No Manager Can Fix This Mess

I actually saw a Brewers game in person for the 1st time this season on Memorial Day. And seeing this team live, I realize how bad they really are.

As in my previous blog, I questioned the timing of why Craig Counsell was hired back in early May. The same team is making the same mistakes.

I watch quite a bit of baseball and even someone who does not watch much can tell how bad this team is! All you really need to see is the box score of the game Monday 5/25 vs San Francisco in the Top of the 6th.

And Carlos Gomez, I really like you as a player but how do you not know fundamental baseball and how to throw it to the cutoff man from the outfield after all these years in the league? His two errors did not help that inning at all as each player scored on his error!

That is why nobody should be safe when the Brewers hopefully start making a fire sale a month from now. This team needs to be broken up as the problems run deeper than any manager that can fix it.

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Here is the box score from the Top of the 6th Memorial Day below.

Source: cbssports.com

Giants 6th
Kyle Lohse pitching:
Angel Pagan: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Pagan struck out swinging.
Hunter Pence: Ball, Pence singled to center.
Brandon Belt: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Belt walked, Pence to second.
Brandon Crawford: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Crawford singled to left, Pence to third, Belt to second.
Matt Duffy: Duffy singled to center, Pence scored, Belt to third, Crawford to second, Belt scored on Gomez fielding error.
Jeremy Jeffress relieved Kyle Lohse.
Andrew Susac: Susac singled to left, Crawford scored, Duffy to second
Gregor Blanco hit for Tim Lincecum.
Gregor Blanco: Ball, Blanco singled to center, Duffy scored, Susac to second, Susac to third, Blanco to second on Gomez throwing error.
Nori Aoki: Ball, Aoki singled to center, Susac scored, Blanco to third.
Will Smith relieved Jeremy Jeffress.
Joe Panik: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Aoki stole second, Ball, Ball, Panik walked.
Angel Pagan: Strike looking, Foul, Pagan struck out swinging.
Hunter Pence: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Pence doubled to left, Blanco and Aoki scored, Panik to third.
Neal Cotts relieved Will Smith
Elian Herrera at third.
Brandon Belt: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Belt struck out swinging.
End of Inning (7 Runs, 7 Hits, 2 Errors)

Letter to the Brewers Owner

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The following blog is if I had to write a letter to the Brewers owner about the state of the season as a fan:

Dear Mark Attanasio,

First of all thank you for being the Brewers owner the past 10 plus years. You have brought pride and excitement to what was at times a laughable franchise before you took ownership.

I realize that you are just as much a fan of baseball as you are owner and I appreciate that. You always want to do everything possible to put a winner on the field year in and year out. Unfortunately, it looks like this year will be one of those years where we have to chalk up to a bad season.

Right out of the get go, the Brewers played poorly. I know I am playing armchair quarterback but it looks like now it had nothing to do with the former manager Ron Roenicke. And this is where I kind of still am scratching my head about this. Why did you make this statement on April 23rd:

Brewers owner says jobs of manager Ron Roenicke, GM Doug Melvin are safe “right now”

Then after finally a winning streak on May 3rd, sign off on Doug Melvin making this move?

Last September’s collapse, horrible 2015 start spell end for Roenicke

Now I am not here to argue if the move was right or not. It was right. What I am here to argue about is the timing of the move.

Now Craig Counsell may be a good manager in the long run. However, what good is he doing with the same team Ron Roenicke had? If Roenicke could not get these players to produce on a consistent basis, what makes Counsell better? So far after this past week, it is the same issues and lackluster play. The players are the problem, not the manager.

I am afraid I think the reason why you hired Counsell this soon was partly due to your competitive spirit. You wanted to see if a new manager could make something of what is sure to be a disaster of a season. I would not have done it. Here is what I would have done:

Late May: Figure out what are you going to do about GM Doug Melvin. Either extend him or get another person in place. Everyday he is GM hurts us towards the June draft. If you make changes after, it takes longer for a new GM to develop a philosophy. That is unless Craig Counsell is secretly manager/GM already.

