Posts Tagged ‘Wes Helms’

The Underdog Came Out On Top

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Great to see the Brewers get it done. It really wouldn’t have been too exciting if they would have just rolled into the playoffs. That is why sports is so compelling. It cannot be scripted.

You had all kinds of drama this past weekend, but in the end, the good guys won. It reminded me of the finish to the movie “Hoosiers.” The small high school defying the odds to outlast the Amazin’ Mets. The quotes coming out of New York were of a team that felt their team overachieved. Disappointed, yes, but from a team that will be moving into a state-of-the-art facility and vast amounts of revenue the Brewers cannot match. If the Brewers came up short, the fallout would have been severe. The underdog won…

Respect for the Pitching

I really gained a ton of respect for five pitchers this past weekend for the Crew.

1. CC Sabathia — Looking at the biggest contract for a pitcher in the history of the game. He pitches another complete game, in the biggest game of the season. Tough pitches all the way through as the playoffs are usually max-effort-type pitches. Third start in a row on three days rest, now looking at possibly as many as seven more starts on an already taxed workload. Anyone who ever thinks that players are all about the money haven’t been paying attention to what this guy is putting on the line. Don’t you think CC’s agent, the Yankees, Mets, Angels Dodgers and the MLB Players Association cringes every time they hear CC is going again on three days’ rest? What he has done for this team has put his own personal issues to the side for the good of the Crew. Trust me when I tell you that every player in the Majors has taken notice of what CC has done. The respect he has gained from his peers will be talked about for a long, long time.

2. Ben Sheets – The free agent to be showed his true character by trying to take the ball on Saturday against the Cubs. He knew his arm was worn down and sore, but still put his own personal issues to the side and tried to step up one more time in possibly his last start as a Brewer. He had so many great games, but saved his best performance as a pro for the game on Saturday.

3. Manny Parra — He rebounded nicely in relief on Saturday. Pitching in a meaningful spot, Manny put aside some of his struggles in the last six weeks to step up and pitch like a seasoned veteran.

4. David Bush — This guy has pitched out of relief, back in the minors, started, pitched on a swinging fifth man rotation and for the last two months has been one of the top ten pitchers in baseball. So he gets asked to piggyback Ben Sheets, doesn’t gripe about again being bumped and goes out and throws three no-hit innings to give the team a chance to win.

5. Yovani Gallardo — First Playoff game since 1982 goes to this young stud. What poise he has to come back in the pennant race to not only pitch but have very little rust or psychological hangover from his injury. The Brewers may lose two star pitchers at the end of this unbelievable season, but Gallardo and Parra have established themselves as two that can continue this run into ’09.

Playoff Matchup

The Brewers were ripe for the picking three weeks ago after a 3-7 homestand. Both teams start from scratch again. If anything, CC’s performance could give the Crew a slight advantage in momentum going in. When teams slump their isn’t much you can do except ride it out. Like a cold, it is going to last seven days and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

That being said, the Brewers still are not swinging the bats very well as a whole. Prince has been absolutely carrying this squad on his back. Look for the Phillies, even with Hamels and especially Moyer, to pitch around Fielder and test his discipline. The same goes for Howard on the other side.

It will be interesting to see Gallardo attack a good offensive team in a smaller ballpark. He is a strikeout, flyball pitcher. Love his poise. Nothing seems to faze this kid. He misses all of spring training, throws a gem against the Reds in Cincy. Look for the Phillies to test Yo’s durability and nerves on the grand stage.

The batters for the Crew have been in another funk at the plate. They looked like they had gotten out of it the last two series on the road. But guys like Maholm, Duke and Lilly really gave the hitters fits at the plate. Not good considering they will face Hamels twice and Moyer once in this best of five. With Hamels they have to attack the fastball early in the count as to not let him get to his changeup, which is one of the best. The Brewers have seen him twice this season and really had some great at bats against him in that Saturday game in Philly.

Moyer, is a tougher matchup than Hamels because of his ability to change speeds with a still unreal changeup. Hopefully the Brewers hitters will realize that Moyer is only throwing 81 mph and move up in the box and stand on top of the plate. Take away his bread-and-butter changeup that fades off the outside corner of the plate. Hart, Hall, Cameron and Braun all need to dare him to throw inside to get them out. If nothing else, Moyer, who is a great study of hitters’ tendencies, will have to learn on the fly as the hitters will look different to what he has seen from them on video. The problem is young hitters are stubborn and don’t want to get out of their comfort spots in the batters box.

Brett Myers has pitched very well this second half, think Dave Bush. Myers pitched a complete game against the Crew last time out. But that is a bit deceiving. The Crew had nothing left in the tank the fourth game of the series. It didn’t matter who was pitching for the Brewers (Suppan) or who was pitching against the Crew (Myers). If you know anything about momentum, you realized that the Brewers had no chance in that one.

