Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Downfall

With today's news after the Brewers won their second game in a row and split a four game series with the Nationals that Bill Hall accepted an assignment to AAA Nashville to work on his swing and Jeff Suppan after some terrible starts, was put on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain it seems these two have hit rock bottom (if they hadn't already). Also, not related to today's news but with the season long slump of JJ Hardy and the setback after Tommy John surgery for Chris Capuano which will not allow him to pitch in a game this season, it appears these four guys have all been on a downfall after showing promise. They have all experienced highs that gave Brewers fans like myself hope that they could be keys to a possible World Series title someday. But instead, they may end up just being known for one thing, which may have started their downfalls. Those horrible performances on a daytime sopa opera "The Young And The Restless" during the 2007 season. Let's take a look back.....

Should Suppan and Capuano be giving advice on a fasbtall? Neither guy can throw more then 90 MPH.

If that actor could throw 95 MPH, he would be a much better option then Suppan. And would anyone want a training session from him for anything other then how to throw batting practice?

Perhaps they should not have been talking about going to the World Series, spitting in the face of the baseball Gods.

Suppan will probably be holding onto that 2006 playoff performance for his next contract to.

I'm not sure Chris Capunao was ever the best lefty in the NL Central, much less the entire league.

Bill Hall has had some big game winning hits, but has not put together a big season since 2006.

I wish at some point this season JJ would have a "hot" bat and a long hitting streak, both our doubtful at this point in time.

And Hardy, the guy who makes the women in Milwaukee's panties wet and the guys puke when he GIDP has the lamest line of the whole shitty performance; "She can warm up with me anytime, I'm gonna need her name and number." JJ, you are a douche bag.

This whole thing was a constant poke at the baseball Gods. And today with the Hall and Suppan news I finally pieced everything together. This soap opera gig was a bad idea, for everyone and has damaged these guys for a few years now. None of them have been the same, well Hardy was pretty good in 2008.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As I Sit Here Watching Tonight's Game.....

Manny Parra really has not pitched that bad. Sure he walked two run in, but all night he has seemingly got ahead of hitters and is not really having much of a problem getting the first 2 outs. But he is having trouble putting hitters away and closing out innings getting that 3rd out. His fastball has looked very crisp tonight consistently between 93-96 MPH. If he can really find a what his strike out or "put away" pitch is he could really have turned his young career around. I'm just not sure yet what that pitch is? His curve or his split? He really needs to work on making one of those real good to go with his good fastball and change. Sure the 5 runs Parra has given up don't look very good, but he has gone 6 innings with 7 K's and has worked ahead most of the night. All encouraging signs for Manny. As hard as I have been on him at times here, I'm not gonna give up on. In this his fourth start since his Nashville stint you can see improvement and a guy with more confidence. Still just has to refine and work on a few things. And as they say, you can't teach being a lefty who throws in the mid 90's.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Do Not Believe Carlos Villanueva Gives Us The Best Chance To Win

But apparently Ken Macha does. Today in his pregame presser with the media Macha named Villanueva his starter for tomorrow's game vs Washington. This is a sick joke right? A bad dream? A sick demented twilight zone? No, it's truth and fact. A guy with a 6.18 ERA out of the bullpen and a 2-7 record will make a start for the Brewers tomorrow.

Of course it could be worse, we could trot Mike Burns or Seth McClung out there again. But throwing "Villa" out there is not much better then those two options. Most (myself included) thought tomorrow's starter would either be a guy the Brewers traded for (Washburn, didn't happened after heavy rumors) or Tim Dillard who the Brewers called up from AAA Nashville on Sunday. Dillard seemed like a better choice then Villanueva, he has been starting all year in Nashville with pretty good number all be them at AAA. 10-4 with a 3.66 ERA. Given the fact they gave Burns and McClung chances you would think Dillard would be next in line. I like Ken Macha and think he has done as good a job as he could have this season so far, but this move really boggles my mind. If the Brewers don't win tonight I have a hard time believing they can tomorrow to keep the chances alive of taking at least three from the lowly Nationals.

Prove me wrong Carlos and Ken. I'm rooting for you, but not with much confidence.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm Really Starting To Realize

After seeing the Brewers drop 2 of 3 to the Braves at home this weekend, I think for the first time this season I really see that this team really just is not that good. They are okay, maybe a little above average, but not really a playoff contender. It pains me to have to write that, but I think I really believe it now. The pitching staff both starters and bullpen is a complete mess, save for Gallardo, Hoffman, Stetter and Coffey. Pretty much everyone else has been average or below average, especially that 5th starter spot which has been terrible between McClung and Burns. Tim Dillard will now get a chance to fill that role Tuesday after getting called up from AAA Nashville yesterday. Looper has a nice W/L record but has given up a ton of homeruns and his ERA is not to pretty, same for Suppan save for his W/L record not being very good. Manny Parra has had two really nice starts since getting recalled from Nashville and one "okay" start so he is at least showing some improvement and promise.

