Preview: Brew Grit
A blog focused on the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball in general. Feel free to comment under any of the posts or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me preface this by saying that this wasn't really what this blog was intended for, however, it needs to be written.
This past Friday, the life of a great young man was senselessly taken by a drunken driver. Nels Jacobson was a kid from my town of residence, Elderon, WI (pop. 189). He was a graduate of my high school, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, only a few weeks ago. He was also a great guy, and one who I considered to be a friend. He was a great student, and had been nominated by Rep. David Obey to attend the Air Force Academy. He was also an athlete, and a good one.
The only word that could describe this is tragedy. That a person who hadn't accomplished anything in her life, aside from becoming an alcoholic, could take the life of a young person with so much in front of them, and so much promise.
You can read more about Nels, and the accident, at these links:Link #1Link #2Link #3
Nels K. Jacobson
Nels Keith Jacobson, 18, town of Elderon, was killed Friday evening, June 10, 2005, from injuries sustained when the automobile he was riding in was hit by a drunken driver.
He was born Jan. 8, 1987, in Shawano, the son of Glenn and Karen (Frederick) Jacobson, town of Elderon.
Nels was a 2005 graduate of Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, where he was an honor student. He also was an Eagle Scout and was an avid hunter and fisherman, skier, wrestler and football player.Nels also was a candidate for the Air Force Officers' Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In addition to his parents, Glenn and Karen Jacobson, Nels is survived by three brothers, Nathan and Jared Jacobson, Van Nuys, Calif., and Matthew Jacobson, Essex Junction, Vt.; one sister, Leah Jacobson, Aniwa; his grandmother, Evelyn Jacobson; many aunts, uncles and cousins and a very special friend, Wendy Stroik. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Eldo and Evelyn Frederick and Carl Jacobson; and an uncle, Kevin Frederick.
The funeral service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, 2005, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Birnamwood.The Rev. Erik Olson will officiate.Interment will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, town of Norrie, Marathon County. Friends may call on Monday after 4 pm at Schmidt-Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg, and again on Tuesday at the church from 1 p.m. until the time of services.
Online condolences at http://www.schmidtschulta.com.
Nels' charm and ready wit will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.
Please feel free to donate to S.A.D.D.
, and try to prevent senseless tragedies like this in the future.
Rest in Peace, Nels.
Brewers take one from Pads
It was an almost "must-win game", and Davis was great. Clark was great. Heck, Jenkins even had a decent game and hit the ball both in the air and into the OF. The only slightly disturbing thing was Turnbow's struggles in the 9th. Considering Yost moved Adams from the 9th due to his inefficiency pitch count-wise, you have to wonder how long The Bow keeps it. I think it's due to rust more than anything, but he hasn't been particularly sharp lately. One would assume that Julio Santana would take the position if a move is made, but his numbers, particluarly his BAA (.093) and WHIP (0.56), are extremely flukey. He has been tremendous to this point, and aside from his tater problems early in the season he looks like yet another great find my Melvin and great reclamation job my Maddux. That's becoming old hat.
They go to LA now, with Sheets on the hill tonight and Capuano starting tomorrow. That should mean at least a split in this series, and if they could beat Wilson Alvarez - who is exactly the kind of pitcher they normally can't beat - they could finish the road trip at 4-3 and welcome the Yankees (who have lost two in a row to the freakin' Royals) to Miller. If the offense can pick it up to their April level with Branyan seemingly healthy again, they could rip off a nice run. In roughly a month Rickie Weeks should be manning the keystone, and the offense could actually be good. It would be quite hard to expect the pitching to maintain this level of performance, but they certainly won't be bad, except when the sick to your stomach feeling returns every five days when Wes Obermueller starts. The fifth spot is certainly a concern, and I'd still say bring Ben Hendrickson back. The teams treats him like he's David Manning or something when he's done quite well (3.90 ERA) in the hitter-friendly PCL. He had a rough beginning to his season, which could possibly be attributed to mechanical changes, and has really come around quite well. The fact that he has allowed only three home runs in 57.2 IP is great in that league, or any league for that matter.
