Al's Ramblings

Saturday, April 30, 2005

(4/30/2005 08:09:00 PM) - Robert R.

That sound you're hearing is the Brewers righting the ship. Or at least the illusion of it. They've had one bad, flu plagued week primarily against two playoff teams and they've been pretty competitive otherwise this season.

They still have problems. They probably would have lost against a legitimately good team today. But the damage was limited and they were finally able to take advantage of their opportunities. Yost has made some decidely curious decisions this year, but deciding to bring in Damian Miller today was one of his more inspired decisions. Moeller isn't getting it done, at present, and today was particularly egrigous with a pop out triggering the infield fly rule with bases loaded. A lot of managers wouldn't have made the move on an off day by their catcher. A lot of managers wouldn't have won today.

4/30/2005 08:09:00 PM

Friday, April 29, 2005

(4/29/2005 11:40:00 PM) - Al

Forgot to mention earlier that Sheets was DL'd, Julio Santana brought up from Nashville to work in low pressure situations.

4/29/2005 11:40:00 PM

(4/29/2005 11:38:00 PM) - Al

I am out until late Sunday or Monday, as we are off to Miller Park this weekend.

Hopefully, Robert or Jason will offer some thoughts. Bye for now.

4/29/2005 11:38:00 PM

(4/29/2005 10:07:00 PM) - Al

I was impressed with Gary Glover last September, and he has done an OK job this year as well. He'll never be a 3.50 ERA guy, but he seems to be good for 5-6 innings of keeping his team in the game. I actually thought he'd be our long reliever/spot starter, but he worked his way into the 5th spot in the rotation and has pitched well enough to stay there.

4/29/2005 10:07:00 PM

(4/29/2005 09:55:00 PM) - Al

Derrick Turnbow looked all but unhittable tonight, just firing fastballs up there with abandon, the epitome of "here ya go, hit it".

I've written of this before, but I would be talking to Mike Maddux about a multi-year contract, for whatever top dollar is for pitching coaches. I admit, I have no idea what that is, but if it means having to have Trent Durrington instead of a wily Craig Counsell veteran, so be it. Maddux took Dan Kolb from waiver wire pickup to top closer, and has taken Turnbow from waiver wire pickup to decent closer.

I know managers usually choose friends of theirs to be pitching coaches (this is how buffoons like Grumpy Stewart find jobs), but I'd lock Maddux in, and tell the manager (if a change is ever made) that he's the guy.

4/29/2005 09:55:00 PM

(4/29/2005 09:52:00 PM) - Al

Overbay's agent, Steve Hilliard, contacted the Major League Baseball Players Association on Wednesday, a day after Overbay suffered a gash near his left jaw when he fell into a Plexiglas railing separating the field from the stands. According to Overbay and Brewers union representative Wes Helms, the Cardinals have agreed to either pad that Plexiglas or remove it.

So, why exactly is it there? And if the player's asociation cares about these things, how has the brick wall in Wrigley escaped the wrath?

4/29/2005 09:52:00 PM

(4/29/2005 03:22:00 PM) - Robert R.

I'll say that it doesn't look very encouraging for getting any value or use out of Wes Helms this year. Kansas City only popped into my head due to the dilemma of Ken Harvey and Calvin Pickering.

In another vein, my wife and I attended the Milwaukee Rep's performance of Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde last night. It's the final play of the season for the Milwaukee Rep and it is a classic. It's not as funny as The Importance of Being Earnest, which has enough lines and situations for 4 Seinfeld episodes, but it's still a finely oiled machine of social satire and witty one liners, with a point. Combined with handsome sets and good acting throughout and it's one of the high points of the season for the Rep. Tickets to this play would probably be a fine Mother's Day present or a good choice for a date.

4/29/2005 03:22:00 PM

(4/29/2005 10:34:00 AM) - Al

I agree with this writer, the White Sox early success is just a mirage. Close games tend to even out, almost at exactly a coin flip. 162 contests is a long time to "beat the odds".

4/29/2005 10:34:00 AM

(4/29/2005 08:51:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers hoped Sheets would be able to return to the rotation next Thursday in the finale of a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. If he is placed on the DL retroactive to April 21, he'd be eligible to pitch again next Friday, just one day later.

Talk about not having much incentive. Bumping Sheets up a single day, or bringing up some insurance for the bullpen seems like a rather easy call.

4/29/2005 08:51:00 AM

Thursday, April 28, 2005

(4/28/2005 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Thanks to all of you that made Ramblings the Journal Sentinel's pick for blog of the week. According to the short write-up, Ramblings received twice as many votes as the 2nd place finisher, which I guess means there is no underestimating the taste of the average voter.

A special thank you to Robert and Jason, who I know from e-mail and visitor counts have brought many more daily visitors here. Thanks to all who voted, and to those who voted for others, thanks for effectively splitting up your votes.:)

4/28/2005 09:00:00 PM

(4/28/2005 07:39:00 PM) - Al

My thoughts after perusing major league rosters, looking for teams that could, in theory, use Wes Helms, and/or have a high salaried OF they may like to dump.

1. By far the best option would seem to be Tampa Bay, who could actually plug Helms into the starting lineup and improve their team, as they have two 3B on their roster with sub 700 OPS numbers for their careers. Meanwhile, career reserve CF Chris Singleton sits on their bench...and bats lefty. Hmmm. We would have to give TB a couple million to even out salaries.

2. OAK would seem to have little use for Bobby Kielty, but not a whole lot of use for Helms either.

3. SD could use Wes to platoon with Sean Burroughs, and have a plethora of OF's, including veteran Adam Hyzdu, who may be the odd man out when they get their full roster healthy.

4. Finally, the only player I could find that his team would simply give away was Bobby Higginson, who is a lefty, but makes $8.5M in '05, and hasn't played CF in forever. While this may a workable swap, if some money changed hands of course, seems pretty unlikely.

4/28/2005 07:39:00 PM

(4/28/2005 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Brewers end up winning the makeup game today, winning a rare tight affair, which means they have outscored their opponents by one after 21 games.

A bit surprised to see Overbay still not playing (he did appear late in the game) after a dozen stitches in his chin on Tuesday. I've never had stitches, but I can't believe there's a lot of lingering effects, other than minor discomfort.

I believe Cirillo has a decent chance of being productive as a bench guy and RH half of a 3B platoon, but very little chance for success playing every day when up against anything but the weakest RH arms.

I have been thinking almost the exact same thing as Robert the past few days, that Helms, at this point, is simply sunk cost. I was just thinking today that a LH hitting OF would be the perfect return for Wes, though it would be preferrable that it not be a Stairs type, but a LH bat capable of playing CF. I'll search rosters tonight and see if I come up with a possible "match". Ironically, my initial thought was also the Royals, as I know they have Mark Teahan at 3B, a young LH hitter.

4/28/2005 06:53:00 PM

(4/28/2005 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Rolling Stone, well recognized as being a couple years behind, has noticed poker has become kind of popular. Well written article, even if none of it is "new".

4/28/2005 06:48:00 PM

(4/28/2005 05:22:00 PM) - Al

King Gleeman tells about the White Sox losing their cool, and then the game yesterday. To make a long story short, the umpire said Joe Crede leaned into a pitch, and refused to award him 1B, which led to ejections galore, and Jermaine Dye playing SS.

I wish this would be called a ton more, as Fernando Vina made a living doing just that, and was never caught, as far as I know. That said, Rickie Weeks is somewhat well known for doing the exact same thing, so maybe I'll feel differently later this year or next.

4/28/2005 05:22:00 PM

(4/28/2005 05:15:00 PM) - Al

Before new general manager Ted Thompson got through the first full on-field workout of his tenure with the Packers, his star wide receiver, Javon Walker, hadn't reported for work, his star running back, Ahman Green, had been cited again for domestic abuse and his top cornerback, Al Harris, was reportedly under investigation for sexual assault.

Wow, it's like the University of Cincinnati basketball team...every single season.

The worst part about working in the NFL is having to deal with the "quality" of people you have to deal with. Ouch.

4/28/2005 05:15:00 PM

(4/28/2005 11:58:00 AM) - Robert R.

At some point this season the Brewers are going to have to decide what they're going to do with Wes Helms. He's obviously not upping his stock any by gathering splinters on the bench, he's not helping the team win since he has no role at present, and he's not going to be offered arbitration. Right now, he's nothing more than a warm body on the bench which does neither him nor the team any good.

Personally, I'd be willing to eat his salary to ship him to some team that has an extra left-handed hitter around that they're not using. Wes Helms and cash for Matt Stairs? There has to be some extra outfielder around that someone, likely bad, doesn't need.

4/28/2005 11:58:00 AM

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

(4/27/2005 10:18:00 PM) - Al

John tells of a simpler time, when televisions took up the entire room, and sat on the floor. Great post.

4/27/2005 10:18:00 PM

(4/27/2005 12:00:00 PM) - Al

First of all, some shameless promotion. Ramblings has been nominated for Journal Sentinel's weblog of the week. If you would like to vote, click here and vote for Ramblings. It takes just a few seconds. Thanks for your time.

UPDATE: I changed the date to keep this post at the top until voting is complete. Regular readers, please excuse the inconvienence.

4/27/2005 12:00:00 PM

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

(4/26/2005 09:33:00 PM) - Al

I wasn't very surprised to see Wes Obermueller hit for himself, even if he's coming out of the game before he pitches again. However, it is a vote of no confidence in Wes Helms and Chad Moeller. Chris Magruder will all but certainly be the PH called on should the Brewers have to use another one, and I have to think Ned Yost simply felt Wes was a better bet than either Wes or Chad.

4/26/2005 09:33:00 PM

(4/26/2005 08:06:00 PM) - Al


I'll say that I really like Derrick Turnbow on the mound to close. Here is why, he throws really hard and to me it looked like he blew a couple of the Giants away with his heater. I've been keeping up with the Crew every game and I won't lie I am terrified when ol Tommy Phelps takes the hill. I have a soft spot for the guy because of the old Honda he had during the minors. My first car was a Honda POS as well. I'll be reading your blog everyday 'til I don't know when. Take care.


I don't really hate the Turnbow closing over Adams move, but I wouldn't have done it for a couple reasons.

1. What was Adams, 1 of 2 in save chances? That doesn't seem like a whole lot to base a decision on...if the blooper doesn't fall in versus LA, is he still the closer?

2. It is difficult to believe a guy like Derrick was available on waivers, throws 94+ consistently, and has at least one decent breaking ball. That said, he would appear to be hot/cold...and often times, the closer doesn't have much backup. In his save chance, it was Wes and Matt left in the bullpen, and neither was a desirable choice, Wes was supposed to make a spot start the next day, and Wise had worked the day before.

Now, at least part of the reason for the change has been Adams' supposed loss of velocity. He was a consistent 90-91 on Sunday...I can't say I recall him hitting 92-94 last year, and certainly not every game. He didn't seem to be confident of his fastball, but being yanked from your role after one bad outing tends to do that to you.

I am a big believer in Matt Wise, and if he's going to be utilized an inning at a time, I think he'll be in the closer's role before long.

4/26/2005 08:06:00 PM

(4/26/2005 04:49:00 PM) - Al

I just looked it up, and the Brewers have still outscored their opponents this year, 82-77. Do that for the year, I have to believe they'll be fine.

Also, they are 9th in walks, having drawn 69 of them, almost 4 per game. Last year, they averaged 3.35 bases on balls a game. While it's still well in the small sample time of year, I'd rather be up than down.

4/26/2005 04:49:00 PM

Monday, April 25, 2005

(4/25/2005 10:21:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure how much night crawlers sell for these days, I remember they used to be about 12 for $1.

If that's still the case, I'd estimate there are about $50 worth out on the sidewalk/street just on my block alone.

FYI, I left 'em there for you. The cocker spaniel and myself were more interested in staying dry, thank you.

