Posts Tagged ‘Wild Card’

RFB at Odds

Friday, October 24th, 2008

There are more question marks for the Brewers going into this offseason than there have been since before the Yost era began. The team made the playoffs and has become a proven contender, but with the likely loss of Sabathia and Sheets, holes at third base and in the bullpen, rising prospects knocking on the Major League door, questions surrounding the payroll and a change at manager, the winter will be a time of transition for the organization.

Will GM Doug Melvin play it safe and build the team back up through the draft and with minor free agent signings or will he make bold trades and pickups in order to reshape the team for another “all or nothing” run at the playoffs in 2009? Rumors started before the season even ended and Brewers fans anxiously await the important decisions the front office will make.

At Right Field Bleachers, we’re as excited as anyone. And we love making predictions that will make us look foolish just a few weeks down the road. So, we’ve put together some odds on how likely we think the already rumored transactions will take place. We also give some early odds on how far we think the team will get next year. Early indications are that you might want to wait to see how some of the offseason moves unfold before you bet on baseball, at least on the Crew.


The Brewers will sign CC Sabathia.

13.25% Chance

How we voted
Joe — 15% 
Bryan — 15%
Tyler — 15%
Jared — 8%

There is no doubt that CC loved his time in Milwaukee, but do you really expect the guy to turn down the type of skrilla the Yankees and such are undoubtedly about to throw at him? I don’t. — Joe


The Brewers will sign Ben Sheets.


Joe — 10% 
Bryan — 10%
Tyler — 12%
Jared — 5%

There’s a small chance if the price is low enough, but he doesn’t think he’s going to be on the team and, sadly, neither do I. — Bryan


The Brewers will trade for Jake Peavy.


Joe — 20%
Bryan — 5%
Tyler — 5%
Jared — 7%

He doesn’t seem to want to even leave San Diego, but if he did, Milwaukee doesn’t seem to be a place he wants to go. Short and sweet, I just don’t see this happening. — Tyler


The Brewers will trade for Matt Cain.


Joe — 50%
Bryan — 10%
Tyler — 27%
Jared — 10%

The Giants and the Brewers seem to be good trade partners. I think the Giants want too much for Matt Cain to get this done, but it’s about the same chance as re-signing Ben Sheets. — Bryan


The Brewers will trade Prince Fielder.


Joe — 50%
Bryan — 2%
Tyler — 33%
Jared —10%

Prince is coming off a productive year, but certainly not one that’s close to his peak potential. Why trade him now when his value is lower than it could be? Sure, he probably won’t sign a long-term deal to stay in Milwaukee, but the Brewers have him under their control for three more seasons. The team doesn’t have an in-house replacement ready to go either. Unless a team blows the Brewers away with an offer (Matt Cain is intriguing, but that might not even be enough), I say he’ll be back in Milwaukee next year. — Jared


The Brewers will trade J.J. Hardy.


Joe — 40%
Bryan — 6%
Tyler — 18%
Jared — 12%
Average — 19%

It’s only so high because his salary is jumping upward every season, and he’ll likely garner at least $4 million in arbitration for 2009. With Alcides Escobar waiting in the wings and Rickie Weeks and Bill Hall next to untradable, Hardy might be forced to go… but I hope he sticks around. — Tyler


The Brewers will trade Rickie Weeks.


Joe — 40%
Bryan — 10%
Tyler — 0%
Jared — 15%

I think, at this point, the Crew is ready to hear offers, but I wonder what teams will be willing to offer for him. In the right package, Weeks is gone. — Joe


Alcides Escobar will start 2009 in the Majors.


Joe — 90% 
Bryan — 30%
Tyler — 22%
Jared — 50%
Average — 48%

His defense is MLB-ready and he has improved his offensive game considerably, enough that he could one day become a top-of-the-order hitter. Melvin has admitted the team is considering shifting Hardy’s position to make room for the slick-fielding Escobar, but that’s not the only way he could see the field. With Escobar on the cusp of a full-time call up, Hardy’s name is at the forefront of trade rumors. The Brewers have not been afraid to develop their prospects in Milwaukee (see Hardy and Weeks) and I would not be surprised at all to see Alcides on the field at Miller Park in April. — Jared


Mat Gamel will start 2009 in the Majors


Joe — 40%
Bryan — 20%
Tyler — 9% 
Jared — 25%

Gamel certainly needs more time in the minors to keep working at his fielding issues. He’s the third baseman of the future and looks to have the makings of a great player, but there’s only so many spots in the outfield to exile former infielders to. — Tyler


The Brewers will make the playoffs in 2009.


