Results tagged ‘ Trevor Hoffman ’

6 words for June 29, Pt. 2

Yovani : Homers :: Brewers : Wins. (Holds true.)

 

Gabe the Babe inching towards Rays.

 

Rodriguez leading Fish for season’s remainder.

 

Fielder racks’ em up! Go team!

 

Two first basemen, two homers each.

 

Cards smoke Dbacks, lead NLC again.

 

Lee: 3 wins in 3 CG’s.

 

Span knocks three 3Bs. Twins = first.

 

Prince gets bad calls, gets mad.

 

Was that Axford or Hoffman? Yeesh!

 

Finally over. My tapping foot relaxes.

 

Supertramp’s ‘Dreamer’? No post-game at Leff’s.

 

Oh yeah. I dig the longball!

 

 

Out with the old…

What started out as an ordinary, boring Monday turned out to be one of the best days ever. Well, if you’re a Brewers fan, anyway.

Jeff Suppan was finally released.

Happy, happy. Joy, joy.

Suppan’s last appearance for the Crew came in Friday night’s 8-0 loss to the Cardinals. I was out watching the game and, upon seeing him come out of the bullpen, immediately wanted to pick up my empty pint glass and hurl it at one of 2 things: the 60 in. NON HD television (seriously? No HD?) or the speaker sitting directly next to it that was blasting Nickelback instead of game analysis. Instead, I calmly set my glass back on the table and excused myself and went into the bathroom for fear of seeing something catastrophic. Thankfully, I didn’t witness the final straw that was 3 hits, 1 walk and 3 ERs.

The organization will eat the $2 million buyout and Jeff will likely sit around, hoping some other team as naive as the 2007 Brewers come along.

But, being the stand-up guy that he is, Suppan will continue to donate to Brewers charities until the end of the season and handled his release extremely professionally.

In reaction to the release, the Brewers bought reliever Chris Smith’s contract from Triple-A Nashville. In 23 appearances for the Sounds, Smith is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings. He’s allowed 17 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), and 6 walks, but has 29 strikeouts. So as far as right-handed relievers go, he’s waaaaaaay better than Suppan.

Also, Todd Coffey was placed on the 15-DL with a thumb injury, so the Brewers are expected to make at least one more roster move to fill the bullpen. David Riske is the likely replacement, who needs to make one more appearance in Triple-A on Wednesday and also needs to be put back on the 40-man roster.

And, since I’ve been talking about pitchers this whole time, how about that Manny Parra, huh?

Last night, Parra pitched relatively unscathed through 4 solid innings, striking out a career-high 10 batters (including 7 in 2 innings. Yes, that’s right.) before giving up a home run to Albert Pujols in the 6th. After that, Parra lost whatever it was that was finally working for him. After walking the bases loaded with only 1 out, Dave Bush was called out of the ‘pen for one batter, Kameron Loe finished out the inning. Loe continued into the first 1/3 of the 8th, but after giving up the game-tying run, Zach Braddock held on for the final 2 outs of the inning and got his first major league win after Corey Hart hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th. Then, you know, John Axford pitched the 10th and, once again, made me forget about Trevor Hoffman for a little bit.

 

Go Brewers! (Don’t let the Cubs and interleague play ruin this homestand, please!)

 

 

Hassle the Hoff. See if I care*

*Except I do care. Please stop hassling him, and the rest of the Brewers pitchers. Thanks.

 

It’s time yet again, to complain about the team I still, for reasons that I can hardly explain, hold so dear.

Monday, the Narv Dog was awesome. Yeah, awesome until he and/or Manager of the Year Ken Macha decided he could go ahead and get that final out of the 5th inning and instead gave up a game-tying homerun. Then the bullpen came out and that’s where things really got out of control. Brewers lose, Marlins win. Ugh. (Oh, yeah. Neither here nor there, really, but Cameron Maybin had an inside the park HR, too. Super.)