Late June/July: Fire Roenicke. If the decision was made not to bring him back in a lost season, you might as well use him since you are paying him this year. Most likely you are getting the same results now. Then you hire Craig Counsell.

July: 1) Trade everyone on the last year of their contract or with a friendly option year in 16: Ramirez (who should have retired 3 years ago). Lohse, Garza, Parra, Cotts, Broxton and even Lind. Trade them for any class prospect(s) you can get. About $50 of the 104 million will come off the books next year anyway.

After they go: 2) I hate to say this but if someone wants to trade the farm to you for Carlos Gomez or Jonathan Lucroy (when he gets healthy), you might have to do it. These two will get you the most prospects back.

3) If some team is dumb enough to inquire a trade for Ryan Braun, you don’t think twice and do it. I’d be shocked but never say never in this league.

Early August: Whoever you can’t get rid off in #1 and #3 you put on waivers. See if you can get anything for them.

August/September: Craig Counsell has a bunch of younger players hungry and looking to stay in the majors. This part of the year you can showcase everyone including AAA players to see what you have. Also Counsell is now able to place a mark on them rather than tip toe and not rub any player dynamics the wrong way now.

Again, I know it is playing arm chair quarterback, but in a lost season like this you have to see what you got in order to be better off in the long run.

Here is a writer that agrees with me:

New Manager, Same Problems

And here is a read on if Counsell was a good choice

Was Craig Counsell a good hire?

Again, I liked Craig Counsell as a player and I think he will do fine as a manager. I would have just waited since the season is a mess anyway right now, and you have a chance to trade away some of the players that have contributed to this mess.

I already have tickets to the Memorial Day game, so I will still support this team and am looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming years.

Sincerely,

A fan through thick and thin,

Brian

Milwaukee-Brewers-Retro-Logo

At 2-11 and its worst start in Franchise History, the Brewers are pretty bad….. and I am kind of happy they are

You probably read that and scratch your head. What?? Aren’t you a Brewers fan? Why would you be happy at how bad they are playing. Well here are several points as to why I am happy:

  • For those of you who are still upset at Ron Roenicke, he may not make it to June. Heck, he might even resign as it looks like already he is running out of ideas on how to fix this anemic offense. Do not be fooled by the 1 year extension they gave Roenicke before the season. That was all PR so that he was not a lame duck coach going into this season.
  • Doug Melvin is in the last year of his contract. At this point if this keeps going the same path, he will not be in the same role. There is talk he may retire from the GM job. This poor start might accelerate that talk or give management a reason to part ways with him.
  • Carlos Gomez injured his hamstring last week in St. Louis, Scooter Gennett hurt his hand in some freak shower accident Sunday in Pittsburgh, and Jonathon Lucroy got hurt in a freak broken toe injury Monday night in Milwaukee. All are on the DL. Is that bad? Yes. However how can you get upset when none of these players mentioned were setting the earth on fire offensively? It is not like they were hitting right now. The entire team can’t hit minus two or three players. And even so, the entire team including those two players can’t hit with RISP (Runners in scoring position). The team is last in many offensive categories where that is supposed to be the strength. The players on the DL forces you to bring up players from AAA to not only spark this pathetic offense, but you can now see what you have for pieces next year and beyond. This leads me to:

The Brewers have $54 million coming off the books after this season. Why I liked the status quo in the off-season despite many fans being angered by it, is that you have the same pieces to be competitive in a tough NL Central. Now that it looks like early you are not going anywhere, you get a great head start trading all these players in the last year of their contract for prospects on other teams. This includes Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Gerardo Parra, Jonathon Broxton, and Neal Cotts (43 million right there). And if nobody wants say Aramis Ramirez, you can plan his retirement party early by releasing him.

(If you can’t tell already I never ever really like the signing of him coming here. Leadership was a major issue last year and not once did I think he offered any when the team was scuffling even though he has that experience).

