August 2008

Brewers @ Pirates

A split and some ruffled Redbird feathers in St. Louis keeps the Brewers 3.5 games up in the Wild Card standings as they begin a 3-game weekend series in Pittsburgh.

I’ve done a dozen talk shows already this week and the most talked about subject is the “respect the game” cries from the Cardinals. My response is: “Who cares if players are offended!” Everybody shows everybody up these days and whether you’re slamming helmets, pointing to the sky after homeruns, untucking shirts, or fist pumping after strikeouts, it’s all part of the “show” and the best way to “do something about it” is to beat down the opponent. Emotion makes great theatrics. The Brewers, for the first time in a decade, dominated the Cardinals all season long. I hope every player remembers every “offensive” moment so we can have another spicy season series next year.

As for setting an example, I believe questionable behavior from professionals offer great opportunities to teach your kids the difference between grown men getting paid to perform/entertain and a youth player playing for fun. Parents, teach your kids, and coaches, teach your players the difference between playing with emotion (good) and performing a “look at me” act that can disrespect your opponent (bad). They both come with responsibilites.

With that being said, here’s to three more days of untucked shirts in Pittsburgh!

The Brewers are 8-1 vs the Pirates this year including six straight wins, committing just one error over the stretch.

The Brewers have won 15 of their last 20 games, but have still lost 1.5  games in the standings to the Cubs (17-4) since August 5. 

The Pirates have lost seven straight games, allowing at least 10 runs four times over the stretch.

Paul Maholm has allowed more than two runs just once over his last seven starts.

Adam LaRoche has hit .414 (24/58) with five homers, 14 runs and 11 RBI over his last 17 games against the Brewers.

Mike Cameron has batted .423 (30/71) over his last 20 games against the Pirates, during which his teams have gone 18-2

Ryan Braun has hit 67 home runs in his career, which ties for the fifth most after 2 seasons in Major League history.

Corey Hart (19hr / 22sb) is 1 home run away from becoming the first player in franchise history to have 2 seasons with at least 20 homers and 20 steals.

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: Dave Bush (8-9, 4.24) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (6-8, 6.82)
Saturday: Jeff Suppan (9-7, 4.58) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (8-7, 3.62)
Sunday: CC Sabathia (8-0, 1.59) vs. RHP Jeff Karstens (2-3, 3.48)

As for TV, games Friday and Sunday will be on FSN Wisconsin. Saturday’s game will be on WMLW. Ryan Schaber produces, Michael Oddino directs and Brian Mikolajek will be in the truck eating pre-packaged food.

Have a great weekend.
-BA

PS. Tim would like to know how this ’08 Brewers teams compares to the ’92, or even the ’82 Brewers teams: That’s a question only Bob Uecker and Tony Migliaccio can answer with authority. I think the ’92 team wishes the ’08 Wild Card rules were in play back then. The ’82 team probably had more talent relative to the rest of the league but big names are made in the post season so let’s see if the ’08 Crew can get there then revisit this one later.

 

 

Statistics courtesy of STATS, Inc. 

Brewers @ Cardinals

A big, 2-game series begins Tuesday between the Brewers and the Cardinals. The Crew swept four games from the Redbirds last time through St. Louis and there is plenty of healthy dislike between the two teams this time around.

At 76-55, the Brewers open the series five games behind the Division leading Cubs and 3.5 games ahead of St. Louis in the Wild Card standings. The Crew is a season-high 21 games over .500. The team has not been 22 games over the .500 mark since finishing the 1992 season at 92-70. 

With their 3-game sweep of the Pirates over the weekend, the Brewers have now won four straight games overall and are 14-4 since August 5.

Milwaukee has beaten St. Louis six straight times, outscoring the Cardinals by a combined 30-15 in the process.

St. Louis took two of three from the Braves over the weekend and has now won seven of 10 games overall.

Albert Pujols is the reigning NL Player of the Week and has four straight multi-hit games and is hitting .563 (18-for-32) with four home runs and 12 RBI during his current 8-game hitting streak.

