Monthly Archives: September 2013

Brewers End of Season Grades

Another season is in the books for the Milwaukee Brewers and while the season was far from perfect for what fans were expected, this blogger knew it was coming. With that being said I have completed a season ending grade list.

  • Jonathan Lucroy (B+) – Once of the most consistent players over the entire season minus a slow start. Made the transition to playing first base on a as needed basis. The only thing holding this grade back from a “A” was some base running blunders that occurred throughout the year along with the slow start to the year.
  • Juan Francisco (F) -Too slow, Too Fat, Too many K’s. His new name should be Juan Fran-wiffo
  • Rickie Weeks (D) – Once again Rickie has another slow start with a season ending injury, I almost think that is Weeks gameplan at the start of the season. He is too slow and too fat, he got away from the way he got in the major leagues, with his speed.
  • Jean Segura (A) – Jean had his breakout season at the plate and in the field, a well deserved top grade.
  • Aramis Ramirez (C-) – Ramirez has outlived his welcome in Milwaukee, a very streaky season for when he was healthy. He is too slow and on the DL too much to be of much use for the Brewers anymore. Time to move on.
  • Ryan Braun (C) – Based solely on his play, Braun would get a “A”, but given the events of the season, I have downgraded him to a “C”. It will be long road back for Braun, and some people will never forgive him even if he cures cancer, provides world peace and finds Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Carlos Gomez    (B+) – An above average season for Gomez who signed a contract extension before the season. Did recently start to cool off at the end of the season and is plagued by the injury bug.
  • Norichika Aoki (B-) – The faults that did not show themselves during last season seemed to manifest themselves during this season. Seemed to not be able to slap the ball as well, plus Aoki seem to have troubles covering right field from time to time. Overall though, he did have an average year and used his speed efficiently.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt (D+) – Making another trip though the Brew city did not prove any better for Yuni-B. To slow, too inconsistent.
  • Logan Schafer (C-) – Too young and inconsistent. Most likely will be no better than a defensive replacement.
  • Jeff Bianchi (C-) – Not enough speed, not enough power to be an every day starter. Only a utility or every fifth day starter.
  • Scooter Gennett (C+) – A breath of fresh air from the play of Rickie Weeks given the defensive play that he provided this season, but it was a tough year for Scooter. His power is below average, he has trouble with lefties and drawing walks. He was able to hit righties over .300, so there is hope. He should compete for a starting job next season, but could be beat out.
  • Martin Maldonado (D) – When working with pitchers from the minors, he seemed better, but struggled at the plate for most of the season. He is replaceable.
  • Caleb Gindl (C) – Capable backup player, will have to see how he develops
  • Khris Davis (C+) – After a slow start, Davis has been able to turn it one with the bat. Does continue to struggle from time to time in the outfield.
  • Sean Halton (C) – Started the season slow, but near the end of the season started to play more consistent.
  • Kyle Lohse (B) – Overall an average year for Lohse coming over from St. Louis, did have his moments without Dave Duncan to oversee him. St. Louis appeared to know what he was doing when letting him go just like with Suppan and Looper.
  • Wily Peralta (C+) – Wildly inconsistent throughout the year, when he was on, he was on. Threw a complete game shutout on July 9th.
  • Yovani Gallardo (C) – Most people would think I’m crazy for giving the grade I have to Yo, but given that he has now pitched about 5 1/2 years in the major leagues (1/2 of 2007, missing most of 2008) that he would learn how to pitch the complete game. He has too many pitches too soon in the game. Many times he has 25+ pitches in the first inning, but does not give up any runs. So he is only able to go 5-6 innings. With stuff that Yo has, he should be able to 7+ innings consistently. Gallardo does not always have to go for the K. Gallardo did once again present a threat at the plate this year.
  • Marco Estrada (C-) – Another year of solid 5 inning starts. After that, disaster. Did fill in in the starter role again this year, but injuries once again plagued hit. Better fits a long reliever role.
  • Jim Henderson (B) – Solid in most of his appearances, does not rely solely on the fastball.
  • Brandon Kintzler (B) – An acceptable bounce back year lowering his ERA to career lows with a good strikeout to walk ratio, could be a good 8th inning man next year.
  • Burke Badenhop (C) – Was not worth the money we paid this year, but given what we gave up, the deal was average. Might be worth a look next year if the price is right.
  • John Axford (F) – I understand that Axford is no longer a Brewer, but I had to give him his grade. Does not throw anything but a fastball and that pitch can give him trouble at times. Has the tendency to overthrow the fastball which causes trouble. Please use the following guide to evaluate Axford on any given day. Pitch MPH <= 94 – Doing Good; <=96 At the limit; <= 97 All over the place; >= 98 Do not have your drink on the ledge behind the plate. Unfortunately he was at 97+.
  • Mike Gonzalez (F) – I don’t know who is more to blame, Melvin for signing Gonzalez or Gonzalez not declining the offer stating he really can not pitch. Melvin of all people should know that you just don’t sign a lefty for the sake of signing the lefty. We won a division back in 2011 without a single lefty in the bullpen. Gonzalez lack any kind of control or ability to work the corners of the plate. Let this guy go and be someone else’s problem.
  • Tom Gorzelanny (C) – I was always nervous with this signing. One good season generally should not be a reason to sign a guy especially given the past seasons and how he done against the Brewers. Gorzelanny was a good long reliever, but an awful starter. The Brewers should only keep him if they plan to use him as a long reliever.
  • Donovan Hand (C-) – A roller coaster first season for Hand. While he shows the ability to get batters out, he is no starter, or at least right now not a starter. Should work at the middle relief.
  • Tyler Thornburg (C) – I consider this a bounce back season for Thornburg. Seemed to be able to get batters out and string together good starts. My concern is that this was done against teams that were already out of playoff contention so the focus might not have been all there this year, but might have lit him up at the start of the year.
  • Johnny Hellweg (D) – Wild, Wild, Wild. That is the book on this guy. Can not go more that 5 innings and goes through these painful stretches where he can not get anybody incurring large pitch counts.
  • Rob Wooten (C-) – Did get use through some tough games when the Brewers were not playing their best. Does posses the ability to be a 8th inning or closer in the future, but the 7/8th is most likely his role.
  • Jimmy Nelson (D+) – Only played in a couple of games this year for the Brewers, but I’m concerned with the pitches to the backstop along with the high pitch counts, but he is only 24 years old.
  • Chris Narveson (I) – Another season cut short by the injury bug. One might ask if his time might be done in Milwaukee given that he will be 32 years old when he comes back and he can only give you 6 innings max a start.

