Archive for April, 2008

In the News (4/30)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Jeff Suppan

Today’s Game: Cubs 19, Brewers 5
Record: 15-12, third
Games Behind Cubs: 2

- U-G-L-Y. The Brewers and Suppan got absolutely mauled by the Cubs. Suppan didn’t even make it through four innings. His ERA went from the mid-3s to over 5.

- Turnbow is just BRUTALLY awful now. He couldn’t give the team an inning in a game that he came into down eight. He gave up six earned runs, four hits and four walks in just 2/3 of an inning. What a freaking headcase… I really thought that save last week could spring him to some success, but it’s been the exact opposite. What can the team do with him now? Haudricourt suggests he’s very close to an outright release, meaning the Brewers would eat the rest of his contract, which goes through next year.

- The Cubs’ catcher, Soto, had six RBI.

- Gallardo will try to right the ship against the Cubs and Zambrano.

- Sheets felt fine today after starting yesterday’s game. More HERE.

- Cameron’s suspension was not an easy one for him. Two things strike me about this ESPN article. One - Cameron is a mature guy and will be a leader in the clubhouse. Two - Why would a MLB player ever buy “energy powder” over the Internet? I can’t believe he would be that careless with what he puts in his body… He also mentioned that he did not receive an exemption from MLB for use of a supplement for post-concussion symptoms. He’s not taking any medications, he says. More HERE.

- The NL Central may be more competitive than people thought before the season.

- The Brewers are still working on building on experience.

- Miller Park ranked second in SI.com’s MLB Ballpark Rankings. It finished first in food and promotions. I’ve been saying for years that Milwaukee fans don’t appreciate how nice of a ballpark Miller is, but since these rankings are based on hometown fan polling, I guess I’m wrong. Wrigley finished 15th. I would like to argue their #8 ranking in fan IQ… More HERE and HERE and Jim Powell’s take HERE.

- Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rogers says the Brewers need a healthy, productive Ben Sheets to win. Wow, way to go way out there on a limb, Phil…

- Bush pitched well in AAA today as part of a veteran-stocked Sounds rotation.

- The Journal-Sentinel has another mailbag.

- Baseball Digest Daily asks “What if Mike Cameron and Jordan Schafer really didn’t take any illegal substances?”

- Jim Powell has a new podcast.

- The views on signing young players to long-term deals before their arbitration years vary greatly. It is obvious, however, that Scott Boras will never advise his clients to sign a deal like the ones discussed. Prince is not signing anything until he’s a free agent…

- The Cubs signed a Korean high school shortstop. They are very high on him apparently,with one scout comparing him to Jeter at the same age, but better.

- The Cubs may be interested in trading for Ken Griffey Jr. Please, no. As a 20-something who grew up as Griffey became a superstar, I like him. I don’t want to ever see him in a Cubs’ uniform.

- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was at Wrigley tonight. He’s still being rumored as a possible buyer of the Cubs. I hope he doesn’t buy them. He’s an ass and I already see way, way, way too much of him. Plus, he’ll throw his money around (like the Cubs need more money…) until something sticks…

- Umpire Jerry Crawford, who left last night’s game and stayed in a hospital overnight, left the hospital today. Apparently, he had a bad reaction to medicine. Hopefully he is OK. He has had several health issues over the years.

- Former Brewer Jorge De La Rosa has been traded from the Royals to the Rockies. From top pitching prospect in baseball to “player to be named later.” Ouch…

- Former Brewer Chad Moeller cleared waivers and is back on the Yankees.

- In football news, former Badger QB Tyler Donovan will be competing with what I can only assume is Tyler’s cousin, Jason Maas, for the starting QB job in Edmonton.

In the News (4/29)

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Fielder & Cameron

Today’s Game: Brewers 10, Cubs 7
Record: 15-11, third
Game Behind Cubs: 1

- The Brewers offense came alive in the win over the Cubs tonight. Every starter besides Sheets had at least one hit. They collected 17 altogether, their best night of the year.

