A few minor tweaks…

The Brewers have opened up 2011 season 29-24, good enough for 2nd place in the NL Central.  Our pitching has improved tremendously, and we finally have a manager who manages the game.  Things are good in Milwaukee.  However, I think that there are a few minor tweaks that could go on to make the Crew even better- mainly the batting order.  Now, you may ask:  Why mess with a good thing?  I mean after all, the old adage is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right?  Well, this is one of those things that may need a little bit of work.  So here is my lineup with reasoning for each one.

1 Hitter – Your leadoff hitter needs to have a high on-base percentage, and be able to put the ball in play.  This is someone who is dependable and reliable and will ignite big rallies.  While it helps if this person is fast, it’s not a necessity.  For all these reasons, Jonathon Lucroy is the perfect leadoff hitter for the Brewers.  He has the 3rd highest OBP on the team (Behind Fielder and Braun) and is very reliable. While he strikes out a little more than I’d like, there is definite room for improvement.

Pros:  Rickie Weeks’ power can now be more utilized lower in the lineup.
Cons:  As a catcher, Lucroy won’t be playing everyday.  You’d like someone who is in there everyday as your leadoff.

2 Hitter- This spot in lineup should be someone who can hit the ball all over the field, move runners, and has a low amount of strikeouts.  They should also be able to hit fastballs.  Why?  The 2 hitter will be protected by the 3 and 4 hitter, and the pitcher will not want to walk anybody in this situation.  This is why I pick Casey McGehee to bat 2nd.  While McGehee may strike out a little, he is definitely a fantastic fastball hitter. He can also hit the ball all over, and would do a good job hitting behind runners and getting them in position for the heart of the order.

Pros:  McGehee needs a Jobu to help him hit the curveball.  The more fastballs he sees, the better.
Cons:  We would now have NO speed at the top of the order.

3 hitter- Needs to be your best hitter.  Must be clutch, good looking and play Left Field.  Ok, I made up that last one, but is it a surprise that Ryan Braun should stay in the number 3 hole?!?!?
Pros:  We have this guy locked up for a long time and we are very, very, lucky.
Cons:  We can’t bat Braun 1-9, just 3rd.

4 hitter- Your 4 hitter should be a power hitter- someone that pitchers are scared to pitch to, but have to because there are runners on base.  Prince Fielder is dominating this scene.  His OPS is high, he has 42 RBI and he has lost some weight.  Prince wants a big contract and is going to play his heart out – this year.

Pros: Prince has a lot of tools, and his patience this year is incredible.  Lots of walks.
Cons:  This will probably be the last year Prince bat 4 for us.

5 hitter- Your 5 hitter needs to be someone who has pop, and can bring in your 3 and 4 hitter who just doubled in 3 runs.  Speed helps, because they are very similar to a lead off hitter for the bottom of the order.  Sounds like a perfect spot for Rickie Weeks!  Rickie is 2nd in the team in doubles and triples, as well as 3rd on the team for home runs.  Rickie will be making some things happen from here.

Pros:  Rickie Weeks is fast, but the pop of his bat can’t be underused at the top of the order anymore.
Cons:  Will moving Weeks screw up the Brewers mojo?

6 hitter- Your number 6 hitter is usually someone who has a lot of tools, but may not be the most reliable hitter.  Maybe a guy who is streaky, one that can make you extremely mad and happy at him in the same day.  I can only think of one person on the Brewers who fit this role, and that would be Corey Hart.  Corey is a great when he’s on, and when he’s off he swings at EVERY LOW AND OUTSIDE SLIDER.  I mean seriously, I could strike out Hart with 2 strikes.  He swings at EVERY low and outside slider.  Can we get some stats on this?  ESPN, get on this!

Pros:  Hopefully Hart is on when it matters- the end of the season.  Then the Brewers are golden.
Cons:  I don’t see any other place to put Hart.  I did this lineup about 6 or 7 times, and its really the only option for Milwaukee.

7 hitter- What do you need out of your 7 guy?  Not a lot.  If anything, you want a guy who at the least will put the ball in play and not strikeout. Yuniesky Betancourt has only struck out 21 times this year, by far leading all Brewers starters.  Betancourt will come through in September, just you wait and see.  I’ve been saying it all along, and it will happen.

Pros:  The bar is set low here.  Betancourt can do bad and still meet it.
Cons:  While his strikeouts are low, so is his batting average.  And hits. And doubles.  And….

8 hitter- Here me out before you go crazy.  The number 8 hitter NEEDS to be the pitcher’s spot, and I’ll tell you why.  Pretty normal situation:  7 hitter singles, 8 hitter gets out, pitcher bunts, lead off gets out.    In my world, 7 hitter singles, 8 hitter bunts him over, and now we have 2 tries to get a base hit.  I think the percentages increase, don’t you think?

Pros:  If it works, I’m a genius.  LaRussa did it with the Cardinals and won a World Series.
Cons:  If this is so simple, why doesn’t every team do it?

9 hitter- In my world, the 9 hitter is really your leadoff hitter who gets less at bats.  He’s smart, fast, and causes problems.  He can run on the base paths without getting in the way of Braun and Fielder, and he can hit in the 6 and 7 hitter that got sacrifice bunted over by the pitcher in the 8 spot.  So who is left?  No, not Carlos Gomez you fools!  None other but Nyjer Morgan!

Pros:  Morgan can do a great job here, and is smart enough to make it work.
Cons:  Morgan needs to stay healthy and learn how to hit left handed hitting to keep him in the line- up.

So there it is :  Your 2011 Milwaukee Brewers lineup.  It is not exactly what you have seen this year, or what you might expect, but its what I came up with.  Think I’m wrong?  What would you want to see?

-Ben

Random Baseball Thought:  What happened to Buster Posey stunk.  He is a great young player who lost the entire year to something that could have been avoided… by him.  As a former catcher, most of the  plays at the plate start and end with the catcher.  If Posey had positioned himself in front of the plate and gave the backside more, this probably would have been avoided.

Age Before Beauty…

The Brewers have had some great players throughout the
years:  John Jaha, Wes Helms,
Darryl Hamilton, Chuckie Carr…  Ok,
well maybe not ALL the players that came through our system was that good.   There have been more forgettable
players than memorable ones.  
Being a Brewer fan, this has made us more appreciative of the all-star
power we get.  During the 80′s, we
were lucky enough to have two of these players together- Robin Yount and Paul
Molitor.  The awards piled up
between these two are incredible. 
It includes:

 

*10 all star appearances

*7 silver slugger awards

*2 MVP awards

*Gold Glove Winner

*2 First Ballot Hall of Fame nominations

*Both numbers retired in Brewer organization.

*Both 3,000 hits

 

Yount and molitor.jpg

They played together from 1978 to 1992 (including Jim Gantner).  Robin finished his entire career with
the Brewers, and Molitor went to Toronto to win a World Series (as well as WS
MVP) and then to Minnesota to collect his 3,000th hit.  So where am I going with all of
this?  While Ross may think Braun
and Fielder are the best duo to don a Brewers uniform together, there will
NEVER be another combination of Rockin’ Robin and the Igniter. 

