Al's Ramblings



Saturday, May 31, 2008

(5/31/2008 10:10:00 PM) - Al

Another game without a single strategical decision of note (though Branyan at 3B is one, as is the entire lineup, but you know what I mean).

A reader said it seems like the pitching rotation has really "picked it up" since the Boston sweep, and I would agree. Maybe I'll run some game logs later tonight to prove our thoughts.

I wonder if I was the only person in the land who thought a squeeze would occur with Hart on 3B and Branyan up, up 4-1. I was at a game in '04 when Russ bunted for a hit twice, as the team was down several runs, and he was leading off the inning both times, so I know he can get one down.

I tell you what, if Sheets stays healthy and pitches like he has thus far, he might get Johan Santana money, though not for as many years. Other than the one inning versus the Dodgers, he's been a horse, pitching well and deep into games every 5th day.


5/31/2008 10:10:00 PM



(5/31/2008 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Tomorrow's game is a complete sellout, even standing room. Because it is Ryan Braun bobblehead day, if you are at the game, there will probably be lots of empty seats, as many bought tiks to resell the Braun action figures, I'm sure.

We'll have to see what the attendance is tomorrow, because I never recall the team refusing to sell more SRO tickets except on Opening Day.

UPDATE/BUMP: Still singles available on the team site as of 9:55PM, and Uecker seats will be released tomorrow morning. Also, handicapped seats are usually released about 60-90 minutes before game time to the general public.


5/31/2008 09:56:00 PM



(5/31/2008 07:48:00 PM) - Al

Sex and the City will do about $75M this weekend, 2-3x's what estimates had ranged.

I did not think it would play well outside NY and LA, and the 95% female crowd would limit the box office to $15-20M.

Consider me incorrect...a lot.


5/31/2008 07:48:00 PM



(5/31/2008 07:07:00 PM) - Al

Eric Gagne has left the team to be with his wife, who is apparently having issues with her pregnancy. Eric does not feel he will be gone more than his DL stint.


5/31/2008 07:07:00 PM



(5/31/2008 12:21:00 AM) - Al

By my figures, the Brewers now have the 5th best bullpen ERA in the NL, if you take out Turnbow's horrible numbers. Astoundingly, the Brewers' starters are still 5th in innings pitched, even with the youngster's struggles. Only SL has averaged 6 frames a start.


5/31/2008 12:21:00 AM


Friday, May 30, 2008

(5/30/2008 11:55:00 PM) - Al

You know, since the SP has improved, the bullpen has settled in nicely as well. Heck, I haven't even seen any misspelled rantings about Yost needing to go of late.

Funny how Ned has "improved" ever since the pitching has settled in...who could have predicted that?


5/30/2008 11:55:00 PM



(5/30/2008 08:32:00 PM) - Al

Since Damian Miller has told several teams he is not interested in playing for anyone but the Brewers, I wonder if it is possible the Crew would consider signing him, having him catch some at AAA for a couple weeks, and then be activated when the rosters expand 9/1?

This is much more likely, of course, should the Crew be in playoff contention.


5/30/2008 08:32:00 PM



(5/30/2008 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Alcides Escobar went 4-for-4 with a double on Thursday and is now hitting .311 for Double-A Huntsville.

Escobar had a brutal first two weeks, but he's been solid ever since. He's batting .362/.402/.474 during May, and he's up to five homers, four more than he had in 494 at-bats last season. If Escobar keeps hitting, perhaps the Brewers could choose to make J.J. Hardy available in July or in the offseason. They do need to improve their infield defense, and while Hardy is actually their strongest link right now, he lacks Escobar's range.--Rotoworld


Escobar even getting noticed by fantasy sites. I have little doubt he will be the starting SS in 2011, but the many folks are penciling him in well before that.


5/30/2008 08:08:00 PM



(5/30/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I need your help. What is with all these trendy little necklaces that all the Brewers and opposing teams are wearing? What's the gimmick with this? Is it like those magnetic bracelets that supposedly going to help my golf game that did no such thing?

Have a great weekend,

Craig


I can't say I've noticed, but do they look like this?

If they are, I'm a believer. If Jennie Finch is wrong, I don't wanna be right.


5/30/2008 07:40:00 PM



(5/30/2008 05:58:00 PM) - Al

Many people seem to think the Dems will steamroll in November...and they might, depending on events between now and then. However, a glance at the electoral college projections tell the story, that as of now, it's about as close as it gets.

Site 1
Site 2
Site 3

I think you'll see the candidates in the Upper Midwest quite a bit. Come to think of it, McCain has been in WI several times already.

By the way, 538.com, Site 3, may be the hardest to understand web site I've ever seen. Charts and graphs that only a math major could appreciate.


5/30/2008 05:58:00 PM



(5/30/2008 05:17:00 PM) - Al

MLB with a nice touch before the draft, as each team will be surviving a former Negro League player.


5/30/2008 05:17:00 PM



(5/30/2008 05:02:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Does that mean there is a possibility of an asterisk next to any of your other posts that don't have a "drug free" pledge?

Mike


I'm not here to talk about the past, Mike.


:)


5/30/2008 05:02:00 PM



(5/30/2008 12:02:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Just a quick followup to answer your question. The answer to the question on other dairy products is no, you don't see any significant amounts of cheese and butter or any other dairy product labeled as rBGH free. Outside of completely organic, fluid milk is the only area where this rBGH-free craze is widespread. We sell our milk to a cheese company in Illinois and the only reason they want to know if we use rBGH is so they don't pool our milk in with their excess that is sold on the fluid market. Our processor just hopes this will all come to pass before it gets into cheese too.

Let me also point out that there is no reliable test to differentiate between the two. Thus I've had some farmers come to me to buy the actual hormone. My guess is that they signed a pledge not to use the hormone but choose to use it anyway because there is no way to tell if they have used it and buying it from me doesn't leave a paper trail back to Monsanto. So what's labeled as rBGH-free probably isn't even so.

-Jon


That's kind of funny they can't even test for it, but still advertise it as "rBGH free".

Allow me to pledge that this post was written drug free.


5/30/2008 12:02:00 PM



(5/30/2008 10:20:00 AM) - Al

Al,

I'm a bit surprised you did not mention the Warns video on your sidebar for Memorial Day. I had some coworkers watch it this morning, and none of us made it through without tears, even though I've seen it a dozen times.

Ben

PS: I'm in Clinton's camp, but would happily vote for McCain in November (I might anyway) if Susan Sarandon promises to move and never come back.


Heh. I have some relatives who follow your voting pattern, Ben, though I'm not sure if they'd agree with your Mrs. Robbins assessment.

Guilty as charged, Ben. My memory is really good, but rather short.:) It's always a good time to watch that tribute, and after you do, you'll realize many people are simply so out of touch that it's a shame they do not appreciate what the US has to offer.

As for the tears, I always remember what Jim Valvano said. I tell you what, on my worst day, I still can't get past the part where his dad reads the poem, and then salutes the casket, and I'm not sure I'd want to hang around with anyone who can.


5/30/2008 10:20:00 AM



(5/30/2008 09:49:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Wal-Mart recently decided that their store brand milk would no longer be gotten from farms that use rBGH. Isn't that counterproductive to rising food prices? Taking away tools to create more supply is not the answer to lower milk prices.

While it may sound like I'm being hard on Wal-Mart here, they are actually pretty late to this rBGH-free party. This is mostly driven by the processors that can markup their product to the retailer for being rBGH-free and then pay nothing on the other end. Wal-Mart is reacting to demand here. The demand is there, but that doesn't make it logical. Consumers are easily swayed, especially when it comes to what they put into their bodies. Truth be darned.

People want cheap food, yet they don't want farmers using tools to help create cheap food. Even if they are scientifically sound methods.

Oh, and one final note on your e-mail you received on ethanol the other day. The byproduct of ethanol (Distiller's Grain) is definitely a very good feed source for cattle. We don't feed it ourselves, as we use Brewer's Grain due to all the breweries in Wisconsin. Ethanol has taken a lot of heat from plenty of people (including you) for the rising food prices. While it's certainly not without some blame, but there are plenty of other factors at work here like droughts around the world driving export prices up. It's not as simple as taking corn away from food production driving prices up, especially when you consider that a good chunk (56 lb. bushel of corn has approx. 17 lbs. of Distiller's grain after ethanol) still comes out on the other side.

Like plenty of things, the answer is likely somewhere in the middle. Ethanol isn't the devil like some would lead you to believe, while it is certainly not the savior that the corn lobby would lead you to believe.

-Jon


I do not pay enough attention to this to know how safe the rBGH is now thought to be, but I certainly have no problem drinking it, as I'm sure it is better for you than pie. However, if their customers complained, and the alternative is readily available, I have to believe that not it is an easy call for them. Maybe a question for Jon...does any type of processed foods label themselves "rBGH free"? Or cheese, or butter?

I will trust Jon on the feed info, as it makes sense. I have no problem with the various things farmers do to raise crops, as organic production is extremely inefficient, and to me reeks of losing ground (no pun intended). I know my brother and sister-in-law had a neighbor that people complained about because of the smell from their hog operation...not exactly sure what can be done about such things...if you live in a rural area, it is hardly a smell free zone. Farmers are picked on for various silly things, especially when one considers there profit margin is often very slim, and dependent on weather and other factors they do not control.


5/30/2008 09:49:00 AM



(5/30/2008 09:22:00 AM) - Al

I certainly would not have used the same words as Bob Dole, but to think McClellan did not, ahem, write his book for profits is a bit ridiculous.

As an example, allow me to write two sentences that pretty much mean the same thing, but lean strongly:

He drove home after several drinks at the bar.

After enjoying a glass of wine and then some soda with coworkers, the hardworking man left to see his family.

I think it's safe to say Scott would have used the first one.:)


5/30/2008 09:22:00 AM



(5/30/2008 08:51:00 AM) - Al

Susan Sarandon...says if John McCain gets elected, she will move to Italy or Canada.--NY Post

That, my friends, is one patriotic American.


5/30/2008 08:51:00 AM



(5/30/2008 08:30:00 AM) - Al

I would chalk this up to Ned second guessing himself some, and even moreso, I'm a tad disappointed he felt the need to come forward with such information to the press and opposition.

You can have whatever policy you like, and I would agree you need to have some kind of internal limits in place, other than asking your guys how they feel. But, those calls should be made quietly and smartly. If the guys who follow the team can't figure out bullpen usage themselves, you don't need to spell it out for them.

I would liken this to Corey Hart being banged up last May, and the team decided to only play him a couple times a week, mainly versus LHP. Sure, this led to many fans complaining that Corey was "being benched", but even though he was hurting, other teams still had to prepare for him as a PH, whether or not he was available and/or 100% healthy...because no one really knew.