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Packers Bye Week

What to do during the bye week since I will not have to yell at the TV on this Sunday?

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Anderson learns recuriting is key from Ohio State game

During the 31-24 lost to Ohio State on Saturday night, Badger head coach Gary Anderson might have been dumbfounded how Ohio State was able to move up and down the field at will with the speed rushers and speed receivers, but it call comes down to “Recruiting”.

That is something that has been missing in Wisconsin the last couple of years when Bret Bielema failed to properly recruit for the Wisconsin program having one foot out the door. Most people will say that we just won three consecutive Big Ten titles, but each one came with a catch. The first was due to a lucky tie breaker rue, the second the Badgers benefited from a good conference alignment along with Ohio State being nailed for violations plus a roughing the punter penalty. The final title was thanks to backing into the game along with two schools being ineligible to for postseason.

Recruiting was lacking at the end for Bret at these key positions:

  • QB
  • WR
  • TE
  • S
  • K
  • P

This lack of recruiting manifested themselves on Saturday night well have Bret(Who also lost Saturday) decided to cut and run.

I hope that Gary Anderson learned a lot about the game, I hope that he knows what he has to change for next season because of this game. If Anderson can not learn what he needs to change from this game, then he is of no use to us. I know the changes can not completed this season and I personally think that he called about the best game he could have given the circumstances.

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Arkansas Razorback Football: It begins

I could not help noticing that on Saturday, while I watched Stave miss on pass after pass, that Bret Bielema blew a pretty big lead against Rutgers. This was the always the concern when he was at Wisconsin, blowing the big game and playing down to his opponent. If you are reading this and you are from Arkansas, I’m glad you took this problem off our hands. We had many close calls with him but we all knew here in Wisconsin, that what we saw Saturday was going to happen.

Best of luck Arkansas and once again, thank you for taking Bret.