Once Obermueller pulls his usual act and implodes Glover-style, he needs to come up because the team may actually need him. Capellan doesn't seem to be doing much, espceially K-wise (37/49.1 IP). His HR rate is also quite fantastic (2 allowed), but the walks (23) aren't encouraging. Things could be worse, though, they could be paying a chump like Dan Kolb $3 million dollars.
Editor's note: Branyan broke his finger trying to bunt last night. Why the hell was Russell Branyan trying to bunt? Unfortunately his bad luck continues, but hopefully this leads to a call-up for Weeks, or one of the Brothers Nelson.
The Brewers got back on the right track Monday against the Rockies, as one would expect. Behind Chris Capuano, who one fearless blogger predicted would be better than Doug Davis, and a two-run single by the suddenly patient and disciplined Bill Hall, the Brewers pulled out a 2-1 win. Cappy was stellar, as was Ricky Bottalico, who notched his second save in place of the tired Turnbow.
Granted, the team has some major issues. Namely the second base situation, where Junior Spivey has been downright awful, and SS where J.J. Hardy has gone through the predictable rookie woes and has had to deal with a tenuous-at-best grip on the starting spot after being assured of being the everyday starter. Obviously, Sheets' injury has had an effect, but Obermueller has filled in admirably. Glover's been awful, and probably should be replaced by Obie when Sheets comes off the DL. I'd prefer to see Ben Hendrickson get another shot, but that will likely have to wait until Obermueller combusts. Rickie Weeks (.308/.384/.623 in AAA) is ready, but likely won't be called up, so I'd like to see the Brewers pick up D'Angelo Jimenez to help out the second base situation. They could probably send Hardy back to AAA, since his growth is being stunted by irregular playing time and his service time is being accumulated while being a below average player, and start Hall and his terrible defense at SS every day. Jimenez has experience playing 2B, SS, and 3B and would help out the team quite a bit with his nice OBP skills - something neither Spivey or Hardy has provided thus far. All in all, though, the team's in pretty good shape considering they are without their best pitcher, and he should be back on Saturday.
Do they really need 12 pitchers?
This is one thing that has irked me. The Brewers have carried too many pitchers for too long to remember, but this year it really seems really magnified. There are some fine arms in the pen, namely Mike Adams, Jorge de la Rosa, and Matt Wise, who seem to get very irregular work. They'll go a week without pitching, being passed over for the likes of Santana or Phelps, for no apparent reason. Then suddenly they get a flurry of activity in high-leverage situations. To me Turnbow's usage is troublesome, whereas Ned likes to use him when the team is trailing. I don't mind using him in tie games, but when the team is losing and there are plenty of serviceable to good options available in the pen, why use the relief ace?
What I'd like to see is, upon Sheets' return, Santana be sent down and replaced by a LH bat. Whether it be off the waiver wire, or someone from AAA like Krynzel or Nelson, it needs to be done. Too often Yost is stuck with no decent pinch hitters at all, especially those with pop. It seems to make sense that a trade similar to the Byrd/Chavez deal the Nats and Phillies recently did would be a feasible option, using one of the more expendable pitchers like Bennett, Santana, or Phelps.
Self-promotion (and others, too)
I'm also writing at a national blog now. It's called "The Standing Ovation
". Check it out and drop a comment. Should be a lot of fun.
