight. A walk-off home run after 12 innings and the greatest ‘new school’ celebration I’ve ever seen. Don’t hate. The Brewers had already lost that series, were all but out of contention and, if you really think about it, were probably just happy they won a damn game

7. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo becomes the fifth pitcher in team history to record 200 strikeouts in a season when he reaches 204 in his final start Sept. 20 against Houston.

**For an ace in the making, this is a big accomplishment. My favorite Yovani highlight will be in the Haudricourt addendum. 

8. Prince Fielder wins the All-Star Home Run Derby on July 13 in St. Louis, socking a 503-footer in the process and topping Texas’ Nelson Cruz in the finals.

**This has no outcome on the team, therefore I do not count it as a Brewers highlight, but merely a Prince Fielder career highlight. 

9. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder lead all major league teammates with a combined 255 RBI.

**Impressive, no doubt. Again, doesn’t fit in my definition of ‘highlight.’ But, then again, there isn’t a whole lot to be proud of from 2009, so I’ll take it.

10. Right-hander Dave Bush pitches no-hit ball for 8 1/3 innings in Philadelphia on April 23 before pinch-hitter Matt Stairs smacks a home run off the right-field foul pole to end his bid for a no-hitter.

**Since Dave Bush didn’t have much else to be proud of last season, yes, this works as a highlight.

As for the addendum, I have 2 highlights by my definition and 1 by Tom’s. Where any of these fall on the list is up for interpretation.

First, it was the Yovani Gallardo Show when the Pirates came to town back on April 29. Yo went 8 scoreless innings, striking out 11. And the only run scored in the 1-0 Brewers win? Yep. Gallardo’s solo shot in the bottom of the 7th. Nice. 

Second, was the roller-coaster game in Cleveland that ended in an eventual 14-12 win for the Crew. The Brewers managed to blow up after the Indians blew not one, but two, 5-run leads. In this game, Ryan Braun was one hit shy of the cycle and managed to contribute 5 RBIs while Prince Fielder had a career-high 6 RBIs of his own and also smacked his first career grand slam. Not too shabby.

For the Haudricourt-esque highlight, let’s talk about 2 outstanding pitchers. It’s important to remember that, aside from Gallardo and Hoffman, the Brewers did have other bright spots in their pitching staff. Albeit teeny, tiny bright spots. Todd Coffey pitched 83.2 innings in 78 games with an ERA just shy of 3.0 and a WHIP of 1.16. His hiccups in the relief role were minute compared to others’ and he provided the team a much-needed, reliable arm out of the bullpen. Another reliever to be mentioned was lefty-specialist Mitch Stetter, who set an MLB record of 15 straight outs via the strikeout  between June 9-25. This record came amid a streak of 17 straight appearances without allowing a run from May 27- July 8. 

So, alright. Tom had some things right, but I like my choices, too. True, 2009 could mostly go down as forgotten, but the Brewers did some pretty great things in there. While I’m completely looking forward for the new season to get underway, I had a good time reminiscing about last year. It helped me forget my massive hangover. (For a little while, anyway.) 

Oh, and Happy New Year. Is it time for baseball yet?

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. 

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!

 

Worst. Game. Ever. Period.

Remember a few posts ago when I said playing the Nationals this season would basically be 8 free wins for the Brewers?

Welllllll, either I was completely off-base thinking a team like the Brewers could easily beat the team with the worst record in the Majors, or every single National read that post and decided to retaliate. (I’m going with the former.) The final tally? 14-6. Ouch.

I don’t turn a lot of games off, and if I do, it’s generally near the end and Milwaukee has an insurmountable lead and I’m fairly confident I won’t miss anything. Not so last night. Jeff Suppan pitched like only Jeff Suppan could and surrendered 8 runs, including the first of 2 grand slams for Washington’s Josh Willingham. Mitch Stetter came on in relief and was resposible for letting the rest of Suppan’s earned runs score, bringing his grand total for the evening to 10.

And, as if a 6-run 5th inning weren’t enough for the Nat’s, they came up to the plate again the next inning and scored 7 more, including that second slam by Willingham off of Mark DiFelice. Oops.

Good thing the Brewers managed to eke out 4 other runs in the game. Or else it could’ve been quite the embarassment. Oh, wait…

So tonight, I have last minute free tickets. You know me. I can’t turn down a game. I’m gonna say that the fire should’ve been lit after last night and if the Crew can’t turn themselves around after that horrific game, then they may as well just surrender the NL Central now.

The match-up? Gah. Carlos Villanueva (2-7, 6.18 ERA) vs. Collin Balester (0-1, 6.00 ERA).

I guess I have to say it…Go Brewers!

What, Mets? No rookie starters?

