Al's Ramblings

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

(7/31/2007 11:49:00 PM) - Al

Quite a game by Chris Spurling, nice catch by Mench, two guys who have been waived any number of times by many who don't understand what quality depth is.

To be honest, probably more luck than skill, but they were due a tad bit after the blooper/ground ball hits allowed over the road trip.

41.8K at the game tonight. Those folks who said 3M people would never be done never expected weeknight crowds like this. They said they might well get 6 crowds above 40K this home 3M seems like it could easily happen as early as '08.

Doug is trying to get Linebrink on the bereavement list, but they are not allowing it because a birth is not considered important enough...really. Actually, if they can get to Thursday, Parra will be available again, but in the meantime, Wise will be tough to use as anything except in a blowout, as he is struggling of late, possibly related to him hitting the SL batter in the face.

7/31/2007 11:49:00 PM

(7/31/2007 07:51:00 PM) - Al

USA Today discusses our broken, anti-capitalist subsidy system.

Be prepared to shake your head in awe.

7/31/2007 07:51:00 PM

(7/31/2007 07:16:00 PM) - Al

We lost internet service last night at about 8PM and it did not return until sometime in the night, as it was still out at 11:30 when we retired. We hear a lot of bad things about Charter, but overall, they do a good job for us, neither of us can remember the last time we lost our internet for more than a half-hour.

I was just playing at Ultimate Bet and a reader of the blog said hi. That would not be surprise me as much at other sites, as I often play under my name, or a close psuedonym, but at UB, I do not. My fame is awkward and strange, let me tell you.:)

Speaking of awkward, my hypothetical Neteller money came through yesterday, mere hours after I requested it. NT apparently decided six months free interest was aplenty, darn kind of them.

7/31/2007 07:16:00 PM

(7/31/2007 03:34:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers offer a WI residents only deal on tickets for the Cards series, 8/14-16.

If you read between the lines, I think this is also an admission that they probably were not selling a lot of tickets at the marquee price for this weekday series.

I think next year, they may well have a higher ticket price on most every weekend game, especially those in the Summer. Even this homestand looks to be about 6 games, 250K, astounding for Milwaukee baseball. My wife and I decided to attend a game to celebrate our anniversary, and barely had any options for the game we decided on, especially since we both despise sitting in the sun.

7/31/2007 03:34:00 PM

(7/31/2007 03:26:00 PM) - Al

The Kevin Garnett trade is done, and you can see the details here.

I will sum this up for you in two words: Herschel Walker. And for those of you too young to recall, Richie Sexson is another fine example. Whenever you trade one good player for 5+ others, it's tough not to favor the team receiving the handful, if for nothing else, guys ruin their knees on a daily basis.

Considering the Timberwolves were a fine team about 4 years ago, when they challenged the Lakers in the Western conference playoffs, and really have not been contenders since; it's a win/win for them. They were far away from any success with Garnett, and can't be much further away without him.

They have just rebuilt in one swoop.

7/31/2007 03:26:00 PM

(7/31/2007 02:46:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like the Crew made a run at Eric Gagne, but he looks to be going to BOS.

7/31/2007 02:46:00 PM

(7/31/2007 02:39:00 PM) - Al

A flurry of trades today, though all are on the "minor" side, with the possible exception of Octavio Dotel to the Braves. Sounds like Eric Gagne might end up on the Red Sox as well.

7/31/2007 02:39:00 PM

Monday, July 30, 2007

(7/30/2007 07:29:00 PM) - Al

Kevin Garnett looks as if he's headed to BOS for several young players. Probably a good move for both teams, but certainly for MIN, whose cycle of success ended a few years ago.

7/30/2007 07:29:00 PM

(7/30/2007 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Neteller is giving back the $94M it has been sitting on and drawing interest on, per this press release.

Words cannot describe how much I dislike NT, so I have nothing else to say.

7/30/2007 07:22:00 PM

(7/30/2007 03:10:00 PM) - Al

It looks like the family of Josh Hancock has come to their senses, after suing everyone remotely connected with Hancock the night he killed himself, and dropped their meritless lawsuit.

If this happened infinite times more often, maybe the legal system would not be nearly as overrun by cases that had no right to have ever been filed. I'm embarrassed it ever was brought up.

7/30/2007 03:10:00 PM

(7/30/2007 03:08:00 PM) - Al

Luis Castillo to the Mets, and Kyle Lohse to the Phillies, for minor leaguers, both announced within the past few minutes.

Rotoworld has more details, if you wish.

7/30/2007 03:08:00 PM

(7/30/2007 11:18:00 AM) - Al

I was just thinking about Scott Linebrink and that he is going to be gone until Thursday. I wondered if the MLB bereavement list is for 3 games or 3 I googled it, and the first two finds contradicted each said 3 games, one said 3 days. Heh.

Even though the Crew still has 7 relievers, one of them is Parra, who can't go until at least Thursday as well, I would think. 6 is still plenty for a pair of games, mind you, but it is odd that a team carrying 13 pitchers only has a half-dozen guys available.

7/30/2007 11:18:00 AM

(7/30/2007 10:39:00 AM) - Al

Mark Teixiera now appears to be a member of the of the most prospect laden deals I can recall, as both Salty and Elvis are huge names.

7/30/2007 10:39:00 AM

Sunday, July 29, 2007

(7/29/2007 05:18:00 PM) - Al

I spent my afternoon playing online in a limit tourney with 810 entries. There are currently 55 remaining, and I'm in 29th.

Speaking of risk, Derrick's 8th inning looked a lot like Cordero's 9th yesterday...ground balls through every hole. It isn't hard at all to imagine that being a 1-2-3 frame, especially when you consider the difficulty factor of the hit-and-run Molina somehow executed. When things are going bad, the holes and gaps tend to be a little bigger.

After flopping a 3rd 7, it held up and I'm now in 4th of 42. I'll keep you updated.:)

Best of luck to the Linebrinks, as the feminine side will be induced tomorrow.

UPDATE: 30th place, flopped top pair and then two pair on the turn...which gave my nemesis a straight.

7/29/2007 05:18:00 PM

(7/29/2007 02:18:00 PM) - Al

Morgan Ensberg DFA'd, as was Russ Branyan.

Just when you think all major league teams are pretty much on the same page and there aren't potential starting players floating around, take a look at these moves. Both Ensberg and Branyan are OBP gods (Russ may not be godlike, but solid), and both often struggle to have a good BA. Both hit quite a few doubles and home runs. At the very least, these guys are solid role players, and there are certainly not 750 better MLB players than them.

I could see either fitting in on the Crew, though neither would be a perfect fit. They sure should be able to find better opportunities elsewhere.

7/29/2007 02:18:00 PM

(7/29/2007 02:03:00 PM) - Al

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Brewers were the third team in the rumored Jermaine Dye deal between the White Sox and Red Sox.

If they couldn't get one of Boston's elite prospects, the White Sox wanted Hideki Okajima from the Red Sox. That wasn't going to work, so Boston may have been trying to get Derrick Turnbow from Milwaukee for Chicago. The proposed deal ended up falling through last week, and it's unclear whether there's any chance of it being revisited.--Rotoworld

I have heard many say the Brewers were the third team in that proposed trade, but assumed it was a prospect. I have also dismissed Turnbow for Jermaine Dye rumors, although it seems it has come up far too often to be unfounded.

With Jenkins not hitting the ball well in the last month or so, I guess upgrading LF would not be silly, but Dye has not had a good campaign either. In the above scenario, with Dye going to BOS, the rumor mill seems to indicate Wily Mo Pena or Coco Crisp would have been at least part of the return.

7/29/2007 02:03:00 PM

(7/29/2007 10:56:00 AM) - Al

Hi Al,

I know you like to comment on the alarmist comments rampant on message boards, etc., so I thought I'd pass this along. I'm sure you've seen it mentioned how the Brewers went 24-10 to start the season and under .500 since, meaning the first month must have been a fluke and the team really is sub-.500 quality. In contrast, how many times have you seen this split mentioned?

First 52 games: 29-23
Next 53 games: 28-25

Yep, it sure seems like a fluky, inconsistent team to me.


PS: I noticed this after the 102nd game of the year when the half-and-half split was identical at 28-23.

It's astounding what happens when you take an unbiased, mathematical look at things.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go bury my head in the sand.

7/29/2007 10:56:00 AM

(7/29/2007 10:54:00 AM) - Al


As for the JS, if their tv writer's attitude is similar to the rest, they don't care.
He kept misspelling Nigel Lythgoe's (judge on So You Think You Can
Dance) name as Lithgow. I sent him an email asking for a
correction....wrote me back saying that no one notices such things. I
wish I was kidding.


That may be the saddest thing I've ever seen written.

7/29/2007 10:54:00 AM

Saturday, July 28, 2007

(7/28/2007 09:46:00 PM) - Al

There will be better days for the Brewers than today, I'm sure. Heck, they can lose no more than one tomorrow, so it's guaranteed to be better.:)

Overall, they are still the same team that has been leading the division for 3 months now. As I have said a couple times before, most of this lineup is young and set, so there will not be be many changes forthcoming, not that there should be.

7/28/2007 09:46:00 PM

(7/28/2007 08:33:00 PM) - Al

I'm pretty much a believer in free competition, so the recent ads against a new casino in Kenosha have struck me as anti-capitalism, though that's probably a poor choice of words considering how antiquated the whole "casinos are only legal if native Americans run them" debacle that has been created.

I'm no expert, but the whole reason the casino is proposed for Kenosha is its proximity to Chicago, its suburbs, and Illinois gamblers. It would basically be a way of adding Illinois money to the tax coffers of WI.

This article seems to feel there's plenty of opportunity for both to thrive, as does this one. In the second one, there's this gem of a quote:

tribal casino payments to state would grow from the $37 million now paid by the Potawatomi to a combined total of $114 million, the study says.

This is a pro-casino study, so it might be exaggerated a bit, but I'd settle for a doubling of the money going to the state. This is just like being a nimby, but in reverse...don't put the casino will limit our obscene profits in the future. How exactly you can pretend this is a negative to anyone except possibly the Potawatami is a mystery to me.

I shall also put forth that the nasty Connecticut tribe runs the Foxwoods Casino, the largest in the world and also considered one of the very best. Heaven forbid they raise the quality of the Potawatami, famous for terrible customer service and having 2 empty tables, a long waitlist...and being unwilling to open another table.

7/28/2007 08:33:00 PM

(7/28/2007 08:21:00 PM) - Al

Trying to tune out widespred panic

This has sat on the JS website for almost 24 hours now. Quality control is apparently nonexistent.

7/28/2007 08:21:00 PM

(7/28/2007 03:11:00 PM) - Al

Incredibly cheap hit from Duncan aside, Frankie is having trouble his breaking ball for strikes, and when he does, it's just a "get me over" pitch that is pretty easy to make contact with.

EDIT: Frankie just lacks that bite he has had almost all season with his slider. To be honest though, neither Rolen or Ludwick hit bad pitches, especially the game winner by Ryan to end it. Again, it all comes down to a fluke bloop double, just like it did it Cincy.

7/28/2007 03:11:00 PM

(7/28/2007 02:03:00 PM) - Al

Callix Crabbe went 3-for-5 and hit his fifth and sixth homers Friday for Triple-A Nashville.

