Archive for June, 2008

In the News (6/30)

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Dave Bush

Tonight’s Game: Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 3
Record: 44-39, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 5.5

- This was one of those games where a bounce here and there (or a hit with runners in scoring position) could have made a huge difference.

- Bush was not sharp, going five innings and allowing five runs (four earned).

- Hardy continued his hot hitting by going 3-5. He has a 12-game hitting streak.

- Braun continued his cold streak by going 0-5. He’s now 0 for his last 12.

- I don’t like these late starts.

- The Cubs and Cards won, making this loss a little worse.

- There’s “proof” that legalizing gay marriage helps sports teams win. We need to start campaigning in Wisconsin before the playoff push. Maybe that Pee Your Pants for the Brewers guy could start up LegalizeGayMarriageForTheBrewers.com?

- Manny Parra is “starting to figure things out.” Parra has looked great lately. Can the Brewers count on him to be a #2 type starter beginning with next season? I think he certainly has that kind of upside (or more).

- Jeff Sackmann at Brew Crew Ball says 44 wins looks pretty good at the halfway point when you consider everything.

- Buster Olney still sees the Brewers as the number one contender for Sabathia. Haudricourt is not so sure.

- Melvin says nobody is off limits in trades, but he’s not going to do anything stupid.

- Al’s Ramblings says Aaron Harang could be a match for the Brewers. He notes that his name “has not come come up in any trade discussions.” It’s true that he hasn’t been discussed much, but he has at least been in some Internet discussions. His name was in an “In the News” post on this very site a week ago after Eli’s MLB Rumors noted that Harang could be available. I still don’t think the Reds would deal him inside their own division though…

- Joe Blanton’s trade value is sinking fast.

- Yost says Fielder’s numbers are where he expected them to be. I understand he’s not going to hit 50 home runs every year, but he’s on pace for 84 RBI. I certainly expect more than that from our clean-up hitter.

- Braun is closing in on the third NL outfielder All-Star spot. He’s just 33,000 votes behind Fukudome.

- There was a Chris Capuano sighting. The lefty pitcher, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, visited the team at Chase Field. His rehab is going well and he plans on being ready to pitch by next April.

- Brewers! Brewers! Keep Turnin’ Up the Heat! takes a look at Gamel, LaPorta, and Jeffress.

- Haudricourt has a mailbag.

- Zambrano will return to the Cubs Friday and Soriano could return before the All-Star break.

- Ramirez will miss three games for the Cubs as he attends to family matters in the Dominican.

- The Sun Times notes that Chicago native, actor and well-known Cubs fan John Cusack wore neutral colors to a White Sox/Cubs game this weekend. Personally, I think the bigger story is that he was wearing a freakin’ fanny pack and still showed up to the game with Jodi O’Keefe.

- Rob Mackowiak is back in the NL Central after signing a minor-league deal with the Reds.

InReview

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Week 13 Record: 3-3
Total Record: 44-37

Things I Like:
- Winning the Atlanta Series on the Road
- Dave Bush’s pitching well this week again!
- Manny being Manny. He cranked his fastball up to 95 in Minnesota!!
- Corey Hart and JJ Hardy looking tough at the plate (Both players over .300 for the week on the road)
- The slow climb towards the top
- Getting a chance to see Gamel and LaPorta play for the Futures Game

Things I Don’t:
- Sheets testing Free Agency
- Making Kevin Slowey look so good that Tyler HAD to pick him up for his Fantasy Team
- That feeling in my stomach again i.e. - Gagne returning and no one on the team is really bullish about it.

Numbers of the Week:
7-6-1 - Road Series Record

.079 - Batting Average Difference for Jason Kendall between May (.218) and June (.297)

T-3 - Ryan Braun’s National League Ranking for Outfield Assists

In the News (6/29)

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Ben Sheets

Tonight’s Game: Twins 5, Brewers 0
Record: 44-38, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 4.5

So, one out of three against the Twins is a little disappointing, but the Brewers have still gained a game and a half on the Cubs over the last four days as the Northsiders got swept on the South side.

- The Brewers got three-hit today in the loss. It was ugly.

- Parra was superb on Saturday. More HERE.

- Joe Mauer’s home run won Friday’s game for the Twins. More HERE.

- Gagne has been activated from the DL with DiFelice getting sent down.

- The C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers rumblings continue. Personally, I don’t see it happening, but you know what they say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

- Huntsville Stars hitting coach Sandy Guerrero calls outfield Michael Brantley the “best player we have on the team.” That’s lofty praise considering Brantley is on the same team as LaPorta, Gamel, Escobar and Salome.