- The Brewers are 3-1 against the Cubs so far this season, all at Wrigley. Not a bad start against the current frontrunners.

- Mike Cameron made his Brewer debut and fits nicely in the number two spot. I’ll take a 3-5, 2 RBI, 2 run night any day. Cameron could be a valuable bat, defensive upgrade and veteran presence for this team. I’m excited to have him. More HERE and HERE and HERE.

- Corey Hart was a home run away from the cycle. He’s hitting a quiet .299 this season. I say quiet because he only has one HR and 11 RBI.

- Sheets was shaky. He walked a career high seven runners. He could not find his location at all. He did still make it through five innings with three earned runs though. Hopefully he just needed a warm-up outing and will be back to Benny in five days.

- Gagne recorded his eighth save and is tied for the league lead again. He looked solid despite giving up a hit and walking a runner. I think he threw two or three more strikes to Fontenot than were called.

- Tonight’s game was delayed briefly due to a strange umpire illness. Home-plate umpire Jerry Crawford left the game after the second inning to go to the hospital. Hopefully he is OK.

- The Brewers have played in a record-tying eight extra-inning games in April.

- Even Yost is now admitting he’s lost confidence in Turnbow. The Brewers are having a hard time figuring out when to use him. You can’t in a close game until he shows some kind of consistency and he can’t really go multiple innings in a blowout. More HERE.

- Bet you never thought the Nashville Sounds rotation would feature back-to-back starts by Dave Bush and Jeff Weaver this year…

- Alcides Escobar is good. The slick-fielding SS prospect started skipping school when he was 9 to work on his fielding. I’m looking forward to watching him play in Brewer blue in a year or two.

- Josh Butler, the pitcher the Brewers received in the Gross trade, had to switch dugouts shortly before he was scheduled to start a game in A-ball. The Vero Beach pitcher was traded before his start as he was set to against the Brevard County Manatees. This story details how unusual it must have been for him.

- Wrigley Field is a dumpy old stadium that is falling apart and smells like stale urine.

- All-Star game voting is underway. It is WAY too early for All-Star game voting…

- Men could get a free prostate exam and get two free Brewers tickets at the game on Tuesday. Odd… But likely effective.

- Cubs’ outfielder Fukudome is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. How do you say jinx in Japanese?

In the News (4/28)

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Prince Fielder

- The Brewers play the division-leading Cubs tomorrow and get Mike Cameron and Ben Sheets back. It is a big day and could provide some momentum.

- The New York Times did a piece on Fielder being a vegetarian. It’s decent in that it gives a glimpse into Prince’s personality, but again, can we move on from the vegetarian subject? Apparently not, a Journal-Sentinel blogger responded to the article.

- The Padres are opening a facility in the Dominican Republic and Corey Brock, the author of this article, says the Brewers are “the only team without a facility in the Dominican Republic.” Brock should check his facts. The Brewers opened a facility in the Dominican this offseason.

- Al from Al’s Ramblings answers questions for Goat Riders of the Apocalypse.

- Mailbags from the Journal-Sentinel and Brewers.com.

- The clutch hitting was non-existent on the last home stand.

- The Brewers appear to be better defensively than last season.

- Weeks is hitting .226/.354/.453 in Brewers’ wins and .162/.295/.216 in Brewers’ losses.

- The Brewers are 16th in the Sporting News Power Rankings. The Cubs are third. Hopefully the Brewers can change that this series.

- The Crew Cast, Episode Four.

- In the same vein as the Gallardo breakdown yesterday, are Hardball Times breakdowns on Mat Gamel, Prince Fielder, and Matt LaPorta.

- There is not much of a push to get the DH abolished or to get it added to the NL. I agree 100 percent with Joe Torre’s take on the subject: “I just wish they’d make it the same in both leagues, whatever it is. I think it’s a better game without the DH. There are more decisions to make, it’s more of a chess game, there’s more for you to write about, more for the fans to have opinions about. Strategy-wise, it takes on more significance without the DH.”

