Friday night in San Francisco the Giants fans made a big deal about something outfielders do everyday, he threw up the horns to signify two outs. But, as Tony Plush is want to do, he threw an extra underhanded slam to the fans in the stands which was misunderstood as a rude gesture. Cascades of boos fell on deaf ears as both Brewers players and staff saw nothing unusual going on. Morgan does this sort of thing, he riles people up, he plays at a high level of energy, and he doesn't hide his emotions. Should a guy be faulted for having a non-stop motor, I don't think so, but incontinent umpire Joe West disagreed and made his way to the Brewers dugout to talk to Roenicke about it. My question is do teams hate Morgan for his attitude or his play?
We all know there are bad boys in baseball. There are guys who make it their mission, Milton Bradley, to be the center of attention for the wrong reasons, and that I don't agree with. Now granted Morgan has had his share of on field incidents. Last year he cussed out some Marlins fans and took on Chris Volstad, which is a feat unto itself considering the Height/Weight difference of 8"/56 lbs. But, what he brings to the table when given the chance he has always produced. Since 2007 when he came up with the Pirates he hasn't posted a average lower than .294. Morgan also has two MLB seasons in which he stole 42 and 34 bases, which makes him all the more valuable these days after Carlos "Flash" Gomez went down with a broken clavicle. With Braun also still coming back from injury I am sure Nyjer will get his shots to run the rest of the way, much to the chagrin of the rest of the NL.
I mentioned this on episode 21 of the podcast, but the Brewers have also done something with Morgan that other teams didn't try, they embraced him. The city of Milwaukee took him in and made him our own. When you are allowed to be yourself it will take pressures off of you that are recorded on the stat sheets, but not always understood. But, the results are showing so far with Roenicke's approach and Morgan is putting up career numbers at the plate. T-Plush is putting together a nice slash line of .326/.359/.472 for a guy that wasn't even a thought until two weeks before the season started. Morgan seems a perfect fit to be in the lead off spot, however with a 2.3 BB%, and his sometimes scary bunting ability, the two hole should be a productive spot for him, and most likely his home for the remainder of 2011. Morgan also has a career high .145 ISO, and his 2.2 WAR is better than every player in the starting lineup, aside from Fielder (3.4) and Braun (4.1).
So, I pose this question to you readers. Do you think that Morgan does things to blatantly antagonize other teams, or do other teams/fans/league react negatively to his actions because he is not hiding his excitement? I always say that it's not cocky if you can back it up, and Morgan has done just that so far for the Brewers, and I will continue to defend his actions until I see otherwise. The guy is having fun in a game that may have lost some of that at times. He brings an energy to the field that Milwaukee hasn't seen in a long time, and he is a clubhouse boost not cancer for the Crew yet still gets labeled as such by outside franchises and broadcasters. Don't be upset that your teams fail at Plushdamentals, not everyone can play like a gentleman. I gotta go!
K-Rod Trade Thoughts :00-21:47 Break Braun's Injury, Should He Have Been DL'd? 23:04-38:05 Break Hart/Weeks Lineup Change 39:14-47:17 Break Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 49:11-1:00:10 UPDATED: I would like to apologize for being an idiot and calling this episode 19 in and out of music breaks. Not sure what the hell I was thinking. At least I called it episode 21 at the start of the show! One other correction, I called Yankees All-Star setup man Brian Robertson. Of course, his name is David.
After the absolute shelling of Gallardo last night at the hands of the Rockies marked the third time in his last seven starts that he failed to pitch past the 4th. Gallardo came into this season not with lofty expectations, but just to do what he has been doing to NL bats since his call up in 2007. But, this year he has had a definite split personality when it comes to missing bats, and especially so when it comes to road games.
Gallardo raised his ERA to 4.08 after giving up 6 to the Rockies in 4 innings, that puts him at second to last in ERA among Brewers starters, surpassed only by hard luck Chris Narveson (4.75). His WHIP, 1.41, also slides into 4th place among starters with the Narvdog again bringing up the rear. So far this year Gallardo leads the team in strike outs at 106, but also leads the team in hits after giving up 127. He obviously still has the stuff, so why is it that sometimes he just flat out loses it?
Gallardo hasn't lost any velocity on any of his pitches over previous years aside from his change, which he seems to be throwing 2 mph slower this season. So, it really comes down to placement of pitches, and maybe to a degree pitch selection, that is troubling Yo. Opponents are making contact 67.5% of the time outside the strike zone, which is more than 7% over his average. Contact% is also up to 81.2% of the time, a 2% increase over average. So, it seems that his main problem this year is location rather than stuff.