Yesterday, my old favorite bearded Brewers (current fave: George Kottaras) pitcher, Dave Bush, struggled in the first inning, giving up a Marlins team cycle and 3 runs before he even had 2 outs under his belt. He settled in (sort of) after that, pitching 5 scoreless innings and the Brewers tied the game with HRs from Prince Fielder and Corey Why-am-I-not-on-the-All-Star-ballot Hart, thus putting Bush in line for the win. But, alas, DB was suffering from a blister (ahhhhh, so that’s why he couldn’t find the zone all game) and left after 6.

Enter Trevor Hoffman.

Dude comes in to the pitch in the 7th and gives up hit after walk after hit after hit for an eventual Marlins 6-3 lead by the time he managed to scrape up a 3rd out and walk off the mound. Yes, Hoffman, the all-time saves leader. The man with 4 more saves to go until 600. The man with a 1-4 record this season and an 11.65 ERA in SEVENTEEN INNINGS!!!!!

Sooooooo, the Crew calls upon the new guy, the beastly 6’8″ Kameron Loe, to pitch the 8th. And what does this guy do? Shows Hoffman how it’s done. Loe goes 1,2,3 with 2 strikeouts.

Alright, so now it’s time to play the blame game.

We can argue all day about who’s fault it is that the Brewers are having a wickedly bad start to the season. I can tell you who’s fault it isn’t: the offense.

I don’t like to throw numbers around, but this is something that cannot be disputed. There is at least 1 Brewers player in the Top 10 of every major batting category in the National League. Clearly, offense can’t do it alone (CLEARLY!), but these numbers don’t lie.

HR- Corey Hart, #1 (seriously. I know.)

RBI- Casey McGehee, #1

AVG- Ryan Braun, #4 (T)

OBP- Prince Fielder, #7 (notice lead-off man Rickie Weeks is absent)

SLG- Hart, #1 (T)

SB- Braun, #5 (T)

H- Braun, #2   McGehee, #7 (T)

R- Braun, #2

As a team, Milwaukee ranks 2nd overall in the NL in OPS and SLG, 3rd in HR and OBP and 5th in SB. So, you know, the Brewers are pretty damn good offensively.

One might argue that since it’s not the bats’ fault, it must be the pitchers’. One might be right. The only name you’ll see among the NL pitching leaders is Yovani Gallardo with 5 wins, 2.78 ERA, 73 Ks and a .714 WPCT.

The team ERA? 5.36, good for 14th in the National League. That’s right. Good enough to not be last but so terrible that it’s nowhere near 1st. And for a team that scores enough runs per game to be ranked 2nd in that category, the pitching staff allows 5.78–also 14th.

So, here the Brewers sit at a massive 10 games below .500 with a starting rotation that’s seen more guys come and go in the last 2 months than your friendly neighborhood brothel. The only bright spot, besides Gallardo, seems to be that just about every guy that’s been called up from Triple-A to help salvage the mess has been doing his part and then some.

But, there are still those that believe it’s not even the pitching staff’s fault. Because someone had to have hired that staff, right?

I mean, yes, Doug Melvin had his hand in signing insanely awesome acquisitions like Jeff Suppan. But then again, he saw something in Yovani Gallardo, too. Sure, Mark Attanasio is keeping Melvin around. But that guy? He basically brought baseball back to Milwaukee (according to a guy I know). And what about Manager of the Year Ken Macha? Well, he’s just making some bad decisions. That is, when he can make up his mind at all. (Find a line-up and stick with it, Keebler Elf!)

So, blame whoever you want to blame. The point is, the Brewers, my team, my Boys, suck right now. And that’s putting it mildly because what I really want to say would just get all starred out on here (thanks, censorship!).

 

 

And, now, game on.

Go Brewers, I guess.

 

 

A real Mexican-American hero–Go Yo!

Yovani Gallardo has done it again.

I’m not gonna get all gung-ho about last night’s win over the Padres just yet, though. Gallardo definitely has been on point in his last 2 starts and his bat has been doing just as much work as his arm. Last night’s season-high 11 K’s (granted, it was a generous strike zone) held San Diego at just 1 run in 7 innings of work and it was Yo’s solo homerun (he’s now at 5 in his short career) that put the Brewers on top in the 3rd.

