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About Those “Entertaining” Brewers….

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Yeah, well, maybe not so much.

There has already been some attrition to the Brewers’ lineup, with Aramis Ramirez re-straining his knee and going to the D. Then on Sunday, making matters more dire, young shortstop Jean Segura was involved in a collision at second base on a double-play turn, and he left the game with a bruised quadricep. He is being listed as day-to-day with that injury.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel glumly reviews the opening week of the 2013 baseball season, saying

[I]t’s almost unbelievable to think that six games into the season, the Milwaukee Brewers are already in scramble mode.

Their starting pitching has struggled as a whole. The bullpen, even with an extra arm, is being overworked. Ryan Braun has missed time with a neck injury. Aramis Ramirez is already on the disabled list. The bench is short and inexperienced.

The end of yesterday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks proved shocking and dismaying.

First, we have John Axford losing his job as closer by, well, blowing another save failing to prevent the Diamondbacks from scoring in extra innings in spectacular fashion. Analysis of his highly combustible start to the season points towards a change in his release point.

Next, there was a Ryan Braun holding a bat sighting in the bottom half of the inning in which Axford ignited the Diamondbacks’ offense. Rickie Weeks was at the plate with two men on base and Heath Bell laboring on the mound. The Brewers had already rallied against Diamondbacks closer J. J. Putz, and with Weeks and apparently Braun set to come to the plate with only one out and the winning run on base, it looked as if they might show real “grit,” real fight, real heart and pull out a victory despite their terrible bullpen and incredibly shallow bench.

But Weeks watched three strikes sail by him, and then Braun was withdrawn back into the dugout and pitcher Kyle Lohse (?!?) was sent to the plate, lumber in hand, game on the line. I guess Braun’s neck is really hurting. Predictably, Lohse had a poor plate appearance, striking out, ending the game, and sending Brewers fans home sad.

Ron Roenicke spoke with the Journal Sentinel about Braun’s non-plate appearance, saying,

“He (Braun) couldn’t hit,” Roenicke said. “He was up there so if it came down to it, they had to figure out if he could hit or not and make a decision whether to maybe walk Rickie or not. So, just send him up there and see what happens.

“But he couldn’t swing.”

On the other hand, despite the loss, the game saw lots of scoring, there were comebacks and a near-comeback, and the game proved pretty entertaining in the abstract. But for fans of baseball in Milwaukee, this game does not portend and enjoyable future, at least in the short-term.

Braun returned to the lineup for Monday’s game against the Cubs, and, as of this writing, he is 2 for 2 with a double, and RBI, and a run scored. So, despite their troubles, the Brewers are proving capable of clubbing the Cubs, which should light up some smiles in the Brewers dugout, clubhouse, and the whole city of Milwaukee.

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Written by jjvedamuthu

April 8, 2013 at 12:31

Reds Bummed (Updated)

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Ryan Ludwick’s shoulder injury renders their expected lineup construction moot.

It represents a pretty important outcome in the National League, particularly its Central Division.  The Cardinals are stacked, with lots of young talent ready to join the big club. The Nationals are really stacked.

So, this injury challenges the Reds right at the beginning of the season, a season for which they had very high hopes coming in, and rightfully so. It will be interesting to see if this hastens prospect Billy Hamilton’s rise to the big leagues, for Shin-Soo Choo should probably be playing a corner outfield spot rather than center field.

Oh, yeah, and this injury reminds me of the one Jacoby Ellsbury suffered last April trying to do the same thing, sliding headfirst. I know, I know, there are all kinds of advocates for doing so, saying it’s faster, but the arm and head injury risk seems to be ignored in most of those “arguments.”

Updated

Buster Olney, on ESPN’s Baseball Today podcast, said

This potentially is a devestating injury for the Reds because Ludwick is a right-handed hitter in the middle of that lineup that has a Joey Votto and a Jay Bruce [and] was a really important element because he split up those guys. Now it looks like, if Ludwick is out for, say, six to eight weeks, that Chris Heisey might step into the lineup. The question is does a Todd Frazier move into that cleanup spot? Does Brandon Phillips maybe move back into the cleanup spot? It’s going to be a quandry for the Reds.

