Tagged: Milwaukee Brewers

Today until July 6th will tell much about the NL Central

July 6th will be the makeup game between the First Place Brewers (36-32 as of Friday 6/16) and the Chicago Cubs (32-33 as of Friday 6/16).

The Brewers just completed a very tough schedule by winning 3 out of 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals which historically has been a tough place to play for them.

From now until July 6th, not one team at or above .500 will play Milwaukee. This includes San Diego, Pittsburgh, @ Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, Miami, and Baltimore (19 games).

The Cubs only have one series at home series from now until July 4th (14 games).

The reason why I say this is because there is a pretty eye opening reason why the Cubs are underachieving this year.

The Cubs before Friday’s game have a road record of 13-18. It seems like every time they turn a corner and look to go on a run, they negate it with a loss. They have NOT won a road series since April 24-26 at Pittsburgh.

The Brewers on the other had have the 3rd best road record in the NL at 19-13.

What these two teams do before July 6th might be telling. Hopefully for the Brewers, they can begin to separate themselves from the pack of the NL Central.

The kids from AAA (Brett Phillips, Lewis Brinson, and Josh Hader) have arrived already.

People say it’s still early but July 6th won’t be so early anymore. The Brewers have the best of both worlds. First place during a rebuild season. This has been the most fun I have had watching this baseball team since 2011.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!!

If this is how a rebuild is supposed to go, then count me in

So it has been awhile since I did a baseball blog, and today is June 1st and already 1/3 of the season is over.

At the beginning of the season while I thought this Brewers team is not going to be a playoff team, I thought they would be better than many people think. I was not buying that this is instantly a 100 loss team.

The defense and fundamentals are much better than last year’s debacle. And they still (while not playoff contending) do have talent on this team.

I challenge each and every Brewers fan to just enjoy each game. Don’t worry about Wins or Losses and how many games this team is back out of a playoff spot. One thing I notice is this team puts bad (and yes there have been some stinkers) losses behind them and always competes each and every game. That is all you can hope as year one of the rebuild is underway.

Here are some good observations about this team I have notice in April and May:

Defense is much better. While they sometimes make boneheaded mistakes and bad decisions (which I admit does get to me), there are not the worst defensive team in the majors. Surprisingly their rival The St. Louis Cardinals earn that distinction and which is probably why A: They hover near .500 and B: Are and probably will be the best 3rd place team in baseball.

Jonathan Villar

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers

Who is this guy we got from Houston? Apparently one of the top 5 Shortstops via his stats in the MLB. There is becoming talk that this guy should be placed in the All-Star game. With his batting average a little over .300 at .308, his OBP at .412 and 19 stolen bases, we may have found our new lead off hitter. This also gives time for Orlando Arcia, the highly touted and long awaited SS to get some seasoning in AAA before being brought up. If Villar can figure out how to play 3B or 2B, then we may have a surprising IF piece in the start of our rebuild.

Jimmy Nelson

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After a year of figuring things out in the majors, Jimmy Nelson already looks like a solid #2 or #3 piece that you can build the rotation around. One important thing that I notice about Nelson is whenever he gets into trouble, he has figured out how to limit and even in some cases eliminate the damage. I do think the guy has an outside chance of being a potential Ace in the making.

Josh Hader

Milwaukee Brewers non-roster invitee Josh Hader, points to help his catcher field a wild pitch, Wednesday, February 24, 2016, in Phoenix. Arizona.(Photo/Roy Dabner) ORG XMIT: RD037

Have you heard of him? If you don’t keep up with the minors, you probably have not. I suggest you keep an eye on the minor league teams. This is one of the reasons why I don’t think this rebuild will take as long as many think.

Hader is one of the pieces we got back in return from the Gomez and Fiers trade. This guy is legit and he is a southpaw. In AA this year he is 1-1 with a 0.88 ERA in 10 starts. Hader is the one to watch out for. While he still is probably 1-2 seasons away, if Hader keeps this up, we could have a nice 1-2 combo with him and Nelson.

The Veterans

BREWERS-PIRATES. The Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun, hits a three run homer in the first inning, driving in Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez in the first inning as the Brewers continue their dominance against the National League Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, May 15, 2011 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ryan Braun hit his National League-leading 12th homer, tripled and drove in four runs, helping a shaky Zack Greinke and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 Sunday for a three-game sweep.. Photo by MICHAEL SEARS/ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, Aaron Hill, and Chris Carter:

The Brewers have leaned on these guys for a couple of reasons:

  1. Good clubhouse guys who can teach the young players how to play.
  2. Great possible trade chips.

Who would have ever thought tons of teams would show interest in Ryan Braun. While people still don’t forget his PED suspension, he is batting an incredible .348 and showing good hitters can always figure out a way to hit.