Our hopes of Crabbe ever seeing the light of the day in the majors seemed to be smashed when he hit just .267/.368/.345 in Double-A last year, but he's bounced back to bat .296/.376/.435 with 15 steals for Nashville this year. That he's not really an asset anywhere other than second base hurts his chances of making it as bench player, but the chances are pretty good that the 5-foot-7 switch-hitter will at least get a cup of coffee someday.--Rotoworld

Crabbe needs to go somewhere and play some SS and 3B, whether it be the Arizona Fall League or winter ball. He's not a horrible option as the 2nd utility IF if he can play the other defensive spots in the infield, but as a 2B only, he's AAA fodder.

7/28/2007 02:03:00 PM

(7/28/2007 01:59:00 PM) - Al

Very small strike zone today, especially in the "high" strike zone. Up and down, it would appear the strike zone is about the width of a ruler.

7/28/2007 01:59:00 PM

(7/28/2007 01:47:00 PM) - Al

SL, despite being behind the entire game, has still had the pitcher bat both times thus far, as it is apparent Tony is more concerned about keeping a semblance of a resady bullpen than adding a run to draw one closer. I would probably do the same thing, but many would not.

SL is playing roster games, sending down the long reliever who threw a couple frames last evening. They added another relief guy, and have to make another move to add tonight's starter, Anthony Reyes.

We'll see if the Brewers do the same with Parra after today's game, though I'm surprised I'm the only person who has even thrown the idea out there.

7/28/2007 01:47:00 PM

(7/28/2007 01:42:00 PM) - Al

Not a very comfortable 6-2 lead at the moment, as both teams seem to be scoring a lot of cheap runs...though maybe the Brewers have run out of good fortune after Jenkins' liner was right at the 3B. Parra has pitched well overall, except for a pair of leadoff walks.

What's that old saying?

Every pitcher's best pitch is strike one.

7/28/2007 01:42:00 PM

(7/28/2007 10:12:00 AM) - Al

Just wanted to let you know that Sheets was throwing in pre-game warm-ups 7/27. That's a good sign. Thanks for keeping me up to date on the news that's hard to find out about down here. I check out your blog 5-10 times a day. More during games. Keep up the great work.


Thanks Jeremy, I guess I need to update more for you! Ben is likely to come back in about 4 weeks, and the true test will come when he starts throwing his big curveball again.

7/28/2007 10:12:00 AM

Friday, July 27, 2007

(7/27/2007 09:42:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers pick up Seth McClung from Tampa Bay for Balfour...Seth's numbers are this point, he looks to be a guy who you hope finds his niche in the bullpen, as he's been awful as a SP.

Major league stats

Major and minor league stats

Good success in AAA, and none in the bigs. Basically, the Crew traded Grant for a carbon copy of himself, only a couple years younger and with at least this year's option.

7/27/2007 09:42:00 PM

(7/27/2007 08:05:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers simply have horrible luck...maybe it's a result of having so many extra base hits, but by memory, I'd say that's the dozenth time this season a ground rule double at least temporarily cost the team a run. Maybe I'm way overestimating, but it sure seems like it.

7/27/2007 08:05:00 PM

(7/27/2007 08:02:00 PM) - Al

The New York Times with a good article...there's a phrase you do not hear often, about college grads in established firms. I find it strange they do not have HR folks explaining the dress code and such.

7/27/2007 08:02:00 PM

(7/27/2007 07:06:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers made room on their roster for newly acquired reliever Scott Linebrink today by designating reliever Grant Balfour for assignment.

The move gives the Brewers 10 days to trade Balfour, release him or have him accept a minor league assignment but it won't take nearly that long for something to happen. General manager Doug Melvin said he had a trade in the works involving Balfour that could be completed before the night is over.

"We're in a pennant race and everything counts," said Melvin. "He understood that."

I'm sure many teams are interested, as he was probably the best AAA reliever in baseball for much of the year.

7/27/2007 07:06:00 PM

(7/27/2007 10:15:00 AM) - Al

If Linebrink is activated tonight, you would have to expect Balfour to be optioned, though I assume he can refuse it and become a free agent.

The really sad thing about his 20.25 ERA is it should actually be a lot higher...but the game ended the other night before the Red could score anymore runs.:) He's certainly got the stuff to be a viable part of a major league bullpen, but throwing fastballs down the middle and breaking balls in the dirt isn't the way to prove it.

7/27/2007 10:15:00 AM

Thursday, July 26, 2007

(7/26/2007 09:40:00 PM) - Al

Despite the Brewers being arguably 6-7 deep as far as rotation arms go, Dusty Baker suggests they add a "veteran stabilizing force".

Funny, I thought they did that when they signed Suppan.:)

Dusty at least got it right when he said they could not trade any of their young big leaguers, but to be blunt, he is clueless. With all the days off they have in August, they will only start Yo three times, to help keep his innings down (resisting urge to insert Dusty never held down anyone's innings joke here). Much like the 6 position player spots held down by the future, the Crew is not going to do much there except hope the guys they have do the job.

Doug might still be looking for a veteran reserve to add after Parra starts Saturday, in the Dave Bell/Tony G mold from 2006, but for the most part, barring an injury, I think he's done, at least before July 31st. He might add a piece or two in August, but I think he has got his chips into the middle for now, and now will be pretty much hoping for the best. He's not going to tear apart the system to add guys not expected to play a huge part the rest of the way.

7/26/2007 09:40:00 PM

(7/26/2007 09:12:00 PM) - Al

Reds infielder Pedro Lopez was released from a Cincinnati hospital on Thursday afternoon and will not need surgery for a broken left cheek bone. Lopez was struck in the face on Wednesday by a pitch from Wise, who later visited Lopez in the emergency room. "I wanted to make sure he knew it was by no means intentional," Wise said.

I don't think I've ever seen that before, and after watching the FSN Jeff Suppan special, it is pretty obvious how the Brewers consider what type of person a player is before adding them to the team. Another example is the FSN special on the trip to the Navy ship, Brian shouse and Tony Graffinino especially seem like class acts.

I'm the first to say I'd have no problem with the club adding a couple jerks that can hit or pitch, but it seems like something they have little interest in doing.

7/26/2007 09:12:00 PM

(7/26/2007 08:31:00 PM) - Al


Do you think it is possible that Mench played versus the righty pitchers because he is being looked at in trade conversations? Love the blog, I actually check you every morning before the Urinal Sentinel.


I suppose anything is possible, but I think it is unlikely. Jenkins is not going to play everyday, so any trade would have to include a RH OF...that seems kind of a strange trade, a LHP masher for another?

7/26/2007 08:31:00 PM

(7/26/2007 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Rather odd editing of the Brewers today, and it has the same problem as watching poker...if you know when the broadcast ends, you can almost figure out the ending based on that. Bit of a tough loss today, but perhaps the worst thing is that Cordero not only gave up a save and a loss, but threw a lot of pitches and is probably unavailable for tomorrow.

Tell you what, the one thing I'll remember from the 4 games is how many fly balls the Crew hit to the warning track...seems like 2-3 every single game. Ned seems to believe that he needs to rest his regulars as we have reached the hot, humid days of Summer...or perhaps, he has been told to do so. I agree fully, and actually wish he had done this a bit more earlier, especially last month. The team has a lot of days off in August, so the schedule may not necessitate as many rests on game day next month.

7/26/2007 08:08:00 PM

(7/26/2007 08:03:00 PM) - Al

But Melvin noted Linebrink is a Class A free agent, so if he signs with another club the Brewers would get that team's first-round draft pick next year as well as a compensation pick after the first round.

Tom H often wonders why he gets picked on, as he is often very "short" in e-mail exchanges when fans write in, but this is a perfect example. Tom is simply a sloppy reporter, often not bothering to get his facts right. I'm not even going to look it up, as I know with certainty that Linebrink will only bring a 1st round pick if the signing team is drafting in the bottom half of the first round, otherwise, the Brewers will only get that team's 2nd round selection...of course, if a team signs more than one free agent, it's possible the Crew will get that team's 3rd, or even 4th rounder.

7/26/2007 08:03:00 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

(7/25/2007 08:33:00 PM) - Al

Spurling back to his old self following his mulligan Sunday, and as pointed out, almost to be expected, as he was probably not ready to pitch physically or mentally after days of dealing with an injury to his son.

Not much doubt, Balfour is on the hot seat if Linebrink reports before the Saturday day game...if after, he may replace Parra, who would be out of action for 4 days anyway.

7/25/2007 08:33:00 PM

(7/25/2007 07:45:00 PM) - Al

A bit of a "punt" tonight, as Suppan would probably go 6-7 frames if not for his pitch count.

7/25/2007 07:45:00 PM

(7/25/2007 07:13:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers traded for Scott Linebrink, a reliever for the Padres, and gave up 3 minor league pitchers for him, including Wil Inman, ranked by many as one of their top prospects.

Linebrink is one of the top set-up men in the game. I am not sure of his contract status, but I believe he will be a free agent after this year.

UPDATE: Scott will be a free agent after this current campaign. This is a rental, though I would assume Doug will have no trouble offering him arby, which would likely net 2 compensation picks if he chooses to sign elsewhere.

To be blunt, this would seem to indicate Doug is very serious about making a run right now, and is letting the chips fall where they may. I have never been a fan of Inman, as he is very short for a RHP. There have been successful RH's 6-1 or less, but there have been a plethora of them burn out as well.

I admit, I'm more surprised the Crew made a deal with SD and Tony Jr. was not involved.

More on the trade later.

7/25/2007 07:13:00 PM

(7/25/2007 06:48:00 PM) - Al


Why are some folks saying Inman is as good as Gallardo?

Why are folks saying this may allow for a Turnbow for Dye trade?

Are Hart and Hardy injured?


The answer to your first question is simple...some folks are not very bright. Inman was labeled by some as the top pitching prospect in the organization now that Yo is a big leaguer, though I did not share those sentiments. But, comparing him to Yo, at least right now, is absurd, other than to say both are RHP's.

I have no idea where the Derrick for Dye rumor started, as Doug has been saying he'd like to add a reliever for ages, and where would Dye play? I do find it astounding how many people want to replace our players with players whose stats are not nearly as good, but are well known and make a ton of cash.

As for JJ and Corey, I do not know, but I would guess they are banged up, yes. The team is notoriously quiet about such things, as it not beneficial to make public such info. However, I don't think Mench has started more than once versus a RHP since April, and now he's started two straight...I don't think you need a private eye or an internet search to come to the conclusion Corey may not be 100%.

7/25/2007 06:48:00 PM

(7/25/2007 05:20:00 PM) - Al

Seen on one of the message boards today:

Why did they send Gwynn down? They should have released Mench, and let Gwynn platoon with Jenkins!

If only they had been kidding...

7/25/2007 05:20:00 PM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

(7/24/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin has never, to my recollection, made a trade that has been long rumored before it happened...for instance, we never saw Cordero and Mench mentioned before the trade was made just under one year ago.

However, if he does manage to bring in an additional relief pitcher, that distinction may fall by the wayside, as every time a pitcher of any kind is mentioned as being possibly available, undoubtedly, the paragraph will end also interested are the Brewers.

