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.
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??!?
Dear Royals and Dear Giants;
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.
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:
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:
Enjoy these highlights and articles.
12th inning magic
Entire Condensed Game
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!
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:
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.
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
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
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!
Happy August Brewers fans!!
Writing this on a beautiful Saturday as we enter mid-August. One of the best perfect weather days of the summer where you wish you could bottle it up when we deal with a awful winter day 6 months from now.
It is now August. We have plus or minus 6 weeks left of the season.
The Brewers have been tied or in first now EVERY day since April 5th. And for all those who were ready to jump the ledge a few weeks ago, they as of Saturday August 9th have won 6 of their last 9 vs a Red Hot Rays team, and possible playoff NL teams the Cardinals, Giants, and Dodgers.
Further more, this man has already made an impact in two Brewers wins: A GW HR on Tuesday night and a crucial hit on Friday that rallied the Brewers to a huge win vs the Dodgers.
Sometimes the small move at the deadline are much more valuable to a team than the big name trade.
Also can I add during this stretch the Brewers beat David Price and Adam Wainwright back to back?? An additional FACT: Saturday the 9th they also beat Zack Greinke as recent call up Mike Fiers out pitched him!
Let’s review July:
1) Jimmy Nelson B
Since coming up in the rotation right before the All-Star break, Jimmy Nelson has pitched ok baseball. I will eliminate his game back on July 12 vs St. Louis because I don’t think anyone could have pitched well on this team given the unfortunate news about Jean Segura’s son.
2-2 with a 4.20 ERA in 5 starts. Most of that is higher due to his first game. In his last game he pitched very well vs the Giants giving up 3 runs on 6 hits. On a team where pitching is good, all Nelson has to do is pitch quality starts.
2) Jean Segura C+
Segura still is struggling at the plate, however his glove and defense at short are so valuable to this team. I know he has dealt with much this season, however I think him being around great chemistry players is really helpful.
3) Trade Deadline A-
So the Brewers did not get Jon Lester and David Price. Talk was any trade the Brewers wanted to make the other team wanted Jimmy Nelson. NO WAY.
Sometimes the better trade is no trade at the deadline. Gerardo Parra was an under the radar trade that has immediately helped this team. A veteran gold glove outfielder than also has some pop in the bat and can work the count is what this team needs when the offense disappears. Also he is a left handed bat. Parra immediately makes the Brewers bench better!
Look at the Cardinals: Justin Masterson they traded for makes no sense to me. And by the fact he only pitched 2 innings on Friday night, proves my point. He got rocked. He had an over 5.00 ERA in Cleveland. I know the Cardinals are short on SP, but their main problem is offense that disappears more than the Brewers. This smelled like making a trade for the sake of a trade. My prediction is that it will backfire.
4) Platoons C
Hard to grade this more or less than a C. With Scooter Gennett nursing a quad injury, Rickie Weeks has been given more time. Also Reynolds and Overbay are still doing the platoon. Additionally Jonathon Lucroy gets an occasional day at first to keep his bat in the lineup.
5) Fans and Media D
As a Brewers fan I really get frustrated with the casual fans and the media that continues to ultra criticize this team after every loss. It is to the point that I don’t read message boards or listen to post game shows after a loss.
For the last time: All the sports experts thought that this Brewers team would at best finish 4th and in some cases finish last behind the Cubs. This team since April 5th has shown time and time again to be resilient. They have held onto first place the entire year. Even if they fall out or don’t make the playoffs, this has been a great season. I am happy they have taken me through this journey. Take the ride and have no regrets. This season is turning out to be more fun than 2011 cause the 2011 team had more talent and more national media backing them up as being great. This team has proven it belongs and because it was unexpected I have enjoyed this season even more.
Here are my trends for August to keep a look on:
This month the Brewers have played the Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers. They will play the Blue Jays and Pirates the rest of the month. This is a good test for them and a preview of what to expect should the team make the playoffs. So far in the month, so good.