4/25/2005 10:21:00 PM

(4/25/2005 10:08:00 PM) - Al

I got my haircut today, and next door is one of those check places, write a check for $600 they'll deposit in a week or two, and they'll give you $500 today. They must have a law in WI that the interest rates for these places have to be posted, as they had a huge poster up on the wall stating the APR...which was 573%.

So, on the late news, they just told of arrests made of the Chicago mafia, charges include "loan sharking".

I wonder if they didn't have their poster up properly?:) I honestly cannot comprehend anywhere charging more than the legal alternative, so the idea of loan sharking still being illegal seems like a double standard.

4/25/2005 10:08:00 PM

(4/25/2005 09:57:00 PM) - Al

I wonder why the rainout is not being made up as part of a day/night doubleheader Wednesday, instead of the Crew playing a day game Wednesday, then hanging around and playing another day game Thursday? Most fans who had planned on attending tonight would be more likely to be able to attend an evening affair than a matinee. Of course, it is likely to work out to the Brewers' benefit, as they will be able to skip Obermueller, at least for now, and even if he does need to take Ben's place, he should be available for bullpen work tomorrow and Wednesday.

If Sheets is unable to make his next turn on the mound, which works out to be Saturday, they would be intelligent to put him on the DL and adding a fresh arm from Nashville, most likely Jeff Bennett or Julio Santana, who have both pitched wonderfully thus far in AAA. Wes O would only have to make one start, because of the day off a week from tonight.

4/25/2005 09:57:00 PM

(4/25/2005 09:15:00 PM) - Robert R.

With the Brewers rained out tonight, here's a punchline to a joke of a few weeks back.

My AL rotisserie team for this year, 11 team, Traditional 4 x 4, Keeper League

Feel free to laugh.

C Toby Hall $8
C John Flaherty $1
1B Paul Konerko $18
2B Orlando Hudson $11
SS Derek Jeter $28
3B Aubrey Huff $20
MI Russ Adams $6
CI Corey Koskie $18
DH David Ortiz $20
OF Hideki Matsui $22
OF Gabe Gross $10 (that was a mistake)
OF Frank Catalanotto $7 (too many Blue Jays)
OF Bobby Higginson $2
OF Randy Winn $19

P Jeremy Affeldt $4
P Damaso Marte $5
P J. J. Putz $5
P Rafael Soriano $17 (there's the punchline.)
P Danny Haren $14 (in Billy I trust)
P Joe Blanton $7 (in Billy I trust, again)
P Tim Wakefield $11 (in Theo I trust)
P Jason Johnson $5 (needed a starter)
P Jon Garland $1 (so far making me look a lot smarter than I felt on auction day)

Hanley Ramirez
Daric Barton
Chad Orvella

Of course, the joke is that I'm in second place after what I felt was a bad auction, thanks in large part to the ERA and WHIP of Haren, Blanton, Wakefield, and Garland. It's even more suprising considering I spent only $69 on pitching including a wasted $17 on Soriano. I doubt I'll maintain, but I feel that I got reasonable value with the exceptions of Soriano and Hall and Hall's price was inflated due to a shortage of starting catchers. I couldn't have done much better on my minors picks though.

4/25/2005 09:15:00 PM

(4/25/2005 06:40:00 PM) - Al

Robert is correct...can you imagine the advantage the Yankees would have if they spent their money wisely? Sure, they're spending $200+ million on payroll, but they have Tony Womack at 2B and Ruben Sierra DHing. Last year, they insisted Bernie Williams was too feeble to play CF, and signed Kenny Lofton. Over the winter, they traded Lofton and put Bernie back in CF...apparently, he got younger over time.

Not only did Wright get way overpaid, he set the market for mediocrity way too high.

4/25/2005 06:40:00 PM

(4/25/2005 01:57:00 PM) - Robert R.

Jaret Wright goes on the DL today. I suppose the Magglio Ordonez contract is still worse at this point, but the Tigers at least seemed to be aware that they were taking a risk and have some injury clause outs in the contract. Is anyone, other than the Yankees, really surprised that Jaret Wright didn't pitch like he did under Mazzone and had an injury?

I don't expect Damian Miller to keep up his current pace and the third year on his contract is obviously the biggest question mark, but he's certainly looking like a good buy at this point. It would be nice if Jenkins and Lee start hitting up to their contract standards and then maybe the team could take advantage of some good work by the supporting cast.

4/25/2005 01:57:00 PM

(4/25/2005 12:12:00 PM) - Al

Musings enters a boatload of numbers into a database, and shows that almost every single hitter entered had the exact same amount of "clutch hits" as you'd expect by looking at his career BA.

Repeat after me, clutch hitting does not exist. 11 of 565 seems to prove that.

4/25/2005 12:12:00 PM

(4/25/2005 11:39:00 AM) - Al

Moneyball scribe Michael Lewis pens a long article for NY Times magazine, that focuses on steroids and the players who may or may not have taken them. He writes much on Moneyballer Stve Stanley, a 5-7 CF who despite being built like a weightlifter, plays "little ball", and feels it is unfair he has to compete with steroid users.

Lewis (who as I always point out, is former MTV on-air personality Tabitha Soren's husband) could make anything interesting, and it is a fine read, though it'll take you 10 minutes or so to get through it.

Hat tip to David.

4/25/2005 11:39:00 AM

(4/25/2005 08:11:00 AM) - Al

As King Gleeman said, I'll believe it when I see it, but the Twins have agreed on a site for a new ballpark with Hennepin County (for those non MN folks, that's Minneapolis).

All that's left is (sigh), for voters (who will throw money at any and every cause except a new stadium) to approve a 0.0015% sales tax increase (that's a penny for every $6.67 spent).

Sadly, it probably doesn't have a prayer.

4/25/2005 08:11:00 AM

Sunday, April 24, 2005

(4/24/2005 07:41:00 PM) - Al

I think it's safe to step off the ledge. Crew wins 2 of 3 from San Francisco, including an 8-5 win today, chronicled for you here in all its glory.

4/24/2005 07:41:00 PM

(4/24/2005 07:17:00 PM) - Jason

On a non-baseball related note: I know Al isn't a big fan of the NFL per se, but most people in the state at least had one eye on the Packers draft this weekend. I must say that I am very pleased with the Packers draft. No matter how the rest of the players turn out, the success or failure of this draft will rest solely on the success or failure of Aaron Rodgers as the next QB of the team. Packers fans need to only look a couple of hours south at the Bears to see what happens to a franchise when they can't come up with at least a competent quarterback. The time has come for the Packers to begin that search, so when Brett Favre does decide to hang them up, the Packers will be ready. From all accounts, Rodgers is a wonderful selection for Green Bay.

That being said, I do find it comical that so many people are already 'grading' this draft and giving their 'winners and losers' months before the first snap of the regular season will take place. You have no idea how drafts in general turn out until the players actually hit the field - and, in many cases, you won't know until a couple of years in advance. Some Packers fans are complaining about Green Bay picking guys from 'small schools' or 'guys they have never heard of', but just because they guys didn't go to a BCS school or were on TV or listed in some draft book doesn't mean they can't be good football players. Ron Wolf always used to say that you can call a draft 'successful' if it produces at least three guys who end up starters or key contributors to your football team. Sometimes that doesn't happen right away, either - as in the case for the 2002 Packers draft that featured Javon Walker, Najeh Davenport, and Aaron Kampman. Those three guys didn't become starters or key contributors really until just last year.

Lets give the kids a chance, folks.

4/24/2005 07:17:00 PM

(4/24/2005 07:16:00 PM) - Jason

Nice series by the Crew in San Francisco to stop the bleeding a bit, winning two out of three. Good to see Carlos Lee bust out a bit, hitting two homers today. Yes, its early on, but the next series in St. Louis is a big one for the Brewers; a solid series against the Cards will certainly help the Brewers mentally after some shoddy play and some bad luck early on.

Gotta feel good for a guy like Gary Glover, who picked up the win today. Two of Gary's first three starts have been 'quality' starts, and I think the Brewers would gladly take that kind of ratio any day of the week from their #5 starter. 'Quality' starts or not, most teams would be quite satisfied with a #5 starter who is healthy all year, takes the ball each time he is called upon, and posts an ERA in the 5.00 range.

It appears that the Brewers are beginning to look at other options at the closer spot. The team seems very interested in seeing just how much Derrick Turnbow can do, as he picked up the save today. Mike Adams saw action but didn't pitch well, walking three guys in 2/3 of an inning.

4/24/2005 07:16:00 PM

Saturday, April 23, 2005

(4/23/2005 07:46:00 PM) - Al

I tried to read Faithful, and had to set it down before I finished April, 2004, the first month of the Red Sox's championship season. Stephen King is one of the authors, but is dwarfed in content by the other fella, who I've never heard of. These two "diehard fans" (hee-hee) write of missing games by going out to dinner, or out with friends, or deciding to not go to a game they have tickets for. Please. These are no more diehard fans than I am suffering from anorexia.

{Pause to go to the fridge for a snack.)

King, who is wealthy as almost any author in the US, goes to Florida for a week or two, and is for the most part unable to see the games. The other fellow, Stewart, thinks he is extremely dedicated because he watches an entire game...even after a rain delay. The game doesn't end until (drumroll) almost midnight. I can only imagine Army Rangers being envious of his stamina.

The fact of the matter is, neither one is even that much of a "current" fan either, speaking of the 25th man on the roster as if it matters, using the word "choke" all the time, and failing to understand that a week or two means nothing, as it is a fraction of a season. King even disses OBP, paraphrasing here, "But does a high OBP mean you will drive in runs late in a tie game?"

Of course not, but why do runs count more if they are scored in the 8th inning, rather than the 1st? They don't.

I was really looking forward to this book, and it was just very disappointing. Too bad, as there will never be a better season to document.

4/23/2005 07:46:00 PM

(4/23/2005 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Great interview with RickieWeeks, and a good one with Prince Fielder at Baseball Digest Daily. Rickie has always seemed like a very intelligent young man, and does here as well. Rickie and Prince are a big part of our future, get to know them now.

4/23/2005 07:22:00 PM

(4/23/2005 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Brew Crew Ball points out the Crew has simply been rather unlucky thus far. I cannot disagree, and if they can outscore the opposition all year long, I'll take my chances.

4/23/2005 07:12:00 PM

(4/23/2005 06:57:00 PM) - Al

I forgot the NFL draft was today. I am not even a fan, never mind casual or not, but I am always amused at the quirks of the draft:

1. At least one team will trade a good pick, sometimes two decent picks, to move up a spot or two. For example, a team will trade their 1st rounder (19th overall) and their 2nd and 4th round choices, for another team's 1st round pick (17th overall). I would always choose to be the team getting three players...if for nothing else, career ending knee injuries are prevalent in the NFL.

2. Players will move ahead of others based solely on a good 40 time at the combine...know how often players run 40 yards without being bumped or blocked? Maybe twice a season.

3. Without fail, cornerbacks are always downgraded if they are under 5-11 or so, even though most CB's are under 6 feet, and maybe the best ever, Darrel Green, was 5-6 or so.

Discuss these amongst yourselves.:) Back to baseball.

4/23/2005 06:57:00 PM

(4/23/2005 04:37:00 PM) - Al

I just got home from work, Crew is down 5-2, Cappy had one bad inning it would appear.

Allow me to say, while I not change what I said just yesterday about batting order being all but meaningless, I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would have JJ Hardy hitting 2nd.

Hardy with two sparkling plays in the field, however. The kid has half his game down, I will give you that. I also have very little doubt he will hit...though he may not hit much in '05.

