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The Bucky Channel is making a triumphant comeback. Stay tuned for the latest.


The Bucky Channel is making a triumphant comeback. Stay tuned for the latest.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Updated Vegas College Football Rankings

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Craig Counsell Out, This Time FTW!

Brewers 4, Reds 3

A Sunday Funday
Capped off with a Brewers win
Now, time for bed please

Sorry for just the haiku, but I'm desperate for sleep. Good night all!

POTG: Craig Counsell had the sac fly win, but for two scoreless innings, believe it or not, I'm giving this to Kameron Loe.

Milwaukee Falls Apart in Extras

You can say that you can't win them all, you can say that it's hard to beat a team three straight games, you can even say that the Brewers lost their mojo because they switched the jerseys that they were wearing for the night. Or you can be honest, and say that the Cincinnati Reds just destroyed Marco Estrada on Saturday. Estrada came in for the 10th inning with a 3-3 tie on the scoreboard, and then gave up five runs to give the Reds a very nice cushion in extra innings (only two of the runs were earned, so blame the defense as well). The Brewers tried to mount a comeback, but the lead was too strong to overcome and Milwaukee lost 8-4. The loss, couple with a Cardinals win, puts the Brewers back in a first place tie with St. Louis atop the NL Central. Pittsburgh remains a game behind, and the Reds now trail by just three.

It's going to be a logjam in the NL Central likely for the rest of the way, so the Brewers need to figure out their mistakes and try to pull away a bit. Ryan Braun needs to come back healthy - he's now going to miss the All-Star game, the bullpen needs to shore up, and we need to at least pretend like we know how to play defense on occasion. We have a lot of time to figure all that out though, in the meantime I think Milwaukee needs to just make sure we go into he break still on top on the division, and then make a run from there.

Milwaukee bullpen
Should be good, they just are not
Who can be trusted?

POTG: Nyjer Morgan had a nice catch, let's give it to him. I don't know.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kotsay it Ain't So!

Sometimes, you have to put up with the bad to enjoy the good, and nobody has been a better example of that lately than Brewers outfielder Mark Kotsay. Kotsay, who somehow has stayed on the big league roster throughout the entire season so far, has had a very interesting week in a Brewers uniform. There was the game where he hit a home run, only to spoil that by giving up a crucial error which led to runs for the opponent while he was playing in left field spelling Ryan Braun. Actually, that's happened twice already now, including the game on Friday night. But Kotsay made everyone forget about his error quickly when he hit a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the 9th to give Milwaukee an 8-7 walkoff win against the Cincinnati Reds.

Name a Brewers blog, and you've seen an article talking about how Kotsay should have been DFA'd by now. But even without his game winning hit on Friday, it's going to take quite a lot to happen for him not to be on this roster anymore. Mat Gamel is a position that would probably get sent back down before Kotsay was given the ax, just so he can get more regular playing time at first. Craig Counsell may be a great clubhouse guy and an average defender, but he's lost it at the plate and if something better comes along, Counsell could be put on the "Jeff Suppan DL" (putting a guy on the injured list as an alternative to cutting him). So Kotsay definitely isn't going anywhere, no matter how bad he is on defense. Suck on defense, win it back with offense. It's the Brewers strategy this season and the focus of a good article over on Grantland, penned by Rany Jazayerli.

Kotsay's heroics were just one ingredient in what really was a wild game at Miller Park. For the second time in as many seasons, Rickie Weeks used the outfield wall to collect an inside-the-park home run, one of the most hilarious and awesome things that can ever happen in sports. I love the inside-the-park home run, and was able to see him do it in person the first time around (hey Bart, good for you, just finish the damn article). Nyjer Morgan had a nice night, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, and you could point to Zack Greinke for getting the whole offensive rally started in the 5th inning, as he had a hit to go along with his ten strikeouts (6 IP, 4 runs allowed, two earned). An all around fun night for the Brewers, who have found a bit of magic in those retro uniforms of theirs. They'll be going even more retro tonight as they wear the Milwaukee Bears kits from the Negro Leagues.

