Category Archives: Milwaukee Brewers

With a new & improved stance, Bryce Harper takes K-Rod Deep

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It was obvious at one quick glance that something was different about Bryce Harper’s stance this Friday evening in Washington. It almost looks as if he tore a page out of Adam Laroche’s book with his new-look adjustment at the plate. He looks more relaxed and was able to get himself into a hitting position by simplifying his hands; not holding them as high as the past Harper would have.

The results were tremendous: a line drive single to right, a single back up the box, and he turned on a 93-MPH Francisco Rodriguez fastball to right field in the bottom of the ninth.

As great as K-Rod has been for most of this season for Milwaukee, this is definitely a good sign.

I watched a good portion of this game, and it was a frustrating one for the Nationals. They banged out 11 total hits, with ten coming off Kyle Lohse. It just seemed they could never capitalize on scoring opportunities. Stephen Strasburg had a weird night. It seemed like his stuff was entirely nasty and he was missing a ton of bats (nine strikeouts), but the Brewers made it hurt when they connected with a couple of home runs and bases clearing double. This too often is the Strasburg the Nationals are getting when they need a true, frontline ace to take hold of their division.

The Nationals lost by a final of 4-2.

Sometimes you’re just proud of a player

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[Box Score]

It’s a funny thing. Jay Bruce is still our favorite player. Other guys might be more exciting, other guys are a more captivating watch, other guys are just plain better; and he’s not the superstar we were certain at points he would be. He’s a good player. But we’ve said it before, Jay Bruce is just our sentimental favorite. There’s no one that can take that place and hold it in baseball, no matter how low his batting average gets. No matter how inconsistent he remains. No matter when the end comes of him wearing a Reds uniform.

We couldn’t wait to get to the park to see him play today, just like that first magical night when he made his MLB debut. And then the next night when we went back. We talked with our wife about how Bruce has actually been with the Reds now for parts of SEVEN seasons! It seems like yesterday that we were watching Bruce in big league game numbers one and two. Today, was Bruce’s 899th big league game. It was the first game we’ve gone to with our pregnant wife. It seemed like when we started watching Jay Bruce we were still immature children. Life – and baseball – can blend time and be weird like that. Nonetheless I was excited to see Jay Bruce play today, just for some reason I had a feeling about something.

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We got out of our car and parked in a choice spot. The sun seemed to be shining on the Redlegs from the time we got out of the car, as it was a beautiful day for baseball. Was it foreshadowing that the sun would shine upon the Reds on this day?

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I told my wife that Yovani Gallardo was Jay Bruce’s ‘type’. That he could get one today off him. If you can fight through what my iPhone did to the Reds jumbotron here, you can see he had great career numbers against Gallardo. He would groundout for an RBI in his first at-bat, fly out against the wall in left-center in his second AB, and hit a rocket line out to center in his third. His fourth at-bat wouldn’t come against Gallardo, but rather Will Smith. And Jay Bruce won the Reds the game.

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Here’s a picture of the Reds Smokehouse out in the right field corner. The food options are a little pricey, but they feature really cool special menu items that change with each opposing team that comes to town. For the Brewers, they were serving beer-soaked bratwurst.

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I just realized the All-Star Selection show was tonight when I saw this advertisement for the All Star Game at the stadium. Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco are All Stars for the first time.

I would like you to remember back to the Reds season preview post we did for a moment. Here’s what we said:

Ryan Ludwick returns from injury. He’s really aging, so I don’t expect much. I think the Reds will get less than people want to see out of Ludwick and Cozart and they’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much Mesoraco and Todd Frazier hit. Frazier is one of my breakout player candidates in all of baseball. He has an ugly swing but I think he’s simply too talented to flop completely and that park will aid his numbers in a great way.

Bada-bing bada boom.

 

 

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We’re on our way to the game and I’m listening to Sirius MLB Network radio and Jim Bowden tells us that the Reds owner is in the clubhouse and something big is going down. Joey Votto was actually headed to the disabled list, again. So this is the only Votto sighting we had today.

Mat Latos went eight strong innings and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Todd Frazier had two hits and Devin Mesoraco had three. But the take-home from today was Jay Bruce.

On a day when baseball selected it’s All-Stars, Bruce wasn’t on the list. He has had better seasons, and he will certainly have better seasons. His stats are pretty and his teammates have dropped like flies all season around him, he’s even had knee surgery. But he’s continued to grind – because that’s the type of player he is. Even within the game today, he had to grind. He drilled a couple of balls right at people and just when it seemed he couldn’t buy a hit and the average is plummeting, he steps up in the bottom of the 8th inning and hits a towering home run off a lefty that made George Grande sing, voice cracking like a schoolgirl.

