Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Better Late Than Never: It's El Super Day

This was a good week for the Brewers. They went 5-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of Tim Lincecum on Friday night. In reviewing this week’s splits, it was difficult to single out any one player. Nearly everyone had a good week. As a result, I’m turning to an arbitrary and random stat to choose this week’s winner—pitchers who hit home runs and have nasty breaking stuff in games that I attend (PWHHRAHNBSIGTIA). And since I went to Wednesday’s game and because Zack Greinke had both a home run and nasty breaking stuff, he wins.

One other thing. You know what would be El Super? Beating the Reds.

Reds 7, Brewers 3
Game played 5-29-11

The Giants Series

This winter I decided to sign up for a triathlon that will take place in mid-August. I had knee surgery last summer so my idea was that this triathlon would be my triumphant return (to finishing in the bottom 25% of my age bracket.) Having something like this on my calendar is usually the best way to keep me on track. Without a goal, I flounder.

That is why when I started my blog last season over Memorial Day weekend, I made the simple rule that I had to write something about every game, and whatever I wrote had to be posted before the next game began. And when things got busy or I didn’t know what to say, I just remembered that it didn’t have to be brilliant or enlightening, it just had to be something—even a sentence or two would work. It was the same with my training; even if I just got in the pool and swam a few laps or even if I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes, it would be good enough.
Of course, I find myself slacking on both fronts. Some days I can’t think of anything interesting to write. Some days I don’t want to work out. It seems like it used to be a lot easier. I used to be able to go out and run five miles without much effort. I used to write really brilliant comparisons of how baseball games were like Smirnoff Wild Grape or Mariah Carey falling on her ass. I used to see someone at the grocery store and it would end up being just like that night’s game.

Frustrated by my lack of effort/creativity, I decided to at least tackle the triathlon training over the Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, I went for a 13-mile bike ride and worked in the garden. (I’m always surprised by what a good hamstring workout gardening is.) On Sunday, I did the P90X legs (think lots and lots of squats and lunges) and back workout with ab ripper X. I then jogged “around the block” (one mile) to stretch out my legs and then I walked around the Mall of America for an hour or so. You know you’re going to be in trouble when laying down hurts. Sleeping was painful. I could hardly walk on Monday so I sat on the couch and watched 11 episodes of Friday Night Lights because it hurt too much to do anything else. And then I watched the Brewers-Reds game.
Today is blogger boot camp (because, apparently, I was too sore to write anything). Hopefully it won’t take 11 more episodes of Friday Night Lights to recover from this exercise.

Brewers take 2 of 3 from Giants

1.       Funny how things work out sometimes. Buster Posey’s season came to an abrupt end last Wednesday when a home plate collision resulted in a broken bone and torn ligaments in his leg/ankle. Along with Posey, San Francisco placed Mike Fontenot and Darren Ford on the DL and called up Chris Stewart, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt for the Milwaukee series. Crawford collected his first big league hit in the game—a grand slam—that ended up being the difference in the game.

Milwaukee did have a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning, but Posey’s back up, Eli Whiteside, held onto the ball in a play-at-the-plate as Prince Fielder tried to score. It was pretty risky sending Fielder and the throw arrived at home plate with Fielder only two-thirds of the way down the line. Seeing Prince running home at top speed has to be one of the scarier things a catcher can experience. I’m glad that the play was clean and that Whiteside didn’t get hurt. I do wish, however, that Prince would have been safe.  Giants 5, Brewers 4. Game played 5-27-11

2.       Finding new and exciting ways to score. Carlos Gomez hit a ground ball down the right field line in the first inning of Saturday’s game that turned into an inside-the-park home run when Cody Ross missed the ball and it went into the corner. Sometimes I wonder how my life might be different if I were as fast as Carlos Gomez.