Dear Wes Helms,

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I recently saw a quote from you over the weekend that sounded a little bitter towards the fans of Milwaukee for booing you. I also believe you said you weren’t sure why you were booed in Milwaukee. First, I’ll tell you that you are the only Brewer, and former Brewer, that I have ever booed, and I will help you out and tell you why. YOU RAPED MILWAUKEE. You were given a hefty salary, and you sucked…horribly. Now, I probably wouldn’t have gotten on you just for that, though that is enough to justify the lack of love you got/get in Milwaukee. Had you maybe not shown up to spring training the next year looking like Val Kilmer ate Cold Stone and Jack In The Box daily, you would be given the benefit of the doubt. Too bad that isn’t reality. It showed your lack of, not just self-control, but effort as a whole. That, Mr. Helms, is why you are rightfully booed and disliked in Milwaukee. I hope you live high off your game winning tater (go eat another one) and millions of dough (go eat some) the Crew gave away to you, because you’ll soon be at Triple-A Albuquerque. That’s where you belong.

P.S. I heard they have great Mexican restaurants there. Lots of sour cream!

In the News (4/27)

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Dave Bush

Today’s Game: Marlins 4, Brewers 3
Record: 14-11, third
Game Behind Cubs: 2
RFB Record (after Saturday’s game): 5-0

- Dave Bush was sent to the minors to make room for Mike Cameron. I’m a little surprised he cleared waivers (he could have been pulled back if he was). It seems like if another team didn’t put in a claim, a division rival might have just to block the move because the Brewers all but definitely would have pulled him back off waivers if he was claimed. Parra is still not real safe in the rotation. At this point, it seems like he wasn’t sent down simply because he is a lefty. Parra had a nice game today, but only went 5 1/3. He hasn’t got through the sixth inning yet this season. If Parra doesn’t start going deeper in games, Bush may be back in the majors at his expense soon. More HERE.

- Wes Helms pushed the Marlins over the Brewers today with a 10th inning home run. UGH. The Brewers lost the home series 1-2 to the Marlins. That was a disappointing series. The offense HAS to start clicking.

- The Brewers lost two more extra-inning games this weekend. They have played eight extra-inning games already this season, almost a third of their games.

- Sheets will pitch and Mike Cameron will join the Brewers in Chicago on Tuesday. This should provide a huge boost to the rotation (and by domino effect, the bullpen) and the offense. Hopefully the team can go on a roll and get some key wins against the Cubs. More HERE.

- Torres has been productive from the bullpen, but isn’t pleased with some of his results. I like to see players that aren’t content, that are always looking to be better.

- Jeff Weaver will join the Nashville Sounds rotation early in May.

- Fielder is up to four home runs and has been much more productive at the plate.

- Yost is not concerned with Weeks. Honestly, I’ve been more worried about Weeks awful throws to first than his bat. He has been hitting a lot of balls hard and the hits will start to fall.

- Yost will shuffle the line-up a couple times a week to get Counsell, who has one of the hottest bats on the team, some playing time. This is an ominous sign. Hopefully the other bats heat up fast.

- Riske is struggling.

- LaPorta is surging in AA after an early slow start. He now has six home runs and 22 RBI.

- Josh Butler, who the Brewers acquired for Gabe Gross, pitched four scoreless innings for Brevard County this weekend.

- The Junkball Blues analyzes Brewers pitching efficiencies.

- Kendall in the nine spot is working, according to this analysis.

- Baseball Digest Daily suggest the Brewers could make a “franchise-defining trade” by acquiring C.C. Sabathia and signing him to a long-term deal. Sure, if their franchise wanted to be defined as “over-paying in trade value and contract for an overweight, over-rated pitcher who has had one elite season.”

