Archive for February, 2008

A’s 11, Brewers 4

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The crew found themself on the wrong end of a trounsing today, falling to the A’s 11-4.

The box score tells the story, but to sum it up - as is the case with most 11-4 losses - pitching proved the Brewers’ downfall. Big games by the Oakland duo of Jack Cust (5 RBI) and Bobby Crosby proved too much.

Dave Bush scuffled early, surrendering four runs in his two innings of work. Parra then gave up a run of his own, Turnbow added another two and, in his first appearance in a Milwaukee uniform, Eric Gagne gave up three earned runs in a mere inning on the mound.

Though the pitching left much to be desired, there exist a few offensive positves that warrant mention. Gabe Gross blasted a solo shot, Corey Hart went 2 for 3 including a triple and a team high 2 RBI. Prince Fielder continued his strong start with a 2 for 3 day at the plate.

The team registered a dozen hits, but 10 strikeouts translated to 10 left on base.

Tomorrow brings about the defending NL Champ Rockies and again the DH. A question I’m sure a lot of fans have been pondering as of late may be answered Sunday, as the Brewers take on the Angels with pichers to hit. Will Kendall still bat in the nine hole? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Leap year lineup

Friday, February 29th, 2008

In his JSonline blog, Tom Haudricourt drops some knowledge in terms of the Brewers starting lineup for today’s rematch against the A’s.

The team is to field the following:
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Mike Cameron
1B Prince Fielder
LF Ryan Braun
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
SS J.J. Hardy
DH Joe Dillon (hitting for RHP Dave Bush)
C Jason Kendall

Haudricourt speculates this may be the team’s eventual lineup (once Cameron returns from suspension), minus Dillon designated hitting, of course.

Some other brief notes of mention: Manny Parra is expected to toss two innings and Gange is tentatively slated to pitch the 8th inning. For those Vinny Rottino nuts out there (I’m with you), I’d expect to see him play today, primarily because he didn’t play yesterday and saw a good amount of reps last Spring Training. I think it’d also be reasonable to anticipate seeing either a Turnbow or Riske appearance today.

In the News

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Fielder & Braun

1-0!

- The Brewers are on pace for perfect Cactus League season. These games mean nothing, but it’s nice to get wins still and to start out with one. The game seemed to have been well played all around for Milwaukee. Here’s a recap.

- Hall’s finger was injured before the game, but it is not serious.

- Prospect Jeremy Jeffress is working to overcome his marijuana problems. He sounds like he’s recommitted himself to baseball. Hopefully he taps some of his incredible potential.

- Gallardo and Dillon sign contracts.

- Gallardo is keeping his arm in shape by playing catch following his surgery.

- Kendall is still excited about his eye surgery and he likes Yost and the team.

- Michael Hunt says when it comes to baseball, the games cure everything.

- Hall, the Brewers longest-tenured player, is ready to man third base again.

- Yost’s batting order is still in question. I’m slowly warming to the idea of Kendall batting ninth (and Yost’s argument that he’d hit into less double plays does make sense on some levels), but I’m still not ready to commit to it.

- Gagne will pitch tomorrow.

- The Sports Bubbler says Turnbow and Shouse are the most important relievers for the Crew in 2008.

- BrewersNation profiles Rickie Weeks.

- Doug Melvin flatly denied any trade discussions regarding Gross to the Padres, but this column has a brief mention of a deal in the works: “Gabe Gross soon will be dealt from the Milwaukee Brewers to the San Diego Padres.” Does Marty York know something we don’t or did he misread the other reports?

- This is the oddest pre-season prediction I’ve seen for sure… It’s like from some alternate universe where Suppan, Marquis, Edmonds, Rolen, and Eckstein are still Cardinals, Prior is still a Cub, Carlos Lee is still a Brewer, Clemens and Pettite are still Astros, Bagwell and Biggio have not retired… I could go on and on. It seems almost like someone took a preview from 2006 and re-wrote it for this season. But things get stranger… “Ryan Dunn” is a star on the Reds and Francisco Cordero is already on the Reds (so it couldn’t be from 2006). All I can say is I’m completely baffled…

- Brewer great Cecil Cooper is entering his first full season managing the Astros.

