Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’
Brewers return to action tonight following a scheduled off day. They will now play a stretch of 20 consecutive games with no off-days.
Tonight the Brewers are in Pittsburgh for the first time this season, for the start of a three-game series. They face Wandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez hasn’t been good since being acquired from the Houston Astros, posting a 0-3 mark in his four starts with a 5.06 ERA and .287 BAA. (He does have one Win that came in a relief appearance during a lengthy extra-innings affair.)
The Brewers counter with Mike Fiers (6-6, 2.90) who has struggled in his most recent pair of starts after posting 9 straight QS. Fiers faced Pittsburgh back on June 3rd in Milwaukee, allowing 4 ER on 8 hits (2 HR) and 1 BB while striking out 8 over 5.0 IP.
The Brewers hope that rookie shortstop Jean Segura will be able to return to the lineup following a foot injury suffered during Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm CDT.
***UPDATE: Tonight’s lineup was posted at 1:57pm to Twitter and it has Segura starting at shortstop and hitting eighth.***
At the close of play today, Thursday, July 5th, the Milwaukee Brewers sit with a record of 38-44, 8.0 games behind the National League Central Divison-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.
It’s a far cry from where the Brewers were a year ago at this time, and at times it feels like this year’s incarnation will never accomplish anything.
While this may prove to be true in the end, at least as far as a playoff participation is concerned, there is still plenty of time left this year to simply enjoy the game of baseball if nothing else.
Then again, there is still a small window of opportunity in front of the Brewers. Between now and Monday, July 23rd is a stretch of 12 regular-season games (along with the MLB All-Star break) which will decide how busy general manager Doug Melvin’s phone will be and whether he’ll be making calls or receiving them.
This stretch is singularly key to the Brewers decision-makers because all 12 games are intradivisional along with the final nine of those games coming against the three teams in front of them in the Division.
The three games prior to the break are in Houston, against an Astros team that traded off one of its only offensive pieces. Those are extremely winnable games, especially given that Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke will be pitching in the series.
The nine games immediately following the break begin with six at Miller Park (a place where the Brewers seriously need to play more consistent baseball) against the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, and then three on the road in Cincinnati against the Reds.
The Brewers trail the Cardinals by 5.5 games, the Reds by 6.5 games and, as I mentioned earlier, the Pirates by 8.0 games. So, while the Brewers would be hard-pressed to overtake any of the teams during this stretch, even should they somehow go 12-0, one can see the importance here.
Should the Brewers continue to falter and lose, the front office will be left with little choice but to sell off valuable pieces to the highest bidders. As we discussed on the podcast recorded Thursday morning (which hopefully will be posted soon), those pieces should include Shaun Marcum, George Kottaras, Nyjer Morgan, Francisco Rodriguez, Cesar Izturis, and even Zack Greinke (assuming the team is as far away on a contract offer as it appears that they are). Furthermore, should a team approach the Brewers with an acceptable offer for any expendable member of the Brewers roster, that deal should be made.
Nobody in the locker room wants the team to sell. They enjoy this group and want to maintain it, if at all possible. That just simply can’t happen if they have no chance of winning though.
Now, some may say that after the injuries to Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez that the team never had a chance, but that’s beside the point.
The point being: if the team can gain some significant ground on the teams ahead of them in the Division, and they do so by showing some consistent play in all facets of the game, the front office would likely try to add to the roster and make a push.
Nobody is saying that this scenario doesn’t seem like a tremendous long shot, but as of today at least its a shot that’s available to take.
Bottom line: Pay attention, Brewer Nation. A decision will be made by Monday, July 23rd as to whether this team buys or sells before the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline. Trust me, either way there will be plenty of time to make one or more deals, regardless of the direction of the roster.
Also, either way, it’ll be an exciting time to pay attention to the team. Just make sure you haven’t checked out by then.
…and in Felipe Lopez’ case, who needs one?
By: Big Rygg
Good Lord does Mike Burns need the Dave Bush treatment from a couple of seasons ago under nervous Ned Yost.