- Peter Gammons says Rickie Weeks will make a “surprising impact” in the second half of the season.

- Junkball Blues says the Brewers offense needs more walks and more multi-run home runs.

- The Brewers have the No. 11, 12, and 13 prospects on the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.

- Branyan is a nice fit with the Brewers.

- The Brew Town Beat hopes this isn’t the start of the “Summerfest swoon”.

- Two Fisted Slopper goes over what’s gone wrong so far this season.

- The Charleston Daily Mail profiles first base prospect Curt Rindal.

- Jim Powell checks in from Minneapolis.

- Remember when the Brewers shared a hotel last season with a Furries convention? Well, the Yankees had the pleasure of sharing a hotel with them last week.

- Could Oakland GM Billy Beane really be planning on stepping down in 2009 so he can run a soccer franchise?

In the News - Evening Edition (6/26)

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Just wanted to add a few links to Tyler’s earlier news offerings…

- The Cubs and Cardinals both lost today so the Brewers have moved within one game of the Cards (and the wildcard) and five and a half of the Cubs.

- The Orioles became the second team to win a series at Wrigley this season. The Brewers have done it twice (so the Sun Times headline if you follow the link is actually false).

- Between the Green Pillars says Sheets is all but gone in free agency, but the Brewers could still give him “one hell of a send off.”

- Haudricourt has a piece on Salomon Torres. Where would the Brewers be right now without Torres? He’s having a great season so far and looks like a natural in the closer’s role.

- Brewers catching prospect Angel Salome is making up for lost time (due to a suspension) at Huntsville. It would be nice if a Brewers catching prospect panned out for once and Salome is starting to look like a solid bet to make it to Milwaukee at some point.

- Speaking of prospects who will likely appear in Brewer blue one day, LaPorta and Gamel were named to the U.S. Future’s Game roster. That’s a nice honor for the two young sluggers.

- Brew Crew Ball breaks down the top Brewers’ prospects.

- The Twins have been playing very well lately and have won nine in a row. More HERE. Hopefully the Brewers can cool them off this weekend in Minnesota.

- Gagne did not pitch well in his second rehab appearance. More HERE.

- Two Fisted Slopper takes a look at what has gone right for the Brewers so far this season.

- Zambrano wants to play in the All-Star game so he can “get homefield advantage” for the World Series. He apparently believes the Cubs will be there. Well, if Zambrano predicts it, it will certainly come true

- Snell was sent to the DL for the Pirates after they acquired reliever Bautista.

- Former Brewer Claudio Vargas was designated for assignment today.

- Former Brewer Lyle Overbay is struggling in Toronto and the fans are turning on him. Seems like an OOOOO-ver-reaction to me.

- Red Reporter says the Reds are winning the Volquez/Hamilton trade still despite Hamilton’s MVP-like production.

In the News Jr. (6/26)

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Richard Jefferson

The Brewers are off today and will travel to Minneapolis to begin a three game series with their frenemies across the Mississippi, the Twins. Here’s a brief round-up of the day that wasn’t for the Milwaukee Brewers.

- Ben Sheets will test the waters of free agency this off season: Let’s hope he gives the Brewers the hometown discount, otherwise he’s probably gone.

- Double-A prospects Matt LaPorta and Mat Gamel were named to the U.S. Futures Team roster.

- Shawn Chacon threw Astros GM Ed Wade to the ground: This comes as a result of frustration of his banishment to the bullpen. He has since been suspended (edit: released).

- Ken Rosenthal isn’t so fast to put all the blame on Chacon for the incident: He says Wade yelled at Chacon in the clubhouse’s crowded dining room and told him to “(expletive) look in the mirror.”

- Russell Branyan uses a unique form of training to keep his eyes sharp.

- The Cubs have been accused of stealing signs: Goat Riders of the Apocalypse has a unique take on the accusations.

- Let’s get to know Tim Dillard.

- Bucks news on Right Field Bleachers?!?!: I never thought I’d see the day when news regarding the redheaded stepchild of Wisconsin sports would appear on this site, but in some exciting NBA news (oxymoron?) the Bucks have traded Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons to the Nets for All-Star forward Richard Jefferson. I like Jefferson a lot. He and Redd could get the Bucks back in the playoffs - not that it’s a difficult feat in the East.

In the News (6/25)

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Jeff Suppan

Tonight’s Game: Braves 4, Brewers 2
Record: 43-35, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 6

- The Brewers dropped the chance at a sweep in Atlanta.

- Suppan threw six innings and gave up four runs.

- Weeks is showing signs of improvement since returning from the DL. He went 2-4 today.

- Rivera got a rare start. Kendall will be back to catch Friday. More HERE.