I’ll always love Jay Bruce. I have no way of knowing how many pages to the scrapbook I’ll be able to add to before the game has decided time has run out for us, but today was yet another. Our time has not come yet. I’m still really thankful Jay Bruce is playing in my big league city and hitting in the middle of the lineup. Sometimes, it’s easiest to love those who have their glaring imperfections because they’re like the rest of us. It’s easy to love Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera right now. These guy are the perfect ballplayers. We’ll still take Jay Bruce with his warts and these big moments that mean all that much more.

Ryan Braun: “I made a huge mistake”

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At one point in time, we were huge fans of Ryan Braun. We defended his liabilities as a defender, and declared him one of the generational talents in the game today.

But all of that is gone now. We want nothing to do with Braun in fantasy leagues (he’s still a force there by the way), we wish him no success, we won’t seek out opportunities to see his at-bats. Something about Ryan Braun just feels tired to us, even if we can’t put our finger on it. Even if he is truly sorry.

“I made a huge mistake,” he said Thursday after reporting to Brewers camp. “I wish that I could change it. I can’t change it. My whole life, I’ve tried to do nothing but good, and just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean that [I] will stop doing good.”

People make mistakes. We’ve all done it. Every single person who reads this text at some point in their life – and people who live in glass houses and all that good stuff.

But we don’t care if Braun is sorry. He’s sorry for the same reason A-Rod and the other dopers are sorry. They’re sorry because they got caught. There’s nothing genuine about the way Braun went all Rafael Palmeiro back in 2012, proclaiming his innocence to the masses. It’s left a bad taste in our mouth. Now we just want Braun to disappear, which isn’t going to happen; but the damage has been done and those good old fashioned feelings aren’t coming back.

We have little to no interest in buying Braun memorabilia on eBay like in the past. Something about him just grosses us out.

Bryce Harper tells his band of rogues & regulators to ‘saddle up’ and then antes up with a homer

It was after the Nationals last game played that Bryce Harper told his teammates it was time to ride. Tonight, Harper responded with a ballgame.

The Nationals won the game 4-1 in Milwaukee, and Harper deposited a ball in the second deck off my former teammate’s teammate Burke Badenhop. The home run was Harper’s 16th of the season – which you figure if he gets extremely hot he might be able to finish with around 25 home runs; not bad for a guy who has missed monstrous amounts of time this season.

It was Harper’s 38th career home run. It tied Harper for 3rd all-time with Ken Griffey Jr. for home runs before turning 21 years of age.

The Nationals catching the Atlanta Braves in the division race is probably not a realistic possibility. However, I would not rule them out of the second wildcard spot, it’s going to be a dogfight between the Reds, the Dbacks, and these Nationals the final two months. If Harper gets white hot, I think you know who I think will take it down.

Ryan Braun Suspended for the Remainder of the 2013 Season

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Welcome to baseball’s biggest story of the day year. There’s nothing like a guy who feigns innocence for over a year only to “wish to apologize” to everyone now that he was offered some type of plea deal; which we assume was offered after MLB showed him that he was completely fucked with the evidence they had against him. That’s because cheats like Braun would only come clean if backed into an inoperable corner.

It’s not like we’ve always hated Braun, either. Back in 2007 and 2008 we thought he was one of the best young players in the game – just as he appeared to be. We sought out to collect all the Ryan Braun memorabilia we could get our hands on. We searched eBay for rookie cards, figures, signed balls, all that shit you look for when you really think a guy is ticketed for the Hall of Fame.

But now Ryan Braun’s name is forever dirtied in the hallows of history of this great sport. And in our mind since we first heard the whispers we knew he was a dirty, rotten scoundrel of a cheater.

But in the back of our mind; we always felt his career numbers were just a bit too perfect. If something in life looks like it doesn’t have a blemish, it’s usually a mirage. Braun’s numbers were definitely just that.

Good for baseball for taking care of the next closest thing to an Alex Rodriguez-like shadeball.

Don’t forget to check on liar/cheater Braun’s old quotes from after he was vindicated with a ‘clean’ test. What a fraud.

Worst Loss of the Season? Worst Loss of the Season.

Nothing makes me want to go play in traffic more than my team losing a ballgame this way. But as the texts and complaints and misery rolled in to my cell phone from my friends who are fellow Reds fans, all I could think about is this is the game of baseball biting the Reds in the ass because they were forced to try to win a game by this nature. This is what happens when you squander opportunities. You leave yourselves open to this shit when you hit Zach Cozart second.

