Saturday, May 18, 2013

Episode 65

Breakdown of The Show:

Segura, Red Hot, Contact Extension? 0:00-23:00
K-Rod Called Up/Bullpen Now 23:00-35:00
Weeks & Lucroy Struggles 35:00-50:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 50:00-1:02:00

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Episode 64 "Mike Fiers Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

News Scrum (Axford, Betancourt, A-Ram, GoGo, Etc.) 0:00-41:00
Preview/Chalet Award Winner 42:00-51:00

Friday, April 26, 2013

Episode 63 "Tyler Thornburg Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Believe in Rickie Weeks? 0:00-19:00
Rami Back Soon/Lineup changes 19:00-32:00
Axford Closing Again? 32:00-47:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 47:00-59:00

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 Week 4 Power Rankings

Biggest Move Up: Milwaukee Brewers

Biggest Move Down: Chicago White Sox

1. Atlanta Braves (1)

Even after losing a few games to the Pirates and losing Jason Heyward to an emergency appendectomy, this is still one of the hottest teams in the league and show no signs of slowing down.

2. Boston Red Sox (11)

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz could carry this team all the way through the season. This is what we expected out of these two when they arrived on the scene and both threw no hitters early in their carriers. Getting Big Papi back didn’t hurt.

3. Colorado Rockies (10)

This team is hot and surprising. The pitching probably can’t hold up much longer, but Carlos Gonzalez and Tulo’s bats can make the team much better than people thought they would be in March.

4. Texas Rangers (5)

Their pitching is performing extremely well and the hitting is as good as it was last year, even with the big losses over the offseason.

5. San Francisco Giants (7)

After being swept by the Brewers the Giants went on a role. They have lost one game since and climbed back to the top. Their starters are finally starting to pitch like we know they can and the bullpen continues to hold things down late.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (15)

Proof that they have been playing well is the fact that the Brewers are winning almost every game they have played, but are still behind the Cards. And St. Louis has been playing some tough opponents.

7. Cincinnati Reds (9)

The Reds are taking advantage of some bad competition but they still bumped way up from their .500 mark

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (6)

They had a rough week, but are losing to some very hot teams. They are still strong and better than most predicted.

9. Oakland Athletics (2)

After a very hot first couple of weeks, they are losing to talent that isn’t as good as they are, but even after losing this week, they are still in first with a good record.

10. Washington Nationals (3)

The Nationals have to be one of the biggest disappointments in the first month. They are better than they are playing which is why it is very hard for me to bring them down very far and Bryce Harper is playing at an MVP level.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (26)

It takes a lot to make me move a team this high, and the Brewers gave me a lot. Nine straight games, pitchers throwing gems and timely hitting has brought the Brewers back in April.

12. Kansas City Royals (14)

The Royals beat some of the top teams in these Power Rankings over the past week. If they want to keep it up, the bats need to pick up.

13. Detroit Tigers (4)

On a four game losing streak and lost a series to the reeling Angels. The Tigers should be fine overall but had a bad week.

14. Baltimore Orioles (17)

These are the O’s we saw last year! They are winning some very close games and climbing in the division. If they keep it going they will shock everyone for the second year in a row.

15. New York Yankees (20)

Still winning series with almost no one left on the team. If CC can’t correct his issues this team will fall off the map at some point.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers (8)

They might as well be last after being swept by Padres. This is just the latest example about how combining the best players won’t always give you the best team.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (22)

Taking 2 of 3 from the Braves is a big step for this team. They are still too hot and cold to have any confidence in their recent success.

18. New York Mets (16)

The Mets are starting to fall into place. Swept by the red hot Rockies, lost a few to the Nats and now losing to the Dodgers. No one expected the Mets to do much, but the young talent is still fun to watch.

19. Cleveland Indians (25)

They took advantage of the Astros, but they still aren’t playing well. They are just better than the worst of the league right now.

20. Minnesota Twins (23)

I think they are taking advantage of unexpected off days and pulling together wins, but still not doing well enough.