2) Wily Peralta: Future ACE
14 wins among the lead in the majors. What a season he is having and he will only get better. Love this guy! I said the Garza signing instantly will make him not try to overdue things like last year and I was right.
We might be talking 20 wins. He has a shot. Amazing! And his best game in my opinion: How he out pitched Adam Wainwright on August 1st with not his best stuff!
3) Waiver Claims
It is obvious that the late inning bullpen of the Brewers are scuffling right now. Will Smith and Zach Duke are not as effective as they once were.
The Brewers need to be looking and hopefully can get a reliable bullpen arm through waivers as a backup to bridge to K-Rod. Let’s hope they do that.
The Brewers so far have not been hurt by the injury bug much like St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Let’s hope it stays that way. Losing Garza with the way he has been lights out early hurts. Let’s hope it is limited and Mike Fiers can hold the fort until Garza returns for the stretch run.
5) West Coast Woes
In the past the West coast has been a problem for the Brewers. Let’s hope it is not this year for the Road Warriors. 2 trips out west in about a 2 week span. Take it a day at a time.
August 1-3 @ St. Louis Lost 2 out of 3
August 5-7 vs San Francisco Won 2 out of 3
August 8-10 vs Los Angeles (Won Friday)
August 15-17 @ Los Angeles
August 19-20 vs Toronto
August 22-24 vs Pittsburgh
August 29-31 @ San Francisco
Before I get into the Brewers July, let me recap June:
1) MLB Draft/Kendrys Morales (A for the draft: B for eventually not getting Morales)
The Brewers according to several of the media covering the draft did pretty well for themselves. All top 3 players are officially signed and into the system. The potential is high for all three players.
This is important because while Morales for reasons only he knows signed with Minnesota after the draft, an already good farm system may become even better. The Brewers are in a unique situation where they are competing quicker than many realized while still building up the farm system. Win-win strategy.
2) Pitching Depth: A
Brewers have shown their pitching depth by being one of the only teams in baseball to use the fewest starters. Minus Jimmy Nelson start back in May, all five starters in the rotation did not miss any starts. Also until Wily Peralta’s bad outing earlier in the week, all starters have pitched more than 5 innings each start minus the Matt Garza injury. Pretty good.
Even better? You have the ability to call up Jimmy Nelson while moving Marco Estrada to the bullpen. That is almost as good as an in season trade. It will be interesting to see how Nelson does vs Cy Young potential candidate Adam Wainwright.
Nelson is known for being a bulldog so I don’t have any concerns with him being nervous. I kind of get goosebumps with him and Peralta back to back in the rotation potentially.
3) Jonathon Lucroy A+
First of all, congrats to Lucroy on making his first all-star team. He due to Yadier Molina’s injury is going to start for the NL and if voting for the All-Star game was not treated as a king and queen homecoming contest, he should have started the game anyway. He is stats wise having the best season among top catchers in the major leagues and should be in conversation for NL MVP. Let’s start up the MVP talk for this guy as he deserves any and all accolades this year. It’s great to see.
4) Lineup B
Minus the last 10-15 games or so, the Brewers lineup was hitting on all cylinders. I will get to their struggles recently, but I can’t solely base that on the offense.
5) Kyle Lohse A
Lohse has been everything the Brewers had hope. A calming vet who has influence on the entire pitching staff. Most games when Lohse takes the mound, you have confidence that the Brewers will at least be in the game. Kyle has had a wonderful season and let me throw this out there. Perhaps you could talk extension in the off season as he will be in the final year of his contract.
Since I started my July blog late, I will mention all series up to this point with the results:
July 1-2 @ Toronto (Both losses)
July 4-6 @ Cincinnati (lost 2 out of 3)
July 11-13 vs St Louis (lost Friday night)
July 18-20 @ Washington
July 21-23 vs Reds
July 31st Trade Deadline
Now that my review of June out of the way, let’s talk about July.