7/24/2007 07:37:00 PM

(7/24/2007 07:28:00 PM) - Al

Brewers' top 5 prospect Angel Salome suspended 50 games under MLB guidelines.

We can always hope Angel bought some sort of muscle supplement online that was made in a foreign land, but that's unlikely.

7/24/2007 07:28:00 PM

Monday, July 23, 2007

(7/23/2007 10:31:00 PM) - Al

I'm the first to say Grant Balfour's struggles are a small sample, but right now, I think he's allowed 9 of his last 11 hitters to reach base...that's a tiny, yet horrific sample. To be honest, if he was 24 and a prospect, it'd be one of those things you could maybe write off to nerves, but, he's 29 and his ceiling would seem to be that of a mediocre middle reliever...I don't think the leash will be very long.

He has no options, and despite his major league numbers, it's doubtful he'd pass through waivers, as he has good velocity and a plus breaking ball. That said, I don't think Doug will lay awake tonight worrying about losing a near 30 year-old who has sucked.

Looking at Nashville, Steve Bray and Joe Thatcher would seem to have the best stats, Greg Aquino the best "stuff", and as strange as it sounds, Elmer Dessens, who is there on rehab, may also be considered.

Of course, on the market include any number of decent relievers, including Chad Cordero of the Nationals, Joaquin Benoit of the Rangers, and Steve Kline of the Giants. However, Melvin may well be looking for a rubber armed fella capable of going 2 innings one night and come right back the next with an inning if necessary...a veteran sinker/slider type.

Oakland is looking to deal left-hander Joe Kennedy. Milwaukee, Philadelphia and the Dodgers are among the teams that have shown interest in Kennedy.--Ben Maller

Kennedy is unlikely to be used as a loogy, and is durable. The A's would probably be happy to take a middling prospect for him as well.

7/23/2007 10:31:00 PM

(7/23/2007 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Games like this are usually decided by a bloop or a ground ball through a hole...the Crew seems to be hitting the ball far too hard to be effective.:) Even Estrada's DP was smacked right at the 1B.

7/23/2007 09:06:00 PM

(7/23/2007 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Drew Carey replaces Bob Barker at almost seems like an obvious choice. Carey is quick-witted and is also a fine man, as he has done a lot of work for the USO over the years.

7/23/2007 08:17:00 PM

(7/23/2007 07:49:00 PM) - Al

"You can always tweak a bullpen. You can always tweak your bench a little bit. But, again, we're happy with our starters and we're happy with our bench. Maybe we add a veteran guy with a little more veteran presence. But I don't see the guy out there who is going to make any type of impact on our club in terms of that."--Ned Yost on the trade market as the deadline approaches

Not a surprise to anyone, Ned sounds like he is well aware Doug is looking at relief pitchers and some depth, probably a veteran OF. Yost needs to work on his poker talk a bit.:)

7/23/2007 07:49:00 PM

(7/23/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Although Yost wouldn't say so before the game, rookie left-hander Manny Parra said after the game Sunday that he was told he would be the starting pitcher in the first game of the day-night doubleheader Saturday at St. Louis.

"As far as I was told today, plan on starting that game," said Parra, who pitched an inning Sunday. "So I don't think I'll be throwing (in a game) until next Saturday."--JS

Actually, Manny starting Game 1 is a pretty strong indicator he will go back to Nashville afterwards, at least for the 10 days he is required to, before returning. Depending on the Brewers' bullpen status, I assume he'll be exchanged for a reliever (Greg Aquino?) or a position player (Gabe Gross or Vinny Rottino?). After the Crew finally has an off day Monday, they will only need a 5th starter 3 times in August, so I would guess Yo moves back to the bullpen where his work will be limited, and they will be fine with a dozen arms, until 9/1.

7/23/2007 07:37:00 PM

(7/23/2007 07:36:00 PM) - Al

Quite a well pitched game by Harang and Capuano get the feeling whoever scores the 3rd run may well be victorious.

7/23/2007 07:36:00 PM

(7/23/2007 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Robert is correct, Carlos Pena was a fine pickup by the D'Rays.

I just wish the teams 2-3 years away in the success cycle would take more chances in areas such as minor league free agents, the Rule 5 draft, and picking up players on waivers who are out of options. They are cheap methods of acquiring stopgaps, and every once in a while, you'll find a keeper, like Cust and Pena.

7/23/2007 07:32:00 PM

(7/23/2007 05:19:00 PM) - Robert R.

Counterpoint to Al.

For the sake of accuracy, while I agree that the Cust pickup was shrewd by Billy Beane, using the Devil Rays as a counterexample has some logical flaws.

1) The Devil Rays' offense is better than the A's. 2) The Devil Rays picked up Carlos Pena as a minor league free agent, gave him a chance, and were rewarded with a guy that is having a better year than Cust with the bat and isn't as big a liability in the field.

7/23/2007 05:19:00 PM

Sunday, July 22, 2007

(7/22/2007 08:20:00 PM) - Al

I just came across a fine website which asks you or your group to adopt a member of the military and keep in touch with them.

If you are thankful for the job they do, and proudly volunteered for, this might be an easy way to say thanks.

7/22/2007 08:20:00 PM

(7/22/2007 06:42:00 PM) - Al

I wasn't surprised to see Hart dropped out of the leadoff spot, but I would have expected Graffy to be moved up. Rickie suddenly seems to be laying off most balls out of the strike zone, however.

I don't get excited about batting order, but I was a bit surprised to see Yost use Parra in the 8th, and then still have Turnbow get up in the bullpen. I had assumed Derrick was off today, as he'd been up in the bullpen at least 2 days in a row, and I thought he had even started to get loose in Thursday's game, which ended up as a blowout, but was close for most of the afternoon.

Not only was it a pressure situation, just a day or two ago, they were afraid to use Manny because they might need a long man, and now, he appears to be a member of the late inning corps. It sure is nice to see a young lefty who comes in and throws strikes.

Many folks seem to think the trade deadline will be pretty quiet, as teams do not have any need to dump salary, as the game is so unhealthy financially.* Time will tell, I guess. I still feel the Brewers will add a veteran reliever, but there are not a lot up for grabs, it sounds like.

*Of course, in reality, the game is probably as strong as it ever has been, under Bud Selig's visionary leadership.

7/22/2007 06:42:00 PM

(7/22/2007 02:53:00 PM) - Al

The Hardball Times had a recap of the Crew thus far, filled with a lot of difficult to understand charts.

7/22/2007 02:53:00 PM

(7/22/2007 10:26:00 AM) - Al

Jack Cust went 2-for-3 with his 17th homer and a walk Saturday in Oakland's 4-3 win over Baltimore.

Cust played right field tonight with Mike Piazza DHing for the second day in a row. The A's are going to have to keep him in the lineup most of the time, even if means sacrificing defense. He's still hitting .264/.398/.567 on the season. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Pena and Gary Sheffield are the only players in the AL with both more homers and a higher OPS than Cust.--Rotoworld

Cust is pretty much an advertisement for the types of guys rebuilding teams should be throwing against a wall and seeing who sticks. Quick name the Devil Rays 'bout the Orioles? That's exactly why they struggle annually, while the A's always seem to be in contention, despite a much smaller payroll and seemingly a less talented roster.

7/22/2007 10:26:00 AM

(7/22/2007 09:50:00 AM) - Al

A pair of thoughts on some weekend sporting events:

The other day on the ESPN show PTI, one of the panelists said that if given the choice between Tiger Woods and the field in this week's British Open, he would take Tiger. It's difficult to even ponder the stupidity of a comment like that, because while Tiger is obviously a fine golfer, he is pretty much on the exact same level as 5-10 others...and there are dozens of other golfers who are not as good but certainly capable of putting together 72 quality holes. The thing is, we're not talking about some idiot's blog, this is a respected insider in the sports world.

Tiger is not even on the leader board I see.

Last night, I watched some of the Galaxy/Chelsea "friendly", which of course was Dave Beckham's MLS debut. I'm just going to list a few of the mental notes I took during the game.

---The irony of Posh Spice marrying Beckham is that I would have argued she was the least attractive of the entire group, being painfully thin, and I think it's safe to say she has aged poorly.

---For the first part of the game, Katie Holmes stood in the camera shot near Posh, and every time I see Katie, I feel sorry for her. I always think of how unhappy her parents were, and I can't help but think she feels the same way now, after spending a few years with a raving loon.

---They interviewed two celebs who were not in the Beckham box; Drew Carey, who proudly said he had been a season ticket holder for years and who had his own luxury suite, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, who was actually sitting in the stands (albeit the front row) like a "normal" person. Carey has always struck me as a bit of an everyman who hit the success lottery, and Hewitt, despite her fame, always seems to be a bit surprised anyone wants to talk to her.

I am far from a soccer fan, but I do wish it would gain in popularity, as the game itself is friendly to kids of all sizes, and also is inexpensive. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that it could easily outpace hockey, and some would say it already has, as ratings and attendance are likely very similar (of course, the NHL plays a lot more games than the MLS). I do find it strange that I see a lot more pro lacrosse and arena football on ESPN than soccer...though lacrosse is very popular in the Northeast, an area of the US where I do not spend any time. Soccer is also so nicely positioned, as it shares summer here in the States with baseball, while all the other sports mostly share the other seasons. That said, I've said the same thing about tennis, and it's been spinning its wheels in the US since Sampras and Agassi retired.

7/22/2007 09:50:00 AM

Saturday, July 21, 2007

(7/21/2007 09:13:00 PM) - Al

A column saluting members of the armed forces, many of which are of the 9/11 generation.

7/21/2007 09:13:00 PM

(7/21/2007 01:12:00 PM) - Al

Brewers activated RHP Chris Spurling from the bereavement list.

Spurling has a 3.02 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. He'll resume working in middle relief.

Brewers optioned outfielder Gabe Gross to Triple-A Nashville.

Gross definitely belongs on Milwaukee's roster, but as little as manager Ned Yost has used him, it makes sense for the Brewers to send him down for two or three weeks and let him get regular at-bats. He had been just 6-for-35 since the beginning of June.--Rotoworld

As I expected, the Crew will carry an extra arm for a while. It will be nice to get Gabe into a lineup everyday for a bit.

7/21/2007 01:12:00 PM

(7/21/2007 12:33:00 PM) - Al

The nation's four largest banks -- Citigroup, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wachovia -- all reported rises in second-quarter profits this week. But that wasn't enough to satisfy investors, who fear a credit crunch will give the industry a run for its money.

I'm a bit biased, as I own several banks in my pea sized portfolio, but whenever you see investors ignoring the present and being concerned about the future, I think it's a huge buying opportunity. I don't know what the future will bring, and they don't either. I do know, however, that right now, the finance sector is just printing their own money.

7/21/2007 12:33:00 PM

(7/21/2007 12:02:00 PM) - Al

Another thought...if the Brewers plan to have Manny Parra start a week from today in St. Louis, when they have a day/night doubleheader, they could not send him down today, as he would be unable to return for 10 days, barring an injury.

And, even though he'd be on the 25 man roster, he'd be unable to pitch next week after Thursday, and more likely, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Add all that up, a 13 man staff appears pretty likely for the next 7-10 days...we might even see Parra start a game and then go down to AAA, and another reinforcement brought in.