- Braun has a sore hand, but is battling through it.

- Pitching prospect Jeremy Jeffress has gone 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last five starts. He’s starting to show his incredible potential.

- Jake Odorizzi named player of the year by USA Today. Odorizzi, the Brewers second pick in the draft, signed with the club and will be ranked among the Brewers top prospects when he joins a Brewers affiliate.

- Top draft choice Brett Lawrie will play for the Canada junior team. He may also play on the Canadian Olympic team. Hopefully he can find time to nail down a contract before the August 15 deadline…

- This Braves blog wants nothing to do with Sheets as a free agent.

- This Yankees blog wants the Bronx Bombers to trade for Prince. I don’t have time to research the prospects he threw out (aside from knowing Kennedy and Hughes have certainly not lived up to the ridiculous hype they’ve received), but I can say it’s not going to happen, at least anytime soon. The Brewers have no reason to deal Fielder as he’s under their control for the next three seasons. If LaPorta or Gamel switch to first, prove they’re a suitable replacement at the major-league level for Fielder and a team offers a ridiculous deal for Prince (i.e. a number of highly ranked, near major-league ready pitching prospects), it might happen, but even that is at least a season away.

- The 1986 Brewers draft class ranks as the 15th best of all time according to Baseball America. Sheffield, Vaughn and Hamilton is a pretty good haul.

- Zach Braddock is the Sports Bubbler Prospect of the Week.

- Brewers Fanatics has a fact or fiction post.

- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Brewers are stocked at AA and could deal for a pitcher. How much faith can you put in the article when he calls LaPorta a first baseman and talks about catcher Salome Angel though?

- Fukudome has calf tightness for the Cubs.

In the News (6/24)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Dave Bush

Tonight’s Game: Brewers 4, Braves 3
Record: 43-34, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 5

Milwaukee leaped out of the gates offensively tonight, and managed to narrowly avert a ninth inning heartbreak as Salomon Torres struggled - for once. Dave Bush followed up his near no-no with another lengthy and low scoring outing - and another win. The Brewers have won four straight and eight of their last 10. These road wins in Atlanta are huge in helping the Brewers obtain a winning road trip at what seems to be the most difficult jaunt left on the team’s schedule.

- Dave Bush got his ERA below five on the season with tonight’s gem: He’s really stepped up for the Crew in April with four quality starts (3 wins) in five June outings and an ERA in the low threes in the span.

- Milwaukee gained a full game on the Cubs, who suffered a rare loss at home tonight.

- Starting arm a priority of the Brewers: I’ll spare the 10,000 C.C. Sabathia links and refer reader to this short and sweet summary.

- Ken Rosenthal says Melvin might wait until the offseason to trade Fielder (if at all): Rosenthal cites the Richie Sexson deal prior to the 2005 season that brought the Brewers six MLB ready players. If Fielder is to go, a winter trade would probably gather more teams willing to make some deals.

- Juilan Tavarez refuses assignment to Nashville: It sounded like he was going to swallow his pride and try to return to Milwaukee as a starter, but I guess not. Whatever. His acne scars and sub-par pitching will be sorely missed by all who saw him flirting with a double-digit era in his brief Brew City stint.

- Ryan Braun remains 4th in All-Star voting among NL outfielders: He’s closed the gap on Griffey to about 175,000 votes and only eight days remain. With leading OF vote getter Alfonso Soriano injured and likely to miss the festivities, one would assume Braun will get to New York one way or another.

- Despite being nine games above .500, only Gabe Kapler (.311) and Mike Rivera (.324) have an above-.300 average: Further evidence the long ball and quality pitching have been vital to the club’s recent success.

- Brevard County looks to help starters develop a “ninth-inning mindset” by going beginning outings third or fourth inning: It’s a unique strategy at a level where saves and holds don’t matter much. It can’t hurt. Or can it?

- Cleveland Indians sign former Brewers infielder Tony Graffanino: Best of luck in his return from ACL and knee injuries.

- Brew Crew Ball interviews 1st Round selection Jake Odorizzi, who is not a Cubs fan: He was committed to play college ball, so it’s good news they were able to get him inked.

- MLB and players union to meet about frequently-breaking maple bats: Rick Helling will sleep well tonight.

- Are the Brewers really that good?: Yes. Yes, they are.

- Let’s take a look back at the Scott Linebrink trade, shall we?

- Ryan Braun answers fans’ questions.

- The Sports Yenta drafts an all-Jewish fantasy team: Both Ryan Braun and Gabe Kapler appear on the roster; Kapler more than Braun… you’ll see what I mean.