4/23/2005 04:37:00 PM

Friday, April 22, 2005

(4/22/2005 11:47:00 PM) - Al

Hello Al,

According to our "friend" Drew Olson, Brewer fans are already wondering if the "glass is shattered" and the season is basically a loss already. And he painted Yost as an eternal optimist who basically can't see the reality of the situation. You were discussing casual fans and how many give up on the team so fast. Is it just me or does Drew and Mike Hunt and the other jsonline guys fall into that catagory
too? it's mid April. They aren't playing well right now, but do they seriously think that Lee, Overbay and Jenkins are going to not hit all year? Basically, the team had a hot spring offensively and they are cooling off. That's all it is. And Jenkins has been sick...Lee is trying to get used to a new league, which can be difficult. I'm
guessing that next, we're going to get Tom Hardicourt figuring out what their record has been since the all star break last year, which is his favorite "Doomsday" stat to throw out there. Negative negative negative. And we rarely get any kind of analysis whatsoever. The game reports still sound phoned in. Should we just start our own newspaper?:-)

Thanks, Mike

Drew even had a mention of torture the other day, which I felt was as out of place as athletes saying they are "going to war". Tomorrow, it will be a cut as well, I guarantee it, like the old Beetle Bailey line, "That's not as bad as usual, Beetle." The Crew did run into a "perfect storm" of sorts, minor injuries, flu bug, healthy slugger slumping, ace dizzy, etc.

Last night, Helms came up with men on 1B & 3B, and one out. He hit a shot that short-hopped the 3B, but he picked it and turned the DP. If the Crew is going good, that's a foot over toward the line, a 2B and 2 RBI's. It'll all even out over 162, but short-term, it doesn't.

Even tonight, the Brewers pitched well, fielded well, strung some nice AB's together...and it was on the West Coast on a Friday, so very few casual fans bothered to watch. When you're going bad...

4/22/2005 11:47:00 PM

(4/22/2005 10:00:00 PM) - Al

Yost changed the lineup around a bit tonight, which will make some folks happy, but of course, accomplishes little. They've run computer simulations that show "random" lineups and the so called "accepted" lineup is just fractions of a run per game. Even an "opposite" lineup (pitcher batting 1st {or maybe 3rd or 4th, not sure which would be worse}, best hitter 9th, etc.) only makes a 5% difference or so. So, if a team would average 4.5 runs a game, they'd only score 4.275 per, a difference of about 40 runs a year...about 4 wins, in theory.

I have long felt that the "best" lineup to maximize run production would be to have the player with the best OBP (that gets out the least) lead off, then the 2nd highest, and so on. After all, baserunners equals runs, so mathematically, that would seem to make perfect sense. In reality, there are a few other things to consider, but as shown by studies, it's hardly worth the effort. If a goofy lineup no one would ever consider only means 40 runs, I can't believe a close decision (Overbay or Jenkins 3rd, for example) is even worth the debate.

4/22/2005 10:00:00 PM

(4/22/2005 09:51:00 PM) - Al

I hope this perfect example of today's white collar criminal is punished severely, as all fingers (pun intended) seem to point directly at her. While we can shrug it off, the folks who depend on 20 hours a week at Wendy's to pay the mortgage, or the car payment; are not laughing, trust me. I've worked for some corporate entities who would have paid her off within days, as long as she signed a "I won't talk and the company is not at fault" agreement, so Wendy's deserves a lot of credit as well.

4/22/2005 09:51:00 PM

(4/22/2005 04:37:00 PM) - Robert R.

I missed the game last night and from various recaps, it was probably for the better. Wes Helms certainly didn't help himself any and it probably means more Cirillo until Branyan is healthy. Ugh.

As part of our theater season ticket package, my wife and I saw The Goat or Who is Sylvia? by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater last night. The play is written by Edward Albee who's probably most famous of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and who's known for the precision of his language and the shocking nature of his material. His latest play fits right in with the rest of his career and is alternately darkly funny, shocking, disturbing, and tragic. There are some things that just can't be explained in any rational manner. The Rep does it's usual solid job of performing and presenting the material, but the material itself is the star of the show. This is certainly not a play for the easily offended.

4/22/2005 04:37:00 PM

Thursday, April 21, 2005

(4/21/2005 10:16:00 PM) - Al


Did I miss your underused team this year? I picked up Jason Lane for my fantasy league team after I heard he'd probably play every day, and he's been awesome.


Luke, thanks for reading and writing. I decided to wait longer this year to do RUTT, as I've left a player or two off each season that easily could have made it, but I heard they "might" platoon. For whatever reason, I just haven't put it together yet. I'll try and knock it out this weekend. Amazingly, my SS will be in his 3rd year on RUTT, even though he had his breakout campaign in '04.

For those newcomers, or those who would like to refresh their memories...

2003 RUTT

2004 RUTT

UPDATE: Not to pat myself on the back, but while I've had plenty of misses, there are some fine players on those teams. It's almost impossible to believe MVP candidate David Ortiz wasn't an everyday player just a couple years ago.

4/21/2005 10:16:00 PM

(4/21/2005 10:14:00 PM) - Al

So, can someone tell me why Brady Clark never got a chance to play every day until he was 32? And you know, some folks still claim he's a "journeyman reserve".

Of course, it's not Brady's fault no one gave him a chance to play.

4/21/2005 10:14:00 PM

(4/21/2005 09:22:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets is in a Houston hospital, with an inner ear problem, as well as the after effects of the flu. He is unable to fly due to the problem, so he may miss his next start, or be driven to St. Louis.

I missed last night's game, but I would have had a tough time running out my star young pitcher who just signed a huge contract when it is obvious he is far from 100%. It just seems to me if he is not feeling well, he is much more likely to start "throwing" and cause shoulder/arm trouble. And to be blunt, what are the odds of a solid performance when you feel like crap?

Every single decision should be made thinking only of the big picture. This is not a team expected to win 90 games, where a win might mean the difference between the playoffs and staying home. Players need to be set up for success, not thrown out to fail. It's far to early to know whether or not JJ Hardy will hit at all this year, as he seems to be hitting in extreme bad luck thus far, in a tiny sample. But, allowing him to ease into his return by giving him a couple months in AAA certainly isn't looking like a bad idea, is it?

The only player we really have no choice with is Jorge de la Rosa, who is out of options, and doesn't appear to be completely ready, though he has had some outstanding outings to go along with his less than stellar ones. In his case, he can't go down to the minors to work on his game, so you use him in low pressure, low impact situations.

4/21/2005 09:22:00 PM

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

(4/20/2005 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Watching the last couple innings of the Cubs/SL game in SL, and the crowd sounds about evenly split between the two teams. Now, if I said the Cardinals have the best fans in baseball, I might get some debate from Red Sox supporters, but for the most part, folks would say SL is at least top 5. Now, if the crowd is split 50/50 in SL, what chance is there that Miller Park will ever be more than a half and half?

4/20/2005 10:15:00 PM

(4/20/2005 11:40:00 AM) - Al


Just wanted to drop you a line and thank you and the others for being the voice of reason lately. I usually check out the various message boards each morning at my desk, but they are just unreadable today. They all seem to be the lowest denominator, to use your term, the most casual of casual fans. We ought to be saving some of the stupidest efforts and bring them up later in the season, when folks have moved on to other targets.

Thanks again, and I really enjoy the additional people writing as well.


I barely checked the forums today, as I slept in, but I clicked on the AAA game and saw someone say Rickie Weeks, one of the top 10 prospects in the game mind you, was overrated. Now, Weeks may never go to the Hall of Fame, and he may never compare to the best in the game, but barring injury, it is difficult to imagine him not having a fine big league career. My goodness, he was drafted less than two years ago, and after a good, while not great, season in AA, he is now in AAA, just one Spivey owie from the bigs. Personally, I'm not sure he'll ever be a 2B in the majors, but time will tell.

Neevr forget, you're never as good as you think you are when you're going well, and you're never as bad as you think you are when things are going poorly. 149 games is plenty to judge this team, I'm not going to overreact to the first 13.

4/20/2005 11:40:00 AM

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

(4/19/2005 10:03:00 PM) - Robert R.

After 12 years of this stuff, I can understand the feeling of "here we go again". Still, I do think that the Brewers have been somewhat unlucky in this recent streak. They've run into two playoff teams, and I believe that the Cardinals and Dodgers will both be in the playoffs again, and the Brewers are nicked up enough, through minor aches and illness, that they're forced to use some of their most marginal players.

If the injuries were more serious, the Brewers could call upon the likes of Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, David Krynzel or Brad Nelson, as the situation demands. Instead, the Brewers are just hurt enough that they're relying on Magruder, Cirillo, Helms and Hall and have to hold a pitcher back due to concern about Ben Sheets being ill. You're going to struggle against most teams in that situation and against the likes of the Cardinals and Dodgers you get swept.

That they've been in these games is at least a statement than they have more talent than under Taylor and Lopes. That said, these last two series have exposed the weakness of the bench and Yost's tactical limitations. Maybe if Melvin and Yost weren't so caught up in the emotions of the Cirillo farewell tour they'd have someone useful on the bench like Restovich or Grieve.

4/19/2005 10:03:00 PM

(4/19/2005 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Robert, next time I have an important message for ya, I'll send it via white/black smoke.:) I look at it just like I do teams (like BOS) settling for cramped, dingy, ancient ballparks...I think it's a darn shame. Obviously, folks feel differently about things that involve memories...I think the past should be recalled fondly, while enjoying the convienence of the present.

I just responded to an e-mail that I will not share here, as it didn't have much to add, but I do find it ironic that a loss that comes after we had a lead with two outs in the ninth is considered cause for panic, while a win in the same situation (for those who have forgotten, we beat the Cubs in this manner) shows the club has heart and never gives up.

For the most part, these things will even out, especially over 162 games. We're not even 10% of the way into the season as of yet, so I'm far from worried. I have two thoughts after today...

1. While I'd have no problem running Mike Adams out as my closer, small samples tend to be used all the time when deciding on bullpen usage. It isn't right, but it's true.

2. I'm never one to second guess (choosing instead to "first guess"), but Tommy Phelps to start the 10th? Hmmm. Now, we all know he's the worst pitcher on the staff, and he is supposed to be used versus LH hitters only, for the most part. It seemed odd to me at the time, and still does.

Granted, better choices were probably unavailable due to use (Wise) or possible need (I assume Wes Obermueller is being held back in case Sheets is unable to pitch/pitch very long tomorrow, as he has the flu as well). But, given that 90% or so of extra-inning affairs end in the 10th, 11th, or 12th (40-50% finish in the 10th, if memory serves), Tommy would have been my "it's your game, son" guy, probably in the 14th or thereabouts.

But, overall, the pitching staff has been far above expectations, my positive mentions of Glover have been rewarded with two solid outings, the bullpen (except Phelps, who really hasn't been used as a LOOGY anyway) has been very good. Sadly, Branyan has been nicked up, as has Jenkins, but as has been discussed here and elsewhere, the bulk of our depth is in Nashville, ready for a DL stint, but not a 3 day band-aid. Without those two bats, the offense has predictably struggled, and a stretch versus SL and LA is plenty tough at 100%.

Onto Houston...149 games to go.

4/19/2005 07:23:00 PM

(4/19/2005 02:32:00 PM) - Robert R.

As a Protestant, I don't particularly care how or who the Catholic church selects as Pope. He'll be an important voice in the world, but he'll not be my spiritual representative.

That said, I think Al misses the point of ceremony as opposed to tradition. The Catholic church has long emphasised ceremony for symbolic and other purposes. One of the things that traditional ceremony does is emphasize that the church isn't really changing even if leadership does change. Using puffs of smoke is simply another extension of that modus operandi.

And, after all, it's not like the Catholic church didn't release the information over the new Pope in all of the modern ways. They just used colored smoke and some bells first.

4/19/2005 02:32:00 PM

(4/19/2005 10:55:00 AM) - Al

Talking head 1--It looks black to me.