Milwaukee led 2-0 for most of the game but the Giants tied the score in the top of the eighth. Braun and Fielder singled to start the ninth. McGehee moved them over with a ground out. Yuniesky Betancourt was intentionally walked (!) to load the bases with one out. Jonathan Lucroy batted for Wil Nieves and took the first pitch for a ball. The next pitched was bunted at the pitcher Mota. His only chance was to catch it with his glove and shovel it home in one motion. Mota whiffed and Braun was safe. Game over. I celebrated with a piece of chocolate cake. I think chocolate cake is the best thing ever. Ryan Braun is only slightly behind chocolate cake on my list of best things ever. Brewers 3, Giants 2. Game played 5-28-11

3.       Less close is good, too.  Milwaukee led Sunday’s game from start to finish and Yovani Gallardo gave up just four hits and one walk over eight innings in a 6-0 shutout of the Giants. The win upped Milwaukee’s home record to 21-7. I have no idea why Milwaukee has been so good at home and so bad on the road. Much has been written about it; theories abound. Now would be the time to solve that riddle. Brewers 6, Giants 0. Game played 5-29-11  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I love this place

On Wednesday, my brother, mom and I played hooky and headed to Miller Park. Tailgating was out due to the weather but the retractable roof meant the game was on. My mom always says that's it's nice to know that after driving 5+ hours that there will be a game no matter what.

There was a tremendous crowd (34,419) at the game. (It appeared that there was a school promotion as the place was packed with school kids.) I was proud of my fellow Brewers fans. It was a good showing for a Wednesday afternoon game.

Zack Greinke struck out ten (and LaTroy Hawkins and Kam Loe added one each). Oh, and Greinke also hit his first home run with the Brewers. (He had one in interleague play in 2005 with the Royals.)

Todd Coffey made an appearance for the Nationals, getting the final four outs. The crowd gave him a warm welcome when he sprinted to the mound. 

Baseball is way better than work. Baseball is way better than work. Baseball is way better than work.

Brewers 6, Nationals 4
Game played 5-25-11

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Road Trippin'

When I was in high school, road tripping consisted of driving through corn fields while drinking Leinies. These days, road trips usually consist of picking up my Mom and driving to Milwaukee for a Brewers game.

On Tuesday, I played a softball double header after work, ran home, threw most of my Brewers clothing into a duffel bag and headed to Wisconsin. When I left St. Paul, the Brewers trailed 6-3. As I passed through River Falls, Carlos Gomez was striking out with Weeks on third and one out. Prince failed to get a big two-out hit and the score remained the same.

I was cruising down the Knapp Hills near Menomonie when Weeks hit his home run (after Counsell walked), shrinking the deficit to one in the seventh inning. I was in Eau Claire when the eighth inning rally happened. I missed the turn to my sister's house when Jonathan Lucroy's soft liner to right fell fair and scored Casey McGehee and Brandon Boggs for a 7-6 lead.

I convinced my Mom that we should watch Ax close out the ninth on TV so we joined my brother-in-law Jamison for that adventure. (We met at my sister's house so we could drive the rest of the way together.) My Mom got anxious after a few runners reached and decided that we needed to be driving for the Brewers to play well so we listened to the final out as we headed out of Eau Claire.

It is now 8:55 a.m. on Wednesday and my Mom is anxious to get back in the car to drive the last two hours to Miller Park to complete the first leg of the road trip. I'm hoping for a break out performance by Zack Greinke.

Oh, and don't worry, I am still going to have a Leinies--but it will have to wait until I get to the Stadium.

Brewers 7, Nationals 6
Game played 5-24-11

Monday, May 23, 2011

The problem with this one is going to be the acceptance speech

That nifty little ballpark we like to call Brewers Stadium, The Fan, Petak's Petard, The Keg, The Iron Vagina, The Space Vagina, or just Miller Park--home to our Milwaukee Brewers--has ripped this week's El Super out of the very deserving hands of Shaun Marcum and Corey Hart.

Monday's 11-3 victory over the Washington Nationals was the Brewers' seventh straight home win. Milwaukee is now 10-1 at home in May and 17-6 at home overall. The only home loss in May came on the 11th, a 13-6 take down by the Padres. At home, the Brewers have a .291/.364/.847 slash line compared with a .220/.279/.333 road line (prior to Monday's game). Miller Park has been very good to the Brewers this year--and that's enough to earn this week's El Super.

Brewers 11, Nationals 3
Game played 5-23-11

Sunday, May 22, 2011

That time again

Fox Baseball Game of the Week and the associated blackout rules are stupid.

Then again, it gives me an opportunity to catch up on Yankees and Red Sox.