21. Los Angeles Angels (12)

I know they swept the Tigers, but they aren’t performing that well. Weaver needs to come back. Thankfully Garrett Richards is helping the rotation.

22. Tampa Bay Rays (18)

They had a good week but their record keeps them in the cellar.

23. Toronto Blue Jays (19)

Welcome the 2012 Miami Marlines, round two.

24. Chicago White Sox

They are losing too many games to bad teams. They need to beat the bad ones and at least spilt games with the good to keep up in the Central.

25. Philadelphia Phillies (24)

I can’t believe this is almost the same roster that went to two World Series. The pitching staff just can’t hold up their end of the deal and Ryan Howard needs to find his power swing.

26. Seattle Mariners (21)

They only won two games over the last week, and lost a series to the Astros. If Michael Morse recovers from his injury and gets his home run swing back this team can start winning again.

27. Chicago Cubs (27)

The Cubs stay put, but not even Dale Sveum wants to be a fan of the Cubs right now.

28. Houston Astros (29)

They won a series! That might be a highpoint for them!

29. San Diego Padres (28)

They are bad! I can’t believe they swept the Dodgers! And that account for over half their wins!

30. Miami Marlins (30)

Their only player isn’t even performing. Did they just hire this team off the street?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Improbable Streak

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently on a very unlikely winning streak that every fan should be soaking in. Not only is the Brew Crew the first team ever to win eight in a row after starting the season 2-8, but most of their hitters are not performing well and pitching, what was considered their weakest area, is carrying the team. Let’s take a look at this improbable, but enjoyable streak.

First off the Brewers had absolutely no momentum heading into the streak. At 2-8 they were easily one of the worst teams in the league, sitting in the cellar with the likes of the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros. On top of a poor record Milwaukee was down two key members of their lineup in Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. Everything else was in a funk too, pitchers were only going 5 innings into games, the bullpen was blowing leads and most of the lineup was barely piecing together hits.

What helped turn the Brewers around was their pitching. Currently Milwaukee’s pitching staff has 2.84 ERA and the bullpen is performing at the same level as the 2011 bullpen in the second half of the season with a 1.32 ERA. Before the steak Milwaukee was in a horrible place. Axford was reliving his woes from the 2012 season with a 24.30 ERA in his first four appearances. Mike Fiers was in the bullpen after pitching poorly enough to get kicked out of the rotation. Ron Roenicke helped turn the pitching around by shortening Axford’s leash and replacing Fiers with a hot minor league hand in Hiram Burgos. By putting his best players on the field, Roenicke is helping this team jump ahead of the pack.

Now the most impressive part of the streak isn’t what was happening before it, but what is happening during. Five of the Brewers eight regular starters aren’t even hitting above .260 and three hitters are hitting under .200. Right now Milwaukee is thriving off big hits, but the fact that they are winning without two of their key power pieces and Ryan Braun slumping is astounding. Braun is the definition of Milwaukee’s hitting during the winning streak. His average is below Braun’s normal mark, but the Brewers three-hole hitter has a .759 SLG with 13 RBI. His only hits are coming in key run producing moments, while almost every other moment has gone to waste.

So Milwaukee probably shouldn’t be in this situation, they are. They should probably still have bad pitchers and with a poor team batting average and missing key components, their lineup shouldn’t be able to produce a run. The thing is they are producing, they are pitching and they are winning. Enjoy it Brewers fans, the great thing about baseball is sometimes all you need is a little luck.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Series Preview Milwaukee Brewers (9-8) Vs. San Diego Padres (5-13)

Probable Starters

Monday April 22nd 9:10pm

Game 1

Kyle Lohse (0-1 2.70 ERA) Vs. Jason Marquis (1-1 2.41 ERA)

Tuesday April 23rd 9:10pm

Game 2

Yovani Gallardo (1-1 5.24 ERA) Vs. Clayton Richard (0-1 5.28 ERA)

Wednesday April 24th 9:10pm

Game 3

Marco Estrada (2-0 4.50 ERA) Vs. Edinson Volquez (0-3 8.84 ERA)

The Brewers are winners of seven straight and are heading into San Diego to take on the sinking Padres. Milwaukee just swept back-to-back series against the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants and division rival Chicago Cubs. Over this, seven game winning streak the Brewers lead the league in home runs and are in the tops in the National League in ERA and runs scored.

