Al's Ramblings

Friday, June 30, 2006

(6/30/2006 10:42:00 PM) - Al

Who would have ever thought the Bucks would make a trade and not have it include Jamal Magliore, who is from the area, I believe.

Anyway, I'm certainly no NBA expert, but whenever you can pick up a big man for a point guard, that's pretty good. When you consider that TJ is just a year removed from serious injury, and slight enough to always be a bit of an injury risk, it would appear to be a dandy trade for Milwaukee.

UPDATE: For some reason, this morning I had the thought of how great it would be for the Bucks to end up with Devin Harris. I think it had something to do with hearing Jason Terry would likely resign with the Mavs. Anyway, turns out that while unlikely, there's a possibility this could happen. Dallas is said to be looking for ways to pick up G Mike James, who would team with Terry in the backcourt. As stated above, Magliore wants to play in Toronto, and they just drafted a 7 footer who is an outside guy, meaning the Raptors would be in some need of a solid rebounder/inside presence. 3 way trades are always tough to predict, but you can sort of see the needs matching up, can't you?

6/30/2006 10:42:00 PM

(6/30/2006 08:22:00 PM) - Al

It's a very small sample, but allow me to pull out the scout in me and seriously question Chris Barnwell's bat. I like his approach, as he takes a lot of pitches, but I get the feeling he takes them for the same reason Ben Sheets does...because he's completely overmatched.

Of course, Chris looks to have good defensive skills, OK range and a plus arm, and when you add in the ability to play anywhere on the field, he has a chance to stick as a 24th or 25th man for a few years, because no backup middle infielders can hit.

6/30/2006 08:22:00 PM

Thursday, June 29, 2006

(6/29/2006 04:36:00 PM) - Al

Turnbow gets 5 outs instead of his normal 3...and 4 of them count.:)

After Cedeno swung and missed, I half-expected Sir MissALot to jump out from behind the plate and announce he had called time before the pitch.

6/29/2006 04:36:00 PM

(6/29/2006 04:29:00 PM) - Al

How can you miss strike three to end the game? Borderline yes, but it's been a strike all day.

6/29/2006 04:29:00 PM

(6/29/2006 04:22:00 PM) - Al

I'm not feeling very confident as Derrick takes the mound with the 4-5-6 batters up...especially if a runner reaches.

6/29/2006 04:22:00 PM

(6/29/2006 04:16:00 PM) - Al

I'd hit and run here with Hart at 1B and Weeks at bat.

UPDATE: With 2 strikes, I assume Hart was running on his own, but Blanco with a fine throw, and a good pitch to throw on as well. As is often the case, beaten with some luck and some skill.

6/29/2006 04:16:00 PM

(6/29/2006 04:05:00 PM) - Al

Yost is managing this to win, as opposed as hoping not to lose, and still has Helling in reserve should it go extras. Given what he had to work with today, he did a nice job with what he had.

To use a poker term, he got his money in with the best he just has to hope it hold up.

UPDATE: It did so far. Now we just have to wait out the turn and the river.:)

6/29/2006 04:05:00 PM

(6/29/2006 03:50:00 PM) - Al

Bob Uecker very politely dissing Rich Dauer as a "veteran's coach", saying he "didn't work well with the guys we have here". I think the rumors that floated around about Dauer stating that Weeks could not play 2B were probably dead on accurate.

6/29/2006 03:50:00 PM

(6/29/2006 03:43:00 PM) - Al

Wise looks partly cloudy today, but with Helling as the only alternative until the 8th, that's about it.

6/29/2006 03:43:00 PM

(6/29/2006 03:22:00 PM) - Al

A rough couple days for Ned to try and piece together a relief corps. Instead of "setting them up for success", he's pretty much just trying to fill out the rest of the game...and if someone has a bad game, like Kolb did, the options are limited, at best.

Today, it would appear, however, that at least today he has arms out there, as I count Helling, Shouse, Turnbow, and Capellan (hopefully, Jose only for a single batter) still left to go.

6/29/2006 03:22:00 PM

(6/29/2006 03:13:00 PM) - Al

That's about as obvious a make-up call as you'll ever see...what's really pathetic about that is how bad the home plate umpire looks like a complete idiot, as the strike three he called was not nearly as close as the ball three.

Nice flare by Gross however. It wasn't hit very hard, but as long as it hits the OF grass, they'll be no complaints.

6/29/2006 03:13:00 PM

(6/29/2006 03:05:00 PM) - Al

Len Kasper, on the Cubs' broadcast team now, said how great it was to score after the Gonzalez error, which is true, but I'd say the greater "oops" of the inning for Geremi was the walks after the dropped ball. While suddenly missing the zone is likely a sign of fatigue, up 3, you can afford to challenge the hitters.

6/29/2006 03:05:00 PM

(6/29/2006 02:45:00 PM) - Al

What's with the Bermuda Triangle like area behind 1B...already about a half-dozen pop-ups hit in that region, and both Prince and Rickie look like 8 year-old girls every time a ball goes up over there.

Now, I guess you can add the spot just in front of home plate...though that's why they rarely let pitchers try and catch a pop fly...they often aren't very good at it.

6/29/2006 02:45:00 PM

(6/29/2006 02:00:00 PM) - Al

After Koskie's HR, Gonzalez looks good through the 2nd. He has actually looked solid since being acquired. At this second, if a pitcher were to return to the roster, there's little doubt the least consistent arm has been Kolb...though Zach J or Carlos V might be sent out to get consistent innings if it were a starter.

6/29/2006 02:00:00 PM

(6/29/2006 01:34:00 PM) - Al

I'll be live blogging the game today, as I refreshingly enjoy the WGN telecast.

Nice start by the Crew, with Weeks and Lee producing a run in the 1st. Gonzalez will likely need at least 5 runs to get a W today.

6/29/2006 01:34:00 PM

(6/29/2006 01:25:00 PM) - Al

Those looking for a higher yield from your investments, or if you have less than perfect credit and need a loan, may want to take a look at, as it's an online loaner/loanee matching place.

I figured this would be a decent place for "mad money", as it seemed like a high risk/high return investment, but as I looked at it today, you choose your risk, and you can "diversify" your risk by spreading it out among many borrowers.

6/29/2006 01:25:00 PM

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

(6/28/2006 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Doug Davis to miss tomorrow's start due to a stiff back, Geremi Gonzalez will get the nod.

So, Yost was certainly very shorthanded today, to say the least. He probably didn't have any option at all, short of using Capellan for an inning on short rest.

6/28/2006 08:08:00 PM

(6/28/2006 04:44:00 PM) - Al

Bit of a disappointing loss today, as Kolb suffered both bad luck and horrendous pitching. Just a while back, I mentioned how his slider from years past had returned, but it seems it "went away" after that one game, as I haven't seen him throw a strike with it since.

Clark did get in, but looked "uncomfortable" at the plate, like he well could be suffering from something. Hindsight being 20/20, I wonder why Gonzalez wasn't used to pitch the he was up last night, and surely had an inning in him. If a tie would have occured, Kolb was left to pitch. But, to be fair, it isn't difficult to get through an inning and allow a run or less. Simply put, if Kolb is 100% healthy right now, he's gotta be the 12th man on the staff...just because he can't be any lower. He can work out his troubles in the 6th down 5-1.

Corey Hart looks just great at the plate right now. Worked his way back from 0-2 today like a seasoned pro.

6/28/2006 04:44:00 PM

(6/28/2006 02:09:00 PM) - Al

Russ talks about how Bill Hall has destroyed LHP's this year.

That said, he's still above average at SS vs. RHP's, which is why I've seen him as a starting SS, while others keep moving him to 3B or CF.

