Archive for June, 2007

A Foreign Right Field Bleachers

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Wrigley Bleacher Box

Wrigley Bleacher Box

The Right Field Bleachers Crew will be sitting in the right field bleachers later today (as I write, it’s nearing 12:30 a.m.), but it will be far from the friendly confines of Miller Park. We’ll be in enemy territory at Wrigley Field.

Thankfully, the Brewers crushed the Cubs today, meaning the game is a rubber match. If the Cubs were going for a sweep, I can only imagine how annoying the naturally douche-baggish Chicago fans would become. As it is, we’ll represent our Brewers strong and try to come home with a series victory and hopefully a Prince Fielder home run ball (or three).

Look for us on TV and let us know if you see us. We’ll be in the front row of the bleacher box section in right field (close to the foul pole) and all five of us will be in our Cub Killer shirts. We’ll be the ones bringing Cliff Floyd to tears (and likely being showered with beer, peanuts, spit and obscenities from those uncivilized scrub fans).

We’ll have a full report Sunday night. Hopefully it’ll be a good one.

Jonesin’ for my First Padre’s Bobblehead

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

At the risk of saying something obvious on a fan-blog, I’m really glad the crew struck down with the hammer of thore and tore those Cubbies a new one from the get go.Though I’m sure Cubs will still be tossing brag-fodder left over from Friday’s game and the last great Cub momment, the 1908 World Series, I’m glad the Brewers won in such dominant fashion today. It should make our great seats (front row of “the Craig Counsell Taterzone”) in an otherwise faltering Wrigley Field that much warmer during tomorrow’s rubbermatch in the windy s**tty.

Tommorrow marks a historic day of firsts for me:
-First time at Wrigley
-First time catching 3 Tony Graffanino opposite field jacks in one game (I mean, this season).
-First time getting a free bobblehead of a player who currently plays for a team not involved in that day’s game.

That’s right, it is Michael Barrett bobblehead day. And no, I will not be giving mine to a kid, NOR, old-timer. Hey, he’s a Padre now… I’m indifferent to Padres. Plus any man who threw down (albiet got demolished) with Zombie, is a man I want a bobblehead of.

Let’s win this series!

Ouch…

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

If the great extra-innings, come-from-behind defeat of the Cubs in late April was the single-game highlight of the season for me (and it was), yesterday’s game was the single-game low point of the season so far.

Scoring five runs in the first inning in support of another strong pitching performance by Yovani Gallardo should have guaranteed victory. But the bats went dead for the rest of the game and Villanueva and Cordero, arguably the bullpens’ two most reliable pitchers so far this year, blew it. UGH.

I wish I had video of my reaction as Uecker said, “And Aramis Ramirez just won the game for the Cubs” while I was driving home from work. I’m positive the person behind me thought I was losing my mind and I’m lucky calmer heads prevailed because I felt like driving into a telephone pole.

This series is arguably the most important series the Brewers have played in a decade or more and that was a TERRIBLE way to start. I mean, a blow out would have been worse, but it wouldn’t have tore out Brewers’ fans heart like that loss did.

Lock this game down today, Brewers.

Oh yeah, there won’t be news tomorrow. We’ll be at Wrigley, hopefully for a rubber match. Look for all five of us in the first row of the right field bleachers. We’ll be ones catching Prince’s home runs.

MANNY PARRA THROWS PERFECT GAME

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Manny Parra


Brewer pitching prospect Manny Parra threw a perfect game for the Nashville Sounds tonight in only his second start with the team. Read the game story HERE.

If he can finally put together a full season without injury, we might have another pitcher to add to the bottleneck that the Brewers’ starting five has become. Congrats Manny! Hope to see you in Brewer blue soon.

Brewers sign top draft pick LaPorta

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Matt LaPorta


Brewers sign top draft pick LaPorta

Seven deep — A good problem to have

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Yovani Gallardo


With Chris Capuano set to come off the DL any day and Yovani Gallardo pitching well, the Brewers have a tough decision to make regarding roster spots.

It’s fair to say that Gallardo has earned a spot with his two starts, but that’s not always the way it works. It’s important for young pitchers to not go much more than 25 to 30 innings over their previous career highs. Gallardo would all but certainly go over that number if he started the rest of the season, especially if the Brewers need him in the playoffs. Since he has pitched so well, it’s hard to send him back to Nashville, but we don’t want him to turn into next year’s Jered Weaver, who missed time late last season and over two stints already this season with injuries after going far over his career-high in innings in 2006. I just hope the higher-ups have a plan in place. Since I love his stuff and what he brings to the team, I’d propose using him as the fifth starter and skipping him when the team has an off day. He could pitch a couple innings out of the pen if needed in those cases too.