Of course I’m kidding, but let’s call a spade a spade here. Burns’ home/road splits are damn near comical at this point. Check out these stat lines as a starter:
3 Starts: 2-1, 4.67 ERA, 17.1 IP, 14 H, 9 ER, 4 HR, 4 BB, 12 K
2 Starts: 0-2, 12.91 ERA, 7.2 IP, 15 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 3 HR, 3 BB, 6 K
Look, it’s not like I’m saying that his numbers at Miller Park are awesome, but he did beat Johan Santana there and also threw a game with 7 Ks and no BBs.
I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
Let’s move on though, shall we?
Felipe Lopez did not disappoint. Bringing some much needed honor back to uniform number 3, all Lopez did in his Brewer debut was drop a 4-for-4 night tacking on a walk, scoring a run and looking like an incredibly smart pick up by Doug Melvin…well, for the most part anyway. He did muff a throw from Hardy (to be fair, the throw was a bit high) in the 8th inning which allowed Jeff Karstens to score after he had been plunked earlier in the inning. Regardless of that fact, however, he was stellar at the plate which is exactly what he needed to be on this night.
Quite obviously, Lopez is going to make some outs from time to time, don’t kind yourself. But in a reactionary world, one in which some were questioning the decision to trade for Lopez, it was a nice display to say the least.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, Lopez big night wasn’t enough as there were a combined 3 errors by Brewer fielders (the others being given to Prince Fielder and Craig Counsell respectively) that led to the Pittsburgh Pirates finally snapping the 17-game losing streak against the Brewers that they had been enduring for quite some time.
But, all streaks come to an end eventually. The important thing is that we come out tomorrow with renewed vigor and determination to start another winning streak against the Bucs. After all, Braden Looper is on the hill and every Brewer fan should know the kind of run support he’s been getting.
Let’s get to it tomorrow night!
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.
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?
(…just change your name to Yovani.)
By: Big Rygg
This just in: Yovani Gallardo is good.
What a game! As I’ve made clear before, I love me a pitchers duel. Today was one of those days that garnered just that.
Gallardo won his second game for the Milwaukee Brewers today. You can say “single-handedly”, but his defense did still have to catch and throw (once in a while…Gallardo did strike out 11). Even still, nobody touched home plate to score a run in the entire 8.5 inning, 3-hour affair except for Gallardo after he laced a home run over the left-centerfield wall.
Gallardo’s final line was 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB (1 hit batter), 11 K.
That 9th inning? It wasn’t Trevor Time today for the third day in a row at Miller Park. Carlos Villanueva entered the ballgame and pitched a perfect inning including a strikeout of his own against Pirate slugger Adam LaRoche.
(Before anybody worries or goes crazy, Trevor Hoffman basically had a scheduled day off. He just got back from an injury that had him on the DL for nearly a month and really needs to be handled with a modicum of care for a little bit here as he eases into the swing of the regular season.)
The Brewers tallied six hits total, including the one big fly from Gallardo which was all the difference that was needed.
Milwaukee and Pittsburgh now have equal records after 21 games played of 11-10. Milwaukee is over .500 for the first time this season. They have now won six out of their last seven games. The one loss was the 2-3 game in Houston where we just couldn’t break through very much in the run column despite racking up seven hits and seven walks in that game.
Also of note? Pittsburgh opened the day in 2nd place in the National League Central. The Brewers have a chance to catapult from 4th to 2nd in today if other games result in certain ways. Both the Cubs and Reds have to lose and we instantly find ourselves in 2nd. Not a bad couple of weeks.
For now, though, another fantastic day for a team that is really in a groove right now.
Let’s keep it going here on the homestand. We’ve got four against the Arizona Diamondbacks starting tomorrow with veteran Jeff Suppan (1-2, 7.32 ERA) taking on rookie Max Scherzer (0-2, 4.91 ERA).
Suppan has, admittedly, pitched a lot better in his past two starts. I haven’t looked into Scherzer yet, but I will do that soon and post anything pertinent that I find out.
Come on out to Miller Park tomorrow and see the Brewers chalk up another one!
By: Big Rygg
The Brewers are finally back at home after starting the
season by playing 12 of their first 18 games on the road. Perhaps a little
surprisingly, the Brewers are 6-6 in those 12 games but only 2-4 at home during
that same stretch.