6/28/2006 02:09:00 PM

(6/28/2006 01:57:00 PM) - Al

The Milwaukee Brewers have already sold 1.9 million tickets for the 2006 season and expect to surpass the 2005 season total of 2.2 million.

The number of tickets sold for this season is up 11.7 percent over the 1.7 million tickets sold at the same point during the 2005 season, said Tyler Barnes, Brewers vice president of communications.

In the past, Brewers officials have estimated that fans spend an average of $28 each on tickets, parking, food and merchandise. That would mean the team is about $5.6 million in revenue ahead of 2005. The Brewers get a majority of the funds, except for the food and drink, which is split with Sportservice Inc., its concessionaire.---Milwaukee Business Journal

Good to see, as I thought it would be tough to match the '05 numbers with the 13 weekday Cubs/Yankees games.

The mention also states the Crew is expecting 160K for the 4 games versus the Cubs 6/6-9.

6/28/2006 01:57:00 PM

(6/28/2006 12:26:00 PM) - Al

Ohka is off to high A Brevard County for rehab, and DLR to H-ville.

The Brewers are now 4-14 when anyone besides the top 5 members of the rotation start, but 1-13 when it's not Jackson or the April rotation.

I have to wonder if Brady Clark has an injury of some sort, as Gross is set to start for the 3rd game in a row. I had wondered that before, but when Ned sent Hart to PH, that was the kicker for me, as Corey has often been the last man off the bench, other than Moeller.

6/28/2006 12:26:00 PM

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

(6/27/2006 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like both Ben and Tomo had good sessions before today's game. Also, DLR is just about ready to go on a rehab somewhere in the minors.

Maybe, just maybe, the Crew made it through the worst of the pitching debacle. Neither Zach J or Carlos V are lights out, but they keep the team in the game when they take the mound.

6/27/2006 08:55:00 PM

(6/27/2006 01:53:00 PM) - Al

This is a map of the US that you check the states you've been to and it gives you a visual of where you have visited.

6/27/2006 01:53:00 PM

Monday, June 26, 2006

(6/26/2006 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Maybe the Omaha to Wausau Monday drive wasn't the best idea we've ever had. Good to be home, as I still wonder why hotels think everyone enjoys a pillow as thick as a semi-truck tire.

Back tomorrow.

6/26/2006 08:34:00 PM

(6/26/2006 08:10:00 PM) - Al

As an indication that the Brewers are preparing for the possibility of trading leftfielder Carlos Lee, they sent Lee Thomas to Trenton, N.J., to watch New York Yankees prospect Philip Hughes pitch Friday night for that Class AA club against Connecticut. Thomas, a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin, watched Hughes pitch a spectacular game - 8 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts. Hughes (4-3, 3.18) is considered the top pitcher in the farm system of the Yankees, who have definite interest in Lee, with outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield on the disabled list.--JS

I actually heard a Brewers' fan talking to another about this in the hotel Sunday morning. If the Crew is still at or below .500 come mid-July, there's no doubt they will listen to offers and hope a bidding war ensues.

Hughes' numbers for ' the way, zoiks.

6/26/2006 08:10:00 PM

Sunday, June 25, 2006

(6/25/2006 11:02:00 AM) - Al

Live from Kansas City...

...should be back with a full report Monday or Tuesday.

6/25/2006 11:02:00 AM

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

(6/21/2006 09:50:00 PM) - Al

For home afternoon games, Emmett Prosser of the JS often blogs the game away, as he did today.

Even though he doesn't usually add a lot of unique stats or insight, it is still always a nice read for those of us who were working.

This would be a nice thing for Tom H to do each game, but The Prince of Darkness is far too busy insisting the Nationals will win the '05 title because they "do the little things" well.:)

I'm all for doing the little things right, but first, I prefer to get a handle on the big things. Until then, it bores me to tears.

6/21/2006 09:50:00 PM

(6/21/2006 09:32:00 PM) - Al

Hey, Al --

Incredibly, as of game-time Monday night, the Brewers could have fielded an all .800+ OPS team:

OF Carlos Lee .941
OF Bill Hall .918
1B Prince Fielder .889
3B Corey Koskie .858
SS Jeff Cirillo .841
C Damian Miller .805
2B Rickie Weeks .801
OF Gabe Gross .801

Just had to capture the moment while it lasts! (and hopefully preserve it in amber on your site....)


Note that neither Clark or Jenkins are in the lineup, though Brady's .380ish OBP is still solid.

6/21/2006 09:32:00 PM

(6/21/2006 09:11:00 PM) - Al


I completely agree with you about the reffing, and how sometimes it appears the wrong ref makes the calls. However, I have heard from a friend that refs that it's like football. The refs are each taking a particular zone, and it's their priority to call within their zone, even if they are blocked out. I don't exactly know the rotations, but it's something to look into if you have friends that officiate.
After working in the AFL last year and overhearing the Questec meeting, it amazes me just how good MLB umps are. I can't recall the numbers, but the results show that MLB umps in 2005 missed at most 1% of calls down in the zone or away. While there can be bad calls on the basepaths, they are usually right--amazing since things happen so fast. In the NFL they have too many refs to count. The NBA has 3. But in baseball the 4 umps (6 in some cases) do a fantastic job considering balls are thrown and hit at over 90 mph.

Note, just remember that 1% error means around 1-4 missed strike zone calls per game, on average.


I think most home plate umps do an amazing job...what's astounding to me is how Daron embarasses himself a few times every game by asking, "Where was that pitch?", even after Damian or Chad try and frame it by moving it towards the plate a couple moving the glove, they are admitting it wasn't a strike, but Daron still asks. There have been quite a few blown calls at 1B this year in Brewers' games, but while it seems like an obvious miss, it's probably a tenth of a second, I would estimate.

The NFL guys, with all due respect, look like a bunch of teachers, postal workers and the like who are just part-time arbiters...because they are. Disgraceful.

NBA refs have it the worst, as the players are too fast and things can happen in 2 or 3 places at once. However, with 2 seconds left, everyone is watching the ball, and while I'm positive Wade was touched by an opponent, every drive has some contact. But, blowing that whistle on minute contact, versus not blowing the whistle in the Lakers/Suns series, when LA mugged Steve Nash bringing the ball upcourt (in two different games, mind you) are the two impressions of officiating I'll remember from the postseason, and both were pathetic.

6/21/2006 09:11:00 PM

(6/21/2006 08:58:00 PM) - Al

The Rainbow Family peace gathering turned hostile Tuesday when a group of attendees began hurling rocks and sticks at law enforcement officers, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

Ah, delicious irony.

I can only hope the law enforcement officers beat the living hell out of them...and then gave them citations for bleeding all over the "nature".

6/21/2006 08:58:00 PM

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

(6/20/2006 09:42:00 PM) - Al

I feel so badly about the way the Mavs/Heat game ended Sunday night. Calling a ticky-tack touch foul with 1.something seconds left in overtime? Goodness. They'd have to call a foul on every drive to the hoop to be consistent. I have no rooting interest, I like both teams, actually. I was watching for the sake of seeing a fine game.

The problem I have with the NBA is this...3 officials ref each game, and if one sees a counts. Doesn't matter if 2 refs didn't call anything on that play, the one that maybe, might have saw a hint of contact is all that matters.

Let the players decide the game. If you can watch a replay many times and not be sure if there was a foul, there sure better not be one called.

6/20/2006 09:42:00 PM

(6/20/2006 08:32:00 PM) - Al

I admit, I would have let Carlos V start tonight, and used Helling as his backup, or maybe given Rick another rehab outing (hadn't thought about it until now), but that only means the game might only be 8-0 right now.