Let me take a moment to talk to the segment of Brewers fans who are saying the following:
“I knew this was going to happen”
“The sky is falling”
“I told you they are not good”
Is the last 10-15 games the Brewers have played this season concerning? Yes. Absolutely. Does it mean they are not a good team? No.
The Brewers as of Saturday morning July 12th are currently 52-42. 10 games above .500, 94 games into the season and still in 1st place.
Baseball is 162 game marathon. ALL teams will have times when they struggle. Let me repeat that, ALL teams will have times when they struggle.
This was always a three team race between St. Louis, Cincy, and Pittsburgh going into this season. The Brewers being better than anyone including I expected have now made this a 4 team race. For reference here is a previous blog that talks about it.
Go back to March/April. Most baseball analyst had this Brewers team finishing 4th at best while some even had them predicted to finish last behind the Cubs!
If you are saying you knew this Brewers team on July 12th would be 10 games over .500 back in March, you are lying. I watch a ton of baseball and I never thought that would ever happen!!! On that statement alone, this has been a successful Brewers season!
The Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates all made the playoffs last year in the NL Central. They had their troubles and their slumps earlier in the season for various reasons while the Brewers went off to a hot start.
Now those teams are getting hot and playing better and the baseball law of averages appear that the Brewers were due to have this.
Remember the talk about the Giants and how hot they were back in June? 9.5 game lead over the Dodgers at one point.
They as of Saturday morning are deadlock with the Dodgers in the NL West at 51-42. At one point before the Brewers slide, they lost 9 out of 10 (June 9-15) after being 42-21. Yes the Giants have only won 9 out of 30 games from June 9-July 12 (.300 winning pct)!! That includes a Tim Lincecum No hitter during that stretch.
How about the Atlanta Braves who looked good earlier in the season and was poised to run away with the NL East. Well they had a slump too and are in battle with the Nationals for first place.
It’s July. This baseball season races are just getting started. If I had a choice for the Brewers to struggle now or struggle in September, I would want it to happen now.
Remember: The Braves slide in September of 2011 is how the Cardinals took the Wild Card and we know how that turned out.
Let me explain:
Baseball is a strange game if you only casually watch it. For diehards like me, this type of stuff happens all the time!
It’s unexplainable how the Brewers are losing some of these games with 4 run leads or more early on. Thursday July 10th’s meltdown vs the Phillies defies reality. A potential no hitter turned to a blowout by the team that was being no hit for several innings? Crazy!
The Brewers also were not going to run away with this division because their competition is too good and too talented to play the way they have been playing.
To add some perspective, I will detail the current and final standings the last two years the Brewers have not made the postseason:
July 12, 2012
The Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers were leading the AL with the Angels and Orioles for the Wild Card.
The Nationals, Pirates, and Dodgers were NL Division leaders with the Reds and Braves as the Wild Card.
Final playoff teams were:
AL: Yankees, Tigers, A’s Wild Card: Orioles and Rangers
NL: Nationals, Reds, Giants Wild Card: Braves and Cardinals
The White Sox, Angels, Pirates, and Dodgers did not make it from July to September (40%)
July 12, 2013
The Red Sox, Tigers and A’s were AL division with the Rays and Rangers as Wild Cards
The Braves, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks were NL division leaders with the Pirates and Reds as Wild Cards
Final Playoff teams were:
AL: Red Sox, Tigers, A’s Wild Card: Rays and Indians
NL: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers Wild Card: Pirates, Reds
The Rangers and Diamondbacks did not make it from July to September (20%)
I know this is just quick numbers, however based on the last two seasons the Brewers have a 60-80% chance of making the postseason.
This is still a good team. They are having a great season. For those who may not be huge baseball fans like myself, this is advice I always remind myself going into every season.
When a team is playing terrific, never get too high. When a team is slumping, never get too low.
Baseball is one of the hardest sports to follow because it can be an emotional roller coaster. It is also why I feel it is the best sport out of all the professional sports. You can’t get too emotionally wrapped in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a 162 game season.