The Padres are coming off being swept by the Giants just after sweeping the reeling Los Angeles Dodgers (that’s three of their five wins this season). And not only are they one of the few teams already in double digit losses, they are sending three men to the mound who have been horrible in the past against the Brewers, and only one of them has had any success in this season.

Game one puts a pair of former Cardinals on the mound. Kyle Lohse is on the hill for the Brewers. Lohse has been phenomenal so far in the blue, white and gold, but still hasn’t been able to pull off a win. As long as he can throw another quality start the Brewers should be in good shape to win this game, but Kyle might still not get a win. Lohse has only had one bad inning in his Brewers career this far, and that amounted to just three earned runs making him probably the hottest starter in this series.

Jason Marquis takes Lohse on and is having a surprisingly successful campaign in just three starts. With one loss due to a lack of offense, Marquis carries an ERA under three into the matchup. Unfortunately, for him, Jason has 11 career losses to six wins against Milwaukee. Couple that with a career ERA above 5 when taking on the Brewers and an offense just getting by in the MLB and the chances of a win look grim for the Padres in game one.

Game two sends Brewers staff ace Yovani Gallardo to take on Clayton Richard. Gallardo has had just one good start for Milwaukee so far. In good news for the Brew Crew, that was his last start. Gallardo is known as someone who strings together good and bad losses so after a game where he allowed just one run in six innings he is poised to have another good game in pitcher friendly Petco Park. Oh and in three starts in Petco, Gallardo has a career ERA of 2.84 and 24 strikeouts to 19 innings. And politics aside, Gallardo is charged up to perform extra well after his quick run in with the law earlier this month.

Richard is having a rough season so far but he is also coming off his best start of the season where he blanked the red hot Colorado Rockies through six. Richard is one the San Diego’s best pitchers, despite the stats, and can definitely give the Brewers some trouble in this game. He has a 2-2 record against the Crew in his career with an ERA over four, but that includes his early years when he was a little more wild and inconsistent. I still think he will have trouble conquering Milwaukee.

I won’t spend much time on game three because it’s simple. Estrada is pitching well but not great and can do better for the Brewers, but I find it very unlikely that he’ll be able to pitch as bad or worse than Edinson Volquez who is off to one of the worst starts in the league. Volquez’s 8+ ERA and his 3-3 record against Milwaukee with a 5.64 ERA just makes it even less likely that the Padres will have a chance in the series finale. I am hammering this game down as Milwaukee’s sure bet to win.

Overall Milwaukee could easily sweep this series and keep their hot streak running and I am a person who doesn’t like to predict sweeps. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the MLB this year and will only piece together wins one at a time unless they play teams that are also horrible. The only thing that gives San Diego a chance to get a win is that they are pitching at home in a very pitcher friendly ball park, but the Brewers are getting the same advantage in the pitching department and their pitchers are overall better than the Padres’.

Fantasy buffs the Brewers player you have to start this week is Jean Segura. Hitting the ball on the ground and speed kills in Petco and that’s what Segura does. Not only that but he’s hitting .321 and has scored six runs during the Brewers winning streak and Ryan Braun can still clobber the ball while behind him to add to that run scored total. Also, please stop making Segura stealing first jokes.