7/21/2007 12:02:00 PM

(7/21/2007 11:12:00 AM) - Al

Reliever Chris Spurling, on bereavement leave to deal with an accident involving one of his children, is scheduled to rejoin the club today. When he arrives, the Brewers will have to send out a player to clear a roster spot.

Though the simple move would be to send down left-hander Manny Parra, who has minor-league options and has yet to pitch since coming up Monday from Class AAA Nashville, it's not set in stone. With no off days and a day-night doubleheader next Saturday in St. Louis, Melvin and Yost are mulling sending out a position player and keeping 13 pitchers.

"We'll meet in the morning and make a decision," said Melvin. "We want to make sure we have enough pitching."

Parra, a starting pitcher in the minors brought up to fill the long-relief role vacated by Gallardo, has not pitched since July 6. Yost could have used him in the ninth inning of the 10-1 victory Thursday over Arizona but wanted to keep him available for long relief.

"He's a pretty big insurance policy down there that you don't want to spend on a useless inning," said Yost. "You might need him for five (innings) tomorrow.

"He's going to need an inning real soon. I'm just going to have to pick a spot and use him. Welcome to the big leagues."

First of all, I sure hope Chris' child is ok. And not to sound mean, but when he does return, I hope he's able to concentrate on the task at hand. I hope he takes enough time.

I am usually not a proponent at all of 13 pitchers on the roster, but in this case, it might be a good time to do it. It's a bit of an art, not a science, of deciding when a relief pitcher has gotten too much work. I often talk about 70 innings being a nice benchmark for the standard workload, ansd anything more than 80 or so being a bit dangerous. Now, that said, sometimes you can go 3 innings with 22 pitches, and sometimes it takes 31 to get through a single frame, but on average, those are numbers I use.

Carlos V has been a different pitcher since the break, not throwing strikes, getting hit hard when he does, and most noticeably, his fastball is barely registering better than his change...87-89 versus 83-84. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say he might be suffering a bit from dead arm, and his current pace puts him at a 111 inning regular season.

Is there some sort of easy answer? Well, not really. Grant Balfour, who was outstanding in AAA, has shown a low 90's fastball and a breaking ball that is similar to Turnbow and Cordero's, but thus far, has not been able to throw it for a strike. I would also guess he is suffering from the tiny major league strike zone compared to the larger AAA version, especially not the high strike. Needless to say, right now, and granted, it's a very small sample (sadly, almost all relievers are judged on small samples), Grant is at best just another guy. Parra was impressive in his debut, and threw strikes, always a bonus with both southpaws and lefties, never mind both.

With Spurling likely returning today, right now, I'd consider going with 13 arms a real possibility. At the very least, Doug's continued mantra that they are looking for relief help would seem to be proper concern, and I look for a veteran reliever to come aboard in the next 10 days. It would not shock me at all if they "overpay" a bit, especially if that reliever is signed through next year. With Cordero a free agent after the current campaign, Doug has the 2008 staff on his mind as well, I'm sure.

As they said on TV last night, the Crew has the best record in the NL, and yet, discussion centers on how to improve them.

7/21/2007 11:12:00 AM

Friday, July 20, 2007

(7/20/2007 07:36:00 PM) - Al

Over 1600 standing room tickets have been sold for tomorrow's game, and 1000+ for Sunday. Jeepers.

7/20/2007 07:36:00 PM

(7/20/2007 06:21:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman happily posts a 40 minute rant by a barely understandable human being who is unhappy because...Gleeman writes truthful statements about the Twins, rather than the normal puff pieces you often see.

It is possibly the most hilarious thing ever meant to not be hilarious. I made it through the first 22 minutes, and it is barely even understandable at times. I'd say it was a 3rd grade effort, but I would not want to degrade 3rd graders.

7/20/2007 06:21:00 PM

(7/20/2007 06:08:00 PM) - Al

I am not so sure why people are getting so riled up about if Barry breaks the record here. Who cares frankly. All I want is a series win.

Besides, Bonds being here is a good thing. More fans than we would normally get for this series, more national exposure for the Brewers and more money from the fans. Plus, add in the players get a bit more experience playing under some national media pressure. Sounds like a good combo to me.

Cheesehead Craig

Craig, I don't think Barry will make a single plate appearance in which he could tie or break Aaron's record. We'll see if I'm correct or not.

7/20/2007 06:08:00 PM

Thursday, July 19, 2007

(7/19/2007 08:56:00 PM) - Al

The Cubs, Dodgers and Brewers have expressed interest in former Yankee Octavio Dotel, and lefty Jimmy Gobble is drawing interest from several places.

Dotel would fit into the bullpen nicely, as he has both late inning experience and has been a middle man in the past.

7/19/2007 08:56:00 PM

(7/19/2007 08:09:00 PM) - Al

I watched the game on Squeeze Play tonight, and I knew the score was 2-0 after 5 complete, so a 10-1 final was a surprise. They did not show much of the first couple innings, so I assumed it had gone into extra frames, so a blowout was a good thing.

A bit surprised the Crew did not have Manny Parra throw the 8th and/or 9th, as I do not expect him to be up much longer, unless Spurling has a personal problem I'm unaware of.

7/19/2007 08:09:00 PM

(7/19/2007 08:03:00 PM) - Al

With sellout crowds expected for all 3 games this weekend, the Brewers will pass the 1.8M mark after the 53rd average of about 34.2K, which would put them on pace for 2.77M. I predicted a while back that they might beat the Miller Park record, and I was called an idiot more than on a week long excursion with the wife.

Season long contention might make this idiot look smarter than most give me credit for.:)

7/19/2007 08:03:00 PM

(7/19/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Joe sends this link that says Al Gore's bass was not endangered, unlike most. This is in reference to this earlier post.

He adds that he recently visited a coffee shop in Madison and also enjoying a beverage was Ann Althouse, who he volunteered appeared "quite fetching".

Thanks for the news item and the info on the lovely Miss A, Joe.

7/19/2007 07:40:00 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

(7/18/2007 09:28:00 PM) - Al

Balfour with an 88 mph slider that was reminiscent of Turnbow or Cordero. That's an impressive first batter retired.

A HBP and a walk...ouch. I'm a bit surprised he only is throwing 93 on a fast gun as well.

UPDATE: Heh, this is our savior, because of a sub 2 ERA in a league where Trent Durrington is an all-star. I know people have suggested we trade Bush because Balfour is so good. Oof. He's going to be up for a very short time if he throws his fastball right down the middle.

7/18/2007 09:28:00 PM

(7/18/2007 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Lance has Wise, Gwynn, and a kid going to CIN for Adam Dunn...really.

Meanwhile in Cincy, there's probably a radio guy with a rumor having Dunn to MIL for Yo and Braun.

EDIT: Heh, that is a Cincy radio site. Wow.

7/18/2007 09:09:00 PM

(7/18/2007 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to my favorite blonde law prof, 101 recipes ready in 10 minutes or less, or at least 10 minutes of prep time. As Ann points out, why ever spend more than that?

7/18/2007 08:24:00 PM

(7/18/2007 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Not a well hit ball in the 4th, and Arizona has a pair of runs. Some nights, it just doesn't pay to pitch well.

7/18/2007 08:10:00 PM

(7/18/2007 04:30:00 PM) - Al

Graffy working out in LF was to get him into the lineup tonight, apparently, versus Doug Davis. I'll post Doug's splits, it seems Ned feels Gwynn, Gross, or Jenkins would have little chance.

Doug's career splits actually have LH batters having a slight edge, but of course, only the best LH's usually are in the lineup versus him.

7/18/2007 04:30:00 PM

(7/18/2007 10:40:00 AM) - Al

Jerry Yang, a former Laos refugee who came to the US to escape brutal Communist rule in his homeland, won the World Series of Poker main event early this morning.

It's the land of opportunity, and of sucking out on the river.:) You will note, however, Yang did get his money in with the best hand.

7/18/2007 10:40:00 AM

(7/18/2007 10:23:00 AM) - Al


Great blog, I’ve been reading for several years.

I have been away for a few days and just read your comment about having 27 up and 27 down and not getting credit for a perfect game because of an error. It is possible to have a perfect game with one or more fielding errors. A perfect game means no one reached base safely. If a fielder is charged with an error on a foul ball (and that batter is retired later in the at bat) there can still be a perfect game.

I recently read in Sports Illustrated about Mario Mendoza, who was the inspiration for the phrase “Mendoza Line.” He was known as having no bat, but fielded so well at shortstop that he was able to play 9 seasons in the big leagues. I believe the “no bat” part. Career numbers (from .215/.245/.262 with OPS of .507 while the league average during his career was .723. Ready for fielding stats? At SS, fielding % = .961 (league ave. .964) range factor = 3.46 (leage ave. 4.22). How was this guy ever allowed to play 9 seasons?

For reference, Mark Belanger (considered THE no-hit/all-glove SS of that time) went .228/.300/.280 .580 OPS with .977 fielding % and 4.53 RF. If you want to make the Hall of Fame mostly for your glove (Ozzie Smith) then you need numbers like this: .978 fielding % and 5.03 RF.


Thanks for the info, Joel, and the kind words. It is hard to believe how guys that simply hit like a AAA reserve C had long careers, because they could catch the ball.

7/18/2007 10:23:00 AM

(7/18/2007 10:06:00 AM) - Al

You could see it coming, with Graffy and Counsell both doing so well, and Rickie struggling mightily just to make contact.

I continue to think Weeks is still suffering some ill effects of his wrist, though the article suggests he is healthy, but developed bad habits while the wrist was painful.

7/18/2007 10:06:00 AM

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

(7/17/2007 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Message boards continue to wonder what Claudio Vargas would be worth on the open market, many guessing pretty much nothing, a low-level prospect. Of course, with Sheets out 4-6 weeks, the odds are better that the Brewers acquire a SP than trade one. The thing is, if you take a look at the names being floated around as we near the deadline, I have little doubt Claudio would be the best pitcher available if he were being shopped...the best names I see are Kyle Lohse and Javier Vasquez...certainly not top-tier guys, and arguably, not nearly as desirable as Claudio.

A pitcher who can consistently give you 5 or 6 quality innings have value, as do guys that Suppan has become the poster child for, innings eaters who keep you in the game.

7/17/2007 09:04:00 PM

(7/17/2007 07:14:00 PM) - Al

Gore and his guests at the weekend ceremony dined on Chilean sea bass - arguably one of the world's most threatened fish species.

Also known as Patagonian toothfish, the species is under pressure from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the Southern Ocean, jeopardising the sustainability of remaining stocks.

Heh. That old saying about truth being stranger than fiction has never been more true. Personally, I wonder how many private planes were used to fly in the guests.

Isn't that one of the gags in Ace Ventura, a meal made up of all endangered species? At least the kid's menu did not include bald eagle nuggets...I don't think.

7/17/2007 07:14:00 PM

Monday, July 16, 2007

(7/16/2007 10:53:00 PM) - Al

Manny Parra and Grant Balfour join the bullpen...Parra probably just until Spurling returns from bereavement leave, as the AAA manager said something to the effect of "I don't know how long he'll be there". Manny is only up to be the "stretched out" member of the bullpen, as I doubt he'll be used except in long relief situations, particularly since Carlos V and Yo were both unavailable tonight.