 

Braun and Fielder are all right, but there are several
things that separate the Hall of Famers from the new kids on the block as the
best Brewer duo ever.   

 

1) Fielder and Braun
will never play together long enough.

 

In this day and age, players playing together for more than
4 or 5 years are an anomaly.  Free
agency has taken away players playing with one team for a long, long time.  Though Braun is locked up for life with
Milwaukee, Fielder will more than likely go to the highest bidder.  Yount and Molitor not only played
together for 15 seasons, but played at a high level.  They often batted 2-3 in the lineup as well. 

 

2) Yount and Molitor
were more rounded players.

 

Yount was an MVP at 2 different positions, and Molitor
played over 100 games in the outfield, third base, second base, first base, and
DH.  Molitor hit for average, was
fast, and (when healthy) played great defense.  Yount was a gold glove winner at short stop before moving to
centerfield to finish out his career. 

 

Braun’s defense has always been sketchy, and Fielder is a
very big liability at first base. 
He is not very mobile or agile. 
Neither of them will ever win a gold glove award and hurt the team with
their gloves.

 

3) Who is in the Hall
of Fame?

Oh yeah.  It’s
Yount and Molitor.  They have
proved how good they are over a course of an entire season, and have been
rewarded with their numbers retired and being cast into the Hall of Fame on the
first ballot.  Braun and Fielder
are both great baseball players, but only time will tell if they are Hall of
Fame material. 

 

-Ben

 

Random Thought of the
Day-
Zack Greinke is going to have to do a heck of a lot better if the
Brewers are going to have a chance at this thing.  I can deal with his unwillingness to talk to fans, sign
autographs, and his blunt responses in interviews.  But I can’t deal with bad pitching.

Who’s the Better Dynamic Duo???

I remember growing up and the big argument was always, Molitor or Yount, who’s better? Or even, who do you like more? I still know people who talk about who they liked more back in the day.

Nowadays I keep hearing the same argument except its Braun and Fielder. Of course the contract situation has put some of that debate to bed but besides the point. It’s a simiiar sitution that was going on with Yount and Molitor. I know people who are much bigger Braun
Braun.jpgfans and vice versa.

So now the question is, who would you rather have, Yount and Molitor or Braun and Fielder? This is a hard blog for me to write because I love all of these players and I have a hard time saying I’d want one over the other. Still, a choice needs to be made, no riding the fence here.

My choice has got to be Braun and Fielder.

Comparing these duos is not easy. They’re different players altogether who all play different positions. I think the first thing we need to look at is simple. Braun, in my opinion, is the best player of the bunch. Right there is enough reason to take these two guys over Yount and Molitor.

Fielder and Molitor would never wow you with the glove. Molitor eventually moved to DH during his career and Fielder is probably headed that way at some point. Yount does have the edge over Braun with the glove but it’s not like Braun is terrible in the field. He has an above average glove that is improving each year. He’ll probably never win a gold glove but his speed makes up for a lot of his shortcomings.

These duos have mainly made their mark with the bat so let’s go there. There’s no denying what Yount and Molitor did at the plate. Both hit over 3,000 hits and are in the Hall of Fame because of it. But what types of hits are we talking about? Molitor and Yount are guys who will dink and dime and hit the ball to the gaps. This is nice but it’s not dynamic.

The best thing about both players is their consistency. They were very, very good at getting hits for a very long time. Molitor hit .306 during his career and Yount just .285. Pitchers did not fear them coming into games. They knew that between theYount and molitor.jpg two of them they were going to work the count and eventually get on base in a game. This is exactly what made these guys hall of famers though. They would work counts and set the table for the players behind them.

Now you jump ahead to Braun and Fielder. Braun, if he stays healthy, has a good chance at 3,000 hits. Braun has, essentially, played just under 4 full seasons at this point in his career. He’s already hit over 200 hits once and is on a 15 year pace to have 2,800 hits, so 3,000 is not at all out of the question. Plus Braun has a career .309 average and is still improving his plate discipline.

Prince will probably not reach 3,000 hits but he is a career .280 hitter at this point in his career. I don’t see any reason why that will not continue. Prince has shown he’s willing to go to all fields with the ball until he gets what he wants. He’s very patient at the plate and has no problem taking the free base. With his approach at the plate he’s capable of hitting .300 for a few seasons in his career but .280 is more likely.

So on hits alone Yount and Molitor have Braun and Prince but look at the averages. Molitor was a freak and was always over .300 every year it seemed. Braun has that type of potential as well though. He’s a complete hitter with with no real weak points in his approach. Yount, on the other had, had as many seasons (9) hitting under .275 as he did over .290. He was a great hitter but he sprinkled in some great seasons his some so-so seasons as well. From a pure average view Fielder has the potential to have a comparable average to Yount. He’s patient enough to force pitchers to attack him and he, like all of these guys, can hit to all
Prince.jpgfields.

So the thing that separates these duos is clearly the power. Molitor and Yount were great hitters but I would say opposing teams didn’t fear them. The best example I can give from a modern day player is Derek Jeter. He’s a great player but he’s not a guy you need to pitch around. You can attack him and with worst-case scenario he’s on second base with a double. Yount and Molitor got on base a lot but they kept the ball in the park. Pitchers were able to attack them with their best stuff over the plate and not worry about a mistake leaving the ballpark. 

The same cannot be said for Braun and Fielder. You make a mistake against these guys and you’ll never see that ball again. Both guys not only have tremendous power but they can hit out it to all fields. That’s scary for any pitcher to try and figure out.

You start to look at the numbers and you see the clear difference. Molitor and Yount had a combined 41 seasons of baseball and hit 485 HR’s. Braun and Fielder have about 11 years and already have 336 HR’s. If they can stay healthy, Braun and Fielder have the potential 500 home runs each. That’s something that the other two couldn’t do combined.

The run production is also not even close. Molitor and Yount drove in 100 or more RBI a combined 5 times. Braun and Fielder have already done it 6 times. You can get on base all you want, if you don’t have someone to drive you in it does you no good. Braun and Fielder and just more dynamic players with what they bring to the table.

You want to take a very simple view point on it you can ask yourself this; Would you rather have two table setters who get on base a lot or would you rather have two guys who can hit a home run every time they come up to the plate? I’m taking the power over the finesse.

 

Random Baseball Thought

The next week will be very interesting for the Brewers. Just the simple move of Greinke coming off the DL should create all sorts of movement. The biggest question is; Who’s out of the rotation, Estrada or Narveson. They each are scheduled to make a start next week and should treat it as an audition in my opinion. Estrada has done nothing to warrant him heading to the bullpen. Narveson got off to a great start but has struggled in his last two outings. It should be interesting to see what happens.

 

-Ross

Still Some Moves To Be Made

The Brewers hafan_g_greinke_marcum_576.jpgd one of the most active off seasons in the entire league. I don’t need to run through the moves they made, we all know them by now. The impact they’re having and will eventually have should be enough to keep us in the playoff hunt all year.

I do think the Brewers will win the NL Central this year. They have the pitching, easily have the hitting, and I love what I’m seeing out of the coaches. I also think a big reason why they’ll win the division is the lack of talent among the other teams. The Reds should be competitive all year but outside of that I question the rest. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates are all off to good starts but I do not believe they have enough staying power for the whole year.