J.J. Hardy is currently riding an NL-high 10-game hit streak for the Brewers (16-for-42, .381 BA, 3 HR, 11 RBI during streak).

Ben Sheets is going for a career season-high tying 12th win tonight–Sheets is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA in his last five road starts.

The Cardinals have nine walk-off wins this season–tied for second-most in baseball behind the Reds (10)

 

Cardinals Injury Update:

Brian Barton (strained right oblique) was injured in the sixth inning August 24.

Jason Isringhausen (torn tendon near right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list August 22 and is out for the rest of the season.

Chris Carpenter (strained right shoulder muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to August 11.

Mark Mulder (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list July 10. He missed the season’s first three months while recovering from shoulder surgery. He was told not to throw a ball until mid-August.

Josh Kinney, out since suffering a broken right elbow in August 2007, began a rehab assignment with a scoreless inning Sunday for Double-A Springfield. He hit the first batter, then induced a double play and recorded a strikeout.

Chris Duncan (pinched nerve in neck) went on the 15-day disabled list July 22. He had season-ending surgery August

Pitching Matchups:
Tuesday: Ben Sheets (11-7, 3.16) vs. RHP Todd Wellemeyer (11-4, 3.79)
Wednesday: Manny Parra (10-6, 4.10) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (6-3, 3.14)

Air time for both games is 6:30pm CST on FSN Wisconsin with Ryan Schaber producing, Michael Oddino directing and Brian Mikolajek counting the untucked shirts.

Enjoy the week.
-BA

Pirates @ Brewers

The Brewers took two of three from the red-hot Astros and after a day off, one of three in the next eight days, it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates next on the bill.

The Pirates traded away Jason Bay (BOS) and Xavier Nady (NYY), two of their big boppers, but still have a roster full of up and comers playing for jobs next year. The Bucs also traded 3B Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays to make room for Andy LaRoche, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the three team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

RHP Matt Capps is expected to return from the Disabled List (shoulder) Saturday.

The Pirates will have a major say in the Central division. The Brewers play the Bucs nine more times, and Pittsburgh has three games remaining against the Cubs and the Cardinals.

The Brewers have won nine straight home games versus the Pirates.

Dave Bush is 5-2 with a 2.75 ERA over his last 10 starts and is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts this month. Opponents are hitting only .178 against Bush in August.

Zach Duke has been struggling recently. Duke is 0-6 with a 8.52 ERA in his last eight starts.

Adam LaRoche is hitting .333 (17-for-51) with five home runs and eight RBI in his last 14 games.

Milwaukee has recorded 36 come from behind victories this season, tied with the Cubs for the most among NL teams.

J.J. Hardy is hitting .406 (28-for-69) with five home runs and 17 RBI in his last 17 games against the Pirates.

The Brewers open the Pirates series 5.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals for the Wild Card.

Here’s the schedule breakdown for the Brew Crew the rest of the way:
34 games
19 home / 15 road
19 vs -.500 teams (vs PIT, @ PIT, vs SD, vs CIN, @ CIN, vs PIT)
15 vs playoff contenders (@ STL, vs NYM, @ PHI, @ CUBS, vs CUBS)
6 vs Cubs
2 vs Cardinals

The Cubs have 35 games left (16 home, 19 road) including 20 versus playoff contenders (Brewers-6, Cardinals-6, Phillies-4, Mets-4)

The Cardinals have 33 games left (18 home, 15 road), 18 versus playoff contenders (Brewers-2, Arizona-7, Cubs-6, Florida-3).

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: Dave Bush (7-9, 4.26) vs. LHP Zach Duke (4-11, 5.26) on FSN Wisconsin
Saturday: Jeff Suppan (8-7, 4.62) vs. RHP Jeff Karstens (2-2, 2.25) on WMLW
Sunday: CC Sabathia (8-0, 1.60) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (8-7, 3.64) on FSN Wisconsin

Have a great weekend.
-BA

Astros @ Brewers

A 3-3 road trip out west means the Brewers open a six game, seven day homestand 5.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and two games ahead of the Cardinals in the Wild Card race. CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, and Manny Parra will match up against the Astros at Miller Park.

