Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This blog post was supposed to be called 'Fielder's Choice' but instead I'm calling it 'I love Prince Fielder'

(h/t Chris Gliedman for Fielder's Choice)

There is a part of me that knows he will be gone after this year. Knows it. There is no scenario that keeps Prince in Milwaukee and makes sense.

Yet there is a part of me that thinks there's a chance that he'll stay. The Yankees don't need him. The Red Sox don't need him. Albert Pujols will be a free agent. HE LOVES US. HE LOVES PLAYING IN MILWAUKEE. There had to be a moment in that clinching celebration when he was bear hugging the crowd that he thought, This is it. This is home. Right?

Even the Pirates pitching staff showered Prince with love on Tuesday night at Miller Park. And it was a good thing, too, because the Brewers needed all three of his home runs to take down the Pirates. Home run number one came in the bottom of the third inning with Milwaukee trailing 0-1. Prince blasted a letter high fastball out to right field. Rickie Weeks followed with a mammoth shot that gave the Crew its first lead of the night, 2-1. After the Pirates had taken back the lead in the top of the fifth inning, Prince snatched it right back with a two-run blast to center field.

The Pirates tied the game at four in the sixth inning but Fielder untied it for good in the seventh with another two-run shot after Ryan Braun had walked to start the inning. After that, the Brewers cruised to their 95th win of the season.

After the game, there was a lot of talk of Fielder "willing the team to win." If by willing you mean went out and won the game, I'd agree. I love Prince Fielder.

Brewers 6, Pirates 4
Game played 9-27-11

El MVsuPer

I'm going to lobby hard for this one: Ryan Braun for NL MVP.

33 HR, 31 SB
And that really killer home run on Friday night.

At the beginning of September, Bill Simmons wrote a story about MVPs, explaining the history of the award and the fact that it is named the most VALUABLE player vs. most OUTSTANDING player award. Give it to Braun and be done with it. No one has been more valuable.

Now I have to run off and try to get my playoff tickets via the lottery. I'll report back.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Clinching is a hell of a lot better than clenching

The Brewers clinched the NL Central division title last night. Whooooooooo!!! Let me say that again. The Brewers are the 2011 NL Central Division Champs.

I've been struggling all day to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Obviously, I'm happy and excited. One of the reasons that I am just now getting to writing this all down (3 pm on Saturday) is that I've spent hours reading the accounts of last night's game--watching video of the game, looking at photos, reading other's posts about the game. It's awesome. Every last word, photo and video that I've watched has been beyond wonderful. I think I've watched Ryan Braun's home run about 25 times today. I cannot put into words what this season has meant to me. So flipping awesome!!

But there's a part of me that just feels relieved. Exhausted and relieved. I have lived and breathed Brewers baseball for 157 games. Heck, I even went to spring training. It's a long season and I've watched nearly every game in its entirety. (Thank you, Tivo.) The ones that I haven't watched, I've listened to on the radio or followed on Gameday. I expected the Brewers to be good from the minute that they traded for Zack Greinke. I expected them to win the division. And, as you all know, there's a different feeling that comes from rooting for an underdog vs. rooting for a team that is expected to win. So, today feels good. Like I can finally exhale. Like I can finally put that Brewers decal on my car window without jinxing the team. Like I can stop worrying that comparing the Pittsburgh Pirates to a giant cream puff (as I did in a previous blog post) would somehow lead to the Pirates knocking the Brewers out of the playoffs in the last three games of the season.

Mixed in with my happiness and relief are feelings of nostalgia. All those clips of Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, Gorman Thomas and Rollie Fingers really get to me. I was nine years old in 1982 and my earliest baseball memories are of the Brewers in that post-season. I remember watching the World Series with my Mom. When the Brewers won the Wild Card in 2008 on the last day of the season, I was watching the deciding game with my Mom. I was home for my Grandmother's birthday party. My Grandmother would pass away not so long after this but I will always remember celebrating my Grandmother and celebrating Ryan Braun's home run on that day.

Last night, as I was watching the game with Seth, my brother, Nick, and his wife, Karen, we spent a great deal of time laughing about the confusion between clenching and clinching. So Karen shared a story with us. Karen was speaking to her mother, while her mother was driving. At one point, her mom got upset with another driver. "Someone just swerved in front of me," she told Karen. "I just hate it when people drive erotically around me."

You might say that I'm all over the place with my feelings about the Brewers. You might even say that my feelings are eroitc. At least I know the difference between clinching and clenching. Clinching is what the Brewers did last night. Whoooo!

Brewers 4, Marlins 1
Game played 9-23-11

Monday, September 19, 2011

El Super

Coming into this past weekend's series at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the Brewers offense was struggling. After winning the opener against St. Louis, 4-1, Milwaukee scored a total of nine runs in the next five games and dropped all of them. Things got only slightly better for the Brewers' bats in a 3-2 win against the Phillies and a 2-1 victory against the Rockies (mostly because the pitching was better, not that the offense exploded). In the finale against the Rockies, the Brewers lost 2-6. That's a total of 20 runs in nine games against St. Louis, Philadelphia and Colorado.

Against this backdrop, the Brewers went into Cincinnati and clobbered the Reds pitching. And for being so generous, the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff earns this week's El Super. In sweeping the Reds, Milwaukee put up 6, 10 and 8 runs, respectively. In Friday night's victory, Milwaukee got just seven hits but five of those hits were home runs. Thank you, Bronson Arroyo. The Brewers pounded out 10 runs on 11 hits with two home runs (6 for 15 RISP) on Saturday. Thank you, Edinson Volquez. On Sunday, against last minute starter Matt Maloney, Milwaukee collected 12 hits (3 home runs, 3 for 7 RISP). Thanks for the back spasms, Dontrelle Willis.