Also, I wanted to mention another excellent blog, called "Yark Work". It parodies ESPN's "Baseball Tonight", and the mindless drivel that is incessantly spouted on the program. It is required reading for a baseball-related laugh. Here's a little sample, from the Krukster:I keep hearing people say the Braves screwed up by getting Danny Kolb from the Brewers. That Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone have lost their touch. All these Moneyball people just keep on talking 'ERA ERA ERA,' trying to make a big deal out of the fact that Kolby's ERA is over 8.00 right now. But let me say this to the statheads: you statheads talk about numbers, but I have a number for you: 8-2. That's Atlanta's record when Danny Kolb comes into a game. The Braves record when he doesn't? 4-7. I'm sick of hearing folks talk like he's not a gamer. You don't get over 30 saves in a season without being a gamer. I talked to Kolby the other day about his treatment by the media and those dweebs on their little computers. I asked him, "How do you feel about the Braves being 7-2 when you make an appearance in a game?" This was before he picked up a hold last night against the Mets. And you know what he told me? He said, "I feel good about that, John, but I'm still not pitching my best." You hear that? This guy's a gamer. His team's 8-2 when he comes into a game, and he still isn't happy. This is a hungry guy. Boy do I know what that feels like! Hahaha! You play for a team like the Brewers long enough, and you just want to win. That's it. Screw the numbers. Show me a win. Right now, Kolb is in my top five for the NL Cy Young. Of course he won't win it, because too many computer geeks out there get to vote, and those computer geeks don't know what it takes to win. (Even though I'm using a computer I am NOT a computer geek!!!!!) They'll probably talk about someone like Roger Clemens because his ERA is so small it reminds them of their. . . Well, this is a family blog, so I'll leave that to your imagination. But the Astros are only 1-3 in their starts, and the Rocket has yet to win a game. And I don't want to belittle Roger because he's one of the greats, but after winning so many Cy Youngs and championships, you start to lose that hunger. That competitive edge. And I think that's what we're seeing with him right now. Sure, those numbers look great, but how has it helped the Astros as a team? Anyway, what it comes down to is that if I were making my perfect team, Danny Kolb would be on it. Mariano Rivera has blown more saves than him this year, and everyone agrees that he's a first-ballot hall of famer. Now you tell me, what does that say about Danny Kolb?
Brewers continue to roll
The Brewers won another tonight, taking the first in Pittsburgh. Capuano was excellent, again, and worked deep into a game, something he has struggled with. Tonight he was much more aggressive, and took only 104 pitches to work 8 innings, before turning it over to The Bow. They've now won 11 of their last 14 games, and should continue to win in Pittsburgh, and likely Washington. With Rolen out for 4-6 weeks, now is the time for the Crew to make hay and catch up to the Cardinals and at least establish themselves as a team that will be somewhat in the thick of it all season.
Brewers push streak to 6
Miller wins it (MJS)
Man, things are good right now. The Brewers are back to .500, in sole possession of second place in the NL Central, and on a six-game tear. They're taking walks, they're pitching well, and things are falling into place. Lyle Overbay is the hottest hitter in the league, so hot in fact that Dusty Baker won't even pitch to him. Lyle has been walked six times in two games, and once in each game Damian Miller made it hurt. Yesterday was more of the same from the night before, a tight affair that went down to the end, and with the Brewers' changing luck they stay on the roll of one run games. Note to self: Derrick Turnbow is dominant. He hasn't allowed a hit in his last 10 innings of work. His ERA is 1.35. His BAA is .093.
Brewers 4 - Cubs 1: Alive at 5
The Brewers pushed their winning streak to five games tonight against the Cubs in an excellent game. Aside from two runners thrown out at home, one that was very borderline if not flat-out blown, and a boneheaded caught stealing, the Brewers played flawless baseball. The pitchers walked no one (granted, it's the Cubs), while Carlos Lee provided a spark for the first time in Miller Park. Like I said before the season, Chris Capuano is the second best pitcher on this team, and he may finally be living up to it. Just a great game all the way around. The Brewers sit at 12-13, in a second place tie, and with a chance to take it over for themselves tomorrow as they send Victor Santos to the hill against Greg Maddux.
Soap-box alert - sign a petition
Sick of the Larry the Cable Guy video shown before games at Miller Park? Sign this petition
, started by fellow BrewerFan.net poster Charles Rickert. The goal is to get to 100, and as of now it stands at 51. Help out.
