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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.

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

Monday, July 4, 2011

Alright, Now I'm a Little Pissed

Throughout this losing streak (six out of the last seven games - which could easily be a seven game losing streak instead), I have been going out of my way to try and stay positive regarding the play of the Milwaukee Brewers. Sure, they struggled against the Yankees, but the way that they were able to come back against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night earned a lot of good faith with me. However, Milwaukee used that good faith up very quickly, as in their game on Sunday and now in their Monday game against the Diamondbacks, the Brewers blew a 6-1 lead and were the losers in both. At the end of the night the Brewers will still either be in first place or a game behind, which is incredible to me with how bad they've been playing lately (update: St. Louis won 1-0 over Cincinnati, so the Brewers fall one game behind).

The thing that bothers me the most about Monday's 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks is that this was a game where Shaun Marcum of all people hit a grand slam, and you absolutely can not waste performances like that. Anytime anyone hits a grand slam, especially your pitcher, that really should be a game that you win. Marcum actually gave back all the runs he drove in, giving up four runs in six innings. He did leave with the lead however, so it was up to the bullpen to bring this game home.

Clearly, that did not happen, as the Diamondbacks scored at least one run in every inning from the fourth until the end of the game. The bullpen was an absolute mess on Monday, including (no surprise) Kameron Loe who really does need to be sent down to Nashville or beyond. I feel there are way too many times in recent memory where Brewers fans can notice when a guy is done, but the team themselves can't. I'd be happy to be wrong about Kameron Loe, but there have been no indications from his performances this season that I will be.

If you're the Brewers, you just have to keep taking the field and putting your best foot forward, but there has been enough going on during this recent stretch of games to concern me. The bullpen is losing game after game (we've seen this before, all too many times), Mark Kotsay isn't a big league ballplayer, Casey McGehee has been struggling for so long that it can no longer be considered a slump, we're not getting any production out of the five hole, and we are making too many errors in both the infield and the outfield.

Panic button? Far from. But concerned about the direction of this team? A little bit, yeah.

Marcum hits Grand Slam!
Celebrate good times come on!
Oops, forgot we suck.

POTG: Shaun Marcum

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Twins Flip the Script with Comeback

Unless you're celebrating how terrible you are on defense, Mark Kostay, you better pull back that fist. Only Mark Kotsay can start the game off with a home run and a triple and then turn into the goat of the Brewers 9-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Actually, Kameron Loe did a pretty good job of blowing this one as well, courtesy of Ron Roenicke's decision to bring him in with runners on in the 7th. We all know that Loe doesn't pitch well when he needs to be clutch, all of us except for Roenicke that is. For how brilliant Roenicke managed Saturday's game, I can't believe those thoughts share the same brain with the thought that Kameron Loe deserves to be a big league pitcher. Sigh. For a team that shares a first place lead, we sure do have a lot of problems.

More Greinke struggles
Kotsay, Loe help lose game too
Goodbye momentum!

POTG: Rickie Weeks

Milwaukee Trio to Start in All-Star Game

If there was ever even an inkling of doubt before this weekend that Milwaukee knew how to grow and keep their own homegrown talent, this year's starting lineup for the National League in the All-Star game should help eliminate that. Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun all led the fan voting at their respective positions, and all will be starting in this year's Midsummer Classic. It's the first time in Brewers history that they'll be represented by three starters, but it's definitely deserving for this trio.

You won't be able to find any Brewers on the bench however, as the three starters are the only three that have been selected. I thought there was a chance that John Axford and maybe even Shaun Marcum could get nods, but for now both of them will remain at home and enjoy their extra days off. Still, no complaining from me as seeing three guys starting in the All-Star game is certainly something I never expected to see. Well done, gentlemen, and well done Brewers fans for making sure these guys got the recognition that they have earned.

Plush Leads Improbable Comeback

You had to be all kinds of frustrated when the Brewers had fallen behind 7-0 to the Twins on Saturday night, as not only did it mean that the team's road woes were continuing but their current losing streak was going to continue as well. Thank God, however, for Nyjer Morgan. The birthday boy nearly single-handily brought the Brewers back from the brink, collecting three hits and was just a single short of the cycle.