Brewers 3, Rockies 2
Gamed played 5-21-11

Totally worth the sleep deprivation

After staying up late for all of the West Coast games, I was crabby on Friday--Andy Rooney crabby. I told Seth that he had to leave the house and leave me alone for a few hours. So we ate dinner and then he went to play poker. I opened a bottle of wine and got ready for the Brewers game. I figured I would be in bed by 10:30, 11 at the latest.

I noticed that no one over at Brew Crew Ball was available to do the game recap and, in typical Rachel fashion, I volunteered. I was going to watch the game in real time anyway. I might as well write a short recap and help out Kyle.

After drinking a glass of wine, I felt my crabbiness dissipating. The Brewers took an early lead by playing a little small ball. Rickie Weeks led off the first with a double and was bunted over to second by Corey Hart. He scored when Ryan Braun grounded out to shortstop. As I mentioned in my post after Thursday's game, I have to agree with this strategy. I know that plenty of others think that this is a poor strategy--especially in the first inning--because it may take the team out of a big inning. I disagree. I think it was important for Milwaukee to get on the board early after being shut out on Thursday. Plus, Hart can bunt for a base hit. I don't think that Milwaukee should do it every time that they hit a double to start the inning but I think that they should do it in some situations. (Milwaukee got the lead off hitter on in the first five innings but only scored in the first and the fourth innings.)

It was a close game with Colorado taking 2-1, 3-2 and 4-2 leads. Milwaukee kept fighting back and tied the game on an eighth inning homer by Casey McGehee. I started writing my recap with both a scenario that had the Brewers losing (which I wrote first, as to not jinx the team) and one with them winning. But this game would not end. Seth got home a little after 11 and was surprised to see me awake.

When the Rockies scored in the top of the thirteenth inning, I re-wrote my introductory paragraph for a 5-4 Rockies victory. Yuniesky Betancourt spoiled that paragraph with a towering solo shot. I wrote another intro paragraph with the Brewers losing after Betancourt booted a double play ball and Dexter Fowler followed with a single to drive in the go-ahead run.

I really felt like this was it. THIS was the intro that I would be using for the recap. Hart grounded out. I kept writing. Braun worked the count and was walked. I stopped typing. Paulino threw over to first to chase Braun back. And then he delivered the pitch, Prince turned on it and unleashed what looked like a home run swing. The cameras picked up the balls flight and it was carrying. It cleared the fence and ended up way, way back.

It was one of those moments where you can't quite believe what you are seeing. Hitting a home run is a difficult feat. Hitting a home run in that situation is unbelievable. I had the wherewithal to move the laptop off of my lap before I jumped to my feet and screamed, "YES, YES, YES!"

Game time was 4:35. It ended just before midnight. Who needs sleep?

BCB recap link.

Brewers 7, Rockies 6
Game played 5-20-11

Friday, May 20, 2011

I had hoped for more

I'm tired and more than a little cranky. I feel like Andy Rooney about to go off on a rant that makes no sense. "You know what the problem with fruit is? There are too many kinds of fruit. ... "

The Brewers just wrapped up a four-game West Coast road trip with a 2-2 record. I stayed up for all four games except for Wednesday night's game where I went to bed after Milwaukee gave up the third run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

For some reason, when I get tired, I can't hear things clearly. For example, I swear that Jeff Grayson keeps calling Davey Nelson "baby." Which is just weird.

(On Monday night, I thought Rock called Rod Barajas a sweaty guy but he actually said something about Marcum feeding him a steady diet [of some sort of pitch].)

After going 2-8 on the previous road trip, a 2-2 trip is not terrible. I feel disappointed, however, because all the games were winnable. Milwaukee pitched well but was shut out in both losses.

"But, Baby, let's talk about Chris Narveson." I swear that Jeff just said it again.

Narveson pitched very well on Thursday going 7.1 innings and giving up just four hits and one walk but the lack of offense did the Crew in once again. They were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position in Thursday night's 1-0 loss. On this trip, they went 6 for 43 (.139) with runners in scoring position.  Given this, maybe 2-2 is miraculous. (Does this sound too optimistic for an Andy Rooney type rant?)