Source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19_X7mxIemDFBYNQ-FW7-5TwC12AFZTNZzZh07XiJ6Ao/pub?output=html

You see some people who do not watch a ton of baseball will react and say the team sucks, I am done, and will never go to another game. However if you watch as much baseball as I do, you realize that EVERY franchise has a year(s) where nothing works out as planned. The Cardinals did in the late 90s and the Yankees (who are a favorite to finish last in the AL East) are possibly going through that now. Brewers actually look like they will be quickly eliminated due to bad offense and major injuries if they do not start turning this around immediately in the next 2-4 weeks. Heck, they may be double digits games back in their own division before April 30 due to a early heavy all NL Central schedule!

In these cases, it is essential for the long term success of the franchise to blow it up and start over. You see, the Brewers are in a better position than say the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees. Those franchises are kind of stuck. Bad contracts and aging players that nobody wants.

The Braves are more like the Brewers. While they sort of threw in the towel before the season started, they realized they had players to make them competitive but not enough talent to make the playoffs this season. So they decided to trade some of their talent who was expendable and will build around prospects they got in return and franchise players.

The Brewers have aging players but all their aging players are at the end of their contract. So it is more likely for a team in the playoff hunt to call you for a rent a player come June or July. In turn, the Brewers will most likely get prospects. That is a weakness in the franchise currently.

Now these prospects may not turn out but it looks like long term if Jean Segura’s last season was not a trend, they got a good return for Zack Greinke in 2012. Ironically that was the last time the Brewers were buried by a poor 1st half start. And while I heard the same comments in 2012, the Brewers played much better after these trades to finish above .500 that year.

Young guys were brought up with something to prove and once the pressure of winning was relaxed, they played much better as an entire unit. Right now you can read the pressure on most of the team that they have to play perfect baseball in order to have a chance to win. Don’t let the post game comments fool you, The team is playing with no confidence.

Additionally the Brewers are the smallest franchise in baseball market size. Ryan Braun’s 105 million extension does not even kick in until next year and looks like a terrible contract now. The Brewers will be able to sign a major free agent or two next year, but they have to balance their team with team friendly contracts. So to be bad now, you get to audition players you get via trades and move minor players up to audition them for next year. The Brewers did that in 2012 and 2013 which set them up for a much better 2014.

The past several years from 2007 to 2014 was a great run. The core players of Braun, Hardy, Fielder, Hart, Gallardo, and others that came up provided two playoff appearances, a year where the franchise went all in winning 96 games, and appeared to have tons of fun taking the fans on an incredible ride. However it almost seemed with the Gallardo trade that era of Brewers baseball has now come to an end. Now would be the time to start over, make some popcorn, and enjoy the prospect call up war that your rivals the Cubs and Cardinals appear to be starting.

Plus there is always the joy of hearing Bob Uecker call games in the summer!

Milwaukee-Brewers-Retro-Logo

Bucky the Wildcat Slayer: Wisconsin beats undefeated Kentucky to play in the National Championship

Typically around this time of year, I am excited for one of my favorite sports I love, Opening Day in baseball. This year for the first time in probably my life before I found out what baseball is, it will have to take a back seat to what may be one of the best days in Wisconsin sports history.

Kentucky-Wildcats-vs-Wisconsin-Badgers-2015-NCAA-Final-Four-Wallpaper-800x500

Man what a game… As I write this, the replay is currently on CBS Sports Network. It may be one of the best Final Four games since Duke beat UNLV in 1991 considering the circumstances. Wisconsin playing for respect vs Kentucky playing for undefeated history.

This game had everything: Great plays, poor officiating, clutch shots, momentum swings, answer shot after answer, and even poor sportsmanship. I will get to that later.

I went through so many emotions in this game: Excitement, concern, happiness, and even anger (the slap at the end of the shot clock violation that the referees blew even though they reviewed the play).