The man known as Tony Plush hit his third home run of the season (tying a career high) in the top of the sixth inning that scored Rickie Weeks and brought the Brewers to within four. Morgan would then score after tripling in the eighth inning, and then with two outs in the ninth inning he hit a double to deep right (which could have been caught) that scored two runs and tied the game. George Kottaras would then plate Morgan home, and the Brewers capped off their largest comeback on the road since 1983. Not bad for a team that has struggled mightily this season away from Miller Park (although a very pro-Brewers crowd might have neutralized the road environment just a bit).

Morgan is without question the POTG, but credit manager Ron Roenicke for making all the right moves to bring this team back from a seven nothing deficit. Roenicke was faced with a couple of speedbumps with a slight injury to Ryan Braun (which will keep him out of Sunday's game) and the disastrous performance of Chris Narveson, but he earned his paycheck on Saturday night. Check out the box score and notice position changes and lineup moves like I've never seen in a game that didn't go into extra innings. Nyjer Morgan started in center, moved to left, went back to center. Mark Kotsay started in right, then went to first, and later to left. And Corey Hart, Josh Wilson, and George Kottaras were all used to pinch hit and then spell someone at a different defensive position than the one they pinch hit for. He also plugged newly activated Takashi Saito into an 8th inning role and was rewarded with Saito picking up his first win of the year, followed by John Axford picking up his 21st save of 2011.

As a fan, you're going to write off the game when you see your team is down 7-0 by the 4th inning, but credit the Milwaukee Brewers and their staff for not doing the same. When you're on a losing streak, sometimes you need a game like the one the Brewers had to turn things around and get some of that momentum back. They're back in first place now with the win, and we'll see if they can hang on to that momentum today in the series finale against Minnesota.

Nyjer's 31st
Celebrates in grand fashion
Happy Birthday Plush

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Aaron Rodgers on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Dominant Performance Puts U.S. in Quarterfinals

If you missed Saturday's Women's World Cup game between the United States and Columbia, you missed what was actually one of the most dominating performances by a U.S. soccer side that I've ever seen. The Americans were only able to punch in three goals on 27 shots, but they definitely got the job done nonetheless. When they weren't ripping shots on the Columbian goalkeeper (who played quite brilliantly in the first half, and then very poorly in the second), the U.S. was dominating all over the rest of the field. Any time that Columbia tried to get on the offensive, the U.S. defense was there to either thwart the effort or draw them offsides. They won the 50/50 balls, maintained strong possession, and barely let Columbia put together a string of passes of three or more. It was a solid effort for a team that is, as announcer Ian Darke put it, "turning heads of the most neutral of observers".

Heather O'Reilly started the onslaught with what has to be the goal of the tournament so far, a shot from outside the right corner of the box that traveled to the upper left corner of the net in the 12th minute. Christie Rampone added her first WC goal in the 50th minutes and Carli Lloyd scored just seven minutes later. Abby Wambach and the worst haircut in sports was unable to score despite her many shots, although she did pick up a weak yellow card which may cause her to sit out the next game (two yellow cards in any two games equals a one-game suspension).

With the win, the U.S. have clinched a quarterfinals berth, but now play Sweden on Wednesday afternoon for a matchup that will basically decided who doesn't have to play Brazil in the first round of the knockout stage. Expect the U.S. to beat Sweden and then cruise through the quarters into the semis, where a matchup with Brazil seems almost inevitable. This is a strong U.S. side, and at this point anything less than that scenario would be a disaster. What they showed me today though was that this is a team that is capable of winning it all.

The Losing Streak Continues

When you get swept by a team that was beyond embarrassing, the first thing you like to do is hightail it out of that city and move on to the next series. That plan didn't seem to work so well though for the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, who after getting destroyed for three games by the New York Yankees, now found themselves on the losing end of an 6-2 battle with the Twins. With the loss, the Brewers now also find themselves down a game in the NL Central, and just two in front of both the Reds and Pirates for second in that division. I spoke the other night about how I think we as fans have a tendency to overreact just a bit, but a win would be nice sometime soon.

