Monday, June 27, 2011

El Super

I can hardly believe it's Monday again. This week I'm handing the El Super to Jonathan Lucroy. He's had a fine week posting a .500/.533/.714 line in 15 plate appearances. Plus he hit his first big league triple on Sunday. He was just a single and home run away from hitting for the cycle.

As part of the First Half Review over on Brew Crew Ball, I gave my top three picks for the first half El Super. Check it out.

Move along. There will be no jinxing here.

I'm going to hold off on writing anything about the Twins series until after I go to the games at Target Field this weekend. Don't want to jinx anything.

Brewers __, Twins __
Games played 6-24-11, 6-25-11, 6-26-11

Next time I'm buying twist offs

For reasons that cannot be fully explained, I purchased beer for Wednesday's tailgating that did not have twist off caps--and then neglected to bring an opener. Usually, I can open the bottles on a tailgate with my hand. I know, I'm bad ass. But my Mom's mini-van did not have a good tailgate. It had some sort of soft, flexible rubber surface. Not ideal for opening a beer. But I tried anyway and ended up bruising my hand. Ahhhrgh.

The game sort of went like my attempt to open a beer. Initially, I was happy just to have a beer in my hand. (The Brewers got out to a 2-0 lead against David Price.) But then reality set in when I could not open it. (Kelly Shoppach home run. Tie game.) I asked my neighboring tailgaters for help. They responded with, "aren't they twist off?" (Elliot Johnson home run. 6-2 Rays.) So, I tried to open it on the rear bumper and side door of the minivan. I ended up with a half opened beer and a big bruise on my hand. Ouch. (Mark Kotsay pinch hitting with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on first. Bigger ouch.)

Rays 6, Brewers 3
Game played 6-22-11

Sunday, June 26, 2011


While we were throwing up the T, Zack Greinke was throwing up Ks. Ten to be exact. Over seven innings. In the meantime, the Brewers put up five runs. Which all meant it was time to put up a W.

Brewers 5, Rays 1
Game played 6-21-11

Monday, June 20, 2011

El Super Day

In an otherwise forgettable week, Rickie Weeks gave us a little something to cheer about. While the Brewers were putting together a 2-5 road trip, Weeks posted a .393/.393./.750 line. He hit two home runs and four doubles (eleven total hits) over six games--good enough for an El Super.

Speaking of forgettable events:
Rays 8, Brewers 4
Game played 6-20-11

A thing of the past ... and Happy Father's Day

The past week was dubbed the historic baseball stadium portion of the Brewers schedule. The Crew played at Wrigley for four games and then headed to Boston for three at Fenway Park over the weekend.

This portion of the schedule made winning seem like a thing of the past as well. Milwaukee managed just two wins in the seven games.

The Brewers dropped the first game against the Red Sox when Shaun Marcum injured his hip flexor and left the game after the first inning. The bullpen had to eat the subsequent seven innings--and the Red Sox don't really have the sort of line-up where this approach is going to be very successful. Marcum gave up two runs in the first; followed by Marco Estrada's three over four innings; Danny Herrera's four in one inning (3 ER); and Tim Dillard's one run over two innings. That's 10 runs if you're scoring at home.

Red Sox 10, Brewers 4
Game played 6-17-11

Game two of the series pitted Randy Wolf against Jon Lester. On paper, this was not a match-up that I felt super confident about. After watching the Sox's explosive offensive power on Friday, I thought Wolf's off-speed stuff might seem like big meatballs to the likes of Gonzalez and Ortiz. Instead, Wolf was downright masterful. He held Boston to just two runs on nine hits and one walk. Kam Loe pitched a scoreless eighth inning and John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 19th save. It was beautiful.

Brewers 4, Red Sox 2
Game played 6-18-11

On paper, Milwaukee had the advantage in Sunday's game. Yovani Gallardo just had to be himself and the Brewers needed to take advantage of Tim Wakefield. That turned out to be too much for the Brewers. After a one-day hiatus, the Red Sox bats were back. They sent 11 batters to the plate IN THE FIRST INNING and scored six runs. Meanwhile, Wakefield's knuckleball befuddled Milwaukee all day. He held the Brewers to three hits--but two homeruns--in eight innings.

Red Sox 12, Brewers 3
Game played 6-19-11

I'm sort of at a loss for how I'm feeling about the Brewers today. Without a doubt, I'm much more upset about the Cubs series than the Red Sox series. The Red Sox are really good. Winning one game at Fenway isn't great but it's about what I expected. I have no explanation for the Cubs. Milwaukee is still in first place, however, so all is not lost. It's time to get hot again--if for no other reason than the fact that I'm going to Tuesday and Wednesday's games.