Talking head 2--Yes, it is black. No pope elected today.

TH1--People are cheering because they think it is white, but it is black.

TH2--Vatican radio says it is black, and it appears black.

TH1--Now it does look lighter...or white. does.

TH1--The smoke appears white, has a pope been elected?

TH2--I don't know.

TH1--Italian radio is reporting a new pope.

TH2--It does look white, but where are the bells?

TH1--That's right, the bells should be sounding.

TH2--The smoke does appear white.

TH1--The crowd thinks it is white.

TH2--Well, it doesn't look black.

TH1--No, it doesn't.


TH1--No bells yet.

TH2--No, but the smoke appears certainly doesn't look to be black.

TH1--No, it does not look black.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I believe I've been transported back in time a few hundred years. Smoke and bells?

4/19/2005 10:55:00 AM

(4/19/2005 09:42:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

I love the site, and I'm a long time reader. I thought you'd really appreciate this. Today Toronto sent Dave BUSH to the mound to face Curt Schilling, and later Bush was pulled in favor of Brandon LEAGUE. That's right, Bush goes to the mound followed by League. Bush - League. Now if that's not irony...


Those goofy Canadians. Thanks for writing and reading, Anthony.

4/19/2005 09:42:00 AM

(4/19/2005 09:24:00 AM) - Robert R.

There's not much to say about the Brewers last night. Without Lee and Jenkins hitting, they're a donut team. There's a big hole in the middle of the lineup.

On to other things. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) might be in for some good news this year. I'm hearing that the Northwest Side Relief Sewer project, the latest addition to the Deep Tunnels, is about 8 months ahead of schedule for tunneling. That will add about 88 million gallons of capacity to the Deep Tunnels and help reduce overflows.

The Deep Tunnels actually do work as designed, for the most part. They never were designed to eliminate overflows, just to minimize them. They're not perfect, the unlined tunnels leak which reduces capacity, and MMSD was aware of that risk when they were built, but they function as to their design. The problem is that they were oversold. They reduce overflows from 60 plus a year to only 3 or 4. That's what they were engineered to do and that's what they actually do.

The whole problem with MMSD is that they're trying to retrofit a system that wasn't designed to modern standards. A good portion of Milwaukee's sewers were built from the 1890s to the 1920s. Then, in order to save money, they combined the storm sewers, which collect rainwater, with the sanitary sewers and they all drained into Lake Michigan. Now those service areas go to a wastewater treatment plant, which gets overwhelmed during heavy rainfalls and has to divert the excess to the Deep Tunnels or, once they're full, to Lake Michigan. There's no easy solution to the problem. The ultimate solution would be to rebuild all of the combined sewers in Milwaukee to seperate storm and sanitary sewers. And while that sounds good, it's an engineering and construction nightmare. Does somebody want to count all of the seperate sanitary and storm connections? And then there's trying to negotiate the maze of existing utilities. And it needs to be pointed out that sewers flow by gravity and that creates vertical limitations. And then, you have to rebuild all of the roads and sidewalks while setting aside areas for staging of work crews, supplies, and equipment without creating too much disturbance to surface traffic, while doing the work in some of the most built up sections of Milwaukee. Talk radio hosts and politicians have no appreciation for just how complicated and expensive the sewer seperation solution is. MMSD's solutions aren't perfect, we still have overflows, but the method of Deep Tunnels, to store excess wastewater, and upgrading sewers, creating larger tunnel capacities for storage, is certainly defensible. It's just a process and there isn't a magic bullet to get there in 3 years. And MMSD has completed failed in communicating that, touting each project as something greater than it actually is.

4/19/2005 09:24:00 AM

Monday, April 18, 2005

(4/18/2005 11:39:00 PM) - Al

To add to Jason's critique, the depth on this team is currently in AAA Nashville. The bench is inexpensive and a bit weak. Of course, when Lee is hitting and Jenkins is in the lineup, it won't be nearly as noticeable.

4/18/2005 11:39:00 PM

(4/18/2005 09:27:00 PM) - Jason

Sure, were only 12 games into a 162 game marathon, but this Brewers team is really hard to watch right now. It hasn't taken long for the coaching staff to start digging up the same old tired lines from last year. And, many of the weaknesses that most people were leery of to start the year are beginning to show on this club:

- Man, this bench is bad. With Geoff Jenkins out sick, this was the Brewers bench tonight:

JJ Hardy
Jeff Cirillo
Russell Branyan
Chad Moeller

Substitute Wes Helms for Branyan and Bill Hall for Hardy, along with adding Chris Magruder when Jenkins is in the lineup, I would venture to say that the Brewers have one of the worst benches in the majors - which will kill you in the National League, since you send up PH at least a couple of times per game on average.

- If Carlos Lee doesn't hit, this lineup sucks - there is no other way to put it. Its no coincidence that during this 0-for-16 skid Lee is on, the Brewers are 0-4 and have scored 7 runs on just 16 hits.

Yes, this is a marathon, not a sprint. But sooner or later, this team needs to actually start putting some WINNING streaks together. New owner or not, people can only stand so much of this winning one game in between three and four-game losing streaks. I'm not expecting pennant-winning baseball, but at least enjoyable baseball to watch and to see the Brewers take steps in the right direction. It's getting hard to see that through the first 12 games.

4/18/2005 09:27:00 PM

(4/18/2005 08:57:00 PM) - Al

So really, there are still human beings afraid of ghosts? Eric Gagne apparently left the Pfister in Milwaukee because he felt a "presence".

I get the feeling Eric had probably had some liquid refreshment in his system at the time.

4/18/2005 08:57:00 PM

(4/18/2005 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Andrew Sullivan is one of my favorite writers around, brilliant for the most part, and especially so when not discussing issues of homosexuality, an area in which he has an undeniable bias.

Sullivan's take on Iraq is dead's OK, but gosh darn it, it looks like a threshold has been crossed.

4/18/2005 08:54:00 PM

(4/18/2005 08:41:00 PM) - Al

Odd to see Odalis Perez pulled after one hit and about 80 pitches. Maybe Perez hasn't been "stretched out" yet, but that's as quick of a hook as I can ever remember seeing. Perez didn't look real pleased in the dugout, motioning all over and pointing out to the field.

UPDATE: Perez looked furious when the Dodgers allowed the game to be closed to 4-3.

4/18/2005 08:41:00 PM

(4/18/2005 07:59:00 PM) - Al

Odalis Perez has been all but perfect thus far, no hitting the Crew through 5. I'm trying to think of a hard hit ball, and I can't think of any.

4/18/2005 07:59:00 PM

(4/18/2005 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Back-to-back HR's are a much bigger issue than walks. Dodgers take a quick 3-0 lead in the 3rd.

4/18/2005 07:13:00 PM

(4/18/2005 07:02:00 PM) - Al

Capuano with 3 walks in the 2nd inning tonight. With the pitcher up there, as well as a pickoff, he escapes damage.

I should mention Yost has put the exact same lineup on the field tonight as I would have. Take that as you may.

4/18/2005 07:02:00 PM

(4/18/2005 06:52:00 PM) - Al

I have to concur with Robert's view of the Dodgers, I still recall with much glee Harold Reynolds on Baseball Tonight saying that LA had given the NL East to Florida. I said that was mega foolish at the time, and still do. Now, LA added Lowe, Kent, and Drew this offseason, and was roundly criticized. What?

Of course, LoDuca is a fine player, but the others sent to FLA were just filler. Mota is a middle reliever, who for the most part, are a dime a dozen. Encarnacion is a below average corner OF, as his OBP struggles to reach .300 for the most part. Losing those two was supposed to devastate LA, and as expected, they went on without missing a beat.

4/18/2005 06:52:00 PM

(4/18/2005 06:47:00 PM) - Al

With a kid on deck, you want to be mighty careful with Jeff Kent here.--Bill Schroeder

Bill, still under the belief that the way to shut the other team down is to give them free baserunners.

Oh, and by the way, the "kid" on deck...Olmedo 34 years old. Hoo boy.

4/18/2005 06:47:00 PM

(4/18/2005 06:25:00 PM) - Robert R.

This is the only trip of the year for the Dodgers to Milwaukee. They've gotten off to a blazing start, so the Brewers will have their hands full.

I've never seen a good team get so little respect over the last year. Did Depodestra run over some sportswriter's mother or something? The reaction to the Paul LoDuca trade still baffles me to this day. Yes, LoDuca is a good player and by all accounts a good clubhouse guy, but he never has lead his teams anywhere, while the Dodgers got back a starting pitcher who had won two games the previous World Series. By any of the old cliches, the Dodgers got one of the missing pieces to a World Series title for a good player. I know ex-players and sportswriters like to tout chemistry and things that they can talk about from being insiders, but the fallout from that deal was beyond preposterous.

Same with this offseason. Yeah, losing Beltre hurts and Depodestra overpaid for Valentin and Lowe, but they had the core of a good team returning, in part thanks to the trade, they still have an awfully strong farm system, Jeff Kent is an excellent addition to any playoff contender, and J. D. Drew wasn't that far behind Beltre last year. I expect that the Dodgers will dip into the farm system this year at the deadline to really boost their chances of going to the World Series. In terms of major league talent and farm system depth, I think they're one of the strongest teams in the NL and will be able to address weaknesses that crop up through trade and promotion.

4/18/2005 06:25:00 PM

(4/18/2005 05:31:00 PM) - Robert R.

The turkeys in northern Wisconsin are safe from me until the middle of May. They're wily as I only heard some gobbles, but I have a reliable witness that saw a tom walk across my blind after I left.

I missed a lot of offensive frustrations over the weekend. What separates the Brewers and Cardinals are a couple of star players. Geoff Jenkins has been in a funk all season long and the Brewers just don't have a player that can pick up the slack for him. Jenkins is allegedly a good hitter, but his inconsistency is definitely a liability for the team. Yeah, he can get hot and carry the team for short periods, but opportunities are also missed during his cold streaks. Consistency is an underrated attribute of a player.

Still, the pitching has been terrific and it's hard to get upset because the Brewers have the record that you would expect from a 75 win team. They've just missed some opportunities to be better than that, but they are what they are.

4/18/2005 05:31:00 PM

(4/18/2005 03:07:00 PM) - Al

I was on the phone today with my mortgage company, hoping that our home has went up in value enough to make our mortgage insurance unnecessary. while I had Daphne on the phone, I did my best to avoid asking how Scooby and Shaggy were doing, and asked how much we would be pre-approved for. She said she'd plug in a few numbers and call me back. A bit later, she called to say that we could easily do $250K, and probably could stretch it out to $300K.

The ironic thing is, we're pretty much maxed out paying for our house now, which we bought for less than half of the price we're pre-approved for. I can remember my dad saying many times that banks will give you far more than you can ever afford...turns out, things haven't changed much, I guess.

4/18/2005 03:07:00 PM

(4/18/2005 01:28:00 PM) - Al

Black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel's chimney Monday evening, signaling that the cardinals sequestered inside for the first papal conclave of the new millennium failed to elect a new pope.

The black smoke meant the 115 voting cardinal "princes" of the church would retire for the night and return to the chapel Tuesday morning for more balloting in their search for a successor to Pope John Paul II.

If two morning ballots fail to produce a pope, the cardinals could hold two more votes Tuesday afternoon.

Some 40,000 people who packed St. Peter's Square to stare at the stovepipe jutting from the chapel roof shouted, "It's black! It's black!" and snapped photos with their cell phones.

Good grief.

4/18/2005 01:28:00 PM

(4/18/2005 11:04:00 AM) - Al

I was flipping channels last night, and found the Braves/Phillies extra-inning game on. Bobby Cox committed the sin of not only running Dan Kolb out there for a second inning of work, but for letting him hit for himself in the top of the 10th, with a runner in scoring position.