Make sure to sit Rickie Weeks (as if you weren’t already). Weeks is on a huge slump and plays horribly in Petco. As if his .182 average wasn’t enough, .175/.257/.254 line in Petco. User beware on Rickie in this series.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Episode 62 "Josh Butler Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Cleanup Spot/Lineup Construction 0:00-18:00
Burgos Gets Call/K-Rod Signing 18:00-34:00
Guest Interview: Adam Rygg of Brewer Nation 34:00-1:12:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:12:00-1:22:00

Friday, April 19, 2013

Series Preview Chicago Cubs (5-9) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers (6-8)

Probable Starters

Friday April 19th 7:10pm

Game 1

Jeff Samardzija (1-2 2.75 ERA) Vs. Marco Estrada (1-0 4.50 ERA)

Saturday April 20th 6:10pm

Game 2

Edwin Jackson (0-2 6.06 ERA) Vs. Hiram Burgos (--- ----)

Sunday April 21st 1:10pm

Game 3

Scott Feldman (0-2 6.00 ERA) Vs. Wily Peralta (0-1 6.19 ERA)

The Cubs and Brewers meet up for the second time this season, this time inside the weather friendly confines of Miller Park. The two teams have had very different experiences since they met just over a week ago. The Brewers are on a 4 game winning streak after dropping two to the Cardinals directly after the Cubs series. The offense is starting to perform better collectively and some pitchers, especially in the bullpen, are starting to pitch better than they were earlier in the year. Meanwhile the Cubs lost 3 of 4 to the very same San Francisco Giants the Brewers just swept, and took 1 of 2 from the Rangers.

In the first game, the Cubs will send one of their only bright spots in this short season to the mound in Jeff Samardzija. He has performed very well in his first season as the Cubs’ number one starter, but has been on the bad end of a couple of losses where he could not get run support.

On the other side, the Brewers are sending out Marco Estrada. Estrada put together two strong starts back to back. The first game could rely solely on who gets more run support. I will take Estrada as the favorite here. Samardzija is 2-3 against Milwaukee but Marco hasn’t lost to the Cubs, so I think that gives him the edge. However there is a first time for everything.

In the second game of the series, the Cubs’ big offseason purchase takes on Hiram Burgos in his first major league start. Edwin Jackson is performing well below expectations, and has an ERA just over 6. Jackson is a starter known to have his share of rocky starts and suddenly turn things around, so you can’t look at those numbers as a sign that this well be an easy win. Jackson is 3-3 against the Brewers with a 3.47 ERA in his career.

Meanwhile, Burgos is making his first major league start. After a strong performance last year in the minors, in this year’s World Baseball Classic and to start the season in AAA he won the favor of management and gets the ball. It’s hard to predict how he’ll perform considering the only major league experience he truly has is the batters he faced in the WBC and in Spring Training. I will go with Jackson here, because he is bound to break out of this slump at some point and although Burgos proved he could handle major league talent in the WBC, I still think he will have some problems in his first start.

The best game of the series for the Brewers to win in my opinion is Wily Peralta against Scott Feldman. Feldman is as bad as his 0-2 6.00 ERA shows. He hasn’t made it through 5 innings and is coming off extra rest since the Cubs decided to skip his last start, and that isn’t always a good thing for pitchers who are well known as creatures of habit. Feldman has one start against Milwaukee and shut them out in 6 innings to get a win but that was 3 years ago.

Peralta takes the hill against Feldman and isn’t as bad as his numbers. He is a very strong pitcher like we saw last year who has had a couple of bad innings. Wily is 0-0 with just a 2.70 ERA against the Cubbies. Even if he has another bad outing he is still better than Feldman. I think Peralta will finally put it together this outing and come away with a quality start after a dew bad starts to begin the 2013 season.

Overall I can see the Brewers sweeping the series, but I believe they will take 2 of 3 from Chicago winning games 1 and 3. Don’t count the Cubs out though. Like most division rivals, no matter how bad one team is, it will still give the other a fight.

Fantasy fans, the player to start in this weekend series: Norichika Aoki. In just 18 games Aoki is .407/.486/.661 against the Cubs with 2 homers and 5 RBI. In a small sample size he blows the Cubs away and plays some of his best ball against the southern rivals.

The player to sit: Rickie Weeks. Not only is Weeks slumping at the plate in general, but he his .22/.323/.353 against the Cubbies with 120 strikeouts in 96 games.