Results tagged ‘ Bill Hall ’

Brewers Wall of Honor Unveiled Today

The Milwaukee Brewers will formally unveil the “Brewers Wall of Honor” at Miller Park today.  The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. A total of 36 former Brewers players will attend today’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.

A private ceremony for inductees, their families and special guests will take place at 4 p.m. and the wall will be available for viewing to the general public beginning at 6:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony honoring the inductees will take place on the field prior to the game.

The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark.  Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career.  The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.

 Players who meet any of the following criteria while wearing a Brewers uniform will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:

  • 2,000 or more plate appearances
  • 1,000 or more innings pitched
  • 250 appearances as a pitcher
  • Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
  • Manager of a pennant-winning team
  • Individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
  • Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers

Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria and will be recognized on the Brewers Wall during the 2014 season.  In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria.  Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added to the Wall of Honor.

A total of 38 honorees are scheduled to attend the event six honorees will be represented by family members. The complete list of players who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony today is as follows (attendees subject to change, those who will be present for the event are in BOLD, those who will be represented by a family member at the event are in ITALICS and those not able to attend the event are in PLAIN text):

Hank Aaron
Jerry Augustine
Sal Bando
Chris Bosio
Johnny Briggs
Jeromy Burnitz
Mike Caldwell
Bill Castro
Jeff Cirillo
Jim Colborn
Cecil Cooper
Craig Counsell
Chuck Crim
Rob Deer
Cal Eldred
Mike Fetters
Rollie Fingers
Jim Gantner
Moose Haas
Bill Hall
Darryl Hamilton
Teddy Higuera
John Jaha
Geoff Jenkins
Harvey Kuenn
Sixto Lezcano
Pat Listach
Mark Loretta
Davey May
Bob McClure
Paul Molitor
Don Money
Charlie Moore
Jaime Navarro
Dave Nilsson
Ben Oglivie
Dan Plesac
Darrell Porter
Ken Sanders
George Scott
Kevin Seitzer
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
Richie Sexson
Ben Sheets
Ted Simmons
Jim Slaton
B.J. Surhoff
Don Sutton
Gorman Thomas
Bill Travers
Bob Uecker
Jose Valentin
Greg Vaughn
Fernando Viña
Pete Vuckovich
Bill Wegman
Bob Wickman
Robin Yount

Note: John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement.  Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #2

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#2

Ted Savage (’70-’71)
Bob Hiese (’71-’73)
Jack Lind (’74)
Bob Sheldon (’74-’75)
Alex Grammas (’76-’77)
Len Sakata (’79)
Randy Ready (’83-’86)
Kiki Diaz (’90)
William Suero (’92-’93)
Jose Valentin (’94, ’95-’99)
Tyler Houston (’00-’02)
Bill Hall (’02-’09)
Joe Inglett (’10)
Nyjer Morgan (’11-’12)
Scooter Gennett (’13-Current)

All- Decade Roster

By: Big Rygg

Here is my 25-man roster (complete with starters, batting order, rotation and bullpen assignments). We will be recording a podcast in the semi-near future to no doubt dissect this (and surely Cary will disagree with a few choices).

This roster was constructed with an eye on best players at positions, but also with an eye on making what could be a legitimate 25-man roster with capable bench players and not all closers in the bullpen, etc.

First will be the roster listed alphabetically by position with starters marked with an asterisk.

SP (5) – Jeff D’Amico, Doug Davis, Yovani Gallardo, CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets
RP (7) – Todd Coffey, Francisco Cordero, Chad Fox, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Leskanic, Brian Shouse, Bob Wickman
C (2) – Henry Blanco, Damian Miller*
INF (6) – Ryan Braun*, Russell Branyan, Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder*, Bill Hall*, Jose Hernandez*
OF (5) – Corey Hart, Geoff Jenkins*, Gabe Kapler, Carlos Lee*, Scott Podsednik*

My rotation shakes out as follows:

1 – Ben Sheets (as a nod to his longevity with the team)
2 – CC Sabathia (he was that dominant in his short stint)
3 – Yovani Gallardo (future ace would make an amazing #3 on this team)
4 – Doug Davis (long tenure, LHP, consistent numbers)
5 – Jeff D’Amico (very solid statistics despite only 33 starts with the Brewers)