I don't like Kotsay
Bad with bat and with glove, but
last night I loved him!

POTG: Mark Kotsay

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Retro Jerseys Bring Out Another Win

I don't know if it's the fact the Brewers decided to wear their retro jerseys each of the last two days, or if it's because they were fueled by James' article, but Milwaukee has now won two games in a row for the first time in what seems like forever. Losing stretches really do make the season feel slower, but the Brewers appear to be back on the right track after a 5-4 victory against the Reds. And just as it was in their game against Arizona on Wednesday, it was a three-run home run that helped put Milwaukee in the lead and give them the win.

Chris Narveson was pitching pretty well in this one as he was looking for his first career victory against the Red, but the Crew found themselves down 2-1 come the bottom of the 5th. Rickie Weeks was having none of that though, blasting a three run shot in the inning and showing everyone why he's starting in the All-Star game for the National League. The Brewers added another run on a Mark Kotsay RBI, and then were able to fight off a couple of attempts by the Reds to rally, ultimately winning the game after John Axford collected his 23rd save of the season. Weeks, who out of his 16 home runs on the season now has five of them against the Reds, celebrated by bringing back the "untuckem" after the game. For that alone, he gets our POTG nomination, but his day at the plate was deserving of it as well.

Crew going retro
Weeks feeling good in the kits
Please wear them again

Women to Face Brazil

So the dust has settled after a tough 2-1 loss to Sweden by the United States women in the 2011 World Cup, and it was not a pretty outing. The ladies went down two before getting a weak goal by Abby Wambach late in the game, but it would not be enough. You would have hoped that the women would have come out and delivered the same kind of impressive performance that they did against Columbia the other day, but Sweden definitely looked the stronger side on Wednesday. The loss doesn't knock the U.S. out of the tournament - both teams were already qualified for the quarterfinals - but it does set up a matchup against Brazil on Saturday.

That's all that the U.S. and Sweden were really playing for in their group stage finale, the opportunity to not have to face Brazil. Sweden will now take on Australia on Sunday morning, while the U.S. will take on Brazil at 10:30am CST on ESPN. Immediately after the game, I saw an article talking about how grim the USA's title chances are after this loss because we have to face Brazil. That theory doesn't really make sense to me, since we were going to have to face them in one of the next two games anyway. Yeah, the loss hurts as far as momentum, but here's hoping that the women can learn from their mistakes and avoid another game like this the rest of the way.

Shit Just Got Real

The title is one of my favorite lines of any movie. This is the part in Bad Boys 2 when they get ready to go save Gabriel Union from Cuba. Before I get to far off track lets get back to what this is really about. With both the NFL/NBA in lockouts, the NBA lockout is already starting to look real bad. Sources are saying that Deron Williams has signed a deal with Turkey if the NBA doesn't hold a season. Now I could see if this was a guy like Chris Douglas-Roberts, but we are talking about a top 10 guy in the league. I wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing this stuff pop up more and more as we move on with the lockout. The NBA is hurting bad, and I could see this thing dragging out into the season. Who knows, maybe Williams and Allen Iverson will end up on the same team.

The NFL on the other hand is having positive talks again, but we have heard this song and dance before. The goal as of now is to get this figured out by the weekend, and announce the end of the lockout on Monday. That would be an ideal situation for the NFL, but who knows anymore what will happen. Also that one guy with grey hair that played for the Packers, Jets, and Vikings might come back if this lockout stuff messes up the Vikings chance of getting a QB this season. So it just seems to be a lot of talk, but Deron Williams looks to be the first person taking actions.

Being a fan of both these sports I hope this is figured out soon. If I had to pick I would have to say that the NFL having a season is more important to me. We have to defend our Super Bowl Championship, and I think we have the squad to do it. The Bucks did make some great moves on draft day, but I don't see a title run in Milwaukee's future. If all goes well Monday we will be planing a trip to San Diego for our annual Packer trip, and still wondering if we will watch a NBA game this season. But as it stands now, it looks like fantasy NHL is going to become very popular this winter. 