Jonathan Lucroy is starting to heat up. After a quiet early start to the season he is now up to .299 and has a .355 OBP. Lucroy is one of the biggest trade pieces for the Brewers as his contract is very friendly through next season.

Aaron Hill has also showed signs he can still hit. Additionally his defense has been better than advertised. His batting average is up to .275.

Hernan Perez

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During the Cubs-Brewers game that last 13 innings I got really upset at Perez for his poor at bat with the bases loaded and nobody out. Maybe he heard me. Lately he is showing Detroit made a mistake letting him go through waivers. He recently is starting to draw more walks and additionally is showing signs of power. This could be the future 3B if or when Aaron Hill gets traded.

Here are some not so good observations during April and May:

Inconsistent. With any rebuild you will notice a team will show signs that in some games they can be really good and other games not so good.

The pitching was all over the place in April and has since showed signs that they can compete. Now recently the offense seems to be struggling. Big innings are few and far away. While this can be maddening sometimes, I have had to learn to let it go just like the team is showing a good example of doing.

Wily Peralta

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It was not too long ago that Peralta was close to a 20 game winner. Now, who knows what we have. I can’t figure out the issue and neither can Craig Counsell or the Brewers coaching staff. He has shown times that he could turn the corner but the minute you think he will, there is a major setback. Peralta has been a disappointment this season. While fans talk about moving him to the bullpen, the best you can do right now is keep him in the rotation. If he still can’t figure it out by July, then it might be time to make changes or even think about if he needs a change of scenery through a trade.

Outfield

Minus Braun and Domingo Santana, the Brewers Outfield situation looks like a work in progress. Guys like Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Keon Broxton, and Ramon Flores bring good things to the table, however nobody has been solid enough in hitting and fielding to take over the position of CF. Alex Pressley has been nice however he is much suited as a bench player. This will remain a work in progress.

Overall, if you are a fan of baseball, you always want your team to compete every day. And Craig Counsell has this team fighting and playing hard. They are also quite fun to watch if you can let the bad play go. It’s all you can ask for a team in year 1 of their rebuild.

North of the Border baseball:

In April I was in Toronto and was able to see Rogers Centre for the first time in my life! What a cool stadium and atmosphere. It reminded me a little bit of how Miller Park is structured. If you love baseball like me and have a bucket list of visiting every stadium during your lifetime, I suggest if you find good airfare, update your passport if needed, and take a trip there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milwaukee-Brewers-Retro-Logo

Rant Time

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Well since Atlanta did it back in 2011.

P.S. Rant #2

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

Jonathon Lucroy’s stupid comments 9-7-14

Rant over…..

 

 

Matt Garza is more than just a big signing for 2014

Let me take a moment out to criticize all of those Brewers fans who jumped the gun criticizing management.

The Brewers were looking for a first baseman. They offered Corey Hart a contract and like any player who has been injury prone would, he decided to sign with the Mariners for more money.

Out came the “fire Brewers GM Doug Melvin” and the talk that owner “Mark Attanasio is not trying to win.”

Little did those people, me, Ken Rosenthal, John Heyman, and all of the reporters who are in the know about the hot stove realize that all that time, Melvin and company were talking with Matt Garza trying to make a deal.

To those who every offseason get on Doug Melvin, let me say this. Trust this GM. He is in my opinion one of the most underrated GMs in baseball given the financial constraints of the smallest market in baseball. Maybe if he overpaid too much to get Hart, I never write this blog on the Garza signing. He also quietly signed Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay to minor league contracts which won’t break the bank, will make us better than the first base disaster we had last season, and hold the fort until Hunter Morris is ready to come to the big leagues!

I won’t lie to you. After an awful Brewers season from the bad play in May, the injuries, and the Ryan Bruan suspension, all I was asking for this season is for the Brewers to at least be respectable.

Now with the signing of Matt Garza being official this past Sunday, I now think the Brewers can at least enter the conversation of competing in the tough NL Central.

Are they better than the NL Champs St. Louis Cardinals? No. Are they better today then they were last week? Yes. And I believe this sets themselves up nicely to compete for the next several years. Here is why I think the Matt Garza signing means more than just getting a quality pitcher to compete.

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1) Garza knows the NL Central well.