Jason Johnson was DFA'd today by the Indians, he was a decent bottom of the rotation guy for years, but as often occurs, the downfall begins on the wrong side of 30. I know I mentioned this for corner OF's way back when the discussion was whether or not to sign Jenkins (and I think Burnitz before that). There are plenty of guys who are good at 30, not very good at 32, and out of the game at 34. That's a tough age to be giving a guy a long-term deal, the Tribe was fortunate the demand for Johnson only required them to tender a one-year contract.

In case you missed it, Chris Barnwell was added to the 25 man, along with Helling today, as Winklesas and Simpson were both sent packing, which isn't an unusual thing if you're a mediocre RH reliever. Barnwell is not a prospect, as his type of player is often referred to by one of a couple terms, the polite one being "organizational soldier", the other being "roster filler". Both refer to the fact that the player is, for the most part, playing baseball because organizations like the Brewers need to field 4 minor league teams all year, and six in the months following the June draft. Sometimes, players play their way into prospect status, undrafted FA Mike Adams would be one such example.

That said, I think many of us would love to be considered roster filler...heck, many of us would settle for being borderline roster filler.

Barnwell got into tonight's game because of the blowout status, and he appears to have a plus arm. His minor league numbers are here, and while I wish Chris the best of luck, and will be the first to say he's many times better than myself, I will quote David Spade's legendary "Hollywood Minute" comment about Kris Kross, uttered about a dozen seconds before they deservedly disappeared into oblivion...

It's gonna be a short ride boys, save some money.

I think Mr. Barnwell will be looking forward to the upcoming 10 day road trip...I would bet his per diem (often called "meal money") of about $1K will be treated with a bit more care than the other fellas on the roster.

UPDATE: Two things, one, Carlos pitched a near perfect last 5 frames, kudos to him. Two, I cannot believe how bad Barnwell's minor league stats are. He sure picked a good year to put up a .322 he has a career .304 minor league OBP.


UPDATE 2: I just remembered, we traded Enrique cruz to TEX for Shouse a month or so ago. I wonder if Barnwell would still be in Nashville had Cruz not been dealt?

6/20/2006 08:32:00 PM

Monday, June 19, 2006

(6/19/2006 10:36:00 PM) - Al

Helling will get the start tomorrow night, and Carlos V will not be going down, if Daron & Bill are to be believed, at least. Winklesas has been getting treatment on his throwing arm, and has the highest ERA, so one way or another, he's likely to not be around much longer. Of course, Allan Simpson has been drawing major league salary for basically carrying the snacks out to the bullpen, so he might not be long for Milwaukee either.

6/19/2006 10:36:00 PM

(6/19/2006 10:35:00 PM) - Al

I watch as many games as I can. A couple of friends and I even have a drinking game: Every time a U.S. player scores, we each drink a Shiner Bock. Actually, I guess you could say we're latter-day Prohibitionists.-Norm Chad


6/19/2006 10:35:00 PM

Sunday, June 18, 2006

(6/18/2006 11:09:00 PM) - Jason

Some thoughts heading into the series vs. Detroit this week:

- For the Brewers to be where they are (at .500) with the state of their starting rotation is nothing short of amazing. It really is. Take any team out there, take out two of their top four starting pitchers for a significant amount of time, and see how they end up (example one for me would be the Cubs). I would argue that at least 75% of the time, .500 would be as good as that random team would do. For the Brewers to be at .500 right now nearing the halfway point of the season is unbelieveable.

- Today's crowd (43,000+) pushed the Brewers over 1 million in attendance for the home season. The Crew is about a full 1,000 people per game ahead of their pace last year. The Brewers are on pace for just over 2.17 million to pass through the gates this year, and that figure could easily push much higher with some good weather this summer and the Brewers at least staying in contention until September.

- Im actually anxious to see the Tigers play. I havent seen Detroit yet this year, and from all accounts their best record in baseball is no fluke. Their young pitching staff appears to be very very good, and if they can stay together and remain injury free, the White Sox perch on the top of the AL Central may very well be short-lived.

6/18/2006 11:09:00 PM

(6/18/2006 09:17:00 PM) - Al

Today in the Mets/Orioles game, a line drive base hit bounced into the sleeve of the LF, and he grabbed it by reaching down the back of his jersey, as the ball had become lodged in the rear neck area.

Just when you think you've seen it all...

6/18/2006 09:17:00 PM

(6/18/2006 08:53:00 PM) - Al

We plan to attend Kansas City next weekend, take in the games, and I hope to visit the Negro League museum. If anyone has any "inside" info on KC, from places to see to restaurant choices, shoot me an e-mail.

6/18/2006 08:53:00 PM

(6/18/2006 08:25:00 PM) - Al

After last night's game, either my local news or the ESPN graphic listed the Brewers as 35-35, when in reality, they are now 35-35 after today's victory...but in my mind, it's almost like they "lost" a game, or didn't even play today.

Zach Jackson was probably luckier than he was good today, but he escaped major damage nicely. Geremi Gonzalez (yes, Geremi) pitched well to bridge the gap to the one-inning relievers.

Sounds like Rick Helling may get the start Tuesday night. Not sure if Carlos V will be kept up to "piggyback" Rick, but I would hope so, as the Tigers are a lot better than the AAA team Helling had so much success against the other night.

6/18/2006 08:25:00 PM

(6/18/2006 07:47:00 PM) - Al

The Crew seems to saying the 13 man pitching staff will be over soon.

The names mentioned don't make a lot of sense to me though...though Barnwell and Rottino at least have versatility.

6/18/2006 07:47:00 PM

(6/18/2006 03:36:00 PM) - Al

The Crank with a thinking man's post, that pretty much tells us that Bangledesh is going to be even more packed in a few years.

Keep in mind, I think we've all heard people insist the US can't possibly support the amount of people we have.:)

6/18/2006 03:36:00 PM

Saturday, June 17, 2006

(6/17/2006 11:48:00 PM) - Al

A sellout crowd sees a close, fun game, doesn't get much better than that. Luck is better than skill, that blooper Hall hit was not hit well at all.

Too bad the 2-12 brigade is on the mound tomorrow, even though Jackson has pitched well, I feel a lot better knowing the team has already taken the first two games.

6/17/2006 11:48:00 PM

(6/17/2006 11:44:00 PM) - Al

One of the nastiest attacks against Jim Cramer as I've seen. I feel Jim is more of an entertainer than an investment guru, but he sure is a joy to watch, especially after an hour or two of bald men in ties debating a company.

6/17/2006 11:44:00 PM

(6/17/2006 12:19:00 AM) - Al

I forgot to mention why Brad Nelson was outrighted to Huntsville. Nelson was on the 40 man roster, and the Brewers needed to clear a spot to bring back Rick Helling, who was on the 60 day DL. Players on the regular 15 day disabled list count on your 40 man, but if a player is severely injured and placed on the 60 day, his spot on the 40 man can be used by someone else.

A couple months ago, I guessed Dave Krynzel would be removed from the 40 when the Crew needed to add a player...looks like Dave has worked his way up to at least #39 on the ol' depth chart.:)

In order for another team to claim Nelson, they would have had to place him on their 40 man roster, unlikely for a kid not hitting much at AA. Now, Brad is just like every other player in the minors not on the 40 man, the Brewers own his rights for 6 seasons (the half season or so they play after signing does not count). After a player gets through those 6 (or 7) seasons, they are usually signed to 1 year deals, so they make up the majority of the minor league contracts signed each winter, along with that year's crop who were drafted 7 years previous.

6/17/2006 12:19:00 AM

Friday, June 16, 2006

(6/16/2006 10:20:00 PM) - Al

Some thoughts about the past couple days...