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Selig continues poor punishment record

Given the events of last nights altercation between the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, I would have expected some kind of punishment to be handled down, but once again the kids are running the house with no guidelines to controlling the household.

First and foremost, I will state that I agree with the Gomez suspension for 1 game. You can not jaw with everybody around the base paths and not expect something to occur. I also agree with the suspension of Reed Johnson, though I like how he then hid behind his coach after getting his shots.

Like one of my previous posts , how does McCann not get anything out of this, just like Matt Kemp earlier this year? How can not punish the secondary and third party offenders who commit equal or greater offenses than the people caused the initial starters. McCann ignited the fight, yet he gets nothing. This can no longer occur now or with the new commissioner in a couple of years.

You can not have these major brawls night after night in baseball. People might say that it is going to occur over a 162 game season with 30 teams, but honestly how is it even remotely acceptable in baseball, but in any other job where you work 3 times the hours a night for double the number of nights a year? If you start a fight at a normal job, you are out of a job, but in baseball you might not even get a fine.

This needs to change now, any person who does joins a fight should get ejected and suspended for future games. Period!

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Selig allows fights to continue in MLB

If you have not heard by now, during the 4-0 victory for the Brewers over the Braves during Wednesday’s game, there was a little scuffle between Carlos Gomez and the rest of the Braves after his home run which ignited a beach clearing brawl. In this post, I could take the high level perspective on this and talk about the unwritten rules, but I want to have a different take on the events that occurred.

Bud Selig has lost control of the ship or at least lost control of the ability to right the ship when events occur that require a review and change in the rules. Even before I started this blog I knew the rules had to change, I even mentioned some of these rule changes within a previous post.

This is a simple rule change, simple! Any player who joins a fight outside of the original parties are ejected and hit with a suspension. This fact eludes Bud Selig that the rules have to change or at least he has to make the attempt to change the rules, even if the players union might reject them, then it is not on Bud.

Some will say that fighting is part of the game and that these “unwritten” rules are part of the baseball tradition. This complete bull, traditions are meant to be broken(or else there would still be gladiator fights at the Colosseum) and the rules should be changed. Baseball has been stuck behind this “unwritten” rules for too longer and something has to change, the first being the way we police the game.

One additional question I have out of the game today, how does Brian McCann not get ejected from the game? He escalates a volatile situation by standing in front of the plate and then gets in the face of Gomez. This is another problem with the MLB umpiring today, the inability to get the call right when large scale situation occur. Like in the NBA and NCAA basketball, the use of replay could have led to additional player being dealt with during the game [cough] [cough] Kelly Johnson [cough].

What do I expect in the end? Nothing. Bud might hand out a couple of fines and maybe a 1 game suspension, but nothing to address the root cause of the issue. In the end, what will it take for change? Season ending injury, career ending injuries or maybe incident that might end the reign as commissioner.

Only time will tell.

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Baseball Tonight Disrespects Brewers

It has been said that ESPN has a unhealthy obsession with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. This was no more true than on Baseball Tonight on Sunday before the baseball game. They displayed the lineup of the St. Louis and progress to talk about the lineup and the key players. Then the lineup of Milwaukee was displayed and following a brief mention that the Brewers were 20 games under .500 we progress to start talking about the players for the Red Sox and Yankees while the Brewers lineup was still on the screen.

I understand that Brewers are not in playoff contention, but I would at least hope that ESPN could give the common decency to give one minute towards the lineup.

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McCarthy needs to give up the offensive reigns

During the crazy 34-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals there was one fact that was move prevalent than anything, Mike McCarthy lacks the common sense to run an offense in the NFL. Now I know that he has led us to a Super Bowl, but the way the offense was running that season, there was no way of screwing that up.

There have been many examples in the past of the sheer incompetence, but the there were two examples during Sunday’s game.