So yes, the Brewers should make the playoffs with this team, but is it enough to make the World Series? I do not believe so at this time. I still see some moves that need to be made in order to get there. So let’s run down why I say this and what needs to happen.

Let me emphasize that when I say there are “moves” to be made I’m not talking about major moves. When I raised the question to Ben I think I led him in the wrong direction in thinking I was referring to major moves. The Brewers do not need to trade for a Felix Hernandez or anything to get there. A move can simply be calling up the right player at the right time or suring up your bulpen.

If you look at the last three World Series champions, Giants, Yankees, and Phillies, they all made in-season moves to improve  their team. The Giants promoted Buster Posey and traded Bengie Molina for bullpen help. We all know the impact Posey had on the team and they got an extra arm in the pen to help them down the stretch. They also added Cody Ross just before the playoffs and all he did was win World Series MVP.

Do the Giants get to where they got without making those moves?

In 2009 the Yankees added players like Jerry Hairston Jr. and Eric Hinske to improve their hitting off the bench. The 2008 Phillies added Joe Blanton en route to their World Series title. Moves like this need to be made during the season. Getting that extra left handed bat off the bench or that bullpen depth can really help the team along during a long season.

So what type of moves might the Brewers look to make this year to improve their chances this season?

At some point the Brewers will need to add bullpen depth and a solid player off the bench. Ben is right that eventually Morgan will take over for Gomez in center. This now takes our best pinch hitter away and really hurts our depth. In the NL you need those bats off the bench in key situations. I do not see guys like Almonte, Kotsay, and Counsell being those guys this year. Also, another arm in the pen. I’m not saying a closer or anything but just a guy who help during the dog days of summer when arms start to wear down and get tired.

Let’s also look at the shortstop position. Clearly Alaska has had an effect on Ben’s baseball IQ. Betancourt is decent with the bat but an upgrade would not be hard to find. His glove is well below average. A strong arm does you no good if you have the range of a fat kid in little league. He fails to get his body in front of the ball and relies on backhanding everything. I do not feel he brings enough offense to make up for his glove.I think the Brewers have enough hitters where a simple defensive upgrade would do wonders.

One name I’ve heard thrown out there is Jose Reyes. I would LOVE to have Reyes on the Brewers. His OBP is lacking but he hits for average, has a solid glove, and is a threat to steal every time he gets on. He would fit in perfectly in the Brewers new aggressive base running style. However, I do not see the Brewers being able to put a package together that can compete with what other teams can put together, so we’ll look past it. (Although, if we’re really going to go for it this year then why not? See if a package around Rodgers and Peralta can get him here)

So I’ll give you three more names they could look at.

First is Brandon Wood. Once considered the Angels top prospect and one of the better ones in all the game. He never got it going with the bat and just couldn’t find a place on the field. The Brewers can take a low risk/high reward flier on him. It won’t cost them any players to bring him over here and you can hide his bat in a lineup like the Brewers.

Second guy is Jack Wilson. Wilson is not the hitter he used to be but he’s a savvy vet who can work counts at the bottom of the order. He’s a major upgrade with the glove with great range and can make throws from any position. He’s also a guy who has good veteran leadership but not going to destroy any club house chemistry. The Mariners are not going to compete this year and Wilson is playing the same position as their top prospect. Wilson can come cheap, which is some thing the Brewers need. They could take a look at Chone Figgins as well but his contract is too much to take on in my opinion.

The third guy would be interesting twist. I was trying to think of veteran players on teams I do not see competing all year. As I did my team-by-team rundown this guy made a lot of sense.

JJ Hardy!!!!

We all know what he brings with the glove. He’s very solid going to the left and right and has one of the best shortstop arms in the game. He’s inconsistent at the plate but when he’s hot he can carry a team. The biggest issue with him is health. He’s currently on the DL and has spent a good chunk of the last few years on it. I know the fans would welcome him back with
hardy.jpgopen arms, especially the female fans, and I think he’d love to get to play with his friends again.

Other names the Brewers could consider, depending on their teams success, are Yunel Escobar, Ronny Cedeno, Marco Scuturo (Jed Lowrie may have taken his spot and they need hitting catcher like Kottaras), and Jason Bartlett. Just some names but I don’t see some of these guys as upgrades or being available.

Random Baseball Thought

I’ve always been fan of Braun for his ability and how fun he is to watch play the game. Outside of that I didn’t know what to think. I always felt he was a bit too cocky and it rubbed me the wrong way a bit. I got to hear his press confrence today on his contract extension and my opinion has completely. The guy is everything you want in a player. He’s extremely grateful to what the Brewers have done for him and truely loves the Milwaukee fans. I never thought I’d see the day the Brewers sign a guy to $20+ million dollar a year contract. What’s even better is he was 4 years away from free agency he reached out to the Brewers to get this deal done. This move didn’t need to be done at all, he wanted to be here till 2020 and hopefully past that.

Plus look how awesome Ashly looks in her new shirt!!!

 

ashle.braun.jpg-Ross  

How To Make the Playoffs

Well, the Brewers are 1/10th of the way through the season.  At this pace, they will end up 81-81, and miss the playoffs.  So the question arises:  What do the Brewers need to do in order to make sure that doesn’t happen?  There is definitely a short and long answer to this question, so lets start with the short one:  

The Brewers will and can make the playoffs with its current roster.  No changes need, or should be made.

And now for the long explanation:  

Why we don’t need changes in our outfield:

After watching the Brewers manhandle the Phillies last night on ESPN, one thing glared at me MolitorSwing.jpgand I couldn’t focus on anything else.  Ryan Braun is not only playing like Paul Molitor, but is starting to look a lot like him.  The same straightforward face, the dark hair coming out of the helmet, the lean body figure, and the swing.  It really struck me when they replayed the broken bat opposite field single he hit.  It was the exact same thing that Molitor was known for doing, which is finding a way to get a hit, and coming up with big power when needed (See: The warning track fly ball in extra innings to bring a run around).  In right field, Cory Hart will be back soon enough to hopefully get back into All-Star shape that he was last year.  Some may argueBraunSwing.jpg that centerfield is in need of renovations.  However, I don’t think this is true.  Nyjer Morgan is already on our team and has been doing well.  It’s only a matter of time before Gomez plays himself out of starting.  Does anybody NOT get nervous when he has to make a big throw or come up with a big hit?  He is in the most protected spot in the line up and still is struggling to hit fastballs.  Letting Gomez play now will also help keep Morgan more rested and ready to go in August and September.   No, our outfield is doing just fine and no changes need to be made.

Why we don’t need changes in our infield:

The 2 least controversial players in the infield would be McGehee and Weeks- These are both players that need to be healthy and playing every day if we want to content this year.  Weeks bring so much to the plate and will really cause some problems in the playoffs if he can get on base.  Casey needs to pick up his hitting a little bit so Prince will keep being pitched to.  Speaking of Prince….  Prince Fielder will not be a Milwaukee Brewer next year.  And that’s OK.  I’m not worried about next year.  Pitching wins championships anyways, and we have enough of that.  Prince will not be traded this year, and shouldn’t be.  There is no rebuilding to do, this is for the now.  The only exception I could see is if a high profile starter would be available and Mat Gamel is tearing it up in AAA.  We get another starter, replace Prince with Gamel, and move forward a better team.  I don’t think we NEED to do this move, though.  