The bullpen just can't be trusted. Outside of the three names I listed above. Smith, Burns, Villanueva, McClung and to a lesser extend DiFelice have all had issues and when any come into a tight ball game I'm not usually real confident they will keep the lead or keep the Brewers close if behind. Maybe I'm being a little to hard on Mark DiFelice, he has been almost outstanding against right handed hitters. But he just can't seem to get left handed hitters out at all. I know Al from Al's Ramblings has called him a "ROOGY" and he is probably right.

As for the offense, well it is a story of inconsistency outside of our two All-Stars Braun and Fielder. Those two have been there all year hitting for average, power and getting on base. Without them I would hate to even think where this club would be. Craig Counsell and Casey McGehee have been very pleasant surprises playing above their expectations and have filled in nicely for the injured Rickie Weeks and the disastrous Bill Hall. Felipe Lopez just got here, but looks pretty good thus far. The rest of the offense has been nothing to write home about. Especially JJ Hardy and Corey Hart. Those two have underachieved so much that it has really killed this team from having a consistent offense. Both have played WAY below expectations. And in todays game it looked like Corey Hart was really lacing in effort, which never sits well with fans or management. If they were even putting up numbers close to their career norms, I might not be writing this blog. And don't get me started on the bench, it's been terrible. Gerut (who dropped a ball a little leaguer would have caught today, just looked pathetic), Hall, Rivera and Catalanotto have not done much of anything to note.

Basically what I'm getting at is that this team is not one or maybe even two players away from being a real contender so I would hate to see the Brewers make a trade to mortgage the future for a player(s) that won't do much for us. Just stand pat with what we have and hope they somehow get hot and we sneak into the playoffs. If not, hey no big deal. I'm still gonna watch and support this team no matter what. Then you go into the offseason and you have some trading chips like Hart and Hardy that you can get more value for at that time. Next year Gamel and Escobar should be up and contributing and you get Rickie Weeks back who was playing outstanding before getting hurt, I still think that was a HUGE loss for this team that they never really recovered from. Right now the Brewers stand at .500, 49-49 and maybe that is who they really are.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reader Poll Results

"Who scares you more when he pitches?"

Seth McClung: 11% (2 Votes)

Carlos Villanueva: 88% (16 Votes)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Brewers Dream Trade Shattered By Peter Gammons

For a few weeks now I had been dreaming of a trade between the Brewers and the Boston Red Sox. They have been scurrying for a SS, we have two. One has been an All-Star and the other a super prospect ready for big league action. The Brewers need another starter, the Red Sox have a surplus of those. Add all that up and I was hoping to see a JJ Hardy for Clay Buchholz trade straight up. And until yesterday I still had hope it could possibly happen. We trade Hardy, bring up Escobar to play SS and then add a young stud pitcher to our rotation in Buchholz.

My dream was shot down yesterday as Peter Gammons reported that the Red Sox turned down a deal for all world hitting catcher Victor Martinez because the Indians wanted Buchholz. If the Sox wouldn't even move Buchholz for a guy like Martinez, there is no way they would deal him for Hardy. Buchholz seems to be as "untouchable" as can be.

And for the record, put me in the "don't make a deal for Halladay" camp. Way to expensive, no way would I give up 4-6 players for one pitcher who could opt to not even be here next season. The only way I would trade a combo of Parra/Lawrie/Gamel/Escobar plus others for Halladay is if we were absolutely guaranteed a World Series Championship and since that is impossible, I will pass on Doc, I hope Doug feels the same way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Homestand Coming Up

Today was as about as heartbreaking a loss as the Brewers have had all season. I couldn't even bare to listen to Lowe's Extra Innings on ESPN 540 or any other sports talk the rest of the day. Being down 5-2, then coming back to take a 7-5 lead, only to have McClung let Pittsburgh tie it 7-7 and then Stetter giving up a walk-off homerun in the 9th. Brewers lose 2 of 3 to the Pirates and end the 7 game road trip 3-4. Had they held that 7-5 lead and taken 2 of 3 from the Pirates a 4-3 road trip would have looked a whole lot healthier for this club. Now the Brewers stand at only one game over .500 at 48-47.

That brings us to this very important seven game homestand starting Friday night. Three against the Braves and four against the worst team in MLB the Nationals. I'm not gonna say that a bad homestand here at the end of July could make or break the season, but it almost could. If they lose four or more of these seven games they could find themselves in some trouble. The key is to start it off right, the new and improved Manny Parra goes Friday against Javier Vazquez and our ace Yovani Gallardo goes Saturday against Braves young stud Tommy Hanson. It is still up in the air as to who will start Sunday, it is Mike Burns spot but thankfully Melvin and Macha will meet before then to figure out what to do with that spot since Burns has not been very good, actually he pretty much sucks and has shown me why he has been a life AAAA player.