  1. 4th Down and 6 inches – After the yardage reversal on the Cobb catch we encountered the much dreaded short yardage situation. There is a motto “Work Smart, Not Hard”, apparently this saying is lost on McCarthy. Instead of going with the easy and more likely successful QB sneak, we go with the hand off to the running back. The hand off is so much riskier with the chance of someone coming through the line and with going back to 7 yards back to go to 1 yard forward. This should have been a easy call, an easy call, you QB sneak it and keep the clock moving. If you can not make this easy correct call, you should not be calling plays in the NFL.
  2. 4th Down End of Game situation – We are moving the ball down the field, but we end up with a fourth down situation. I’ve always held that you should try to reduce the number variables in any big play. Given that Rodgers had previous passes batted down on the drive, we should have rolled him out of the pocket to reduce the chance of a pass being knocked down or Rodgers being sacked. In the end, the pass gets batted down and the game is over.

These errors can no longer be overlooked, these issues with the play calling need to be changed. The defenses of the NFL change their defense schemes year to year and so should the Packers offense. While it appears that the Packers are starting to get a running game the offense continues to be crippled by the sabotage play calling McCarthy.

The easy thing to do is to hand over the play sheet to someone else, but I really hope we are not heading down the path of one of my other posts. Anyway, in the end it is time for a new play caller in town with common sense and a sense for the game before this offense goes down the tank.

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Stave not the answer for Badgers

During a post last year ripping on Bret Bielema, I laid out the regression of the quarterback position for the Badgers Football team since Bielema took over the program. During this post I mentioned that I gave Joel Stave an incomplete grade and mentioned “There is hope, but I want to see how he plays next year.”. That hope was lost during the 41-10 victory over Purdue.

People who read this post will say that Wisconsin won with Stave why are we ripping about Stave this week? Because it was the defense and the running game that won on Saturday. Stave proved once again that he is not going to get any better accuracy wise. I have seen pass after pass in the four games this season that has been off the mark, but still caught or just plain inaccurate and incomplete.

The final straw for me was on the deep pass to Abbrederis when he was open by 15 yards and Stave was not only short on the pass but off to the right. When you have a guy that wide open, all you have to do is just lay it in there, in this case you can underthrow a little bit, but to be that far off, that is it for me. It is time to replace Stave with Phillips or Houston, anything different is just a waste of time for the Badgers. Each snap with Stave under center is a wasted time for someone else with potential to get valuable game experience.

I had been concerned for the past two weeks about the accuracy of Stave, but by the four game and with minimal wind, we should should be hitting our receivers in stride or hitting the home run passes. The problem really presented itself the previous week during the Arizona State, a slightly better team, when he went on long stretches without completing a pass. This problem will be further exasperated in the coming weeks when we play better opponents. Teams like Ohio State will try to stop the run first and make Stave make his throws which Stave will be incapable of doing.

My proposed solution? Bring in Bart Houston, if you are just handing off the ball, Houston should be more than capable of doing that, plus he brings a running quarterback element that Stave does not posses. Plus if Houston can throw the ball accurately, we could have a dangerous offense for years to come.

I’m a person is is proactive instead of reactive, I personally do not wait until something happens to change something because you are hurting the team. It is time to replace Stave with someone else before it too late for him or the receiver he is going to get killed across the middle.

Get rid of Stave!

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2013-2014 (English) Football League Predictions

Back prior to the start of the English Football League season, I made some predictions for the upcoming season. Based on how the season is going so far, I’m already regretting some of my selections. I will post some time in December with my mid-season predictions.

2013-2014 Predictions Promoted/Winner Relegated
Premier League Chelsea Crystal Palace
Premier League N/A Hull
Premier League N/A Norwich City
Championship Watford Yeovil Town
Championship Nottingham Forest Huddersfield Town
Championship Bolton Wanderers AFC Bournemouth
League One Crawley Town Colchester United
League One Wolverhampton Wanderers Preston North End
League One Sheffield United Notts County
League One N/A Port Vale
League Two Burton Albion Accrington Stanley
League Two Newport County Morecambe
League Two Portsmouth N/A
League Two Plymouth Argyle N/A
Conference Kidderminster Harriers Nuneaton Town
Conference Hereford United Hyde
Conference N/A Salisbury City
Conference N/A Tamworth
Scotland Prem Celtic Hearts
Scotland Prem N/A St Mirren
Scotland 1st Falkirk Raith
Scotland 1st Dundee Cowdenbeath
Scotland 2nd Rangers East Fife
Scotland 2nd Dunfermline Stranraer
Scotland 3rd Peterhead N/A
Scotland 3rd Berwick N/A

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