Kolb never recorded an out in the bottom of the 10th, making a throwing error for good measure. However, one glance at his stats would have you realize that this was simply history repeating itself, as it so often does.

Pitches 1-15---.240/.208, 448 opp OPS
Pitches 16-30--.512/.700, 1212 opp OPS

Kolb is a quality major league pitcher, but you can only have a couple of his limited pitch relievers in the bullpen. Heck, if there's two outs and a runner or two on, and Dan has thrown 21 pitches, you gotta consider making the move before the damage occurs.

4/18/2005 11:04:00 AM

(4/18/2005 09:55:00 AM) - Al

Time magazine runs a cover story on Ann Coulter, conservative fireball this week. In the gallery of pics, they have a classic flub, they show mock protesters holding mock signs (you'd think the might have clued them in) at the GOP convention.

Hat tip to the entire blogging community.:)

4/18/2005 09:55:00 AM

(4/18/2005 08:15:00 AM) - Al

All the top ranking men, under 80, will participate in the vote.

They will be housed in a luxury $20 million hotel, built during John Paul II's reign...with tax-free church money.

All the debates and votes will take place in one special room...with very thick walls, and special electronic equipment under the floor to deter listening devices.

After each vote, the ballots will be burned, with chemicals being added. Black smoke will signify no majority, while white smoke will mean a new pope has been elected.

Some things are funny because they are true. Next time I hear about "tradition", I will shake my head and wonder why living in the past is anything to be proud of.

4/18/2005 08:15:00 AM

(4/18/2005 07:58:00 AM) - Al

I've heard bits and pieces about Bobby Fischer, former chess champion. To sum it up briefly, Fischer despises the United States now. Of course, he's welcome to have that opinion, but watching the ESPN piece on him, it is quite clear he is as insane as any human being alive. Whenever guys leave the top of the chess world to join a cult, then claim the Holocaust never happened, and spout other anti-Semetic rhetoric, there is no doubt.

I also find it funny when people knowingly break US sanctions, then complain when they get into trouble for doing so.

4/18/2005 07:58:00 AM

Sunday, April 17, 2005

(4/17/2005 08:02:00 PM) - Al

According to Sports Illustrated, Pat Tillman turned down an honorable discharge months before he was killed in action.

Hat tip to Michelle.

4/17/2005 08:02:00 PM

(4/17/2005 01:30:00 PM) - Al

Brady Clark has all the knowledge necessary to be a fine hitting instructor. Sadly, he's likely to make enough money before he retires to not have the least bit of interest in doing so. 1-0 Crew after 1.

Miller doubles down the line, and JJ hits a hard grounder that took a bad hop on Pujols. 2-0 Crew after 2.

Jose Capellan pitching at AAA today, with last year's 1st round pick Mark Rogers going at low A. Jose missed one start due to a blister on his pitching hand.

Edmonds seemed to not really be going after that ball at full speed, then dove after he caught it. Spivey, gritty veteran, makes a silly baserunning mistake and fails to take an extra base. Still 2-0, now after 3.

Pujols and Rolen each get a hit and create a run. Santos has done a fine job thus far, as anytime you can hold the Cards to a run in 4 IP, it is a victory of sorts. Brewers 2-1 after 3 1/2.

The really sad thing about JJ Hardy isn't that he's getting out all the time, but many AB's seem like this last time up, swings at the 2nd pitch, easy 6-3 groundout. If you take some pitches and then make an out, no big deal. But, not making the pitcher work is a crime for the #8 hitter.

Easy 123 inning for Santos. 2-1 Crew.

Bad luck leads to the Cards tying it up. Rolen hit a blooper to short right-center field, and with Clark deep, it falls in, scoring Pujols all the way from 1B. Clark dove and knocked the ball away from himself. I will say, however, that Daron and Bill always overreact to bad luck on the field. Bloopers often fall in, there's a lot of open grass out there. 2-2 after 5 1/2.

Both sides mowing hitters down, until Walker drives it to deep RF, Magruder, just in to replace Jenkins, who is probably still sick, robs Larry of a hit, maybe a HR.

Still 2-2, but Pujols and Rolen will be up in the 9th. Ouch.

I forgot to mention that at some point, JJ Hardy made a great play, almost getting Albert Pujols at 1B from his knees, deep in the hole at SS. If it's a slower runner, it would have been replayed for all eternity.

Mike Adams in for the 9th, toughest part of the order up for SL. I like the move, but Adams gives up a HR to Rolen. 3-2 Cards, bottom of the 9th coming up. 3-4-5 hitters coming up, but remember, Jenkins was removed for Magruder.

Izzy on again for SL. He is far from a dominant closer, but he does a solid job. Overbay with a great PA, works the walk. Lee has looked out of sorts today, as he misses a high slider for strike two, before a fly ball to RF. Magruder with a lazy fly ball to LF. Need a good AB by Damian. The ump gives him an extra strike, missing a breaking ball right down the middle, and then Damian walks. Hall to hit for the pitcher's spot, hits it decently, but flies out to Edmonds.

End of game, Brewers lose, 3-2.

Bad luck for the Crew, losing all three games in a tight manner. Of course, SL is a fine club, and they were actually held pretty much in check by the pitching staff of the Crew. I am actually very impressed with the unheralded group of relievers the Crew has run out there (with the exception of Phelps), and feel the lineup will be mediocre overall. That said, when Lee doesn't hit, the team is weak, as it was in '04.

4/17/2005 01:30:00 PM

Saturday, April 16, 2005

(4/16/2005 07:15:00 PM) - Al

I'm surprised how little media attention this has received since they found Lori Hacking's body.

There is nothing we can do about pure evil. I do wonder how exactly these incredibly awful human beings manage to hook up with bright, attractive women.

4/16/2005 07:15:00 PM

(4/16/2005 06:39:00 PM) - Al

I watched the last couple innings upstairs while losing at Hungry Hungry Hippos to my son. Allow me to say that he cheats.

Anyway, Turnbow is quite a treat to watch. I believe it was So Taguchi who got behind in the count watching 96 mph fastballs go by him, and then missed an 83 mph slider by no less than two feet. I hazard to guess if I could teach my cocker spaniel to hold a bat with his front paws while balancing on his back feet, he wouldn't have looked any more ridiculous than So did.

One thought I had while watching JJ Hardy make the last out of the game was, while I am far from saying that JJ will struggle all season, if he does keep making outs at the clip he is now, he will likely force the Brewers to keep running him out there every day, as they have said over and over he just needs to catch the ball, which he has done well.

I will say my idea to give Hardy a couple months in AAA doesn't look foolish right now.

4/16/2005 06:39:00 PM

(4/16/2005 03:37:00 PM) - Al

Clark clears the bases with a double. Back in the game, at least.

4/16/2005 03:37:00 PM

(4/16/2005 03:20:00 PM) - Al

Ah, what short memories. Jim Edmonds often gives very little effort, jogging after base hits while runners take extra bases, nonchalantly trotting after fly balls. He's so good, no one really cares, and life goes on. Still, Daron & Bill always comment on how unusual it is, even though it occurs almost every game.

4/16/2005 03:20:00 PM

(4/16/2005 02:44:00 PM) - Al

First time I've seen Wes O this year, he looks athletic as ever, and his fastball seems to have a bit more life than in the past. He is probably in his element now, as a middle reliever, and is being utilized perfectly just as I begged them to use Kieschnick, as a long man who can hit for himself. Ironic.

4/16/2005 02:44:00 PM

(4/16/2005 02:21:00 PM) - Al

Always a joy to see Bill Schroeder stick with an obviously incorrect opinion even after replay proves it wrong. While it was probably a good idea to try a pickoff at 3B, the throw was high and late. The ball glanced off Cirillo's glove as the runner was touching the base.

4/16/2005 02:21:00 PM

(4/16/2005 02:05:00 PM) - Al

I know it's early, but you gotta wonder how good Brady Clark could have been had he been given 500 AB's at 25. Brady sure "gets" OBP.

I'm shocked Brady isn't running with a 3-2 count on Spivey. 3 chances, he stayed on all three.

You hardly ever see Yost get upset about the strike zone. It's difficult to believe a major league umpire can be this out of whack with the rest of his colleagues.

4/16/2005 02:05:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:58:00 PM) - Al

Almost painful watching the home plate umpire call pitches thus far today. Fastballs seem to have a zone much wider and larger than breaking balls. Almost any fastball that doesn't bounce before it is caught is called a strike.

4/16/2005 01:58:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:55:00 PM) - Al

Meanwhile, the Yankees, a team with arguably much more tradition than the Sox, do not seem to be nearly as concerened about the past as they are the future.

Good for them.

4/16/2005 01:55:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:39:00 PM) - Al

The Red Sox will add 2700 seats to Fenway Park in the next few years.

I liken this to putting new speakers in your '73 Dodge Charger. Sure, at one time, it was considered a really cool vehicle. But, times have changed, and you know full well Mother Time is going to catch up with many of the unseen, unthought of parts.

What's so sad is, Boston could easily support a mammoth new park, with hundreds of luxury suites, thousands of expensive club seats, and a 60K capacity. Instead they have an ancient, cramped relic which is deemed as historic is old. The fine fans of New England deserve better than $75 seats by the foul pole.

UPDATE: I should clarify that I agree with the Red Sox adding seats to Fenway, but their true "goal" should be a new state o' the art stadium within 10-15 years. I feel that they have all but given up on building a new place to play, and that's a shame.

4/16/2005 01:39:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:33:00 PM) - Al

Carpenter works out of the 1st nicely, K's of Lee and Miller to strand a pair.

4/16/2005 01:33:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:30:00 PM) - Al

Lee called out on a pitch several inches low, and probably outside as well. The really sad thing is, the C didn't even frame it nicely.

4/16/2005 01:30:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Much like Eckstein's attempt last night, I think Clark's attempt for 2B was a good risk. It took a perfect throw to get him, hence, he'll make it 75-80% of the time. I would never mind a player staying at 1B either, but when you have a good chance to take a base, it's tough not to attempt it.

Sometimes, you tip your cap to your opponent and move on.

4/16/2005 01:22:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:10:00 PM) - Al

I forgot the Crew were playing the Cardinals. That makes the 22K crowd last night make more sense, as in my experience, the crowd is usually about 25% visitors when SL is in town.

4/16/2005 01:10:00 PM

(4/16/2005 01:06:00 PM) - Al

I will be blogging the game today, FYI.

Branyan out with shoulder tenderness, Jenkins with the flu.

4/16/2005 01:06:00 PM

(4/16/2005 11:31:00 AM) - Al

Bruce Chen threw a four hitter at the Yankees, allowing just one run and lowering his ERA to 1.80.

Is this the year Chen finally gets over the hump? He hasn't even been good in AAA for a while. I've been a member of the Chen bandwagon for ages, as has Jason, who contributes here occasionally. Nice to see him finally putting it all together. He's still plenty young to have a nice career and make a lot of money.

UPDATE: Actually, Bruce's turnaround started late in '04 with BAL, as he returned to the majors after a very nice AAA campaign. Still only 27, his career has experienced many downs, but is looking good right now.

4/16/2005 11:31:00 AM

(4/16/2005 11:09:00 AM) - Al

Yesterday, some of the folks at work brought in lunch and a cake for my birthday, which is early next week. My wife and son came in for lunch, and Andrew enjoyed a delicious filling lunch of chocolate cake and potato chips. After he was finished, he said, "Daddy, I'm done. Can I have some dessert?"

I may be an old softie, but even I declined his request.

4/16/2005 11:09:00 AM

(4/16/2005 11:08:00 AM) - Al

I was surprised to see a crowd of 22K given for last night's game. That seems both high for the time of the year, and much more than it looked/sounded like on TV.