The Man With the Funny Hat thinks moving Frazier should move upand Zack Cozart should not hit in the second place in the Reds’ batting order. *Sigh*

Updated Again

Ludwick will undergo shoulder surgery to repair damaged cartilage.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 2, 2013 at 11:34

Cubs Primer

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For the commissioner of the FOR KEEPS Dynasty Fantasy Baseball League, Sean Flynn. It’s as unsettling as the Twins Primer was, though, so you may just wish to remember that there’s always next year.

The Cubs are in re-building mode, and the exit of the Astros from the National League Central division to the American League West means the Cubs must play other, non-Astro opponents 15 more times than in 2012. As the Astros lost 106 games in 2012, and as the Cubs managed to win 8 of the 15 games, even if the Cubs get a little better they still are looking at a 90-loss season.

There are some good young players here: Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, maybe even Wellington Castillo. They imported an intriguing relief pitcher from Japan, Kyuji Fujikawa. But they still have a lot of holes in the lineup to be filled.

NEWS

Chicago Sun-Times

MLB

Chicago Cubs Report

Cubbies Crib

Obstructed View

The View from the Bleachers

SPRING STORYLINE

Following 2012 dumpter sale by Epstein and Jed Hoyer, Cubs bring 63 players to 1013 camp, 25 of whom were not with the organization last season. That’s kind of like Major League, but…wait, that’s what happened in Houston. The Cubs resemble nothing so much as a northern, quieter version of the Astros: blowing stuff up to get talent for the future.

Cubs fans are faithful (excellent piece from the Sun-Time worth the time to read).

 

ROSTER

Rotation

Jeff Samardzija

Edwin Jackson

Scott Felman

Travis Wood

Carlos Villanueva

Injured

Scott Baker (Tommy John 4/17/2012)

Matt Garza, strained lat, doubtful for start of season.

Others

Alberto Cabrera MLB

Arodys Vizcaino (Tommy John 2012)

Robert Whitenack A+

Brooks Raley MLB

Chris Rusin MLB

Casey Coleman MLB

Barret Loux AA

Nick Struck AA

Bullpen

CL Carlos Marmol

Setup Kyuji Fujikawa

Shawn Camp

Mid James Russell

Michael Bowden

Rafael Dolis

Long Hector Rondon

Others

Trey McNutt AA

Drew Carpenter AAA

Jaye Chapman MLB

Jensen Lewis AAA

Blake Parker MLB

Zach Putnam MLB

Cory Wade MLB

Hisanori Takahashi MLB

Fujikawa, Marmol’s competition, had an INSANE record in Japan.

Projected Lineup

1 David DeJesus CF

2 Nate SCherholtz RF (v RHP)

3 Anthony Rizzo 1B

4 Alfonso Soriano LF

5 Starlin Castro SS

6 Ian Stewart 3B

7 Wellington Castillo C

8 Darwin Barney 2B

Bench

C Dioner Navarro

IF/OF Brent Lillibridge

IF/OF Luis Balbuena

OF Scott Hairston (v LHP)

OF Dave Sappelt

Others

C/1B Steve Clevenger MLB

3B Christian Villanueva A+

3B Josh Vitters MLB

SS/3B Junior Lake AA

IF/OF Logan Watkins AA

OF Brett Jackson MLB

OF Jorge Soler A

OF Matthew Szczur AA

IF Alberton Gonzalez MLB

IF Edwin Maysonet MLB

OF Brian Bougusevic MLB

OF Johermyn Chavez AA

OF Darnell McDonald MLB

Infield Primer

Outfield Primer

Minors & Prospects

Minor League Affiliates

Prospects–Baseball Prospectus

Prospects—FanGraphs

Written by jjvedamuthu

March 30, 2013 at 21:27

Posted in Baseball, Cubs, NL Central

Tagged with ,

On the Depth of the Cardinals

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Bernie Mikslaz makes good points, as usual, by asking the question this way: How is it possible the Cardinals aren’t being buried by the other NL Central contenders, the Brewers and the Reds?

He offers this very smart analysis about Chris Carpenter (in addition to noting that W-L record is a terrible way to evaluate pitchers):

When you’re striking out hitters at a healthy rate and not issuing a lot of free passes, and doing a reasonably good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark, then your results will be greatly influenced by luck and defrense. And Carpenter hasn’t had much luck in 2011. The batting average on balls in play against him this season is .333. That’s the highest among Cardinals’ starters. Or to put it another way: only seven NL starting pitchers have endured worse luck — in the form of batting average on balls in play — than Carpenter this season.

 

Written by jjvedamuthu

June 25, 2011 at 14:17