Joe — 80%
Bryan — 25%
Tyler — 84%
Jared — 33%

The odds will go higher if they get C.C., might go slightly lower if they don’t get any pitcher. — Bryan


The Brewers will win the division in 2009.


Joe — 40%
Bryan — 25%
Tyler — 50%
Jared — 20%

I think the major competition will be the Cubs, and I don’t see them regressing from this year. The Astros and Cardinals always seem to be very solid and the Reds aren’t far off either. — Joe


The Brewers will win the World Series in 2009.


Joe — 5%
Bryan — 8%
Tyler — 18%
Jared — 4%

Pitching and defense wins championships in baseball. The Brewers have average defense and will work to fill holes in their bullpen. It’s the loss of Sabathia and Sheets that will likely be too much to overcome. The team should be competitive in 2008 and Melvin might be aggressive this offseason, but I think 2009 will be used to reload. If the Brewers can usher in some of their top prospects and rebuild their rotation, 2010 might be the year you could make some money on the Brewers through sports betting. — Jared



So, there you go. Even though these rumors dominate the blogosphere, as a group we feel there is a coin flip chance at best of any of them happening and most are far less likely than that in our eyes. But we’re just four Brewer fan degenerates pretending we can get into Doug Melvin’s mind. What do you think the Brewers will do?

No matter what happens, it should be an interesting offseason.

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.


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.

CC-ing This Thing to the End

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I don’t think anyone can express how much CC Sabathia has meant to this team. I mean, the dude is 10-2 with 1.78 ERA in 16 starts for Milwaukee. In a few short months, he has become a team leader and is literally willing the team to the postseason right now with short-rest starts for a torn-apart rotation.

I didn’t think I could appreciate CC anymore, but then this little nugget came over the blog wire this morning:

Brewers ace CC Sabathia — awaiting his third successive start on three days rest next Sunday — has told his agent to stop complaining to his team’s front office about his arm being overused or injured, according to baseball commentator Peter Gammons in an interview on radio station 1050 am in New York.

“Don’t call them anymore,” Gammons quoted Sabathia as telling his representatives at Legend Sports Group. “I want to win.”

The man crush has officially reached epic proportions.

A professional athlete taking a huge risk of health and wealth for his team, a team he’s been with for less than 12 weeks, is completely unheard of these days. An athlete telling his agent to shove it? Classic. No matter where Sabathia ends up after the season, I will forever be a CC fan.

Brewers fans, this man deserves the ovation to end all ovations when he takes the mound Sunday. Hopefully, it will not be a sendoff, but merely a catapult to help push CC and the Brewers into the playoffs.

In the News (9/24)

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Today’s Game: Brewers 4, Pirates 2
Record: 87-71
Wild Card: Tied with the Mets

Today’s Game


(If you’re not familiar with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I recommend you check it out)

- The Brewers win, the Mets lose. It’s all tied up. Four games. Winner takes the Wild Card!

- CC is an absolute beast. He went seven innings and only allowed one run tonight while striking out 11. And it was on short rest. He is now 10-2 with a 1.78 ERA as a Brewer and is the reason the Brewers are still in this race. He could pitch again Sunday on short rest if the Brewers need him. In fact, he says, “If it matters, I want to pitch.” We’ll be there giving CC a well-deserved standing ovation, no matter what happens.

- Don’t look now, but Gagne has been pretty good lately… He pitched another scoreless inning tonight.

- You might have noticed something new about the Brewers since Sveum took over. They actually can play some fundamental baseball. They don’t have to hit a home run to score. Bunts, stolen bases, walks, sac flies… They’re not the Twins or anything, but it’s nice to see a few manufactured runs once in a while.

Brewers News

- OK, Brewers, now that you have won my faith over again in a season that’s turning into quite the roller coaster of emotions, please, please, please don’t fall short of the postseason. It’s great that you’re playing meaningful baseball in late September, but let’s take this thing into October now!