4/16/2005 11:08:00 AM

Friday, April 15, 2005

(4/15/2005 10:31:00 PM) - Al

Got an e-mail saying that Ben Hendrickson's father was on a Twin Cities sports radio program, and stated that his son will return to MIL as soon as a 5th starter is needed on an ongoing basis (which I guess is 4/19).

This is basically the epitome of a rumor, anonymous e-mail + sports radio = unreliable. It would seem odd, as Gary Glover pitched nicely last season, in Arizona, and in his first start the other night.

Just passing it on.

4/15/2005 10:31:00 PM

(4/15/2005 09:53:00 PM) - Al

Nice article on Doug Melvin knowing he will never be able to outspend his opponents. Doug seems a lot more like the Moneyball GM's than he isn't.

Hat tip to Bill at The Daily Brew.

4/15/2005 09:53:00 PM

(4/15/2005 08:48:00 PM) - Al

I must admit, I hate seeing our $38M arm throwing 110+ pitches on a cool April evening. That seems very short-sighted.

4/15/2005 08:48:00 PM

(4/15/2005 07:09:00 PM) - Al

(Sheets) has a blanket no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, believed to be a Brewers first, and a limited no-trade clause for 2008. "We went back and forth on that a little bit," general manager Doug Melvin said.

The mere fact that a player signed with the Brewers and wanted a no-trade clause is going to have agents shaking their heads in disbelief tomorrow.

The Brewers took out an insurance policy on a significant portion of the total value of Sheets' contract, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash. Sheets agreed to undergo a physical during the team's opening series in Pittsburgh, and Brewers athletic trainers worked with insurance underwriters to finalize that part of the deal. The cost of the insurance policy is not included in the contract.

I have to believe this is an expense of about $1M a season, considering Ben had surgery this past winter...or it may well list his back trouble as a "pre-existing condition" and not pay if that causes missed time.

I will say this, however, I feel better knowing the braintrust have had this well planned out for some time.

4/15/2005 07:09:00 PM

(4/15/2005 03:45:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets signs a 4 year, $38 million contract with the Crew. This goes through 2008, as it replaces the deal he signed earlier for '05. Back with more details, I'm going to see if the press conference is being aired online.

UPDATE: I guess I missed it, though I got there just 5 minutes or so after it was supposed to start. I assume Ben did not speak, as he pitches tonight. Actually a bit surprised of the timing of the announcement, it would have been easy to wait until tomorrow.

I will write more in depth later, but I am not as thrilled by this news as most Brewers' fans. I am thrilled it is for "only" four years, really only three more, and am not offended at the money is probably well under market value, to be honest.

I hesistate to guarantee money to a pitcher, especially ones that required surgery last offseason. But, I do know it is all but impossible to lure a pitcher of Sheets' quality to a small market, if he has no ties to the area or organization. For Ben, being drafted by the team, it is all he has ever known. Like Geoff Jenkins, a natural loyalty develops, as well as a comfort level. For Sheets, a young man from Louisiana, a state not well known for its culture or arrogance, the lure of the big city and a horde of media may have had him hoping to stay in Milwaukee. Because of that, he may have taken less. Also, many players would rather be set for life than go year-to-year and hope to break the bank. Ben could have made $10M in '06 and $15M per year in free agency, if his success and health continues.

But, all things considered, this should be viewed in a positive light. While I might have done things differently as a "virtual" GM, there's nothing wrong with paying for a top pitcher, and it is great he wanted to be with the team long-term.

4/15/2005 03:45:00 PM

Thursday, April 14, 2005

(4/14/2005 11:13:00 PM) - Al

I was a big proponet of Portland getting the Expos, and then shifted my support to Las Vegas. Well, sure it's only one game, but 23K season tickets and DC having a existing stadium, new one on the way, and very high disposable income has made me a believer. DC, I'm sorry I doubted ya. Welcome to the big leagues.

There will be talk of expansion (right or wrong) very, very soon. MLB has never been healthier, especially now that the albatross of Montreal has been removed. The game will have a record breaking year in '05, and maybe 2006 as well.

It sure is ironic that this astounding growth and success has taken place with Bud Selig at the helm. Yet, many will argue he isn't doing a good job...though when pressed, the reasons given tend to be extremely weak.

Bud, thanks for leading the game back to where it belongs, and not catering to the uninformed masses that can't figure out the simplest answers to questions that had to be answered.

4/14/2005 11:13:00 PM

(4/14/2005 05:25:00 PM) - Robert R.

Most roto auctions are over, but I'll leave this one dirty tip for some who might still have one. Round one, throw out the name Rafael Soriano. See if someone thinks it's Alfonso. Worst that happens is you get an injured pitcher that you can replace at first opportunity. Best case, someone falls asleep and money goes up in a hurry. It happened in one of my leagues.

4/14/2005 05:25:00 PM

(4/14/2005 04:03:00 PM) - Robert R.

I'm off turkey hunting for most of the weekend starting tomorrow morning, so I might miss the next few Brewers games.

The Cardinals series should give us the first real insight into the strength of the Brewers pitching this year. The Cubs are average and the Pirates sure looks like they have one of the weakest attacks in baseball. The Cardinals still have a fearsome heart of the order and is the first real test of the season. However, they don't have Carlos Zambrano and the Brewers have home field advantage, so I'm expecting another close series. I do expect that we'll learn a thing or two about the bullpen before the series is over.

4/14/2005 04:03:00 PM

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

(4/13/2005 10:02:00 PM) - Al

I'm watching the ESPN broadcast of LA/SF, and it is hilarious how the announcing team falls over themselves wondering how in the world LA is scoring so many runs...and still wonder why the Dodgers dealt "the heart and soul" of the team, Paul LoDuca away last year for "just" ace of the staff Brad Penny, and barely mention OBP-laden 1B Hee Seop Choi.

I wonder what it's like living a couple decades behind the times?

4/13/2005 10:02:00 PM

(4/13/2005 09:43:00 PM) - Al

Looking at the play-by-play of the game today, almost a perfect all-around game, assisted by what would appear to be a couple Pirates' miscues in the deciding 8th inning. Brady Clark with 3 hits, the middle of the order drove in all six runs, Capuano pitches well, followed by Wes O, DLR, and Adams all providing scoreless relief.

Sadly, we don't get to play PIT every day, though I bet most folks wish we could. However, Capuano has followed up a stunning March with a solid April thus far, and it's no coincidence the Crew is 2-0 when he starts. In fact, the Brewers are 5-1 when Sheets, Davis, or Cappy start, and 0-2 when Santos or Glover take the mound. The many days off have hidden the weakness of the bottom of the rotation, though neither pitched terribly in their first start.

4/13/2005 09:43:00 PM

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

(4/12/2005 10:29:00 PM) - Robert R.

Maybe I'm jaded, but every time I hear a manager say that they're going to be "aggresive" on the bases, I think it means that they're going to create a lot of outs on the bases for no good reason. It was true under Lopes. It was true under Royster. And, now, it appears to be true under Yost, who has been proclaiming that they were going to be aggresive this year.

It's fine to take chances on the bases when you have the horses to make things happen. The Brewers don't. Clark can steal a few bases when he picks his spots. So can Spivey. And the heart of the order, other than perhaps Lee, aren't exactly contact hitters. Sure it's a small sample, but this is a team that's better off running occasionally and letting the heart of the order try to put it into the gaps than a team that should be worrying about trying to steal and hit and run all the time.

4/12/2005 10:29:00 PM

(4/12/2005 09:03:00 PM) - Al

I guess I'm not a people person (that may be the understatement of the year), but I'm sure glad none of those punks from the Southern Comfort ads have ever shown up at my door, begging for groceries.

4/12/2005 09:03:00 PM

(4/12/2005 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Clark on 1B, IF in for the sacrifice, perfect time for the hit-and-run.

UPDATE: Spivey bunts into a force out at 2B. Junior with an error and unable to get a sac down tonight...all the false praise for his small sample start is going to end quickly. Don't get me wrong, he is what he is, a decent everyday 2B, but pretending he's anything more is just incorrect.

UPDATE 2: And now, a caught stealing. Junior's done all he can to give the game away. He may need to be removed just to have a chance to win this thing.

4/12/2005 08:55:00 PM

(4/12/2005 08:45:00 PM) - Al

If the Brewers end up losing tonight, you can blame the almost immeasurable good fortune of Pirates' reliver Salomon Torres, who allowed a walk and two fly balls to the wall to the three batters he faced.

4/12/2005 08:45:00 PM

(4/12/2005 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Glover looks like he will end up with a quality start, 3 runs in 6 frames. Can't ask for much more than that from your 5th starter. Redman has settled in nicely after his rough start, hopefully his pitch count is getting up there.

4/12/2005 08:08:00 PM

(4/12/2005 07:33:00 PM) - Al

Both pitchers seem to be settling down. Nothing but routine plays the past 15-20 minutes.

I had no idea what number Cirillo wore his first time with the Brewers, by the way.

4/12/2005 07:33:00 PM

(4/12/2005 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Looks like a few more seats available at Miller Park today.:)

Glover allows a run, but strands a runner at 3B nicely.

The Crew only see about 5-6 pitches in the bottom of the 2nd. That's no way to get to the bullpen early.

4/12/2005 07:10:00 PM

(4/12/2005 06:58:00 PM) - Al


Wondering who you think would be called up in case of injury to our starting players, as you point out, most of the depth is currently in AAA, and not on the bench. Thanks.


Thanks for reading and writing, Rick.

Pat Borders would be the catcher brought up, if needed. I would assume Prince Fielder would play most every day (or maybe platoon) at 1B in case of an injury to Overbay. Ditto Rickie Weeks for Spivey, though Hall would also see some time. I would predict a utility type (Trent Durrington, Matt Erickson, Steve Scarborough) would be recalled if Hardy went down, with Hall taking over at SS. If one of the plethora of 3B got injured, I'd guess it would be either one of the above mentioned, or Dave Krynzel. At this moment, after a stellar March and a hot start to his Nashville campaign, I would say Krynzel would replace any injured OF as well, and most likely start most games in CF, with Clark moving to the corner, if Geoff or Carlos were banged up.

As for the pitching staff, I would say the most likely call ups would be Justin Lehr or Jeff Bennett, regardless of whether a starter or reliever were hurt. Wes Obermueller would probably get bumped to the rotation today.

4/12/2005 06:58:00 PM

(4/12/2005 06:56:00 PM) - Al

Gary Glover struggles, but gets through the top of the 1st inning. Considering he's barely pitched in the last 10 days or so, that probably isn't much of a surprise.

Word is the Pirates had a team meeting after yesterday's loss...if I'm not mistaken, that's sign #1 the manager is about to be fired.

4/12/2005 06:56:00 PM

(4/12/2005 08:29:00 AM) - Al

I just checked out various Brewers' message boards, looking for stories and links.

I have seen many people say they will not pay $6 for parking, but many say they "have to" buy beer at the game, even if it is $7. I may be a bit goofy, as I always pay extra for the preferred parking (mainly for the quick exit, though not having to walk a half-mile is nice as well), but a dollar is a dollar.

Considering I see various offers for beer such as 18pk, $9.99; parking seems like by far the better deal of the two.

4/12/2005 08:29:00 AM

(4/12/2005 07:56:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers plan another round of negotiations this week to sign Ben Sheets long-term and they may offer an intriguing structure. They do not have major money tied up in the near future, but with touted youngsters on the come such as J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder and Richie Weeks, Milwaukee imagines a big arbitration bill about four years from now. So they might offer to pay Sheets the bulk of a four- or five-year agreement in the next two seasons, and much less thereafter.--New york Post

I have rallied for front-loaded deals on many occasions, as they make it easier to trade a player, and especially when a player is past his mythical peak of 26-29, as most players drop off after that, it is foolish to increase their salary.