It really is a game of inches. And Carlos Gomez seized the moment as he’s seized it all damn season. And the Baseball Gods are strict accountants.

Hit with RISP or get a clutch hit before there are two outs in the ninth and you won’t lose this way. No, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. No, it didn’t make getting up for work any easier this morning. But in my older and wiser age I realize that my boys die by the same sword that damns everyone who fails time and again to capitalize on opportunities the game presents to them. And that’s baseball

The Pittsburgh Pirates are all alone in first place (and it’s June 29th)

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We had a feeling that this was going to be a special summer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s almost July, and the Pirates season is at it’s zenith. Last night the Pirates won 10-3 in Pittsburgh over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the club’s 7th straight victory. They took a one game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central standings with the Cards 6-1 loss in Oakland last night.

Some notes on last night’s game:

  • Andrew McCutchen played the part of leader going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and this majestic home run, his 8th.
  • Starling Marte went 3 for 5 and has his average up to .287 on the year. He had a single, double, and a triple.
  • Gerrit Cole improved to 4-0 on the year, and he actually walked three over six innings.
  • A guy named Ryan Reid who is one Pirates reliever not used out of the bullpen every night pitched the final three innings for the save.
  • Johnnette Howard of ESPN says it’s the Pirates year.

The guy who I work across from at the office is a huge Pirates fan. He grew up watching Clemente. Even being the biggest worry wort on the planet, he knows his boys have something special brewing.

It’s really hard not to be happy for Pittsburgh right now. They have one real All Star in Grilli, and they’re somehow making it work night after night.

Game 70, 2013: Reds 5, Brewers 1

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[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com]

Let’s start the post with the most glorious part of the day: Jay Bruce’s 443-foot moonshot. It was his 12th home run of the season. It came off a 3-0 count from Wily Peralta. Bruce had himself a nice little weekend. A walk-off home run on Friday night. A 2 for 3 day with a walk in a game where no one on the Reds hit on Saturday. And then this bomb today. When Bruce is going like he is going right now, it’s a good idea to just let him go. I would like to know whether or not the call to let him green light on 3 and 0 came from Dusty or from Bruce himself. Either way, I said to myself when he was in that count that it was a perfect time to let him try and hit one into the sun deck. By the time I finished the thought, the ball was ricocheting off the facade of the entrance way to a section of the ball park that few home runs are hit.

And we go back to the thought we had coming home from work Friday while sitting in traffic:

When Jay Bruce is at home, and he’s facing fastball dependent right-handed pitching, AND that opposing team happens to be the Brewers; something good is bound to happen. And it did this weekend.

We’ve still got some time until the All-Star break, and Bruce has an opportunity to play his way into a spot if he can just stay hot. The average sits at .283, with 12 homers and a quiet 47 RBI. He’s having a nice little season that with a few breaks could end up a career year.

But let’s not make this all about Jay Bruce. Zach Cozart and Joey Votto added two hits each. Johnny Cueto had the most Cueto outing ever. He improved to 4-0 on the season, allowing only one run while striking out three and walking no one in six innings. The Reds moved to 42-28 on father’s day, and gained a game in the NL Central standings on the Cardinals. They’re 2.5 back, and something tells me they’re not going to go away this year.

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE

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Jay Bruce likes to hit at Great American Ballpark. Jay Bruce has murdered the Brewers through the course of his career. Put it all together, and you get something like we got to end tonight’s ballgame. A walk-off home run off Burke Badenhop (who has owned Bruce throughout his career) just a day after getting four hits in yesterday’s marathon game at Wrigley. It was a pitch that shouldn’t have been hit out of the ballpark. Bruce hit it out the opposite way to win the game 4-3.

Nothing in sports rivals a Jay Bruce hot streak. Nothing.

Here’s Andrew McCutchen’s Fourth Career Walk-off Home Run

One of our favorite players around the league, The Dread Pirate is finding his way once again.

We were actually watching this game live (illegally – MLB blackout restrictions can’t keep us down) when McCutchen went boom off the last arm in the Brewers bullpen, poor Mike Fiers. Pirates win 4-3 in a thriller. And the Pirates are hanging tough at 22-17. They’re not going to the playoffs or anything. But it would be good for baseball if the Buccos were able to finally crack that .500 egg after all these years.

We’ve got a suspicion this is going to be the year.

I can get used to Los Rojos

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The Reds are finally giving me reason to get excited.

Here’s the play from Friday night’s 4-3 win over the Brewers that you probably heard everyone talking about. You won’t see a better double play turn in the next decade. You just won’t.

Phillips added a homer in the bottom of the inning that would stand up to be the difference in the win.