Last but not least, we get to Betancourt.  A lot of people think we need to upgrade our SS, bother defensively, and offensively.  However, I do not find this to be the case.  Defensively, he has a very strong arm and makes all routine plays.   He may not get the screamer in the hole, or flip the ball with his glove to start a double play, but he is solid defensively and doesn’t put us at a disadvantage.  Offensively, with a $90 million payroll, there are going to be a few positions that you cannot afford to go out and pay.  Last year, the Giants had Aaron Rowand who batted .249.  The year before, Nick Swisher was just about the same.  Betancourt can be that guy!  And you know he can come up with a big hit when it matters, because that’s what these low profile guys do, step up when nobody expects them to and there is no pressure!  You read it here first!

Why we don’t need to change our Pitchers/Catchers:

We have enough catchers to field an indoor soccer team, and I can see the Brewers possibly trading one or two to bolster up our minor league system.  Between Lucroy, Nieves, and Kottaras the Brewers catchers have nothing to worry about.  As far as pitching goes, our biggest enemy is the injury bug.  If our staff stays healthy, we can easily go deep into the playoffs.  And I truly believe that.  Our number 4 pitcher has given up 3 runs ALL YEAR!  Our ace has yet to grace the mound with his presence, and 2 of our veteran bullpen arms have a pulled muscle or four.  Our starting pitching will go deep into games consistently as the year continues, which will help keep our pen healthy and happy.

I’m telling you:  The Brewers have all the pieces in place to become real contenders this year.  When everyone is healthy, I think we can totally get to the 90 wins it will take to make the playoffs.  It’s just a matter of time.

-Ben

Random Baseball Thought:
Ron Roenicke has been scrutinized a lot of late due to his excessive shifting of infielders to play into spray charts.  I’m interested to see how it plays out.  I think we are forgetting one big thing-  If a player is consistently hitting to the left side, might it be because there ISN’T  a whole bunch of infielders over there?  I think shifting players determines where players try to hit it.  What do you think?

Brewers on the Big Screen

Maybe it’s just me but when I watch baseball movies I can normally compare certain characters to real life players. I actually thought it was pretty easy and hence the theme of this blog entry. Ben and I decided to hold a quick 5 player draft and we’d compare a current Brewers player to a character from a sports movie. I honestly thought it would be really easy and I’d have no problem with it.

I was clearly mistaken.

I must’ve read up on about 100 baseball movies dating back to the early 30′s to try and find some comparisons and really struggled with a couple of my players. I had to stretch a bit to come up with some of these while others were pretty obvious to me. So here we go with the most obvious one to me.

 

Ryan Bran = Roy Hobbs (The Natural)

To me this was an obvious one that I didn’t have to put a lot of thought into. If you haven’t seen The Natural I’d have to question your baseball fandom. Behind Major League it’s probably my favorite baseball move. Robert Redford does a great job and looks like a real baseball player. Everything he did was just smooth and looked like he’s been playing baseball his whole life. He was a stud pitcher (before getting shot in the hip, nearly derailing his career) turned aging yet stuf outfielder who could do it all. Braun can be looked at the same way. He was drafted in the top 5 playing shortstop in college. Won rookie of the year as a third basemen and now is an ever improving left fielder. I don’t view Braun as a future gold glove winner but he’s an above average outfielder who has a knack for making big plays. He’s the best hitting outfielder in the game today (tell me who’s better?) and it’s becoming harder and harder to keep him out of the top 3 or 4 hitters in the entire game. He has power to all fields, covers the plate well, and has the speed to keep pitchers honest when he gets on. Braun is just a smooth player and, like Roy Hobbs, is VERY aware of just how good he is. Braun wants to be t he best player and carries himself like he is. The line I always remember from The Natural is when Hobbs said “when I walk down the street people would’ve looked and would’ve said There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in the game”. Braun, to me, seems to have that exact same mentality.

 

Randy Wolf = Eddie Harris (Major League)

As already stated my favorite baseball movie. Ben and I could easily quote that movie all day. I don’t think I’ve been to a single Brewers game where someone I was with didn’t use the “too high” quote after a home run was hit. It’s a classic comedy that took place at Milwaukee County Stadium, which simply adds to the nostalgia. The scene that I thought of when comparing Harris to Wolf was when Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) sees some gunk on Harris’s hip. Harris then runs down a laundry list of the gunk and crap he hides on his uniform and body to doctor a ball. He’s the crafty veteran pitcher on the team that no longer has the velocity to get the ball past hitters. Wolf will never blow anyone away but he’s only pitchers on the Brewers staff not in his 20′s. He relies on hitting corners and then that big, slow curveball that somewhat defies logic. For a ball that’s that slow it’s hard to believe he gets so much movement on it. Now I really hope Wolf isn’t starting holy wars in the locker room like Harris. From a personality standpoint they’re nothing a like. Wolf is very laid back, Harris was a ***** to all young players. So really it’s just the one scene.

So as you can probably already tell I’m already struggling with the comparisons. If you can do better please let me know.

 

Nyjer Morgan = Tanner Boyle (Bad News Bears)

Let me start by saying I really like Nyjer Morgan and think he’s going to be outstanding for the Brewers. Melvin made a great move in going after him and I personally feel he’s going to be great for Carlos Gomez. It now creates competition between the two of them that will cause them to play at their best.

Anyways, Morgan proved to have a bit of a temper last year. Morgan is not that big at 6’0″ and 170lbs, probably soaking wet. Yet the dude is fearless. He had a couple of incidents last year and already this year he ran over Brian McCann. He just doesn’t care. Tanner Boyle was the same way. Tanner was the smallest kid on a terrible little league team. He had the mouth of a sailor and picked fights with his teammates and opponents all the time. Personally I think Morgan unfairly has a bad reputation. He’s played his whole career for bad teams and was being pushed out of Washington. I think anyone would have short fuse it situations like that. From everything I’ve heard Morgan is a great teammate. But, like Tanner, he’s a high-energy guy who doesn’t put up with anything. They don’t care how little of a chance they have in the fight. To them it’s the other guy who should be backing down.

 

Erik Almonte = Crash Davis (Bull Durham)

This is a bit of a stretch I realize but the bottom line is they’re both career minor leaguers. Crash Davis described his time in the majors as the greatest 21 days of his life. Almonte could very well say the same thing. He was signed by the Yankees in 1996 and has played in a total of 46 major league games. Almonte has been a part of 8 major league organizations, an independent club, and even spent some time in Japan. He’s kept plugging away and plugging away until he finally got his chance this year with the Crew. Like Davis he plays the game because he just loves to play and its what he does best. Who knows if Almonte will stick around with the club all year but you know he’s going to make the most of the time he’s in the show.