Here's my thought about Thursday's game. When you are having a lot of trouble scoring runs on the road (and you are playing in a cavernous stadium), does it make sense to try to manufacture runs? I think back to the fourth inning where Prince led off the inning with a double. Should the Brewers have tried to bunt him over to third with one out in hopes of getting on the board? I know that it is not a great strategy every night (and I don't even know if Casey McGehee CAN bunt) but given how the game was going maybe it made sense. (Or, you know, the Brewers could have scored one run in the first inning when they had one out and runners on second and third.)

Dodgers 3, Brewers 0
Game played 5-17-11

Brewers 5, Padres 2
Game played 5-18-11

Padres 1, Brewers 0
Game played 5-19-11

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The El Superest

Another Monday, another El Super. This week the El Super goes to Jonathan Lucroy. Since coming off the DL on April 12, Lucroy has posted a .329/.378/.500 line.  In four games over the last week, Lucroy went 7 for 15 (.467) with one walk, two doubles and two home runs. He posted a 1.000 SLG and .500 OBP. He also seems to have made up with Randy Wolf.

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1
Game played 5-16-11

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Potential for injury

For the first four innings of Sunday's game, Zack Greinke looked as if he might cruise to an easy victory. Milwaukee struck for four first inning runs and tacked on single runs in the second and third innings to take a 6-0 lead. Meanwhile, Greinke gave up just a walk through four innings and faced the minimum.

But the fifth inning nearly did Greinke and the Brewers in. Neil Walker fought through a 12-pitch at-bat before hitting a lead-off homer. After that, Greinke struggled. He gave up four more runs in the inning and didn't return for the sixth inning. There was some speculation that Greinke tired and that he will need a few more starts before he returns to the form that earned him a Cy Young award.

Although the Brewers held on to win (no thanks to some serious ninth inning drama), Greinke's injury got me thinking about the potential for other players to face a similar fate. What are other Brewers doing in the off-season or on their off-days? Is it safe? I turned to the 2011 Media Guide for answers.

-Ron Roenicke enjoys woodworking, golf, fishing and hunting.
-Ed Sedar enjoys movies and cooking.
-Dale Sveum enjoys tennis, golf, fly fishing and hunting.
-John Axford enjoys reading and movies, particularly foreign films.
-Brandon Boggs enjoys playing basketball and watching movies.
-Ryan Braun enjoys the beach, water sports, music, movies and cars.
-Craig Counsell on 12/29/07 made a cameo appearance (in uniform) in the Milwaukee Ballet's performance of The Nutty Nutcracker.
-Prince Fielder enjoys listening to music and spending time with his kids.
-Carlos Gomez enjoys rap music and also raps himself in his free time; and enjoys watching track events.
-Brandon Kintzler enjoys golf, basketball and poker.
-Mark Kotsay enjoys golf and fishing.
-Kameron Loe enjoys video games, playing poker, golf and kickboxing.
-Shaun Marcum enjoys golf, fantasy football and spending time with with his family.
-Chris Narveson enjoys golf, hunting and fishing.
-Wil Nieves' interests include golf, dining at restaurants and religion.
-Takashi Saito enjoys cooking and singing.
-Mitch Stetter enjoys ping-pong, cooking and fantasy football.
-Rickie Weeks enjoys music and fantasy football.
-Randy Wolf enjoys poker and is an avid movie-goer.

Overall, Ed Sedar, John Axford, Prince Fielder, Shaun Marcum, Wil Nieves, Takashi Saito, Mitch Stetter, Rickie Weeks and Randy Wolf seem the least likely to be injured while enjoying their self-reported favorite leisure time activities. I rated Ron Roenicke (woodworking), Ryan Braun (water sports), Craig Counsell (ballet), Carlos Gomez (rapping) and Kam Loe (kickboxing) as the most likely to injure themselves. I think the front office needs to take a look at this list. Bubble wrap shouldn't be ruled out.

Brewers 9, Pirates 6
Game played 5-15-11

Saturday's recap can be found at Brew Crew Ball.
Brewers 8, Pirates 2
Game played 5-14-11

Friday, May 13, 2011

Letting go [when stupid idiots try to ruin your viewing experience]

Sorry for the late posting. I have had some problems with my internet access the last few days.