Brewers 7, A’s 1

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

What a great way to begin this storied season.

Braun mashed a two-run tater off Blanton in the first inning and added another RBI later on, Prince notched two ribbies of his own. Kendall also registered his first (unofficial) hit as a Brewer and fellow newcomer Mike Cameron made his presence known going 2 of 3 with a RBI and a stolen base.

On the defensive side of things, Vargas was the game winner as he held the A’s to a mere three hits in his scoreless two inning stint. Also, both assumed starters and reserves connected for two double plays… one of which involved third base (re)transplant Bill Hall.

I’ve heard no immediate word on how Braun performed defensively in his first game in left, but maybe in cases like these no news is good news.

Tomorrow: The Brewers and A’s face off again. According to the team’s site Dave Bush and Manny Parra are each scheduled to toss two innings and Eric Gagne is tentatively slated to take the mound at some point too.

Bryan’s News and Views: Beginning of Spring Training

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

- So, Joe Blanton’s trade stock just took a tumble, eh?

- Did anyone else try to order tickets online on Saturday? Let me tell you, it’s basically like waiting in line with yourself. It took over an hour and a half to order tickets and the reason I finally ordered tickets was I decided to stop waiting online and call. (Not that calling was much better, I had a busy signal for most of the morning there too). At least those who braved the weather got a hot dog and a t-shirt. Those waiting online get the Virtual Waiting Room of DOOM. It’s basically a screen that refreshes itself and never goes anywhere.

- I love that the team is doing well and that the state finally has some Brewer fever again, but not being able to get extra opening day tickets really ticked me off. I feel bad for those who are big Brewer fans but couldn’t get any opening day tickets. By the way, the lowest price for opening day tickets on StubHub was 71 bucks on Saturday.

-I usually name someone as most underrated. I’d like to say Corey Hart, but he’s become somewhat rated; he’s been getting a lot of well deserved respect. I’m going to say Bill Hall. He had a letdown of a year last year in center. I just have a feeling that he’s going to have a better season since he’s back in the infield. I also hope he’s gotten better at making adjustments at the plate.

- I can’t believe how much faith I have in the bullpen already. I feel that even if someone flounders, there’s at least 2 people to take their spot. If Gagne repeats his Boston miscues, we still have Torres, Riske, and (gasp) Turnbow. If Gagne lights it up as a closer, we have many different set-up options to keep the arms fresh. It’s great to me that Guillermo Mota, who was New York’s hope to be a great set-up man, is about our 5th option, behind Torres, Riske, Turnbow, and Shouse.

- Does anyone else think Prince Fielder’s bobblehead is way too reminiscent of the creepy Burger King? I completely can see Burger Prince sneaking around giving away Whoppers (or Boca burgers now).

I'm the anti-Burger King. Don't you dare eat that Whopper, son. Get your a$$ some Boca, pronto.

- Since we’re going with bobblehead gripes, when is that last time we’ve had a real quality likeness for bobbleheads? It’s been at least a year and a half. This year’s crop doesn’t look much better. Ryan Braun’s looks more like Drew Anderson (Give the man his signature scruff). I’m scared as to how Corey Hart’s bobblehead will look. It’ll either look like a tall Scott Podsednik bobblehead or like a character from Caveman.

- Yovanni’s injury, while it is a setback, could have been a lot worse. It’s better it happened now before we traded away Capuano, Bush, or Vargas.

- Yost is considering batting the pitcher 8th. Does he have some kind of man-crush on LaRussa? It didn’t work for the Cardinals, it probably won’t work for the Brewers.

- Cub fans are unhappy that the owner wants to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field. While it could be funny to think about who could buy the rights (PBR Presents Wrigley Field, Boeing Field, etc…), but since we in Wisconsin are blessed with Lambeau Field I might actually feel their pain on this one. I would hate the owner talking about selling the naming rights to Lambeau and I would hate to see Wrigley or Fenway to turn into GoDaddy.com Stadium or Sobe LifeField.

Starting lineups for game one

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

However insignificant in the wide scope of things, I know many Brewer fans have been looking forward to this day since late September. Finally, the Brewers and A’s are to take the field - thus truly setting the 2008 season into motion.