As for this, it is nice to see the braintrust has even thought about such things. Remember a few years ago, when Grumpy Stewart and Lopester would be standing together, discussing how incredibly talented they had been as players, when Grumpy would go over and grab the phone to call the bullpen...and then stand there, dumbly. They would then discuss who to have get up in the bullpen, and it became obvious they had no plan for the game they were currently taking part in, never mind a plan for the month or the season.

This story would imply the Crew is already planning for 2008-9, when players currently at AAA and a few games into their rookie years will be eligible for arbitration.

You've come a long way, baby.

4/12/2005 07:56:00 AM

(4/12/2005 07:48:00 AM) - Al

I somehow missed this when it happened.

Barney Martin, a former New York City detective who went into show business and became best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld's father Morty on the comedian's hit television series, has died. He was 82.

Martin died of cancer Monday at his Studio City home, according to his publicist, Jennifer Glassman.

Born March 3, 1923, in the New York City borough of Queens, Martin served as a navigator in the Air Force during World War II before starting a 20-year career as a New York City police detective.

As is often the case, you have no idea the man is a hero until he passes away. He will always be remembered telling Jerry to "eat a plum". Not really sure why that always struck me as so funny, other than the fact I've never tasted a plum. Martin died March 24th, according to Yahoo.

4/12/2005 07:48:00 AM

Monday, April 11, 2005

(4/11/2005 08:31:00 PM) - Al

(Red Sox fans) kept cheering through the introductions of the lineups, interrupting their boos for the Yankees to give 30 seconds of cheers for New York closer Mariano Rivera, who failed in his last four save attempts against Boston, including twice in the playoffs.


4/11/2005 08:31:00 PM

(4/11/2005 07:47:00 PM) - Al

A new blog asked for a link, and after checking it out, I'm happy to give it. Check out the United States of Baseball for a positive, realistic look at the game.

4/11/2005 07:47:00 PM

(4/11/2005 06:55:00 PM) - Al


I wonder if you realized that, other than the unearned run the Brewers got in the 8th, all 5 runs came from the bats of players you have campaigned for since the early days of the blog. Branyan was long before he got to Milwaukee, and you've said on many occasions that Clark would be a steady, if not glorious, CF, long before most folks looked at him as anything but just another guy.

I don't know if you saw the game today, but in 10 years, no one will remember much about the game (though Brnmayan's homers may still be a topic of discussion), but most everyone will tell you about the hand Cirillo got. I don't think I was the only person who wiped a tear from my eyes.


Ramblings' favorite season ticket holder checking in from another home opener. Through reasons to detailed to get into, I knew the score before I watched my tape of the game.

That said...

---I do really enjoy watching Clark and Branyan, and both just smacked the bejeebers out of the ball today. Russ' first moonshot went about as far as I've ever seen a ball hit (I couldn't hit one that far if I stood at 2nd base), and his second looked like he just flicked his wrists at it, like he was trying to poke it over the SS's head. I've said it before and I'll say it again, why no team was willing to give him at least a platoon job shows me that the sabermetric believers still have a ton of progress to make.

---My feelings on Daron & Bill are well known, but I agreed totally with Bill when he wondered why in the world PIT would have Kip Wells bat down 5-2, runner on 2B, and two outs in the 6th. Lloyd McClendon is completely overmatched, in every aspect of the game. He simply has no idea what he's doing at any given moment.

---As bad a #3 hitter as Tike Redman is, today against the lefty, he batted 5th. Ouch.

---The game was actually much closer than it would appear, Davis gave up quite a few runners, while Wise and Adams shut the door very effectively.

---The situation that led to Cirillo's plate appearance was almost too surreal to believe it actually took place. Bobby Hill, former Cubs' prospect, who always sits for Lloyd even though he seems superior to whoever he's backing up (sorta like the relationship Ronnie Belliard had under Royster), simply had an easy pop-up bounce off the heel of his glove, like you often see when a female is playing, or when a 8 or 9 year-old boy is on the field. It was so shocking, it's almost like it didn't really happen. Somehow, instead of being the 3rd out of the inning, this led to Jeff getting to the plate, and received a prolonged standing ovation from the sellout crowd.

While I feel it is nice that Cirillo is back in a minimal role, I realize it is unlikely Jeff will be around in a year or two, when contention and Brewers are said in the same sentence without the phrase "not in" being included. And, while I have good memories of Cirillo, I understand why he was traded, as the Crew could finish crappily with or without him. And while he was a solid player, he was never great, so the applause almost seemed a bit overdone. That all said, it would be a surprise if Jeff didn't win himself some extra time with this team. As an inexpensive reserve, it would take a heart of stone even colder than I possess to release or trade Jeff if he performs at a level that could be considered mediocre. Add that to the fact that nary a bad word has ever been said about Cirillo's character, even for teams in SEA and SD that just didn't want him around.

All-in-all, just a stellar all-around way to open Miller Park for the season.

4/11/2005 06:55:00 PM

(4/11/2005 06:54:00 AM) - Robert R.

Yesterday's loss brings up the question of whether that game could be attributed to the decision to carry 12 pitchers. Phelps was the 12th pitcher and he couldn't have been much worse.

BTW, yesterday also points out why "Holds" are also a flawed statistic. Phelps didn't retire a batter and yet got a hold.

Opening day is today and the Brewers get a chance to bounce back against the Pirates with Doug Davis on the mound. The Pirates had a long flight last night, the Brewers had a short drive last night, and the Brewers should have a full house backing them.

4/11/2005 06:54:00 AM

Sunday, April 10, 2005

(4/10/2005 09:08:00 PM) - Al

Tough L today, but after Friday's victory, I think the Brewers will probably call it even. I watched a jittery tape after I got home from work, so I FF'd through much of the game, but a few random notes:

---Billy Hall made one of the best plays I've ever seen from deep in the hole at SS today. I would have no qualms picking him up to be my starting SS if I was in a rebuilding situation. At worst, he's a utility IF with pop, and since he can play middle IF, his crappy OBP thus far can be considered par for the course. If JJ would have made that play, we'd never hear the end of it.

---I think those who said Jeromy Burnitz was done...many said it about three years ago, overreacted to a bad stretch of AB's in a pitcher's park. He's a platoon guy, but the funny thing is, when he had that down season with the Mets, people said he was a bad fielder, slow, etc. Now, you have Lenny Kasper talking about how good he is in RF, and what a hustler he is, both of which are very true. Heck, he played CF last year, and supposedly played it well. I question how much defense is overvalued in the game when you can have a solid bat and maybe mediocre D in CF and no one wants that.

---I finally figured out today that Kasper sounds like Al Michaels. He is a joy to listen to, and he should never shut up, as Brenly is just one tired "old school" cliche after another.

---Only a couple outings, but it's sure hard not to be impressed by DLR. The kid is going to walk a lot of patient hitters, but the talent and maturity is there. A good OBP man would have worked a walk from him with the bases full, but Mike Barrett kept chasing pitches outside the zone, then watched a perfect curve for strike three.

---Matt Wise is making me look like a genius with his pitching as well. He'll have to work up some stamina to be in the rotation, but I still expect to see him there this year.

4/10/2005 09:08:00 PM

Saturday, April 09, 2005

(4/09/2005 09:28:00 PM) - Al

Miller Park rated as a top park in MLB to visit.

In any unbiased survey, I think it is top 10 easily. I believe it rated higher than Fenway Park in the ESPN survey before Jim Caple played with the rankings in the "miscellaneous" section.

4/09/2005 09:28:00 PM

(4/09/2005 09:04:00 PM) - Al

I just finished watching the Brewers/Cubs game from today, simply an outstanding game by Zambrano. Throwing almosty nothing but fastballs, Carlos just mowed down the Crew all day long. Bartolo Colon has had games in which he threw nothing but heat, and if it's hard and located well, I don't see anything wrong with it. Pat and Bob mentioned before the game started that Zambrano cannot throw a ball straight, so maybe that took the place of some off-speed stuff.

I would like to point out Carlos threw 111 pitches in a game in which he had arm cramps, and had to be checked on by the trainer 2 or 3 times. Ah, the sun rises in the East, and Dusty's pitchers will suffer from overuse.

4/09/2005 09:04:00 PM

(4/09/2005 03:08:00 PM) - Jason

Games like this happen every now and again, but the Brewers really look quite bad today. Every hitter looks terrible at the plate - and its not like Zambrano is keeping the Brewers off-balance with breaking stuff; he is just mowing them down with fastballs. Moreover, Ben Sheets is not looking good for the second straight start; he got away with it in his last start vs. Pittsburgh because of a great leaping catch by Jeff Cirillo and because the Pirates lineup really sucks, but he is not getting away with it today. Ben's command on his fastball is not sharp, and it looks like he has very little control of the curveball that he is known for just putting wherever he wants to.

Zambrano is getting pulled now as I write this, but the Brewers hitters need to get it in gear if they want to make this a game in the last two innings.

4/09/2005 03:08:00 PM

(4/09/2005 08:38:00 AM) - Jason

A few thoughts, and hopefully blogger doesn't eat my post like it did the other day:

-I predicted last week they would at least talk to him, but it now appears official that Rob Jeter, Bo Ryan's right-hand man at UW, is going to take the UW-Milwaukee men's basketball job. It just made too much sense. Other guys were talked about (UWSP's Jack Bennett for one), but Jeter is in the prime of his coaching life, is from a big-time program, and is affordable for a school like UW-M. Good luck to him.

-I find it comical that Dusty Baker lets Kerry Wood, a guy who has had a litany of arm trouble in his career and had his first start of this year pushed back due to arm problems, throw 102 pitches in his first April start. Anyway, a nice win for the Crew to move to 3-0. It should be noted that after today the Brewers have a .417 OBP as a team; yes, its only three games, but OBP=runs, and its no surprise to see the Brewers have 25 runs over the first three contests with an OBP like that.

- The collective line of the bullpen through the first three games:
11.2 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
Will that last? Of course not. But perhaps the bullpen won't be as shaky as some think. Half of these guys, like a Tommy Phelps, Derrick Turnbow, and Jorge de la Rosa for example, may merely need some consistent usage and some confidence given to them by their manager to succeed. The difference between many players in AAA and bullpen/bench guys in the majors is simply opportunity. The Brewers are giving these guys opportunities - so far, so good.

4/09/2005 08:38:00 AM

(4/09/2005 02:03:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are the major leagues only undefeated that's just strange.

Huge night for the top offensive prospects at AAA, Weeks, Fielder, Krynzel, Nelson all with fine games. No doubt the Brewers depth is at AAA, and not on the big league bench.

I'm sure Krynzel will look at Clark's 2 HBP's in the boxscore and think that looks good to him.:)

4/09/2005 02:03:00 AM

Friday, April 08, 2005

(4/08/2005 10:03:00 PM) - Al

Clark sees 5 pitches and walks to open up. I can just hear the old timers saying, "You gotta be aggressive with Kerry Wood, go up there hacking". Of course, that's how those 82 pitch complete games happen.

Lenny Kasper doing the game for WGN, he used to be the pre-game host and sub on both radio and TV in Milwaukee.

I just realized he's working with former D'Backs manager Bob Brenly. I'm sure we won't be hearing a lot of tips on how to break in young players, or how to set up your bullpen to succeed.

Sure is a shame Carlos Lee is being booed. One thing about Milwaukee, you ca count on one hand how many former players are booed when they return. Gary Sheffield is a constant, but it has never been that loud, and has dwindled down to a handful. I am on record as saying the Brewers are more to blame than Sheff, as they did everything they could (brought him up too early, sent him down after a small sample, shifted him all over the diamond on D) to make him fail.

Lee didn't let the boos bother him, drills a double to plate Clark, 1-0 Crew.

Hairston jumps at the first or second pitch, easy 5-3 grounder.

Nomar gets his first hit of the year, hits a routine 6-3 grounder, but the Crew has the shift on, and he finds the gap. Spivey and Hardy almost collided trying to make the play.