I have trouble letting things go. This would explain why, after 40 minutes on the phone with DirectTV, I was still demanding that they show me the Brewers-Padres game on Tuesday night.

When I turned to channel 669-1, DirectTV told me that the game was blacked out. It made no sense. FS Wisconsin was broadcasting the game; the game was being shown in Wisconsin; there is no reason that it should have been blacked out for a viewer in Minnesota. So I called DirectTV because I thought that they would quickly see that this was an error and un-blackout the game.

“They” would not authorize DirectTV to show the game outside of Wisconsin, the service reps said. When I asked for further clarification, I was told that the Milwaukee Brewers organization did not authorize the game to be shown outside of Wisconsin because they did not sell enough tickets. I asked the reps to think about that and see if it made any sense. The only people who could be reasonably expected to purchase tickets were being shown the game but the rest of us were not allowed to see it because ….? I was just told over and over again that the Brewers blacked the game out due to lack of sales and that if I had read the fine print in the Major League Extra Innings package I would have known that all games are subject to blackout rules.

“But there is nothing about this game that would trigger a blackout rule,” I said. “This is a problem between DirectTV and FS-Wisconsin. Can you please figure out what the problem is and fix it instead of feeding me a load of garbage that we both know isn’t true?” And then they repeated that the Brewers wouldn’t authorize DirectTV to show the game because of lack of ticket sales. “But there is no blackout rule in baseball regarding ticket sales and out-of-market viewers,” I said.

Sensing that I was at a loss, Seth took over the call. “If it were based on ticket sales,” Seth said to the rep, “then how would you ever show a Pirates or Marlins game?”

When no one would help him, he hung up on them and threw the phone on the couch. So I called back and tried again. Same story with the new rep only she sounded like she was four. When I got to the part where I asked why the Brewers, who are already paying to broadcast the game, wouldn’t want to make it available to even more fans (who wouldn’t buy tickets anyway because they are in other STATES), she wouldn’t answer me. In fact, when I asked if she was still listening, she started yelling at me. When I suggested that she look up DirectTV’s blackout rules on its website, she told me she didn’t have a computer. (Earlier a different rep told Seth that they didn’t have any TVs in their offices so he couldn’t see if he could get the game there.)  

I finally gave up with the stupid, baby talking rep. I may have made a few parting shots to the effect that everyone at DirectTV was useless and that they were too stupid to do anything except read off of their non-existent computer screens.

In case you are wondering, here is the “fine print” from the DirectTV Extra Innings website regarding blackout rules.

If you live in a ZIP code that is within a Major League Baseball team’s territory, that team’s games will be blacked out on MLB EXTRA INNINGS® but will generally be available on your local regional sports network, cable network or over-the-air affiliate station. Blackouts protect the local rights holders who arrange separate distribution agreements for their exclusive territories. 

In addition, because of the national exclusivity of both ESPN and FOX, there are no games available for distribution via this package on Saturday during the day or Sunday at night.

Brewers 8, Padres 6
Game played 5-10-11
Black-out worthy Attendance 22,861

Monday, May 9, 2011

If Zack Greinke Were A Trophy, He'd Be An El Super

This week's El Super goes to those Brewers fans who hung in there and watched every game of Milwaukee's 10-game road trip.  In posting a 2-8 record, the Brewers were shutout three times and nearly no-hit twice.  It was brutal to watch and those that did so deserve to be recognized.

In most weeks, there is no reward for winning an El Super. This week, Brewers fans were rewarded with Zack Greinke. Greinke made his first start at Miller Park tonight and went six solid innings to earn his first victory with Milwaukee. Over six innings, Greinke gave up two runs on five hits and struck out nine.

Brewers 4, Padres 3
Game played 5-9-11 

Thank My Mom For This Blog

My Mom is a huge sports fan. I don’t remember my Dad being very into sports in my youth but because all of his children played sports and my Mom dominates the remote, he became a fan.  With the exception of Duke basketball, which I inflicted on my family, all of my rooting interests were introduced to me by my Mom. And all of those interests involve Wisconsin sports teams. When the Brewers made the playoffs in 1982, my Mom watched the games. This is my earliest memory of baseball. I was eight or nine. I sat and watched with her and she explained the fundamentals of the game to me. Thanks to my Mom, I know that batting below .250 is not so good. I’m not sure what it was about baseball but I was instantly hooked. Paul Molitor became my favorite immediately.  My Mom grew up before Title IV so she never got to play sports. She only got to watch her Dad and brothers. Just thinking about that pisses me off because she would have kicked ass.