If Gallardo stays on the team and Capuano comes back up, some more roster shifting will have to take place. As has been discussed in past posts, Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan have their spots locked up. Capuano is also all but assured a spot in the starting rotation due more to the fact that he is the only lefty starter the Brewers own than to how well he’s been pitching. That leaves Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas fighting for a spot in the rotation. I’ve already made it clear that I think Vargas is better suited for the bullpen than Bush in previous posts. The fact that Bush has simply been pitching better than Vargas lately makes it an even easier decision in my mind.

We know what Vargas is: A low-end starter who will not go more than six innings (and usually will fall short of that mark) while posting a high 4 or low 5 ERA. He’s done it for four seasons before this one in the big leagues, while never hitting 200 innings and posting his best ERA (4.34) in his first major league season in 2003. His 4.01 ERA and 6-1 record this year will most likely end up much closer to his career averages by the end of the year (and his ERA has already begun creeping up). Right now he’s a pitcher that is a burden on the bullpen since he can’t go deep into the game, but with his propensity to get out of jams, he could be a help to a struggling bullpen.

Dave Bush simply has more upside than Vargas. Last season was his first as a full-time starter and second serving mainly as a starter. He posted a 4.41 ERA (better than all but Vargas’ first season) while leading Brewers pitchers in wins with a 12-11 record in 2006. His 166 strikeouts were good enough for 25th in MLB, tied with Houston ace Roy Oswalt. Bush was also an innings hog, going 210 innings. He had three complete games in 2006 while Vargas has zero career complete games. Yes, he has struggled this season, but he has thrown two straight quality starts and three out of five. Bush is tied with Vargas with six quality starts on the year. Bush’s ERA will continue to come down (it’s dropped a half run over his last two starts alone) and he will start to collect more wins. As he continues to develop as a MLB starter, he will prove to be a much more valuable hurler than Vargas.

If the Brewers shift Vargas to the pen, someone has to go. The decision will probably come down to Chris Spurling or Jose Capellan. Since Brian Shouse is a lefty, he’s pretty safe. Francisco Cordero, Derrick Turnbow, Matt Wise and Carlos Villanueva’s jobs also seem safe. Spurling has a decent ERA, but has given up runs in key situations and seems to get hit hard. Capellan has a better upside, but has also been unreliable. Vargas could fill either of their roles as a middle relief man who can go long. I would send Spurling down, especially since Capellan has not really had an opportunity to prove himself since he’s only pitched 11 innings so far this season.

That leaves Villanueva in the pen for now. As I’ve said before, he deserves a spot in the rotation. But I’m not sure the team should shift two guys out of the rotation at once and Villanueva is valuable to the bullpen, which has been the Brewers’ biggest weakness. Injuries are inevitable and Villanueva will get his shot at starting again. He could be the Brewers third best starter right now (behind Sheets and Gallardo) so it’ll be hard to hold him down long. Bush should get two more starts before the all-star break. If he pitches poorly, the Brewers could shuffle the rotation at the break and come out with Villanueva starting and Bush joining Vargas in the pen.

In the end, having seven viable big league starters is a great problem to have and as the trade deadline looms, the Brewers should look to use that to their advantage. Vargas could be a valuable piece to a trade that could perhaps bolster the Brewers’ bullpen or possibly bring in a full-time starting left fielder (though one or two other outfielders would also have to go in that scenario).

So, there it is: Cappy placed back in the rotation, Gallardo stays up and Vargas is sent to the pen. Since it took approximately four hours for the Brewers to do the exact opposite of what I suggested the last time I made a long, involved post, I expect to see Bush in the bullpen later tonight…

The Odd Mang Out: The Legion of Six

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I’m going to go ahead and quickly sum up the extremely heralded (and lengthy) off day featurette, “What Ever Happened to…?” in a few sentences.

Former Brewers hurler Ricky Bones was once an All-Star and even appears on rare the still-valuable “Gold Rush” baseball card. He is now the pitching coach for the Binghampton Mets and probably snags a bunch of road trim, if he isn’t married. Satisfied?

I skipped over nostalga today in favor of getting down to some brass tacks. With Gallardo now up in the bigs and already performing to the tall expectations that preceeded him into Miller Park, and Cappy coming off the DL in not too long, arguably the best problem a team can face is now bestowed to the Crew.

Which talent five take the bump at game’s beginning and what unlucky soul joins fellow should-be starter Villa in the bullpen?