The bullpen stacks up like this:

Closer – Trevor Hoffman (yes, only one season but an amazing season as closer)
Set up – Francisco Cordero (flame-thrower, closing experience in the 8th inning)
LOOGy – Brian Shouse (of top three including Mitch Stetter and Ray King, Shouse was best and most consistent)
Others in the bullpen would share back-up 8th inning and the short work

And for my batting order…

CF – Scott Podsednik
SS – Jose Hernandez
3B – Ryan Braun
1B – Prince Fielder
LF – Carlos Lee
RF – Geoff Jenkins
2B – Bill Hall
C – Damian Miller
PITCHER

I am more than happy to explain my selections for this roster and I will…on the podcast. Be sure to download it when you see the post telling you that it’s there.

Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.

How about a couple or several division championships this decade?

All Decade By the Numbers

By: Big Rygg

I know that this idea is a bit corny and overdone already, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t taken a fair amount of time to compile the information that that led me to the decisions that I have made regarding my (and since I’ve been the entirety of the written Brewer Nation for quite some time now) and the Brewer Nation’s….

ALL-DECADE 25-MAN ROSTER!!! (which will come in the next post)

But first, some interesting tidbits for you all to digest followed by some high and low statistical totals for the decade of 2000-2009. A lot of these numbers helped me figure out my all-decade roster.

  • There have been 111 non-pitchers that have have at least one plate appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers this decade.
  • There have been 131 individuals that have pitched at least one-third of an inning for the Milwaukee Brewers this decade, including two position players (Trent Durrington and Mark Loretta).
  • The most common first name amongst Brewers in this decade is “Chris” (11 players). Second place goes to “Mike” (10 players).
  • Most seasons (or parts of seasons) played with the Brewers in the 2000s was 8, a record held by Geoff Jenkins, Bill Hall and Ben Sheets

Hitting Mosts (you might notice some themes here):

Games Played: 1015 – Geoff Jenkins
Plate Appearances: 4154 – Geoff Jenkins
At-Bats: 3698 – Geoff Jenkins
Runs: 558 – Geoff Jenkins
Hits: 1021 – Geoff Jenkins
Doubles: 232 – Geoff Jenkins
Triples: 21 – Corey Hart
Home Runs: 182 – Geoff Jenkins
Total Bases: 1835 – Geoff Jenkins
Runs Batted In: 594 – Geoff Jenkins
Stolen Bases: 113 – Scott Podsednik
Times Caught Stealing: 35 – Bill Hall
Walks: 345 – Prince Fielder
Intentional Walks: 66 – Fielder (Five more than Jenkins, but more than triple third place)
Strike Outs: 970 – Geoff Jenkins
Times Grounding into a Double Play: 90 – Geoff Jenkins
Times Hit By a Pitch: 86 – Geoff Jenkins
Sacrifice Hits: 21 – Mark Loretta
Sacrifice Flies: 32 – Prince Fielder (One more than Jenkins in far fewer PAs)

Hitting Highests (minimum 100 plate appearances):

Batting Average: .320 – Felipe Lopez
On-Base Percentage: .407 – Felipe Lopez
Slugging Percentage: .574 – Ryan Braun
On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage: .931 – Ryan Braun

Hitting Worsts:

Games Played: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
Plate Appearances: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
At-Bats: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
Runs: 0 (8 players never scored but Pete Zoccolillo was on base the most times without scoring – 6 times)
Hits: 0 (4 players, Robert Perez had most Plate Appearances without a hit – 5)
Doubles: 0 (10 players with at least one hit had no doubles. Tony Fernandez had 18 hits without a double)
Triples: 0 (48 players with at least one hit had no triples. Carlos Lee had 275 hits without a triple)
Home Runs: 0 (20 player with at least one hit had no home runs. Tony Gwynn had by far the most without a home run with 60. Next closest? Nine.)
Total Bases: 0 (4 players. Robert Perez had 5 plate appearances without a base.)
Runs Batted In: 0 (11 players had at least one plate appearance without an RBI. Brad Nelson had 31 for the most.)
Stolen Bases: 0 (Since you can’t steal if you don’t try, 12 players had at least one attempt without a stolen base. Wes Helms and Felipe Lopez tied for the most with 3.)
Times Caught Stealing: 0 (16 players with at least one stolen base were never caught. Santiago Perez and Mel Stocker each stole 4 bases without getting caught.)
Walks: 0 (9 players never walked. Israel Alcantara had the most plate appearances without drawing a walk with 32.)
Intentional Walks: 0 (49 players never were intentionally given first base including Alex Sanchez who had 684 plate apperances without one.)
Strike Outs: 0 (5 players never struck out as a Brewers this decade. Nelson Cruz had the most PAs as a Brewers with 7. The fewest Ks with at least 100 PAs? Lenny Harris who only struck out 17 times in 215 PAs.)
Times Grounding into a Double Play: 0 (17 players never grounded into one this decade. Alcides Escobar had the most plate appearances without a GIDP with 138.)
Times Hit By a Pitch: 0 (36 players were never hit by a pitch. Marquis Grissom had the most plate appearances without ever getting plunked as a Brewer this decade with 640.)
Sacrifice Hits: 0 (58 players had none with Geoff Jenkins topping the list by having 4154 plate appearances.)
Sacrifice Flies: 0 (41 players never hit a sac fly this decade. John Vander Wal had 374 plate appearances without even a single sac fly.)

Hitting Lowests (4 players had zeroes in all categories, Robert Perez having the most plate appearances (5) without any stats, so the following is the lowest among players with at least one hit):

Batting Average: .067 – Chris Barnwell (2 Hits in 30 at-bats)
On-Base Percentage: .071 – Corey Patterson (1 Hit in 15 plate appearances)
Slugging Percentage: .067 – Chris Barnwell (2 singles in those 30 at-bats)
On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage: .143 – Corey Patterson

Pitching Mosts:

Wins: 86 – Ben Sheets
Losses: 83 – Ben Sheets
Games Played: 224 – Luis Vizcaino
Games Started: 221 – Ben Sheets
Games Finished: 129 – Derrick Turnbow
Complete Games: 18 – Ben Sheets (Sabathia had 2nd most in the decade in one-half season: 7)
Shutouts: 4 – Ben Sheets (Sabathia had 2nd most in the decade in one-half season: 3)
Saves: 65 – Derrick Turnbow
Innings PItched: 1428 – Ben Sheets
Hits Allowed: 1402 – Ben Sheets
Runs Allowed: 650 – Ben Sheets
Earned Runs Allowed: 591 – Ben Sheets
Home Runs Allowed: 160 – Ben Sheets
Walks Issued: 313 – Ben Sheets
Intentional Walks Issued: 25 Tie (Ben Sheets & Jeff Suppan though Suppan did it in far fewer innings – 1428.0 IP to 546.0 IP)
Strikeouts: 1206 – Ben Sheets
Batters Hit: 54 – Dave Bush
Balks: 5 – Chris Capuano
Wild Pitches: 49 – Ben Sheets

Pitching Bests:

Earned Run Average: 0.00 – 6 players (Chris Saenz pitched the most innings: 6.0)
Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitches: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Best by an actual pitcher? Mike Crudale with 0.75)
Hits Allowed Per 9 Innngs: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Best by an actual pitcher? Mike Crudale with 0.96)
Home Runs Allowed Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – 11 players (Mike Crudale pitched most innings without allowing a home run: 9.1 IP)
Walks Issued Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – 3 players (Jesus Colome pitched most innings without issuing one: 6.1 IP)
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: 18.00 – Mark Loretta (Best by an actual pitcher? Allan Simpson with 16.88)
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio: 5.12 – CC Sabathia (of pitchers that issues at least one walk)

Pitching Leasts:

Wins: 0 – 42 Players (Chris Smith pitched most games without a win: 35)
Losses: 0 – 29 Players (Chris Smith pitched most games without a loss as well)
Games Played: 1 – 4 Players (Trent Durrington, Mark Loretta, Chris Saenz, Chris Mabeus)
Games Finished: 0 – 5 Players (of players who relieved at least once – Chris Mabeus, Josh Butler, Mike Matthews, Kyle Peterson, Jimmy Haynes)
Complete Games: 0 – 42 Players (of players who started at least once – Jimmy Haynes started most games without a complete game: 62)
Shutouts: 0 – Jeff Suppan (Most games started without a shutout: 95)
Saves: 0 – 82 Players (of players with at least one relief appearance – Jose Capellan had most relief appearances without a save: 85)
Innings PItched: 0.1 – Trent Durrington (Actual pitcher with least? Chris Mabeus – 1.2 IP)
Hits Allowed: 0 – Trent Durrington
Runs Allowed: 0 – 3 Players (Chris Saenz pitched most innings without allowing a run: 6.0 IP)
Earned Runs Allowed: 0 – 3 Players (Chris Saenz pitched most innings without allowing a run: 6.0 IP)
Home Runs Allowed: 0 – 11 Players (Mike Crudale pitched most innings without allowing a home run: 9.1 IP)
Walks Issued: 0 – 3 Players (Jesus Colome pitched most innings without issuing a walk: 6.1 IP)
Intentional Walks Issued: 0 – 37 Players (CC Sabathia pitched most innings without issuing an intentional pass: 130.2 IP)
Strikeouts: 0 – Trent Durrington (Two pitchers only had 1 K but Jared Fernandez threw most innings with fewest strikeouts: 6.1 IP)
Batters Hit: 0 – 34 Players (Nick Neugebauer pitched most innings without hitting a batter: 61.1 IP)
Balks: 0 – 102 Players (Carlos Villanueva pitched the most innings without balking: 372.1 IP)
Wild Pitches: 0 – 27 Players (David Weathers pitched most innings by far without a wild pitch: 158.0 IP)

Pitching Worsts:

Earned Run Average: 27.00 – Bob Scanlan (5 Earned Runs in 1.2 IP)
Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitches: 4.20 – Chris Mabeus (4 hits, 3 walks in 1.2 IP)
Hits Allowed Per 9 Innngs: 32.40 – Bob Scanlan (6 hits in 1.2 IP)
Home Runs Allowed Per 9 Innings: 5.59 – Brandon Kolb (6 HR in 9.2 IP)
Walks Issued Per 9 Innings: 16.20 – Chris Mabeus (3 walks in 1.2 IP)
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Worst by Actual pitcher was Jared Fernandez who had 1 K in 6.1 IP for a 1.42 ratio)
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio: 0.25 – David Manning (2 Ks to 8 walks)

So Let’s Do This Thing Called “Breaking It Down”

By: Big Rygg

Unlike some people and places, I don’t like to analyze many things at the spur of the moment when a little thought is warranted.

Don’t get me wrong, breaking news is fun to slice and dice and there are definitely times when that is appropriate if not downright fun. And breaking a story with analysis or not is always fun. I broke Salomon Torres’ retirement last year. Yup, I had it first. But that’s beside the point.

The point that I’m getting at is that now, after a few hours, it is time to analyze exactly what the newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers brings to (and takes away from) the ball club.

Felipe Lopez – 2B/SS/3B – DOB: 5/12/1980 (29 years old) – B/T: S/R

.301/.364/.412, 345 AB, 104 H, 44 R, 18 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 34 BB, 59 K, 6/9 SB

Okay, so there are the season-to-date numbers. That includes an 0/4 in today’s game against St. Louis. Lopez has, even with that 0/4, amassed 8 hits in his last 20 ABs. That’s .400 over his last 6 games. What’s better, over the last 10 games, his batting average has gone from .305 to .301.

How is that better, you ask? It displays consistency. In those 10 games, he has been shut out of the hit column three times (though did still manage to score a run) but he manages to bounce back. It’s a quality that has been sorely missing at times from Brewer hitters this year for the most part.

Lopez is a switch-hitter and has hit LHP at a .313 clip while handling RHP as well to the tune of .298. Unfortunately for the Brewers, the most negative split Lopez has in his hitting is his split between night and day games. The Brewers have lost a lot of day games in a row, and Lopez only hits .237 in those games as opposed to .327 at night.