...Brad Nelson outrighted off the 40 man. Brad was a solid prospect until he broke a bone in his wrist in 2003, and to be polite, has struggled ever since. That's a bit harsh, as he has had some good stretches, including a decent half-season in '05 at AAA, .359/.399. The problem is, Brad is a 1B/LF, while his numbers would be good if he were a C or SS. He's still just 23, so he'll have a few years to show what he can do. Right now, his ceiling would appear to be that of a Mark Sweeney, while a couple seasons ago, he more resembled Mike Sweeney.

...Juan Castro traded to the Reds for a minor league OF. And Cincy still overpaid.:)

Sometimes, it's just hard to believe how some players, namely Castro, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they are just crappy, while others, Matt Erickson and Marcos Scutaro for example, have to dominate AAA ball for several years just to get a chance...probably because guys like Castro, gritty, "proven" veterans, are holding down so many roster spots.

One of my favorite statements from my blogging partner Robert was his sad but true realization that "scrappy" is but one letter away from "crappy". You'll never hear Bill Hall is scrappy, because he's far too talented. Scrappy players are never better than mediocre, and often, bottom of the barrel.

...Adam on the Brewers' site with a well done profile on Mark Rogers, the first round pick a couple years ago. Rogers has finally started to show the skills that made him a top choice. I find it remarkable how many minor league gurus have soured on Mark, while I simply see him as a big young kid who can throw 100...the results are meaningless in my eyes, as long as he keeps improving and stays healthy.

...With Rick Helling back any day, it will be interesting to see how he is used, as Zach Jackson and Carlos V have both been effective in their small sample of work. Jow Winklesas would seem the logical choice to go down, and probably be taken off the 40 man when he does. Another option would be Jeremi Gonzalez, who had a minor injury a while back, and hasn't pitched for ages. He could go on the DL and literally, be brought back as soon as needed.

I would hope the Crew goes down to 12 pitchers as well (I would root for 11, but that seems illogical), as speedy utility man Zach Sorenson is once again playing in Nashville, and would be much handier than an 8th member of the bullpen corps.

...Good to see Corey Hart pick up a start versus a tough LH that Geoff Jenkins would have had little chance against, even if Hart didn't get on base. Nice touch tonight using Koskie, while his good fortune against Sabathia is far too small a sample to have much meaning, there's nothing wrong with going with a guy who's had success in the past.

6/16/2006 10:20:00 PM

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

(6/14/2006 08:17:00 PM) - Al

3 close games that could have went either way, I'll take 2 of them every time. Carlos V sure was impresive...simply astounding that changing speeds and throwing strikes leads to positive results, huh?

6/14/2006 08:17:00 PM

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

(6/13/2006 09:28:00 PM) - Al

Good to win the first two with the complete unknown Carlos V pitching tomorrow.

FYI, I guess ESPN is broadcasting the game, 11:30AM our time.

Is it just me, or does Derrick walk someone on four pitches every time he pitches? I guess the end justifies the means.

6/13/2006 09:28:00 PM

(6/13/2006 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Not sure if you're watching, but the Dan Kolb of 2003, at least his swing-and-a-miss slider, is back.

I often said the fact he stopped throwing that pitch told me he had arm trouble. I'd throw almost nothing but that pitch if I were Kolb.

6/13/2006 09:04:00 PM

(6/13/2006 08:38:00 PM) - Al

The Twins, Ortiz says, so enthusiastically stressed small-ball tactics such as hitting behind runners that “if you moved the runner over from second base [with a groundout], you got high fives in the dugout like you just hit a home run.”

In his first at bat with the Red Sox, while batting cleanup in a spring training game, Ortiz happened to come up with a runner on second base and no outs. “I came in with that little pull, cheap-shot s---,” said Ortiz, explaining his grounder to second base on an outside sinker. “I still had the Minnesota Twins in my system.”

This time there were no high fives waiting for him in the dugout, just manager Grady Little with a word of advice. “Hey,” Little said. “Next time? Bring him in.”

Ortiz smiles at the memory. “I was like, O.K.!” he says. “I had a little more freedom than what I was used to.”

Heh. The Twins made the error of trying to change the player to fit the system, rather than setting the player up to succeed. I still recall many Twins' fans saying Ortiz was a hack, and what use did they have for him...they had Doug M...which I never understood, since they had a DH spot.

It's simply astounding that players like Ortiz go unwanted until a GM like Epstein comes along, thinks slightly outside the box, and then we hear constant complaining about how the teams with all the money always win...unless you let those darn facts get in the way.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto.

6/13/2006 08:38:00 PM

(6/13/2006 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Headline at Drudge:

Kennedy pleads guilty to DUI

I swear I've seen that phrase clockwork, once, maybe twice every year.

6/13/2006 08:06:00 PM

Monday, June 12, 2006

(6/12/2006 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Now, it's 2-11.

Congrats to Zach on his first big league win.

Dana and Ben must be wondering where they go and pick up some of that intelligence and poise, huh? He was far from lights out, but he didn't give up the game and make the bullpen go 6+ frames either.

6/12/2006 09:16:00 PM

(6/12/2006 04:00:00 PM) - Robert R.

And, in conjunction with the early post regarding lineup issues, let me say that I still think Jenkins is a valuable contributor that most certainly should be starting against right-handed hitters and is the best outfield defender the team has. In fact, let's give some relevant splits:

Vs. RHP (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) .291/.338/.464/.802 (a little lacking in power and walks, but still a valuable producer for a corner outfielder)

And for those who get worked up about situational stats

W/ RISP (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) .288/.355/.500/.855 (right in line with his career norms)

W/ RISP & 2 Outs (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) .417/.500/.792/1.292

Close & Late (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) .343/.375/.514/.889

Likely because of how Jenkins has done in "clutch" situations he actually shows up as being fairly productive based on Win Shares accumulating 6 for the season which puts him right in line with Koskie and Miller and ahead of Weeks and Clark. Only Lee, Capuano, Fielder and Hall have been more valuable.

6/12/2006 04:00:00 PM

(6/12/2006 01:19:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman talks about Joe Mauer hitting .400...which seems impossible, but he's hit .500 in the last 3 weeks or so.

I am proud to say I would have taken Mauer over Mark Prior regardless of bonus demands and/or hometown connection, and was outnumbered about 99-1. I was not seeing into the future, I just hate taking pitchers that high, as they often get hurt. I'd much rather take a great position player, ala Weeks, Mauer, or Fielder; and then use my surplus to deal for "proven" young pitchers on the cusp of the majors, like Jackson, Capuano, etc.

6/12/2006 01:19:00 PM

(6/12/2006 12:48:00 PM) - Al

If I did my math right, the Crew is now 29-23 when one of the original starting 5 takes the mound, and 1-11 when anyone else gets the start.


That stat is simply so stunning, I can't believe I'm reading it first here.:)

My contention that if the other starters would have just pitched decently, a lot of 5-6 inning, 3-4 runs allowed type outings, this team would be in fine shape...not to mention the "what ifs" had Ohka and Sheets enjoyed good health thus far in '06.

Talk if you will about the offense slumping a bit, especially during the losing streak, but it's been all about the pitching.

Bush: 6-8
Cappy: 9-5
Davis: 9-5
Ohka: 4-2
Sheets: 1-3

UPDATE: Corrected Ohka's mark, and team mark.

6/12/2006 12:48:00 PM

(6/12/2006 12:08:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin said this weekend he is not philosophically opposed to acquiring a pitcher in the final year of his contract.

"We may be open to that, if we feel we can win the division or the Wild Card, and we still feel that," Melvin said. "A lot of things have to go right, and if we can find a pitcher, I'm not opposed to taking him for a short time if it's going to make us better."