The middle of the order sure seems empty without Sosa in it. Sammy is a mere shell of what he once was, but that threat always made you wonder which way the wind was blowing.

Caps working from behind today, all over the place in the 1st. Threw a big slow curve on 3-0 to load the bases.

Challenges the rookie with the bases loaded on the first pitch, base hit to CF. Not sure where that challenge was two batters ago.

A bit surprised to see Jeromy Burnitz starting versus a LHP. You'd think at this stage of his career, he'd be on the bench, especially considering he's 0-8 lifetime versus Chris.

Burnie K's on a breaking ball, and looks a lot like he shouldn't be playing with a lefty on the mound.

Cubs 2-1 after 1.

Damian Miller singles to open the 2nd. He may be as much of a step-up as Lee.

Kasper mentions Branyan as a "three true outcomes" (walk, K, HR) guy. Without a doubt, most fielders can take off their gloves with Russ up there.

Hit and run on instead of a SAC bunt, but Cappy misses a high pitch, Miller out at 3B by a lot. I love that play, though moreso with a regular hitter at the plate.

Cappy K's, like pitchers so often do.

Mike Barrett hits a double down the LF line. I always liked Barrett when he was struggling in Montreal, and I recall many people saying what a horrible catcher he was, and the Expos did end up making him a 3B for a while. He certainly has done OK for himself of late, however.

I have not seen him play much, but I have trouble believing Hairston is their best option to lead off. If you can't beat out Brian Roberts in BAL, you probably shouldn't be batting first.

For all you hear about Corey Patterson being a future star, he sure has an ugly long swing.

Great news from a Michigan congressman, Daylight Savings Time will be extended, March through November, due to the energy savings benefits. Of course, I always ask who cares if it's light at 5:30AM? Heck, I'd push it ahead another hour in the Summer, it'd be light from about 6:30AM to 10PM in June and July. I wonder why they don;t just leave it that hour ahead, as darkness at 4:30PM is kind of sad.

The Brewers obviously want to run against this battery, Clark and Spivey both take off, with Junior having success.

Cappy seems to have settled down, easy 1-2-3 bottom of the 3rd. If the score stays like this, he'll remember those walks as a direct result of not challenging the Cubs early. 2-1 Cubs after 3.

Those that hate to see strikeouts should be gald to know Branyan hit an easy 4-3 grounder on the 2nd pitch. At least a K makes Wood throw a minimum of 3 pitches, and often, 5+. {Billy Beane calls this, often a direct result of being selective at the plate, "the pound of flesh". Even though it doesn't move up a runner or anything, it'll wear the pitcher out, as well as drive up his pitch count. Without a doubt, first pitch pop-ups hurt a lot more than a K, in the long run.

Cappy throws about 6 pitches in the bottom of the 4th, still 2-1 Cubs.

Wood with 67 pitches through 4 1/3 innings.

After Hardy drives a deep fly ball to RF, Caps swings at a 1-0 pitch and fouls it back. I hate pitchers swinging before they see a strike.

Clark's been on twice without a hit, takes 2 strikes right down the middle giving Caps a breather. That's gotta suck for Brady. He works it to 3-2 before striking out...again, that should knock Wood out after 6 or 7 at most, hopefully allowing the Crew to face some weaker relievers.

Not only was Barrett mistakenly branded as a poor fielder, Branyan DH'd most of the time in CLE. If teams would have known he was a solid 3B, I find it difficult to fathom he'd have been in AAA for half of '04.

Patterson with a nice bunt, Caps throws it away at 1B, ends a streak of double digit Cubs retired in a row. Still 2-1 after 5.

Wood is at 85 pitches in the 6th. Normally, I'd say this would be his last inning, but Dusty Baker might just think he's getting loose.:)

Both Overbay and Lee with singles, 1st and 3rd, one down. Geoff chasing pitches out of the strike zone thus far, goes down on strikes. The thing that keeps Jenkins from being great rather than good is his inability to only swing at balls that would be called stikes.

Bases full for Branyan, after Miller walks.

Kerry hits 100, Dusty looks unconcerned.

Branyan walks on the 3-2 breaking ball. Wow, that just hurts my feelings, seeing a guy that throws 95 consistently go with his second best pitch in that situation.

Tied after 5 1/2 at 2.

Capuano gets another inning because Hardy's blooper didn't land safely. Brenly fails to grasp Cirillo is warming up in the 'pen to come in if a double switch is needed.

Caps falls behind 3-0, and misses for ball four by a mile. Looks like maybe the long inning in the dugout might have affected Caps, or just maybe he was ready to come out after 5.

DuBois not bunting, jumps all over it, but fouls it back. After another foul, Caps gets him swinging, looks bad on a off-speed pitch.

I wouldn't have bunted either if I'm going to let Burnitz hit. He looks lost against the breaking balls from the LHP, then takes a fastball right down the middle. But, he then hits a little nubber down the 3B line for a double. Better lucky than good sometimes. 3-2 Cubs.

Botallico in, Jenkins catches a short fly ball and fires it to the plate. The Cubs might have challenged the arm of Grieve or Clark last year. Clark positioned nearly perfectly, catches a line drive for out #3. 3-2 Cubs after 6.

Whenever I see Chad Fox pitch, I always wonder if today will be the day his arm just falls off onto the ground. Magruder chases a pitch in the dirt on the 3-2 pitch. I often think players would have a .500 OBP if they just took the full count pitch, as it often is a breaking ball out of the zone. Clark again works the count full, and walks again. 3rd time on today for Brady, doing just what a leadoff hitter should, not get out and work the pitcher.

Base hit for Spivey, 1st and 2nd, one out. You'd think you'd see a LHP to face Overbay, but not with Lee on deck. Fox does do well against LH's, .200 BA lifetime. 3-2, runners go, but it is a walk.

Lee up, bases full, just why the Crew got him. Fox goes right after him, gets ahead 0-2, and retires him on a pop-up to Lee at 1B. Clark could have challenged him, but any decent throw at all would have got him.

Remlinger comes on, falls behind 2-0. I'd have Geoff take a strike. Instead, he jumps on a fastball and fouls it back. After another foul and a check swing, 3-2. Geoff K's on a borderline pitch, probably too close to take.

Allow me to say the 7th inning stretch "tradition" at Wrigley is exceptionally lame. Like most traditions, people think doing the same thing over and over somehow makes it more tolerable. I question why God Bless America isn't sung, or America the Beautiful. One of the few things I dislike about the Miller Park experience is their insistence on playing Roll Out The Barrel, a ditty that might have been cool a half-century ago, but hasn't been since.

Matt Wise in, and he seems like a guy that should just get pounded, but rarely does. He allows a couple cheap hits, but no harm. 3-2 Cubs after 7.

Branyan to hit for himself versus a LH reliever, seems odd for a guy that platoons. I assume his power stroke was appealing at the time.

Remlinger works easily through the 8th, this is a game that you're happy to see the "closer" come in, they can't be any tougher than the set-up guy.

LaTroy Hawkins coming on, after a 1-2-3 effort by Wise in the bottom of the 8th. Somehow, I doubt if Cubs' fans feel secure.:)

Cirillo leads off as a PH. After falling behind 0-2, Jeff works it 2-2, then takes a pitch just low. Quality PA from Jeff. Fouls off the 3-2, then drives it, but right at Nomar, one down.

Clark also gets down 0-2, then flies out to RF. Up to Spivey.

Spivey hits a nice single to RF, Overbay up with a chance to do some damage with one of his patented doubles.

Lyle takes strike one right down the heart of the plate. He won't see a better pitch this AB. Down 1-2, Lyle shoots a liner down the 3B line, double, run scores. Cubs LF did bobble the ball, not sure if it mattered or not, Spivey was going all the way, regardless. Tie game.

Lee drives a 0-2 pitch to deep RCF, caught to end the inning. Loud boos as the Cubs leave the field...midseason form already.:)

Tommy Phelps in again, 3 times in 3 games. Falls behind 2-0, Hollandsworth then swings, why I don't know. Phelps misses 2 more times for a walk. Talk about a terrible time for a walk. I'm not really sure why Phelps, who barely made the team mind you, is being used now, for that matter.

Miller makes a perfect play on a bunt, gets the runner at 2B by a foot or so. Far too close for me, I would have taken the sure out at 1B.

Patterson and Jenkins are a lot alike, actually, they both swing at a lot of pitches they have little chance of driving, mostly junk in the dirt. After strike three swinging, the boos are heard again. That's it for Phelps, Gary Glover coming on. I wouldn't go with Glover either in this spot, Yost almost seems like he's picking names at random, with the bullpen not really having their roles set.

After a base hit to RF, Jenkins arm again keeps the runner at 2B. That could be huge.

Glover gets Ramirez on a breaking ball that ends up a foot outside.

Neifi Perez in at SS, Baker is famous for a bench loaded with wily veterans that simply cannot hit.

Glendon Rusch in for the Cubs. Jenkins with a nice foul to stay alive and a nice take, followed by a gapper to the RC wall for a leadoff double. Miller fakes a bunt, then swings and misses. With Branyan up next, I wouldn't bunt. I'd take all three shots at a base hit. Miller walks. Branyan up, has never SAC bunted in his career, fouls off a bunt attempt. Well, he's SAC bunted now, perfect one to 3B. Up to JJ Hardy. With the pitcher due up (I assume Hall or Helms will PH), they discuss strategy at the mound. RH reliever coming on, Leicaster.

They pitch around Hardy, 4 pitch walk, Bill Hall walking to the plate.

Hall drills it, right at Lee, line out DP. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good.

Jorge de la Rosa on to face Lee, this is a bad matchup. On a 2-0, Lee skies one to short RF, Jenkins makes a dandy catch. Very weak 2-0 swing.

DLR having trouble throwing strikes to Perez...enough said. Neifi, he of the horrible career OBP, fouls off a close 3-1, then grounds out 5-3.

Falls behind Burnitz 3-1, DLR sure would nice in AAA getting consistent work. But, there's no way guys that throw 95 with their left hand clear waivers. Burnie pops out. Onto the 11th, 3-3.

Clark walks again. He might walk more in April than Pods did all last year.

Spivey bounces into a 5-4-3 DP. Funny how no one ever mentions that when they call him the sparkplug of the offense, nor do they mention the double play when they stupidly say the key is to make contact.

Overbay walks on 4.

Lee walks on 4, more boos.

Jenkins works it to 3-2, grounds out 5-3. Notice how "making contact" means absolutely nothing? Me too.

Are there really people still wearing "rally caps"? Seriously? It was dumb even when it was hip...of course, that was 15-20 years ago.

There is hardly anyone left in the quality seats right behind home plate. Why would you leave in a tie game?

DLR gets the first two outs easily, then walks Hairston. You can almost see DLR's on the cusp of breaking through, just lacks the consistency necessary to do so.

Gets a K on a beautiful curve. Onto the 12th.

A ground ball through the hole, infield hit, and an error puts men on 1B & 3B, and Helms K's looking, never looks like he saw the ball at all. After Clark is HBP, Spivey lines a single to LC, 2 RBI's. After pitching nicely with breaking stuff to Helms and Spivey, he failed to sneak a fastball past Junior. Lyle follows with a single, making it 6-3. The Cubs' fans are so upset they fail to boo Carlos Lee for the first time of the game. Lee K's, need 3 outs before they score 3.

Mike Adams on for the save chance, Turnbow was up before they scored, so I'm sure he's ready as well. 5-3 retires Todd Walker, nice scoop out of the dirt by Overbay.

Adams hitting 92-93 on the gun. Ramirez flies out to LF (and boy, are his arms tired:).

After Lee takes two strikes on 89 and 91 mph fastballs, swings and misses a wicked slider.

6-3, Crew.

4/08/2005 10:03:00 PM

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