In the end, Wisconsin is playing Duke on Monday after slaying Arizona last Saturday and Kentucky this Saturday on 4/4 which would be #44 Frank Kaminsky’s (National Player of the year) 22nd Birthday. He was solid as always with 20 points on 7-11 shooting with 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

NCAA Kentucky Wiscons_Schu(1)

How about that Sam Dekker? The pride of Sheboygan put the Badgers on his back with 16 points including taking over the last two minutes of the game.

A star is born on the national stage and his shot that gave the Badgers the lead was “cold blooded.” What many won’t say about what happened before is give credit to the Badgers for having lock down defense where Kentucky had back to back to back shot clot violations in the closing moments.

Sam Dekker’s clutch three switched the momentum from Kentucky up four to the Badgers up three. By the way, the shot that took the lead both in 2015 and 2014 look eerily similar. Wow.

635637862994076650-USP-NCAA-BASKETBALL-FINAL-FOUR-WISCONSIN-VS-KENTU-72110644  NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Wisconsin vs Kentucky

I have been in the minority and getting ripped in social media by my friends but I said all tournament long two things:

1) Kentucky instead of dominating like a undefeated team should, plays down to their competition.

2) They really run a bad offense for a team that has been #1 most of the year.

When your offensive sets rely on bricking shots, grabbing rebounds, and getting to the free throw line without actually running a sound offense, a good defensive team like Wisconsin is not going to let you get to the lane or foul you.

Instead, you will have to make shots to win the game. And the back to back to back (3 in total) shot clock violations late in the game proved me right. A couple times they did not even get a quality shot up during that stretch. Up four to down three in about 2 and a half minutes. Look at tapes of the Badgers in the second half of their wins or just ask Michigan State, North Carolina or Arizona if you don’t believe me. From controlling the game to down in a flash.

Notre Dame exposed Kentucky as a fraud offensively last week but just stopped running their offense late and they lost the game more than Kentucky won it. Wisconsin just finished the job because they are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the country and you have to flat out hit almost everything you throw up to beat them or they have to beat themselves. Duke earlier in the year shooting lights out and the hiccup @ Rutgers with many players out or hurt are two good examples.

Now you can argue that Kentucky shot better than Wisconsin (48 % vs 47 %). Here is the thing:

Wisconsin beat Kentucky on offensive rebounds 9-6, rebounding 30-22. Basically they out Kentucky’d Kentucky at what they like to do offensively. Also Wisconsin got to line 22 times vs Kentucky’s 10.

Here is the other stat of note: William Cauley-Stein no showed with 2 points and 5 rebounds. His only FG? A showtime dunk in the first minute of the game…After that he pretty much called it a night. The plan to make the guards on Kentucky make shots to beat Wisconsin over the big guys getting offensive rebounds worked brilliantly. Maybe that is why he walked off the court showing poor sportsmanship as the game ended.

CBzFOKDUkAEesk9

Some Kentucky Players don’t shake hands after game, get ripped on social media

Also shame on Andrew Harrison for this:

Andrew Harrison’s offensive comment after game

Harrison has since made a public apology about his comments which I give him credit for being an adult and admitting wrong.

At least Ashley Judd took the loss more gracious than some of the players.

Ashley Judd comments after game

All in all Kentucky fans be proud. You were 38-1, you ended up in the Final Four. But as many times as March Madness can prove every year, on this night and on this court, Wisconsin was the better team and deserves to play for a national championship Monday.

Can you believe we have rematch #3 in a row to avenge the loss vs Duke at home early in the year? A win cements Coach K as arguably the best coach ever and a win cements Bo Ryan as getting the credit he finally deserves; a soon to be hall of fame coach and just as much of a big name in college basketball as the other top coaches in his profession.

coach-k-bo-ryan-e1418670126439

On Wisconsin!!

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 560 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thoughts on Bears Black Monday

Fire-Everyone

 

So it was done. Honestly it had to be and I am glad the ownership listened to its fanbase.

As a Bears fan who grew up in Wisconsin, this was one of the worst seasons I can remember ever following this team.