 

Rickie Weeks = the kid from Hardball on the other team

So anyone who knows me knows that Weeks is favorite player and has been since his first game with the Brewers. So I had to pick him for this article without really thinking about who I was going to compare him to. Needless to say I really struggled with this one. I couldn’t find anyone that made any sense to me. Weeks is a quite guy who just goes about his business. He plays the game hard and the right way. Personally if I was an opponent Weeks is a guy who would scare me at the plate. He can work the count and hit any pitch to any part of the park. This kid (if you know who I’m talking about then I’m sorry you wasted the time watching this movie like I did. Keanu Reeves sucks!!) pretty much hit a home run every time he was up. He was an intimidating presence at the plate. I don’t think he had a single line in the whole movie so between Weeks’ quiet approach and his presence at the plate they’re exactly the same!!!! In all honestly can you come up with anyone better? I sure as hell can’t. Weeks is awesome. that’s all that needs to be said.

 

There ya have it. I clearly struggled a bit with this one. Just for the sake of it here is my top 5 baseball movies

1. Major League

2. The Natural

3. Field of Dreams

4. A League of Their Own (say what ya want, it’s a good movie)

5. The Sandlot

 

-Ross

 

Random Baseball Thought

How awesome is it to see the Red Sox struggle out of the gate. I personally dislike them like most people dislike the Yankees. I hate the Yankees but compared to the Red Sox I’m a Yankees fan. All the moves they made and all the money they spent and there they sit in last place in the AL East. I still think they’ll be at the top by the end of the season but for the time being I’m enjoying Red Sox nation in panic mode.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Well, the Brewers are off to a great start.  After a tough 0-4, they have started to
find a groove.  This is amid
several key injuries a la Hart, Greinke, and Lucroy.  After ten games, 1/16 through the year, we are 5-5, but 5-1
after a horrid start.  If we can
take away anything from the first ten games, it would be the following:

 

A) Prince Fielder wants to get paid.  He is playing at a lighter weight and
he is going to go strong for the entire season.  Which also means that if we want to make a playoff run with
him, it will have to be this season, because he won’t be around for much
longer.  Watch Fielder do lots of
“little” things, like hitting the opposite way, being more patient at the
plate, and dig some balls out at first base.

 

B) Rick Peterson was THAT bad.  In only ten games, the Brewers pitching staff looks
completely different.  A perfect
example of this is Narv-Dogg, Chris Narveson.  Last year he had some good wins but had great run support
(6.39 Runs per game average).  This
season, he is winning on his own, not giving up a run in his first two
appearances.  And just think that
if Greinke was healthy, he may not even have started a game!!!

 

C) Chemistry is completely underestimated.  The Brewers opening day line up does
not look that much different than last years.  The big difference is who is on the bench watching.  Ron Roenicke has stepped in and created
a team of guys who are loose, confident, and playing for each other.  While it is too early to tell how well
the offseason moves will play out, so far the additions of our pitchers and
Nyjer Morgan seem to have us headed in the right direction.  

 

That being said, lets have a little
fun, because hey!  The season is
too long to take every second seriously. 
For your entertainment, I have taken 5 current Milwaukee Brewers and
compared them to Baseball movie characters.  Some fit well, some are a stretch, but all are pretty
funny.  In no particular order:

 

Jonathon Lucroy- Rube Baker, Catcher, Major League 2

Rube Baker.jpg

When
the tough get goin’, go an’ get tough.

 

Now, I’ve never actually met Lucroy or
heard him talk, but you can only imagine. 
Rube Baker was an honest guy from Iowa who didn’t know anything but how
to work hard.  His words sometimes
never came through exactly right, but his intentions were always golden.  Lucroy is a golden boy from Louisiana
Lafayette and came to Milwaukee to just play hard.

 

Craig
Counsell- Scotty Smalls, Utility, Sandlot

I don’t know. Some lady gave it to him. She even signed her name on
it… Ruth. Baby Ruth. “

 

consell.jpg

Counsell doesn’t look like much,
and if we were doing any movies, he would be my “Rudy”.  4 foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’,
but the heart of a lion.  Counsell
has a special place in many Brewers’ fans hearts because he grew up an hour
from the ball park.  But…. When he
was a kid, there was probably some growing pains when he was not the most
coordinated kid.  I could see him
wearing a button up shirt and a fishing hat with the world’s largest brim on
the first day of tee ball.  I mean,
he’s just got the face!

 

smallscatch.jpg

Yovanni Gallardo- Carlos the illegal immigrant, Benchwarmers

Howie: Carlos?
Carlos: Who say my name?
Howie: [gives him 2 packs of beer and a tequila] I brought you a present from the
Benchwarmers. You’re really good at baseball.
Carlos:  Thank yo
u Albino.  Now get lost!

Carlos.jpg


OK, let’s not forget what happened to
Yo-Yo last summer when he was picked up outside a gas station at 3 in the
morning with his “buddy”.  Does
anyone doubt he was out drinking and got the munchies?  And don’t forget, Major League starters
only pitch every 5 days, what else are you going to do the other 4 days????

 

Prince
Fielder- Stan Ross, Mr. 3000

Stan: You don’t like me because I sign autographs.
[hits a baseball]
Stan:
You don’t like me because I tell you what’s on my mind.
[Hits another baseball]
Stan:
But you love me because I am the greatest hitters alive!

 

Stan Ross was a left handed hitting
slugger for the Milwaukee Brewers in the movie Mr. 3000, filmed at Miller
Park.  He was full of himself and
came back to try and break a record. 
Now I’m not saying Fielder is full of himself (he did make his whole
team blow up in a walk off homerun once) or that he’s trying to break any
records (he said his career isn’t complete until he breaks his dads season hr
record), but at least he’s left handed from the Brewers!

 

Carlos Gomez- Willie Mays Hayes, Major League

Willie Mays Hayes:Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays, and I run like
Hayes.
Lou Brown:You may run like Hayes. But you hit like sh*t.

 

That quote says it all. 

willie mays hayes.jpg

 

Random Baseball Thought:

 

When Major League Baseball came back to Milwaukee from Seattle in 1970 the team didn’t have to look
far for a nickname. The nickname “Brewers” had been used as a
nickname for minor league baseball teams in Milwaukee for years, and Bud Selig
and the new ownership group thought it should be used again as tribute to the
brewing industry in Milwaukee.

 

Courtesy of Rick Limpert, Yahoo
Sports

 

-Ben

‘Twas The Night Before Opening Day…

Brewers fans, my gift to you:@font-face {
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‘Twas the night before Opening Day, when all through the state
Not a creature was stirring, not even Bill Bates
The jerseys were hung in the locker with zeal,
In hopes that Prince Fielder soon sign a long term deal.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Pat Listach danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cleats,
Had just settled in to our $300 opening day seats.

When out on the infield there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter.
Out of the dugout Gallardo flew like a flash,

Struck out the Reds in order, back to the dugout in a dash.

The stadium lights on the freshly cut grass,
Made it seem like the off-season went by so fast.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Edison Volquez and 8 tiny fielders.

With a swing of a bat, that makes women shriek,
I knew in a moment it must be Rickie Weeks.
More rapid than eagles he rounded the bases,
And we whistled, and shouted, as Reds fans made sad faces!