Friday night's loss was similar to the previous losses of the week - the Brewers are struggling mightily on offense and they are giving up a good share of runs. Trends like that are going to lead to losses more often than not, that's just common sense. The Brewers did take a 1-0 lead early, but a three-run shot by Jim Thome in the bottom of the first inning was really all the Twins would need. They added on a few more runs for good measure, and the first game of this Border Battle goes to our neighbors to the West.

More AL action
Is not serving the Crew well
End Interleague Play!!!

POTG: Carlos Gomez

Milwaukee will try to get back on the right side of the box score tonight against the Twins with a 6:05, assuming there is not another rain delay at Target Field. Mat Gamel will be the DH and in the five hole, while McGehee will be on the bench as Counsell is starting at third (batting ninth). The Brewers will be able to go to Takashi Saito to the pen tonight, as he has been activated from the DL with Tim Dillard being sent back down to Nashville.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brewers Fans and the Love of Overreacting

I love Brewers fans as much as the next person. Hell, I am a Brewers fan, and a big one at that. But there's a disturbing trend that I'm noticing among our fanbase, and that is a tendency to overreact a bit. I wondered the other day if all of our managers were stubborn coming into the gig, or if the nature of Brewers fans made them that way. I'm leaning towards the latter. Look, three days ago the Crew had three games on the Cardinals, and we were ready to declare them division champs already. Now, after getting swept by the Yankees, some within the fanbase are ready to concede the NL Central race once again. None of this is really surprising - we are the same people that thought it was time to look forward to 2012 after we started out 0-4.

Look, I know the Brewers have problems. They suck on the road, and there really is no excuse for that. But we can't be living and dying with every series as much as we have been, both good or bad. After that Twins series, we couldn't have been feeling better - on top of the NL Central with a three game lead. But then after Milwaukee got swept in the Bronx, the Twitterverse immediately exploded with the same kind of overreaction that we have all been guilty of all season. This brief post here is not intended to be a "fuck you" post to all of my fellow brethren, nor is it me trying to be pretentious and act like I'm above it. I'm not. I'm as guilty as overreacting as anyone else. I just think it's time that we, as a collective unit, realize that the baseball season is 162 games, and your future is not determined by your most recent three game clip.

Perhaps I'm overreacting in this very article, but I truly feel that we as Brewers fans are lacking a bit of the perspective that we should have. I couldn't even imagine what would happen if the Brewers went to Minnesota this weekend and got swept there as well. There would be calls for Roenicke's head, and there's no arguing that. I'm also not saying that every fan is this way, but the voice of the panicked gets louder and louder with every game. Maybe it's because we have the talent to be contenders and we're upset that we don't think we're living up to it, or maybe it's because we had a taste of the postseason three years ago and are dying to get back. I'm not sure what it is, but I'd like to see it change. Myself included.

As for the game that is causing some of this reaction, the Brewers lost 5-0. Former Brewer CC Sabathia (who I still think should have his number retired by Milwaukee) dominated his old mates, striking out 13 batters in a winning effort. But I say instead of dwelling on what happened in New York, we move on and worry about Minnesota. And if the Brewers struggle there as well, we move on to the next series. We're not even to the All-Star break yet. There will be a couple more losing streaks along the way, as there will be a couple more winning streaks. The race between St. Louis and Milwaukee (and perhaps a couple others) is going to come down to the final couple of weeks. Let's not lose sight of that fact, win or lose.

POTG: Ryan Braun

Against his old mates
CC makes Crew look foolish
Please come back, CC

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brew Crew Haiku

Yankees 5, Brewers 2

The quick early lead
The Yankee comeback in fourth
The pain of losing

POTG: Ryan Braun

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brewers Bomb in Bronx

Greinke gets destroyed
Brewers stupid on bases
Can we go home yet?

POTG: Mat Gamel, believe it or not.