Gallardo isn't a victim of luck either as his BABIP, while high (.313), is close to his average. Also his line drive rates are down, and he is posting a career low in ground balls at 48.8%. But, giving up over 3 walks per nine, and seeing his K/9 diminish to a very average 7.86, we may have to endure some tough times ahead. While Gallardo hasn't been terrible, he has had some really bad starts, and so far in July his ERA is an even 5.00. The only month he did well, or dominated I should say, was May where he posted a 2.25 ERA. He has also has major troubles on the road with an ERA of 5.02 away from the Keg.
Maybe this season we will have to endure a little rollercoaster ride at times with Gallardo, but if he can find his groove again, and work on pitch selection/location I think that Yo will be just fine. Watching him give up 11 hits last night was hard to watch, but just remember that 5 games out of his last 10 starts he gave up 5 hits or less and had a combined 1.33 ERA in those games. So, it's not a matter of Yo being lost, he just needs to find his way home.
The K-Rod trade has been a story that Brewer fans have been patiently waiting to unravel. The trade happened during the break and the fans in Brewer nation have yet to see K-Rod play and still don’t know who the Players to Be Named Later are. Until something actually happens this trade will be a hard thing to judge, but I see one thing that makes this trade more worthwhile than most would think. K-Rod is the only current Brewer reliever with winning playoff experience.
Currently on the Brewers roster, the only other two relievers with experience in the post-season are Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins’ experience in the postseason is minimal. Although Hawkins has a number of games under his belt he has not been very successful during those games. Saito and Hawkins also have no winning experience in the grand daddy that is the World Series (Hawkins was with the Rockies in 2007, made two appearances in the late innings but never got the save)
This trade is as bold as the Marcum and Greinke trades because the Brewers are bringing in a reliever used to pressure and even more used to winning. During his time with the Angels, K-Rod helped win a World Series ring and was a regular contender in the playoffs. He is possibly the only late inning reliever left in the majors who is unfazed by pressure. Setting records and winning pennants, K-Rod has a long traveled history that the Brewers will cherish in the back of their pen (with many years in front of him).
Although the risks the Brewers have taken on K-Rod are large at the least, assuming a nearly $20 MM salary next year that they could use in the fight to keep Prince (not that I am any bit optimistic about their chances in that auction) and having a two closer committee in their pen could cause problems since K-Rod is none for having a little fire under his ass at all times. This may give the Brewers a competitive edge they need, since their only other traveled winner is Craig Counsell.
Waking up today I do what I always do, check and see if I missed any Brewers news since last night. Much to my surprise I found several articles on us landing big name closer Francisco Rodriguez. While the deal on the surface looks good I have a couple problems in what Doug Melvin has done here. Not that K-Rod isn't a great closer, or even that the compensation isn't right, but that is a role we already have filled by the very capable, and more cost effective, John Axford.
It seems this year that we have built a club around not only good hitting and quality pitching, but camaraderie and respect. Even Nyjer Morgan, a player with a long standing history of being a distraction in the clubhouse, has worked hard and was embraced by the fans in Milwaukee. But, with a high energy closer like Rodriguez has Melvin bit off more than he can chew with this trade?
Even though K-Rod has stated that he would be fine going to a setup role as long as he was traded to a contender I don't believe him. With the amount of money he stands to lose, coupled with his recent switch to agent Scott Boras, I believe before long K-Rod will be nipping at the heels of Axford to try and get some closing time. In my mind the Brewers could have made a better move that would not have caused the waves that are sure to come now, and all the questions about who the closer is for Milwaukee.
I'm curious to know why guys like Mike Adams (2.16 ERA, 2.65 BB/9, 9.27 K/9) , Kevin Gregg (4.00 ERA, 3.85 BB/9, 8.26 K/9), and Brandon League (3.85 ERA, 3.03 BB/9, 6.65 K/9) were passed over for the job. All these options are cheaper than K-Rod, and have a history of being setup guys and middle relievers more than closing games, and they also bear a distinct resemblance to most of the stats Rodriguez has put up in recent years.
Will K-Rod for sure be a cancer, no, but look at the facts:
1.Traded out of closers role that would have gotten him 17.5 mil if he reached 55 games finished. 2.Has a dominant personality that will be hard for Ron and crew to handle. 3.Will be a media distraction for a team that was already clicking before the break.
K-Rod does bring to the table an almost 10 K/9 rate, 3.16 ERA, and a 51.7% ground ball rate which are all nice to have. But, a career 3.97 BB/9 and a decline in velocity would make me think twice about employing him. Not only are we going to be out some cash, but the Mets also get two players from our already depleted farm system. They have 5 players to choose from by September and the names that are probably involved are for sure going to make us cringe. So, hang on Brewer Nation, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
Tied For 1st Going To The Break/Look Back & Ahead :00-33:06 Break Minor League Talk 34:05-46:32 Break Revisiting Season Predictions 48:06-1:16:53 Break Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:19:00-1:31:32