Then there was Saturday, lovely Saturday. The Reds tortured poor Hiram Burgos to the tune of 10 earned runs in three innings pitched. Jay Bruce led the charge with this home run (and two doubles):

He’s got the total up to three now, which is a couple more than Matt Kemp. The Reds won a wild one 13-7 yesterday.

The Reds enter Sunday gunning for the sweep on Mother’s Day.

I think I’m falling for Carlos Gomez

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Playing Fantasy Baseball can cause you to follow and fall for some strange figures during the course of a Major League season. Almost a year ago at this time, I thought that player was Dayan Viciedo.

The history books will prove that Viciedo was not a fastball demolishing monster, but rather a player who just got extremely hot for a few weeks in May 2012. But I think Carlos Gomez is something different than just a player who is on a hot streak.

A couple weeks ago Michael Bourn went down with a hand injury and when Jason Heyward hit the disabled list with appendicitis, I was in dire need for an outfielder that could fill in. I took a very late round flyer on Carlos Gomez because I liked his power/speed mix. He has the ability to hit 20 home runs and steal 40 bags. Milwaukee’s Miller Park is an underrated launching pad that doesn’t get mentioned with the likes of Coors, Great American and New Yankee Stadium.

In Gomez’s first nine games played this year he was hitting .162 with no walks. On April 14th – the first game of a doubleheader against the Cardinals – Gomez started on a tear. Into my fantasy lineup he went, not by choice but by circumstance.

Since that April 14th day Gomez has posted a slash line of .509/.576/.912, and the player who walked just 20 times all of last season has compiled six walks. He’s homered five times and stolen six bases. He’s collected 29 hits. He is a monster. He should replace that nameplate on his back that reads ‘Gomez’ with ‘Better than Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton’ but it wouldn’t fit on the back of the jersey. And he likely came to you ten rounds later than those players due to bad fantasy owners who draft guys based on name and not on the things they’re capable of.

He is a Latin player with the swag to match. When he hits a home run, he flips the bat like it’s a walk-off job. He plays with fire. When he makes an out he drops four letter F-bombs with cunning regularity. He is every fantasy owner’s dream player, and I could care less if Michael Bourn takes a summer long sabattical.

Carlos Gomez has the look of a superstar. If it all comes crashing down, this is a hot streak that hits throughout the course of the season that did not go without notice or appreciation. And that’s why fantasy baseball is great. It provides us with the most unlikely of heroes. It piques our interest in the most obscure sorts. Like Milwaukee’s flashy 6th-hole hitter.

But for at least a three week period to begin the 2013 season, Carlos Gomez was on top of the world. And no one can take it away from either of us.

Rank Relief: Changing from a moustache to a beard hasn’t helped John Axford

 

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Starling Marte is staring to sprint but he’s going to be able to jog on this one.

The Brewers moved John Axford out of the closer role but apparently it’s no better hide him in the 8th inning.  Axford came in with a 2 run lead, but the hard hitting Pirates (.252/.323/ .410) weren’t going to settle for that.  Axford went to work quickly, allowing a single and then a two run homer to tie the game by Starling Marte. (pictured above)  Ron Roenicke hadn’t seen enough though.  He let Axford continue to piss away the lead and by the time he came to get him the lead was gone, and they wouldn’t get it back.

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Final tally:  3 singles, 1 homerun, 2 outs, 3 runs, 1 loss.  Brewers fans have suffered a horrible bullpen long enough.  Outside of Axford selling his soul for one good season, what else have they had.  Weird.

Tonight, John Axford out-Marmol’d Carlos Marmol

To update a situation we’ve been following rather closely, we want you to actually prepare to have your mind blown.

Tonight in a game at Wrigley Field, the Cubbies defeated the Brewers 6-3 in a game the baseball universe will forget forever in 24 hours. The key to take home is that John Axford was actually responsible for Carlos Marmol getting awarded a win.

Axford did his usual dance steps, entering the game and promptly got Alfonso Soriano to fly out to center. The Hurricane Axford storm clouds were only brewing at that point (no pun), though.

In the bottom of the 8th of a 3-3 ballgame, Axford allowed a double to Nate Schierholtz and a couple of walks. Of course, those men would all score after Axford was removed from the game.

This prompted this Brewers fan to create the ever creative hash-tag of #wiscohatesyou.

The lesson to be learned here is that; when John Axford and Carlos Marmol both dress in uniform and are in attendance at the same ballpark, someone is shitting the bed. There’s just no getting around it. Also, if John Axford’s goal ever becomes getting hit by parked cars we have full confidence in him. If ever a guy was on a roll getting hit, Axford’s certainly found his groove.