After pitching the last few seasons with the Chicago Cubs before being traded mid-season last year to Texas, Garza pitched very well for what was a bad Cubs team. In the 2 1/2 seasons that he pitched for the Cubs he had a ERA of 3.32, 3.91, and 3.17 with a WHIP (Walks, Hits to Innings Pitched) of 1.258, 1.177, and 1.141. He also average around 3 walks per 9 innings and around 1 HR per 9 innings.

I mention these stats cause much criticism has come with this signing due to his W-L total. People look at that and say he is automatically an average pitcher. Garza is not. He won’t wow you with Clayton Kersaw stuff but he is serviceable for keeping you in games. And when you play on the bad Cubs teams that he played for, wins and losses don’t give you a true impression of how well he pitches.

Plus Garza pitching in the NL Central means he automatically knows what to expect against the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates. No learning curve there.

2) He immediately makes Gallardo a better pitcher.

Gallardo

I really like Yovani Gallardo as a pitcher. The fact that he is a home grown talent and has been a Brewer his entire career makes me give him a pass for the times when I can’t figure out why he goes through stretches where he can’t appear to be the top of the rotation starter that I know he is. Could it be that Gallardo puts too much pressure on himself to be an ace knowing that many fans perceive him as such?

That is debatable. Let me throw this stat at you. In 2011, the last time the Brewers had a formidable trio like the one we will have this season, Gallardo flourished with a 17-10 record and 3.52 ERA. Arguably his best season. He still is signed through next season  and Kyle Lohse is signed as well so these three will be together for at least two years. Gallardo is better when he has better pitchers around him in the rotation. I think he is due for a big year.

3) Wily Peralta is now #4 in the rotation!

Wily Peralta

Many scouts say that Peralta can be a top of the rotation guy. At 24 and with one full season under his belt, I am glad the Brewers in a bad season, just let him pitch. Sure he has to work on not getting too emotional on the mound, but now that he does not have the pressure anymore to be a #2 or #3 pitcher. He can relax and work on the things he needs to in order to become a #1 starter that we all hope for. I am stoked that he will be projected to be #4 in the rotation. He might be the Brewers best kept secret that other teams lose sight of.

4) Garza adds depth to a growing area of pitching.

Remember not too long ago when the Brewers were criticized for not having enough depth in the rotation or bullpen? Well now with the Garza signing and the silent but smart Will Smith signing earlier in the off season, can you actually believe the Brewers have more depth at pitching that they do at some of the infield?

Will Smith Trade

Not only can Will Smith spot start, Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Thornberg, John Hellwig, and Donovan Hand all have starting experience. There are more but these are the big ones expected to compete or be in the bullpen.

And let’s not forget Marco Estrada. He could be the #5 guy in the rotation. There is a saying in baseball that you can NEVER have enough pitching depth and finally the Brewers have that.

5) Garza wanted to come here.

There was a time not too long ago where the Brewers were owned by Bud Selig or Wendy Selig-Prieb and were the laughing stock of the league.

In 10 years time, Mark Attanasio changed the perception of the franchise to one where free agents want to come here. Much of this has to do with the Brewers fan base. In a down year, attendance was still over 2 million and in the top 15 in the league.

I love this owner and hope fans really value how good they have it. Mark has shown time and time again that he is willing to allow Melvin to sign a big free agent or allow him to make a big trade to ensure that the team competes every year. This is much more important to him than making a huge profit. We not only have an owner, we have an owner who is a baseball fan and has the desire to win.

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And reading the quotes from Garza about how this signing came to be, this is great stuff!

Matt Garza is happy to be a Brewer

Also it was great to hear the quotes at the Brewers On Deck event Sunday that Mark Reynolds wanted to sign here because of the fan base!

Mark Reynolds impressed with the Brewers fan base

Kudos Brewers fans on creating the perception that this is a great baseball town where players want to sign!

6) The Brewers offense won’t struggle as nearly as bad as it did

The first half of last season was a train wreck. Everything went wrong. I still can’t believe a MLB team can only win 6 games in May unless they try hard to do it.

Not many people know that the pitching staff had top 5 stats in the 2nd half of the season. Garza upgrades that immediately.

Additionally, having Ryan Braun back a full season, and a healthy Aramis Ramirez in a contract season is almost like a free agent signing.

Rant

I don’t talk much about Ryan Braun and the entire PED thing. Here is a suggestion for Brewers fans. He apologized for what happened. He cheated. You can claim he is a liar as well. I am not a perfect angel in my life, so why am I going to hold a athlete to a higher standard than myself?

I think message boards and social media fans running their mouth about how they will never forgive Braun are speaking higher than most Brewers fans like myself. I really want to wear my Braun jersey at the games at Miller Park this season to despise these people too. And from the reception he got at Brewers On Deck, I believe many more people feel like I do.