Okay, here’s a bottom line paragraph (there will be a couple of these in this post). Lopez doesn’t blow away any offensive category, but he contributes across the board. He plays solid defense, at multiple positions, and hits well from both sides of the plate. He can lead off effectively as evidenced by his .350/.411/.510 line in 143 ABs from the leadoff spot. What’s more, against the NL Central team not named the Brewers this year overall, Lopez is hitting 26/68 which equates to a .382 batting average. Sounds good to me.

Enough about Lopez’ individual batting numbers. Let’s move on to what his presence adds to the team.

Lopez will, by all accounts, start every day at 2B. This will either put Casey McGehee and Craig Counsell into a hard platoon at 3B or, more likely, will allow Craig Counsell to go back to what he was excelling so greatly at during the first two months of the season…coming off the bench and providing days off here and there for the starters at second, third and short.

McGehee has been handling RHP more than well enough (36/113, .319) while also hitting lefties just fine (14/43, .326) so there should be no issues offensively with starting McGehee as the main 3B. His defense has been suspect at times at the hot corner, but late-inning defensive replacement work is what Bill Hall is best-suited for at this point anyway, should you need to take advantage of it.

If there is a tough righty on the hill, maybe Counsell gets the start at SS or 3B. It stands to reason that Lopez will be starting every day unless he needs a day off. No real reason to platoon an effective switch-hitter.

So what does Lopez cost this team?

The most glaring, direct consequence of the addition of Felipe Lopez is the demotion of Mat Gamel back to AAA Nashville. Gamel hasn’t been playing a whole lot, to be fair, and when he has he’s only been midly effective.

I am still very much in the camp that believe Mat Gamel will hit, and hit a lot, when it’s all said and done. Really, though, with an everyday 2B in Lopez, forcing McGehee, Counsell and Hall to find time at 3B (and Counsell some at SS as well), it just made too much sense to have Gamel playing every day down in AAA. He needs to continue to develop, and playing maybe twice a week isn’t going to accomplish that.

Lopez also cost the Brewers that which they sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in order to complete the trade. Milwaukee sent two minor league players to the desert in OF Cole Gillespie and P Roque Mercedes. Personally, while I had tempered hopes for Gillespie, and didn’t know a lot about Mercedes, I think it’s a fair bounty. The last place D’Backs gets some potential down-the-road help and the Brewers get what has been missing since Rickie Weeks was lost for the season with his wrist injury.

(And I’ll be honest, I think I like that we didn’t pick up Doug Davis from Arizona as well. We need a bigger pitching piece in order to help solidify our rotation and by not getting Davis we are that much more in the market on those bigger names. I’m not saying that we’ll end up with Roy Halladay, but it’s nice to know that we still could, right?)

And finally, looking down the road, Lopez is only on a one-year contract. He is also only 29 years old. This leads to the best thing in a General Manager’s arsenal come the offseason: Options. (And I mean that as in choices.)

If Weeks rehabs well in the offseason and Lopez wants to sign elsewhere, so be it. If Weeks struggles to come back and we want coverage at 2B and Lopez enjoys the remainder of 2009 in Milwaukee, then perhaps he resigns here. There’s also the possibility that maybe Craig Counsell decides to retire. Lopez can play all of the positions that Counsell can as well, though ultimately that’s probably the least likely scenario as Lopez will no doubt be in line for a starting job next year should he want one.

But anyway…

Lopez is set to join the Brewers later today in Pittsburgh and will no doubt be starting and leading off against Ross Ohlendorf in the top of the 1st inning. Can’t say that I don’t like the way that sounds.

Let’s see what he can do right away. What do you say?

Brewers Play Part of ChiSox from Major League

By: Big Rygg

For anyone that has seen the iconic, timeless, awesome movie that is Major League, you know that the Indians defeated the Yankees in a dramatic one-game playoff in order to advance to the post-season.

What they don’t tell you officially until Major League II is that the Erie Warriors lose in the ALCS to the Chicago White Sox, the team’s antagonist in the second film.

Well, the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Cleveland Indians in the stadium formerly known as Jacobs Field. And while the team won’t be taking a 757 back to Milwaukee (they’re headed to Detroit tonight), they put on quite a hitting display during a series which featured a Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn bobblehead giveaway, Bob Uecker throwing out a first pitch and even a Bob Uecker autographed jersey prize to a “follow-the-ball” video board game.