I don't have any problem with that either, but right now, the club is far from being one pitcher away from contention. Now, if you're of the mindset that the 8 game losing streak was some sort of anomoly, and you see this as a team 4 games over .500, I suppose you can say that's a good idea.

As I've said before, I'm disappointed that the depth this team had on April 1st has failed to materialize. I'll have to go over the game logs today and see what their record is with Sheets, Davis, Capuano, Ohka, and Bush starting. While you can't expect a team to not lose a SP at some point, it would seemingly show that if the depth of Helling, Eveland, Hendrickson, and Jackson would have performed as I thought...

6/12/2006 12:08:00 PM

(6/12/2006 11:56:00 AM) - Al

I doubt Yost will ever go with a straight platoon, though his hand may be "forced" a bit by the braintrust, in RF. However, right now, it doesn't make a lot of sense to run Geoff out there against above average LHP's. That will at least get Hart some playing time on a semi-regular basis, and set Geoff up for success, not having to worry about hitting the Glavines and Mulders.

Robert properly summarized my feelings about worrying about the batting order, but one thing the Crew is susceptible to is a solid LH reliever being used. Avoiding consecutive lefties would at least make a loogy face Lee and/or Hall. When Brady returns to full health, I'd lead-off with the OBP laden pair of Weeks and Clark. It'd be a minimal improvement, but it wouldn't hurt.

6/12/2006 11:56:00 AM

(6/12/2006 08:47:00 AM) - Robert R.

I share most of Al's disdain for lineup construction discussion. Especially when you're mainly talking about finetuning a lineup that has Rickie Weeks at the top, Carlos Lee and Prince Fielder in the middle, and the catcher and pitcher at the end. The number of really productive moves you can make is minimal.

That said Geoff Jenkins is really scuffling right now and I can't imagine the hot streak that he can have that's capable of making it anything other than an off year for him. There's really not much point in hitting him #3 right now when you have other capable options. Switching Jenkins and Koskie would seem like the easiest move in the order without disturbing the development of younger players. That and getting Corey Hart into the lineup instead of Jenkins when a left-handed pitcher starts would seem to be the best tinkering moves for the offense of the team short term and long term.

I'd advocate this lineup, which really isn't much different than what Yost is currently running out.

1. Weeks
2. Clark
3. Koskie vs. RHP, Hall vs. LHP
4. Lee
5. Fielder
6. Hall vs. RHP, Cirillo vs. LHP
7. Jenkins vs. RHP, Hart vs. LHP
8. Miller / Moeller
9. Pitcher

6/12/2006 08:47:00 AM

Sunday, June 11, 2006

(6/11/2006 08:09:00 PM) - Al

The Crew is now down 4-3, a trio of homers by the 3/4th's of the future IF (sorry JJ), and the Crew is doing a nice job taking Suppan into deep counts, so hopefully he'll be done after 5 or 6.

Ash spoke very highly of JJ, basically saying that while he isn't flashy, he solidifies the club both at the plate and especially in the field.

Very patiently explained that Carlos Lee is not "on the block", but quickly went into a discussion with himself that they'll talk about anyone, and that they often do talk about good players with other clubs.

Gord mentions how embarassing the Lohse/Hall rumors were. Blames the internet, even though both silly rumors were mentioned in the Twin Cities papers first.

Almost on cue, Gord brings up Suppan's pitch count...see, this is what a real TV broadcaster brings up, not how darn good David Eckstein is, even though he's simply a below average player, who is having a good year, however.

6/11/2006 08:09:00 PM

(6/11/2006 07:29:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure Gord is trying to be politically correct, but hearing him chuckle at Juan Encarnacion's awful swing at a breaking ball is music to my ears, especially after hearing Juan's praises all weekend, as he's a below average corner OF, which SL almost always seems to be able to get away with because they have Jim Edmonds in CF.

6/11/2006 07:29:00 PM

(6/11/2006 07:19:00 PM) - Al

I'm especially excited I taped the game today, as the family took in a movie. Gord Ash is doing color commentary, as I assume Bill is off at his son's HS graduation. It's the top of the first, and Ash has already made several intelligent comments.

While I'm on the thought, bless you if you want to have a HS graduation party, but I always used to say it's like celebrating the fact you made it to work without having an accident...without fail, all but the exceptionally lame make it through high school. Acting as if it's a big deal doesn't hide the fact that it's a very minor accomplishment.

6/11/2006 07:19:00 PM

Saturday, June 10, 2006

(6/10/2006 08:18:00 PM) - Al

That was the situation last week when a rumor made the rounds that the Brewers were considering trading infielder Bill Hall to Minnesota for right-hander KyleLohse, who pitched poorly for the Twins this season and was sent to Class AAA Rochester. He fared better there and was recalled Friday.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin called Minnesota's Terry Ryan to assure him that Melvin had nothing to do with the rumor. Ryan apologized as well, realizing it made him look silly for people to think he would ask for an emerging star such as Hall in exchange for a pitcher who was sent to the minors.

"When things come out like that we get embarrassed as GMs," said Melvin. "It makes no sense whatsoever."---JS

Wow, the mainstream media is now only 2 days behind Aaron Gleeman.

That would be even more impressive had the JS not got this story FROM him, in all likelihood.

6/10/2006 08:18:00 PM

(6/10/2006 07:53:00 PM) - Al

You gotta keep those 1-4 spots consistent. You can move those other guys around, but you can't move those guys around.---Bill Schroeder

It's like listening to a group of NASA scientists discuss rocket engines, and having little Billy walk by and go "Big rocket go BOOM!"

6/10/2006 07:53:00 PM

(6/10/2006 12:36:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention that I agree 100% with Jason's thought that the best thing to do with DLR when he recovers from his minor ailment is to let him spend the max time in the minors he can (which I think is 20 days, not 30), to get a few starts and build up his stamina. Right now, DLR is good for 2-3 innings, then labors. In a few rehab starts, he can go 50 pitches in the first, and build his way up to 90-100 pitches, not having to worry about him allowing walks and runs while doing so.

DLR cannot go to the minors except on rehab...this is a perfect opportunity to let him get stronger and hopefully see that my contention he could be a major league SP is not thinking with my heart and not my head.

6/10/2006 12:36:00 PM

(6/10/2006 07:37:00 AM) - Al

The JS mentions that Jenkins was dropped to 7th to face Mulder, though I wonder why he was even in the lineup. He has pretty much struggled this season, and has been awful versus LHP, though in a relatively small sample, of course.

Considering how well Corey Hart has done in his limited playing time, it is tough to justify Geoff playing against such a tough lefty, though the way things turned out, Mulder only went 3 innings.

6/10/2006 07:37:00 AM

(6/10/2006 07:28:00 AM) - Al

DLR goes on the DL with a fingernail/blister problem, Carlos V brought back up from AA. I was actually thinking of this last night, if DLR were to go on the DL, they probably wouldn't need another pitcher, but it sounds like Jeremi Gonzalez is hurting as well, as he took a cortisone shot a couple days ago.

Joe Winkelas seems to be suffering from a case of "advanced scoutitis", as teams now understand he rarely throws a pitch that ends up as a strike. Not sure if this is an adjustment he'll be able to make or not, as the book on 32 year-olds who were garbagemen a year ago is a thin volume.

6/10/2006 07:28:00 AM

Friday, June 09, 2006

(6/09/2006 10:49:00 PM) - Jason

I just dont understand Ned Yost. I really dont. Jorge de la Rosa is clearly hurt on the mound - he has blood on his pants from a split fingernail, and he was unable to throw any of his pitches for strikes - and Yost just REFUSES to take him out...that is, until he walks the bases loaded. Yost and the trainer even go out to visit, and still refuse to take him out. A Joe Winkelsas disaster later, the Brewers blow a 6-0 lead an go on to lose the game.