After Rickie Weeks added the only insurance with a solo homer of his own in the 5th, I’ll admit, I almost wanted to throw up knowing Trevor Hoffman would be coming out for the save. That feeling was quelled a bit watching LaTroy Hawkins pitch in the 8th. I mean, if he could pitch well again, well, then why couldn’t Hoffman?

And Hoffman did. Thankfully. So now, only 5 away from 600 saves, one would have to think that Trevor may be turning over a new leaf in this second month of play.

So with this new month, we Brewers fans have to hope that April is, although not forgotten, at least behind us. Prince Fielder will notoriously leave his season-opening slump behind him and become the home run machine once again, the rotation will start going deeper into ballgames and the offense will learn that, while we love the power, small ball wins games.

April is gone and May started with a (small) bang. So here’s to moving on. Here’s to beating those fluke-ily good teams. Here’s to getting back on board with Trevor Time and 600 saves. Here’s to the Prince of Power getting his swing back. Here’s to offense and pitching working together. Here’s to pushing above .500. Here’s to becoming the team I know and love again.

Go Brewers!

 

 

Opening Week: Could’ve gone better

As I read today on Twitter, people do not like when other people write sports blogs and just recap the games of the day. Apparently, there are plenty of other outlets to get a game recap, thus a recap is just a copout when it comes to said blogs. Therefore, I will not be recapping the past weeks games, but merely calling out the highlights (and maybe venting about some lowlights) and gracing you all with some photos from the multitude of games I attended during Miller Park’s Opening Week.

 

 

I am pleased to say that the cupcakes made it to Opening Day in tact this year. They were delicious, as usual.

 

The Triplets with our favorite beer guy, Malcolm.

 

 

And ps, I hate the Cubs.

 

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. 

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.

 

 

St. Louis: Everything I hoped it would be and more

ZOMG what an amazing weekend!!! (Zomg was our phrase of the weekend. The ‘Z’ apparently means nothing, thus we found it to be hilarious and used it every chance we got.)

First off, the ladies and I (Mol, Nik and Jacks) left from East Troy around 7am. We stopped off at the coffee shop in the square to get ourselves perked up and headed south. Theeeeeen a little bit to the east. The navigator told me to stay on the freeway for like 90 miles. She failed to tell me the freeway split in the midst of tons of contruction, thus we ended up about 2 hours out of our way. Ooops. We re-routed and got back on track.

Our first stop was this place.

If you’ve never heard of Triple-D on the Food Network, you’re missing out. (We love Guy Fieri, remember?) This place looked amazing and since it was en route to St. Louie, we stopped off in the glorified trailor park that is Springfield, IL. Charlie Parker’s Diner is about the only thing this city had going for it. We came for this.

The Shoe. Okay, the smaller version of the Shoe, the Pony. Toast topped with a burger and fries and smothered in homemade cheese sauce. It was yummy.

After lunch, I had to stop at the local CVS to pick up some makeup, as I had left mine back in Milwaukee. It sucked. And the teenage kid working there yelled at me when my card didn’t read. Yelled. Not kidding. Get me the eff out of Springfield now!

We got back on the freeway and headed towards the border. After sitting in one lane of construction traffic for about 45 minutes, we were finally on the homestretch and there was Archie!!

 

And then as we got closer, Busch Stadium just kind of sneaks up on you.

 

So we checked in to our really pretty hotel with our really pretty view…

 

…and clearly, got ready for the game. (There were lots more Braun shots like this. Just wait!!)

 

We took some good luck Sausage shots…

 

 

…then headed towards Busch.

 

Okay, let me just say, I loved this stadium. I love that it’s in the middle of downtown St. Louis. And it’s just so pretty. And there was amazing food (Hello? Cheesesteaks!!) and great drinks and even better bartenders. I just loved it.

So anyway, we were sitting in the bleachers just left of centerfield and I got a phonecall from my dad telling me that were basically the center of attention on the FSN broadcast back in Milwaukee. Awesome!!! It wasn’t until we walked back to our seats that our drunk butts even noticed the cameraman DIRECTLY BEHIND US!