I guess I just don't understand the openness. We all know Tony Witrado is not going to do an iota more than he's forced to, so why spill the beans on your bullpen usage patterns? If someone would have asked before the game, I would have said "no comment". If asked after, I would have said "Sal was unavailable today", and if pressed, stated the same thing.


5/30/2008 08:30:00 AM



(5/30/2008 08:21:00 AM) - Al

Here, here.

That pretty much sums up my disgust with the critics of most all energy exploration...who then complain that the price is up.


5/30/2008 08:21:00 AM



(5/30/2008 08:18:00 AM) - Al

The Bradley Center will soon be outdated.

The city now is completely aware of this...why do I get the feeling in a few years, they'll act like it's a surprise?


5/30/2008 08:18:00 AM



(5/30/2008 07:54:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Why is no one picking up on Mark's comment that you pointed out, basically crticizing fans for their constant second guessing of Yost, and as you often show, often without any merit?

CJ


CJ means this, by the way.

Mark A is a near genius on how to say things professionally and in ways as to not make the papers. When you look at the complete lack of common sense coming from the beat writers, wondering if Turnbow would be released rather than pitching at AAA, wondering why Zach Jackson was sent down because he throws with his left arm, being able to take apart well crafted phrases and decipher them is not what I'm expecting.


5/30/2008 07:54:00 AM



(5/30/2008 07:48:00 AM) - Al

Wal Mart is simply several steps ahead of most every company doing business.


5/30/2008 07:48:00 AM



(5/30/2008 07:41:00 AM) - Al

Seth McClung first 2 starts...8 innings, 1 run.

Of course, that's just the first 4 frames from each outing. That said, it is not difficult to imagine him struggling to make it through the 5th after pitching in relief for so long. I think Carlos went down to AAA for 4 or 5 starts last year and then came back in September and pitched incredibly well.

I hope Seth can continue to stretch out with success, as after another start, or maybe two, as at some point, my ability to justify failure in the 5th will go away.


5/30/2008 07:41:00 AM



(5/30/2008 07:35:00 AM) - Al

I want to find a JS writer who does not write like a casual fan. This IS a young team. Their core is still all right around 25. And the idea that baseball has momentum is a joke. It's such a football fan mentality. Teams can win 20-0 in game one of a DH and lose 9-1 in game 2. I've seen it happen.

Michael


Michael is referring to the latest Hunt column, which reads like an 8th grade report on chemical engineering...painful. I'm done banging my head on the wall over the JS, who get more and more unimpressive on a daily basis.


5/30/2008 07:35:00 AM



(5/30/2008 12:27:00 AM) - Al

I keep forgetting to post pics of the chicken I grilled the other day...my wife still has to e-mail me the link, as me no understand computer picture things.

It was not only very good, but really simple...I don't know why everyone doesn't do it...I wonder how a turkey would turn out.

And by the way, you can never put too much butter on something.


5/30/2008 12:27:00 AM



(5/30/2008 12:01:00 AM) - Al

I forgot to mention that I heard on the radio that the Northwoods League team here in Wausau, the Woodchucks, only had 6 position players available for their opener tonight, as many are still in school, still playing or both. Of course, many college pitchers probably also play in the field when not on the mound, so it's not like me being forced to play RF.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but you have to wonder about why they are beginning their season with so few players. I just checked my pocket schedule, and I see the season ends August 11th, and the playoffs end on August 17th. Not sure if there's much you could do and still get the season done on time...of course, I don't see a lot of excitement about the playoffs in the league...so maybe a one game title would be fine, as that would allow the year to begin 3-4 days later.

Maybe Jason can volunteer some info, as he probably knows far more about the league than I do.


5/30/2008 12:01:00 AM


Thursday, May 29, 2008

(5/29/2008 09:37:00 PM) - Al

If you wondered what the Pirates' odd looking patch is, this explains it...it's so dull, I now wish I wouldn't have checked.


5/29/2008 09:37:00 PM



(5/29/2008 09:14:00 PM) - Al

I watch CNBC more than Fox News, because of it's focus on the economic news...actually, I only watch Fox News, for the most part, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, for their morning Today-like show and the stock picking shows.

So, I was a bit surprised to see their overall ratings are stellar...especially primetime, where every single show has led their time slot for 5+ years? Golly.

Of course, this makes some sense, as while CNN, MSNBC, and the networks skew left, Fox seems to have the whole right to itself (though I would argue that CNBC is relentlessly positive about the economy, and the female staff even would remind some of cheerleaders in appearance, but hence, I digress). If you split the country in half, and then split up one side into many...and leave the other one whole, it doesn't take a genius to figure out where the ratings will be. That may be overly simplistic, but I'm a simple guy.:)


5/29/2008 09:14:00 PM



(5/29/2008 08:48:00 PM) - Al

Personally, though Ed Sedar had a better angle than I did, I feel they should have sent Prince with 2 down in the 6th. Bill's argument, as always, lacks an intelligent overall look at the situation.

Saying you don't want to risk getting thrown out on the bases down 5 is a very good point...if it's the 9th inning. However, there's still 3 innings remaining after the one which is currently taking place. Each frame stands on its own...runners on base do not get to return there in the next inning after the 3rd out is made. Therefore each 3 out set represents a separate but equal opportunity to score runs...if you score 2 in the 6th, you don't need to "play for 5" anymore, as you are only down 3.

The funny thing about this is, it has been proven over and over that to maximize your run production, you need to work to your strengths...be that OBP, power, using your speed, whatever. My goodness, if you can steal 85% of the time with success, you should run all the time; up, down, tied, whenever. Good baseball is good baseball, regardless of the score. Unless it's the 9th inning, a smart play is still a good play.


5/29/2008 08:48:00 PM



(5/29/2008 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Speaking of math, I am in the midst of enjoying the audio CD Freakonomics when I am in my car, ruining the planet for Generation Z (well, I was in X, then came Y...gotta be Z, right?).

Thus far, I have heard various theories about how crime fell 18-20 years after Roe v Wade effectively legalized abortion, how they discovered Chicago teachers were cheating for their students on standardized tests, and how 7M children under 18 disappeared on an April evening in 1987 (how many fewer deductions were claimed when the IRS made folks put down Social Security numbers to claim a deduction).

It's like a combo platter of trivia and math, which means it's perfect for me, while many would find it dull.


5/29/2008 08:39:00 PM



(5/29/2008 08:24:00 PM) - Al

The other night, one message board was complaining about "all the runners" the Brewers have had thrown out at home this year. I said I did not recall any except some with 2 outs, and of course, a couple on the "contact play". So, I was just thinking, if you're going to blame Dale for the 2 out ones, which maybe your runner has a 50% chance of scoring, while he would have a 40% chance if Braun and Fielder were the next to bat (in other words, ignore the facts which makes it obvious why you should often send guys), Dale has probably made a "bad" decision 5 times this year...which would put him at a 98% success rate.

There aren't many professions in which 98% will get you complained about...but I guess, for people who struggle with the equation [50% > 40%], most all math is just beyond their means.


5/29/2008 08:24:00 PM



(5/29/2008 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Bill promoting the Grumpy Stewart line of thinking...that by giving the Braves more baserunners, you are actually more likely to shut them down. I understand walking Chipper, especially on a day when Campillo resembles unhittable, but when every simulation ever run shows one thing and you insist another, it might be time to read some literature.

If only we could replace the official scorer with someone who actually watched the game, and then had Bill hold his hand; far, far away from the ballpark, it'd be a much happier world for me.

This is the second outing in a row Seth has seemingly tired in the 5th inning, which I suppose is exactly what you'd expect from an effective pitcher who has only gone 1-2 frames since 2006. Too bad McClung does not have an option left to go down to stretch out...sadly, he's still going longer than Parra often does.


5/29/2008 08:08:00 PM



(5/29/2008 07:57:00 PM) - Al

No way I can beat the snarkiness of Glen and his link, so I will just send you over there.

Money quote: Now I went back and checked the numbers for the past 50 years and didn't find a single case of a recession...that started with or contained two straight quarters of positive GDP growth...

While I'm the first to admit the "Dude, where's my recession?" ongoing line is brilliant, I'm still partial to mine, which is "Calling it a recession does not make it one".


5/29/2008 07:57:00 PM



(5/29/2008 07:33:00 PM) - Al

I just got home and am watching the taped version of the game...Corey Hart beat out an infield hit in the 2nd, but the call was an E4...because the throw was high. Never mind that if the throw was perfect, he was still safe. Now, maybe the call was changed later, but my 5 year-old could make that call properly, with a 15 second explanation of what an "error" is and what a "hit" is.

How pathetic does an official scorer have to be to make such a horrendous call? For guys like Weeks or Hart, that bad scoring costs them 10-15 points of BA every season, and it's just hard to believe it is accepted by the Brewers as an organization.

EDIT: Changed later, per TV guys. If that is that same guy, he is literally watching a different game than most anyone with a pulse.


5/29/2008 07:33:00 PM


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(5/28/2008 11:28:00 PM) - Al

I will be out of town tomorrow, so you will have to entertain yourself with the matinee game, which is on FSN, added because of the rainout in Boston.

Enjoy.


5/28/2008 11:28:00 PM



(5/28/2008 11:22:00 PM) - Al

It's just amazing how easy the game is when you get good starting pitching every night. Ned has barely had a decision to make the past few games.

One mildly interesting call Ned had to make tonight was who to PH with the go-ahead run on 2B, one out, and Suppan up. Why I bring this up is simple...it occurred to me as Dillon stepped up that Ned had 4 guys he could have easily justified using...Counsell, Branyan, or Kapler...and that if you asked 4 people, you might easily get 4 different answers.


5/28/2008 11:22:00 PM



(5/28/2008 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Ozzie Guillen simply does not get along with anyone.

He's like the anti-chemistry man.


5/28/2008 07:22:00 PM



(5/28/2008 04:39:00 PM) - Al

The Mets' signing of second baseman Luis Castillo to a four-year, $25 million contract is starting to look like one of the worst moves of the off-season--Ken Rosenthal

I remember seeing this proposed on one of the Brewers' boards last winter...apparently, not realizing that Castillo is destined to not just age badly, but has a rather low OPS anyway. Of course, it was one of those, "Sign Castillo to play 2B, move Weeks to CF", and so on things, not realistic anyway.

Anyone who saw Eric Young play for the Crew knows how poorly speedy players tend to age. When they lose a step, it hurts their OBP, their SLG, defense, SB ability...everything really.