And most people don’t realize the issue with PEDs was from the 2011 season. In 2012 when A. He did not have Fielder batting behind him and B. You know MLB was testing the hell out of him, he passed all his drug tests and arguably had a better year!

Ryan Braun Stats

I think this entire PED ESPN Bud Selig trying to save face for his legacy scandal is completely overblown. Others columnist agree and for further proof watch this mainly positive reaction of his first public appearance at Brewers On Deck.

Ryan Braun Column

Rant over

Now that I got that off my chest, let me add this:

Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez, and Jonathan Lucroy all had quality seasons and I feel they will continue to provide similar offense. Segura and Gomez were both 2013 NL All-Stars so their stars are getting brighter every year!

Khris Davis (Braun’s replacement) was able to get playing time and he impressed the team so much, it made the team ask Braun if he was interested in moving to right field.

If they can avoid injuries, this offense will be much better.

Carlos Gomez

7) Here is my biggest point.

The Brewers have much salary coming off the books next year and the year after. You have the essential fielding signed long term (C, SS, CF) and have nice young arms and other players in the minors that now can develop at their pace and come relatively cheap once they hit the majors. This allows flexibility for additional free agent signings and trades in future years. This is a great formula. Be competitive now while allowing flexibility to potentially compete for another division title in future years!

Brewers Contracts

By the way this site is a great site to see any team’s payroll.

Cot’s Baseball Contracts

Overall I like what the Brewers have done the last few days. After being the last team to make a free agent signing, they made one that surprised many baseball people including myself.

Once again there is optimism in Wisconsin during this brutal Midwestern winter and the countdown to pitcher/catchers reporting and Opening Day begins!

Miller Park

Memo to the Manager

So we are 6 weeks give or take into the baseball season. If you can figure out the Milwaukee Brewers, then more power to you. I can’t figure this team out. Are they as bad as the 2-8 start and the 2 wins so far in May?

Or are they as good as the 9 game winning streak to close out April.

Below are my suggestions to Ron Roenicke for improving this ball club to be more consistent:

Ron-Roenicke21

1. Give Rickie Weeks day(s) off.

I have no clue what is wrong with Rickie Weeks. He may not admit it but it is all in his head and he is pressing way too much. He is currently batting .100 on the current Brewers road trip, is batting .181 with a .302 on base percentage. He has consistently killed potential rallies and right now I have more confidence that the pitcher has a better chance of getting a hit than he does.

I am so glad Roenicke benched Weeks on Monday night. The Brewers looked more upbeat, played small ball, and looked better overall in their 5-1 victory. I would bench him for a few days. He is on record for saying he expects to play everyday and with Aramis Ramirez returning, you can insert Yunie B. to play 2nd and Alex Gonzalez to play 1st. Gonzalez looks to be coming around faster than Weeks. You are not managing to make players feel happy, you are managing to win ball games.

2. Have a meeting with the pitching coach and the starters.

The starting pitching can’t keep going only 4-5 innings. The bullpen is doing fine but at the current rate they are having to cover innings, they will be tired by July. This could be partially why Tom Gorzelanny went on the DL with left shoulder tendinitis. Yovani Gallardo is a good pitcher however he can’t be at 100+ pitches in only 4 innings. His main achillies heel has been not being effective with his pitches resulting in high pitch counts. Marco Estrada pitched great on Monday with 7 innings and only giving up 1 run on 3 hits and more importantly 1 walk! I hope this trend continues.

3. Move Carlos Gomez up in the lineup.

Carlos Gomez

He has really come into his own and this time it might be for real. Gomez is 2nd in the NL in hitting (#1 I will get to shortly) with a .367 average, .409 on base percentage, .633 slugging percentage, and 6 home runs, 17 RBI’s and 8 stolen bases. Since Lucroy has been inconsistent, I would not mind moving Gomez 5th behind Ramirez until Corey Hart returns. He has earned it. Also check out this article that St. Paul Pioneer Press borrowed from the Brewers Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt about Carlos Gomez. Think the Twins regret trading him?

Carlos Gomez: Former Twin’s contract looking wise now for Brewers

4. Leave Jean Segura as the #2 hitter.

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Jean Segura gets NL Player of the Week Honors

In five games last week, Segura hit an NL-best .500 over 20 at-bats while leading the league in slugging percentage (.950) and on-base percentage (.545).

Nuff said. I hope Brewers fans and fans all over the country vote Segura into the All-Star game. He deserves it!