The Legacy of Bill Pullman

This is my new favorite anything.... ever.

Royal Pains Was a Pain to Watch (Hi-Yo!)

Did anyone make it through the entire episode of Royal Pains last night? Me neither. Nice cameo appearance from Greg Jennings though, who did much more in this episode than he did in his CSI appearance a few years back. But in case you missed Jennings putting the show on his back last night, here's the clip (courtesy of Cheesehead TV):

Can I go out on a limb and say that Greg Jennings is a much better actor than that dreadful chick? I don't know what she's bitching about, and you don't bench Greg Jennings.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

McGehee Remembers Not to Suck For a Moment

It's been a tough year for Casey McGehee. Batting around the .222 mark, McGehee has struggled to find any sort of consistency at the plate, unless you count being bad all the time consistent. One of the guys expected to carry the load offensively, McGehee just had four home runs on the season one week before the All-Star break, despite hitting 23 last season. He's been a black hole of sorts on defense as well, and really he's just kind of been there, contributing very little to the productivity of this Brewers team.

Until Wednesday, that is.

When Casey McGehee was pinch hit for Mat Gamel in the seventh inning, I had very little confidence that anything good would come of this. Jonathan Lucroy was on first while Mark Kotsay was on second, but they seemed a lot further away from home plate when McGehee had a bat in hand. Casey Mac just hasn't been good at all this season, but he took out all that frustration on one Sam Demel pitch and hit a three run pinch-hit homer to give the Brewers the 3-1 lead, and eventually the 3-1 victory. Casey McGehee, you son of a bitch.

I'm still about four to five weeks of solid play from McGehee to say that "he's back", but it was a refreshing sign to see the poster boy of the Brewers struggles this season get to have a moment. Actually, the only way you saw it was if you were at the game or in the Arizona TV market, because not every game is yet televised in Wisconsin. But hey, was advertising you could watch the game for free on their site. Oh wait, that's only if you didn't have a Wisconsin IP address. Thanks anyway.

But a non sarcastic thank you to Casey McGehee. Instead of looking back at this game as the one where Yovani made a mistake to the first batter and pitched brilliantly the rest of the way, we'll now remember this as the game where for one moment, Casey McGehee remembered he didn't suck.

Casey at the bat
Popular headline - for once....
It has good meaning

POTG: Casey McGehee

Deep Breath, Brewers Fans

Tuesdays loss was the seventh out of the last eight, two of which being back to back at home, an unsettling sign for Brewers fans.  After reading a lot of comments across social media, Brewers fans are ready to jump ship.  But really, hold on guys, we'll get through this.

The Brewers currently sit at 45-42, third place in the NL Central, two games behind St. Louis and half a game behind Pittsburgh (yes, that Pittsburgh).  Over the last week they have seen their three game Central lead turn into a two game deficit.  Much thanks to some horrible starting pitching (0-5, 6+ ERA), an inconsistent bullpen, and the left calf of Ryan Braun.

Lets highlight the last few starts by Brewers pitchers:

Tuesday, June 28 vs. Yankees
Greinke:  2IP, 5H, 7ER, 3BB, 0K

Greinke has shown signs of great command, walking only 14 so far this year in 12 starts, but come low walks, comes always being around the plate... Maybe too much of it.  Greinke lasted only two innings against New York last Tuesday, he went on to say "It was just a real bad game, I wasn't executing anything, and when I did just a couple of times, they took some good pitches, and I wasn't able to make another good pitch after that. I couldn't pitch any worse than I did.".

It really comes without saying that Greinke's 5.66 ERA is nothing the Brewers expected when they sent Cain, Escobar, and some young arms to Kansas City this winter, but nearing the All Star break, the second half could render different results.

Wednesday, June 29 vs. Yankees
Marcum:  5IP, 5H, 4ER, 3BB, 6K

One of the Brewer starters better outings of the last week, which was still highlighted by four earned runs allowed, including a big three-run home run by the Yankees Russel Martin.  The only 'close' game of the Yankees series which still saw the Crew lose by a final of 5-2.

