Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brewers Purchase Pirates

It's official. The Milwaukee Brewers now own the Pittsburgh Pirates and have for some time now. With the 6-5 win over the Bucs last night, the Brewers have now made the Pirates their victims 14 straight times. It currently marks the longest MLB active win streak over one team.

The Brewers have also won 17 straight against the Pirates at Miller Park.

Trevor Hoffman earned his first save last night coming back from injury and helped the Crew improve to a .500 record at 10-10. They have won their last three series (Phillies, Astros, Pirates). Yovani Gallardo will try and help the Brewers sweep the Pirates today at noon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And Here We Go!

The Brew Crew started like the sausages right out of the gate, slow. But, they seemed to turn the corner and are putting it together with pitching and hitting. Plus, Trevor Hoffman's back. He pitched a quick ninth last night in a non-save chance. Ryan Braun is pounding the ball and Prince Fielder is starting to hit too. Jeff Suppan has pitched decently the past two games and Manny Parra even pitched alright in his last outing but was hit with the loss after a Weeks error allowed two runs. The only guy that really needs to get something going is surprisingly JJ Hardy.

St. Louis Cardinals are not going to be as good as they have been throughout the year. They will fade in the stretch just like they did last season. But, right now they are a dangerous team, one of the best. The Chicago Cubs are struggling and although early, seem to be beatable.

Dave Bush is on the mound tonight following his near no-hitter against Philadelphia. Bush will face Paul Maholm and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1. Cardinals 14-6
2. Pirates 11-8
3. Reds 10-9
4. Cubs 9-9
5. Brewers 9-10
6. Astros 8-12

Friday, April 24, 2009

Brauny's Back in a Big Way

Redemption. Isn't it sweet? In all reality, the past is the past, but the present series win gets the Brewers right back on track after struggling the first few series of the year.

Ryan Braun played a big part in getting the Brewers back on that track with a monster series against the former World Series Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. The left fielder who has struggled so far, broke out of his slump going 8 of 10 with six RBI, three home runs, and three base on balls which raised his average to .327.

The Brew Crew improved their record to 6-9 and are currently sitting 4.5 games back in the Central Division.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NLDS Matchup: Can the Crew turn it around against Philly?

The Phillies are 5-6, the Brewers 4-8. Neither team is looking like a playoff contender. But, tonight will be a match up of last year's NLDS where the Phillies won the series 3-1. Each team is missing pieces. For the Phillies it is their struggling ace Cole Hamels, for the Brewers, well a lot of pieces are going wrong. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Jason Kendall, and JJ Hardy all are struggling at the plate. The pitching has lacked and the Crew is missing closer Trevor Hoffman. But Hoffman will be back Sunday and it is only a matter of time before Brauny and Fielder start crushing the ball. Also, it is only a matter of time when Cole Hamels starts pitching well (he was my first pick for fantasy pitcher so he better). Both teams will turn it around and it should make for an interesting series none the less. It would be nice for the Brewers to get some revenge and get their season going starting tonight.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gallardo Back on Track

The Brewers still cannot figure it out, but Yovani Gallardo is back on track after getting roughed up against Cincinnati. He had one bad inning against the Reds that spoiled his last outing and his team backed him up with six runs but that wasn't enough that time around. This time the Brewers hitting spoiled his gem. Gallardo pitched six innings of shutout ball and had 7 k's. Carlos Villanueva came in relief but a Rickie Weeks error scored the only run of the game for the New York Mets, who gave Johan Santana his second win of the season. There were no extra base hits in the game.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crew Off to a Disappointing 2009, but Hope Lingers

Sure, the Crew are off to a 3-6 start and have lost all three series (@ Giants, Cubs, Reds). But, hope lingers. Hey, I am a positive guy and know the talent on the Brewers. They played it close with the Cubs, even could have won the series if Reed Johnson hadn't caught Prince Fielder's grand slam. A few more timely hits could have given the Brewers all series wins, but that can happen when athletes are working out early season kinks. Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Jason Kendall have so far been in big slumps, but Rickie Weeks, Mike Cameron, and Billy Hall are all hitting the ball pretty well. It is only a matter of time before Fielder, Braun, and Kendall get their stuff together. The pitching will eventually get it together too and Braden Looper so far has been the best on the staff. Jeff Suppan is terrible, Yovani Gallardo has one bad inning that led to a loss, and Manny Parra pitched alright his last outing. Dave Bush has pitched solid but will get better over time as well. The Brewers will be fine, I don't think there are any disbelievers in that category that think the Crew will continue their struggles.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brewers Could Make Push for Peavy