Lately, it seems that’s all a team needs to make fools out of the Brewers. Lucky for them, New York didn’t have any to send to the mound in this series. That, coupled with nearly all of their A-squad on the DL, and they pretty much handed the series win to the Crew.

Game 1

Brewers 10, Mets 6

If it weren’t for Carlos Villanueva, I would say Monday night’s was one of the best games of the season so far. Instead, it was just a really good game with a bit of a blemish.

The Brewers finally rejoined the hit parade, nearly tying their season high of 20. That game was the 15-3 blowout in Cincinatti back in May. Aside from the high hit count, this game had something else in common with that one: the grandslam.

Casey McGehee had the honor in the bottom of the 6th–sweet redemption from the lazy pop-up that entered, then promptly left, his glove in the top of the frame.

But, being the diehard gamer that he is, McGehee didn’t seem to even acknowledge the grandslam. He was too busy mulling the error that eventually led to 2 Mets’ runs to even think about what he’d just done. Either way, he was beckoned back out by the thankful crowd and he reluctantly obliged the curtain call. It was nice to see his post-game interview, too because, one, I’ve never seen him smile or heard him speak and two, I wanted him to show some pride over what he’d accomplished. Way to go, Casey!

There were other things working for the Brewers that night, too. JJ Hardy went 4-4, including a solo HR. Jason Kendall went 3-4 with an RBI, and even when McGehee was taken out, Bill Hall was shockingly able to produce. Hall stepped up, going 2-2 with 2 RBIs.

Villanueva, as I mentioned, was the lone dark spot on an otherwise great game. After Todd Coffey and Mitch Stetter worked a combined scoreless 1+ inning, Villa gave up enough runs (including a Gary Sheffield 2-run shot. Boo.) to warrant a trip to the mound from Trevor Hoffman. Ordinarily, I’m not opposed to seeing Hoffman, but with a 7-run lead going into the 9th, I’d rather not have to. Instead, he comes out with 2 on and 1 out, and with one pitch, the game is over and the shirts are untucked.

When all is said and done, Milwaukee leads the NL Central by 1. Awesome.

 

Game 2

Brewers 6, Mets 3

Mike Burns vs. Johan Santana. Hmmmm….

This game did not go as many wouldn’ve expected it to. Although, it started that way.

Burns gave up a 2-run homer early in the first to David Wright. His remaining 6+ innings were basically flawless.

Santana, on the other hand, wasn’t as lucky. A series of hits in the 3rd ended up scoring the first Brewers run on a Ryan Braun RBI. One inning later, I found myself hoping for another grandslam. Santana walked Burns on 4 straight pitches then Corey Hart doubled on the most hilarious outfield slip I’ve seen in a long time. (I kid you not. The fall that Fernando Martinez took was classic. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard.) JJ Hardy followed with a walk to load the bases for Braun.

What happened next may as well have been a grandslam, as far as I’m concerned. But I’ll take what I can get.

Braun doubled on an 0-2 count to Gary Sheffield. Burns and Hart scored easily, but a throw to the plate to catch Hardy was deflected past Omir Santos to Santana, allowing the third run. Santana then overthrew third on an attempt to tag Braun out and, despite not technically being a grandslam, that 4th run scored anyway. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy after that play, for I was home alone, screaming like an absolute maniac. (Can you blame me?)

Three innings go by with nary a run scored. Somehow Burns is out of the game in the 7th with a mid-90’s pitch count, while Johan remains in the game, over 100 pitches, and proceeds to give up a solo bomb to Prince Fielder. Just a little insurance, I guess. Looks like Jerry Manuel wasn’t thinking too clearly by leaving Santana in to start the bottom of the 7th. He finally exits the game after that.

A myriad of pitchers come out for both teams and the Brewers narrowly avoided an 8th innings Mets’ threat. And because Hoffman worked a grueling 1-pitch game the night before, it was Coffey on the mound to finish it off. A nice double-play ball put the first 2 outs on the board, but I guess Martinez wanted to make up for his embarassment back in the 4th and hit a homer to the Tundra Territory. Ah well. Too little, too late.

The game ended one batter later, preserving Burns’ first Major League win.

The Brewers now lead the Central by 2 games. Awesome.

 

Game 3

Brewers 0, Mets 1

Apparently Yovani Gallardo can’t catch a break against the Mets. The poor guy pitches another great game, yet loses again in a 1-0 shutout.

Newly appointed Top 10 Hottie Ryan Church was responsible for the single RBI of the game, and Gallardo was tabbed for the loss.

Despite outhitting the Mets 7-5, the Brewers were unable to capitalize and give Yo what would’ve been a well-deserved win.

Gallardo struck out a career-high 12 batters in 7 innings pitched. That’s twice as many as Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey.

And Fielder was caught stealing. Shocker.