Ned sounded very concerned about the bullpen usage, talking about Derrick and Frankie being used 3 days in a row, and Wise, who has apparently warmed up 7 of the last 8 games, albeit with 4 days off for the all-star break in the middle. Cordero certainly was not affected yet, being unhittable tonight, his slider dropping about a foot and a half. With a full bullpen, I would expect to see Wise given a night or two off, though I think Yost will keep using Turnbow and Cordero, assuming they'll get a day off the old fashioned way soon, unless one or both tell him they could use time off.

7/16/2007 10:53:00 PM

(7/16/2007 10:49:00 PM) - Al

The Oakland A's today announced that they have traded catcher Jason Kendall and cash considerations to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catcher Rob Bowen and minor league left-handed pitcher Jerry Blevins.

It's hard to know what to make of this deal until we know what "cash considerations" means, but my guess is the A's are essentially responsible for most of the (approximately) $3 million the A's owe Kendall for the rest of this season (the Pirates owe him a nice chunk, too, but I'm guessing they're not getting any relief in this deal).

Basically, the A's are simply getting rid of a headache. They've now scored three or fewer runs in 10 straight games, which they hadn't done in nearly 30 years. Somebody had to go, and apparently the hitting coach wasn't available.

Which isn't to say Kendall deserved any more playing time. Offensively, he's a zero. Actually, if he were a zero he'd be a plus, overall. But he's a big minus with the bat, which makes him a minus generally. And no matter who replaces him -- Bowen's not good enough to play regularly, which presumably means the Kurt Suzuki Era begins

Blevins has been impresive this season, with a combined 1.02 ERA in 38 relief outings in classes A and AA this season (and 69 strikeouts in 53 innings). My guess is that he's been doing it with smoke and mirrors, as he didn't show up on any preseason prospect lists and there's nothing on the Web suggesting that he's got a nuclear slider or something. In other words, a class throw-in.

This deal's all about addition by subtraction. With the A's tanking, general manager Billy Beane simply had to do something, and dumping the guy batting .226 with two homers was the obvious move.

Which leaves just one question: Why on earth would the Cubs want Kendall? Bowen's probably nearly as good as Kendall, and prospect Geovany Soto is almost certainly better. Wasn't Soto's emergence this season one of the justifications for trading Michael Barrett? Granted, the Cubs are contenders no matter who's behind the plate. But it's awfully hard to figure how this deal could possibly make them better.

Good friend of Ramblings Mike sends along Rob Neyer's take on the Cubs' picking up Jason Kendall...I would pretty much agree that most of Kendall's value is mythical "tough guy who knows how to call a game", though he does still walk enough to not make him worthless offensively, 552 OPS in 2007 aside.

I do have to wonder what's wrong with Rob Bowen, he sure seems like a quality backup to me.

7/16/2007 10:49:00 PM

(7/16/2007 09:40:00 PM) - Al

I just got home in time to see Turnbow and Cordero do their thing. I'll comment briefly on the Balfour/Parra additions later on this evening.

7/16/2007 09:40:00 PM

Sunday, July 15, 2007

(7/15/2007 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets said Sunday that his right middle finger had not improved since he left Saturday night's game with a sprained distal.

"I just can't put any pressure on it," he said. Sheets said he remains uncertain if he will have an MRI on Monday, and he is not sure if he can make his next start.--Rotoworld

Looks like it'll either be a vast improvement or Grant Blafour will be in the bullpen tomorrow night (or I suppose it could be Manny Parra).

7/15/2007 08:49:00 PM

(7/15/2007 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Ice cream prices rise...because of ethanol?

I just don't see ethanol as any kind of long-term option. It's already causing a ton of everyday items (beef, chicken, milk, ice cream) to be more expensive, and ethanol is a tiny percentage as of now.

Wait 'til they start chopping down trees to create more land for'll be a green versus green slap fight!

7/15/2007 08:34:00 PM

(7/15/2007 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Jeff Suppan limited the Rockies to two runs in six-plus innings on Sunday but didn't factor into the decision of a 4-3 Brewers' victory.

Suppan struck out five while yielding five hits and three walks. It was the 13th outing in his last 15 starts in which he's given up two, three, or four runs, highlighting how consistently solid Suppan is for the club. He'll get the Giants next time out.

Solid, though unspectacular, of course. Brewers' fans tend to be a bit spoiled, as they see 7 options that could easily put forth a 4.50 ERA or less, a pipe dream for many teams. In fact, you often see many folks act like SP's who put up a 5ish ERA consistently should not even be in the majors, while in reality, they are often 3rd, 4th, and 5th starters for many teams.

7/15/2007 06:53:00 PM

(7/15/2007 03:29:00 PM) - Al

Mr. Al,

I'm not shocked in the least by Corey's comments. I'm even less surprised by the emails you received. We all knew Corey was hurt, but for some, it's just easier to lay blame on Ned.

My "Blame Ned Spider Sense" was going haywire in the 10th inning last night..."Graffy for Weeks?!? Ned is an idiot!", or something to that effect (couldn't tell exactly what was being yelled, as there were far too many voices crying out in unison). How ghastly that Ned and the coaching staff may know what their doing.

As for the chili, it's great to hear that you prefer turkey. I like beef just fine, but turkey works so well in place of it. We (nice lady friend, daughter, and myself) have yet to have found a "beef" dish that turkey didn't work in. And it tends to be much cheaper (even the "tube" of ground turkey is tasty...and lasts forever in the freezer).

On a side note, I also don't prefer noodles in my chili, but spaghetti noodles under are awesome. Many years ago, my then wife and I tried what's been referred to as "Cincinnati chili": chili, with cinnamon added (yes, cinnamon), on top of thin spaghetti noodles, then sour cream, chopped onions (green onions work best), diced tomatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese on top. There are, of course, multiple recipes that claim to be "Cincy chili", but just adding the cinnamon to the chili is very, very good.

Just an FYI of sorts.


James with an immediate reply. I have no problem at all with ground turkey or chicken in any dish, but my wife insists the texture makes in hard to enjoy. I'm not a fan of spaghetti at all, as I like easier to eat pastas. It is hard to imagine cinnamon in a main dish as well, but maybe some others will try it and report. Allow me to say it's tough to find a dish that shredded cheese does not improve.

7/15/2007 03:29:00 PM

(7/15/2007 03:09:00 PM) - Al

How many outs did Wise have to get...5? 6? Bad luck and a bad call (after a bad throw) led to Matt needing to get a bunch of outs. They were fortunate to only give up a single run.

Stellar performance by Suppan today, as they needed one after the last two nights.

7/15/2007 03:09:00 PM

(7/15/2007 02:41:00 PM) - Al

During the last break, I checked to see if ESPN2 was showing any poker, and they have women's golf on. The lead twosome is Se Ri Pak and Morgan Pressel...that has to make the suits happy.

I recall a reporter asking a network exec who they hoped would make the final of the tennis tourney and the answer was, "Chris Evert and anyone". Pak and Pressel may not have the appeal of Evert...or even Natalie Gulbis, but to many a golf fan, they'll do.

7/15/2007 02:41:00 PM

(7/15/2007 02:28:00 PM) - Al

My wife and son enjoyed Noah's Ark in the Dells, and will be in Miller Park tomorrow evening, so it's my chance to make stuff they don't like.

I've grilled up BBQ wings each day, and have chili in the crock pot for wife actually likes chili and makes a good batch of it, but I prefer mine spicy and without pasta (I have heard many say it is not true chili if it has pasta in it, but hence, I digress), so I made my version and have it simmering now. I also used ground turkey to keep it healthier, another no-no with the wife, as she does not like the texture.

I had to improvise, as I could not find any chili powder, but as long as it's just me, it's no big deal, as I've never been referred to as a picky eater. I used "black and red" spice, and even added some chicken sausage.

7/15/2007 02:28:00 PM

(7/15/2007 02:24:00 PM) - Al

Hart is someone who understands that well. He sprained his right wrist in late April and went through a month of poor production. When his wrist stopped being a factor in late May, Hart's offense took off. He had one home run entering June but has hit 10 since.

"It's so hard because you want to play and you want to be out there every day," Hart said. "For me, I was bouncing in and out (of the lineup) so I never wanted to say much. But for me, you can't have any top hand so I couldn't drive the ball. So I was either hitting a ground ball or if I got it in the air at all it was a weak fly ball because I couldn't turn my hand over.

"It's tough because you want to be out there, but at the same time it's hard because your performance isn't what you want it to be and it's tough to say, 'I can't play.' But it makes a big difference in your swing."--JS

I've got e-mails from people who insist Corey was not hurt in late April and May...that he went from playing the majority of the time to barely at all "just because". This would seem to disprove that.

In an age of information, many folks simply think it is not possible for things to go unreported or to be "kept quiet". As sneaky as the Yost staff has always been, this seems silly, but it kind of goes hand in hand with the conspiracy goofs.

7/15/2007 02:24:00 PM

(7/15/2007 11:12:00 AM) - Al

Cleveland and the Crew are both interested in Kenny Lofton, and each had scouts at last night's game, per the Dallas Morning News, hat tip to Rotoworld.

Especially with Sheets' status uncertain, Otsuka and Lofton should still be prime targets, as I had predicted a while back.

Also, Manny Parra is finally scheduled to start tomorrow night, as he had not pitched in about 10 days...maybe this is just the way the Brewers have already begun to limit his innings, as he is the 5th SP to be used after their all-star break.

7/15/2007 11:12:00 AM

(7/15/2007 11:01:00 AM) - Al

No word yet this AM about Sheets, though Baseball Tonight said last night that "they would wait to see how an MRI looks before they put him on the DL", which made it sound like they expected him to be DL'd.

7/15/2007 11:01:00 AM

Saturday, July 14, 2007

(7/14/2007 09:06:00 PM) - Al

The SS made a heckuva play on that bloop single, if Geoff had been tagging, they might have thrown him out.

It looked like a line drive to me.:)

Ben is diagnosed with a "distal finger sprain". I am pretty sure that means a sprain of his middle finger fingertip. It surprises me that the pitch Ben hurt himself on was a strike, as you'd think it would have floated in awkwardly.

I tried to google it, but all I got were a lot of case studies on reattaching the middle finger...ick. If I'd have wanted to be a surgeon, I would have failed to become a surgeon.

I have no idea if Ben will have to miss a start, but I would not be surprised at all to see Grant Balfour in uniform tomorrow if he does. The 'pen is pretty worn down right now, after two consecutive 3-4 inning starts. Not terribly, but if the treatment is rest, they will not hesitate.

7/14/2007 09:06:00 PM

(7/14/2007 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say, I thought the LF caught Hart's HR, just like Bill did. The ball disappeared behind the glove, so I thought it was inside of it.

7/14/2007 07:44:00 PM

(7/14/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

You know, I've always wondered how they can give an error to Estrada when the batter gets out eventually. You could have a 27 up, 27 down outing and it not be called a perfect game? That just seems wrong.