- Adam Dunn denies talking to Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi: I think this whole spectacle shows the utter lack of tact and professionalism Ricciardi possesses.

- Speaking of weird feuds, Ryan Dempster asks if there’s anyone luckier than Kevin Millar: Ryan Dempster.

- Camden Chat talks up Miller Park: If the blogger makes it out of Wrigley without getting hit by a piece of fallen debris, I’m sure that outdated, urinal throughed wreck of a park won’t impress like Miller did.

- Prince and Cecil by the speed numbers: Bill Chuck chronicles each player’s feats of speed. Prince leads 2-0 in the inside the park HR category. Cecil leads nothing.

In the News (6/23)

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Today’s Game: Brewers 4, Braves 1
Record: 42-34, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 6

- Sheets dominated. He gave up one run in a complete-game performance and struck out seven. He retired the final 16 batters in order. Sheets is now 9-1 with a 2.59 ERA and is firmly planting himself in the All-Star game starter discussion as well as the NL Cy Young race.

- Mike Cameron returned and homered in his first plate appearance.

- Weeks went three for four in his second game back.

- The Brewers are the only team in the major leagues with six players who have at least 10 home runs this season.

- The Brew Town Beat notes that the Brewers have the third best record in the NL, but sit at third in their division. With the win tonight, the Brewers moved within 1.5 games of the Cardinals. The Red Birds are firmly in the Brew Crew’s sites.

- Torres has been incredible since taking over as the closer. He got a much needed day off today.

- Is Russell Branyan this year’s Ryan Braun? Uh, sort of… Hopefully The Muscle keeps tearing the cover off the ball. He’s been an absolutely huge boost to the team.

- The Phillies reportedly sent a scout to take a look at Ben Sheets. Not happening, Philadelphia.

- That same post mentions Aaron Harang may be available. Harang is being paid $6.75 million in 2008, $11 million in 2009 and $12.5 million in 2010 with a 2011 club option for $12.75 million with a $2 million buyout. Harang is not pitching great this season (3-10 with a 4.33 ERA) and it’s hard to imagine the Reds trading him within the division, but if he truly is on the trading block, he might be the most attractive pitcher available. He’s a workhorse that the team could control at a reasonable cost for three and a half seasons. It would take a top prospect and then some, but it may be worth it for three and half seasons of a frontline starter.

- Kapler happy with comeback decision. In other news, consumers are unhappy with the rising gas prices and Wisconsin winters are cold. Seriously though, Kapler’s comeback is a nice story and I’m happy to have the guy on the team.

- Bill Hall changed his batting stance.

- Mark DiFelice is in the middle of a historic streak. Since 1956, only 12 pitchers have reached 10 games in a row to start a career without issuing a walk. DiFelice has now pitched in 10 games without issuing a walk.

- Laynce Nix is in the news, for the wrong reasons…

- Anyone going to Minnesota this weekend to snag this sweet Paul Molitor bronze trophy?

- Matt LaPorta’s grandfather is having health problems. Let’s all wish his grandfather good health.

- Brewers Fanatics profiles catching prospect Jonathan Lucroy.

- Brew Crew Ball interviews Brewers draft pick Mike Roberts, who recently agreed to sign with the club.

- Al at Al’s Ramblings discusses Weeks’ value to the team.

- Former Brewers draft pick Charlie Ward (yeah, the Heisman-winning-QB-turned-NBA-player) is now coaching high school football in Texas. Hat tip to Team Wisconsin.

- Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt have mailbags.

- MinnPost.com has a story on the recent Iowa Cubs/Nashville Sounds game with no fans in attendance due to flooding.

- Goat Riders of the Apocalypse says Ryan Theriot is due for a decline in production.

- Goat Riders also says the Cubs winning 100 games is a “strong possibility.” Boy, Cubs fans are sure drinking the Cubbie Kool-Aid right now… Sure, they could win 100 games…if they play the rest of their games at Wrigley. They’re 16-20 on the road and just got swept by the Rays in Tampa, who then promptly lost two of three at home to Houston. The rotation was a big enough question mark for the Cubs before losing Zambrano. Dempster is playing way, way, way over his head and will come down. Lilly sucks. Marquis is a notoriously bad second-half player and is not lighting the world on fire to begin with. And Rich Hill is in AAA and struggling. What happens if Zambrano’s injury is worse than they think? The Cubs haven’t exactly been great at diagnosing pitching injuries over the years (see: Wood, Kerry and Prior, Mark). Oh yeah, they’re also without one of their best offensive players for some time now. No team has won 100 games since 2005 and the Cubs aren’t doing it in 2008.

- Bleed Cubbie Blue posts a photo of the “now-traditional home outfielder win bump.” Hey, does that “tradition” look familiar?