5/28/2008 04:39:00 PM



(5/28/2008 12:38:00 PM) - Al

I'm a bit negative on how well the Sex and the City movie will do...not only is is almost purely for women, it's also from HBO...though the repeats have aired on TBS for years now. You know, a highly rated show on HBO doesn't have THAT many viewers, as only about 20% of the public has HBO.

Of course, it's not like it's loaded with special effects, so I'm not sure how much it cost to make either.


5/28/2008 12:38:00 PM



(5/28/2008 02:10:00 AM) - Al

As part of the free-agent deal Jeff Weaver signed with the Brewers, if the team doesn't call him up by Sunday, he can ask for his release. But it is iffy if that will happen since Weaver has done almost nothing to show he is a better option than anyone in the Brewers current rotation.

Monday, Weaver gave up nine runs (five earned), eight hits and five walks in six innings for Nashville.

He should make one more start before the team has to decide.

"We haven't had a chance to visit with our staff on that yet," general manager Doug Melvin said.

"It depends what we're doing up here, if he's better than somebody we have here."


Heh. Needless to say, I do not see Weaver getting a call up, barring injury. I would assume they would let Jeff know if anyone wants him in the big leagues, they will let him go for very little, or maybe nothing. Guys with a 6 ERA in AAA don't merit a whole lot of consideration, especially with Bush pitching well in 2 of his last 3 outings.


5/28/2008 02:10:00 AM



(5/28/2008 02:07:00 AM) - Al

Hi Al,

At the end of a recent post you wrote, "I have thought for a while if it were me, I would probably fire Ned if I decided I was not going to renew his 2009 option. That might well be exactly what Mark A is thinking." I just wanted to point out the team already picked up his 2009 option on February 8 of this year. It was strange because Doug Melvin claimed the option was picked up following the 2007 season but never announced.

Thanks,

Theron


I thought they had added a 2009 option, not picked it up. I guess I would rephrase that and say "if I decided Ned would not be back in 2009".

Thanks for the heads up Theron.


5/28/2008 02:07:00 AM


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

(5/27/2008 09:49:00 PM) - Al

I realize this is a very nice piece of community involvement, but I hate to see this on a day after a night game, with the players probably reporting at 10AM or so.

You have to balance out what's best for the team and what's best for the city and suburbs. After a long road trip; night game, volunteer thing, night game, day game is far from an ideal schedule.


5/27/2008 09:49:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:35:00 PM) - Al

I can just see the casual Brewers' fan watching the 9th ining:

Announcer: There goes Hall!

Fan: What are you doing? You're already in scoring position!

Announcer: No throw, he's safe!

Fan: Yeah, good move! Way to be aggressive!

Announcer: Fly ball, medium left field...

Fan: Don't send him! Don't send him!

Announcer: ...the catch, there goes Hall, here's the throw...SAFE!!!!!

Fan: Yeah, good move! Made it easy.


This is what we call judging by the result. If Blanco makes a throw on the fly and not one bounce, they might well get Billy, but you have to be a moron not to send him, as I would guess he scores 3 of 4 times versus the various LF's in MLB (I have no idea how good Blanco's arm is)...maybe 4 of 5, given the state of how poorly many LF's throw. That's still 1 of 5 you'll fail...and with Braun up next. But, no way Ryan gets that run in 75-80% of the time.


5/27/2008 09:35:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Obviously, Sharon Stone never took a science class, if she thinks behavior causes earthquakes.


5/27/2008 09:27:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:22:00 PM) - Al

I think I predicted this a couple months ago...with warm weather here, interest rates low, and many motivated sellers, I think it's a buyer's market.

UPDATE: 4 months ago today, but yep.


5/27/2008 09:22:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:15:00 PM) - Al

Hudson seemed be tiring in the 7th, but is now still in after 2 hits in the 8th. Bullpen tired and/or ineffective?

I am usually pretty consistent on this...I'd rather have a fresh, slightly worse reliever than a tired SP who has thrown 120ish pitches.

That said, JJ hit it hard, but right at Hudson, who misplays it. I'd say that was a hit, but since we're at Miller Park, I'll wait.:)


5/27/2008 09:15:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:13:00 PM) - Al

Funny how different the shifts are against Prince, DC vs, ATL. The Nats shaded him well up the middle, and left a huge hole between 1B and 2B. Tonight, the Braves are playing the 2B very deep and a step or two toward 1B, and the SS not too far from normal.

I would guess one relies on advance scouts and the other more on the charts.


5/27/2008 09:13:00 PM



(5/27/2008 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Rickie has drilled the ball 3 times tonight, and does not have a thing to show for it. It's just such a minefield of luck some days.


5/27/2008 09:00:00 PM



(5/27/2008 08:51:00 PM) - Al

I doubt we'll hear a whole lot from our resident experts on "Why did he leave Bush in so long? He always tires in the 6th (or 7th, it depends when he allows a run that night) inning? Dave averaged more IP's per start than Suppan last year, so while Dave is not a CG guy, he is also far from a 5 inning pitcher.

Great outing by Dave, aggressive the whole night, just a couple solo HR's.


5/27/2008 08:51:00 PM



(5/27/2008 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Doug, he's usually one or two steps ahead, so I talk to him almost every day. With Ned, I just try to give him support, let him know we're behind him. We have plenty of fans that are good at second guessing, so I don't do any of that.--Mark A, on TV

Paraphrasing, as Mark let that nugget of honesty go after being his politically correct self for most of the interview.

He does not sound like a guy ready to panic or make any changes. I do not recall ever hearing an owner give a "vote of support" (vote of confidence?) in such a back door manner before, but I think that's exactly what he did.

If anyone can Tivo that and send me the exact quote, I'd appreciate it.

UPDATE/BUMP: Ryan comes through with the goods. And thanks for the hits.

Al,

Love the blog. My friends and I check it on a near hourly basis, and usually can't help but agree with your level-headed opinions, although I'm in the minority of saying that you don't fire a manager for doing nothing wrong.

Rewinding my MLB.tv archive, I dug up the quote from Mark A about staying out of Ned's way….

"With Ned I try to pretty much just provide encouragement and support and not get in his way. We have a lot of fans that can enjoy second guessing the manager, but I'm not going to do that."

-Ryan


I did pretty good, actually, for barely paying attention before he spilled his first "scoop" quote in years. Doesn't sound like a guy getting ready to make a change, that's for sure.

I have thought for a while if it were me, I would probably fire Ned if I decided I was not going to renew his 2009 option. That might well be exactly what Mark A is thinking.


5/27/2008 08:24:00 PM



(5/27/2008 04:18:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Yost's decision to move Kendall back to 8th is all about JJ Hardy, in my opinion. Hardy has been complaining that batting in front of the pitcher has destroyed his batting stats. Yost has a history of changing his strategies to test player's theories and create teachable moments, especially if Yost sees little cost in doing so. Once Hardy proves to himself that his problems originate within the batter's box and not from the batting order, Kendall will return to the 9th spot.

Robert


JJ even said Jason is good in that spot, because he works the count and does anything to get on...that's what everyone is supposed to do. The excuses as to why guys are not hitting is getting old...it's about plate discipline, working the count, and driving the ball...none of which makes a bit of difference where you are hitting in the order.

Robert also reports that band of Ramblings Northern Room will be opening for the BoDeans in Stevens Point on 7/3, in a free show. The Brewers play that afternoon, I might just head down for that...backstage pass, Bob?


5/27/2008 04:18:00 PM



(5/27/2008 04:06:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Just some additional information in response to the issue of food costs as they pertain to the production of ethanol. I should mention that I am not completely sold on ethanol myself, but I do feel it has gotten a worse reputation than it deserves lately. My own summary [from an attachment Al could not copy over]:

Grain-based ethanol is currently the main source in the US , but it will be replaced by cellulosic ethanol production. Cellulosic processes get a lot more energy out of the material and use raw materials like switchgrass or even yard waste rather than grain. Currently the technology is just being developed to utilize this production method.

Ethanol has proven the ability to limit oil dependence. Brazil has virtually eliminated oil usage by replacing it with ethanol produced by their major crop, sugar cane. Sugar cane is a much more efficient base material than corn, but not as good as switchgrass. I believe they have been driving on ethanol for more than a decade.

Corn does not simply disappear when ethanol is produced. I work with a person who runs a mid-level beef operation on the side. He feeds a lot of the by-products of the ethanol production. My understanding is that the carbohydrates are depleted, but the nutritional content (protein, etc.) is very good. He says his cattle love it.

Due to the limited availability of ethanol, could the actual production levels have really affected prices as much as we are led to believe? There has been a percentage (10%?) of ethanol in our regular gas at every pump in the nation for years which still has to represent the majority produced. You can hardly find an E85 pump anywhere, so how can those few pumps have single-handedly driven up the cost of movie popcorn? (Not stating any facts here, just wondering)

Ethanol is no silver bullet, no permanent solution. For autos I see it as one of the stepping stones from the gas only world to a new base propulsion system that may be in development or not even drawn up yet. It has its warts but the press it has gotten lately, in my humble opinion, has been overly negative (two years ago I thought it was overly positive). Energy prices are the key component to price increases everywhere, and ethanol has the chance to help if not reduce energy cost at least give us access to a source domestically. My concern is that people will dismiss it because they think ethanol is single-handedly responsible for the increase in their grocery bill. If production levels are increased though cellulosic production the cost to manufacture is estimated somewhere around $1.25 per gallon. That has the potential to greatly affect my daily fuel costs, and I don’t know about you but my food cost increases have paled in comparison to my gas cost increases.

Great blog. Keep up the good work.

David


There have been many ethanol plants open in the past year or two, looking to cash in. I'm sure the demand has risen from those alone. While supply has also gone up, I'm sure there may be some "hoarding" going on, people buying the supply and holding it. Folks do this with contracts all the time, but with the astounding rise, I would bet some individuals and companies are stockpiling the actual product (I assume dried corn can be kept with little spoilage).

I find your mention of switchgrass funny, because I remember when W was teased mercilessly for mentioning it during a State of the Union speech, because many had never heard of it. If it is truly that good, it will create a demand for a product with limited uses now, which will take up land, but not take an existing, needed product through the roof.

I have heard the by-products are not nearly as good as corn for adding weight to beef, but needless to say, that's just 3rd and 4th hand info.


5/27/2008 04:06:00 PM



(5/27/2008 03:51:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Just looking at the schedule and I see that 18 of the next 24 games are at home. This is HUGE. Looking at projected starters, we miss everyones ace, except for when we go down to Houston (granted some teams #2 are just as good as #1 - Atl's Hudson and so on). I think the Brewers need to have a great showing and make up some ground. It's not "make or break", anything can happen in the second half, but I definitely would like to see us go at least 15-9 over that 24. Is that too much to ask for? Your thoughts?