InReview - Week 4

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Week 3 Record: 3-4
Total Record: 14-11

Things I Like:
- Pitching! In 6 out of 7 games this week, Brewers pitching kept teams to 4 or less runs.
- Prince’s bat waking up
- Winning in extra innings
- Mike Cameron coming back
- Russell “The Muscle” hitting .406 in Nashville. I still remember being at the game with the shot that bounced off the middle of the scoreboard.
- Turnbow getting a save (and looking strong at it)
- Most of the starters making it past 6 innings (finally)

Things I Don’t:
- Losing by one run
- Wes Helms hitting a game winning home run
- Team batting average at .244 this week
- The number of times I heard “pulled a string” this week on the TV broadcasts

Numbers of the Week:

5-3: Brewers record in games that have gone into extra innings this year

.988: Fielding Percentage for the year so far (T-5th in the majors)

5 - Number of Home Runs Prince Fielder hit at this time last year

It’s Mustache Mania!

Friday, April 25th, 2008

April must be bring back the awkward mustache month.

Some players have been sporting new styles of facial hair. These styles are all retro and all strange.

Prince Fielder - It looks like a Winston Zeddmore from Ghostbusters’ mustache, but with massive chops. Some have said it looks more ’70’s adult films-esque or that he’s trying for the Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction look.

Fielder

Corey Hart - He shaved off the caveman beard and replaced it with a ’stache a la Brandon Flowers of the Killers, except that it’s blond.

Brandon Flowers

Carlos Villanueva - I didn’t recognize Carlos when I first saw him with his newfound facial hair. I’m not sure exactly who he reminds me of, but I’m sure I have a baseball card of it somewhere from 1991

Villanueva

Jason Kendall - His mustache, which may be best defined as caterpillar-like, is even more prominent without a matching beard. I truly believe he could be able to pull off the handlebar.

When I find more pictures of Mustache Mania ‘08, I will update this post!

UPDATE: Nevermind…all the Brewers (except Prince) are clean on the face tonight

In the News: Former Brewers Edition

Friday, April 25th, 2008

In this the week of Geoff, I felt it was appropriate to provide a few tidbits on former Brewers still in baseball. I’ll try to keep this up as items accumulate throughout the season. It’d be cool if others piled in items of their own as comments too. Here we go!

-Gary Sheffield is considering retirement: In a fitting twist of karma, the 39-year-old has battled injuries all season. He is refusing surgery, so his options are running out. Gary, if you’re reading this - please retire and stay as far as you can from baseball.

-Gabe Gross made his debut with the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday: He went 0 for 3 with a walk and 4 LOB. I’m glad to see he’ll be getting some regular playing time now.

-Nationals reliever Ray King would sooner retire or demand a trade than accept a demotion to triple A: There have to be more than a few teams falling over themselves to covet a veteran lefty bullpen arm. Washington GM Jim Bowden seems to be a nearly impossible trading partner, otherwise I think a few low-level prospects would be enough to bring King back to Milwaukee to begin another brewery tour.

-Oakland’s Dana Eveland has be owning so far! Sent packing to Arizona en la Estrada-trada, and subsequently a piece in the Dan Haren deal - Eveland is making the most of his regular starting opportunity. He’s posted a 2-1 record, 1.90 ERA and 18 Ks so far. He’ll take the mound against Seattle tonight. Best of luck tonight, Dana.

-The other part of the Estrada trade, Doug Davis, is recovering well from his surgical procedure to remove a cancerous thyroid. He’s already taking batting practice. Great news.

-In a reverse Jenkins moment, Wes Helms makes his minor radar blip of a return to Milwaukee for this weekend’s Brewers/Marlins series. Once paid a fatty contract by Milwaukee to eat his way into a bench role - a sizable portion of Helms’ deal was recently paid by the Phillies so another team would take him. I’ll understand if fans forget to stand up and honor him and his Val Kilmer-on-a-cheesesteak-bender likeness during his token once a series plate appearance.

-Johnny Estrada is probably still jogging out his first ground ball as a National.

In the News (4/24)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Rickie Weeks

Today’s Game: Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Record: 13-9, third
Game Behind Cubs: 2

- The Brewers offense forgot to show up today.

- Suppan pitched seven frames and only gave up one run. He has pitched well so far this season.