Also, a word about my Dad in honor of Father's Day. I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone who works harder than my Dad. He was a dairy farmer for 30+ years and then sold his cows, rented out the farm land and opened a bakery and restaurant--which had been a lifelong dream. He gets up most days at 4 am and is still at work late into the evening. Most days, he'd tell you he loves it.

Craig Counsell is my Dad's favorite player. My Dad refers to him as "his guy." So, whenever I see Craig Counsell play, I think of my Dad (and the fact that using All Along the Watchtower as walk-up music makes him seem older than he is). Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This series made Baby Jesus cry

Only taking one game in a four game series from the Chicago Cubs was tough--especially after coming off the high of a three-game sweep of the Cardinals and taking over sole possession of first place in the NL Central. Despite my disappointment, I know that I need to keep things in perspective. Over the weekend, I read through the comments on Viva El Birdos, the Cardinals SB Nation blog site. (Seth was gone on a guys' weekend and I had a touch of the flu so I had a lot of alone time to kill.) It made me vow to have a better attitude because I never want to act like that.

On Tuesday, my co-worker Kent stopped by my office. He informed me that he had "finally dropped Casey McGehee" from his fantasy team.

"Wait," I said. "You've hung with him this long and now that he's getting hot, you're going to drop him. Big mistake."

He laughed at me. He said he picked up the Royals third baseman instead.

Casey didn't go crazy but he did have at least one hit in each game against the Cubs. Overall he went 5 for 17 with four RBI. Let's hope Kent really regrets his move.


I've mentioned this before but I work in downtown Minneapolis, not too far from Target Field. Target Field is in the middle of the downtown area (no parking lots) so spectators often park any where they can find an open ramp. After work on Tuesday, as I walked toward the parking ramp elevator bank, I ran into a couple coming off of the elevator. They were both decked out in Cubs gear.

Uhhh, guys. You know that the Twins are playing the White Sox, right? The Cubs are at home.

Cubs 5, Brewers 4
Game played 6-14-11

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

Cubs 12, Brewers 7
Game played 6-16-11

Monday, June 13, 2011

El Super

Prince Fielder.

Last week's stats: 10 for 20; 6 HR, 13 RBI; 1.500 SLG; .643 OBP; 30 total bases

'Nuff said.

Cubs 1, Brewers 0
Game played 6-13-11

First Place

What a weekend! Behind the strength of a three-game sweep of St. Louis, the Brewers moved from second place in the NL Central, 2.5 games behind the Cardinals, to first place, .5 in front of the Cardinals. After a Friday night blow out, Milwaukee had to come back in Saturday and Sunday's contests to get the sweep. It doesn't get a whole lot better if you're a Brewers fan.

While I tried to savor the victories and the giddiness I felt inside, I felt it important not to overdo it. It was just a few weeks ago where I wondered whether Milwaukee would ever win on the road. It's a long season. A lot can happen.

Oh, what the hell. YES. YES. YES. YES. WINNING IS AWESOME. FIRST PLACE IS AWESOME. THROWING UP THE T. PRINCE HOME RUNS. YES. YES. YES. If I'm going to feel terrible when they lose, then I should get to feel happy when they win.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3
Game played 6-12-11

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Walkin' a mile in some Cardinals shoes

Saturday night is often WMLW night, which usually means that those of us in the "out-of-market" area can get Brewers games only via the opponent's feed. I don't like it. I'm not an objective fan and, typically, I don't like to hear what the other side has to say. But at least I get to watch the game. Seth says that I am a poor loser, so in an effort to improve my sportsmanship, I'm going to walk a mile in a Cardinals fan's shoes.

Bring on Rick Horton and Al Hrabosky. I'm ready.

Top of the first inning.
Rick: The Cardinals would like to get on top. Very important series, Al. The Cardinals dropping game one, but the Brewers and Cardinals, you know it's going to be fun baseball. Every time these two teams come together, the last few seasons, you know, you're going to get a ball game.
Al: The Cardinals have a lot of veteran leadership, and, you know, when you talk about the big three and here the good eye by Berkman ... But this Milwaukee ball club is trying to prove to themselves that they can play with the Cardinals.