After the 24, we are on the road for a tough 10 and then home for an "easy" 10 to finish the first half. Any projections for what are record will be at the All-Star game?

Dan


I don't think I'm going to make a guess about the record, because I do not know if Sheets will remain healthy and the like. However, I will say this...they need to be a few games over .500 by the all-star break to be seriously in contention...they could easily be sellers at the July 31st deadline if they are not. Let me list who they play, home games in bold, before the intermission:

ATL
HOU
ARI

COL
HOU
MIN
TOR
BAL

ATL
MIN
ARI
PIT
COL
CIN


Other than COL twice and CIN and PIT once, I don't see a whole lot of weakness there, though many would argue HOU and BAL are likely to fade as the season wears on. If you wish to feel better, I would say the August schedule looks a bit weak.


5/27/2008 03:51:00 PM



(5/27/2008 03:29:00 PM) - Al

Glenn hits the nail on the head, on both how above the law the UN is and how the story would be treated differently if the abuser was a US soldier.


5/27/2008 03:29:00 PM



(5/27/2008 03:19:00 PM) - Al

As I had guessed, Zach Jackson sent out to make room for Tavarez...though I think it's safe to say Jackson impressed during his short stay, and has a big league future in the bullpen.

I'm not sure if Tom has been watching the games or not, because he acts as if Zach has been used as a loogy, while in reality, he's just been used to eat up some low leverage innings...exactly what Julian's role will be, for the time being.

If he continues to throw strikes, Stetter will be back soon, as will Riske. DiFelice is obviously an easy call, but as good as Dillard has been, Mitch will have to be very good to come up.


5/27/2008 03:19:00 PM



(5/27/2008 03:12:00 PM) - Al

Instapundit links to this list of favorite war films, Robert probably watched some of these over the holiday weekend.

I've never seen any of those listed, though I've seen several of the ones listed below the list.


5/27/2008 03:12:00 PM



(5/27/2008 07:30:00 AM) - Al

Doug and Ned met with Hall and talked to him about Branyan getting some playing time.

I would sit down before each series and pick out the toughest RHP the Crew is facing and pencil Russell in for that game, and let Bill play the other two. I doubt his very low numbers continue, especially now that Bill knows bad PA's will result in bench time.

UPDATE: What's tough is when Branyan goes 0-5, and the next day, you have Tim Hudson going for ATL...very good RHP, Russell probably not seeing the ball that well right now. Might want to go with Joe Dillon or Counsell.:)


5/27/2008 07:30:00 AM


Monday, May 26, 2008

(5/26/2008 09:46:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings is on pace to set records in both visits and page views for May.

Thank you for your continued patronage. Luckily, the price is right.


5/26/2008 09:46:00 PM



(5/26/2008 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Who knew Mexico had such a large navy...3 boats?

UPDATE: Says here they have just under 600 ships, but only 37K sailors.


5/26/2008 09:37:00 PM



(5/26/2008 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Memorial Day seems to be the new trend as far as promoting top prospects, as Braun started it, and now Jay Bruce.

Very wise roster management by the Reds.


5/26/2008 07:46:00 PM



(5/26/2008 04:17:00 PM) - Al

An e-mailer asks whose place Taverez will take...I would assume DiFelice or Jackson, unless someone is injured. Both have pitched fine...DiFelice gave up a HR to Dave Ortiz, while Zach ran into some bad luck and gave up a couple runs on bloopers and infield hits.

I would probably lean toward Jackson going down, as he has not been used as a lefty specialist at all, and DiFelice can probably go 2-3 innings easier, as I doubt Julian will be able to, having not pitched in 2 weeks.


5/26/2008 04:17:00 PM



(5/26/2008 04:02:00 PM) - Al

What gets lost is amongst the silliness is what a nice job Ned has done using his patched together bullpen. Of course, his moves don't matter if Carlos hangs a breaking ball and one of the Nats drives it out of the park, but that did not happen.

One of his finest moves today will probably not even get noticed...he had Tim Dillard up in case he needed him to get an out or two in the 8th. Most fans will look right past this, but it is important. Dillard pitched two frames yesterday, and I doubt if he's ever pitched the day after throwing 2 innings. But, Ned saw he had "a gap" between Shouse and either Carlos (in a tie game) or Sal (save situation), so he utilized the hard throwing Dillard to get a single batter in a tie game.

I have no idea how Yost does in handling the clubhouse, but he always seems to have a plan. Between that and the excellent manner in how he has limited pitch counts over the years, he can be proud of what he has done.

Also of note, I think the constant scrutiny has Ned second guessing himself...as the Kendall hitting 9th decision has worked swimmingly...Jason has yet to ground into a DP, and Cameron has the best RBI/AB ratio on the team, very rare for a #2 hitter. I'm the first to say batting order is nearly meaningless, but the idea seems to have merit, and has worked...not sure what more you can ask for.


5/26/2008 04:02:00 PM



(5/26/2008 02:46:00 PM) - Al

What's odd is though Parra had a short outing yesterday, it still very much affects things today, as Mota is unavailable (I assume) due to having to go an extra part of a frame yesterday. Tim Dillard is up in the 'pen in the 8th, and Brian Shouse is facing RH hitters as well in said 8th.

There's nothing I want out of my SP than to get through the 5th.


5/26/2008 02:46:00 PM



(5/26/2008 01:59:00 PM) - Al

A bit strange to do the Memorial Day tribute in the middle of an inning, but still, a very nice touch by MLB. They have been among the leaders of these types of things since 9/11.


5/26/2008 01:59:00 PM



(5/26/2008 01:58:00 PM) - Al

I thought Alton Brown was the only one who took simple things so seriously.


That's a lot of words on PBJ.


5/26/2008 01:58:00 PM



(5/26/2008 01:21:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to make a Memorial Day thank you on this beautiful late May afternoon. Of course, the day is designed to honor those military men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice, but some choose to celebrate the life of anyone who has passed. Personally, I often think of it as a day to remember all of those who chose to serve.

Regardless, a happy and safe Memorial Day to all the readers of Ramblings.


5/26/2008 01:21:00 PM



(5/26/2008 01:05:00 PM) - Al

Jimmy Carter with his Memorial Day message...as usual, he still holds a grudge against the states for choosing the upbeat tone of Reagan over him wearing a sweater and telling folks what they need to do is be chilly and boycott athletic events.

I'd say he's gone over the edge, but I don't want to offend those who have gone over the edge.


5/26/2008 01:05:00 PM



(5/26/2008 11:58:00 AM) - Al

A government official in Venezuela says former major league pitcher Geremi Gonzalez is dead after being hit by lightning in the South American country.

Emergency management official Herman Bracho says the 33-year-old pitcher was at the beach in western Venezuela and was on a pier when lightning struck him on Sunday night.

Gonzalez started in the major leagues for the Chicago Cubs in 1997 and later played with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers.

He last played in the major leagues in 2006 with the Toronto Blue Jays and also pitched last year for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.--AP


Friend of Ramblings Michael sends along this sad note.


5/26/2008 11:58:00 AM



(5/26/2008 11:53:00 AM) - Al

Tom says the Crew will sign Julian Taverez as long as he passes a physical, and that Kendall will hit #8 today.

Both very minor moves, as the team continues to tweak things.


5/26/2008 11:53:00 AM



(5/26/2008 12:16:00 AM) - Al

The grilling report from the weekend:

I had lamb for the first time, just grilled it about 4 minutes a side. Tasted similar to beef, very tender and juicy.

I made pork chops as I have had success in the past...indirect heat for about 20 minutes, and then put it over the fire for about 3 minutes a side. Very good, and if you look online, you will find sites that say pork is safe to eat at 150 degrees, far less than the 180, cook the flavor right out of it, that you will see elsewhere.

I made ground chicken burgers twice since Friday, and you have to be very careful with them, as they fall apart. However, tonight I combined it with raw onions, formed patties, and then froze it for an hour or so. That really assisted it in "setting", and it hung together much better when I flipped them.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to grill an entire chicken, with garlic butter rubbed under the skin. We'll see how that turns out, as I am not used to such prep time and work. I'll report on this if it works.:)


5/26/2008 12:16:00 AM


Sunday, May 25, 2008

(5/25/2008 11:45:00 PM) - Al

I'm one of those goofy guys that still thinks oil and gas prices are determined by supply and demand. I do not understand all the ins and outs of oil production, but I do know it is hard, dirty work.

When you look at the many "no" areas that they cannot search for oil, the lack of drilling in Alaska, the lack of any new refineries in several decades, the upsurge in need from China, India, and other former third world nations that are growing industry fast and furiously...is it really any wonder why prices are up?

Given that record high gas led to an, ahem, 1% decline in holiday driving, I don't see us being anywhere near the tipping point...I'm not even sure $5 would lead to a noticeable difference.


5/25/2008 11:45:00 PM



(5/25/2008 09:58:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell is reporting that Doug, Gord, and Mark A will all be in DC for the game tomorrow, and of course, the message boards are thinking maybe this means a move is afoot.

Of course, nothing bores me more than these types of discussions, but I am getting to the point that I wish someone would say something, as I'm getting tired of hearing rumors and silliness reported as fact (and that's just the JS!).

If you wish to feed the monster, I suppose it would make some sense, if they planned to fire Ned, to do it before the home stand, and even before the plane trip home. However, I sure hope Ben pitches well and the road trip ends on a winning note.


5/25/2008 09:58:00 PM



(5/25/2008 07:55:00 PM) - Al

I think that a segment of the population just gets bored every decade or so and has to find something to panic about. I mean, the Y2K thing was just embarrassing, and this is even moreso...running out of oil and not a single person, although the potential for huge profits exist, bothers to come up with an alternative?


5/25/2008 07:55:00 PM



(5/25/2008 07:05:00 PM) - Al

Bob Barr does eek out the Libertarian Party nomination, on the 6th ballot.

Now, this would have been a great way for the Dems to go, it would have been talked about for the next 50 years.


5/25/2008 07:05:00 PM



(5/25/2008 06:13:00 PM) - Al

Alfonso Soriano lost a ball in the sun today in PIT, and it bouned off his glove...and was ruled a double.

Any doubt at all that's an error in Miller Park?

MP costs the Crew about 20 hits a year, and gives them an extra 20 errors.


5/25/2008 06:13:00 PM



(5/25/2008 05:49:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick note, Jeff Suppan has gone 5+ innings in 8 of 10 starts, and 6+ in 6 of 10 starts. Compare that to Parra, who had a similar ERA going into today, but he has gone 5+ 6 of 10 times...but 6+ only once.

That's why Suppan is so valuable, my friends.