The season series between these clubs is tied at six wins apiece.

Houston has won 16 of its last 21 games and will be looking to extend its road winning streak to five games in a row.

The Brewers have dropped three of their last four games after winning each of their previous eight contests.

The Crew is a Major League best 24-11 in one-run games this season.

Dating back to June 10 (when he was still with the Indians), CC Sabathia has won 10 straight decisions. Sabathia will be facing the Astros for the first time in his career.

The Astros are 15-5 since they last played the Brewers on July 27.

The Astros have won each of Randy Wolf’s four starts since he joined the team. The Crew is 24-13 vs left handed starters this year.

Ty Wigginton extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games with three hits, including one home run, on Sunday. He’s hitting .510 with five doubles, one triple, six home runs and 16 RBIs during the streak.

Darin Erstad extended his hitting streak to a season-long seven games Sunday. He’s hitting .370 with two doubles and six RBIs during the streak, and he’s batting .286 with eight runs scored and four RBIs in 12 games in the leadoff spot.

Miguel Tejada went 2-for-4 on Sunday for his 34th multi-hit game of the season. Since July 26, Tejada is hitting .333 and has multiple hits in nine of 21 games.

Brad Ausmus snapped a 0-for-11 slump with a third-inning single Sunday. It the first hit of the month for Ausmus.

Jose Valverde recorded his 31st save of the season Sunday. It was also the 129th of his career, tying him with Antonio Alfonseca for fourth place on the all-time saves list by Dominican-born players.

Kaz Matsui was placed on the DL August 16 with a sore back.

Carlos Lee was placed on the DL (pinky finger) August 10. He underwent surgery August 11 and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks

Ty Wigginton is hitting .510 with six homers and 16 RBI during his current 14-game hitting streak. Wigginton’s current hitting streak is the second-longest active hitting streak in the majors.

All games versus Houston will be televised on FSN Wisconsin with the first two games in HD.

John Walsh will produce, Michael Oddino directs.

Thirty seven games to go…here’s to a great week.

-BA

statistics courtesy of STATS, Inc.

Brewers @ San Diego

The Brewers have won six straight and a clean sweep of a four game homestand sends the Crew to San Diego just 3.5 games back in the Division and three games ahead in the Wild Card standings.

At 68-51, the Brewers are a season-high 17 games over .500. The Brewers have not been 17 games over .500 since 1992.

The Brewers and Padres will be meeting for the first time this season. San Diego won five of the seven meetings between these teams last year but it was those final two Brewers wins that sent the Padres into a one game playoff with Colorado and ultimately out of the post-season.

It’s been a free-fall for the Padres in ’08. Only Washington has a worse record in the National League. San Diego has just four wins in its last 20 home games.  

August was the crumble month last season for Milwaukee (9-18) but this year has been a different story. The Crew is already 8-2 in August and hoping to distance themselves from the Wild Card pack with another successful road trip.

The Brewers have won 13 of the last 16 road games.

The Brewers have outscored their opponents 37-9 during their current six-game winning streak.

Brewers starters are 7-2 with a 1.98 ERA over the last 10 games (72.2ip, 16er) and have posted a 3.92 ERA for the season, second in the National League.

Jeff Suppan is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last two starts. Five of Suppan’s seven wins this season have come on the road.

Cha Seung Baek is 0-4 with an 8.18 ERA in his last five games (four starts) at Petco Park.

Adrian Gonzalez is 6-for-10 (.600) with one double, one homer and four RBI in his last two games. Gonzalez is hitting .468 (22-for-47) in 14 career games against the Brewers.

Brian Giles has two doubles, three homers and six RBI in his last five games.