- Riske gave up two runs after getting two outs in the eighth. He has not been pitching well and now has a 7.36 ERA. I’m guessing he’ll get a day or two off as Maddux works with him to turn things around.

- Braun and Hall each had three hits. Hopefully they both warm up. Braun has been hitting much better lately while Hall has been awful until today.

- Jamie Moyer is the first lefty to start a game against the Brewers with his team winning this season. The Brewers are 6-1 against lefty starters. They beat Santana and lost with ancient Moyer on the hill… Ugh… It happens. They face another lefty Friday in Scott Olsen of the Marlins.

- Piniella has sat Rich Hill for his start next week against the Brewers. He’ll go with three righties. Hill has struggled and that undoubtedly played a part in this decision, but teams will do this more if the Brewers continue to roll up wins on lefties.

- Counsell continues to play well off the bench. He got a pinch hit and raised his batting average to .355.

- Sheets is preparing to return and a roster move will have to be made. Will Bush get sent down (if he clears waivers) or sent to the bullpen? One or the other seems very likely.

- Eli at MLB Rumors says the word is that Braun and the Brewers are closing in on a deal quickly. With Tulowitzki and Longoria signing deals lately the two sides probably have a pretty good idea of what Braun’s pre-free agency value is (at least right now). This is good news if it’s true.

- Alex Eisenberg at Hardball Times breaks down Gallardo. It looks good for Crew fans. Gallardo grades out very well in his system. It’s an interesting read for sure if you have a few minutes.

- No one expected the Brewers to struggle on offense…

- Stetter has been a valuable part of the bullpen since his call-up.

- Capuano has begun his rehab from his elbow injury. He’ll have a long uphill battle to avoid Tommy John surgery.

- More on Jenkins’ return to Miller. And HERE.

- Check out the Crew Cast. It’s a new Brewers podcast over at TheCrewCast.com

Is supporting every Bush unpopular these days?

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Dave Bush

It seems like everyone with the last name Bush has a low approval rating these days. Being that this is a baseball blog, I’ll leave the commander in chief to the wolves and instead stand in the corner of one of Milwaukee’s least popular men at this moment: David Bush.

With Ben Sheets set to return to the rotation Saturday, Dave Bush seems the likely man to garner some form of demotion - be it a long man role in the bullpen or outright trip to Nashville. I think there’s a better idea… let’s keep Dave Bush in the starting rotation.

I will be the first to admit that Bush is having a wickedly harsh beginning to the season, with his ERA in the sixes, his walks up and “mistake” pitches a-plenty. But (and I might be the first person to ever say this) the season is long; the Brewers can afford to exercise a bit of patience with Bush.

You may wonder what my desired shakedown would be then. To keep Bush getting regular big league innings to battle out of this funk, I propose the crew sends down current fifth starter (and my favorite player) Manny Parra, giving Bush the five spot and leaving Stetter (one of two lefties) in the pen.

Manny pitched well in his first start of the season but has since struggled with walks and - arguably more importantly - to stay in games. With a reeling bullpen, I’d rather have a lefty on hand to get the Brewers out of jams than one that gets them into them. If Parra goes six or seven innings against St. Louis Tuesday, the bullpen options yesterday would have been greater; Stetter stepped in to pick up the prolonged slack both days. If you’re going to base stats on who goes down, Parra’s aren’t much better than those of Bush. Plus Parra could use a bit more time in the minors to develop with all the innings he cares to eat. An injury is sure to happen and Parra will almost certainly step in to seamlessly fill any gap in the rotation (maybe keep him on Sheets’ throwing schedule?).

I like neither Bush nor Parra as long men because a long man isn’t needed at this point. Seth McClung (out of options) and Guillermo Mota have shown they can man situations were shut down-type inning consumption is a must.

It might not be a popular opinion, but in a “What have you done for me lately?” sort of era within an increasing impatient and wrongfully judgemental Brewers fan base - I think it’s important to leave Dave Bush in a starting role.

I’m curious to hear what others prefer Milwaukee does with Bush.

Insomniac Ink