And, for the life of me, I also dont understand the pattern of how this bullpen is being handled. Wasnt Jeremi Gonzalez acquired for games like this? He has pitched a grand total of two times since being traded for. Capellan hadnt pitched in a week and a half, and suddenly is used in back to back games. You can see the reasons why having 13 pitchers on your staff just doesn't can never get all the guys consistent work.

Im still not sold on Jorge being a starter, but this situation with his finger gives the Brewers an opportunity, if they are smart enough to do it. Jorge's split fingernail in an injury that can put him on the DL. Put him there, send him to AAA for the allotted 30 days for rehab once the finger heals up, and get him 5-6 starts and stretch his arm out. Then, we can get a better read on him in terms of his chances of becoming a starter. Right now, its just too hard to tell.

13 pitchers on the staff just isnt the answer. When 10 of them are crappy and/or mediocre, it just creates more problems - it doesnt solve anything.

6/09/2006 10:49:00 PM

Thursday, June 08, 2006

(6/08/2006 10:06:00 PM) - Al

Karl Ravech just called Jim Powell...Bob Uecker.

I've actaully lost track of the glaring errors Ravech has made tonight, as the Uecker reference is mind boggling. With his Tonight Show appearances and Major League movies, I can't believe there's a baseball fan alive who doesn't know Ueck.

6/08/2006 10:06:00 PM

(6/08/2006 09:38:00 PM) - Al

From Sir Aaron of Gleeman:

Already this week two different columnists for the Minneapolis Star Tribune have mentioned the possibility of the Twins trading Kyle Lohse to the Brewers. Patrick Reusse reported that Terry Ryan asked Milwaukee for Bill Hall, while Sid Hartman suggested that the Twins ask for Corey Koskie. I'm not sure which demand is crazier, although at least in Ryan's case it's only a rumor.

Hall is 26 years old, makes close to the minimum salary, can play anywhere defensively, and is hitting .264/.317/.582. Koskie is hitting .270/.353/.509 in 51 games while platooning at third base. It's laughable that anyone--from Ryan all the way down to Hartman--thinks that the Twins can get either of those guys for a pitcher who had an 8.92 ERA and is now making $4 million to pitch at Triple-A.

Why not ask for Prince Fielder? The sad part is that the same people trying to shoot the moon in a trade for Lohse now were the ones who didn't think it was a good idea to deal him when he actually had some value. If Ryan can get anything close to Hall or Koskie for Lohse, don't you think he would have jumped at the chance about a month ago?

Hall is a top 5 SS, and while he may "fall" clear down to a top 10 SS by the time the year is over, the idea he could be had in a deal for a SP who has done so badly he's been shipped to AAA.

6/08/2006 09:38:00 PM

(6/08/2006 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Having trouble with Blogger tonight, so allow me to quickly say that I am beginning to really like this Bill Hall fella at SS.

Also, I think it is safe to say that the days of needing a 13 man bullpen are past us. Jose Capellan hasn't pitched in a week, and mop-up men Allan Simpson and Jeremi Gonzalez are barely getting any work either.

Mike Rivera is hitting good enough to be a decent option as a PH as well as a 3rd string catcher, while Zach Sorenson is healthy, and is able to play anywhere except as part of the battery. Neither one of those two guys is going to win you more than a game the rest of the way...but that might be one more than the 13th pitcher.

6/08/2006 07:37:00 PM

(6/08/2006 09:49:00 AM) - Robert R.

I know little about Jeremy Jeffress other than what I've read online. Considering the near universal evaluation that the draft is weak, I find it hard to fault the Brewers for picking a player that can throw in the upper 90s and touch 100 mph, even if it would be generous to describe the Brewers history of developing high school pitchers as miserable.

FWIW, here's what Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus says about Jeffress:

Jeffress was all over the board as late as this morning, going anywhere between the Dodgers at No. 7 and Boston with one of their two picks towards the end of the first round. Because he's touched triple-digits with his fastball, people have compared him to Colt Griffin, but Jeffress is really a different beast as he's a much better athlete with far better command. The lack of a solid breaking ball prevented him from going higher, but he has steal potential.

Considering where the Brewers were drafting, I'll take "steal potential" as a sign that the Brewers made an eminently defensible pick.

6/08/2006 09:49:00 AM

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

(6/07/2006 10:39:00 PM) - Robert R.

I was at the game tonight. The story of the night was obviously the starting debut of Zach Jackson. Overall it was a solid debut although he certainly seems to be a work in progress. Right now, he seems to be lacking an out pitch and can't put major league hitters away easily. A few strikeouts could have made some of the early inning defensive miscues meaningless. Right-handed hitters and Piazza in particular didn't seem to be fooled by much of what he threw up there.

Still, it's very easy to say that he's a better option than Hendrickson and Eveland. Being able to throw strikes early in a plate appearance, hit spots, change speeds, and keep the ball down are all things that Jackson can build on. Jackson is going to have a few rough starts, probably fairly soon, but until Ohka, Helling or Sheets are ready, he certainly appears to be one of the best options the Brewers have for starting pitching.

Other stories of the game. Wise had one of his rare bad outings and picked a bad game to do it in as the Brewers had no cushion. It's especially galling when you give up home runs to Adrian Gonzalez and Vinny Castilla.

Someone is really going to have to explain to me what Chad Moeller, who looked completely outmatched at the plate the whole night, was doing batting in the ninth inning down by a run. While I understand the importance of giving Damian Miller regular rest, trying to win the game should take precedence at that point. Again, the short bench of the Brewers limits their options in the late innings. This is a roster construction issue and an issue of a lack of boldness or imagination.

6/07/2006 10:39:00 PM

(6/07/2006 08:32:00 PM) - Al

Zach Jackson isn't lights out tonight, but he's keeping the club in the game, all you can really ask of a young pitcher.

A while back a message board poster said recently that while Jackson may not have the stuff of Eveland, and not one dominating pitch like Ben Hendrickson's curveball, he did have mound presence, and I believe he used the words "mental toughness". Zach was a top prospect with the Blue Jays, so that poster may have been selling him a bit short, but I am very disappointed with Eveland's failure to pitch smart in the majors, as he was all but unhittable in AAA.

6/07/2006 08:32:00 PM

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

(6/06/2006 08:40:00 PM) - Al

Not sure how many of you are Kevin Smith fans, but I have been looking forward to Clerks 2 since I heard it was going to be made. I would probably put Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in my personal top ten films of all time, both simply hilarious and extremely politically incorrect. I'm not sure if Ramblings was up yet or not when JSBSB came out, but a family film web site sent a reviewer in several times to try and get an accurate count of the curses and naughty situations, and the site admitted it couldn't keep track.

Anyway, the newest Smith film got raves at Cannes, but to be honest, what do the French know? So, I'm a bit more optimistic now that Smith tells us a screening in the heartland went nicely, as he tries his best not to diss the Midwest.

He's never had a film gross over $30M in the US, so he doesn't appeal to everyone, but it sure looks like Clerks 2 might be "the one".

6/06/2006 08:40:00 PM

(6/06/2006 05:08:00 PM) - Al

Speaking of contrarian, the Crew picks a HS pitcher with their first round pick. If you look further down the list, you'll see a lot of college players who have exhausted their eligibility...those guys have very little negotiating power. I would expect the Crew felt they would need the money to sign their top picks, and also feel they needed some "advanced" players to boost the A ball levels of the system.