Shaky Yankees: Womack?
is pretty crazy. It's May, yet the Yankees are losing it a little. Obviously, it brings an instant smile to those of use who root for the "small-market" and "low revenue" clubs, but really it's quite disturbing. I mean, Tony Womack in leftfield? Why? Look:
Tony Womack, average year: .274/.319/.362, 4 HR (ISO - .086)
Average AL LF, 2004: .281/.347/.453 (ISO - .172)
Keep in mind also that Womack is 35 years old and hasn't played more than five innings in a season in the OF since 1999 with the D'Backs. This makes no sense at all. He has no power. He has no on base skills. He's past his prime, and was never that much of a player when he was in his prime. Yet, this guy is playing LF for the Yankees? Sure Bernie Williams in his decline, as his OPS has dropped every year since 1998. Yet, the Yankees, already with the poorest fielding team in the entire league (according to BP's DER
), put Tony Womack in left. Hideki Matsui is moved to CF, and he was a terrible LF as it was (-8 runs below average in '04 and '03), and likely will be even worse than Bernie (-4 in '04) in a premium defensive position. Why did they pass on Beltran, again? To get over the hill, injured retread pitchers? Good move.
Now, since Womack moves from 2B to LF, Robinson Cano moves up from AAA to become the everyday 2Bman. Cano doesn't seem like much of a player by looking at his minor league track record
. Cano had a .719 raw OPS in AAA last year, that translated into a .685 EQOPS. He does seem to be a good defender, though. According to Baseball America, Cano has an excellent arm, and has developing plate discipline. He also has below-average speed, and reportedly his range is lacking. He is raking at Columbus this year, with a line of .333/.368/.574.
These are just part of the problems with the Yankees, though. Really, if they wanted to improve their awful defense, they would move Jeter to 3B and A-Rod back to SS. Their pitching has been awful, especially relief. It seems like all of their players have gone into simultaneous decline. What a beautiful sight, let's hope it continues.
Twins reliever Juan Rincon was the latest, and most high profile, player to be suspended for steroid use. Rincon is one of the most dominant set-up men in the league, and this suspension will greatly hurt his chances for achieving appearance-related bonuses. Really a shame, but if you play with fire, you get burned. Peter Gammons was on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN radio, and he said he believes that more pitchers, especially relievers, will test positive for juice than position players. Gammons also said that relievers take 'roids in order to bounce back after making several appearances, and that he has noticed a lot of relievers' who's velocity has dropped. Take it with a grain of salt, being that it is from Gammons.
This leads me to an issue I've been meaning to comment on - Selig's new proposed steroid policy. Under his new plan, the first offense will cost a player 50 games, the second 100, and the third will result in a lifetime ban. Now, it sounds tough, but bear in mind that this newest plan was just put in place - this would be similar to a player demanding a new contract a few months after signing a contract. Also, the league has yet to release a list of banned substances. And, most of the players have been of foreign descent, and many of them may have had no clue what exactly they were taking. I don't mean to be the equivalent of a schill for the union and the players, but I think they have a point. A 50 game suspension for a first offense is a little rough, and this new plan seems to be working. Give it time.
Free Kevin Orie???
I know, it's absurd. However, look at Orie's numbers thus far at Nashville (62 AB):
14 BB:6 K
Granted, that is an very small sample. However, his numbers last year were very solid. Stuck in AA (!), Orie posted a line of .329/.386/.579 with 4 HR in 76 AB. The last time he had significant PT above AA, 2002, he posted a combined line of .298/.349/.558 with 20 HR between AAA Iowa and the Cubs. Orie is now 32 years old, and hasn't had any substantial MLB playing time since 1999, when in 240 AB he put up .254/.317/.396. Granted, that's not great, but it's certainly better than what Jeff Cirillo has done in the past few years:
That's flat-out awful, yet he languishes on the Brewers bench. Orie has a career AAA OPS of .871, is younger, played a respectable 3B in his day, and is exiled in Nashville. Give the man a chance to show what he can do, it can't be any worse than Cirillo and Helms. If he fails you move on, but at least give the guy a chance. Even if he can hit to his MLB career line of .249/.320/.389, which he oddly enough has posted against both LH and RH pitchers, he'll be better than Cirillo.
The Brewers laid one on the lowly Reds today to complete a three-game sweep at Miller Park. Doug Davis "pitched his tail off", to borrow a Yostism, and Lyle Overbay went 5-5 with a HR and earned himself a curtain call from the Miller Park faithful. The Reds and Pirates should make for delightful feasting all season long, as both teams feature awful pitching staffs, especially the Reds. The Brewers were able to sweep them, and didn't even get to face the home run fairy, Eric Milton. They did, however, get to face Danny "Three Run Save" Graves, and scored a run off him in the 8th.