I went from feeling annoyed earlier in the year with the tweets the players had with the fans and the talk of fighting in the locker room after games.

I went to feeling upset seeing the same dumb idiotic issues over and over again along with the same lame responses from Trestman that the team “had a good practices”

(And let’s not forget Lamarr Houston tearing his ACL after celebrating a sack to New England’s backup QB down 28 points. I could tell then the players did not respect the coaches).

I went to feeling embarrassed after the Green Bay massacre on national Sunday night TV.

I went to laughing when the team showed another poor performance on national TV Thursday night against the Cowboys and some Cowboys fans actually thought they might have trouble winning that game. The team actually got an offside penalty punting on 4th down and got a PAT (Point after touchdown) blocked in that game.

And I went to not caring as I did not watch much of the Saints debacle this time on Monday National TV.

Lastly, I did not even care to watch one minute of the Lions game or the Vikings game to end the season. I can’t remember a time of that ever happening.

Today ownership did a step forward in saying that this season was beyond unacceptable. And hearing Virginia McCaskey being quoted as saying “she’s pissed off” made me clap at today’s press conference. Now the thing that worries me is can the owners and people in charge make the right GM and coaching hire that will begin to pick up the pieces of what is now a mess of a franchise.

Notice I did not say anything about Jay Cutler. Even if the Bears traded Cutler to someone and pay his salary to them would you want this guy on your team? NO!!

Unfortunately, Cutler is here to stay for another couple of seasons unless some team is really stupid enough to want him. This video says it all right here!!

 

Let’s hope the Bears get it right this time. This is the biggest and most important off season in recent memory.

P.S. How does Mel Tucker still have a job??!?

NBC Sports Article

A Thank You Letter to the Royals and Giants

KC RoyalsNLCS - St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game Five

 

Dear Royals and Dear Giants;

Thank you.

Thank you for going to Game 7. Thank you for reminding me that baseball is my favorite sport that I love. A 3-2 win with the best current October pitcher on the planet Madison Bumgarner doing relief work on 3 days rest.  He just pitched one of the best clinching games in our lifetime, in the best World Series pitching performance of all-time.

Thank you for not giving up. The Royals could have packed it in and they did not. When Alex Gordan got a hit with 2 outs, the improbable happened. Gregor Blanco misplayed the ball to the end of the wall. Was it shades of that AL Wild Card play in game where the unthinkable happened time and time again? (See 2014 OAK-KC Wild Card Game for summary). We all wondered and many hearts like mine stopped beating for a second as the next batter, (the walk off winner of the 2014 AL Wild Card game) Salvador Perez came up. Could he be a hero again?

You see for those that will say baseball is boring and complain that the ratings for some games this year are not as good like this poorly timed article http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/10/29/record-low-tv-ratings-for-a-world-series-game-6/18140489/ on the eve of game 7 , I ask you this….

Did you know/understand the strategy that Ned Yost later said Alcedes Escobar decided to do on his own without any signs from the dugout in the bottom of the 5th?

He bunted the runner over and gave himself out instead of trying to get a hit and keep the inning going with nobody out. That was simply put the difference between the Giants winning and the Royals losing as nobody scored. The line between that is as razor thin as you can get. These teams played as even as you can, just one team had to lose.

I am guessing you did not realize that strategy if you do not follow much baseball. Maybe it would be a good idea to find a friend who watches the sport next season, ask them to explain the game situations to you, and you will realize knowing some of the strategy, baseball begins to show a different dimension to the game you never knew existed.

Baseball strategy is much like a chess match where you could play by the percentages every time and still be proven wrong. It makes baseball so emotional, so lovable, and oh so much fun sometimes defying logic like the 2014 season and playoffs have shown.

You see for those that say baseball is boring in person and boring on TV, I would present the 2014 Game 7 of the World Series as my argument. Simply take the 3+ hours and watch it. If you could not get into that game and see how it was one of the best endings to a winner take all World Series Game 7, LIVING up to all the hype that many clinching games in sports fall short (ahem the 2014 Super Bowl), then my friend, you will NEVER like baseball and there is no reason trying to prove otherwise for you.