I think Gallardo, CC and Bush can get it done this series. The bats need to come alive though. I think the pitching will be fine.

The bullpen edge goes to the Phillies only because of Lidge. He is a strikeout pitcher who has the best slider in the game. Only guys like Pujols can get him, or Braun also has.

I think that the Phillies have the edge on the bench too. They have Dobbs, who has become the best pinch hitter in the National League. The Brewers have Durham, who has really had some big hits down the stretch.

Nostalgia anyone?

Geoff Jenkins will be on the active roster for the Phillies in this series. Jenks, a fan favorite in Milwaukee, is beyond happy for the community and the guys on the team. He is also going to get himself off a dubious list — most games played without appearing in a playoff game for active Major Leaguers. I know this one well as I was ahead of him last year. The fans of Milwaukee probably won’t be as warm this time around, but for only this little bitty series.

Send in Your Rants!

I will be covering the games on FSN postgame Brewers Live with Craig Coshun. We will do a complete breakdown of Game 1 and have interviews and manager comments following the game. The show will start after the last pitch and run for an hour. Please help me with some comments for a Rant. Leave your comments on this post and I will choose one that I like.

Nostalgia Two

It is ironic that the guy the fans booed so much would end up being so loved. Thanks, Wes Helms!

Sunday’s Masterpiece

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

It was early in the eighth inning Sunday when the walls of cautious optimism came crashing down, making way for waves of unbounded excitement.

“Helms hit a home run!” Bryan shouted in disbelief. Stunned, I repeated the phrase at least a half dozen times until I was sure everyone around me was as euphorically shocked as I was.

Wes Helms? The object of nearly every Brewers fans venom over the last five years? Wes F-ING Helms just pushed Milwaukee closer to its first postseason birth in 26 years?

Baseball is poetic and we were witnessing a freakin’ masterpiece.

I shook with anxious excitement. Resting my hands on the railing to calm my nerves, I glanced at Johnny and saw it in his eyes too. He gave me a knowing nod. This was happening and everyone inside Miller Park knew it.

As if we were in a movie war scene, time seemed to move at half speed with the muffled sounds of anticipation providing the soundtrack to Ryan Braun’s stride toward home plate. My thoughts wandered to the top of the inning, when I had pointed at Braun and nodded as he walked to his spot in left field. “Let’s do this,” I had said, desperately inaudible over the sellout crowd. He nodded. I was sure it was toward me. I was sure he knew every single one of us would give anything to will our team into the postseason for the first time in over a quarter century.

CRACK!

The baseball exploded off Braun’s bat into the humid air. As it sailed higher, we held our breath in hope. We prayed it would never come down.

And then we blew the roof off the place.

The rest of the day blurred by in perfect fashion. We witnessed Sabathia continue his run of dominance with another complete game. We watched the Marlins put the finishing touches on another Mets’ collapse on the big screen. We saw our team spraying champagne and dancing through falling streamers. We laughed. We screamed. We jumped up and down. We high-fived. We hugged. We cried.

Twenty six years of disappointment, gone in one instant.

And every bit as incredible as I dreamed.

At the Helms of Stabbing Wesward: The Story of an Able Bodied Former Foe.

Monday, September 29th, 2008

 

Alexander. Cut and Print.

Before yesterday, I would wager that Wes Helms was maybe in the top five most hated Brewers of all time. And before yesterday, it was completely warranted. From his breakout season hitting 23 dingers and 67 ribs the year after we acquired him from the Braves for bullpen favorite Ray King; a Ray King-type hurler the caliber of whom we would not see the likes of again… until we re-aquired Ray King in 2007.

Following Helms’ ‘03 season, the Brewers inked him to a lucrative 2-year deal worth, at that point,  a crippling purse of $4.5 million. The contract reportedly forced Wendy Selig Preib to surrender her beloved name brand Crunch Berries in exchange for a more economically sound purchase of Berry Colossal Crunch. To give an idea of what that contract would convert to in 2008, Wes Helms would have inked a 10-year 165 million deal.

Sacrifices were made

If his epic homerun didn’t change your mind, I don’t blame you. But I am writing in attempt to convince you begrudging fans to release one Wesley Ray Helms from Brewers’ purgatory. Forget that Helms never played 100 games in a season after he received what seemed like a monumental contract. Forgive that he added a mere 8 homers and 0 defense after his said payday. So what if he exaggerated his injury in the 2005 tarp incident, only to mask the real injury which occurred while he moonlighted as Val Kilmer’s fat stunt double for the movie “Alexander.”

Disregard the fact that his only meaningful spuds in the following years were ones that vanquished the Brewers. I guess what I’m getting at is 3 years of douchebagary can be overlooked by one majestic deed. 

Wes, thank you. You’ve done more for the Brewers in a different jersey than Bill Hall has done all year. 

So…Kewl Beans?

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!


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