Most of us fans knew the Brewers had this in them. Most of their poor start could be attributed to their bout with the flu, and having to play the Cardinals. Most of the time, the Brewers were actually underperforming their pythagoreon expectations, which had them pegged at 12-11 entering play today. The bad luck they had experienced was due to turn around, and did just that. The Crew won three one-run games in a row, after failing to win any before Thursday.
The Cubs are headed in the other direction, behind the misguided Dusty. They have now lost two in a row to the Astros and, if the Cubs are smart, the Brewers won't have to face Kerry Wood, who aggravated his shoulder injury again on Saturday night. They will have to contend with Zambrano on Tuesday, but after that, who knows?
Brewers come back on Reds
In a truly aggravating game, the Brewers somehow beat the Reds by a score of 6-5 on a bases loaded walk-off single by Damian Miller in the 9th inning. The game started poorly, and generally stayed that way, until the 7th inning. If you missed that "sick to your stomach" feeling you got every five days last year, known as Wes Obermueller-itis, you weren't disappointed today. He was generally knocked around in his 3.1 innings, but at least Ned had the guts to pull him quickly. This was one of few things Yost did correctly today.
My daily disillusionment with Nedly started early today, at 12:20 CT, when the lineups were released. Two things immediately stuck out to me: 1.) Why the hell is Bill Hall batting 2nd?, and 2.) Why the hell is Russell Branyan batting 7th? Now, Hall has been playing well lately, but putting him in the 2-hole made little to no sense, as he has quite a shaky past when it comes to things like getting on base (he doesn't), and making contact (he doesn't). In fairness, Hall was leading the team in P/PA with 4.54, and had walked more than he K'd coming into the game. Hall did break up Paul Wilson's no-hit bid (!) with a single with two out in the fifth, and went 2-5 with an RBI and run scored. Chalk that one up as a move that worked, just hope you don't see Hall hitting second often. I just don't like the idea of giving Hardy all these days off. If Hall is being played because of his patience, over Hardy and his 11 BB in 55 AB, it makes no sense. It seems like Hardy's bat is starting to come around, and he's been on base in six of his last 15 plate appearances. Let the kid play!
The Branyan situation really irked me, however. Why, on a day when Chad Moeller is playing, do you hit "The Muscle" 7th? He has some of the best power in the league, and is playing at an all-star level, yet he gets put in the 7-spot. Golden Boy Jeff Cirillo, on the otherhand, gets plunked into the 2-hole on nights when he plays because he is a "professional hitter", and "prototypical #2 hitter". Yet, don't professional hitters put up lines closer to Branyan's .326/.396/.721 than Cirillo's .196/.339/.370? I get it - one of those is a really good professional hitter, and the other one isn't. Anyhow, this is an anti-Yost post, not an anti-Cirillo post, so back to the subject at hand. Chad Moeller was hitting behind Branyan today. Moeller is the worst player in the league, cut and dried. The result of this brilliant lineup was Branyan being pitched around in his first three plate appearances, resulting in three walks. In one of these situations, Branyan was walked to load the bases for Moeller, with one out. Moeller promptly proved the Reds right by popping up the first pitch weakly to the left side. The aforementioned "professional hitter" Cirillo followed up with a nearly-identical pop-out. Chad Moeller needs to go, and it wouldn't bother me one bit to see Cirillo sent down in favor of Kevin Orie, who has posted a line of .396/.515/.679 at Triple-A Nashville. Nonetheless, when Branyan was finally pitched to in the 7th inning, he responded like a good professional hitter, and tied the game with a double down the right field line. He did also have a chance to win the game in the 9th, with the bases loaded and no outs, and popped out to second. However, Moeller's offensive replacement followed up with the game winner.
Put a Bow on it
The Bow (AP)
Derrick Turnbow continues to impress as a 9th inning man, making this look like an excellent move by Yost. What's amazing is how much Turnbow's stock has soared, including this bit from Fanball:Danny Kolb saved 39 for the Brew Crew last year and so far, indications are Turnbow is three times the closer Kolb ever will be.