Padres Injuries:
Josh Bard
(sore right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list August 9.

Khalil Greene (fractured left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list July 31. He will miss at least six weeks and might be out for the season.

Brett Tomko (sore right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 1.

Shawn Estes (fractured left thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 29.

Michael Barrett (broken nose, multiple facial fractures) went on the 15-day disabled list July 4 and will miss at least six weeks. He had surgery July 17.

Starting Pitching Matchups:
Tuesday: Jeff Suppan (7-7, 4.70) vs. RHP Cha Seung Baek (4-5, 4.90)

Wednesday: CC Sabathia (6-0, 1.58) vs. RHP Josh Banks (3-4, 3.77)

Thursday: Ben Sheets (11-5, 2.95) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (8-8, 2.68)

 

All three games in San Diego will be on FSN Wisconsin. Air times are 8:30 pm CST Tuesday and Wednesday, and 2 pm CST Thursday afternoon.

Ryan Schaber produces. Director Matt Gangl joins us on loan from the Twins while Michael Oddino fulfills his parole requirements, and Brian Mikolajek handles the Aaron Rodgers leash lengthening initiative.

Have a great week!

-BA

 

 

Nats @ Brewers

While the Cubs and the Cards duke it out at Wrigley this weekend, the Brewers begin a four game homestand Friday after enjoying their first day off since the All Star break. The Crew managed to “weather the storm” during a key stretch of the schedule. Twenty days straight, 13 on the road. What a roller coaster ride. Seven straight wins on the road to start, a 1-6 homestand, then a dugout dustup and a 4-2 road trip. The Crew finished 12-8. They were five games back when the stretch started and five back when it ended.  

No team in the National League has played more games (60) or won more games (32) on the road this season than the Brew Crew. That’s an encouraging sign but only if they take care of business at home.

Now it’s the Washington Nationals at Miller Park. The Nats have a different look these days after trading Jon Rauch, and releasing Johnny Estrada, Paul LoDuca and Felipe Lopez.

Washington is playing good baseball lately. They’ve won six of seven since losing a season-high tying nine games in a row.  They are scoring six runs per game in that stretch.

Some other news and notes for the series:

In four of the past five years, the series between these teams in Milwaukee has resulted in a sweep. In 2003 and 2006, the Nationals/Expos swept the Brewers. In 2004 and 2007, the Brewers swept the Nationals/Expos.

Milwaukee went 4-2 on its recent six-game road trip, but has lost five straight at Miller Park.

The Nationals have 291 extra-base hits (193 doubles, 15 triples and 83 home runs) in 2008, the fewest in the National League.

Lastings Milledge is batting .407 (11-for-27) and slugging .926 (25/27) with four home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored in the month of August.

Prince Fielder is riding a 10-game hitting streak. Over the streak, Fielder is batting .351 (13-for-37) and slugging .892 (33/37) with six home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored.

The Pitching Matchups:

Friday: CC Sabathia (5-0, 1.88) vs. RHP Collin Balester (2-3, 4.55) on FSN Wisconsin 
Saturday: Ben Sheets (10-5, 3.14) vs. RHP Tim Redding (8-6, 4.44) on FSN Wisconsin
Sunday: Manny Parra (9-5, 4.18) vs. LHP John Lannan (6-11, 3.55) on FSN Wisconsin
Monday: Dave Bush (6-9, 4.50) vs. RHP Garrett Mock *No live TV, FSN Squeeze Play

 

Have a great weekend.

-BA

Brewers @ Reds

The Brewers were shut out for just the fourth time in 2008 Sunday in Atlanta but are now 11-2 in their last 13 road games overall (since July 1). With another road series win, the good road karma is still intact as the Brew Crew is set to begin a three game series at Great American Ballpark versus the Reds Monday.

It will be strange seeing the Reds without Ken Griffey, Jr. who was traded last week for Nick Masset and Danny Richar. Richar is in AAA while Masset will be in the Reds bullpen.