“Now Rickie! Now, Carlos! Now, Brauny and Fielder!
On, Casey! On, Kotsay! Nieves, Yuniesky!
To the top of the standings! To the top of them all!
Beat the Cubs, and the Astros! Just beat them all!”

As the game wore on, this opening day,

And the players work hard for their minimum pay,

They faced a road block, they were down 4 to 2,
In the top of the 8th, and batters 9, 1 and 2

And as pinch hitter, Nyjer Morgan gets the sign,

And lays a perfect bunt right down the line,
I pick up my head– Rickie Weeks hits a double,
And now the Reds are the team that seem to be in trouble.

Next up to bat is number twenty-seven,
And today it looks like there is a Brewer fan in heaven.
Because Gomez swings the bat, and the fans start to tingle,
Because the unspeakable happened-Gomez just hit a single!

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the teeth in his smile was as white as the snow.

Next up is Braun, and he’s walked on 4 pitches,
And with the Prince up, Reds’ fans get the twitches,
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old player
And I smiled when I saw him, no need for a prayer!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
He hit the ball 500 feet-and killed it dead.

He spoke not a word, when he rounded the bases,
And smiled and looked down at his tightly laced laces.
And the Brew Crew knew how they would end up the day,
Because Axford was in, and he blew them away!

He sprang to mound, in the bottom of nine,
And when Reds batters batted, he sent them back to the pine.
And Uecker exclaimed, for the one and oh Crew,
“Brewers win! Brewers win!”….Ah, I can’t wait for game 2!

My NL Central Predictions-

1st- Milwaukee

2nd-Cincinatti

3rd-St. Louis

4th-Pittsburgh

5th-Houston

6th-Chicago

Division Winners-

AL East- Boston

AL Central- Minnesota

AL West- Oakland

AL Wildcard- New York

NL East- Philadelphia

NL Central- Brewers

NL West- Colorado

NL Wildcard- San Francisco

Divisional Playoffs-

Boston over Oakland

New York over Minnesota

Milwaukee over Colorado

Philadelphia over San Francisco

Championship Series-

Boston over New York

Milwaukee over Philadelphia

World Series

Milwaukee in 7 (Would you expect anything less????)

-Ben

Random Baseball Thought-

I have been watching Major League the night before opening day every year for the last 10 years.  There are a lot of GREAT baseball movies, but this one has to take the cake.

Ranking the Brewers Opening Day Starters

So here we go. After a long break we’re back writing and I’m extremely excited for the upcoming season!!

 

As Ben posted the other day we’re ranking Brewers opening day starters in our lifetime (1983 to the present). In that time the Brewers have sent 17 different pitchers. Some names you’ll recognize and others you wish you could forget. I’ve yet to read Ben’s post so hopefully mine won’t look too similar to his.

 

Just to clarify how I ranked my guys. I’m basing my rankings more how they were around that time of their career. Their performance prior to that year (or those years) and the rest of their career also plays a role in where they’ll land.

Group E- When does Pre-Season Football start?

 

17a. Scott Woodard (2000)

17b. Mark Knudson (1990)

17c. Rafael Roque (1999)

 

To rank these 3 guys would be an insult to rankings everywhere. Bottom line, they all sucked. If you look at the career numbers of these guys and I can’t even believe they were starting pitchers, better yet opening day starters. Until I saw the list I had never even heard of Mark Knudson and I always thought Roque’s name was Rickey, not Rafael. If you’re the type of guy who judges a teams potential on their opening day starter then you could not have been too excited the three years the Brewers rolled these players out.

Group D- Any other team and they’re the 5th starter

 

14. Jamey Wright (2001)

 

When someone mentions Jamey Wright my first thought is always was that that guy who pitched for the Indians in the World Series or that terrible pitcher the Brewers had?. I originally had Wright in the previous group but then I realized he pitched 15 seasons in the big leagues and is still under contract this year. I have no idea what anyone sees in this guy but his longevity alone gets him into this group. They guy has only has 2 years where he had more wins then losses and neither year did he have an ERA under 4.87. He nearly walked as many as he struck out and never had never had an ERA under 4.10 in a year he was a full time starter. He must just be a great locker room guy because his stats suggest he shouldn’t be in the league anymore.

 

13. Jeff Suppan (2009)

 

I’ll be honest here; I really do not like Jeff Suppan. I liked the move we made when we signed him and supported it at the time. Looking back on his time in Milwaukee he may be one of my least favorite Brewers of all time with his smug attitude and lack of accountability. If you ask him he never pitched a bad game in his career. The only reason he even started opening day is because Grandpa Macha has no idea how to run a team and rolled Suppan out there over Gallardo, the obvious choice. I wanted to rank Suppan 17th and the only reason I didn’t his what he did in his career in the postseason. He was very solid in most postseason appearances and played a large roll for St. Louis in 2006 when they won the World Series. Of course in 2008 he gave up 5 earned runs and 3 home runs against the Phillies in his 1 postseason game with the Brewers. I really hope he gets a starting spot with the Giants this year and the Brewers get a chance to light him up. Of course after the game Suppan will tell himself and the media how well he pitched. ******!!!

 

12. Don August (1989)

 

So here’s another guy I never heard of. For his blog I looked him up and I realize I may have him a bit too high. Still at the age of 24 in his first big league season he was the Brewers Opening Day Starter. He ended the year with a 13-7 record, ERA of 3.09 and WHIP of 1.25. His career look bright but just 3 years later he was done with Baseball. He finished his career with a 34-30 record and a respectable ERA of 4.64. Based on his numbers the guy could clearly pitch in the big leagues. I honestly have no idea why his career was cut so short but you have to wonder if he could have stuck around longer if he was pushed back in the rotation and wasn’t possibly seen as a 1 or 2 starter at such a young age.

 

11. Rickey Bones (1995 and 1996)

 

Rickey Bones was an All-Star. This is the only reason I have him this high. Early in his career Bones put up some good season with the Brewers. His ERA doesn’t show this but he had a respectable WHIP in those years averaging around 1.34. He was never a high strikeout guy who relied on a solid defense to make plays behind him. Bones was good enough to get 2 opening day starts and make an All-Star team, there’s not a ton of guys on this list who can say that.

 

10. Bill Wegman (1992 and 1993)

 

Wegman played 11 years and all of them with the Brewers. He was rewarded with 2 opening day starts and if you look at his numbers he earned them. Wegman won 12 or more game 4 times in his career. If you were to rank individual seasons for Brewers pitchers Wegman’s 1991 season should be near the top. He finished with a 15-7 record with an ERA of 2.84 and a WHIP of 1.12. You also toss in 7 complete games that year and it’s hard to understand how he wasn’t an All-Star. The next year he may have only had a 13-14 record but an ERA of 3.20 and WHIP of just 1.17 and another 7 complete games. I was always a big Wegman fan growing up but he could not sustain long-term success and quickly flamed just 3 seasons after his second Opening Day start.

 

Group C- Just like in Mr. 3000, a 3rd place finish seems like a good goal!!