Thursday, June 30 vs. Yankees
Wolf:  7IP, 7H, 4ER, 3BB, 3K

The Yankees grabbed runs in the first and third, riding a 4-0 lead behind the arm of CC Sabathia to a series sweep over the Brewers.  Wolf struggled all day, though he managed to scratch out seven innings. He gave up seven hits and four runs, hit a batter with a pitch and even dropped the ball on the mound once while trying to transfer it from his glove hand.  It was Wolfs first loss in his last eight starts.

Friday, July 1 vs. Twins
Gallardo:  7IP, 5H, 4ER, 4BB, 4K

Like a few of the previous games, Gallardo fell victim to the first inning bug, allowing three in the first.  Gallardo blamed the rain delay as a bit of a distraction going into his start, saying "You have a mindset for a certain time, and the delay comes in and you get off your routine a little bit, You have the adrenaline for a certain time of day and the next thing you know it's raining. You've just got to figure out how to stay relaxed."

Saturday, July 2 vs. Twins
Narveson: 4.2IP, 14H, 7ER, 2BB, 1K

That is not a typo, Narveson allowed 14 hits across 4 and 2/3 innings Saturday, easily one of his worst outings of the season.  In retrospect the Brewers scored four runs in the ninth to rip this one out of the chest of the Twins, a much needed win as it's the only one in the last eight.

Sunday, July 3 vs. Twins
Greinke:  6IP, 5H, 4ER, 2BB, 9K

What appeared to be cruise control to an easy win Sunday disappeared after Braddock allowed two runs and Loe one earned.  The Twins scored four in the seventh to take the series, and season finale against the Brewers 9-7.  Greinke, who gave up seven earned runs in two innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, allowed four earned runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out nine.

Monday, July 4 vs. Diamondbacks
Marcum:  6IP, 7H, 4ER, 2BB, 5K

Marcum didn't have his best stuff on Monday, but when he left after the sixth he had a 6-4 lead over the Diamondbacks.  A lead that he saw disappear after the Dbacks scored one off of Hawkins in the seventh, one off of Low in the eighth, and two off of Axford in the ninth, leading to a 8-6 Dbacks win.

Tuesday, July 5 vs. Diamondbacks
Wolf: 6IP, 10H, 7ER, 4BB, 4K

Wolf struggled right out of the gates, allowing four runs in the top of the first and three more in the top of the third.  He settled down for the most part the rest of the way, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth. 

As you can see by the lines listed above, none of these starts are quality starts, the best being last Friday when Gallardo went 7IP, 5H, 4ER, 4BB, 4K.  A game that still ended in a Brewers loss.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Though the starters are struggling, lets take a look at their season numbers just as a refresher. 

July 6, 2011
Gallardo:  9-5, 3.92 ERA, 98/43 K/BB
Marcum:  7-3, 3.32 ERA, 97/30 K/BB
Wolf:  6-6, 3.72 ERA, 80/37 K/BB
Narveson:  5-5. 4.86 ERA, 84/38 K/BB
Greinke:   7-3, 5.66 ERA, 89/14 K/BB

For reference, lets compare to how our starters were sitting July 6th of 2010.

July 6, 2010
Gallardo:  8-4, 2.58 ERA
Wolf:  6-8, 4.49 ERA
Bush:  3-5, 4.23 ERA
Parra:  3-6, 4.65 ERA
Narveson:  7-6, 6.02 ERA

With the top three in your rotation providing a less than four ERA and the bottom of your rotation posting .500 or above winning percentages, you can't be that angry.  Having a number five starter in Narveson, though his recent struggles, still has an ERA under five.  Point being, they've done it all year, lets not crash the bandwagon over one tough week.