Happy Mother's Day to the person that got me into this whole baseball thing.

I recapped Sunday's game at Brew Crew Ball. Check it out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A good omen

Saturday was the first truly nice day of spring. I took advantage of it by going for a bike ride along the Mississippi. At one point, a bright red cardinal flew in front of me. I took it as a sign. So did Yovani Gallardo.

Through seven innings of Saturday's game, Gallardo held the Cardinals hitless--which was a good thing because the Brewers had scored just one run. Gallardo gave up a single to start the eighth inning to Daniel Descalso but sent the next three Cardinal batters down to preserve the one-run lead. Milwaukee tacked on three more runs in the top of the ninth and John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to snap the seven game losing streak. 

In the event of another losing streak, I'd prefer if the Brewers were not scheduled to play Detroit. That might be too much excitement for a bike ride.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 0
Game played 5-7-11

Aptly named

The only drama in Friday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals was whether Jaime Garcia would pitch a perfect game. And, then, after he gave up a four-pitch walk to Casey McGehee with one out in the eighth inning, whether he would pitch a no-hitter. Seth said that if I was a fan of the game, I would want to see a perfect game or a no-hitter.

Umm, no, I do not want to see a no-hitter or perfect game pitched against the Brewers. So I glared at Seth and hoped for a hit. Yuniesky Betancourt finally broke through for a single in the eighth inning.  Although the perfect game and no-hitter were off the table, the Brewers still trailed 6-0. And no amount of glaring at Seth could make the losing streak end at six.

Hang with 'em.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 0
Game played 5-6-11 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Runs for the Brewers: Like rain the desert

The good news: After putting up zeros in fourteen consecutive innings, the Brewers’ offense finally got on the board in the fifth inning of Thursday night’s game against the Braves. The bad news: it was their only run of the night and they gave up two.

Milwaukee dropped its sixth straight game on Thursday night, 2-1, to the Atlanta Braves. The losing streak includes a four-game sweep by the Braves. The Brewers offense has been nearly non-existent on the current road trip and the path to hits and runs probably won’t get much easier in St. Louis.

This sounds bad. Nonetheless, I'm going to grill some steak, drink some beer and enjoy the weekend. Maybe this is the right formula for run production.

Braves 2, Brewers 1
Game played 5-5-11

Thursday, May 5, 2011


... that pretty much sucked.

Game one: Braves 8, Brewers 3
Game two: Braves 8, Brewers 0
Games played 5-4-11

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Home and Away

Something to ponder during the rain delay. Double header scheduled for Wednesday.

Heading into Tuesday night’s match-up with the Braves, the Brewers had compiled a 13-15 record (8-5 home, 5-10 away). Thus far, the difference between the home and away records has been the offense.

At Miller Park, Milwaukee has a .301/.372/.473 line. On the road, .239/.293/.375. Despite having played two fewer games, they have walked 10 more times (47 vs. 37) and scored 10 more runs (65 vs. 55) at home. Check out the full stat line from Baseball Reference.
The pitching has been fairly consistent regardless of venue. The Brewers pitchers have a 3.86 ERA and 1.252 WHIP at home vs. 3.65 ERA and 1.309 WHIP on the road. More walks have been surrendered on the road (54 (3.6 per game) away vs. 33 (2.5 per game) at home). Stat line.
I tried to explain the differences by determining if the Brewers played better teams on the road. Milwaukee has played the Astros and Reds both at home and on the road. They have played the Braves at home and are in the midst of a series at Turner Field. They also played the Cubs at home. In addition, on the road, they have faced the Pirates, Nationals and Phillies. Other than the Phillies, it doesn't appear that the schedule is unbalanced (and the Brewers took 2 of 3 from the Phillies, in any case).

I know that it is early and this is a small sample size and all, but I was surprised by the offensive numbers. We'll have to see if these trends continue.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's El Super Day

The final El Super of April goes to Shaun Marcum. There were many worthy candidates but Marcum won the award for his seven solid innings against the Astros on Friday night. Marcum gave up just three hits and two walks, while striking out six.