5/25/2008 05:49:00 PM



(5/25/2008 04:48:00 PM) - Al

Shocking comeback today, and a stellar performance by the bullpen, but it all winds up being for naught. To be honest, it would have been better had the Crew "punted", saving the bullpen for tomorrow and beyond. But, no one knew that at the time.

I was a little surprised to see Mota come out for his second inning of work, but if he said he felt good, more power to him. Sadly, he'll probably be out of action tomorrow now. As has often been the case, it was a walk that hurt him. Gotta make the opposition beat you with their bats, not by watching pitches.

What really affected things was Parra only being able to give the club 13 outs. Some bad luck involved then too, as they rallied in the top of the 6th, forcing them to PH for DiFelice, who I'm sure they would have preferred go another frame.

Dillard was again impressive, though he was helped in his second frame by a caught stealing, diving catch by Kapler, and web gem by Rickie (with a nice stretch by Prince as well).

But, in the end, it all comes down to having your SP's give you innings, even when you don't have your best stuff. 4 runs in 5-6 innings won't devastate your relief corps, but 6 runs in 4+ will. But that's one of the risks you have when you have young starters, they are often not able to get through 5 or 6 without decent stuff. Losing Parra early forces others to go longer and deeper than you would like.


5/25/2008 04:48:00 PM



(5/25/2008 01:47:00 AM) - Al

Indiana Jones 4 will make about $150M on opening weekend.

You know, I've heard the movies are dying since Beta came out, and with gas prices and the economy, I'm surprised anyone came out from under their blankets to see this flick.

I sure hope the sarcasm came out properly in that last sentence.


5/25/2008 01:47:00 AM



(5/25/2008 01:17:00 AM) - Al

I was flipping between Under Siege (again, I'm just a sucker for goofy action flicks, though I doubt if I would tune in so often if not for Erika Eleniak) and the FSN Final Score (I'd watch ESPN, but I don't drink), and I grabbed the copy of City Pages my wife had picked up. I like reading City Pages, for those of you who are unaware, CP is a free weekly that leans left just a smidge (about the same amount Jerry Falwell leans right).

I recall with great fondness an article it had a couple years ago, as it was discussing the fact WI was considering a concealed weapon law, a fact the paper hinted would lead to guns being drawn at most all gatherings, and would be the worst possible thing you could ever imagine. In passing, it then said that 46 states already had a similar law...hmmm, I haven't heard of mass trouble in the 92% of states that have this, I thought to myself.

In this issue, Joel McNally, who used to writer for the State Journal I think, just ripped Mike Huckabee for making a joke about Obama dodging gunfire. I'll be the first to admit, it was a dumb thing to say...but what do you think the odds are of him talking so negatively of Hillary Clinton's assassination remarks...pretty doubtful, I'd have to say.


5/25/2008 01:17:00 AM



(5/25/2008 01:01:00 AM) - Al

Glenn picks on the "sky is falling" media, who still seem disappointed they are not in a recession (though I feel obligated to say "probably not"). This time, they say how incredibly spendy it is to grill for Memorial Day.

There was a ABC news report much like this I saw twice, once on ABC and once when the local news ran it on the 10PM news. One woman, who seemed a bit dramatic, said, "You'd like to buy nice things when you have guests, but you just can't afford to"...which seemed a bit of an overreaction, much like Glenn points out.

Of course, Aldi has buns for 75 cents a pack, but for me, that's across town, so I paid $1.19 for mine. If I bought hot dogs, there are several brands really cheap, about 69 cents. Somehow, I doubt they used those. Pop is of course pricier because it uses corn syrup, and somehow, I'm sure snack chips are related to corn's price rise as well. And I use ground chicken, which I enjoy just as much as beef, but I was only able to make 3 decent size burgers out of a pound, as so much fat drips away during the grilling. I'm not sure what the fattest part of poultry is, but whatever it is, the ground stuff in a tube is full of it.

I have my pork chops marinating overnight. I was lucky enough to find them on sale (rather, saw they were on sale and thought that sounded good), a pack for $3 was about $1.80 as long as you had the store card (or asked the register operator to scan one for you). I'm pretty sure if the AP did a story detailing my pork chop lunch I intend to have tomorrow, they'd use the $3 to signify how expensive my shoulder shops are, regardless of what I actually paid.


5/25/2008 01:01:00 AM



(5/25/2008 12:41:00 AM) - Al

Doug says exactly what I said 10 days ago...the Brewers aren't going to release Turnbow as long as they are paying him. If he works something out, they will be the ones to benefit.

Tom H has been around the game forever, and still, he doesn't seem to understand the simplest things about it.


5/25/2008 12:41:00 AM



(5/25/2008 12:28:00 AM) - Al

Russ Branyan up from Nashville, and will play 3B Sunday.

Tony Jr. sent down, very little playing time for him with the other 3 OF's healthy.

We'll see what kind of playing time Branyan gets...I would expect him to maybe start once a series, or something like that, versus the toughest RHP. Hall has really been swinging a nice bat the past few days, even after a RH relief guy has been brought in.


5/25/2008 12:28:00 AM


Saturday, May 24, 2008

(5/24/2008 09:28:00 PM) - Al

I was just reading over the comments on the JS blog (I also enjoy pulling my fingernails out with pliers), and a couple people said something to the effect of "Why take Carlos V out after one inning"? This was followed up with a witty statement like "Fire Yost" or "I haven't had a date since 1998", but hence, I digress.

Seriously, it's like they still think the Crew plays in the AL. Carlos was PH for in the bottom of the inning. And, just a note, with a 1-2 run lead, my top choice to be on the mound is not a guy with a 6+ ERA. Take the 3 outs you got from him and run with it.

To be honest, I think Ned has really done a fine job of thinking "out of the box", having Mota go 2 frames tonight, having Shouse keep the team in the game last night because the Nats do not have LH power for Brian to be used as a loogy, getting Dillard in right away in a low pressure situation, how he's used DiFelice and Jackson, and so on.

But, much like John McLaren in SEA, there may well come a time when a move is made. It's one of those things, and often times, it's a shame, but it's a given. Joe Torre was fired in SL, and came out much better for it, eventually. I can't say I've ever heard of a single manager fired for forgetting to double switch or running out of players in the 8th inning, or pitchers in the 9th (though LaRussa has, many times).

As they said last night on ESPN, last year, the Brewers were 2nd in SLG, and this year, they are 12th. You need not look further than that, and to be honest, many of the ideas to improve the team that have been put forth are painfully shortsighted and dare I say, stupid. Tonight, they hit enough and held DC to 2 runs...hey, that will usually do it. And, to be blunt, I saw many "in the know" people say McClung was a horrible choice, despite his excellent numbers since being left in to take a beating in early April. Even when the numbers add up, many are still stuck in a bizarro world where Carlos V is a better option, even though the numbers say otherwise...and then will criticize Yost for being "too stuck in his ways".

Heh.


5/24/2008 09:28:00 PM



(5/24/2008 08:56:00 PM) - Al

Bill Hall, to use a term that used to be associated with Rickie a lot, just needs to "slow the game" down a bit.

Heck, Rickie still does it, he almost always makes sure of one before trying to get two, he pauses before throwing to 1B on most grounders, and so on.

Of course, when it works, like when he caught the line drive versus SL and then doubled off Pujols before hitting the ground, the accolades were soon to follow.

On a related note, the other day, we discussed both Weeks and Hall having incredible low BAbip (BA on balls in play). Since then, both have "gotten hot", or as many might say "things have evened out". We'll see if that continues.

I believe Weeks was .209 and Hall was .220, or something like that. Weeks is up over .220 and Hall is over .250 now.

If only we get Ryan and Prince going at the same time...


5/24/2008 08:56:00 PM



(5/24/2008 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Add Estaban Loaiza to the ever growing list of possible AAA pickups for depth purposes.

He has struggled with injuries the past 2 years, but has had a good career...kind of a poor man's Jeff Suppan.


5/24/2008 08:15:00 PM



(5/24/2008 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Outstanding outing by Seth McClung tonight, untouchable until the 5th, and just a pair of runs in 5 complete. Needless to say, he's earned another start, and hopefully, will be able to build up stamina so he can go 100 pitches.


5/24/2008 07:38:00 PM



(5/24/2008 11:07:00 AM) - Al

Nothing bores me more than independent teams embarrassing themselves by making "made for the media" trades, and then seeing the media, who wonder aloud why they are losing readers, run with it like an escort service sting during sweeps month.

The really sad thing is, indy leagues have grown like weeds in the past few years, as major and minor league baseball has had record attendance, these rogue leagues have sprung up and rode the wave of baseball's popularity. But, rather than capitalize on it by getting involved in the community and marketing itself as inexpensive, healthy outdoor family entertainment...we get press releases heralding the fact a human being was traded for $600 worth of equipment.


5/24/2008 11:07:00 AM


Friday, May 23, 2008

(5/23/2008 10:27:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick comment on Tim Dillard...I'm not sure how in the world a guy that throws 95-96...and has a breaking ball (either a slider or cut fastball) that clocked at 91; can throw 164.33 AAA frames and only strike out 81 hitters, less than 4.5 K/9, is beyond me. Even if you have a "straight" fastball, that's hard to believe. He's one of those guys that's a better prospect than his numbers indicate, though at the end of the day, my ceiling for him goes only from "11th/12th man on the staff" to "could be an effective middle reliever".


5/23/2008 10:27:00 PM



(5/23/2008 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Tom H reports the Brewers have interest in Julian Taverez...he's about a week late in asking Doug, but, I've come to expect this.


5/23/2008 10:24:00 PM



(5/23/2008 06:53:00 PM) - Al

I'm not saying the camera at the DC stadium is high, but I believe I just saw the space station circling the planet the last time they showed a fly ball to CF.


5/23/2008 06:53:00 PM



(5/23/2008 06:26:00 PM) - Al

Brandon Medders was DFA'd by the D'Backs to make room for Doug Davis. Medders will never be a star, but he is young, cheap, and has decent enough stats in the big leagues to make him an option for many clubs.


5/23/2008 06:26:00 PM



(5/23/2008 06:18:00 PM) - Al

As expected, Eric Gagne does go on the DL to make room for Tim Dillard.


5/23/2008 06:18:00 PM



(5/23/2008 05:25:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto sums up Rob Neyer's feelings on instant replay, and I agree...in the age we live in, where everyone knows everything 5 seconds after it happens.


5/23/2008 05:25:00 PM



(5/23/2008 05:08:00 PM) - Al

A list of a dozen or so of McCain's VP choices...I can't say anyone jumps out at me and screams "pick me".