 

For me and many baseball fans like me, Game 7 reminded me of the day I began to try to figure out this game as a kid. Why a relative (in this case my Grandfather) showed me what this game is all about. Since leaning the game my summers have never been the same.

Today as an adult I still love the game. After tonight’s game and when the final out was made, I felt like the same kid that realized the day baseball became my favorite sport, creating a bond with my Grandfather that I will never forget, God rest his soul.

For this experience in 2014: Giants and Royals I thank you wholeheartedly for reminding me why I love this game.

Sincerely,

Brian

 

world_series

What a start to the 2014 MLB playoffs

KC Royals2014-10-01T052027Z_1017941112_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-AL-WILD-CARD-OAKLAND-ATHLETICS-AT-KANSAS-CITY-ROYALS

What a game!!! I know there are words that describe all sports after a great game: Instant Classic, Drama, and a story similar to a movie are just a few of them. However in this game all these words are deserved.

If you retired early Tuesday night, you missed one of the best playoff games in recent MLB memory. It was the Oakland A’s vs the Kansas City Royals.

As a MLB fan who loves this sport, it was like being a kid again reliving once again why you love this game. As a sports fan, you may not like to watch baseball cause you say it is too long and boring, but you had to appreciate both teams leaving it all on the field like that not knowing who was going to win the game.

And as someone who is not a sports fan, the best story was not what happened on the networks in prime time last night, it was this game. It was like watching a movie.

Here is all the story lines that transpired last night that I can think of off the top of my head:

Oakland Athletics:

Joining the Milwaukee Brewers for the biggest collapse of 2014. Theirs may be more devestating

Going for an “all in” approach at the trade deadline to try to make the World Series

Having an early exit for the 3rd time in three years

GM Billy Beane going from talk about being a genius in July to talk about he should be fired

Brandon Moss single handily trying to carry the A’s (2 HR, 5 RBI’s)

Adam Dunn’s first playoff game and he never enters it (He officially will retire today)

 

Kansas City Royals

First playoff game in 29 years

Billy Butler’s base running gaff that stopped the 1st rally

James Shields’ early exit for a pitcher who never pitched relief ball

Ned Yost’s over managing

Eric Hosmer’s coming out party to the entire nation (5 for 5 and nothing bigger than that triple in the 12th)

Record 7 steals in one game

Royals down 2-0, 7-3, and 8-7 in order to win the game

Salvador Perez going from the goat (0-5) to the hero (game winning walk-off) in 1 hit

 

And these may not fully be all of the story lines!! If these videos below are just a preview of what the 2014 playoffs will be, well time to buckle up and enjoy the ride!!

While the NFL is still the most popular sport in the country, their issues this season have been well documented and it continues to get worse. They better be careful. Cause baseball is quickly returning with their title as the National Pastime if games continue like this! Proof is in this recent article:

2014 7th best MLB attendance ever

Enjoy these highlights and articles.

Kansas City Star Game Report

CBS Sports.com Quick Hits

Recap

 

 

12th inning magic

 

Entire Condensed Game

 

 

Rant Time

It’s been a long time. Very long time if ever that I have been angry at a Brewers team like I was last night.

1987 I was not angry. They started out 13-0 and I saw on TV (Super 18 with Mike Hegan and Jim Paschke on the call) the first ever Brewers no hitter as Robin Yount dove to make one of the best catches ever to end a no hitter. The team then tanked and went up and down never building onto their amazing start.

 

2007 I was not angry. The Brewers were neck and neck with the Cubs and if you are used to a team not making the playoffs since you were 3 years old and not old enough to remember the details, then you have a very optimistic outlook when the team is close but falls short.

2011 I was not angry. The Brewers instead broke my heart and I did not want to see their slow playoff death in Game 6. The Braves ironically had to have a monumental collapse in order for the Cardinals to get in the Wild Card and a team we thought we buried in the division weeks ago now faced us again for the NL Pennant.