- Zambrano threw a temper tantrum after getting put on the DL. Imagine how good this guy would be if he wasn’t a complete nut job… Thankfully he can’t keep his cool though.

InReview

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Week 12 Record: 5-1
Total Record: 41-34

Things I Like:
- Manny and McClung battling. Both had real good starts, but had to battle for them. It’s a real good sign when they can work out of jams and an even better sign when they can work out of the 6th inning.
- Starters getting the wins! They’ve been pitching well, so it’s nice to see most of them get another tally in the W column
- Prince Fielder on Fire (5 HR in 6 Games)
- Craig Counsell hitting over .300 in his final week replacing Rickie

Things I Don’t:
- There’s not much to not like this week, other than Suppan’s start (His shortest outing since 1998!). The team hit well and had timely hitting. Pitchers did very well across the board. Even Bill Hall hit a home run! Oh, wait, I got it…
- Eric Gagne getting closer to returning. Salomon is doing just great without him in the bullpen.
- Ridiculous Trade Ideas from fans such as trading for Rich Harden and AJ Burnett from the SAME PEOPLE complaining about Ben Sheets being “injury prone”. Um, Hello??? These two also have felt the bite of the injury bug, especially Harden. I had a whole post on my feelings about this, but felt it was too mean.

Numbers of the Week:
1 - National League Rank for Quality Starts. 2nd overall in MLB

25 - Number of Quality Starts total for the team so far

8.5 - Brewers lead in games over the Cubs last year as of June 23(Cubs won division)

6.5 - Cubs lead in games over the Brewers as of June 23, 2008

In the News (6/22)

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Salomon Torres

Today’s Game: Brewers 7, Orioles 3
Record: 41-34, Third Place
Games Behind Cubs: 6.5

- The Brewers took two of three from Baltimore after sweeping Toronto. They wrapped up the home stand at 6-3. Not bad, considering they only took one from Minnesota. Now they go on an important 10-game road trip.

- Parra was not strong today, but held on to the win thanks to some nice double-play balls.

- McClung continued his stellar pitching in a win over the Orioles Saturday. More HERE.

- Suppan stunk Friday and the Brewers took the loss. More HERE.

- Buster Olney says the Brewers could go after C.C. Sabathia. I think it would take at least one of the Brewers top prospects (LaPorta, Gamel, Escobar) in a package and I can’t see Milwaukee parting with one of those guys.

Al at Al’s Ramblings agrees, saying the Brewers would almost certainly have to include one or two “untouchables” that include the list above and Brantley and Salome.

Milwaukee can’t afford to deal top minor-league talent because they have to build around those players that will be under their control for a long time, but the team will have to delicately balance the “win now” mode with the “build for the future” mentality as the trade deadline approaches. I don’t think Sabathia is a match because he will be a free agent after the season, but the Brewers could decide a half season of Sabathia and the two draft picks they’d receive when Sabathia left in free agency would be worth one of their better prospects. I’d be more on board if Sabathia was pitching like last year instead of sporting an ERA over 4 and a 5-8 record.

- Haudricourt weighs in on the possibility of a Sabathia-to-Milwaukee deal.

- The Brewers hit more home runs than anyone in June with 39.

- Jake Odorizzi, the Brewers second draft choice this year, signed a deal with the club.

- Stetter is back up on the big-league team and Dillard has been sent back down to Nashville.

- Weeks is back with the team. He went 0-fer today, but hit two balls hard. More HERE.

- Gagne continues to inch back to coming off the DL. He’s set to go on a rehab stint.

- Cameron missed the weekend series with a toe injury. More HERE.

- Hunt talks about the Brewers great attendance so far this season. I can’t tell you how nice it is to go to a Brewers game and see the seats filled with people. And those people are wearing Brewers’ gear, not Packers’. It’s a different era for baseball in Wisconsin and it’s looking good. It took a little while to earn the fans’ trust again after fielding uncompetitive teams for over a decade, but I think the Brewers are really building a strong fan base again. It seems especially strong with younger people, which is encouraging for the future of the club.

- Brew Crew Ball takes a look at Branyan’s ridiculous start to his 2008 season with the Brewers.

- Here’s an article on McNasty.

- Minor League Ball profiles Mat Gamel.

- Brew Crew Ball interviews prospect Stephen Chapman.

- And a BCB interview with Brewers’ draft pick Daniel Meadows.

- Viva Cerveceros notes Counsell’s outstanding play as a fill-in starter. He has definitely “answered the call.” More HERE.

- Ozzie Guillen is not fond of Wrigley.

Insomniac Ink