Hopefully I have taken you off the ledge and given you some tips on how to cope with this division race. I do think this is going to go down to the wire. The NL Central top to bottom has some of the best talent in all of baseball!
Here are my trends for July:
1) Jimmy Nelson
So many Brewers fans were asking for him to be called up again and you now have your wish. Personally, I still would go with the people that got you to this point giving him a little more time to develop, however I do agree that it got tiring watching Marco Estrada throw batting HR practice against opposing batters. At least the Brewers appear to have a pulse on the fan base.
Nelson I do believe is here to stay barring major struggles. The Brewers had this move planned since they went past the 90 days Rule 5 rules to keep Wei Chung Wang on the major league roster. He is suddenly on the DL with “left shoulder tightness.” I am sure the Pirates are amused.
2) Jean Segura
We really need to get Jean Segura going at some point. He is in a huge slump. They tried putting him towards the top of the lineup and that did not work as it affected the entire lineup. I believe he is a good hitter just struggling right now. Judging by his sample size in the bigs, he should get out of it. I think he is too good of a hitter not to.
3) Trade deadline
Some people are saying the Brewers should get pitching. I would like to see them get another bat. The pitching re-enforcements of Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg will hopefully come off the DL soon. I would like to see the Brewers acquire someone who is a utility guy that can play anywhere in the field and get on base. I truly believe the Brewers will get someone like this if not by July 31st, in August through waivers. Doug Melvin has been on the record saying nothing is cooking at the moment, however, he is the same GM that surprised everyone by signing Matt Garza and who shocked the baseball world acquiring CC Sabathia and Zack Greinke. He NEVER plays his cards.
I get that you want to platoon guys due to pitching match ups, however can we stop the 2B and 1B platoon!!
I am not saying it is the sole reason why the Brewers are struggling but could be one of the factors. At this point in the season, you put you best players on the field.
Scooter Gennett has proven that he can play 2B and hit. He should be playing the majority of time there no matter how the pitcher throws. Weeks is Weeks and he is on his way out whether the Brewers can sucker someone for a trade, put him on waivers or if he cleans out his locker when the season ends.
Also Mark Reynolds is your better overall player option at first over Lyle Overbay. I like Overbay however I just don’t have the confidence that he can hit or get on base as much as I do in Reynolds.
Please see above. I know Brewers fans are not used to what a division race is like every year but you are in one. Have faith. This team is good. As much fun as this season has been, they still have not played their best baseball yet and are 52-42.
I have dealt with some adversity personally this year and unfortunately by last night’s sad news the team is facing adversity that makes baseball not seem so important.
This team has great chemistry and will get through the funk that they are in.
Keep the faith Brewers fans!!
Update: 7/12/14 12:20 pm. Condolences to Jean Segura and his family on hearing the unfortunate news the team found out last night.
It’s July. The city of Milwaukee should be talking and celebrating about the Brewers and how great their season is having currently the most wins in all of baseball.
It also should be celebrating how Jabari Parker has NBA ready talent and looks like he genuinely wants to be here.
Notice who is sitting next to Parker in the picture above last Friday June 27th. Larry Drew (now former Bucks coach) and John Hammond current GM or alleged “lame duck GM walking.”
As I spend time this week at home in Milwaukee, the talk is not even about the Brewers or Parker right now. It is about the new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens and how they created a PR disaster not by hiring Jason Kidd but the way they went about it. This should be another shot in the arm for a franchise that really needs it. Instead it created much controversy and some concern for the long time future of this team in Milwaukee. Here is why from each perspective of the people involved in the deal:
This press conference today was a complete joke! You can see it here:
To basically admit that you contacted Jason Kidd’s agent and interviewed him for a coaching job that you did not have a vacancy for, before formally firing Larry Drew is not good “business” but shows how poor you go about doing your “business.”
These owners I know just became in charge of a professional sports franchise for the first time, however I would hope they would know how to handle decision making. The process was poor. This was briefly admitted in the news conference but not enough in my opinion. It basically was said as “my bad.”