Jeff Suppan is terrible. I cringe every time he throws a pitch. The Brewers are starting to doubt his ability. I am not sure why they are starting to disbelieve in Suppan now- the guy was awful last year, but no Ken Macha wants a guy that gives up a ton of home runs and cannot find the strike zone to be the ace. What a joke. Anyways, ESPN and the Chicago Tribune have the Brewers considering a Jake Peavy trade or possibly picking up Pedro Martinez. Heck, why not trade for Peavy and pick up Martinez. Martinez would only cost $5 million. Pull the trigger right now- the Brewers after all paid Eric Gagne $10 million to blow a bunch of games for them last season. More on Peavy from the Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The 1994 Baseball Strike was Inevitable

The poor Montreal Expos. They sat with the best record in baseball in 1994 and had a strong case to win the World Series before the MLB canceled the season after the players went on strike. The work stoppage was the worst in professional sports, but baseball is back on track.

In 1994, the owners demanded a salary cap in response to the worsening financial situation in baseball. This was an act to help the small market teams but the players opposed. The strike was a complete mess without a commissioner at the helm.

The salary cap undoubtedly would help the small market teams out. But, with the recent past it is not necessary. The Tampa Bay Rays came out of last place to go to the World Series before being tripped up against the Philadelphia Phillies last season. They overcame the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to win the division. The Yankees and Red Sox are two of the high rollers in the league.

Revenue-sharing would not be fair to the players who would have decreased salaries. There would be no chance of Alex Rodriguez or CC Sabathia's massive salaries.

Major League Baseball leader Donald Fehr believed that the salary cap was a way to help the owner's problems but there would be little benefits to the players side.

The tension between the owners and players continued to heat up before the players union ultimately decided to strike.

Small market teams are losing out on the big name free agents, but they are drafting the better players. Big name players want to go to the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves and so on because they have the most exposure around the country and usually can give them the best contract. That doesn't mean to say that the small market teams cannot compete for some free agents.

The Rays and Milwaukee Brewers are prime examples of using the draft as their means of competing. Almost the entire starting lineup for the Brewers are all of their draft picks in the past few years.

As a life long Brewers fan it is frustrating to see that the New York Yankees signed Sabathia to a 161 million dollar contract. Also during the off-season, they signed Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to big deals. Oh and they already had the highest payroll in the league. A-Rod alone is almost making more money than the Florida Marlins roster. But, the highest payroll doesn't always mean that team will go to the playoffs or win the World Series, the Yankees are a prime example the last few seasons. Despite the discrepancy in pay for the Marlins, they still made a push to make the playoffs.

It is hard to talk about the MLB being in bad shape anymore as long as small market teams are still competing. Seems that players are getting offered larger contracts by the year so there are no complaints on the players side. The strike affected Major League Baseball for awhile, but it is all in the past now. Baseball is back.

Yovani Gallardo, First Pitcher Ever to Take Randy Johnson Deep

Yovani Gallardo, only 23 years old, became the first pitcher to ever take future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson deep. It was a two-out, two-strike, three-run homerun to give the Brewers their first win of the season. Oh and he also pitched nicely for his first start: 6.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K and picked up the W as the Crew won 4-2.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jeff Suppan and Ken Macha Grind My Gears

Following Peter on Family Guy when he was hired to do a segment on the news called, "What Grinds My Gears", here is my segment on "Who Grinds My Gears".