Tonight. I am mad. I am mad because this happened after a gem by one of your veterans Kyle Lohse against his old team.

 

Are you kidding me!?!! I have played softball for the last 16 weeks this spring and summer. For six weeks, I played 3 times a week. EVERY TEAM I was on we would ALWAYS tell each other how many outs we have before EVERY at-bat!!! I make a point to remind everyone so that everyone is prepared for what play to make. And not doing the little things right is why this team deserves to be where they are right now!!

Thanks Mark Reynolds. While his brain freeze was not the sole reason why the Brewers lost the game, it was a main contributor to the Cardinals coming back down 2-0 when you had 5 outs to go in order to get to win what was an unbelievably intense series between what is now becoming a big rival.

If these players don’t care enough to constantly say to each other how many outs you have in a inning, then maybe I should not give a s#*t what you do the rest of the year. Looks like the Athletics and Brewers are neck and neck for one of the biggest 2nd half collapses in recent MLB history.

Well since Atlanta did it back in 2011.

P.S. Rant #2

Jonathon Lucroy. Before you talk and run your mouth to the media about being the better team, maybe you need to tell  your teammates to focus on how many outs you have. Cardinals teams NEVER look that stupid!

Jonathon Lucroy’s stupid comments 9-7-14

Rant over…..

 

 

September 2014: I declare “war” in the NL Central

Hank

 

Happy Labor Day!

This is the last sprint of the marathon called the baseball season. I write this ironically as I am leaving the comforts of home in Milwaukee back to Chicago where the Brewers are about to play again in a little over an hour.

Now the wannabe ultra critical sports fans that don’t watch the league as much as a die-hard like me can watch NFL football and that “Cheese team” while the most emotional part of the year is upon us.

Before I get into anything else, this has been a great Brewers season! The media and some glass half empty fans make it sound otherwise, but back in March, NOBODY ever thought we would be where we are at right now. If you told me in January that we would be 73-63 tied for first with the St. Louis Cardinals, I one would have thought you were crazy and two would have said I loved if that happened.

Here is some articles that gave us not chance back in March:

MLB.com 2014 Staff Precitions

ESPN Predictions

CBS Sports.com Brewers Preview

So here we are. The Brewers proved so many people wrong and their talent is developing faster than expected while the Cardinals best young talent in many ways never materialized to their potential this season. This highly touted starting pitching they had needed to get Justin Masterson and John Lackey in July in order to tie with us on September 1st.

Personally, I am happy that we are tied with the Cardinals for 1st. In order for the Brewers to ever exorcise that yellow Cardinal beak that has been hovering over this franchise like a vulture since 1982, we need to prove that we can beat them. Personally I think the Cardinals and some of their fans have assumed that at any point they will take over first and win the division that we have been keeping warm since April 5th. It’s time for the Brewers to pick themselves up off the infield dirt, dig down and finish these last games on a high note.

 

Here are my grades on my trends from August:

1) Schedule C+

If this was mid August I would have given the team an A+. To go to LA and sweep that team after playing Kershaw and Greinke back to back was the most proud moment of the season. It sent a statement that this team is for real and here to stay.

Then the disaster in San Diego and San Francisco happened.

I am kind of glad it happened. Sometimes having a team beat you left and right like the Giants did will show what type of team you really are. It’s why today’s game at the Cubs may be one of the defining moments of the year. How will this team bounce back?

2) Wily Peralta Future ACE B-

Wily is struggling as we head into September. However 15 wins for the season and competing with the likes of Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw for most NL wins shows how far he has come. He is still only in his 2nd full year. He will get better. The best thing about how he loses is his demeanor. He used to get upset when he did not have his stuff last year. This year he has learned to take it with a grain of salt.

3) Waiver Claims A

Baseball is one of the few sports where people that don’t follow the game stick out like sore thumbs. I heard everyone blame Doug Melvin for not getting Justin Morneau when they don’t even know the waiver process. The Rockies probably were never really serious about dealing Morneau and wanted to see if a team would be stupid enough to give away too much.