Another crippling blow has been the absence of Ryan Braun over the last three and the continued struggles from Third base.  McGehee has seen his spot in the batting order drop from fifth to seventh and with the absence of Braun, Hart has moved into the three hole.  So who does that leave backing up Prince Fielder?  Yuniesky Betancourt.  Nothing screams "Intentional Walk!" more than a guy hitting .240 with little to no pop and an over-aggressive bat behind one of the NL best hitters in Fielder. 

Lets check out the last weeks worth of games and the 5 hole production.

Tuesday, June 28 vs. Yankees
McGehee:  1-4, 2K

Wednesday, June 29 vs. Yankees
Hart: 1-4, 1K

Thursday, June 30 vs. Yankees
Hart: 0-3, BB, 1K

Friday, July 1 vs. Twins
Hart:  0-4

Saturday, July 2 vs. Twins
Gamel:  0-3

Sunday, July 3 vs. Twins
Gamel: 1-4, RBI

Monday, July 4 vs. Dbacks
Betancourt:  0-4

Tuesday, July 4 vs. Dbacks
Betancourt:  0-3.

Brewers 5 spot hitter totals:  3-29, 4K, 1BB, 1RBI

Clearly the lack of production is there, making Fielder a lot easier to work around, virtually taking the best two hitters out of your lineup with Braun currently down with an injury.  McGehee's scuffles don't seem to be coming to any near end, but with Roenicke and his man crush (see Kotsay) McGehee doesn't seem to be going anywhere, which doesn't help this team at all.  It's easy to say how bad the Brewers need a healthy Braun back, so I won't say it, but beside Braun, the Brewers need to rework more than just their 3B production and five hole hitter.

Brewers Bench:

Mark Kotsay:  .252 AVG, 1HR, 12RBI
Craig Counsell:  .181 AVG, 0HR, 3RBI
Josh Wilson:  .241 AVG, 2HR, 3RBI
George Kottaras:  .256 AVG, 2HR, 8RBI
Carlos Gomez:  .224 AVG, 6HR, 17RBI
Mat Gamel:  .143 AVG, 0HR, 2RBI (7 games)

It's pretty clear there is no real power threat coming off of the bench, hell there is no actual player that should be in the Major Leagues (exception Kottaras, Gamel) on the Brewers bench.  With the recent injuries, these players are forced into an already shotty lineup.

If Roenicke or Melvin doesn't go out and get a solid power threat, or call up a few Nashville possibilities, these struggles will continue.  Brandon Boggs had some success in Milwaukee on a short clip.  Taylor Green continues to play well and awaits a possible call up.  And Betancourt just gets worse and worse every time I see him play.  The trade deadline is looming, I'll get into that in an article next week.

To start wrapping up a hodgepodge of numbers, the Brewers starters will be fine.  A few recent woes do not take away from what they have done all season.  But the Brewers bench will continue to be a weakness.  Here are some possible moves:

DFA Betancourt, add bullpen arm
DFA Kotsay, Call up Boggs
Option McGehee, Call up Taylor Green

The Brewers would then see a lineup of


Bench of:  Morgan/Gomez, Boggs, Gamel, Kottaras, Wilson/Counsell.

Boggs and Gamel would provide some power off of the bench with Taylor Green getting a look in the Majors.  Green currently in Triple A Nashville has a line of .309/12 HR/42 RBI and is another lefty to add to the lineup.  He has some struggles against left handed pitching, but how worse could he do than McGehee?  This would also give the Brewers a chance to add an extra arm to the bullpen in the likes of Dillard, McClendon, or DiFelice.

To finish, Brewers fans, just relax.  It's so easy to get down on your team after some early struggles, hell we started the year 0-4.  We got to taste sweetness with a three game lead, and now its turned bitter sitting 2 games back.  Think back to 2010 at this time and you would see the Brewers 10.5 games back of first place.  The Crew clearly need to add some pieces/shift some current pieces around to lock down the top spot as the Cardinals play a much more consistent brand of baseball.  Once Braun is back and healthy and the starting pitching gets back into form the bandwagon will once again re-open for all you current haters.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?  Twitter is the Answer @JamesSmizek

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