Jeff Suppan really grinds my gears. Manager Ken Macha has him fronting the rotation as the ace. What a terrible move. Ken Macha also is on this segment of who grinds my gears because he made the move. Let's take a look at how Suppan did yesterday afternoon to start the Brewers in the wrong direction. Here is his stats from yesterday: 4.0 innings, 6 runs, 6 earned runs, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (of course, the guy always gives up a bomb). This is against the harmless Giants hitters (he even gave up a base hit to SF ace Tim Lincecum when he needed to get an out.)

I'll give Suppan the benefit of the doubt because it was the first game of the season. I think he will still get around 10-12 wins but that is not good enough as the Crew's ace, especially with future CY Young winner Yovani Gallardo in the rotation. Dave Bush should be at the front of the rotation (if Macha was smart and if the Brewers want to go with experience, (technically Gallardo should easily be the ace on the staff)). How is this guy making the most money on the Brewers roster. This is like the Roger Dorn situation in the movie Major League, "I thought you said we didn't have any high-priced talent?", "Forget about Dorn, he is just high priced."

For the aforementioned, this is why Jeff Suppan and Ken Macha are really grinding my gears.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crew Owns the Best National League Record in Spring Training

Okay, so Spring Training doesn't mean much really. But, if anything, the young guys on the Brewers roster should have some confidence going into the season. The Brewers beat the Dodgers last night, 7-4, to push their record to 22-10. They finished second in the Cactus League but own the best record in the National League. I always think Spring Training means a little something and it shows that the Brewers have some good prospects. Last Spring Training Prince Fielder struggled and didn't really hit any homeruns. He didn't have his most productive year at the plate last year either for the Crew during the regular season. This Spring Training he has hit a few homers and batted well. So, we will see if the Brewers can go off their Spring Training momentum starting the season tomorrow.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brewers will make a postseason push even without Sabathia and Sheets

Major League Baseball is soon to be underway and the anticipation is growing. Milwaukee lost two aces in the offseason; Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia. That is in the past, the Brewers are now looking to their future. That future hinges on young Yovani Gallardo staying healthy.

Milwaukee was able to secure the Wild Card position last season and it was their first playoff appearance since 1982. Sabathia more than anything was a key reason the Crew made the playoffs last season, but Milwaukee is poised to make another playoff run in 2009.

As long as Gallardo is healthy, the Brewers are just as dangerous as last season, if not more so. Gallardo did not see much time last season because he had a freak torn ACL injury. It is not an arm injury which is always good news. Guys that have arm injuries seem to be haunted the rest of their careers by it.

The rotation is yet to be set, but here is how it will look; Jeff Suppan, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper, and Dave Bush.

Suppan is usually good for 10-plus wins. Parra pitched incredible for his first full season before falling off at the end of the season, but still posted 10 wins. Looper was an off-season acquisition and has posted 12-wins in each of the past two seasons. Bush has shown flashes of greatness and really came into his own during the final stretch last year. He won nine games last year and had 12 wins in each of the previous seasons before that. Finally, Gallardo has not seen a whole lot of time in the show but has already shown that he will be a future CY Young candidate. I personally believe he will be a candidate this year. The guy can do everything from pitching to hitting. He is a workhorse. Gallardo was not supposed to be back last season or playoffs. Not even close because of his injury. He trained so hard to make it back that he started the playoffs for the Brewers.

Imagine if the Brewers had a healthy Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo the entire season to go along with the CC Sabathia trade at midseason. Holy God that rotation would have been ridiculous. But, Ben Sheets is always injured and he will be out the entire year this year. Gallardo (who is much better and shouldn’t be injury prone) will basically take over for him and the Brewers will have a better rotation with the addition of Looper.

The pitching staff and the rotation in my opinion are just as good if not better going into the season than they were going into last season (well if Gallardo would have been hurt anyway, which he was pretty soon into the season). I think Milwaukee has a good shot at 85-90 wins this year, if healthy.

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Gwynn Jr. put on waivers, but no one claimed him!

I am a huge fan of Tony Gwynn Jr.. I think he has tremendous talent and will be a great player. So, needless to say, I was a bit sad when the Brewers had to put him on waivers. To my luck, nobody claimed him and the Brew Crew were able to send him to Nashville. I think eventually he will be starting in Milwaukee's outfield. More on Gwynn heading back to the minors.

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