Then Doug Melvin under the radar gets another bullpen guy in Jonathon Braxton.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Melvin does not get enough credit. Here is the 8th inning guy who not only is reliable but could even close if needed. He also has a contract through next season should K-Rod leave. Brilliant waiver deal!! Mevlin is smart enough not to mortgage the farm for this season and then get pieces that help now and will benefit later.

4) Injuries B

Matt Garza went on the DL and Mike Fiers pitched better than anyone ever expected. Carlos Gomez it was revealed has been bothered by a sore wrist (day-to-day) and Gerrardo Parra can instantly fill in. Another under the radar move by Melvin.

For the most part injuries have not hurt this team. Let’s hope it stays this way.

5) West Coast Woes D

I knew when the Brewers had to travel to California two times in the last two weeks and have to be in Chicago also two times in the last three weeks that might have been trouble.

The Padres are playing better lately and gave the Brewers fits and then the Giants decided they know how to hit again. The only reason why this is not an F is because of the Dodgers sweep in LA.

 

So now why did I call this a war? Because it is more PC than a blood bath.

Here is the Brewers schedule in September

1-3 @ Chicago

4-7 vs St. Louis

8-11 vs Miami

12-14 vs Cincy

16-18 @ St Louis

19-21 @ Pittsburgh

23-25 @ Cincy

26-28 vs Chicago

Only 4 games vs a non NL Central team

Cardinals

1-3 vs Pittsburgh

4-7 @ Milwaukee

8-11 @ Cincy

12-14 vs Colorado

16-18 vs Milwaukee

19-21 vs Cincy

22-24 @ Chicago

26-28 @ Arizona

6 games vs a non NL Central team

Pirates

1-3 @ St Louis

5-7 @ Chicago

8-11 @ Philadephia

12-14 vs Chicago

16-18 vs Boston

19-21 vs Milwaukee

22-25 @ Atlanta

26-28 @ Cincy

11 games vs a non NL Central team

And while I think the Reds playoff hopes are dwindling, I will put their schedule down for sake of argument.

2-4 @ Baltimore

5-7 vs New York Mets

8-11 vs St. Louis

12-14 @ Milwaukee

15-17 @ Chicago

18-21 @ St Louis

23-25 vs Milwaukee

27-28 vs Pittsburgh

6 games vs a non NL Central team

The math is simple for the Brewers. For them to win the NL Central, they have to beat their rivals. Pittsburgh might have the edge there or it might be a curse. They have the least chance to control their own destiny since they play 11 games vs non NL Central teams, the most out of the competing teams.

Also, the Chicago Cubs who have nothing to play for and have players who are out to prove they can be major league talent, will have plenty of say in this NL Central.

Additionally, don’t believe for a second they are not licking their chops trying to bypass the Reds for 4th place which would be considered a major success.

September 4-7 is probably the biggest challenge of the year for the Brewers to start this month. They can prove they belong and are better than the Cardinals this year, or they can be down for the first time looking up. The Red birds have that circled on the calendar. Expect a war. Heck I even expect a bench clearing incident to occur. However this is what as a fan we live for. Let me quote the great wrestler Ric Flair as saying:

“In order to be the man, you have to beat the man”

And let me add for everyone that wants to rip this franchise for not getting David Price or Jon Lester.

September 1st the Tigers after acquiring David Price are in 2nd place chasing the Royals and have the 2nd wild card.

How about the Athletics going for it this year? They are 5 games out of first and have the first wild card.

It is not even guaranteed one or both teams may keep that as Seattle and Cleveland are hot on their trail.

To make a July blockbuster move can backfire.

It is time to let the chips fall where they may and just the enjoy the ride that this season has given Brewers fans! Can they make it to the end of the road celebrating what would be the best division title since that 1982 season?

We will find out soon. Until then, I declare war!

Berniefred birdPirate birdReds famCubs mascot

 

 

 

 

 

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