7/14/2007 07:40:00 PM

(7/14/2007 07:16:00 PM) - Al

It was pointed out to me today that Manny Parra has not pitched at AAA Nashville since he was held out of a July 5th start after Bill Hall's injury...that was also right before Ken Rosenthal reported a Gwynn/Otsuka trade was canceled, presumably because of Hall's DL stint. Not sure if these are related or not, but it sure is strange.

Meanwhile, the Brewers hit 3 balls on the nose in the 4th, and go 1-2-3. Who says the game is fair?

Heh, then Rickie bobbles the ball right to JJ who turns the DP...maybe it all does even out.:)

7/14/2007 07:16:00 PM

(7/14/2007 07:08:00 PM) - Al

What do you think...dislocated knuckle/finger for Sheets?

The folks who keep insisting we trade away our SP depth (why do you need 7 starters anyway?) are the same ones who would now be wondering what to do after they dealt away Capuano, if of course Ben has to miss a start or more.

It boggles my mind how little SP depth is prized despite the recent 2006 campaign to show how extremely valuable it is.

7/14/2007 07:08:00 PM

(7/14/2007 06:12:00 PM) - Al

I just commented that I believe every member of the Brewers' rotation has been demoted to the bullpen or released on the message boards except for possibly Ben Sheets this year.

That said, at least they aren't 2nd in the NL in pitching, they are 7th. During the break, one person said they should add a bat for the stretch run because the offense had been "stagnant".

Imagine the outcry had they ranked 3rd.


7/14/2007 06:12:00 PM

(7/14/2007 05:56:00 PM) - Al

HOU is finally going to get Craig Biggio out of the lineup because they have younger, better options. Hat tip to Dave Pinto.

I can't believe it's taken this long, to be honest. I know there is loyalty, but Biggio should have began his career as a utility player ages ago...he's been well below average for 250 games now.

7/14/2007 05:56:00 PM

(7/14/2007 05:17:00 PM) - Al

I was just flipping channels as I sit down to play poker for several hours, and I see Houston is getting blasted by the Cubs...supposedly, the Astros have several relievers they would consider trading, and I would have to figure Mark Loretta will be on the market as well.

7/14/2007 05:17:00 PM

(7/14/2007 12:53:00 PM) - Al

Mo Williams returns, and it only took $21M to keep him in Milwaukee rather than Miami.

7/14/2007 12:53:00 PM

(7/14/2007 10:49:00 AM) - Al

I was flipping channels late last night and one of the news programs was doing a piece on the WWE wrestler that killed his wife and little boy...they repeatedly showed the fella lifting his son in the ring, I guess to celebrate a "victory".

As I said here, the WWE has blood on their hands, and the idea of a child even being allowed to watch that crap, never mind be hoisted as a prop, is appalling and painful. I've worked for some companies that have gone bankrupt and simply had no idea, creating one job after another for family members in the corporate office, but to be blunt, I've never been ashamed to work for them. I would not have anything to do with WWE if it was the last job on the planet.

7/14/2007 10:49:00 AM

(7/14/2007 10:01:00 AM) - Al

Half-price ticket deal for next Wednesday's game versus the D'Backs, link is here.

7/14/2007 10:01:00 AM

(7/14/2007 01:13:00 AM) - Al

Allow me to say, the constant mention of the Phillies' 10000th loss is an embarrassment. No one cares, and no one is concerned. Get a life.

7/14/2007 01:13:00 AM

(7/14/2007 12:31:00 AM) - Al

Carlos V----3.41 ERA
C. Spurling-3.03 ERA

Carlos' secondary stats are better, but after tonight's batting practice session, he has allowed more runners to score. Both he and Capuano need to realize they need to stop giving away free baserunners to limit their's one thing to give up a HR, but yet another to walk a batter or two and then give up the long ball.

7/14/2007 12:31:00 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007

(7/13/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Carlos with his best imitation of Capuano, walking batters, then grooves it right down the middle. It's like hitting the corners has become unhip overnight.

7/13/2007 08:54:00 PM

(7/13/2007 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Identical to DC, Cappy simply nibbling far too much. You can't continue to pitch off the plate and get guys out. There's nothing wrong with being careful to your top hitters, but why are you throwing 3-2 breaking balls? After the two walks, he again falls behind and gives up a 2-1 single on a fastball right down the heart of the plate.

Simply put, he's pitching just like DLR and others do, inconsistent and can't even get through a weak outing with 5+ innings, and giving up 4 runs, like Suppan does.

Bill Schroeder calls this "a big game". Daron Sutton Jr. strikes again.

7/13/2007 08:15:00 PM

(7/13/2007 07:08:00 PM) - Al


Just wanted to say hi and ask you a question. I'm going to visit my in-laws over the weekend, and they will be about as uninformed as any fans you'll find. I'm sure I'll hear that the Brewers are trying to get Junior Griffey, for example. So, to be realistic, who do you see them going after, possible trade targets?

Thanks for your time,


Kevin, other than Otsuka of the Rangers, the names I would think are most possible are Steve Kline of the Giants and Chad Cordero of the Nationals. Both are supposedly on the market, effective, and would seem to fit into Doug's master plan. Less likely would be Dave Weathers and Mike Stanton of the Reds.

7/13/2007 07:08:00 PM

(7/13/2007 04:21:00 PM) - Al

To quote Dennis Miller, this is not a bunch of guys getting hurt during the running of the bulls, this is simply culling the herd.

7/13/2007 04:21:00 PM

(7/13/2007 04:14:00 PM) - Al

Clinton and Edwards discuss getting rid of the minor they shake the hand of one of them, Dennis Kucinich. Heh. Here's a story on it if you cannot watch the video. Not surprisingly, Kucinich is rather unhappy about it.

To be honest, they are 100% correct, I'm not going to waste a second of time watching a debate with one issue guys and the like that don't stand any chance at all; while I might watch if it was Obama and the two above.

That said, you don't say such things in public. Behind closed doors, however, they should be pushing hard for it.

7/13/2007 04:14:00 PM

(7/13/2007 04:08:00 PM) - Al

This may be the closest thing I've seen to proving the impending demise of our legal system.

Can you imagine a human being uttering the phrase, "I gotta miss work, I got my kid's cheerleading lawsuit next week".

7/13/2007 04:08:00 PM

(7/13/2007 12:01:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like Bill Hall may be able to return as soon as next weekend, as his rehab is proceeding quickly.

I'm no expert, but if he's already able to walk with little pain, he'll be more than ready, though it might be tired and sore and need a day off once a week for a while.

Speaking as a veteran of foot injuries, the worst part is that you adjust your stride to get back into action ASAP. That leads to blisters elsewhere, sore muscles, and an overall "run down" feeling when you're on your feet for long periods of time. That said, Bill has experts helping him with rehab, while I had an ER doc who wrote "sore ankle" on my chart, while in reality, I had sprained my foot, not the ankle. The specialist I went to, after a week of little progress, had me up and walking again in a few days with the proper exercises and such.

Years later, I stepped half on the sidewalk and half off while taking the garbage out at our apartment (holding the bag in front of me blocked my view). It hurt a bit, but I continued onto my planned afternoon, I got lunch, and then went to Saving Private Ryan. I got home, now about 3.5 hours later, and my foot ached a bit, but was no big deal. As I always do, I removed my shoes, and then took off my sock to look at my foot...and before my eyes, my foot went from normal size to a football shaped, puffy, discolored mess...apparently, being in the shoe had kept the swelling from happening. I know of a couple people who would have been physically ill from this, but I thought it was kind of cool.

And then there's this. To this day, that toe is always colder than the rest.

7/13/2007 12:01:00 PM

(7/13/2007 11:54:00 AM) - Al

Mark Cuban applies to make a bid for the Cubs...admittedly, I shudder to think what Cuban could do for a franchise that all but prints its own money.

However, Cuban does not seem to fit into the "mold" of a MLB owner, as he tends to be vocal and public. I would have to figure he has an uphill battle to be chosen.

7/13/2007 11:54:00 AM

(7/13/2007 10:25:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers have sold 2.4M tickets, and this homestand is close to being packed.

The bandwagon is getting full, my friends.

I'll be back late this afternoon.

7/13/2007 10:25:00 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007

(7/12/2007 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Rockets point guard John Lucas has opted not to play in summer league, and isn't happy about his situation in Houston.

"I want to go somewhere I'll have the opportunity and a shot to play," Lucas said. "We have a lot of point guards: Mike James, Rafer Alston, myself and Aaron (Brooks). That's a lot of competition. I don't mind competition. I'm looking forward to next year. I'm looking forward to playing. If they move me, I'll go to another team and contribute any way I can." Lucas stopped short of saying he demanded a trade, but it's clear he would like to be moved.

Sounds like if Mo does sign with Miami, the Bucks need to get on the horn with the Rockets...Mike James is an older PG who defends well and passes first...he might be a good fit for the shooter happy Bucks.

UPDATE: James just was traded from MIN to HOU, so he seems likely to stay in Texas.

7/12/2007 07:44:00 PM

(7/12/2007 02:52:00 PM) - Al

Ken Griffey Jr's agent went out of his way to say that Junior would not be going to Milwaukee, which I would assume mean at some point, his name must have come up. I would guess the Reds asked about some of the excess SP's, probably Dave Bush in particular, and Griffey's name and "how much salary would you pick up?" was a phrase used...and that's probably as far as it went.

Griffey is a fine player, but has a terrible contract and is unlikely to stay healthy better at age 37 than he has before. I don't see him being much of an upgrade, considering how much his backup would be projected to play.

7/12/2007 02:52:00 PM

(7/12/2007 01:50:00 PM) - Al

Rumor mill says Mo is leaning toward the Heat, even at less money.

That said, warm weather, no state income tax, and the chance to play for a championship right away may make anyone choose a bit less cash, which is just Monopoly money anyway, for the most part.

In a bit of irony, the next best point guard on the Steve Blake, who the Bucks traded for Earl Boykins last season. Blake is said to have little interest in returning to the Bucks. If Mo does leave, they'd probably go with Charlie Bell at the point and bring in a seasoned backup, in trade or free agency.

7/12/2007 01:50:00 PM

(7/12/2007 09:18:00 AM) - Al

Hector Carrasco released by the Angels...gee, who could have possibly seen his production going back to career norms?

Oh, that's right, everyone.

7/12/2007 09:18:00 AM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

(7/11/2007 09:10:00 PM) - Al

Mo Williams is deciding between Miami and Milwaukee.

No, I do not know why the JS appears asleep at the switch.

7/11/2007 09:10:00 PM

(7/11/2007 08:45:00 PM) - Al

The team site lists the first 3 pitchers as Sheets, Suppan, and Capuano.

7/11/2007 08:45:00 PM

(7/11/2007 07:14:00 PM) - Al

This will be interesting...I have no problem with CNBC, as they tend to be very pro-economy and always seem to be rooting openly for new records to be set...but I can always hope competition will lead to a better product overall.

7/11/2007 07:14:00 PM

(7/11/2007 05:57:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Been awhile since I emailed you, not sure if you remember but many moons ago we chatted a bit about the Minnesota failure to get a new stadium built. Anyhoo, finally managed to email you again to say how much I enjoy your blog and your comments at, and thanks for taking the time to put thoughts to paper. Or computer as it where.