 

9. Cal Eldred (1994 and 1998)

 

For most of us when we think of Cal Eldred we think of his rookie year when he almost won Rookie of the Year but was beat out by teammate Pat Listach. Eldred had probably the best rookie season ever for a Brewers pitcher in 1992. He finished the year 11-2 with an ERA of just 1.09 and a WHIP of 0.99. His career never lived up to this start (who could?) and a lot of people look at his as a disappointment. If his first year was similar to the rest of his career I don’t think people would think the same thing. He had a decent career and was a solid starter for the Brewers in his tenure. He battled injuries for a good part of his career and he lost a lot of good years due to that. He struck out nearly twice as many as he walked but his career will always be defined by his magical rookie season and the expectations that followed.

 

8. Doug Davis (2006)

 

The only reason Davis is on this list was due to a “rare” Ben Sheets injury. It’s unfortunate Davis’ second go around with the Crew did not go the way I hoped. I really like Davis and always thought he was overlooked with the Brewers. For the amount of guys Davis walked and the amount of home runs hit off of him it’s amazing his numbers are where they are. He was always an innings eater and would give his team a chance to win most of the time he hit the mound. Davis played for some terrible Brewer teams in his career and was always overshadowed by Sheets or Capuano. Davis is like the anti-Suppan. I always thought he was very honest about the way he pitched and just seem to have a good attitude about everything. You look at the years around his opening day start in 2006 and you simply can’t argue the decision that year.

 

Group B- If everything goes right 2nd place is a possibility

 

7. Ben McDonald (1997)

 

McDonald’s career looked to be heading in the right direction. His numbers were really solid and improving every year. At the age of 29 the Brewers gave McDonald the ball for Opening Day and he seemed primed to be a top of the rotation pitchers for the Brewers. Next thing you know he tears his rotator cuff. The surgery he had to repair it was unsuccessful and his career was over. Looking at his numbers I have him this high more of what could have been over what he actually did. McDonald was a big 6’7 righty who struck out over twice as many as he walked. Overall he had a impressive career WHIP of just 1.26 and ERA of 3.91. Give him a healthy shoulder and he probably is higher on this list for me.

 

6. Chris Bosio (1990)

 

The thing I remember most about Bosio was hooked his wrist behind his back during his delivery to the mound. This really has nothing to do wit his ranking but that’s what I think of. Bosio only played 11 years but finished with a career ERA under 4.00 and had most of his good years with the Brewers. Bosio had low walk rates throughout his career and kept the ball in the park for the most part. He relied heavily of keeping the ball down and letting his infield make plays for him. With the Brewers he had an ERA of 3.96 and averaged 12 wins a year. He was really never a number 1 guy but probably deserved 2 or 3 more opening day starts then what he got due to the teams he played on.

 

5. Moose Haas (1985)

 

The Moose had a really hit or miss career if you look at his numbers. In 12 years he had 6 average to below average years. The other 6 were very good years. He finished his career with 100 wins and just 83 losses. He also set a Brewers record with 14 strikeouts in a game. This record stood for 26 years until Sheets broke it in 2004. Moose was a solid pitcher or the brewers during their only World Series season. This is a big reason why he’s this high on this list. His numbers do not stand out over some of the guys on this list but most of those guys weren’t pitching in important games. Haas played for some really good Brewers teams and he had to pitch in some pressure packed games. Brewers fans have not had a ton of great years to look back at. Haas was a part of some of the better years and for that he is this high on the list.

 

Group A- These guys actually make sense

 

4. Yovani Gallardo (2010)

 

The only reason he’s not higher on this list is just hasn’t done it for long enough. Gallardo has everything you want in a starting pitcher. He can attack hitters with a mid 90′s fastball and bring them to their knees with a nice curveball. As mentioned before Gallardo should have started Opening Day in 2009 but Macha is an idiot. Gallardo has gotten better and better every year in the big leagues. He’s only 25 years old and as long as he can stay healthy his name has a chance to top this list one day. 

 

3. Teddy Higuera (1986, 1987, and 1988)

 

Higuera is a poor man’s Fernando Valenzuela. His numbers are shockingly impressive and might even deserve to be higher on this list. Higuera posted an ERA above 4 only 1 time in his 9 seasons and that was in 1991 when he only appeared in 7 games. Overall he had a career ERA on 3.61 and a WHIP of 1.24 for the Brewers. If his first three years he finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting, 2nd and 6th in the Cy Young Award Voting, 15th in MVP voting, and made 1 All-Star game. He struck out nearly 2.5 times more hitters then he walked. He also pitched more then 212 innings in his first 4 years. As his career went on back injuries and shoulder issues started to add up and his career was quickly over. Overall he had as much talent as anyone on this list but just didn’t have the years of success to support it.

 

2. Ben Sheets (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008)

 

All things aside Sheets had the better stuff then anyone on this list. He could hid the high 90′s with his fastball and had a nasty curveball. Sheets was looked at as the Brewers savior when we first appeared with the Brewers. He was coming off Olympic Gold and the Brewer fans really had nothing to cheer about. Sheets personality and ability quickly won over the fans. Only problem was Sheets never seemed to be able to make it through a full season. Every year Sheets would start the year off with a bang but we all knew what was going to happen as the year went on. His started to develop a reputation of being soft and was no longer seen as the Brewers ace. The fans started to turn on him a bit and he soon found himself out of Milwaukee. All of this aside you cannot deny his talent. Sheets was a 4 time All-Star and played a major role in the Brewers playoff year of 2008, well at least the part before he got hurt.

 

1. Don Sutton (1983 and 1984)

 

While most of his good years happened before his time with the Brewers, he is the obvious first choice for this list. Sutton is a 300 game winner and the only Hall of Fame member on this list. Sutton was the brought over by the Brewers in 1982 and was really the final touch the Brewers needed to make it all the way to the World Series. Sutton was a complete pitcher who posted low ERA’s and low WHIP’s during his 23 seasons in the majors. Sutton only pitched 3 years for the Brewers but his overall career is head over heels better then anyone else on this list.

 

Well there it is. I wish there was more talent on this list but it is what it is. Based on overall career Sutton was the best pitchers the Brewers have ever had and deserves the number 1 spot despite his short time with the Crew. Hopefully if we do this list again in a few years we’ll see some different names at the top of the list.  

 

-Ross

 

Random Baseball Thought

 

Greinke getting hurt is unfortunate but not that big of a deal. Being April he’ll miss 2, maybe 3 starts. Brewers have enough pitching this year to make up for it to start the year. Plus Greinke in the rotation or not does nothing to deter the offense. For all the Brewer fans out there freaking out about the injury just relax and let’s at least play some games before we start in with the gloom and doom talk.

 

 

 

What Dating has to do with Starting Pitching

Well, we’re back! 
It’s been a long off-season, but Cactus League is here, and the Crew is
getting ready to open up a promising season.  There will lots of side stories going on this year:  The Prince Fielder saga, a rookie
manager on the helm, new pitchers making a new home, and many, many
others.  As you know, this blog
looks at past, present and possible future Brewers.  We use some statistics to back us up, and we try to show
both sides of the coin.  Now, on to
the blog…

 

Pitchers have a very special place in baseball.  They do not play every day, but can
mean the difference between a winning season and a losing one.  The Brewers have had some very good
pitchers, and some very, very bad starting pitching.  With the additions of Marcum and Greinke, Milwaukee’s
rotation looks to be as solid as when we made the playoffs in 2008.  So Beer Mug Blog took a look at the
Brewers Opening Day starters over the last 28 years (going back to 1983 for you
math nerds).  We compared them
using our own system.  After looking
at the names and remembering the past, it reminded me of when I was young and
was into dating.  For most of us
who dated, we can usually group the guy/girl into certain categories based on
how they remember us.  So that is
what I did for the starting pitchers. 
I looked at 4 different categories:  Strikeout to walk ratio, earned run average, winning
percentage, and total career wins. 
I ranked the pitchers for each category and added up the total numbers
to figure out my overall rank. 