Of course, we wanted to make our presence even more known, so we were being loud and obnoxious and cheering and making an outright spectacle of ourselves. But there were 7 of us, what do you expect? (Nik’s little brother and a couple of his friends came too.) Apparently, in St. Louis, the fans have very calm demeanors and don’t do those sorts of things. Who knew? Needless to say, we were getting a lot of dirty looks, people were yelling at us, blah blah blah. WE WERE ON TV!!!

Check it out!

And obviously, our favorite cameraman had some of his buddies find us from the front, too.

 

My dad took the pics for us and immediately posted them to facebook to make people jealous. He’s so nice.

 

I mean, that dude loved us. We were on again in the 7th!

Well, the Brewers went on to surprisingly win that first game 12-6. I’m gonna go ahead and say it was because of amazing bullpen work on their behalf but also because of the fact that Yadier Molina couldn’t keep the ball in front of him and there were 5 wild pitches that I’m pretty sure all eventually led to runs. Haha!

We spent a LOT of time out at the bars celebrating that night. So much that we laid low at Saturday’s game. Except not really. Because we all needed drinks to treat our hangovers and we were surrounded by a lot more Brewers fans, thus needing to make our presence known throughout Busch Stadium. As if being decked out in Packers gear wasn’t enough…

And Nik made sure to find out favorite cameraman to tell him we were one section over for Saturday’s game. Just in case he was wondering.

 

And it paid off! We were the opening shot for the game!

 

 

And then they found us again when they announced the Tavern of the Game. I love FSN!!!

 

 

And then proceeded to zoom in on Nik and I.

 

You have to trust that when it’s all in motion, our faces don’t look so weird…

 

So, the 2 games we went to were awesome. We survived being 7 of only very few Brewers/Packers fans in attendance and we all had a really good time.

After game 2, we crashed hard back at the hotel and then all got ready to go to dinner. It was suggested that I Tweet Seth McClung asking what Ryan Braun was up to. Because, why wouldn’t Seth McClung know? Sooooo I did. And he Tweeted me back!

Not exactly the info we were hoping for, but still, pretty cool. I kinda wanted to respond telling him that we chatted the night before when he was hanging out in the bullpen, but he has no clue who I am so why bother? (I also asked Chris Smith how his lip was. Don’t worry, folks. It’s fine. Thumbs up and everything.)

Sunday came and it was time to go see Archie and then hit the road. I won’t bore you with too many pics, but we did get some really good ones, so I’ll leave you with those. I hope you enjoyed vicariously experiencing my mini-vacay!!!

 

 

(Cinco had to check out BP. He’s such a fan.)

 

 

And before I forget, hooray for Trevor Hoffman coming back in 2010!!! I look forward to 600 in a brewers uni!

 

“Baseball been berry, berry good to me”

The season may be over here in Milwaukee, but Miller Park has seen it’s second consecutive year of 3 million plus fans. For me, the home season started with a win and ended with a bang, all in all bringing my record this year to 12-10. (Clearly, the Boys prefer my presence more often than not.)

Some of the best moments from Miller Park this season? Well, why don’t we take a look back…

 

April 10 vs. Chicago Cubs

Opening Day was finally upon us. Ryan Braun belted a 2-run homer to take a 3-2 lead. Reminiscent of the final, Wildcard clinching game to end last year, no? It would be the only game of the series that the Brewers would win, but the weekend was pretty damn fun. I’m already looking forward to Opening Day 2010.

 

April 27 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

As if free Club Level seats weren’t enough, the Brewers were in the midst of that crazy winning streak against the Pirates. Not only was this game a come from behind win, but it was a one-inning undoing of Matt Capps for the Crew to secure a 5-run lead. It was also Trevor Hoffman’s first appearance at home and even though it wasn’t a save situation, it was the first of many times I’d hear Hell’s Bells. Amazing.

 

May 8 vs. Chicago Cubs

It was Danny Gokey day in Milwaukee and I was just as pumped to see him sing the National Anthem as I was to attend the 4th of many matchups against the Cubs. The Brewers won, Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder and it was way back when when JJ Hardy still contributed to the team. His homerun put the Brewers on top and then Hell’s Bells came out and saved it.