The totals for the Brewers in the three games? 30 runs on 40 hits!! (And that we gave up 25 runs on 34 hits? Who cares? We won all three games!!)

Individual totals for the hitters (in alphabetical order by player’s last name):

Ryan Braun          6/13, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Mike Cameron          2/14, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Frank Catalanotto          DNP
Craig Counsell          4/9, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 0 K
Prince Fielder          6/11, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K
Mat Gamel          3/14, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Jody Gerut          0/2
Bill Hall          1/10, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
J.J. Hardy          5/12, 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB
Corey Hart          6/14, 2 2B,1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Jason Kendall          3/8, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Casey McGehee          3/9, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Mike Rivera          1/4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Take a moment to really let that soak in.

I’d write more now about the series, but I started this last night after the game and am finishing it today after work because I fell asleep while writing it. Suffice it to say, it was an amazing three days for the offense.

Let’s hope that’s the part of our game we bring with us from Cieveland to Detroit.

Put That in Your Flask and Let it Make You Pass Out at a Red Light, LaRussa!

By: Big Rygg

Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals have made no bones about the fact that they don’t like the Milwaukee Brewers’ brashness nor their postgame celebration. Obviously, Milwaukee doesn’t think that they necessarily do anything disrespectful toward their opponent in their postgame antics.

Let’s sidebar here for a moment when I ask you to think back to your childhood (or if you are still a child while reading this, think back to some time last week). Has anyone ever told you that you were doing something that they didn’t like and you reacted, to intentionally poke the bear so to speak, did the extreme opposite of whatever it was that they said they didn’t like?

Sidebar over…

The Milwaukee Brewers decided against maturity today when they absolutely hauled their collective rear ends off of the baseball field and out of their dugout once they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals today. They know exactly what the Cardinals think about the untucking of the shirts and everything that goes along with it. When Bill Hall (who hit the game-winning single), Casey McGehee (who scored the game-winning run) and MIke Cameron (who had to touch second base for it all to count) sprinted to the dugout steps and joined the mass of Brewer personnel pouring into the clubhouse, it was a nice little “nah-nee-nah-nee-boo-boo” to LaRussa’s second-place ballclub.

For the record, the team is saying that they just wanted to celebrate a hard-fought victory with themselves as a team in the clubhouse. Also for the record? They couldn’t have pleased me more as a baseball fan. Instead of letting Tony LaRussa lead in this NL Central dance, Ken Macha and the boys have their right hand firmly fastened to the Cardinals’ back.

Milwaukee has now won 11 of the last 12 games against St. Louis, including all four they’ve played so far in 2009. You have to start to wonder at what point the Cardinals begin to feel like they might be the next Pittsburgh Pirates to this ballclub (though, to be fair, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still the currently Pittsburgh Pirates to this ballclub).

Everything else aside, however, there was one heckuva ballgame played on the field today that got us to that point in the 10th inning.

Cardinal starter Chris Carpenter, making his second start since coming off the DL, was outstanding. He pitched 8 scoreless innings and even took a perfect game into the 7th inning before Craig Counsell singled past Skip Schumaker into right field. Carpenter finished with 10 Ks in the game in a masterful, ace-type performance. In fact, Carpenter has not yet allowed a run in 2009 over 23 IP.

Brewer starter Yovani Gallardo was nearly as dominant as his counterpart in a game that Milwaukee simply needed to be just that. Gallardo pitched 8 innings as well (despite starting the 7th inning over 100 pitches) and struck out Albert Pujols with a man on base to end the 8th inning. Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect 9th as he was already warming just in case the Brewers took the lead in the bottom of the 8th (sidenote: The sound guys at the ballpark, per Hoffman’s instructions this year, did NOT play Hell’s Bells as Hoffman trotted in for the 9th inning. It was not a save situation, and therefore Hoffman didn’t want it played.) Carlos Villanueva pitched a very good 10th inning and picked up the victory after Hall’s heroics.

In a game that felt early on like one run would win it, both starting pitchers have a lot to be proud of. Kyle McClellan, on the other hand, couldn’t do for Carpenter what Hoffman and Villanueva did for Gallardo as he suffered the loss for the redbirds.