# 1 in hitting with a .368 batting average

#3 in on base percentage .412

#5 in slugging percentage .588

#1 with 13 stolen bases

Not only that his defense has been stellar. If you have a chance and live out of state like me, take a listen to some of the Brewers opponents broadcasts on MLB.TV or the MLB Extra Innings broadcasts . Everyone from the great Vin Scully(Dodgers broadcasts), to Dick Enberg (Padres broadcasts), and Thom Brennaman (Reds broadcasts) have spent extensive time talking about how good Segura already is and how he will be great in the future. This may turn out to be one of the best Brewers trades in recent memory and he has not played a full season yet!

If Aoki gets going (which looks like he might after Monday’s game), and you have Segura playing out of his mind at #2 then once Corey Hart gets back this could be a lineup nobody in the NL or the select few AL teams the Brewers play this year will want to face. Just the thought of it sounds fun:

1 Aoki RF

2 Segura SS

3 Braun LF

4 Ramirez 3B

5 Hart 1B

6 Gomez CF

7 Lucroy C

8 Weeks/Yunie B 2B

9 Pitcher

With these suggestions and some better overall play, here is hoping that the Brewers play much better as the temperature gets warmer. The upcoming series this weekend against the first place Cardinals (May 17-19) will prove to be another early season litmus test to see how good this team can be. Until then, let’s continue to own the Pirates!

The first week does not make a baseball season

So the first week of the Major League season is now complete. And I am sure some Brewers fans are saying everything about how bad this team is and how they suck and won’t go anywhere.

These are not true baseball fans. Only 6 of 162 games are complete. No team ever wins a World Series in the first week. For example last year’s champion Giants started the season 1-4 and their fourth loss was a 17-8 blowout. They lost yesterday 14-3 with 2012 Perfect game pitcher Matt Cain giving up 9 earned runs. They really do suck huh?

2011 NL Division Champion Brewers? They lost their first four games!

What you can take away from the first week is trends. Here is the following good and bad to take away from the Brewers this week:

1) Jon Axford: He has given up a Home Run every single time he has pitched competing with Carlos Marmol for the “dog closer of the year award.” Ron Roenicke claims he is still the closer (since they don’t have many options) however the leash should be as tight as the Cubs have had with Marmol. Marmol as of Sunday has lost his job. Axford better be next. Not much margin for error. His velocity is down which makes me think either it is all mental or he is hiding an injury.

2) 6 innings. Only 2 starters have pitched 6 innings this year. I realize it is the first week and you might want to keep your starters to a pitch count however that better not be a trend. If that continues the bullpen will be tired by early summer.

3) 13 pitchers. Carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position with only 3 bench players is a risk. You did not know what you would get with Kyle Loshe since he missed most of spring training, however he looked very good on Friday. That lack of position players killed the Brewers when they ran out Sunday in the extra inning loss to the Diamondbacks.

4) Injuries. They happen in baseball. However this week the only projected infield starter who did not get injured is Rickie Weeks. When you have Alex Gonzalez playing first base and third base for the first time in his career all in the same week, that is cause for concern. Ramirez is on the DL and let’s hope Segura being taken out was just precautionary yesterday (he is day to day with a leg bruise). Braun is also out with a freak stiff neck injury and day to day. I do like the way the team kept fighting yesterday.

5) Catchers. Brewers have to have one of the best 1-2 catching tandems in the Majors. The fact that the infield is a mess right now and to be able to move Maldonado to first and bring in Lucroy later and continue with quality hitting and good defense is a awesome thing!

Lucroy’s game tying hit

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_07_arimlb_milmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=26101033&tcid=vpp_copy_26101033

6) Norichika Aoki. What a pleasure to be able to have Aoki on this team. He has not lost a beat from last season, puts quality at bats in the lead off position and has good defense. He had a 4 for 6 game yesterday, scoring three times and driving in three runs to keep them in the game. With all of the injuries someone has to step up and he definitely has.

7) Rickie Weeks. People need to lay off this guy due to his history. Yes he is not your typical #2 hitter however he had a great week. All he did was bat .333, with 8 hits, 3 walks, and the biggest surprise, has an on base percentage of .429. So what that he probably won’t bunt a man over into scoring position, that is not his game. He is a doing a fine job and once the lineup returns to normal hope his good play continues.

Side note: I am really loving these gold jerseys the Brewers wore on Sunday. I already have the retro home and alternate home blue. Might have to look into that. Hopefully it is their Sunday best home jersey and it continues.

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Remember it is a long season. We will see how this team is record wise when the calendar turns to May. Onto Miller Park South 🙂 (Wrigley).