6/06/2006 05:08:00 PM

(6/06/2006 10:41:00 AM) - Al

Watching the markets fall again today, you have to wonder if there are some contrarians with a price in mind to jump into the home builders segment at any second. Many are now selling at 4-6x earnings, even though the current and next year's earnings are projected at similiar levels to last year.

I'd be hesitant to try and time the market, as pros have a frighteningly difficult time trying to do it, even with tons more rumors and gossip to go by. But, at some point, it's tough to turn down a stock that's going to make almost as much next year as it's selling for.

6/06/2006 10:41:00 AM

(6/06/2006 10:35:00 AM) - Al

I was already upstairs for the night when Turnbow came on, or I would have posted, "I guarantee you Derrick will NOT blow the save tonight."

That was not because I was extra secure (though much moreso with a 3 run lead), but because I assumed Yost would have Shouse and Kolb/Capellan backing him up. However, I do not know if he did or not, as they never showed the bullpen...and if anyone had got on base, both Shouse and Kolb had been up earlier, and could have got ready very quickly.

I don't think I've seen a major league hitter miss two consecutive breaking balls by more than Josh Barfield did on two Turnbow sliders. Not only must he be a dead red guy, but when you consider I cannot recall Weeks ever looking that bad, it reminds you just how far above the curve (no pun intended) Rickie is offensively.

6/06/2006 10:35:00 AM

(6/06/2006 09:17:00 AM) - Al

What's really sad is the media is so busy covering the fact an anomoly has occured on the calender, the fact that this is the anniversary of D-day has ben all but overlooked.

62 years ago, a group of American and allied soldiers quite literally, saved France, and took a large step to saving the world. Thousands died on the beach, and every one of them is an American hero.

Of course, that can't compare to the fact Hell, MI is having a cookout...

6/06/2006 09:17:00 AM

(6/06/2006 08:25:00 AM) - Al

I actually forgot about the MLB draft until Jim Powell talked to Jim Callis last night. The JS drops a few names, though picking 16th, they are far, far away from getting anything near a sure thing like Weeks and Fielder.

Most of my interest will be in the later rounds, as I hope Mark A "pushes" the team to take a few players who have fallen due to signability and a committment to college, and make them solid, top o' the draft offers.

6/06/2006 08:25:00 AM

Monday, June 05, 2006

(6/05/2006 04:50:00 PM) - Al

The State Journal with a thinking person's article on the Crew, interesting stats as well.

6/05/2006 04:50:00 PM

(6/05/2006 03:55:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

So Ned Yost has been thrown out of 2 games recently, possibly in an attempt to "fire up" the troops. Watching the last week and a half of games I find myself more and more wondering if it might be time for one of The Crew's pitchers to plunk a batter or two. Not at all suggesting any malicious intent but I'm of the opinion that a good "Rhubarb" might be just what this team needs. What are your thoughts on this and other ways managers or teammates might try to "light a fire" under the team?


I certainly don't mind the pitchers working inside, and there is some advantage to having the batters not feel secure in the box. However, any hits batsman results in a baserunner, and giving the opposition a free baserunner is the last thing the Crew needs.

As for a brawl helping the club, I'd compare it to the infamous "closed door meeting"...they work, except when they don't. Also, baseball players are known for being injured during these things.

The Crew needs to pitch better and get on base better. All the rest is for the lawyers.

6/05/2006 03:55:00 PM

Sunday, June 04, 2006

(6/04/2006 08:03:00 PM) - Al

A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of the worst poker slump of my 2.5 year "career". I am strictly a low-level player, and much of my profits actually come from the bonuses poker sites offer to try and drive traffic to their sites. Of course, it doesn't take a genuius to realize that if you are being "paid to play", you can actually lose a token amount and still end up in the black. For example, it is very possible to "earn" a $100 bonus by playing 1000 raked hands, and end up $40 down from the poker play, but then still be $60 to the good.

Now imagine that despite the fact I'm a bonafide expert at bonus chasing, I still ended up losing money from 4/15-5/15. I play almost every day, and am a very conservative, by-the-book player. I was losing to horrible plays with consistency. I was losing, even though I was still collecting bonuses, my losses were greater than that.

Now, it's very possible I was not playing up to par, in addition to being very unlucky. But for the most part, I was simply going through a bad stretch.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last 8 games of the Brewers' campaign. Line drives hit right at the defenders, bad hops in the field, bloopers falling in, etc. Now, many of the problems have been self-caused, but to be honest, no pitcher has a game in which they don't make a few bad pitches. When things are going good, those pitches are taken, hit foul, or "just missed", a fly ball to the warning track.

When things are going bad, it's ugly.

I haven't seen much of the last few games, but even though the pitching has got most of the blame (due to the back-to-back games in PNC), the offense has been equally unproductive, scoring no more than 4 runs in the eight losses, and 4 runs only twice. It's been a total meltdown, and when that happens, it's going to be a bad stretch.

That said, I am still optimistic about what the future holds for this team. Prince and Rickie are doing nicely, and neither one appears to have "hit their stride" offensively. As I said the other day, if anything comes of this, it's the conclusion that Carlos Lee is not worth $10M+ a season. I like Carlos, and wish him the best, but Corey Hart is at least 90% as good offensively, and is a better defender and much faster. Some feel Nelson Cruz is as good as Hart, though I disagree.

A huge plus is that despite the priority Doug Melvin has put on the major leagues, he has not traded a single top prospect, the best being Ty Taubenheim, who was the PTBNL in the Overbay deal, who spent most of last year in high A ball, was in the Blue Jays' rotation for a while at least. The Crew had many better pitchers, and his success is a testament to the quality and depth of the pitching in the minors...recent showings aside.

This team may not be as good as we thought, but the talent is still there, though not as major league ready as we had hoped. Am I a bit more doubtful Weeks will not be a 2B for the long-term? Yep. Heck, I'm giddy DLR went 5 innings today allowing only a pair of runs...and while I know Yost has had a lot on his mind, but I would have been plenty happy with that. 95 pitches is a ton for a guy in his 2nd start after being a 1-2 inning man...for a season and two months.

There's always optimism to be found, sometimes, you just REALLY have to look for it.

6/04/2006 08:03:00 PM

Saturday, June 03, 2006

(6/03/2006 09:57:00 PM) - Al

I think the old saying, "when it rains, it pours" comes to mind. I have now missed two games in the last week, and Derek blew the save in both of them. Too bad of course, as the Crew would be sitting at .500 had they won them both, but realistically, you're not going to win every game in which you take a one-run game into the 9th.

Looks like Clark and Hart both had nice games, Corey should probably pick up a start tomorrow and give the struggling Jenkins a day off to clear his head...and Weeks could probably use one as well. At some point, you do have to wonder if the constant focus on D is affecting Weeks at the plate.

I wonder if DLR will make the start tomorrow, or if Zach Jackson will get the ball instead.

On the bright side, there's nowhere to go but up.:)

6/03/2006 09:57:00 PM

(6/03/2006 10:35:00 AM) - Al

One question the message boards are asking, why wasn't Dennis Sarfate brought up, he has a 3.13 ERA?

Simple, he's been doing it with smoke and mirrors. He's walked 40 in 54 innings, and his WHIP is 1.68, that's 5 baserunners every 3 IP. Ignoring how difficult it is to walk nearly a man an inning in AAA, where the strike zone is huge, with no TV and umps wanting to work 2 hours rather than 3.

6/03/2006 10:35:00 AM

(6/03/2006 10:05:00 AM) - Al

Left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland was optioned to Nashville following his unimpressive performance. He lasted four-plus innings on Friday and in his five starts struggled to keep the Brewers in ballgames.

Joining him in Nashville is right-handed reliever Chris Mabeus, who was assigned outright to Nashville.