5/23/2008 05:08:00 PM



(5/23/2008 04:57:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife and son left a while ago to spend the holiday weekend at her parent's lake front cottage, and I just got home from a trip to the store stocking up on their sale items (watermelon, sweet corn, and pork chops). While there, I also bought cereal and lamb chops, which I mention because I am currently having Fruit Loops for supper, and have never bought lamb before.

All they had was "Amish" lamb, which I guess means it never drove a car. Part of the sacrifice, I guess.


5/23/2008 04:57:00 PM



(5/23/2008 04:41:00 PM) - Al

Al,

After playing the penguin game a while, I read the blog that Aaron linked to about the Twins' eat all wish deal. I really liked it, and forwarded the link to everyone left in the office. One woman sent a note back and said, "How could anyone eat enough food for that to be worthwhile"?

Some people just don't get it, I guess.

Peter


I'd be ahead before the first pitch, Peter. It'd literally be like a dream come true.


5/23/2008 04:41:00 PM



(5/23/2008 04:40:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I am a fan of your blog.

I liked Juno a great deal. I thought it was clever and written extremely well.

Just my opinion.

Clint


See, someone liked it.:)


5/23/2008 04:40:00 PM



(5/23/2008 01:34:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings James sends along this penguin game that I've linked to before, fun if you need to pass the time before your long weekend.


5/23/2008 01:34:00 PM



(5/23/2008 01:26:00 PM) - Al

10 tips to get better mileage.

A condensed version would read "never use the brakes and put more air in your tires".


5/23/2008 01:26:00 PM



(5/23/2008 01:13:00 PM) - Al

Philip e-mails this JS blog entry with info on popcorn prices and movie tiks.

Money quote:

This can be attributed to the demand for ethanol, which will claim 40% of next year's corn crop, munching away at the margins of theaters that rely on concession sales for as much as 45% of their revenue.

I have a lot more respect for Jim Cramer, who was the first to realize this, a good trip around the sun before most of us did. Kudos, sir.


5/23/2008 01:13:00 PM



(5/23/2008 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman is a must read anyway, but today, his 2nd item in his "link report" is about the Twins' all-you-can-eat night, which many of us would love to partake in...even if it meant long lines.

I can only imagine how many of these folks ordered diet soft drinks...as I would...as they filled themselves up to discomfort.

EDIT: Toward the bottom, Aaron links that Mutt Lange, one of the ugliest people on the planet mind you, is divorcing Shania Twain because of his relationship with this woman.

Stop the world, I wanna get off.


5/23/2008 12:46:00 PM



(5/23/2008 12:31:00 PM) - Al

Tim Dillard brought up to round out the bullpen, so it looks like Eric Gagne is headed for the DL.

Note, this info comes from the JS, so hopefully, it is reliable.:)

As I noted here, Dillard is not likely to wow anyone, and is probably in for a short stay. However, they might have said this about Dave Riske several years ago as well.


5/23/2008 12:31:00 PM



(5/23/2008 12:11:00 PM) - Al

They had a piece on the news last night that the Memorial Day weekend traffic is expected to be down 1%. To say the least, that seems like a minor drop, almost nonexistent. One gent caused us both the Rambling wife and I to laugh out loud, as he stood in front of his $20K camper, which probably gets 5 miles per gallon, and said something to the effect of "It's tough. Those stimulus checks are going right in the gas tank", hinting that if not for the Bush idea, most folks would be sitting at home, car in the driveway or garage, unable to afford gas to go to work, shopping, etc.

This seems to be a common feeling, and while I would assume it has caused a small drop in recreational driving, people are not going to break habits and change plans because it now costs $10 more to fill up than it did last year.

The idea the new Indy Jones movie is going to gross $150M on its opening weekend indicates to me disposable income is still plentiful. Is it as much as it was last year? Probably not, but as with the traffic, I don't see many noticing the 1% decline, despite claims otherwise.


5/23/2008 12:11:00 PM



(5/23/2008 12:01:00 PM) - Al

In the wake of Yovani Gallardo's season-ending knee injury, the Brewers' hunt for pitching depth led them to make a run at Julian Tavarez this week -- as serious a run, in fact, as Colorado. But the Brewers aren't through looking. They have Jeff Weaver stashed at Triple-A (where he's 1-1, 5.40 after three starts). And other scouts report they've been investigating a variety of once-familiar names currently toiling in Triple-A -- a group we call the Bartolo Colon All-Stars.--Jayson Stark

COL signed Glendon Rusch, so if the Crew wants Julian, they should be able to get him. However, with the staff as it is right now, I don't think they'll be in a huge rush either...as it is doubtful these veterans in AAA are going to be any better than DiFelice.


5/23/2008 12:01:00 PM



(5/23/2008 11:13:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

I have tried to keep a level head about this season because I cringe at some of these "extreme" fans that call in on talk shows and post on message boards. At some point over the past week I am starting for the first time in 2 seasons questioning whether or not the problem isn't more then a hot/cold issue. I hear all these fans talking about how cold the team is and how it "has" to heat up. My question is why does it have to heat up? Is it a matter of the Brewers hitters struggling or have opposing pitchers adjusted from last season? What has our back half of the rotation showed
over the first 6+ weeks that leads you to believe that they are going to pull themselves out of it?

Is the real problem in the way the club was constructed? This is not a shot at Doug Melvin or Ned Yost but are fans of this team expecting to be something they aren't? This team, the way it is constructed, is not going to be a high OBP team, it isn't going to be good at moving runners over, and it is going to strike out a lot. This team relied on the long ball last season and teams have adjusted. If Doug Melvin's track record shows anything it shows that his teams are offensively built and not as strong on the pitching side. So to think there is a magic pill down in the minors is
going to lead to a lot of frustrations.

The lack of a major league level closer, 2 major league level starting pitchers, and a good hitting lefty is going to cause doom and gloom for us Brewers fans for another season. The only way you fix all those problems is by trading Prince Fielder and that will NEVER happen. The biggest fear of mine is that fans are expecting the armature draft (Josh Fields, RP, Georgia) to produce major league ready talent now and that is not Melvin's thing.

Thanks for allowing me for a place to vent.

Craig


Thanks for writing Craig, and I feel it's best to take a look at your statements broken up a bit.

is not going to be a high OBP team

Last year the Crew had a .329 OBP, which was 11th in the NL. this year, with Kendall and Cameron replacing Estrada and the Jenkins/Mench platoon, they have a .323 OBP, which is 12th. So, I think that it is quite possible they end up with a slightly higher OBP, but you are correct, it is built for power, not for OBP. Taking a long-term view, I feel it would be nice to replace one player on the left side of the IF with a bit of a OBP guy. For this year, however, Weeks reverting back to career norms and Hall as well would be a good start.

it isn't going to be good at moving runners over, and it is going to strike out a lot.

First of all, they are in the bottom half of NL teams in K's, so they are striking out less...but note it hasn't helped them score runs. It is not a small ball team, which is a good thing, so I can't say I'm concerned about hitting 4-3 groundouts.

his teams are offensively built and not as strong on the pitching side

That's a bit unfair, because while we can argue about Claudio Vargas, the truth is, if Capuano and Gallardo were healthy, the back of the rotation would probably not be an issue. As Mark A said, it's one thing to have injuries, it's another to lose 2 SP's for the year by May 9th. However, if forced to concentrate on one or the other, I would rather have offense, because it tends to be more consistent and easier to gauge. Also, Miller Park is a park that is pretty much neutral, but does favor HR's...which is exactly how Doug has built the team, to play 81 games at MP.

The lack of a major league level closer

Again,this team has a very good record when ahead after 8 innings...19-2, or something like that, so the concern about a closer is a bit overblown.

2 major league level starting pitchers

Every team could use more pitching, and if you look at the guys who have struggled (right now, Carlos and Dave), both came into the season with solid major league numbers. Hopefully, one or both will return to form (or McClung will finally hit his considerable potential).

and a good hitting lefty is going to cause doom and gloom

As I pointed out the other day, they are not hitting RH's or LH's, so I think the numbers versus RHP will rise as the numbers balance out. In a perfect world, they would have more balance, but a team of Ryan Brauns would score a plenty, and they'd all hit RH.

The only way you fix all those problems is by trading Prince Fielder and that will NEVER happen.

No team is going to trade several major league ready players for anyone, even Prince. However, I could easily be convinced this would be a stronger team with a decent 1B (someone like a Scott Hatteberg)and a pair of young top tier guys Prince would bring. However, the thing about Prince is this...he has pretty decent numbers right now, and he isn't even remotely hitting like he did in '07.

The biggest fear of mine is that fans are expecting the amateur draft (Josh Fields, RP, Georgia) to produce major league ready talent now and that is not Melvin's thing.

I think you're safe there, because most fans could not tell you when the draft is or a single player that will be taken. The Crew has 7 picks in the top 100, and 9 in the first 5 rounds, which are considered the premium rounds. I think they will take at least one catcher and one college pitcher in those early picks, and then just go with the "best available" the rest of the time. This is a team that will always be built through the draft, as that is what the market dictates.

The strange thing is, several teams expected to be right in the race (NYY, DET, CLE, COL, SD) have about the same or worse records than the Brewers. The margin for error is not that great for any team, especially if you lose a few guys to injury.


5/23/2008 11:13:00 AM



(5/23/2008 11:02:00 AM) - Al

Informed guesstimates from my box office gurus before the film opened ranged from a North American low of $142 million to a high of $175 million for the well-reviewed pic. I think the answer lies somewhere in between -- around $160M. Then again, that's not taking into account how movie theaters are raising ticket prices by a dollar or two this summer because popcorn is more expensive.--Nikki Finke

1. Why would you raise the admission and not the price of popcorn?

2. Thanks ethanol.


5/23/2008 11:02:00 AM



(5/23/2008 01:23:00 AM) - Al

Even Adam and Ned comment on the Crew's tough schedule thus far.


5/23/2008 01:23:00 AM



(5/23/2008 01:05:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al, love the blog. I appreciate your sound logic.(that's as best as I can say it)

Just wondering if you have seen any of Werner Herzog's other films. It may have been a bit harsh to say he should be ashamed of making films portraying that behavior.

Herzog's main characters share the trait of constant obsession all the way back to Aguirre, Wrath of God; so I'm not suprigsed he was attracted to the Treadwell persona. I guess it's sort of a theme in his work.

I agree with you about Juno, though.

Jared


So, where are all those people who loved Juno?


5/23/2008 01:05:00 AM



(5/23/2008 12:34:00 AM) - Al

Turnbow in Nashville tonight...2 outs, 1 hit, 4 walks.

That sound you heard was Derrick hitting rock bottom. You can't go much lower than not being able to get through an inning at a level where no one cares about the outcome.