Bottom of the first.
Al: Carpenter knows his assignment: go deep into this ballgame but re-establish ...  And one: go deep. Save that bullpen a little bit. It's been worked an awful lot of late. And two, you know, go out there and be the ace. Stop this little losing streak. Tell Milwaukee that you're the stepchild; you're not good enough to be with us.

Top of the fifth. After John Jay makes a very nice catch robbing Casey McGehee of extra bases in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Rick: I love the reaction of his teammates on the field. Certainly reaction in the Cardinal dugout but Ryan Theriot clapping his hands. Albert clapping his hands. Carpenter waiting on the mound for John Jay to come in from rightfield and gave him a high five. Very appreciative of the effort of John Jay.

Bottom of the fifth.
Rick: We mentioned early in the telecast, in case you missed it, it's the night for saluting the Hispanic baseball players throughout the game done by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here in Milwaukee. They do it every year so this is Cerveceros Day. The Cardenales and the Cerveceros.
Al: I like the idea but a little surprising to me that we'd be doing it in Milwaukee. Didn't think this would be a big Hispanic hot bed.

Top of the eighth.
Al: They're a very good ball club. They're not going away. Talked about it last night that Milwaukee a few years ago you saw this very very talented offensive ballclub. Didn't have much pitching. Almost with the arrival of Braun, the emergence of Prince Fielder. And then they got a little cocky. They started winning but didn't know how to win with class. Taking out the shirttails and kinda rubbin' it in your face. But now they've got starting pitching; they've got a good closer; Loe's become a good set-up man; and they're starting to understand, you know they've got a good management team. Ron Roenicke his first year here, he's got them playing very well. Feeling good about themselves. No need to play with ... I'll say, it, playing with class.

In the spirit of seeing things from the other team's perspective, I'll pepper in a few quotes from Viva El Birdos, the Cardinals SB Nation site.

Wat are these uniforms?
Designed by Ryan Braun?
Also, for a minute, I thought we were playing the Padres.

very glad that I don't have to listen milwaukee announcers today, had to yesterday
assholes, imo.

Oh and fuck these guys for screwing around with the Cards' uniforms
just because there are people in Milwaukee who are unaware of Hispanics.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3
Game played 6-11-11

Brewers 8, Cardinals 0
Game played 6-10-11

Intoxicated by victory; a little hungover the next day

It was easy to soak up Wednesday night's game and post-game festivities--the comeback; the Nyjer Morgan interview--it was the kind of thing a fan lives for. One writer described the end of Morgan's FS Wisconsin interview thusly:

Finally, he sprints off to the clubhouse, intoxicated by victory and soaked in sweat.
[Note: I think he was soaked in Gatorade that Prince dumped on him.]

It would have been hard for Thursday's game, the rubber match between the Brewers and Mets, to live up to the previous night's contest. Even with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throwing out the first pitch, the Crew was a little flat. Yovani Gallardo didn't have his best stuff and he strugged through 4+ innings, giving up four runs on ten hits. The offense managed just one run on four hits. Not a terrible game by any means but it was sort of a let down after the high of Wednesday night's game.

Mets 4, Brewers 1
Gamed played 6-9-11

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Throwing up the T

After falling behind 6-2 on Wednesday night, the Brewers staged a frantic eighth inning rally to tie the score. Prince's second home run of the night got the game back to even. In the bottom of the ninth, with Craig Counsell on second and two outs, Nyjer Morgan sent a liner down the right field line to score the game winner.

After the game, Mark Concannon on FSWIS attempted to catch up with our hero.

MC: OK, Craig, thank you. And Nyjer...

Nyjer Morgan: What are we looking at? [Points toward camera; not sure where he should look.]

MC: Lookin' right there, my friend. You hit the game winning hit...

NM: I didn't know [voice gets high; laughs].

MC: You didn't know?

NM: I thought we were winning and ahhh just looking for a pitch and ahhh I guess I got it and takin' it down the line. But ahhh, man I didn't even know what time it was or anything, even though we got all the scoreboards and everything. I was just out there having fun.

MC: And what a win; to come back from 6 to 2 ...

NM: Yahhhh.

MC: so late. This is a huge win for you guys.

NM: Oh you know, I mean, we definitely ...

[Prince sneaks up and dumps water or Gatorade over NM's head. NM starts jumping up and down and saying "Yah. Yah. Yah."]

MC: It's a hot day, folks, Nyjer needs to cool off.

[Nyjer then points to the camera or someone and continues to jump up and down.]

NM: You see it? You see it? [Forms a T with his hands.] Throwing up the T. There it is. Throwing it up. Yahhhhhh. What up?