Amazing how times have changed for Turnbow, who went to Arizona to fight for a job, and left as the best pitcher in an up-to-now rock solid bullpen. I'd still love to see Adams get more work, as well as Wise, and see Tommy Phelps get less. However, Phelps is a decent pitcher. I believe I have said this earlier, but Phelps' career ERA out of the bullpen was 2.42 coming into this season, as opposed to his ERA as a starter (5.85). So, as long as the Brewers don't get any crazy ideas and try him as a starter, they may have a very useful LOOGY on their hands. And, if Phelps falters, Julio Santana, who had dominated AAA before getting the call-up to take Ben Sheets' roster spot, could slide in to the low-leverage role.
Derrick Turnbow: "Closer"
"I would say if we got a save situation in the ninth inning, Turnbow is going to be pitching."
- Edgar Frederick Yost
Another managerial move was made by Ned Yost in San Fran, this one involving the "closer", or "guy who gets three outs with a three run lead", spot. Somewhat inexplicably to me, Mike Adams was yanked from 9th inning duty in favor of Turnbow. In my opinion, Adams has much better stuff, and hadn't even pitched poorly to this point in the season. In seven appearances, Adams has compiled an ERA of 4.05. The only discouraging development regarding the lanky one was his increased walk rate (6 BB/6.2 IP). Obviously, the small sample size alarm has to go off at some point, doesn't it? Six innings to determine that Adams has suddenly become John Rocker? I still think he is the best pitcher in the bullpen, and time will prove me right. If Melvin and Yost decided to use Adams as a Chad Bradford-type "relief ace", I'm all for it. However, if he is relegated to spot duty behind the likes of Ricky Bottalico and Tommy Phelps, I question the move. I remember joking after Turnbow picked up a save in spring training that maybe Melvin was going to drive up Turnbow's save total to the point that he was a "proven closer" and deal him off, a la Kolb. I may just be right.
Now, none of this is to rag on Derrick Turnbow. He has been highly effective out of a very good bullpen to this point, and likely will remain so. He has electric stuff, and probably the best fastball on the team. He will likely strike out close to or more than a batter an inning, and hitters have been lucky to even put the ball in play against him thus far. I'm not a believer in "makeup" or "a closer's mentality", so I think that with his stuff Turnbow will rack up a nice save total. Another excellent move by Doug Melvin, surprise, surprise. Let's take a look at how the bullpen should stack up:
LR - Obermueller (R), 2.25 ERA, 8 IP, 4 K/1 BB
MR - de la Rosa (L), 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 10 K/7 BB
MR - Phelps (L), 8.44 ERA, 5.1 IP, 3 K/2 BB
MR - Bottalico (R), 3.68 ERA, 7.1 IP, 4 K/1 BB
MR - Wise (R), 0.96 ERA, 9.1 IP, 7 K/3 BB
SU - Adams (R), 4.05 ERA, 6.2 IP, 5 K/6 BB
CL - Turnbow (R), 2.08 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 K/5 BB
The entire bullpen, outside of Phelps, has been extremely effective thus far. Even Obermueller, who gets a spot start tonight in place of Ben Sheets, has been good in light work, even though his inability to miss bats will likely doom him soon, like it always has. Phelps should really be replaced, even if it means calling up Jeff Bennett. Why this team has any use for a LOOGY who can't get lefties out is beyond me. However, I call a small sample foul on myself, as he has pitched to an ERA under 2.50 in his relief outings over his career. Even so, I would prefer to see the meaningful left-handed outs recorded by de la Rosa, who has the best raw stuff in the pen. Nonetheless, the bullpen is beginning to emerge as a strength, an likely will continue to be once Phelps is replaced by either Jeff Bennett or Justin Lehr.