And after watching Milwaukee struggle again on Monday--against the likes of Casey Coleman--the Reds pitching is looking mighty El Super.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Battle to the End

If I were a regular sports writer, writing a regular game summary, I'd probably start out with something along the lines of: It's not how you start the game, it's how you finish it. OR, Ryan Braun may have gotten only one hit on Tuesday night, but he made that one hit count. OR, simply, Fuck yes.

OK. Maybe not that last one, although it seems like the most original. Braun had a tough night at the plate until he led off in the eleventh inning of a 1-1 ball game. Braun got ahead 3-0 in the count, took one strike and then fouled off five pitches. He took the tenth pitch from Matt Lindstrom over the left-center field wall for the walk-off win.

Telly: Ryan, you always said that you live for those types of moments. How did you know exactly when you had it?

Braun: You know, I knew I hit it pretty good off the bat so ahhh first ten innings for me were terrible--probably my worst baseball game of the year so it's nice to be able to help the team out. Big win for us. And you know, we just continue to battle, continue to fight. We didn't play a very good game overall today but we found a way to win.

Telly: You mentioned your first previous at-bats and you weren't able to get a hit but when you're in that situation do you even think about hitting a home run or ending the game?

Braun: No, I mean Linstrom has too good of stuff to worry about hitting a home run, you know. I just hoped to get the bat on the barrel or the ball on the barrel and just compete every at bat. The first two at-bats weren't good but you try to move on. You continue to compete and I think good teams, good players respond to adversity and tonight, definitely playing with adversity.

Telly:  It has to feel good to get the win after such a grinder. Both teams, one run, 1-1 the entire game and you were able to deliver the clutch hit.

Braun: Ya, it's a crazy game sometimes. We didn't play very good baseball today yet somehow we found a way to win and that's what good teams do so come out tomorrow and try to do the same thing.

A superstar like Braun is usually pretty adept at staying on point in the post game interview and tonight was no different. There are a whole bunch of cliches in that interview. Then again, sometimes teams do play poorly and yet they find a way to win. Sometimes they grind or scuffle or whatever but they hang in there and battle. And sometimes that leads to victory.

Brewers 2, Rockies 1
Game played 9-13-11

Monday, September 12, 2011

El Super

It seems incredible but there are only three more Mondays left in the regular season. Only three more El Supers .... and maybe some post season El Super Supers. With a Cardinals loss on Monday night, the Brewers magic number now stands at nine.

This week's El Super winner is Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo started two games and posted a 1-1 record. The win came Sunday against the Phillies and helped to end a five game team losing streak. In the two games, Yo posted a 3.46 ERA, giving up five runs over 13 innings, while striking out 17. Even though four of the seven hits Gallardo gave up were home runs, he did face two of the better offenses in the league (Cardinals and Phillies). At the plate he went 2-for-5 with a double.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I got your back, T. Plush

F--- you, pussy.

You could read his lips. That's exactly what Nyjer Morgan said to Chris Carpenter after he struck out in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game. According to Morgan, Carpenter said something to him first. And after Morgan continued the conversation as he walked up the third base line and toward the dugout, Albert Pujols started jogging (or maybe that's his sprinting speed?) toward Morgan. And then things escalated.

Although I wish that Morgan would have just let it go, he did succinctly sum up my feelings about the Cardinals. Middle finger to you, inferior beer town.

I don't like playing the Cardinals. It isn't fun. Sure, some of it is that the Cardinals are good and it's never super fun to lose. But that isn't really what makes playing the Cardinals like getting a root canal. No, what makes a game against the Cardinals a joyless experience for me is that they have the unique ability to make me (as a fan of the Brewers) feel like crap even when the Brewers win.

According to the St. Louis Cardinals, they've never lost a game because the other team was better. It's only outside factors, like umpires, shadows, sign stealing, ribbon banners, scoreboards, wind, untucked shirts, pitching inside to Pujols, etc... that have led to their losses against Milwaukee. And even on the rare occasions where the Cardinals grudgingly concede a victory, then Milwaukee doesn't win with class. Do not even get me started on Tony LaRussa.

St. Louis, if your goal was to get into the Brewers heads, you've failed. The Crew still leads the division (and you!) by 8.5 games.

But you got into mine. And that pisses me off. You sucked all of the fun out of baseball so I'm glad to be done with you for the season. So while T. Plush may have thrown a few swears (and chew) your way, I can't really blame him for calling you names. Fun suckers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

El Super Call-Up

"I guess you can't give this award to Ryan Braun every week." --Seth

This week's El Super goes to recent call-up, Taylor Green. After being added to the big league roster, Green patiently waited his turn to see some action. He rewarded the Brewers by collecting a hit in each of his first three at-bats. In a pinch-hit role on Friday night, he helped to turn a 0-2 deficit against the Astros into a 3-2 lead when his two-out single sparked a rally. Ron Roenicke rewarded him with a start on Saturday and another on Monday against the Cardinals. Since being called up from Triple A Nashville, Green has had 12 at-bats and collected hits in half of them. His slash line is pretty at .500/.550/.750.

El Super 1A goes to the Grecian Sensation, George Kottaras, who used one of his rare non-Randy Wolf starts on Saturday night to hit for the cycle. He was the first player in MLB to do so this year. For this statistical anomaly, George earns an El Super.