Courtesy of The JSonline.com, here are the starting lineups for today’s (2 p.m.) game:
Oakland Athletics (0-0)
RF Travis Buck
2B Mark Ellis
1B Daric Barton
LF Emil Brown
DH Dan Johnson
SS Bobby Crosby
3B Jack Hannahan
CF Chris Denorfia
C Justin Knoedler
SP Joe Blanton (not batting)

Milwaukee Brewers (0-0)
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Mike Cameron
1B Prince Fielder
LF Ryan Braun
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
SS J.J. Hardy
DH Gabe Gross
C Jason Kendall
SP Claudio Vargas (not batting)

Batter up!

Hail to the Commissioner!?!?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Bush

With the Red Sox’s visit to the White House yesterday, I was compelled to mention an old Vanity Fair article brought to my attention by The Mockingbird our sister blog on mlbhub that’s devoted to the Toronto Bluejays.

The political feature makes mention of (Then Texas Rangers owner/now President) Bush’s alleged interest in becoming the commissioner of baseball as then commissioner Fay Vincent was at the cusp of losing his job. The future leader of the free world was reportedly torn between consideration of trying to obtain the most incredible and important job on Earth - and putting himself within reach of the presidency.

“What would you think of me becoming commissioner?” Bush blurted (to ex commissioner Vincent).

Surprised, the old family friend said gently, “George, I think you’d be terrific. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Bush sounded confident. “I’ve talked to Selig and he tells me he’ll support me.” (Bud Selig, then owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, had helped oust Vincent and was acting commissioner.) Bush confided to Vincent, “But they’re pushing me to run for governor. I’m going to have to make up my mind one of these days.”

Vincent applauded the idea of Bush’s running for governor. “You’d be great, and if you want to run—”

Bush interrupted. “I think I’d rather be commissioner than governor.”

As we all know, Bud Selig remained commissioner while Bush ran for - and subsequently won - the governorship of Texas.

All politics aside, I can’t imagine how different baseball would be… how different the world would be had Bush found his way to the commissioner’s seat. Weird stuff.

In the News

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Ryan Braun

I figure i’d take the reigns on an abbreviated In the News to give Jared a breather.

Ryan Braun to appear on SI Baseball 2008 Baseball Preview issue: I’m not too accustomed to the Brewers getting mainstream print media mention, much less covers, so I like this…pending he can stave off the supposed “SI Curse.” Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks and ROY runner-up Troy Tulowitzki will appear alongside Braun.

“Home” whoops “Away” 10-4 in today’s intersquad game: Prince went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and a two-bagger. My cousin Vinny (possibly motivated by a dangling roster spot, ha) apparently doinked Gwynn Jr. in the nose on a throw down to second. Gwynn was okay, and went on to swipe third. Let’s hope the run production carries over to tomorrow.

Carlos Villanueva resigns for 2008: It is what it is. Not much threat of him not signing, but good to see it’s official.

U.S. Cellular inks multi-million dollar deal with Brewers: I have no real opinion on this. I have U.S. Cellular - maybe i’ll visit the kiosk?

Zach Jackson looks to rebound in 2008: I think I like ZJ more than any other RFBer. We saw him pitch a so-so start in Nashville last August. I think as a young lefty, he’ll be a Miller Park regular eventually. He was another great part of the Overbay/Taubenheim deal. Even a Jackson for Taubenheim swap would’ve been a steal in retrospect.

List of Non Roster invitees: I feel like I should just make this available to scope out incase anyone is interested.

I’m sure the blog (me and Jared at least) will be abuzz with news views and thoughts on tomorrow’s first game.

Welcome to baseball season, friends!

In the News

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Rob Deer SI Cover

Spring Training games start in about 15 hours… Incredible.

- Ryan Braun will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He’ll be joined by Justin Upton and Troy Tulowitzki. Congrats to Braun and the Brewers. That’s quite an honor. One that I believe hasn’t taken place since April 1987 when Rob Deer was featured on the issue above as the Brewers won their first 13 games.

- Gwynn Jr. wants Cameron’s job. Competition brings the best out of people. I look forward to seeing what Tony can do if he gets the job while Cameron is suspended.

- Vargas will start the spring opener against the As. The game starts at 2.