There is no way that anyone can deny that the Brewers
started playing their best baseball of the season on this road trip so
hopefully the first six (unfortunately all against NL Central competition) will
be the aberration.
Well, the Brewers are looking to prove that to be the case
and got off on the right foot toward that effort last night. The visiting
Pittsburgh Pirates came into Miller
Park sporting the best
staff ERA in all of baseball at a nifty 2.97 (which helps explain the 11-7
record they brought to town with them). By the time the first night of the
three-game series was over, however, that team ERA had jumped to 3.36 courtesy
of the 10 runs the Brewers put on the board over 8 innings (an 11.25 game ERA,
for those of you keeping score at home).
Braden Looper (2-0, 2.45 ERA) didn’t get the win in this one, but pitches well enough to have. While he didn’t produce another quality start in this one, his 101-pitch effort over 5.0 innings saw him leave with a 5-3 lead in the ball game. Only two of those runs against him were earned as well. Tough luck on the no-decision, but another solid if not spectacular outing from Loop.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens (1-0, 5.40 ERA) was spared
the blemish in his Loss column when his team rallied for two runs in the top of
the 8th inning off of Milwaukee reliever Carlos Villanueva, but his
personal ERA absorbed a 9.00 for the game which sent his figure up nearly a
full point from 4.50 to the resultant 5.40.
Something that won’t show up in his box score has the hit
that Karstens threw in the 3rd inning. That hit came when the first
pitch of an at-bat drilled Ryan Braun squarely in his back. When asked later if
he thought Karstens threw at him intentionally, Braun admitted that Karstens
probably had. The umpires immediately warned both benches after the HBP which
naturally drew the ire of Brewer Manager Ken Macha. I think the umpires
realized that there was a full three-game set to get through still so he was
trying to nip it in the bud because it was Game 1. As Braun alluded to,
however, even if another ball isn’t thrown inside the batter’s box all series,
the teams do play 11 more times this year after Pittsburgh leaves town on Wednesday
afternoon. This isn’t the type of thing that gets forgotten about, even if the
revenge isn’t immediate.
Otherwise, at the dish, the Brewers performed very well all
night long. They were consistently taking balls the other way, and the results
showed on the scoreboard. Rickie Weeks produced a lot of offense despite only getting one hit in the game. That one hit was a three-run home run, but Rickie drove in a total of four and scored twice.
Yes, the team hit three home runs in the game (all coming
with two outs in their respective innings, which is a good sign) that resulted
in five of their runs, but all five of the runs in the key 8th inning
came via alternative methods. It also showed the resiliency of the team to not
get down on itself after Freddy Sanchez’ two-out two-RBI two-bagger tied the ballgame.
The team came right back in the bottom of the frame to put the game out of
reach and allow for…
TREVOR TIME AT MILLER
For the first time all year, Trevor Hoffman entered Miller Park
as a member of the 25-man active roster. He began warming up in the 8th
and, according to Macha, would have pitched the 9th inning whether the
Brewers had taken the lead or not.
(SIDE NOTE: In a classy move, Fox Sports Network stayed with
the game during Hoffman’s entrance and subsequent warm up tosses from the
mound. Very nice that they realized the significance of that moment for fans
that weren’t able to make it to the game last night. Whoever produced that game
(SIDE SIDE NOTE: What the hell do we call our station? It
used to be FSN North, and I totally supported and understood the change to FSN
Wisconsin. Then it became FS Wisconsin and now, during Brewer games, it is
displayed on screen as FSBrewers. Anybody have any thoughts on that one?)
Anyway, in what was a non-save situation since the Brewers
opened the lead up to five runs the previous inning; Hoffman entered and shut
down the Pirates with a perfect 9th inning. The first of many games
that end in a victory for the Brewers with Hoffman on the mound is in the
books. It not only extended the Brewers winning streak against the Pirates to
13, but also increased the streak of Pirate futility at Miller Park
to 16 losses in a row.
Here’s hoping we add 14 and 15 (and thereby 17 and 18) to
the ledger this week.