5/23/2008 12:34:00 AM



(5/23/2008 12:15:00 AM) - Al

Riske still feeling discomfort, but hopes to be ok in a week, when eligible to come off the DL.


5/23/2008 12:15:00 AM


Thursday, May 22, 2008

(5/22/2008 08:27:00 PM) - Al

Sometimes, it's just not your night, as proven by the Pirates' 7th inning, 3 ground balls, bases loaded. If you didn't see it, you wouldn't believe it.


5/22/2008 08:27:00 PM



(5/22/2008 08:22:00 PM) - Al

DiFelice might have a future in the bullpen, as he looks to be nearly unhittable versus RH hitters. Pat Neshek of the Twins had astounding splits in this way as well, but I doubt if Mark will be able to hold lefties to a 700 OPS.

However, used against mostly RH's, his stuff might allow him to spend some time in the majors.


5/22/2008 08:22:00 PM



(5/22/2008 06:22:00 PM) - Al

Gagne has rotator cuff tendonitis, and won't pitch until at least Sunday, after having a cortisone shot. If another pitcher is needed before then, looks like Eric will be DL'd.


5/22/2008 06:22:00 PM



(5/22/2008 06:12:00 PM) - Al

I was surprised the brewers were favored today too... they were actually underdogs last night with sheets on the mound and I was able to profit from that. Peculiar they'd be dogs last night and favorites tonight.

Kevin


Without a doubt.


5/22/2008 06:12:00 PM



(5/22/2008 06:10:00 PM) - Al

Like you, my fiancee and I just watched "Juno" and echo your sentiments exactly. We were a touch disappointed. It almost felt like the movie was trying achingly hard to live up to the "offbeat look at teen pregnancy" that post-release hype had promised. Obviously, that's not possible, but I also felt uncomfortable with the blossoming friendship between Ellen Page and Jason Bateman, and then found myself wondering if that was inattentive viewing on my part (if the movie genuinely did not mean to suggest that "felony" possibility, and my head was just in the gutter) or a major misstep on the film's part. Hmpf.

I confess I do love The Shawshank Redemption, but I'm pretty much gaga over anything produced by Stephen King's pen. With Juno, it appears we had the same experience.

JR


Good to know I'm not the only one.


5/22/2008 06:10:00 PM



(5/22/2008 04:07:00 PM) - Al

I usually leave the discussion of films to Robert, but I wanted to comment on a couple disappointing films I got from Netflix recently.

Grizzly Man is a much discussed documentary about Tim Treadwell, a fella who hung out with bears in Alaska for more than a decade, with predictable results. Even though I had very low expectations, it was just painful to see how stupid this guy was, and what a shame that he is now revered as a hero to some. Honestly, I would have barely had the patience to spend 15 minutes with this ignorant guy, who reminds me of those who complain about the DNR telling them they can't have a wild animal for a pet, and then have no idea how to dispose of the creature once it grows too big for their home.

It's just such a waste of time and energy. To be blunt, the filmmaker should be ashamed of himself for glamorizing such behavior.

Surprisingly, I was also shocked how little I liked Juno, billed as a funny film about a teen who decides on adoption for her unborn baby. There were some cute moments, so it wasn't a total waste of time, but it wasn't nearly as good as I had heard. The teen was so unbelievable, she talked with teen slang but the vocabulary of a 40 year-old. There was an uncomfortable "closeness" with the adoptive father, which I was afraid was going to go down a felony path, and all the teens other than the main character were just facades, goofy kids who acted as if they were 10 or 12, not 16-17. One of the ongoing jokes was that every time an adult asked the pregnant teen if she was "sexually active", she would complain, "What does that even mean?"...well, it's rather apparent what the definition is, and how this kid who speaks in paragraphs doesn't get it, I am not sure.

I tell you what, maybe I just had high expectations for Juno. It was much better than Grizzly Man, but so is watching Nick at Nite. I have to wonder how many people who just adored Juno simply have no one to compare the heroine to, and don't really see her as an unattainable stereotype.

Of course, I did not understand the fuss over The Shawshank Redemption either, so maybe I'm just out of the mainstream critical film buzz.


5/22/2008 04:07:00 PM



(5/22/2008 03:32:00 PM) - Al

I was surprised to see the Brewers are a slight favorite tonight, which seems strange for several reasons...nearly identical records and the Pirates being the home team alone would lead me to believe PIT would be favored. You add in that Bush has not been effective in '08, I am surprised to see that the Crew is in the favored column.

Years ago, I recall a professional sports bettor saying that in addition to looking for trends and "strange" lines, he almost always followed two simple rules...in fact, when he was running bad, he would often just bet these two "proven" ideas:

1. Bet on any team that has won 4 or more games in a row.

2. Bet on any home team that has lost the first 2 (or 3) games in the series...the road team will often be happy to win a road series, and the home team does not want to get swept.

Hopefully, the Brewers will get a good game from Bush tonight and have a good chance to sweep, but I have to imagine the "smart money" is probably on the Pirates this evening.

For all the latest action, head over to Bodog by following this link. MLB, NHL, NBA, and Indy 500 lines are just a click away.


5/22/2008 03:32:00 PM



(5/22/2008 09:26:00 AM) - Al

Two available relievers DFA'd yesterday...Cha Seung Baek by the Mariners and Franklyn German by the Rangers.

Both seem like capable back of the bullpen options, and as you'd expect from free talent, come with warts. German walks a ton of batters, and Baek has never really hit his potential, and has a career ERA over 5. However, many guys who have struggled in the rotation have turned into solid relief arms...Dave Weathers comes to mind right away.


5/22/2008 09:26:00 AM



(5/22/2008 12:55:00 AM) - Al

We'll see if any sort of actual platoon emerges, or if they just give Hall a day off each series versus a tough RHP. Either way, it bodes nicely for Russ Branyan finding a spot on the 25 man eventually.

I think it also might be a way to try to convince Billy to be a bit more of a "slap hitter", especially when behind in the count. For the most part, any of the methods the Brewers claim to teach about a "2 strike approach" has completely missed Hall, who despite a 35 homer pace, needs plate discipline. If he'd stop chasing breaking balls in the dirt, he'd automatically improve all his stats.


5/22/2008 12:55:00 AM


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

(5/21/2008 10:23:00 PM) - Robert R.

Al beat me to the comments I wanted to make on Eveland. And tonight was a good reminder of how valuable Ben Sheets is.

As a digression, Memorial Day weekend is coming up. My friends and I typically get together this weekend to watch war movies and I suspect we're not the only ones. For something beyond the well known classics, a few thoughts on one of my favorite little subgenres, the resistance picture.

America has been fortunate to never have been occupied by a foreign power. As such, the resistance picture really isn't an American story and has only rarely been approached by Hollywood. One can make the argument that Red Dawn is the only true American resistance movie, although I think we can all see the problematic nature of counting that. Considering that the resistance story is fundamentally a European story, it's little wonder that those stories have mostly been relegated to the Europeans themselves as it's problematic for Americans to present all the shades of gray without appearing to criticize from abroad. In general, the resistance is treated by Americans in an idealized light as a result.

In fact, there's really only one Hollywood resistance picture that truly leaps out to me, John Frankenheimer's The Train. Fortunately, it's a doozy encompassing everything good about Hollywood action movies of the period. There's some wonderful set pieces and a pair of strong actors, Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield, representing the two sides of the conflict. Scofield portrays a Nazi Colonel who wants to loot Paris of some great art treasures. Lancaster portrays a French resistance leader who, reluctantly at first and then with greater and greater passion, blocks his plans. There's even a bit of moral gray thrown in as the Nazi Colonel genuinely appreciates and even loves this artwork while Lancaster couldn't care less about any of it. To further complicate things, Lancaster's task is infinitely harder as he must stop the train without damaging the priceless treasure inside. If The Train was in color it would be a perennial favorite.

But for true complexity, you can't beat the Europeans. If anything the European films have an unromantic view of the resistance, the price paid, and the fact that the person that you'd bet your life on one week could be hopelessly compromised the next.

The wellspring of all resistance movies is the great Rome, Open City. So influential is it that some have argued that it was the source of the entire Italian Neo-Realism movement. Completed less than a year after the liberation of Italy, it's a film of great power that's still impactful today. It details the occupation of Rome by the Nazi's, their brutal oppression, and the often impossible odds that the resistance struggled with at great cost to themselves. Most significant is the role of Anna Magnani who brings home the tremendous sacrifices made by women under the occupation.

Perhaps the most well known French movie is Army of Shadows which was only recently released in America. Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, who delivered a string of impossibly cool crime and heist films in the 1960s, this is a period piece that's very much of the style of his contemporary crime pictures. Random meetings, hairs breadth escapes that are often the result of luck and coincidence as much as planning, people putting their complete trust in someone they've just met and yet not knowing precisely who you can trust, and the willingness to make the supreme sacrifice for some goal that is perhaps meaningless in the big picture. This is a terrific picture and very entertaining.

Paul Verhoeven, who witnessed the Nazi occupation, has two significant resistance pictures. Soldier of Orange, which I unfortunately haven't seen. And the deliberately provocative Black Book which I have seen and reviewed here. So provocative that you may find yourself rooting for the Nazi Colonel at points in the story with all the mixed emotions that entails. It's an engine designed to entertain, thrill, provoke, and titillate. It's not the masterpiece of Rome, Open City or Army of Shadows, but the popcorn movie equivalent that still raises many of the same issues and dives headfirst into a byzantine maze of morality and betrayal.

You probably can't find Rome, Open City at your local Blockbuster and you'll probably be hit or miss on the others, but they're all worth seeking out if you want to delve into some less familiar war movies.


5/21/2008 10:23:00 PM



(5/21/2008 08:57:00 PM) - Al

For those looking for Mitch Stetter to rebound, he had his initial outing Monday and walked 2 in a scoreless frame, then retired the only batter he faced today.

Let's hope he throws effectively enough to return at least when the 10 days are up...or to replace Gagne if he does go on the DL.

If Eric is indeed out for a stretch, other options would be Tim Dillard or Luis Pena.

Dillard looks to be a low ceiling guy, as his K numbers are very low for AAA. Pena has pitched much better of late than his numbers indicate, and is said to have very good, closer-type stuff.

I have not been checking out Turnbow's outings, but his numbers look horrific (11 walks, 11 outs...oof). I'm surprised they are not having him start a few games just to get innings in, go 2-3 frames and then let the regularly scheduled SP go at it.