A few days later Lasry was interviewing the coach of the Brooklyn Nets about coaching the Bucks. Never told current Bucks coach Larry Drew what he was doing. Never let GM John Hammond know what the plan is. A couple of days after that, the Bucks have a new coach.
My question to the new owners is this. The honeymoon is over apparently. Sure when you came onto the scene you created a buzz, said the right things, and gave a dying franchise some new life.
But how do you allow yourself to have Larry Drew and John Hammond introduce your new franchise player Jabari Parker while you are behind their backs, interviewing Jason Kidd?
Note: According to an interview on FSN Wisconsin Lasry said they met with Kidd as soon as last Thursday while the NBA Draft was happening!
The NBA basically says you have 3 years to have the finances and planning in place for a new arena.
You do not have time to create this PR disaster. You have to possibly ask the citizens of Milwaukee to spend taxes to help create revenue for a new arena. You also have to possibly lean on business leaders in the community to get funding to finance a new arena. Now with how you stabbed Larry Drew in the back, how do you gain the trust back of an already leery public about a new arena? Good Luck as I feel you damaged much of what you started building.
So out of the press conference, we find out the new owners felt/were told the interview with Jason Kidd is “confidential” and then when you don’t know how to go about the business of negotiating a contract with Jason Kidd, you bring Hammond in.
I could feel the awkwardness John felt having to introduce a coach that he had no voice in choosing. (Notice how John in his talk in the beginning NEVER mentions Jason Kidd).
If I am John Hammond, I would quit. Anyone who thinks he is not a lame duck GM is fooling themselves. The question was asked if Jason Kidd wanted any part of a upper management or GM role and he did not directly respond.
John in this situation and in my opinion was set up to be the fall guy. He was forced to fire a coach he hired and forced to put the finishing touches on a deal for a coach he was not even informed was being interviewed until the last moment. How these new owners do “business” I guess.
Kidd really said nothing in this press conference. It was scripted, not genuine, and left many with more questions than answers.
I think Kidd almost knew his days were numbered in Brooklyn so that he could be given a coaching job in Milwaukee cause he knows the new owners.
Kidd said the cliche things like trying to do a good job and getting good players and all. He also mentioned the words “business” several times. The most concerning thing is that he had nothing to say about the situation at hand.
Others feel the same way:
For the Bucks to remain in Milwaukee and possibly get a new arena before 2017, Kidd better hope he is a good coach and in a situation to bring a winner to the floor almost in the next 2 years. Sure winning cures all, but when this entire process was handled poorly from the start, you start out one step backwards before Kidd even has an opportunity to prove otherwise.
Maybe Kidd does not care and cares more that he got a better contract. Maybe the owners don’t care and this was their way of telling Milwaukee its our way or the highway. Maybe this is the plan all along to eventually get so many fans and potential tax payers for the new arena up in arms so that they/NBA do have reason to move the team….
Many what ifs which is not good. Lasry and Edens are only few months into the job of trying to create goodwill and rebuild a franchise lost between the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Golden Eagles….
I used to be a huge Bucks and NBA fan. The league to a degree and the team (and its former owner Herb Kohl) made me turn sour on what was once my 2nd favorite sport to follow besides baseball.
After this PR fiasco, instead of the optimism of building blocks in hopes for a new arena, there is more pessimism that it might be time to begin backing up the truck preparing the team to move. This all is debatable but judging by sports talk some have the same feelings I do which includes die hard Bucks fans, casual Bucks fans, Wisconsin fans, and the media.
In either case, we shall find out soon enough…. For good or bad, whether you agree with me or not, NBA basketball is interesting again in Milwaukee. I just think it is for many of the wrong reasons.
So, we have now hit June Brewers fans. The team is still in first and has not let it go since the 20-8 start. We are slightly over 1/3 of the season and for all the complaints, the Brewers did an average month of May. Here are my grades from my 5 trends in the month of May:
1) Injuries/health. Can’t really grade this. For the most part the Brewers pitching has stayed relatively healthy outside of Jim Henderson. Since he was struggling we now know why. His shoulder injury is a concern, however the bullpen is so good that it has not really showed.