On the Nashville/Milwaukee shuttle will be Allan Simpson, a RH reliever, and Zach Jackson, LH SP.

Apparently, the braintrust agrees with my feelings on Eveland. Mabeus painfully fell apart in his 2nd inning of work in his only appearance, forcing the Crew to have to bring in another pitcher to finish the game.

I'm not much of a believer that Zach Jackson is ready to be a bonafide major league starter, but obviously, the Crew thinks he's better than anyone else they have. The bar has been set so low by Ben H and Dana, they feel it's worth a shot.

6/03/2006 10:05:00 AM

Friday, June 02, 2006

(6/02/2006 07:43:00 PM) - Al

Dana Eveland may be young, and he appears to have decent stuff, but it is simply painful to watch him pitch. I'd say he has no clue, but I wouldn't want to offend those with no clue.

Out of shape, all over the place, and as I've said before, always pitches a bit worse than you'd expect.

Of course, while I'm on the subject of "no clue", hearing Bill and Daron say to "be careful here" and "a walk doesn't bother you", oof. I was momentarily transported back to the days of Lopester and Stewart, shutting down the opposition by giving them extra baserunners.

Just when you think the TV team can't get any worse, they manage to dig a little more out of the hole.

6/02/2006 07:43:00 PM

(6/02/2006 08:50:00 AM) - Al

Thanks for being so damn level-headed and down right logical with the Brewers this year. You never are so bandwagon happy and optimistic and not so damn pessimistic that all you write is how crappy things are (which is easy to do during this annual Pirate-whipping). You prove points you have made time and time again. For those of us out of state and cannot watch the games, it's a great perspective to read your site. Keep on Rambling!

Cheesehead Craig

Craig writes the Oracle of Cheese. Appreciate the kind words, sir.

I've been far from optimistic in the past, when Grumpy Stewart was ruining careers and our utility infielders were Loretta and Belliard, losing playing time to old guys who couldn't play a lick, but had ran at an above average clip in previous seasons (and no, I'm not kidding). This is the same team it was a few days ago, and while it's too bad the team's projected win total has fallen a few points (to use a stock analogy), the future earnings remain unchanged.

Enjoy your day, and keep the faith. Things always look dimmest right before the improvement.

6/02/2006 08:50:00 AM

(6/02/2006 08:25:00 AM) - Al

So, I just took a look at how the defense ranks, using zone rating, which measures how many balls in play a fielder converts into outs. Interesting findings:

---Carlos Lee is near the bottom of the pack in LF, but he was last year as well.

--Both Clark and Jenkins were in the upper half in '05, but rank near the bottom in '06. Granted, Geoff dropped a couple balls early, so that might be affecting him, as RF's don't get a lot of chances. Or, is it possible that a third of the way through the year, the balls are simply being hit to places in the "zone" that are, for the most part, unreachable? I know I've seen many balls off the wall in CF, and Brady plays deep. Did they each lose several steps of range since LY...that seems unlikely.

---The hours spent discussing Prince's D on message boards was a complete waste of time, as he ranks 6th of 24 1B that qualify in ZR.

---I was a bit taken aback by the results of our current DP combination.

Weeks: 23rd (of 23) in fielding %, 22nd in ZR
Hall: 27th (of 28) in fielding %, 25th in ZR

We all know Rickie is not a strong 2B, but I did not expect to see Bill mirroring his rankings. Small sample alert, Bill does not qualify as a SS, so maybe it is not a true gauge of his ability. FYI, Luis Castillo of the Twins is the lone 2B under Weeks, and I would figure he is hurt by bad knees and the fast Metrodome turf.

6/02/2006 08:25:00 AM

(6/02/2006 07:55:00 AM) - Al

This is the first time I've seen this number, and may give us "proof" just how bad the defense how been.

Link, and the number I am going to talk about is DIPS and %, to the far right.

DIPS stands for defense independent pitching, and rates pitchers based solely on the amount of hits and runners they allow. As you can see, the Crew's "DIPS ERA" is 4.46, compared to their actual ERA of 5.27. Keep in mind, this does not take errors into account, as it only measures earned runs. Note the % column shows the Crew's projected ERA is 84% of their actual ERA...and the next lowest is 95%. Every other team in the NL is within 5% of what you would expect, but the Crew has given up almost a run a game more than their raw numbers would suggest.

This could be looked at as an indictment of the defense, but is it possible the hits and walks have just been bunched together at a very unlucky pace...or more likely, a combo platter of these two factors, as well as a few others? Yep.

The bright side of this bit of info is is possible the team's pitching will improve by about 15% even if they keep pitching exactly the same. Or, even if you think the blame is 50/50, that would lead to an 8% reduction in ERA, again, without the pitching being any better, just the damage being more spread out.

6/02/2006 07:55:00 AM

(6/02/2006 07:26:00 AM) - Al

Here's something for you...the Crew has actually been very lucky thus far.

While that statement is made somewhat in jest, the numbers do bear it out.

FACT: The Crew is 4-0 in extra inning games.

FACT: 11-7 in one-run games.

FACT: If you go only by the amount of runs scored and runs allowed, they "should" have 23 victories...but they have 26.

Of course, as is often the case, you can also make the argument the Crew has been somewhat unfortunate...

FACT: If you do the down and dirty calculation as far as how many runs the team should have, you get:

.340 OBP x .463 SLG x 1832 AB = 288 estimated runs...but they have really only scored 262.

FACT: The same calculation for the other side (pitching and defense) yields the following results:

.341 OBPA x .431 SLGA x 1838 AB = 270 estimated runs...but they have really given up 304.

So, what does this all this mean, you ask?

I dunno. As often is the case when you look at a boatload of numbers, many seem to contradict each other. But, common sense tells me a few things:

1. This team is fortunate to have 26 wins. If they were .500 in one run games and extra inning affairs, as you would expect, they'd have 2-4 fewer victories, which is exactly where the runs scored/allowed projection puts them.

2. The offense has been good, 6th in runs scored, but they have the best OPS in the NL, and could easily move up to the top 2-3, at the very least.

3. The pitching and defense have been poor, but the baserunners they've allowed have been "bunched" together as to give up more runs than you'd expect.

6/02/2006 07:26:00 AM

(6/02/2006 06:48:00 AM) - Al

I just checked out the box score of yesterday's game and I saw Corey Hart was given a start in RF, and went 2-3, which is a nice thing to see. Brady Clark's BA is now up to .291...why in the world don't they bench him? Oh, I'm sorry, I'm a fortnight behind the times, aren't I? By the way, where are those people who were clamoring for Gabe Gross to takeover CF?

The ironic thing about the current state of the team is that, in reality, the team is still the same group of guys they were when they started the Pirates series', a solid offensive club (though to be fair, they haven't suffered many injuries to the offense, and the depth of the offense (Hall) has performed admirably, while the pitching depth has not.

I took a look at the pitching matchups for the weekend, and despite the fact the Nationals aren't very good, I'd argue that DC has the advantage at least 2 of the 3 days. Time will tell of course, and hopefully the Miller Park advantage will lead to the team ending the current losing streak and putting things together again.

6/02/2006 06:48:00 AM

Thursday, June 01, 2006

(6/01/2006 09:34:00 PM) - Al

I briefly saw the highlights of the game on the news, and didn't even check out the box score, as we are preparing for my little boy's 4th birthday tomorrow.

I think it's a safe bet that the Crew will be happy to get home.

To be honest, a 4-6 road trip isn't that disappointing...and while the Brewers only went 3-7, I'm not going to shed a tear over one less win in early June.

Hopefully, we'll be back tomorrow with more thoughts, though it will likely be late in the day.

6/01/2006 09:34:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

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