The win against Houston gave Marcum a 3-1 record. In 36.2 innings pitched, Marcum has given up 11 runs (only nine earned) on 28 hits (three home runs) and 11 walks. He has struck out 34 and posted a 1.06 WHIP. Opponents are batting just .209 against Marcum.

On Monday night, it appeared that Yovani Gallardo had returned to All-Star form. With a slightly faster delivery than in previous starts, Yo gave up just a solo home run through five innings. The Brewers actually had the lead, 2-1, after a Yuniesky Betancourt triple (not a typo). But the good times did not last. Gallardo fell apart in the sixth inning, surrendering four runs.  The Brewers would go on to lose 6-2.

Braves 6, Brewers 2
Game played 5-2-11

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Goose egged: Part II

Yesterday I wrote about goose eggs. Apparently I should have waited until today. Today, Milwaukee put up a goose egg in each and every inning (as opposed to just in eight of nine innings) as they dropped their second in a row to the Houston Astros, 5-0. 

Bud Norris was nearly untouchable giving up just three hits and three walks, while striking out 11 in 7.2 innings. Chris Narveson took the loss for the Brewers, although he did not pitch badly. He gave up one run in the second inning and then surrendered a three-run homer to Carlos Lee in the sixth inning.

The Brewers will try to find their offense in Atlanta on Monday when they begin a four-game set with the Braves. The series will present some interesting story lines. Yovani Gallardo will try to turn things around on Monday; Nyjer Morgan will be activated on Tuesday; and Zack Greinke will pitch on Wednesday.

Astros 5, Brewers 0
Game played 5-1-11

Goose egged

On Saturday night I attended by sister Megan's 28th birthday party. Aside from the french fry bar (yum!), the main attraction was the UFC fight. It was my first UFC fight night. While I was aware generally of UFC, I hadn't devoted any time to watching a match (mainly because I am too cheap to purchase it on pay-per-view). Despite the fact that I watch a fair number of boxing matches, I was not adequately prepared for the pummeling that often takes place during UFC matches. The concept that you can get someone on his back and then beat his face in is somewhat novel to me.

Take, for example, the Jose Aldo-Mark Hominick featherweight bout. Aldo got Hominick on the ground and nailed him in the forehead with his fist and then his forearm. The largest goose egg that I ever saw soon formed above Himinick's right eye. The announcer described it as a second head. Did the fight stop? Hell no, the doctor said he was good to go. Going into the fifth and final round, Hominick seemed to be bleeding from three places on his face, with the hematoma growing by the minute. Yet, Hominick fought on. Eventually he got Aldo to the ground and then hit him with everything that he had. Hominick didn't end up winning but he never gave up even as his face became horribly disfigured.

Likewise, through eight innings on Saturday night, the Brewers put a big goose egg on the scoreboard. Wandy Rodriguez confounded the Brewers all night. He gave up seven hits but Milwaukee couldn't string enough hits together to plate any runs. Randy Wolf kept the Brewers in the game, giving up a single run in the first inning and then blanking the Astros through seven innings.

The Brewers seemed like Hominick pinned against the cage--unable to get up; unable to score any points--until Prince Fielder came to the plate with one out in the top of the ninth inning. After working the count to 3-1, he clubbed a game-tying homer to right field. But like the fight, the comeback didn't completely materialize. Cam Loe got the first two hitters out relatively easily in the bottom of the ninth but then walked the next two batters. Loe seemed to get out of the jam by striking out Jason Bourgeois but the close pitch was called a ball. Bourgeouis then singled in the winning run. A black eye in an otherwise solid pitching performance.

Astros 2, Brewers 1
Game played 4-30-11

On Friday night, the Brewers hit two solo shots in the first inning and Shaun Marcum scattered three hits over seven innings to lead Milwaukee to a 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the opening inning against Brett Myers. Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a solo shot, his first as a Brewer, in the fourth inning. Mitch Stetter (.1) and Brandon Kintzler (1.2) completed the shut out.

Marcum's performance takes him to 3-1 on the year with a 2.21 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.

Brewers 5, Astros 0
Game played 4-29-11