 

*Numbers after the
pitcher indicate rank in the following categories:  KO/BB Ratio, ERA, Winning %, and total Wins*

 

The ones your
friends never let you forget about

Roque.jpg

 

17.  Rafael Roque (14, 17, 17, 17)

16.  Jamey Wright (17, 16, 16, 9)

15.  Mark Knudson (13, 13, 14, 16)

14.  Ricky Bones (15, 14, 14, 12)

 

Sometimes, for whatever reason we end up dating someone that
isn’t really right for us. 
Truthfully, they are probably not right for anyone.  They smell funny, and are awkward at
the cafeteria table, and you are scared to kiss their metal mouth because the
last guy she dated still has scars on his upper lip.  And every time you think that everyone forgot you dated
them, that one buddy is there to remind you how funny it was for everyone else
to watch you try and hold her hand, and stand on the other side of the hallway
at the same time.

  I wish these
pitcher never put on a Brewer uniform, but all my friends who root for other
ball teams will never let me forget that Rafael Roque actually put on a Brewers
uniform and pitched opening day for us in 1999.  He had a lifetime 5.40 ERA for goodness sake!  With 5 career wins, he is by far the
worst on the list in this category as well. 

 

The ones who start
normal, and go crazy after a month

 

doug_davis.jpg

13.  Don August (16, 11, 6, 14)

12.  Steve Woodard (2, 15, 13, 15)

11.  Bill Wegman (8, 8, 11, 10)

10.  Doug Davis (10, 9, 12, 6)

 

Some girls seem real normal at first, and you think
everything is going great.  Then
you tell them one day how much you like them, and it’s like a switch went
off.  She calls you every five
minutes, writes you notes during every class telling you how much she misses
you, and flipping out every time another girl talks to you.  Before you know it, you are in too deep
and don’t know how to get out of it. 
The same can be said for these pitchers, who seem good on the outside,
but really are not as they seem. 
Doug Davis is a perfect example of this.  Nice guy, says the right things, puts in a lot of innings,
but really not that great.  Even
though his opening day start in 2006 was due to a Ben Sheets injury, he did not
really ever step up.  Davis’s
biggest fault?  His winning
percentage is only .474.

 

The ones you
really like, but if your friends knew how much you would be embarrassed

 

9.  Jeff Suppan (12, 12, 10, 2)

8.  Cal Eldred (11, 10, 5, 8)

7.  Ben McDonald (7, 5, 7, 11)

 

Maybe you have U.S. History with this girl. Maybe you have
to be field hockey partners.  Maybe
she is in your study hall.  No
matter what, you start to like her through the course of the semester.  And, certain circumstances make you
convince yourself that this is the one for you.  Only problem is, this is the same girl that you and your
friends were making fun of last semester for ripping a loud one walking down
the hall.  You know you like her,
but you can’t help it, you just won’t tell anyone else about it. 

 

eldred.jpg

From this list of pitchers, there’s probably one that you
liked growing up.  Mine was Cal Eldred;
I thought he was the best thing ever to happen to Milwaukee.  I had all his cards, and even took his
number for little league-21.  But
when you look at his numbers (192 games, 86 wins, 4.40 ERA), he wasn’t really
opening day material.  But Cal made
2 starts for us, in ’94 and ’98, both during the medieval years.   And really, he didn’t do much to
help us climb out of the bottom.  

 



The ones you take
home to Mom

 

6.  Chris Bosio (6, 6, 8, 5)

chris_bosio_autograph.jpg

5.  Moose Haas (9, 7, 4, 3)

4.  Yovani Gallardo (4, 3, 1, 13)

 

Some relationships aren’t all bad.  Some you are proud of, and want to show off just how awesome
they are.  They might not end up
working long term, but hey, no hard feelings!  You’ll probably end up still being friends with them, and
might even set them up with your buddy.

 

Chris Bosio ranked in the top 8 in all categories that were
measured.  He worked hard, and
Milwaukee fans appreciated it Bosio. 
When his time was up in Milwaukee, he moved on to Seattle, but it wasn’t
comparable to when Sheffield left town and was booed upon return.  I think all Milwaukee fans always
rooted for Bosio, and now he works in the organization as a lead scout. 

 

The long term,
steady ones

 

3. Ben Sheets (1, 4,
9, 7)

2.  Teddy Higuera (5, 2, 2, 4)

 

There is always that first true love that will inevitably
break your heart.   The first
time you meet her, you think she is soooo amazing.  You get enough guts to ask her out, and everything goes
great for a long, long time.  Then
she starts complaining about how you don’t comb your hair enough, or that you
don’t love her enough.  Pretty
soon, everything she does is annoying you and it leads to a bad break up.  It takes a while for you to move on,
but she finds somebody right away and you hope that it goes bad.  You keep an eye on her and her new
boyfriend.  But after a while, you
get caught up in your own relationships, and that ex is a distant thought.

 

SheetsOlympics.jpg

I think most Brewer fans would equate Ben Sheets to this
relationship.  Fresh off winning a
gold medal in the Olympics, Sheets was thrown into stardom in Milwaukee.  He started 6 opening days for us and
did quite well.  But towards the
end of his tenure here, he started complaining more about injuries and how he
couldn’t pitch in the big game down the stretch, and after the season he was
off to Oakland.

 

The one you didn’t
deserve


1.  Don Sutton (3, 1, 3, 1)

 

DSutton.jpg

Most guys will date that one girl that is perfect (in your
eyes) in every single way.  Their
hair smells nice, they smile is perfect, they volunteer on the weekends, and
know 2 foreign languages.  You
can’t believe you were lucky enough to get this particular girl, and yet she
never shows any inclination that she is “dating down.”

 

Don Sutton was in a league of his own, in terms of Brewers
starters.  He ranks number one in
ERA and win total.  He ranks 3rd
in strikeout to walk ratio (behind Sheets and Woodard) and winning percentage
(Gallardo and Higuera).  Sutton was
the go to man not just for the Brewers, but also when he played with the
Angels.  We are lucky enough to
have had his son for so many years in the broadcasting booth with “Rock” and
can still be seen involved in some Brewer things. 

 

So there you have it. 
28 years, 17 different starters, and still no idea who will pitch this
year for opening day.  It might be
someone on the list, and it could be someone totally different.  But with Greinke injured, you will have
to wait at least one more year before you see his name on the list.

 

 -Ben

Random Thought:  Albert Pujols is asking for $30 Million
a year for 7 years, or roughly $1 million per homerun during that span.  That is a lot of dough for a homerun.

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