As for the offense, we have yet to see the full healthy Brewers lineup most of May and a tweak to the lineup has worked wonders. Once Aramis Ramirez returns, can you believe the Brewers have a problem of where they place him? He might bat 5th or 6th which is a great problem to have. Keep this lineup please Ron Roenicke!
Davis/Ramirez (once he returns)
2) Matt Garza Grade: C
Garza actually has not pitched really bad and has been better as of late. His problem now is that he is rolling and then ends up hitting a wall around the 6th or 7th inning. This is going to have to change if the Brewers continue to contend. However with other pitchers pitching very well, it is a concern but not hurting the team. As I still believe, Garza in the end will be fine. He has shown signs of coming around.
3) Losing Streaks: Grade B-
The reason why the Brewers have been successful this year is simple. They limit the amount of losing streaks. So far the teams behind them including 2nd place St. Louis can’t do that. Currently the Cardinals after heating up have lost 5 of the last 7 at home! They are also under .500 on the road. The Brewers have only lost 4 in a row once, and their worst stretch was May 17-24 losing 6 out of 8. They followed that up by finishing the month going 5-2, negating that week and as of June 2nd are 11 games over .500 (34-23). They ended April 12 games over .500. Can’t complain. Good teams figure out how to negate times when they struggle.
4) Short Term memory loss: Grade A
I wanted the Brewers to forget about May 2013. The fans certainly did not and when they started struggling and losing series to last place teams like the Cubs and D-Backs, some fans were talking like the sky is falling and that will be the start of their downfall.
I am not naive to think that some fans that follow the Brewers are not true die-hard baseball fans like myself. Let me say this to some Brewers fans. Please stop using NFL (football) logic and apply it to baseball. If the Brewers lose 3-4 games in a row, it is not the end of the world or the beginning of them tanking. 3-4 game losing streaks have much more of an impact to a NFL team that plays 16 games. 2 months should be a good sample that this team will be in the race all season.
ALL MLB teams struggle. It is part of the highs and lows of a long 162 game season. Look at the Red Sox. In the month of May they lost 10 in a row and have followed that by currently (June 2) being the hottest team in baseball winning 7 in a row. Now that may not be the best example but you get my point.
5) WCWW (Wei-Chung Wang Wednesdays) Grade: F
What started out as a great side note to the Brewers season became a major concern as the Brewers started losing some games. Especially after the May 19th meltdown in Atlanta.
This is one of the issues that the Brewers will eventually have to face. Wei-Chung Wang is holding a roster spot and I get that he has great 90+ mph stuff and is a southpaw which is valuable in baseball. I think he will be good, however when the Brewers took him in the Rule 5 draft in December, the priorities then were different. Now to many people’s surprise including myself, the team has gone from the conversation of just being competitive to the conversation of actually winning the NL Central. The problem is you have to keep Wang on your MLB roster even though he never pitched above Rookie baseball. I really hope the Brewers eventually don’t sacrifice making a trade or getting a more reliable proven arm for the sake of keeping Wang. You might have to return him back to the Pirates and worry about if it will hurt you later.
Now here are my trends for June to keep an eye on:
1) MLB Draft/Kendrys Morales
The first week of June will be interesting for Brewers fans. We get to keep our great and high draft pick because the team did not sign Kendrys Morales (who has the same contract status as Kyle Lohse last year where you lose a draft pick if you sign him). Actually this is why nobody has signed Morales yet. I don’t think that type of contract is fair to the players by I digress.
Once the draft is over, many people will be asking what is the likely hood of a Morales signing. Lyle Overbay is doing a serviceable job at 1st base in the meantime, however the major weakness of the team is the Brewers bench. Also Overbay is not hitting as well in the twilight of his career and the Brewers at times have even moved Jonathon Lucroy to first on days he does not catch since he is among the best hitters in baseball.