I, like many others, read the Kane article and wasn't surprised in the least by it's tone. He is a bona fide "oofball". What surprises me a bit is that, based on your comment about the emails you've received, so many people where unaware of him. He's been writing the same racist poop for some time. He is my #1 most hated "writer". And that says alot, because as you know, there's a whole lot of bad writers out there (some right here in our lovely state paper).

I also wanted to mention how nice it is to read someone talk about the Crew and not speak of how the sky is falling with every loss. I am, admittedly, a pretty big pessimist, and even I grew tired of the negative banter in the major league forum at, so much so that I now rarely even visit it. Which is sad, because I have visited there for many years, and appreciated the intelligence and cordial conversations. But those days are gone, and I cannot stand what it's (major league forum) become. So thank you again for your levelheadedness.

One more thing...though I try to visit your blog several times a day, I cannot recall what your plans for Lofton would be should the Crew acquire him. Are you thinking better-than-average back-up? Or does someone get bumped for him to start? Just curious.

Though I don't always agree with you, thanks again for a solid daily read. Much appreciated.


James, thanks for reading, writing, and the kind words. The count is now 8-1 anti-Kane, though Gene's lone supporter was very vehement in his belief...I am currently in an e-mail exchange wondering what he thinks of this particular column, which I found to be utterly off-the-charts ridiculous.

The "sky is falling" mentality was discussed here a while ago, and is really a shame. I compare it to the 40something single guy who is going out with a 21 year-old college woman (not that there's anything wrong with that), who spends all of his time worrying about whether or not he will fulfill her long-term needs and how he can compare to a younger, better looking guy; he can't even enjoy the situation most gents would be envious of. The ideas most folks are to improve the team involve minimal improvement at a big price to the future and/or a big financial hit.

As for, I do not post there as often anymore either, but my reasons tend to be more personal and because of work obligations. I do find, however, that the massive gap that it once held over the other popular message boards in quality has indeed narrowed quite a bit, as more bandwagon jumpers have joined and shared their views. It's still the best, by far, especially if you weed through the chafe and just read posters you learn to respect, but there are some good posters at the other easy to find sites, such as the team's. I agree, the major league forum is pretty reactionary.

As for Lofton, my thoughts are here. He would simply be an upgrade for the rest of 2007 and the thoughts are simple...if Hart or Hall got injured, I think Gross/Mench/Gwynn can pick up 80-85% of the slack...but I'd sure feel more comfortable with a seasoned veteran like Kenny ready to step in.

7/11/2007 05:57:00 PM

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

(7/10/2007 07:53:00 PM) - Al

I have not heard if Ben Sheets is expected to pitch, but I assume he will...hopefully it will be an uneventful, quick frame.

7/10/2007 07:53:00 PM

(7/10/2007 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Judging by my e-mail, Eugene Kane might be the most unpopular writer in the land...the count reads 5-0, "thanks for pointing out what a nutjob he is".

7/10/2007 07:51:00 PM

(7/10/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

How I wish companies I have worked for had the guts to do this.

Instead, I was always told to "give them whatever they want".

7/10/2007 07:37:00 PM

Monday, July 09, 2007

(7/09/2007 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Eugene Kane wrote about the Crew again, and it's as bad as you might expect.

He credits himself for "being right", when in reality, the Brewers do not need more minority players, they needed more good players.

But, some can only see color, however, and that's a shame.


7/09/2007 09:09:00 PM

(7/09/2007 08:58:00 PM) - Al

Updates will probably be rather limited the next few days, as other than a trade rumor or something similar.

To be blunt, the Brewers are still going to have 49 wins until at least Friday evening. Discussing that fact borders on ignorant.

7/09/2007 08:58:00 PM

(7/09/2007 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal says many teams have been asking about Brewers' SP's, since Yo could be moved into the rotation. I would feel the only possible move would be Claudio Vargas, and if you look at the other names Rosenthal mentions, I would certainly see Vargas as being one of the top couple names available, unless Dontrelle Willis ends up being dealt.

I've heard many people say the Crew should trade Vargas for a reliever, but I see that as shuffling the deck chairs on a sinking ship...there's no guarantee Yo or Carlos would be better than Claudio short-term, nor is it real likely the acquired relief guy be any better than Yo/Carlos.

Personally, I think Manny Parra would be excellent trade bait, he's 25 and having success in AA and AAA, and in good health for the first time in a couple years. I don't know if he'd be a much better 8th SP option than Zach Jackson or Chris Oxspring, but his velocity and ceiling make him worth a great deal on the trade market...finding a LHP who can hit 92-93 mph is almost unheard of.

I've said it before, but I don't see much of a downside to having 7 quality SP's on the staff...if you trade one, and one gets hurt, suddenly, you're wondering if Elmer Dessens will be healthy soon, or how much Oxspring is truly pitching over his head, when you need an arm for a doubleheader...I think I'd rather have the depth, thanks.

7/09/2007 08:39:00 PM

Sunday, July 08, 2007

(7/08/2007 03:12:00 PM) - Al

and more than two hours before game time, Yost scratched Geoff Jenkins from the lineup because of a swollen right knee.

Jenkins fouled a pitch off the inside of his knee during a 13-pitch at-bat in the eighth inning Saturday night. Jenkins eventually struck out

As I thought, Geoff was not 100% today.

7/08/2007 03:12:00 PM

(7/08/2007 02:31:00 PM) - Al

Ronnie Belliard should be on his way to another team before the deadline. It's simply off-the-charts how the previous regime allowed a player as good as him to rot away. He could easily be in the top half of all 2B in the NL right now.

7/08/2007 02:31:00 PM

(7/08/2007 02:19:00 PM) - Al

Very disappointing 6th inning from Capuano, nibbling and working from behind to every single batter. Went from strike one, strike two, etc, to trying to make the perfect pitch every single time.

Makes that blown fair/foul call by the 3B umpire loom mighty large. I saw live that the ball landed right on the line, it's astounding the ump missed it being right there.

Cappy got the ground ball, but it was over in the hole. Bad pitching, then bad luck.

7/08/2007 02:19:00 PM

(7/08/2007 12:58:00 PM) - Al

Though already in 8th place among documentary moneymakers, Sicko took in $3.5 mil from 702 theaters for a new cume of $11.3 mil. Though that's only a 22% drop from last week, its per screen average has halved.

I was shocked to see ads for Sicko that seemed to ignore that this was a documentary. As mentioned, it is already a huge hit for the genre, but considering only about 5% of the public would even consider going to one, and a third of them despises Moore, the max this film can do is very limited.

7/08/2007 12:58:00 PM

(7/08/2007 12:49:00 PM) - Al

It's a big game today.--Bill Schroeder

The ghost of Daron Sutton is alive and well.

I am curious as to why Geoff was given the day off rather than Corey, as with his hitting streak over, he is allowed to be out of the lineup. It's actually a strange time to have off, unless Jenkins is banged up.

7/08/2007 12:49:00 PM

(7/08/2007 08:25:00 AM) - Al

The Rangers and Brewers were close to a trade: Akinori Otsuka to the Brewers for Tony Gwynn Jr. Rosenthal seemed to dislike it, but I think it made sense for the Crew. Regardless, Bill Hall's injury thwarted the deal as Gwynn will be needed to man center.

The new plan for the Brewers is to call up 29 year-old Grant Balfour, who's dominated in the minors. He endured elbow and shoulder woes before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of '05. In the midst of his TJ recovery, Balfour developed the need for shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum. This guy would be pumping gas if he'd been born a few decades earlier. After the surgeries, the Twins cut Balfour and the Reds snagged him. Balfour rehabbed with the Reds but never made it to the bigs; the Brewers claimed him off waivers in October of '06. He's all the way back; Johnny Estrada was singing his praises back in February.---MLB Trade Rumors

You can watch the Ken Rosenthal piece MLBTR is recapping here, just click on Full Count-Rosenthal when you arrive.

It sounds like the injury to Otsuka delayed the deal, and Hall's injury has nixed it for now. This is actually huge news in many ways, as it shows us Doug is willing to trade youth for quality (at least blocked youth), what value Gwynn has in the open marketplace, and what Doug is looking for to improve the club.

You have to wonder if the trade was almost done Thursday morning, as if you'll recall, the Brewers scratched Manny Parra from a start Thursday night, saying he was being considered for a callup. How exactly Manny would have replaced Bill's spot on the roster is unclear, but who knows?

Balfour has been lights out at Nashville, and is likely to make an appearance soon...he probably has to be, as otherwise he would ask for his free agency, and Doug has shown no hesitation to do what's best for minor league veterans.

7/08/2007 08:25:00 AM

Saturday, July 07, 2007

(7/07/2007 09:31:00 PM) - Al

The baseball gods did not seem to be on the Brewers' side tonight, line drives hit right to the edge of the Nationals' gloves on what...4 or 5 occasions? Even the normally unflabble Ned seemed be shaking in head in disgust when Counsell's line drive out was followed by Estrada's HR. Some nights, the bloops fall in, and some nights, the line drives turn into outs.

7/07/2007 09:31:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:59:00 PM) - Al

It is almost impossible for me to believe Rickie's wrist is not bothering him. His swing is so awkward, and my guess would be he is starting it earlier and then unable to stop it. There's no reason for a pitcher to throw him a strike, as he swings at nearly every ball in the dirt. He will likely be given a day off just because tomorrow.

Can't get much more unlucky than Graffy on that ball...fine play by Langerhans.

7/07/2007 07:59:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:50:00 PM) - Al

Ken e-mailed me to promote his web site which calculates a team's chances of making the is the Brewers' page.

I am not mathematician, but it seems like a 3% increase based on a single win is high.

7/07/2007 07:50:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Jeff seems to be pitching around an awful lot of hitters tonight, as if he does not care if he walks them. In the first, he didn't come within six inches of the plate facing Ronnie Belliard...who has been hot, but does not hit many HR's. With RFK as big as it is, that seems like a strange decision.

7/07/2007 07:20:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:15:00 PM) - Al

As I have said before, I have no doubt Tony Gwynn Jr. is the best defensive option the Crew has for CF, and that play on Young's deep drive would seem to prove it. Considering the Brewers are now 2nd in runs scored in the NL, he might not be a bad option for the majority of the playing time.

Does JJ Hardy look like he has a stiff back yet to anyone else? On the slow grounder he just fielded, it just seemed like he did not make a smooth, pain-free play.

7/07/2007 07:15:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:11:00 PM) - Al

With Rickie out of sorts at the plate, I think I'd just as soon have Suppan batting than Weeks.

7/07/2007 07:11:00 PM

(7/07/2007 07:08:00 PM) - Al

I have noticed quite a few more African-Americans at Miller Park during my visits there this year.

7/07/2007 07:08:00 PM

(7/07/2007 06:57:00 PM) - Al


I seem to recall you saying a while back that at one point, Dave Krynzel was listed as a better prospect than Ryan Braun. Can you direct me to that link?

Where are your archived posts, by the way?


As I tell many people each week, the archives along the sidebar seem to be gone forever, as my pleas to Blogger usually result response at all.

I discussed the anomaly you write of a while back, and here is that post. As I said then, Krynzel was never half the prospect Braun was, but was listed so on that one list.