This victory puts the Brewers back atop the NL Central all by themselves. It’s a lofty perch as with it comes the 2nd best record in all the National League (behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers), but it’s one that I certainly don’t mind resting my wings on.

This series isn’t over by a longshot, though, as these teams play two more games. If we win at least one more, the Cardinals leave town in 2nd place. If we are fortunate enough to sweep them again, we will once again hold a three-game lead in the division just like the last time we faced the Cardinals. We went into that series tied atop the division as well and left with a three-game lead (though we put the Cardinals into third place at that point, but the Chicago Cubs have helped us out by losing 7 in a row entering play tonight including getting swept by the red-hot San Diego Padres at Petco Park).

Tomorrow’s game is a rematch of another 1-0 game against these teams this year as Jeff Suppan squares off against Adam Wainwright. First pitch scheduled for 7:08pm and I will be there watching.

Let’s beat down the birds and regrab the momentum in the NL Central!

(By the way, was anybody else very comfortable when Hall strode to the plate in the 10th? After all, what does Bill Hall do best? Big hits on holidays!)

Opening Disgrace…

by South Side Rob.

There was some good, some bad, and a lot of ugly. Some quotes after the game:

  • “We just didn’t pitch very well.” — Ken Macha.
  • “When you get [Lincecum] out of the game, you’ve got to feel good about
    it. When it’s in the third
    inning, you feel like you’re going to score some runs.” — Bill Hall.
  • “Those were the two at-bats that really stick out in my mind. In those situations, you’ve got to make the pitch. Both of
    [those] pitches were in a location where they could drive it.” — Jeff Suppan.
  • “Rebuild the first inning — take a look at it. With the
    exception of that changeup he left over the plate to Ishikawa, he
    didn’t get knocked around a lot and he gave up three runs.” — Ken Macha.
  • “There were a few little things, but regardless of how you get there,
    you’re always working to get out of it. You have to keep making
    pitches.” — Jeff Suppan.
  • “I don’t go out there and argue very often.” — Ken Macha
  • “How you play on Opening Day doesn’t dictate how the season plays out.” — Jeff Suppan.

On Macha saying we didn’t pitch very well, that’s obvious. I sometimes wonder what pitchers are thinking about on how they approach certain hitters. I mean, we were playing what will probably be one of the worst offenses we see all season with 3 rookies making their major-league debut. Suppan pitched like he was facing a veteran 3-hitter all day. If he dreams of being Greg Maddux, that’s fine as long as he wakes up and remembers he’s Jeff Suppan. He talks about location constantly. Everytime Suppan was hit hard, the location was easy to see which was just below the waist and right down the pipe with an off-speed pitch that had zero movement.

Rickie Weeks had a nice game. Corey Hart had 2 3-pitch strikeouts, I guess he’s back to guessing wrong again. Braun had a nice hit but failed twice with runners in scoring position. Fielder had a nice double but also failed with runners in scoring position. Hardy had a strikeout and bounced into 2 double plays. Cameron walked 4 times and stole 2 bases. Billy Hall had an RBI double when the Brewers were down 5 runs (ala 2006) but didn’t do anything worth noting. Kendall tried to call a good game but Suppan can’t locate. He didn’t do anything at the plate. Suppan actually had an RBI double and drew a walk. Come to think of it, the Brewers drew 10 walks and were hit by 2 pitches for 12 free passes. Throw in their hits and they only managed 5 runs while knocking out last year’s Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum after 3 innings, his shortest outing in over a year. Yet, the Brewers lose 10-6.

Seth McClung showed why the Rays traded him away 2 years ago. Jorge Julio was an embarrassment as well.

It’s just one game but given the circumstances in facing one of the best pitchers in the game and getting to him early, the game was a complete waste.

Thank god for tomorrow. Baseball is cool that way. Have a bad game, let it simmer and then, go out and get them tomorrow. We hit lefties and Randy Johnson is just a shell of his former self. No excuses. We have to knock him around and win tomorrow’s game.