The New Lineup
1. Clark - CF
2. Miller - C
3. Jenkins - RF
4. Lee - LF
5. Overbay - 1B
6. Spivey - 2B
7. Branyan/Helms/Cirillo - 3B
8. Hardy - SS
This lineup was devised by Ned Yost. Unlike most of Ned's moves this year, I actually agree with this one. Miller in the 2-spot is obviously odd, but he handles the bat well and has been getting on base at a .400 clip. The addition of an offensive catcher as competent as Miller could be the best move Doug Melvin has made thus far. Jenkins batting third is somewhat puzzling, but makes sense to the degree that he will see more fastballs, the only pitches he can somewhat hit, hitting in front of El Caballo. Lee in the cleanup spot needs no explanation, especially after his performance in yesterday's game against the Giants, and having Overbay behind him likely means he will be pitched around less. The move of Overbay to the 5-hole makes immense sense. He and Clark will almost undoubtedly be 1-2 on the team in OBP. The only hitter that leads off more innings than the fifth hitter is the leadoff man. Overbay is an excellent hitter in any situation, against any type of pitcher, and is well-equipped to hit anywhere in the order. Spivey's move to sixth was likely precipitated by his high K total to this point, but this seems like it will be a good spot for him, and maybe it will lead to Yost deciding against the hit-and-run and sac bunts he (over)used, to little effectiveness, with Junior hitting 2nd. Branyan's huge power is nothing but an asset, wherever he is used in the lineup. Hardy was likely going to hit 8th regardless of any reshuffling of the lineup, however he did hit 2nd on Saturday, which Ned said was likely to become commonplace by the end of the season. All-in-all, the new lineup has worked quite well, though it is impossible to tell if it had more to do with the rearranging of the hitters, or simply the hitters starting to hit.
A little late on this one
Joe Hamrahi sent me an e-mail last Wednesday with a link to an interview he did with stud second base prospect Rickie Weeks and asked that I post it for him. Here's the link: Weeks Interview
. Enjoy a very well done interview with a mature young ballplayer.
For the lack of posting over the past week plus. I've been busy working, preparing for/watching the NFL draft, etc, and when I was going to post, Blogger was having problems. Again, a sincere apology for the lack of activity over the last week. Sorry for the inconvenience to those that have to have their BG "Fix".
More on Sheets
It's all but announced now, here's a story from the Journal-Sentinel:Sheets signs 4-year, $38 million deal The Milwaukee Brewers have signed pitching ace Ben Sheets to a new four-year contract extension worth approximately $38 million. Sheets, 26, had signed a $6 million deal for 2005 in February, but left open the option of tearing it up and negotiating a new four-year deal or merely adding a three-year extension. The two sides agreed to tear up the old deal and sign a new extension through 2008. The ballclub was set to make the announcement at a news conference at 3:45 this afternoon at Miller Park. Sheets is set to take the mound at 7 tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sheets, a first-round draft pick of the Brewers in 1999, comes off an all-star season in 2004 in which his 264 strikeouts was tops among all right-handers and his 2.70 ERA was the lowest in baseball. A lack of run support, however, contributed to a losing record of 12-14. He has a 46-54 career record in the major leagues with a 3.92 ERA and 696 strikeouts. New owner Mark Attanasio had said the signing of Sheets was a priority for the ballclub. -By Tom Haudricourt and Drew Olson
Brewers lock up Sheets
According to BrewerFan.net
and Bruce Ciskie
, the Brewers and Ben Sheets have agreed to a long-term deal. Terms have not been disclosed as of yet, but a 3:45 PM CT press conference has been scheduled. Great news.
The Sheffield "fracas"
Sheffield and pals (AP)
Well, 24-hour sports radio folks rejoice! You have another inane, inconsequential story to fill the airwaves with today. This one involves a "fight" involving Yankees RF Gary Sheffield and a Red Sox fan that began following a swipe the fan took at Sheff, the ball, or both. Now forgive me. I know that as a Brewer fan, I must hate Gary Sheffield no matter what he does. However, he was right in this case. He also did a great job to restrain himself from inflicting serious bodily harm on a drunk moron who has no respect for the game he is watching, nor the stadium he is lucky enough to be in. There is no greater problem here, regardless of what the talking head expert types will say. No need for a higher fence, maybe just a need to quit selling beer. If that were to happen, it would decrease the chances of altercations like this recurring.