Tough loss tonight, as the Brewers fall 12-2 to the Yankees. I'm not sure if the Brewers really are that distracted when they play in these historic stadiums or if the announcers just like to dwell on that storyline, but we do have a tendency to get killed in AL East stadiums. I'd like to see us win at least one of these next two games, but it's incredible how strong that Yankee lineup is. At one point during Tuesday's game I tried to picture these two matching up in the World Series, and then I remembered that our "ace" just got lifted after two innings. Tough game all around, let's just move on and regroup Wednesday.

U.S. Women Kick Off World Cup with Win

The United States Men's team may be struggling as of late, but the Women's side looks just fine especially after their 2-0 win against North Korea on Tuesday. The first half was scoreless, but then Lauren.... you know what, not even I can do this. I'm glad the women won, I had the game on but barely watched, but until they at least get out of the group stage I just can't get around to writing about them. Maybe I'll try to sit down and actually watch the game on Saturday (11am against Columbia) and then we'll go from there.

Three Brewers Could Start All-Star Game

Ryan Braun is going to be there, Prince Fielder is going to be there, and for the first time ever, Rickie Weeks may be there as well. Not only are these three Brewers expected to be heading to Arizona for the annual Midsummer Classic, but they could all be part of the starting lineup. The races are tight, but with the recent homestand in Milwaukee it appears that the fans have done their part to help get as many Brewers to the All-Star game as possible.

We'll start with Braun, who is seemingly going to be starting in the All-Star game every year for as long as he is healthy. He leads all outfielders by 700,000 votes, and barring a change in how votes are counted he will be starting. Actually, Brewers fans have always been very good at getting all three outfielders on the ballot into the top fifteen at that position, and this year is no exception. The difference, once again, is that nationwide the fans are willing to put their votes behind Braun as well, and the thought of Carlos Gomez as an All-Star remains but a dream. The outfield:

Ryan Braun, Brewers: 3,932,100
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 3,208,183
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 2,935,965
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 2,743,927
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 2,264,640

Corey Hart, Brewers: 1,217,629 (12th)

Carlos Gomez, Brewers: 1,016,685 (14th)

As has been the case for the past several years, Albert Pujols is far and away the leading vote-getter at first base, although his injury has opened up a starting spot for whoever can finish second. By the looks of things right now, that honor would appear to fall to Prince Fielder, although it's close.

Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 3,358,432
Prince Fielder, Brewers: 2,903,584
Joey Votto, Reds: 2,832,857
Ryan Howard, Phillies: 1,881,711
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 702,911

The other starter could come from second base, where a hot June from Rickie Weeks coupled with the first place stature of the Milwaukee Brewers has put another Brewers at the top of the charts. The battle between Brewers and Reds for starting positions extends from first base to second, where Rickie is barely holding off Brandon Phillips. Both are on the road the next couple of days, but a weekend series at home for the Reds could give them the victories at the 11th hour.

Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 2,869,583
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 2,791,186
Chase Utley, Phillies: 2,406,965
Dan Uggla, Braves: 1,223,812
Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 1,184,145

So it's obvious that the Brewers will have at least one starter in the All-Star game, but three is a very real possibility as well. Even if Weeks and Fielder don't make the starting nine, you can bet that both of them will be invited to the "exhibition." Shaun Marcum would be deserving of a nod as well, possibly John Axford and possibly Yovani Gallardo, but we'll have to wait and see on those. Until then, keep on voting, which you've done a good job of doing so far, as evidenced by the fact that Jonathan Lucroy and even Yuni B are both in the top five at their respective positions.

Brian McCann, Braves: 3,062,884
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 2,271,887
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,849,984
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 1,451,280
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 1,392,944

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,955,609
Jose Reyes, Mets: 2,710,777
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 1,724,166
Alex Gonzalez, Braves: 1,142,470
Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers: 1,131,078

Sadly, Casey McGehee's vote totals are nowhere to be seen.

Roster Moves: It was announced on Monday that Mat Gamel and Zach Braddock have been brought back up to the 25. Braddock is likely here to stay. Gamel, unless something crazy happens, figures to be here just for the six game AL road trip. Sergio Mitre has been designated for assignment, while Mark DeFelice is headed back to Nashburg.