- But hey, even if the Brewers return to their less-than-clutch ways from earlier this month, there’s always the “one-game choke-off” with the Mets, right?

- Amazingly, Yovanni Gallardo will start tomorrow. Gallardo tore his ACL on May 1. Less than five months later, he’s back and ready to contribute in the most important game of his young career. Yo will be on a strict pitch count (70) and will likely only go four innings or so, but it has to be a huge moral boost for the team to see Gallardo back so soon. I can’t wait to see him throw. More HERE.

- Sheets on the other hand might not pitch again during the regular season. Sveum is being a little wishy-washy on Sheets’ status saying he’s “very optimistic” Sheets could start this week and then saying “it would take some small miracle” in the next sentence. Huh?

- Trenni and Erin Andrews have outfits that look awfully similar to each other. The Daily Drink asks “Who wears it better?”

- This New York Post columnist says another Mets choke job would be “two much to take.” How about a postseason without any New York teams?

- Apparently, there’s a lot of rain in the forecast for NY so it could make for some interesting scenarios as the Wild Card race comes down to the wire.

- Have to slip this in somewhere… Thank you Cubs. I never thought I’d be rooting for you, but you came up big tonight for the Crew. Now, beat the Mets tomorrow and feel free to tank the last three games of the season…

Minor Leagues

- For a lot of in-depth reaction and info surrounding the Brewers affiliation with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, check out this great Timber Rattler fan site: Rattler Radio. (Note: It’s now been pointed out to me that the site is not exactly a fan site, it’s actually run by Timber Rattlers broadcaster Chris Mehring, which means there is even more inside insight. Nice.)

NL Central

- Will Lou Piniella retire following this season?

- Cubs fans have a strange way of celebrating a division championship…

Other News

- Barry Bonds is in the news again. And he still might face jail time for lying to a federal grand jury.

- In other steroid-related news, Roger Clemens looks like Uncle Joey’s puppet. (Hat tip to Deadspin)

A Letter to Corey

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Dear Corey Hart,

In late July, after you and your teammates dropped four straight games to the division rival Chicago Cubs at your home field, you expressed your displeasure with Brewer fans by saying, “Maybe our fans will stick up for us one of these days.”

The comment struck me as just a young, frustrated player making a poor choice of words after a crushing blow in the NL Central title chase.

Apparently that wasn’t the case though because you followed that up this month with another set of foolish statements after losing the first game of a four-game set to the Phillies.

“Actually, it felt more like a home game than playing in Miller Park. We didn’t hear the boos that we sometimes hear at home,” you said.

“A guy makes an error, a guy strikes out and you hear your hometown booing you,” you later continued. “It makes you ready to get out of there and go somewhere else for a while. I think we’re all looser here.”

You and your teammates were so “loose” you went out and dropped the other three games in the series too. And you lost the Wild Card lead and your manager in the process.

Maybe in retrospect you realize how stupid your comments were. If not, please consider wising up while you still have a chance to repair your increasingly damaged reputation among Brewer fans.

Playing in Milwaukee, you’re probably sick of hearing about 1982. Heck, you were born just days before that season started more than 26 years ago. Most of us fans are more than ready to move on to some new glory days too, but, frankly, that World Series loss a quarter century ago is all we’ve got to cling on to. To call the years since Harvey’s Wallbangers bleak would be a colossal understatement. Sure, there have been moments that captivated us, players that we fell in love with and even a few glimmers of hope along the way, but the majority of those seasons were essentially over before Memorial Day.

Yet we’re still here, supporting you.

That stadium you play in? We paid for it.

That attendance record the Brewers broke this season? We bought the tickets.

That top 10 attendance rank in MLB despite being the smallest market in baseball? We filled the seats.

That All-Star game you played in? We voted you in.

The unprecedented support for this team? That’s us.

And that booing you hear? That’s called expectations, something that’s been missing in Milwaukee for far, far too long.

So, Corey, as your team nears a second consecutive late-season collapse that has crushed our spirits one more time, allow me to flip the coin for you. What have you done for us? How have you earned the unconditional support you clearly expect? Why do we come back year after year after year just to have our hearts broke again?

Maybe our team will win for us one of these days. Network Member

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