Yankees looking at Bill Hall ???

by South Side Rob

Just like everyone else, I will tell you that I heard this from a source I do not wish to name. Could it be true? Possibly. With Alex Rodriguez recovering from recent surgery, he is not expected back until late May at the earliest. My source told me that with all the money the Yankees have invested in this season with opening up the new Yankee stadium, they cannot risk the thought of falling too far back in the standings and they are desperately seeking an experienced 3rd baseman who can play everyday and can be had. The question now becomes, if this is even close to being true, what should Doug Melvin ask for in return?

Melvin has already lost the first hand he played with the Yankees when he wasn’t able to dump Mike Cameron for either Melky Cabrera, Phillip Hughes, or both. The Yankees walked away from Melvin with Doug holding a bloated $10 million dollar promise to Mike Cameron.

Baseball is a game of 2nd chances. Can Doug make the Yankees get really desperate? My first counter for Bill Hall is Melky Cabrera and Phillip Hughes. Maybe then, the Yankees will counter with, “Throw in Cameron”. Then, maybe Melvin comes back and says, “Ok, but now you need to throw in Nick Swisher too.”

I know, I’m out of control here but when you have the New York Yankees desperate instead of confident, you HAVE TO MAKE THEM PAY.

If they are really looking to deal for Bill Hall, would you do business with the Yankees and what would you want in return from the evil empire???

Open Season at the Hot Corner

By: Big Rygg

I know that this news is a couple of days old already, but I wanted to make sure it got touched on here at the Brewer Nation.

As I’m sure you’re well aware by now (or just in case you aren’t) Bill Hall will miss the majority, if not all, of Spring Training this year with a partially torn calf muscle in his left leg. The rehab is expected to take 4-6 weeks which, if it’s the latter, take Hall’s convalesence right up to Opening Day in San Francisco.

Tim Lincecum will be on the bump for the Giants on Opening Day, barring an injury of his own of course, so maybe Ken Macha would have give the start to Mike Lamb anyway, making this a very strict platoon from the get go.

Ken Macha has stated that he will evaluate the players on their merits and performance throughout Spring Training and make his lineup and roster decisions from there.

But again, we know all that.

What we don’t know quite yet is exactly how the team will use the extra reps at the hot corner during the February and March that just became available. That is what I’d like to discuss today.

As is stands now, Mike Lamb and Bill Hall were set to platoon (at least to an extent) at third base. Hall hits right-handed and struggled greatly against right-handed pitching last year to the tune of .174 battingn average. Lamb, hits left-handed and is probably the first option to be the yang to Hall’s yin all season long.

However, now in the absence of Hall from the games and whatnot, where does the team go? Does waiver wire pick up Casey McGehee get all of Hall’s at-bats? Do they give Mat Gamel those turns at the dish which therefore would give him that many more chances in the field to show what progress he’s been able to make this past winter with his glove?

Personally, I think it’s a golden opportunity for Gamel to show what he’s made of. We know the kid can hit, that’s obvious. In fact, if not for an elbow injury that he hid from the organization last year, he might have led the prospect-rich AA team in all offensive categories in 2008.

Gamel, however, led in another category. His 30 errors while with Huntsville in 127 games played translates very poorly…heck, standing on its own merits it’s bad enough. The fact is, one error every four games isn’t nearly good enough to cut it at the big league level. Poor fielding is what led to a position switch for some guy by the of Ryan Braun. All he did was happen to win the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award based primarily, I’m sure even he would tell you, on his offensive prowess. Braun, though, had major trouble adjusting to 3B and was moved to left field where he continue to shine.

Gamel’s situation is different for two reasons. First, there isn’t anywhere else for him to go right now. Mike Cameron is still playing a good centerfield, Corey Hart isn’t going anywhere other than right field for the time being and Braun patrolls LF as previously stated. Suffice it to say, the outfield is full…not that you’d put Gamel in center anyway, but you get what I’m saying.

The only other spot to move a guy with a great bat but heavy glove is first base, but as we also all should know by now, Prince Fielder was signed to a two-year contract which locks him in as the team’s first baseman through the 2010 season.

In other words, what this all means is that 3B is Gamel’s position and to make it to the show with the roster the way it currently is constructed, that’s where he’ll have to play. The good news is that Gamel is committed to becoming a serviceable 3B at worst. He wants to play there which is an important factor in all this.

So, the question needs to be asked, Brewer Nation…

If you were Ken Macha, how would you handle it?

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