The Brewers currently lead the Central by a game and a half. Still awesome. Hopefully the Cardinals will get swept.

 

The Brewers final roadtrip of the first half is a 4-game series this weekend in Chicago. The Cubs have been faltering lately, so I’m not too worried the Crew will come home with their lead in tact. But before the All-Star break, the Cards and Dodgers come to Miller Park. That leaves a bit up in the air. But, as I said in my last post, the second half is relatively easy for Milwaukee. Hopefully the lead will still be theirs come October.

Tomorrow’s match-up: Seth McClung (3-1, 3.55 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (4-5, 4.09 ERA) in a rare Thursday night game at Wrigley.

Go Brewers!

 

 

Just when I can feel I can lament no more, my boys go and do something spectacular!

Interleague win #2. Done and Done!

Check out this rollercoaster of a box score:

Milwaukee 14, Cleveland 12   Today’s Boxes 6/15/09 LAA 9, SF 7

June 15, 2009
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   R   H   E 
Milwaukee
2 0 1 0 3 1 1 6 0   14 15 1
Cleveland
2 0 2 4 0 4 0 0 0   12 11 1

And holy eff what a win it was.

But first, poor, poor Dave Bush. The guy can’t catch a break. Six runs scored before he was pulled from the game after his shortest outing all season. Only 3 1/3 innings pitched. Dave, you know I love you, but you’ve gotta stop giving up homeruns!!! But don’t think it was just six ERs. Two more crossed the plate thanks to a Victor Martinez hit off of first time Brewer Chris Narveson. Ouchy, Dave. And it’s too bad for Bush that the run support came too late to save him. I really do hate to see him and his newly trimmed beard struggle like that.

At this point, the Crew had let 2 separate leads go and the Indians were ahead 8-3. But not to worry–this would be the first of 2, 5-run leads the Tribe would let get away from them. Following Cleveland’s 4-run 4th, the Brewers would close the first gap to 8-7.

But the Indian’s big inning was the 6th, when Narveson and Mark DiFelice would combine to allow 4 runs, thus lending a hand to the second of Cleveland’s 5-run leads.

I’m not gonna lie, at this point, I was ready to give it up. It was already 3+ hours into the game. But then Todd Coffey came out to pitch the 7th and had Milwaukee’s first 1,2,3 inning. He was the first of 4 pitchers to not let a run to score. The Brewers then sent 11 men to the plate in that decisive, 6-run 8th inning to garner Coffey his second win of the season.

Casey McGehee is certainly proving his worth with 2, 3-hit games in a row, including belting his first career HR on Sunday. JJ Hardy broke an 0-30 slump (finally!), but still only managed to go 1-5 last night. Baby steps, I guess. Ryan Braun was one hit shy of the cycle, knocking in 5 runs on 3 hits, including a 2-run homer and a 2-run triple.

But the true hero of the night was Prince Fielder. He had a career high 6 RBIs, 4 of which came off the 130th HR of his career. Scratch that–4 of which came off his first career GRANDSLAM!!!

(Side note: thanks to my mom for watching the game on an analog tv, thus screaming in excitement 2 seconds before I even saw the pitch in HD. Tiny ugh.)

Coffey and Mitch Stetter combined to hold the Indians at bay in the bottom of the 8th and the Brewers bats couldn’t produce anymore runs in the top of the 9th. But they had a 2-run lead going in to the bottom of the frame, prompting a 16th save opportunity for Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman gave up a run Sunday and inevitably posted something other than 0.00 in the ER column. It was bound to happen. But, Trevor remained perfect, gaining his 16th save for the Crew this season.

So, no negativity today.Yay! Dave Bush hasn’t quite taken Manny Parra’s place on the Hotties List, but if he lowers his ERA, he might have a chance to be bumped from the Honorable Mentions. He did finally listen to me and trim that Amish-y beard of his.

Anyways, getting back on track…

Crew and Tribe again tonight. Yovani Gallardo (6-3, 2.88 ERA) takes the mound opposite Jeremy Sowers (1-3, 5.10 ERA).

Go Brewers!

 

I’m never sitting anywhere else again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mol, Me, Guy and Nik. Awesome.

 

The first of many, I’m sure.

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

Really, Mets? Cut us some slack with the lefties

Uuuuuuuuugh!

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

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

Anyway, to the game!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What a weekend.

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

 

Friday

Brewers 4, Cubs 3

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brother and Sister.

 

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

 

At least my artwork came through on the cornhole set!

 

Girls (and little Bro!) win!

 

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

 

 

Saturday

Brewers 5, Cubs 6

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best bartenders in the whole place!

 

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

 

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

 

Ladies at the game. In our awesome new hats!

 

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

 

Sunday

Brewers 5, Cubs 8

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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