Signing the switch hitting power hitter Morales to play 1st base immediately makes the lineup scary (they are currently warming up) and instantly makes the bench better. The question will be who is expendable. I am sure the Brewers would love to shop around Rickie Weeks however his terrible contract might have the Brewers release him rather then get him traded. This will be the top story as we head into the summer for this team. Stay tuned…..
2) Pitching depth
If you remember my blog on Matt Garza, I said he adds depth to a growing area of pitching.
When Gallardo had to miss a start the Brewers sent up Jimmy Nelson who went 5 2/3 gave up 5 hits, no runs, 3 walks, and 6 K’s. Not too shabby for a guy who had at most a couple day’s notice that he was needed to help the big league team.
It is great to see to how much pitching depth we have. I do admit I just get giddy that in the next few years we could have a top of the rotation of Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson, two guys that bring it every time they are on the mound!
3) Jonathon Lucroy
Carlos Gomez is definitely the Brewers MVP. MLB Network interviewed him last week and it was a great interview. They mentioned he is definitely an MVP candidate this year and debated if he is on the verge of being a superstar. Here is the interview below:
Jonathon Lucroy is quickly becoming one of the most underrated catchers in the game. He is currently 6th in the league with a .317 average and has been so good that he was moved to 3rd in the lineup while Braun who was a mainstay there moved to 2nd. It has made the offense much more potent.
Now Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are two of the best catchers in the NL however I hope Lucroy gets some love. I wish Brewers fans vote to get him in the starting lineup for the All-Star game. He deserves it as one of those solid players that may get overlooked.
P.S. It’s a travesty that he is 4th in the voting for catcher!
I mentioned this earlier. Ron Roenicke please don’t completely change this lineup once Ramirez returns. If he has to bat 5th or even 6th for the betterment of the team, then so be it!
Here is a quote from Jeff Sarmardzija (one of this year’s best pitchers) after he had his worst outing of the year against the recently improved Brewers lineup.
“When you face a team that has a plan, you can definitely tell,” Samardzija said. “They’re not only feeling good but going up with a lineup plan. They jumped on my fastballs, and that was their plan today.”
Signs of respect from a pitcher that has not had the best of luck this season getting wins.
5) Kyle Lohse
To say he is not a major part of the Brewers resurgence would be plain wrong! Another brilliant signing by Mark A. and Doug Melvin! He is as of June 1st, 7-1 in 12 starts with a 2.60 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Gallardo may be the defacto ace of the Brewers, however Lohse is the true ace. He is pitching like a veteran does and when the team is struggling, you are beginning to have the confidence that he can get you a W. While the Brewers were struggling on their 10 game road trip, the highlight was his strong outing shutting down the Braves.
Yes, Adam Wainwright will most likely be the Cy Young for the NL, however Kyle Lohse is on pace to be a 20 game winner and after this gem, perhaps he begins entering the conversation of Cy Young. He also is not a bad hitter for a pitcher either. Let’s hope he keeps it up!
Bonus: Mark Reynolds
For a vet that was signed for a minor league contract (with the agreement he would make the team) his defense has been much better than advertised. He has played great defense while Ramirez has been on the DL. He is what he is on offense. Will give you the occassional HR but will strikeout alot. Still, if the Brewers are looking for a 3rd basemen bridge to developing a player in the minors, if Ramirez does not resign, Reynolds is your guy and will probably be a bargain to resign.
June 2-5 vs Twins (Home/Away border battle that is always exciting)
June 6-8 @ Pirates (Big Series if the Pirates want to still contend. Teams won’t play again til late August)
June 13-15 vs Reds
June 23-25 vs Nationals
Side note: I really love the way Interleague has been woven into the season instead of happening over 3 weeks. All the games the Brewers have played vs the AL East reminds me of their old AL days and have all been very competitive on both sides.
It looks to be a great summer of Brewers baseball and as the weather warms up, so will the talk about how this could be a great season!