U.S. (Women's) Soccer on Soon!

Now, I know there is absolutely no chance that you've forgotten about this, but consider this your friendly reminder that there is United States World Cup soccer on today. Granted, it's women's, but hey they are people too. The United States are considered to be one of the favorites of this tournament, although from what I know it appears that the road goes through Germany. The Americans will start their quest today, at 11:15am as they take on North Korea. Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wilson Brings High Expectations to Wisconsin

And just like that, the Badgers are National title contenders. That seems to be the feeling out of Madison today as Russell Wilson has decided to transfer to Wisconsin where he will without question be the Badgers starting quarterback next season. Sure, technically he'll be enrolled in a grad school program (he finished at N.C. State in four years and has one year of eligibility left) but nobody really cares about academics here. Wilson is coming to Wisconsin to play football, and by all indications he's going to have quite an impact.

The story on the kid is this - he went to N.C. State for four years, and was a pretty damn good player. But he was then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 MLB draft with the 140th pick, and has been spending his time most recently with their single-A affiliate, where he had been hitting .228 with three home runs and 15 RBI this season. It was his desire to play both sports that actually lead him to leave N.C. State a bit early, but he wants back on the gridiron and Wisconsin will be happy to comply.

In what came down to a race between the Badgers and the Auburn Tigers, Wilson selected the Badgers for some reason, most likely because the quarterback depth at Camp Randall isn't very deep. After the spring game, Jon Budmayr, a redshirt sophomore, was atop the depth chart with the talent behind him weak after that (a problem that will be solved once my main man Bart Houston gets to Madison, but for now is of great concern). Thanks to the magic of Wikipedia, the print screen button, and Microsoft Paint, here's a sample of the kid we're going to see in white and red this fall, on paper:

The Badgers are already known as a running team, but now to have a quarterback that can run a little bit as well is going to do what they call "open up the offense". Schematically, he might not fit with what the Badgers are used to running offensively, but that's because they've never had a player with the talent that Wilson has. From Darrell Bevell to Jim Sorgi, John Stocco to Tyler Donovan, and most recently Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin's signal-callers are historically nothing more than the dreaded term of "game-managers". Wilson is athletic, mobile, efficient, and exciting, and he's going to change the face of the Wisconsin Badgers offense, at least for this season.

Even before this move, you would have had to say that the Badgers were at least in the mix of favorites to win the Big Ten Championship, and with this latest acquisition that is even more the case. I still think the Badgers toughest contest is going to be October 1st against Nebraska, for both the talent on the other side of the ball and for the hype that the game will incur. But the Badgers have to be thinking right now that the Big Ten is theirs to lose, and with a weaker schedule this year (thank you Ohio State violations), four games in primetime, and a quarterback who is already a potential Heisman candidate, the Badgers could be in for a very good year.

Get to know your new quarterback by checking out this video made by either a) a member of the N.C. State PR staff, b) a communications major as a homework assignment, or c) a person who is a little too obsessed with this Russell Wilson fellow:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweep Over Twins Puts Brewers Up Three

What a difference a weekend makes. Coming into Friday's slate of games, the Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals were tied atop the NL Central. After Sunday's games were officially in the books, the Brewers now lead the division by three games. That will happen when you are able to sweep your opponent like Milwaukee did in their series against the Twins, in addition to seeing your rival in St. Louis get swept at home by the Toronto Blue Jays. The standings now read Milwaukee at 44-35, with the Cardinals three games behind. The Pirates and the Reds are within striking distance as well, both at four games back apiece, but it's so thrilling to see the Brewers up a handful of games at this point in the season.

The Brewers used the comeback route in each of their three games against the Twins, although in the last two games of the series Milwaukee was really only battling a one run deficit. Chris Narveson gave up a run in the second inning but was able to hold the fort until the 5th inning, when the Brewers bats finally came to life. Jonathan Lucroy started the inning off with a triple, but then it appeared as if the Brewers were going to waste his efforts as Narveson and Weeks became quick outs. But Nyjer Morgan singled Lucroy home, and then Ryan Braun hit home run number 16 on the season to put the Brewers up 3-1. The bottom of the order delivered again an inning later, as Lucroy and Narveson both doubled in runs, and Prince Fielder would an an insurance run later to give Milwaukee the 6-2 victory. Kudos to Narveson for his work both at the plate and on the mound, and more credit to the bullpen (Hawkins, Loe, Axford) for locking it down once Narveson's day was complete.