Cincinnati is 5-4 against Milwaukee in 2008–however, the Brewers have won four of their last five games at Great American Ball Park (dating to last season).

The Reds were swept three straight by the Nationals over the weekend and are now just 1-8 in their last nine games overall.

Bronson Arroyo is 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 10 career starts against the Brewers. Overall, Arroyo has won each of his last three home starts and posted a 2.14 ERA in those outings.

Manny Parra has faced the Reds once in his career, allowing five runs (four earned) in 6.1 innings and earning a no-decision on July 11. Parra has pitched well on the road of late, going 4-0 and posting a 3.25 ERA in his last six starts away from Miller Park.

Adam Dunn has 31 career home runs against the Brewers–most of any player in baseball since the beginning of 2001 (Dunn’s first MLB season).

Starting pitching has been an issue all season for the Reds but their bullpen can be dangerous, especially late:
Starters: 5.14 – 2nd highest in NL (Pit 5.83)
Bullpen: 3.52 – 3rd lowest in NL

Despite catching quite a bit this year, Jason Kendall still looks and feels strong. He has thrown out 26 of 63 runners attempting to steal this season (41.3%) after throwing out just 13 of 124 runners last season (10.5%).

Reds Injury Report:

Aaron Harang (strained right forearm) was scratched from his scheduled start July 5, but started July 8 at Chicago. An MRI revealed a strain and he ultimately went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 9.

Jared Burton (strained right lat) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 11. 

Ryan Freel (partially torn right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list June 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. He had surgery July 23, and he will miss another four to six weeks.

Norris Hopper (torn ligament in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list July 2 and was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 17. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery July 8.

Alex Gonzalez (compression fracture in left knee) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list and was transferred to the 60-day DL. He had season-ending surgery July 7.

All three games versus Cincinnati will be on FSN Wisconsin with John Walsh producing and Michael Oddino directing. Brian Mikolajek will handle Brett Favre updates.

Have a great week!
-BA

Brewers @ Braves

Here’s to a severe case of amnesia.

The Crew tries to put a 1-6 homestand behind them as they hit the road once again hoping to extend a 7-game road winning streak.  

All is not lost Milwaukee, keep your chin up. The Brewers have won nine of the last 10 road games and will play the Braves, Reds, Nats, and Padres – all teams with losing records – in the next four series. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the 5-game deficit in the NL Central get back to a manageable number two weeks from now.

This team has an impressive “bounce back” nature to it. Don’t forget, some of their best baseball has followed the most severe slumps…I expect them to do so nicely again.

Some pre-series prep for the Braves series:

Milwaukee is 4-2 against Atlanta this season, despite scoring a total of just 15 runs in the six contests.

The Brewers are 22-12 against lefthanded starters this season.

Ryan Braun needs one home run to become just the seventh player in franchise history with two 30-homer seasons – and the first player to do so in his first two seasons with the club.

In his two starts since coming off the disabled list, Jeff Suppan has given up 11 runs in 13.0 innings.

Chuck James is Friday’s scheduled starter for the Braves. It will be his first appearance in the majors since May 15. James went 4-5 with a 2.48 ERA in 14 appearances with Triple-A Richmond, earning his recall.

Casey Kotchman has gone 0-for-9 in his first two games with Atlanta.

Atlanta injury report:

Brian McCann (concussion) He might be cleared to hit Saturday but won’t catch during the Brewers series.

Tim Hudson (sore right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 24. He might require Tommy John surgery.

Tom Glavine (flexor tendon tear in left elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list June 11. He could begin a rehab assignment August 4. Glavine is hopeful that he will avoid surgery and could rejoin the Braves’ rotation following a couple minor league rehab starts.

Chipper Jones (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 24.

Matt Diaz (strained posterior cruciate ligament in left knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 28.

John Smoltz (sore right shoulder) had arthroscopic surgery June 10 and will miss the remainder of the season.

-BA

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