Game 8: Brewers (6) vs. Pirates (2)
Another fairly decent outing by a Brewers starting pitcher allowed the team to stay close before the offense finally produced in the 8th inning. Chris Capuano allowed two runs in five innings, while striking out three, walking two, and surrendering seven hits. He's going to have to start working later into ball games, preferably before June so as to keep the bullpen fresh. The offense in this game was provided by Lyle Overbay and Geoff Jenkins solo bombs, as well as a go-ahead double by Carlos Lee - that followed a peculiar bunt by Overbay. I call it peculiar for two reasons: 1) Yost called for his best hitter to bunt, and 2) it worked. It worked great once, but hopefully it won't be tried again. Brady Clark continued his on-base machine ways, collecting three hits and scoring a run. Clark's line now sits at .333/.450/.455, while Scott Podsednik nurses a pulled groin in Chitown, and ranks second on the team in runs created with 6.9.
"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: Lyle Overbay (2-3, HR, RBI, BB, 2 R)
Next Up: Brewers (Sheets) vs. Cardinals (Suppan), 7:00 CT Friday
Game 7: Pirates (4) @ Brewers (2)
This game was a vintage "Yosting", as ill-advised chances on the basepaths, accompanied by poor strategy, led to a loss to an inferior opponent. Mark Redman did his usual thing, dominating the Brewers for six innings, allowing just two first inning runs. Gary Glover posted a quality start in his first start at Miller Park, allowing three runs in six innings, while striking out six, walking two, and scattering eight hits. Glover has that "walking between raindrops" feel to him, and that's likely the way it will be all year. However, you have to like getting a start like that from your fifth starter. In order for the team to go .500, they will need at least league average pitching out of the fifth starter, and Glover is the most likely of the candidates to provide it. Outside of the first inning, the offense did little of anything, and when they were looking like they may score, a sacrifice attempt, hit-and-run attempt, and stolen base attempt were foiled. It may be time to stop playing with dead-ball era strategies, but apparently Ned refuses to simply let his best hitters do what they can do.
"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: Gary Glover (6 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR)
Game 6: Brewers (6) vs. Pirates (2)
Branyan (MJS Photo)
Yesterday's home opener was a truly great day, as it was the first opener I have been able to attend. It was also the first home opener with Mark Attanasio at the helm, and with Russell Branyan at the hot corner. Doug Davis contributed his second quality start in as many chances, holding the Bucs to 2 runs in 7 mostly solid innings. The true story of the day was the leader of the 3TO minions, as Branyan hit two HR, the first a monumental shot off the CF scoreboard. It was easily the farthest I have ever seen a ball hit, either at Miller Park or at County Stadium. Brew Grit mascot Brady Clark also went yard, as well as picking up a single. Clark's OBP through 6 games for the first place Brewers is .406, whereas Scott Podsednik's stands at .333. Aside from the HR, the most magical moment of the day was Jeff Cirillo's AB in the 8th. The majority of the park stood through the entire plate appearance, and erupted when he drew a walk. He will get the start tonight against the Pirates, expect the same crowd reaction again. As great as the Cirillo reception was, the one given Wes Helms was perplexing. Helms was booed by many in the crowd, which he hardly deserved considering that this was the home opener and he hasn't really done anything to deserve such treatment from his home fans. Hopefully, better days lie ahead for Wes, against LHP.
"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: Russell Branyan (2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)
Next Up: Brewers (Glover) vs. Pirates (Redman), 6:30 PM Tuesday
Action over the weekend:
Since I was unable to get posting on the weekend and yesterday, here's some links to the recaps (as if you don't all know what happened), along with my picks for P.O.G., when applicable:
Game 3: Brewers (6) @ Cubs (3), 12 innings
-"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: Junior Spivey (3-6, 2 RBI, 1 R, BB)
Game 4: Cubs (4) vs. Brewers (0)
-"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: None, impossible when the team is one-hit
Game 5: Cubs (6) vs. Brewers (5), 12 innings
-"Brew Grit" Player of the Game: Jorge de la Rosa (2 IP, H, 2 BB, 5 K)