Let’s go down the line, shall we?
Sheets? I won’t even waste my time there.
Suppan? As if. For that kind of skrill with Soup’s take my time to settle in-type of stuff, he’d be like the 2007 version of Dave Burba in the pen, with 5 times the salary.
Cappy? No. Him coming back into the fold from the DL causes this whole fiasco, there’s not way.
Gallardo? Maybe, but sometime tells me here’s in the rotation to stay. I’m sure many would agree.
Vargas? That would be one of the more popular choices. He’s not flashy, as Joe said, he’s great with runners on base… a great relief quality, but he’s earned that fifth spot since he was battling it out with Villanueva in spring training and in my opinion, he’s held it down quite nicely. I say keep him

My unfortunate choice for the odd man out is one David Bush. He just hasn’t been great this year. He’s had some great showings, but in all… he’s the shakiest piece to the rotation’s puzzle. He could improve volumes in the pen, plus with more than half a season left, he would undoubtedly start again eventually either due to injury or ineffectiveness by one of his counterparts. Plus he’s one of our top stikeout pitchers. My one worry would be his shakey first innings now and then, which should he come on in relief during the 6th or 7th frame, would be HIS first inning of work. In all, it’s a tough call… but I like Gallardo up, but only as a starter. When Capuano is healthy again, I think we’ll be seeing Mr. Bush blowing bubbles back in the pen.

I’m curious to whether others agree with this sentiment?

Get rid of Yost? … I’ll keep my trust in Melvin

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Reading Bryan’s post got me a little riled up. Here is the thing … Ned Yost does make some “interesting” decisions that I do not agree with fairly often, but I think we are far away from calling for Ned’s neck, or job. People, including local sports radio guys, constantly find things to be upset at Yost about. (Bryan’s example is great) Very rarely, however, does anyone have a good point. I find myself questioning, on nearly a daily basis, if these callers or even radio guys (see the Fan in Green Bay/Fox Cities) know ANYTHING about baseball. I heard one guy call in today and call for Ned’s job because he didn’t pull Vargas after two batter’s in the fifth inning. Yeah, he started to struggle, but you don’t pull a fairly proven Major League pitchers after two batters in the fifth inning after giving up no runs and two hits in the first four innings. Plus, his ERA and average against with runners on is incredible. Of course, Vargas doesn’t get out of it (one of the rare times this year) and that proves that Yost should be fired. Okay. These comments drive me nuts. Think about what you are going to say and/or ask someone who actually knows a thing or two before opening your mouth.

Yost has made some bad decisions and will undoubtably make more, but when it comes down to it, I’m not calling for Ned until Melvin does. Go Brewers!

P.S. Since I post about once very few weeks, I’m sure I won’t post before this weekend’s series. Look for the RFB flag in the general lot Saturday and Sunday and stop by!

Been a Long Time…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

-Since the Rock and Roll? Since The Brewers have been on a Winning Roll? Does that work?…Anyway, some opinions and thoughts

-For all who complain that the All Star Voting is all about the big names from the big markets and nothing about the actual season, you should all be happy that Prince has surpassed Pujols in votes for NL First Base. It’s more than deserved and I hope there is some serious scrill coming Prince’s way for doing so well this year, since they couldn’t sign him earlier this year and just renewed his previous contract. I also hope for a better slogan for him; “Every Prince Needs His Castle”? Really, that’s all we could come up with?

-Speaking of Prince, what hasn’t Prince done this year? His offense and defense are tops and the man got an inside the park homer!!! How sweet was that? I’m still looking for that clip on youtube, someone has to have it.

-Who’s hoping that we’re past the biggest valley of the season? I am

-Who loves watching Cub fans squirm? Seeing them talk on message boards about how trading Barrett might be a good thing makes me laugh. Yes trading away a top catcher for a backup and a class A prospect is always good…Bwahahaha…As Johnny would say: “As If, Cub Fans!”

-Ryan Braun…I didn’t realize how much I’d like this kid. He’s doing better than I expected and isn’t trying to do too much. Brewers have drafted some very mature players (see Fielder, Prince) and Braun is just another quality guy

-If you’re going to do the “he’s a bum” chant, at least have the single person yelling out “What’s wrong with number 11?” enunciate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Was wong wif nuh’er elen?”

-Someone needs to let me know how big this movement is, hopefully a product of talk radio and a couple overbearing fans, but are we really calling for Ned’s dismissal? Why? Yesterday, on our local sports talk station, a reason they gave for calling for Yost to be fired was the following: He kept Villaneuva in against a left handed hitter. Seriously? They wanted Shouse to come in, but Shouse pitched about 2 innings the night before and Carlos has been the best middle/long reliever so far this year. Villaneuva did his job, got a pop out from this lefty, and that drives them insane about Yost? Nevermind that he has a team that works as a team (unlike the Cubs), has the young talent giving it their all, and is 9 games over .500.

-Since we are extinguishing non-debates, can we put to rest the talk about Sheets not being an ace? We can?!? Thank you.

-Finally, to Tony Gwynn Jr: You did a stand up job and you should not take your assignment as a slap in the face. We’ll see you back soon.

GALLARDO TO BE CALLED UP

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Gallardo


Brewers to promote top prospect

Gallardo to get the call; lefty Capuano poised for DL stint

Insomniac Ink