- David Pinto likes the idea of the Brewers batting pitchers eight. I still don’t, statistical evidence or not. Call me a traditionalist I guess…

- Fielder’s diet a concern to some. Being a vegetarian is easy. I speak from experience. I didn’t eat meat for over three years at one point. Being a healthy vegetarian, especially as a professional athlete, is not so easy. I’m sure Fielder has plenty of help in the Brewers clubhouse now that he’s come out as a vegetarian though.

- Zach Jackson says don’t forget about me. He says he worked on a lot last season and improved as a pitcher. While his numbers were a bit disappointing last season, he’s still young and could develop into a fine MLB pitcher. The article also mentions Luis Pena is making strides and that Bobby Cox didn’t even know who Matt LaPorta was until this fall.

- Yost says players have unmatched “passion.” Is this Yost’s new buzz word for the year? Is he replacing “gamers” and “battlers”?

- Gagne is back in camp.

- Gorman Thomas is in camp to help teach the young players.

- David Riske collects unworn “Air Jordan” shoes. He has over 100.

- Braun and Hall are moving along with their position changes.

- Haudricourt previews the bench.

- Villanueva signed a deal with the team.

- The Sports Bubbler continues their bullpen preview: The Forgotten.

- BrewersNation interviews Jim Goulart of BrewerFan.net.

- The Brewers signed a deal with U.S. Cellular.

- And in the most suspicious news of the day, Al from Al’s Ramblings says he’s been told there will be an “announcement of importance” from the Brewers in the next few days. He says the source is legitimate and it could be related to a young player signing a contract extension…

In the News

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Ryan Braun

- Braun is improving in the outfield, according to him and Yost. What else are they going to say before exhibition games even start? I hope it’s true.

- Speaking of games, the Brewers played an exhibition game today. Details are in the story linked above.

- Hall is also adjusting to his new position, which isn’t as new for him… On a side note, in that article Yost talks about a ball Hall hit today saying, “That’s a home run in every other park in baseball.” Seriously? How often is that line used? Come on… They just need to ban that statement. It means nothing anymore.

- Here’s a nice article on Rickie Weeks. It’s pretty hard not to like this guy. I hope he has the breakout season a lot of people are predicting.

- Speaking of predicting a breakout for Weeks… This article is pretty complimentary. I especially liked this fact: Weeks and Barry Bonds are the only players since 1900 to score at least 85 runs in a season with fewer than 100 hits.

- Tony Gwynn Jr. signed a contract for 2008. Prince, Braun, Weeks and Hart have to sign deals still for the season.

- Cecil Fielder is the “proudest father in the world” and looks forward to reconnecting with Prince, who has not spoke with him in over three years. Cecil has been vocal about their relationship while Prince has been mostly quiet. I think there’s a lot more to it than Cecil is willing to admit (likely stemming from the gambling problems and his relationship with Prince’s mom), but I hope they can have a good relationship again some day. It’s sad to see a father and son not get along.

- MiLB.com previews the Brewers minor-league system. This quote sums it all up: “How another team hasn’t swooped in and made Jack Zduriencik a general manager remains a mystery.”

- BrewersNation speculates that the Rangers could make for a good trading partner again with the Brewers. The Brewers have excess pitching and the Rangers have some injury concerns in their rotation. With Melvin’s history there, there could be another Ranger/Brewer swap in the future.

- SportsBubbler.com continues their bullpen previews: The New Guys, Eric Gagne, and The Closer’s Role.

- Ned Yost answers some questions on MLB.com.

- BrewersNation profiles Jason Kendall. Their verdict? “Jason Kendall will not be a glamorous signing for the Milwaukee Brewers, but he will provide the veteran toughness and grittiness that a young team like the Brewers needs.”

- Area bars are having a tougher time getting group packages together for opening day. While it’s certainly disappointing for bar owners, it’s really a positive. The Brewers are good and tickets are selling. No more going to the game 10 minutes before it starts and getting nice tickets.

- Are Brewer fans setting themselves up for disappointment?

- Who knew? Maxim St. Pierre, the catcher the Brewers traded Ben Hendrickson for last year, was battling alcoholism last season AND the Brewers tried to convert him into a pitcher. The story is really interesting, Brewer connection or not…

Insomniac Ink