MC: Tell us about the ole Braveheart stuff from the dugout here. [Bends forward; makes motion away from camera.]

NM: What Braveheart?

MC: You had the arrows going?

NM: Oh no, that's a Usain Bolt.

MC: Ohhh, that's Usain Bolt. OK.

NM: Yah, you're cocking it back and letting it fly. [Pulls back the bow and let's it fly.] Haaah! Ha ha ha.

MC: Well, you let it fly tonight, my friend. This has got to be a great feeling. You get a chance now to win the series tomorrow and keep up the terrific play of late.

NM: Yeah, no, I mean, we just gotta come back, you know, tonight's over with. We're going to enjoy this for tonight but tomorrow get back to work and bring the pain again. Ahhhhh [flexes]. I gotta go. [Throws hands up in the air and runs away from Mark back to the clubhouse.]

Brewers 7, Mets 6
Game played 6-8-11

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Laughing matter

In Sunday's game against the Florida Marlins, Bill Schroeder talked at length about "Cuban coffee." He said that he always has two before every game when he's in Florida. And then he laughed and proceeded to be in a good mood for the rest of the game.

Bill was even joking around about the possibility of Josh Wilson hitting a home run when he came to the plate of the eleventh inning. And then he hit it. Bill laughed and said, "you never know."

While Bill might attribute his good mood to Cuban coffee, what has most of us smiling these days is a 5-2 road trip. The win gives the Brewers a much more respectable 13-19 road record and a 34-26 overall record. No team has been hotter than the Milwaukee Brewers. And that makes me smile.

Brewers 7, Marlins 2
Game played 6-6-11

Brewers 6, Marlins 5 (11 innings)
Game played 6-5-11

Brewers 3, Marlins 2
Game played 6-4-11

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Loes and Highs

The Brewers have not been good on the road (9-18 prior to Wednesday's game) and they haven't been good against the Reds (2-6 in 2011 prior to Wednesday's game) thus far. It looked like the Brewers might be turning a corner, however, after a 2-2 West Coast road trip, followed by an 8-1 homestand. Milwaukee dropped the first of three to Cincinnati on Monday but took Tuesday's contest.

So, entering Wednesday's game, I felt that if Milwaukee could win on Wednesday and take 2 of 3 from the Reds in Cincinnati, it would signal that that corner had indeed been turned. Milwaukee got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning and 3-0 after the fourth inning. Shaun Marcum was cruising along. Things looked good. Marcum, as is becoming customary, tired, and he gave up a two-run home run to Jay Bruce in the seventh inning. Still, the Brewers had the lead, 3-2.

Kam Loe came in to pitch the eighth inning and recorded two quick outs. He then hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch and Joey Votto followed by crushing Loe's offering 450 feet. In the blink of an eye, the lead was gone. The Brewers went out with a whimper in the ninth. Game over. Corner unturned. I was devastated. I couldn't sleep.

It is sort of scary to me how much I care about the Brewers. Sometimes it's hard to remember it's just one game out of 162.

After an off-day, Milwaukee was in Florida to take on the Marlins. Friday's game took on an eerily similar feel after the Brewers took leads of 2-0 and 4-1, only to see the Marlins take a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning. The Brewers got two runners on in the eighth but the middle of the line-up failed to plate any runs.

In the ninth, the Marlins sent the league's leader in saves, Leo Nunez, to the mound. He had converted 19 of 20 save opportunities. Things were not looking pretty. Would it be another blown opportunity?

Yuniesky Betancourt led off the inning with a single (although he tried to get picked off after he made too wide of a turn). A glimmer of hope. Ryan Braun, who was sitting out the game with a sore shoulder, came to the plate to hit for the pitcher. Braun was made for moments like this and he didn't disappoint. After working the count to 1-1, Braun tagged one to the blue seats in leftfield. In the blink of an eye, the Brewers went ahead.

Axford closed out the ninth for the win. I was so excited I couldn't sleep.

Reds 4, Brewers 3 
Game played 6-1-11

Brewers 6, Marlins 5
Game played 6-3-11

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Victory is ours!

As you may recall, I had an epic battle with DIRECTV regarding the blackout of a Brewers-Padres game a few weeks ago. Today, I received a $5 customer loyalty credit.

Today is also the day that the Brewers finally won at Great American Ballpark.

I don't think it was a coincidence.

Brewers 7, Reds 2
Game played 5-31-11