 

June 24 vs. Minnesota Twins

This was probably the hottest night ever at Miller Park, but I stuck it out, even though the Brewers were down late in the game. I honestly don’t remember the details, but what I do remember is missing an entire play that put Jason Kendall at 3rd base, and then a throwing error scored him to tie it up? Honestly, that may not even have been the case. Either way, Milwaukee came out on top and it was a pretty exciting game. Just really hot.

 

July 25 vs. Atlanta Braves

The Hottie worlds collided that night at Miller Park. Ryan Braun and Ryan Church faced off and although neither did anything particularly spectacular, both were equally hot and I was in heaven. And the Brewers won 4-0.

 

August 30 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

The winning streak was broken up already and the week prior, the Pirates swept the Brewers. But the Brewers returned the favor this weekend at Miller Park. Jeff Suppan had just come off the DL and was making his second start, just in time to finish out the sweep on his own bobblehead day. It also helped that it was a Leff’s sponsored tailgate party and so the game would’ve been a blast anyway.

 

September 23 vs. Chicago Cubs

Already having dropped the first 2 games of the series, and on the verge of being knocked out of playoff contention, Milwaukee managed to pull off a win in the final showdown with the Cubs. It was the last time Mol, Nik and I would all be together at Miller Park and also was the last time we’d hear Hell’s Bells played. (Tear.)

 

September 26 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

There are many reasons this final game is so memorable. Let me start from the beginning. Nik and I were enjoying some drinks in the parking lot when we see 4 golf carts go by with what appears to be a large amount of Brewers. Indeed, it was nearly the entire bullpen! As part of Fan Appreciation weekend, they were driving around giving out tshirts and other things to the tailgaters. We missed out on the giveaways, so we headed in to Miller Park for the final time this season.

Since we were sitting in the seats from my 9-pack, I didn’t even need to look for the location. We got to our section and a guy was sitting in my seat. I politely asked him to move, he asked was I sure he was in my seat, I said yes and he moved. We watched nearly the entire game from these seats. About 7 innings later, my dad texted me, pointing out we were 1 section over. Oops. But, as Nik, Mol and I always say, if you’re cute and act like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with pretty much everything. This guy just got up, like he was wrong. We all had a good laugh about it.

Also, it’s the last time that I’ll eat Cactus League nachos this year. That in itself is so sad, as I will be craving them again until next April.

Basically since we left the house, Nik and I had been talking about how Ryan Braun needed to hit a big homerun that night, as it had been over 2 weeks since his last one and since it was our last homegame, we really wanted to see it. After the Crew tied the game at 5 apiece and Trevor Hoffman held the Phils scoreless in the top of the 9th, I kid you not, this is the exact text conversation I had with my friend Mark G.

Mark: Let’s go T. Hoff!

Michelle: Hells yeah. Need my last game to be a win!

Michelle: Counsell singles. RB walkoff for the win. Calling it now.

(Counsell singled.)

Mark: That’ll work!

Mark: One down.

Michelle: My plan is working!

(RB walkoff homerun.)

Michelle: Woohoo!!!

Michelle: Called it. My texts are proof!

Mark: U did indeed! That was fun!

 

And it sure as hell was fun. Excellent last game, if I do say so myself.

I’m so greatful that I had such a blast at Miller Park this season. The Brewers may not have done as well as we fans would’ve liked, but you know, that’s just how the game goes. Baseball is full of ups and downs and, unfortunately for Milwaukee, there were just more downs this season. I still have a great time watching my Boys, no matter what. What can I say? I’m a lifer!

And to prove my loyalty, I’m closing out the regular season at Busch Stadium where the Brewers will take on the NL Central Champion Cardinals. We were all hoping these games would mean something when we planned the trip, but I’m just happy to get to see all the Boys one last time before next season.

This week is a busy one for me, so this will probably be my only post until I get back from St. Louis. But there will be lots to talk about, I’m sure.

Go Brewers!

 

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