If Parra and Gallardo can go out and have stellar starts to kick off the homestand and the Brewers provide them with some runs I think this could be a special homestand that could propel a hot streak, I just have a hunch. At the beginning of the season Gallardo and Parra were going to be counted on as key pieces to the Brewers success or lack of in 2009, it's only fitting then that they make the first two starts of this big homestand that could swing 2009 in either direction.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Went To Bed To Early

Like many Brewers fans last night I turned in to bed early when the score was 7-2 vs the Pirates. As I lay in bed watching Conan with the wife I thought about how Ryan Braun had seemingly not hit a homerun since April (actually June 25th) and if he would ever get out of this slump and homerless draught. Well low and behold he finally hit #17 a 2-run shot to right, I missed that and seeing Smith nail Karstens and get some revenge for Braun. The highlight of that was Kendall pushing Karstens down the line telling him to either go to first or go toward the pitcher. It was perfect and totally Kendall's personality to do that. One huge bright spot from last night was the 4-4 with a walk that Felipe Lopez turned out in his Brewers debut. It just goes to show you that sometimes it is better to stay up and watch these games that are just about over, you never know what you might miss. My biggest hope is that Braun ending that homerless draught leads to one of his hot streak where he might hit a bunch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh, Seth McClung

As I sit here and watch the first game of the second half of the season, things were going smooth for the Brewers. They had a nice 9-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th. Then Seth McClung came in.

First batter: Walk
Second batter: Walk
Third batter: Homerun

Now only a 9-6 lead. I used to really like McClung, especially at the end of last season when he was on fire. But most of this year he has just been to erratic walking to many batters. And then when he finally does throw a strike it is a straight as a board fastball right down the middle that the other team crushes. I can't believe at one time last offseason before we signed Hoffman I made my case in a post to make McClung the closer. That is why I'm not a GM (yet). Between McClung and Villanueva we have two guys in the bullpen right now that really can't be trusted and seem to bring their gas can to the mound every chance they get lately. And that is scary, very scary.

Brewers A Big Hit on Wisconsin Television Sets

While scanning some recent "tweets" by people I follow on Twitter I seen MLB Fan House had the Nielsen top 5 most watched local baseball broadcasts in 2009 based on % of households. And our Milwaukee Brewers came in strong at #3. May be a surprise to some outside of this state but we all know how great a baseball town Milwaukee is and state that Wisconsin is. Here is the rest of the top 5. No real surprises, except maybe the Twins. But like Milwaukee they are a great baseball town not many people give enough credit to.

1. Boston Red Sox
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Philadelphia Phillies

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Been To Long

Been almost a month and a half since I posted here in VFBC. Things have gotten busy with house hunting with the wife and just the general busyness of summer and 4th of July weekend. Also I got really enamored in Twitter and just posting 140 character blogs. But the shine of Twitter has kind of worn off and I would much rather revive VFBC and be able to share longer thoughts. Anyway.....

All-Star break is just about over and the Brewers begin the second half tomorrow in Cincinnati for a four game series. As it stands the Brewers are 2.5 games back of the Cardinals for the NL Central and 4 games back of the Giants in the Wild Card. June was a pretty awful month and so far July has not been much better. But, the Brewers are still in it and have a chance. And really they have not showed a consistent offense all season, Hardy nor Hart has gone on any kind of hot streak yet, Parra came back pitched great in his one start before the All-Star break and Dave Bush is coming off the DL on the 20th. I picked the Brewers in my preseason predictions to win the Wild Card, and I still believe they can or maybe more likely win the division. But I don't think they should make a trade to do this.

Last year we gave up a bunch of good prospects most notable Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, but we did it for a true difference maker in CC Sabathia who helped us break a 26 year long playoff drought. There is really no Sabathia out there to trade for this season (maybe Halladay, but no way he could live up to or do what CC did. No one will ever do that again). There are guys like Doug Davis and Jarrod Washburn, who are nice pitchers but really no better then what we have. And since it is a sellers market you would have to overpay in trade to get a guy like that. And I personally don't want to see a Gamel, Escobar, Lawrie, Cain or Salome traded for a pitcher of that caliber.

I think the Brewers go with what they got and see what happens. Getting Parra and Bush back could be like making a deal. If Parra can pitch anywhere close to the way he did against St. Louis in his comeback start he would be huge. Now I'm not saying Parra can go out and pitch 7 scoreless every start with 7 K's and 1 BB, but I think he figured something out and should be more consistent. As for Bush, you just hope you get the Dave Bush of April/May pre getting hit on a line drive off the bat of Hanley Ramirez. Bush looked very solid and was consistent the first two months of the season and was a big part of the Brewers early success. If these two can bring it, get what you expect from Looper and Suppan and if Gallardo continues to look like an ace this team can get back to October without over trading for a middle of the road pitcher.

Second half of 2009 here we come, hopefully it is a fun and joyful ride like the second half of 2008. If we don't make it, I just want to see them in contention the whole way.