5/21/2008 08:57:00 PM



(5/21/2008 08:38:00 PM) - Al

Ben with a gem in Pittsburgh, though he had to throw about 8-10 more pitches than most of us would have liked to see...if Cameron doesn't fall down on a fly ball, that would have helped a lot. Weeks might have been able to turn a double play had the ball not got stuck in his glove, but I don't think so.

So, let's be honest...if Yost would have been fired on Monday like some buffoon looking for hits said, there would be many wondering if the Crew would be undefeated thus far.:) It's a lot easier to look like a smart manager when you score 4 runs or more and/or give up 4 runs or less. I believe that makes the Crew:

when scoring 4+: 20-8
when giving up 4 or less: 17-5

Weeks is seeing the ball better as well of late. Maybe some of that bad luck is evening out.


5/21/2008 08:38:00 PM



(5/21/2008 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Dana Eveland throws a CG for the A's.

We all knew he could be the guy to come back and "bite us" when he was let go. I admit, I found it hilarious how many gave up on him because he was a 22 & 23 year-old lefty who struggled a bit. Doug Melvin knew it might happen as well, but unless you decide never to trade a young pitcher, it will happen from time to time.


5/21/2008 08:35:00 PM



(5/21/2008 08:10:00 PM) - Al

I get about an e-mail a week asking what is meant by folks when they say the Brewers have had a tough schedule thus far, how is it ranked, and so on.

The link can be found here that shows the Brewers have had the toughest schedule in MLB thus far. It is figured how you would expect, they simply take the opponent's W/L mark, though I am not sure if they remove the games regarding the Crew or not.


5/21/2008 08:10:00 PM



(5/21/2008 06:59:00 PM) - Al

T Boone Pickens is investing in a huge wind farm to be built in Texas.

I never knew there was a "wind corridor". Guess I've been living in a cave.

As Glenn points out, luckily, there's no chance of the Kennedy clan complaining this interferes with their view by their beach front estate either.


5/21/2008 06:59:00 PM



(5/21/2008 06:53:00 PM) - Al

McCain looks to be interviewing VP's this weekend, and the usual suspects are mentioned.


5/21/2008 06:53:00 PM



(5/21/2008 06:15:00 PM) - Al

Gagne is flying back to Milwaukee to have his shoulder looked at. Eric described it as normal tightness that usually goes away. It would seem like a DL stint could be upcoming.


5/21/2008 06:15:00 PM


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

(5/20/2008 11:56:00 PM) - Al

Adam's report on Yost blasts the JS far more than Tony's JS report did, although he may add more in his story for tomorrow.

I am always a fan when someone other than myself is critical of the JS, so good to see.

EDIT/BUMP: Tony does not change his story at all for the paper. Not only did Tom quote a source as reliable as the corner beauty shop, Tony, at best, hides most of what was said by Yost because it was critical of the JS.

Geez, they're weak.


5/20/2008 11:56:00 PM



(5/20/2008 11:43:00 PM) - Al

Gagne has shoulder stiffness, which could be nothing, or could be quite serious. He will be checked tomorrow.


5/20/2008 11:43:00 PM



(5/20/2008 09:03:00 PM) - Al

Credit should be given to tonight's home plate umpire, who has been as good as anyone all year. I have not seen a single "What?" call all evening.


5/20/2008 09:03:00 PM



(5/20/2008 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Does Nate McLouth ever get down the line quickly. He has that lefty advantage, but rarely is anyone faster than Weeks and Braun.


5/20/2008 09:01:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:41:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks lose ground and will pick 8th in the lottery.

I forgot to mention this the other day, and was reminded of it by him coming to the plate again...how weak is the Pirates' PH crew if the choice late in the game, twice now, is Luis Rivas?

He barely has a .300 lifetime OBP, he makes Craig Counsell (lifetime .343 OBP) look like an all-star.


5/20/2008 08:41:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Cubs placed RHP Chad Fox on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 12, with ulnar neuritis in his right arm.

Sadly, I guess Robert had the 12th in the Ramblings' pool o' Chad Fox's inevitable injury. I have little doubt he can still pitch, as his slider is unhittable when right and he still has enough velocity, but in order for him to be healthy and effective, he can only go a single inning and cannot pitch consecutive days...and even then, he's not a good bet to remain uninjured.


5/20/2008 08:17:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:11:00 PM) - Al

Nelson Cruz hit his 12th and 13th homers for Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday.

Cruz leads the PCL with an 1164 OPS and is second to Dallas McPherson in homers. The showing might earn him another chance with the Rangers later. Still, it's going to take more than outstanding minor league numbers to get people believing in him again.--Rotoworld


Nelson might still have a future as a platoon guy or maybe even a CF, as you'll get chances if you play solid defense, have a great arm, and compile a 1150+ OPS, even in the offensive weighted PCL.

If he hit LH, I'm sure message boards would be hailing him as the Crew's savior, despite hellish big league performance.:)


5/20/2008 08:11:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Gary Bennett admitted that a "mental block" has zapped his confidence in his ability to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

Bennett has been making high, slow tosses back to the pitcher all season. He's been seeing a sports psychologist since early spring training, and has been working on throwing the ball back to the mound during bullpen sessions. He says it doesn't affect the way he throws to the bases, despite making two bad throws to first in his start on Friday.


This is what drove Mackey Sasser from the game, about two decades ago, as Dave Cone was exhausted from having to run all over corralling Sasser's tosses back to him. It seems almost beyond belief, but happens just often enough to be an actual "problem".

Bennett caught the game I attended last week, I wish I would have known, I could have paid attention.


5/20/2008 08:06:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:04:00 PM) - Al

Red Sox sent RHP Julian Tavarez outright to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Tavarez has accepted the assignment, apparently to give the Red Sox a few more days to finalize the trade they've been working on. The Rockies and Brewers have expresed interested in the right-hander.


With no trade made, apparently BOS could not get what they wanted in compensation, or COL & MIL could not get the Red Sox to throw in enough cash.


5/20/2008 08:04:00 PM



(5/20/2008 08:00:00 PM) - Al

Bert says he has the same audio trouble as I do, but also has Charter...does anyone that does not use Charter also have bad sound?


5/20/2008 08:00:00 PM



(5/20/2008 07:57:00 PM) - Al

DePo with a tale of scouting on the road.

You'd think the scout in question would have plenty of time to file his report while on the road.


5/20/2008 07:57:00 PM



(5/20/2008 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Let's be honest, could 4 guys you pulled off the street do any worse umpiring a game? You don't even bother looking to see if the 3B hung onto the ball, and then when asked, you lie and say it was when he pulled the ball out...even though his bare hand was nowhere near the glove?

As I have said before, if it's a close call, you can count on it being wrong, and anyone can call it otherwise. So exactly, what good are they?


5/20/2008 07:37:00 PM



(5/20/2008 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Seth McClung will get Carlos' start this weekend. Seth has been very good in the bullpen, sans a single "take one for the team" outing early in the campaign. Hopefully, he'll be able to be as effective in the rotation...that said, it won't take a whole lot to put up a 6 ERA averaging 5 innings per.

I've defended Seth since he was acquired, as he's a perfect example of "you can't teach velocity". But, if he's as good as a SP as he has been so far, he will be a definite upgrade over the status quo.


5/20/2008 07:13:00 PM



(5/20/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

PNC Park looks like it has about 5-6K "in the seats" tonight. They look to be doing a nice job of rebuilding, but it is tough on the gate.


5/20/2008 07:10:00 PM



(5/20/2008 07:05:00 PM) - Al

The networks overall audience average (41.5 million viewers) is off 7% from the 2006-07 campaign (44.8 million), according to Nielsen.

By comparison, ad-supported cable saw a 9% increase in 18-49 rating (17.4 vs. 15.9) and 7% in total viewers (51.6 million vs. 48.1 million).


I hope the writers feel the strike was worth it, because those viewers may never return to watch those network scripted shows, which may well result in lower pay eventually.


5/20/2008 07:05:00 PM



(5/20/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Thanks for your level head thus far. I am getting fed up with the "sky is falling" panic that is enveloping fans and media.

Has anyone seen the Tigers? This is a team many figured would score 1000 runs and be unstoppable. The Rockies are horrible. Perhaps more telling, last year at this time, both the Rockies and cubs were several games worse than the Brewers are now. So were many other teams that never recovered, but you get my point.

The really annoying thing is the stupidity involved in the ideas you hear on the radio and online. Call up Russell Branyan and platoon him with Hall at 3B? Seriously? Move a couple guys around in the batting order? Will hitting 8th or 9th transform Rickie from .200 to .300?

Maybe folks have been spoiled into thinking there is a Braun or Gallardo waiting in AAA every year, well, there isn't.

I mean c'mon.

Bradley


My personal favorite was that Callix Crabbe, who SD just let go and every single team in the major leagues declined to pick up should come up and replace Weeks. To be honest, Crabbe isn't nearly as good of an option as Counsell, Dillon, or Iribarren, never mind Weeks. Maybe you are right, people are just used to bringing up the kids and having them handed a spot, they think you can do that with anyone...I wish.

I think many of us feel Branyan would be a useful bench pawn (of course, many AAA vets wold be, if presented with a chance), as he certainly has pop. But, to think he should step in and start seems a reach at best. Branyan has a track record, and while he would not be the worst 3B in MLB, he is not a good defender either.

I suppose this is just par for the course with a struggling club, but to be label it foolhardy is offensive to fools.


5/20/2008 06:43:00 PM



(5/20/2008 06:42:00 PM) - Al

Again with the FSN audio? This is not a Charter problem, is it?


5/20/2008 06:42:00 PM



(5/20/2008 04:07:00 PM) - Al

I will leave it up to you whether the Celtics are stupid or liars.


5/20/2008 04:07:00 PM



(5/20/2008 03:59:00 PM) - Al

I got an e-mail that sums up my thoughts pretty well about the lack of imagination involved in the "suggestions" about what needs to be done.

I will print it later, with my response, but allow me to give a short reply here: If you really think Russ Branyan and switching around a few guys in the batting order will "turn it around", you haven't been paying attention.

I went to use a straw, but it had been shredded, having been grasped at so many times.


5/20/2008 03:59:00 PM



(5/20/2008 03:45:00 PM) - Al

Ned is unhappy about the JS covering a report from a lowly blog...and he should be, really. It's actually a slippery slope, as I covered it as well, but that said, I have no way of calling Doug Melvin and asking him if it's true.

Also, Bush and Suppan will swap spots (good move, as it is not good to have the 2 dependable SP's going back-to-back, as that leaves 3 days of expected 4-6 innings), and Carlos V's spot is now "TBA", which means CV is either injured or about to be demoted (as I guessed here, almost anyone can be ineffective and go less than 5 frames), either to the bullpen or AAA.


5/20/2008 03:45:00 PM


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