I have had some misses on my RUTT choices as well, but my two biggest were Ben Petrick and Jack Cust, and one suffered from Parkinson's, and I was just "early" on Cust.:) Braun supposedly had a hitch in his swing...heh. For some reason, some guys insist on giving players credit for being crappy in AAA, I dunno know why.

7/07/2007 06:57:00 PM

(7/07/2007 08:29:00 AM) - Al

I was just watching the Sportscenter from late last night this morning as it is rerun on ESPN, and they informed me that the Cubs are now 5.5 games behind the Brewers. I have not paid any attention, as I feel it is silly because in September, the Crew might be chasing or holding off the Cardinals, or someone else. So, I just checked out the standings, and sure enough, both the Cards and Pirates are closer to the Cubs than the Cubs are to the Brewers.

I'll start paying attention to the scoreboard in mid-September. If the Brewers continue on a 92 win pace, I think they'll be fine.

7/07/2007 08:29:00 AM

Friday, July 06, 2007

(7/06/2007 09:02:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see Frankie get in there with a bit of wiggle room, having not pitched in a week. The boards seem divided as to Cordero is overworked or underworked...I wish they'd make up their mind, as I need to know how to panic properly.

7/06/2007 09:02:00 PM

(7/06/2007 08:35:00 PM) - Al

After those very poorly hit balls turn into hits, Weeks makes a fantabulous play to rob the catcher who runs like me of another cheapie...followed by an absolute rocket that Shouse turns into an out. Maybe it all does even out.:)

7/06/2007 08:35:00 PM

(7/06/2007 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Mench credited with an error as I posted. Kind of a short hop, but the runner was going to stop at 3B, I suppose.

7/06/2007 08:31:00 PM

(7/06/2007 08:21:00 PM) - Al

I'd say Mench is a pretty darn good defender. He's made every play all season, and taken away several doubles with his quickness to the ball and decent arm. For some reason, he's been labeled as a lackluster defensive player, and many seem to stick him with it.

Spurling pitches into some bad luck, gives up one true hit, and 2 seeing-eye cheapies, a blooper and a grounder.

7/06/2007 08:21:00 PM

(7/06/2007 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Nothing sums up the Dean Taylor regime better than the fact they had Ronnie Belliard and Mark Loretta on the bench, and Eric Young and Tyler Houston starting.

Belly and Lo, half a decade later, are still pretty good players, while EY has now taken his ability to underperform to ESPN. Admittedly, I do not know where Tyler is these days, but I know he isn't still playing at the level the others are.

7/06/2007 08:17:00 PM

(7/06/2007 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Al, Just wanted to mention to you that your statement the other day that Dave Bush has the same ERA this year as he did last year, if you remove the 6 run inning he had, was brilliant theater. I have told many people that and almost every one has told me I am off the charts ready for the loony bin.

Thank you for the continued fine job.


One thing I have noticed is how slow the average fan is to get a clue. If you have 2 players each hitting .350/.450, I promise you if you asked 100 people who was having a better year, 95 would answer whoever had the better April or May. For example, I guarantee you if you check the Pirates' message boards, many folks are still complaining about Adam LaRoche, even though he's been fine for about 2 months now.

And thank you, I don't believe I've ever been called brilliant or theater.

7/06/2007 08:06:00 PM

(7/06/2007 07:17:00 PM) - Al

I don't see many games in RFK, but CF is where balls go to die, but the ball carries very well to RF.

Still deciding about LF, as Mench's blast would have been out of Yellowstone Park.

7/06/2007 07:17:00 PM

(7/06/2007 06:59:00 PM) - Al

Save the planet, fly in a private jet.

Sadly, they just don't get it.

7/06/2007 06:59:00 PM

(7/06/2007 06:43:00 PM) - Al

You gotta be tagging up on that ball.--Bill Schroeder

Um, yeah...however, had the ball been hit 10 feet further, bounced off the wall to Mench, who then fired to Rickie had the runner had been tagging up:

You gotta score on that ball. How can you still be at 3B on a double?

Bill, the king of making a decision based on the known outcome.

7/06/2007 06:43:00 PM

(7/06/2007 04:43:00 PM) - Al

Fortunately, Milwaukee has the depth necessary to replace Hall without suffering a huge dropoff. While Hall's .784 OPS will be missed, the Brewers can choose to move Gabe Gross from the bench to center field or shift Corey Hart over from right field (with Tony Gwynn Jr. around as a defensive replacement). If Hart gets the nod to replace Hall, then manager Ned Yost would be able to get Kevin Mench's bat into the lineup in a corner spot while letting the defense suffer a bit.--Aaron Gleeman, Rotoworld

Aaron does not even feel Tony will get many reps in CF, but I guess we'll see.

Gleeman also wonders how an out of control mess can clean up this well, and I must say, it's a good question.

7/06/2007 04:43:00 PM

(7/06/2007 03:59:00 PM) - Al

My assumed update below was 100% accurate. Time will tell how the playing time will be split...since Tony Jr. is obviously the best defensive option in CF, I would predict he will get starts versus LHP, and a portion against RHP as well.

It could well come down to who gets'd be a really nice time for Gwynn or Gross to have a 10-21 could literally keep them in the lineup until Hall returns.

The Nashville paper also ran a story that said the Brewers told acting manager Harry Spilman not to have Manny Parra start last night's game because he was being considered for a callup...not sure if that was for the roster spot Hall vacated, or if another pitcher is having problems...Shouse has barely pitched in the last couple weeks, for example. I know this is a good time to send down a starter and have an extra reliever on hand just in case, but I'm not sure if Vargas could even be sent down, with his service time...unless they were concerned Yo would not be able to go for a few days after throwing 2+ frames Tuesday.

We'll see if this is reported by the JS or more likely, by Adam M.

7/06/2007 03:59:00 PM

Thursday, July 05, 2007

(7/05/2007 10:17:00 PM) - Al

Since I'm not seeing any updates and I'm heading up for the night, I would think the safe bet at this minute would be Hall is out a while (Rotoworld said "high ankle sprains" often miss 6-8 weeks) and Gwynn comes up...and that 3rd OF spot will be similar to what RF was when Corey was nursing his injured wrist for much of May, Ned will go with the hot hand, or in this case, the hot bat. Geoff may get to play most every day, and I'm sure his numbers will not be conducive to continuing to play every day when Billy returns.

Very unlikely it would happen, but I hear Jacque Jones is available for close to nothing from the Cubs...:)

7/05/2007 10:17:00 PM

(7/05/2007 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Jonah Keri echoes my previous post:

Thanks to the efforts of Doug Melvin, Jack Zduriencik & Co., the Brewers have developed a new generation of young stars. J.J. Hardy is comparable to Yount, a shortstop who struggled early in his career before blooming into a power-hitting threat. But Prince Fielder's the better comp, leading the league in homers and establishing himself as a leading MVP candidate in his own right. The biggest difference between these Brewers and the Harvey's Wallbangers squad of '82? This team has enough young, front-line talent for five playoff runs, never mind one.

Hat tip to Mike.

7/05/2007 10:07:00 PM

(7/05/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al


Does it seem to you that this year there is a lot more desperation about a loss than in years past? I mean, the best team loses 62 times a year, and the Brewers are on pace to lose about 68. Is it because new fans just don't get it? Or is it because the many bandwagon fans just panic too easily? I'm tired of every loss being portrayed as if the season is over.


Paul actually wrote after the Cubs' comeback win last Friday, so excuse us if his loss projection is now a couple off. The truth is, I have long felt the same way (I noticed it when the team was 2-3), and it's difficult to ignore for six months. The ridiculous nature of many complaints are the main reason for my I have noted, many have called for the removal of half the roster (or more) by this point, 50% through the season, and considering the team either has had the best record or nearly the best record in the NL almost the entire campaign pretty much says it all.

I found it especially humorous a few days ago, when Yo had his first poor outing, that half the know nothings called for him to be sent to AAA, while the other half insisted he was "uncomfortable" in the bullpen and needed to be put back into the rotation (I remember a similar panic mode when Carlos V struggled in his initial outing back in April...chuckle at the irony of that statement, but hence, I digress). They can't even get their off-the-wall opinions together to be consistent in their ignorance, for heavens sake.

I also notice a lot of goofy thoughts about the lineup...batting order to me is all but meaningless, of course, but you also see a lot of concern whenever a regular is rested. The other day, Ned chose to give Bill Hall a day off and inserted Gabe Gross into CF. Since JJ was still sick, Counsell started at on every board I checked, there was widespread discontent at "having two regulars out of the lineup on the same day. I guess in their little world, no one's allowed to have a day off now until Hall returns from his ankle injury.:) If you ever wonder if players really need rest, take a gander at Cal Ripken's September numbers some isn't a coincidence, my friends.

{I have often said how sad it is Ripken is remembered for his streak instead of his being one of the best offensive SS's of all-time, I wrote about that here.}

Another thing that Paul hinted at was that many of the "new" fans are also big fans of the Packers (and Nascar, I'm sure), where every game or race is treated as a bit of an event, or holiday. Losing 2 or 3 in a row, in the NFL, is a huge percentage of the season, and makes contending difficult. In baseball, well, it's time to play again in 24 hours. Getting too far up or down after one of 162 is pointless, and let's face it, sad. Remember Daron's constant mantra of "They really need this game, Bill"...what happened, you ask? Well nothing, they just played again the next day. We actually saw a similar thing late in the Badgers' basketball season, they lost two in a row to very good teams, Michigan State and Ohio State, but suddenly, they were "slumping" or "tired". Or, they had lost to solid teams on the always tough Big Ten road trips. There's no calming the easily befuddled however, it's always time to revamp the majority of the current roster.:)

Is there some sort of "fix" to our dilemma, Paul? No, probably not. You can't really argue with the facts, but when you don't use common sense to form your opinions, explaining them doesn't really do a whole lot for you. I don't know how many times I've typed that Chris Spurling has a career ERA of 4.03 and a 2007 ERA of 2.96, he remains the worst pitcher in the history of the sport because...well, I don't know. His WHIP is slightly higher than his career, so maybe he has gotten a bit fortunate, but speaking as the person who was knocked out of my tournament holding AK versus AJ...good fortune is often vital to success.

Regardless, worrying about improving your team's 12th pitcher with a sub 3 ERA pretty much proves the point of how solid this team is. I think that's actually a big part of the "problem" to be honest...this team is built beautifully overall, 6 of the 8 position players appear all but set in stone, for the next few years at least. Jenkins/Mench is producing at an above average rate, and Estrada/Miller is doing the same, while Counsell and Graffy are both dependable veteran infielders to have on the bench. There are players that could help this team, as I said the other day, and even more true now, somehow packaging some blocked prospects for Lofton and Otsuka would both strengthen the club and fortify it in case of injury, but unless injuries occur, neither would be a huge upgrade either.

So, in closing, Paul and myself might just be finding ourselves's a good team, with a nucleus under 27 that should get better. They're in good shape right now, and hopefully, that will continue...and that will only draw more fans whose knowledge consists of tired cliches and "the sky is falling" self-imposed hysteria when the team goes through a (gasp) 2-5 stretch.

7/05/2007 08:54:00 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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