Next up for the Crew, a matchup against a fellow first place team in the New York Yankees, series beginning in the Bronx this Tuesday.

Slow start at the plate
But bottom steps up again
Braun with some pop too

POTG: Chris Narveson

U.S. Blows Lead, Game in Gold Cup Final

I don't care how good or how bad of a team you are, you just can't blow two goal leads in soccer. To me, there's really no excuse, especially when you are on a stage as big as the Gold Cup final that was played between the United States and Mexico on Sunday. The U.S. took a 2-0 lead early, getting quick goals from Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan. At that point, in a game this big, you might want to start thinking more defensive. I wouldn't say to pack it in completely, but you should definitely turn your mindset into one more of protection rather than aggressiveness. A two goal lead is one where you can still afford to make one mistake, but ultimately should be able to lock things down. The United States took the other route though, by taking that two goal lead and instead collapsing with tough breaks out of their goalkeeping and an overall terrible showing on defense. In front of a Rose Bowl crowd of more than 93,000, most of them fans for Mexico, the United States collapsed and capped off an overall topsy-turvy Gold Cup performance, losing to our rivals to the south by a 4-2 final.

There's really a lot to be upset about if you are a fan of this American soccer squad, as blowing a two goal lead can't be acceptable for a team that was supposed to be the best in at least their region. The game felt awfully similar to the Confederations Cup Final of 2009, when the Americans took an early lead against Brazil only to blow that one and lose 3-2. This American team needs to learn how to close teams out better, it's their biggest downfall besides the fact that they usually can't finish in the first place. Second place in a tournament is always an accomplishment, but the American's placement in this tournament could cost coach Bob Bradley his job. Sure, they took second, but this stretch of games was one of the weaker performances by the U.S. in quite some time.

Coming into the tournament, the United States had yet to win in 2011, drawing in friendlies with both Chile and Argentina, losing to Paraguay in another friendly, and then getting embarrassed by Spain in a Gold Cup tuneup. Then, against competition that should be regarded as inferior, the United States did have a nice showing against Canada before getting shocked by Panama, then barely beat the lowly Guadelope when the Americans were threatened with elimination, handily beat Jamaica, struggled to get revenge against Panama, and then collapsed against Mexico. Not a very impressive 2011 campaign for Bradley and the boys, as a .500 year should not be acceptable for a team ranked 22nd in the world (and higher than Mexico as of May 2011).

Ultimately, I'm not sure that the powers that be will decide it is time to go a different direction with this team and replace Bob Bradley, as he did just get an extension after the 2010 World Cup. But something is not right with this unit, and I do feel a change needs to be made. Jurgen Klinsmann, the former German star, as long been rumored as a potential candidate to head the squad, and I would love to see him finally take the reigns. I like Bob Bradley as much as the next guy, but there are way too many questions as to the future of this team and I'm not sure Bradley is the answer to any of them.

Now, here are some highlights of the game, which are in Spanish just as the celebration ceremony was:

Brew Crew Haiku

Full Brewers/Twins series recap coming after Sunday's game, but for now, lets quickly drum up a haiku for the Brewers 11-1 victory in which Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, and Yuniesky Betancourt (inside-the-park) all homered.

Gallardo brought it
Bottom of order now good?
Love beating the Twins

POTG: Carlos Gomez!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bucky Channel Classics: June 12, 2008

Trying out something here, which may be short-lived, but we'll see. I'm really only doing this because of how busy I have personally been lately, and I want to still keep this site fresh. And what better way to keep things fresh than to re-post old Bucky Channel articles and label them as "Classics". Hey, we've written over 3,000 of these things, and the audience may have changed in the last three years (as in, less of you), but here's an article I wrote three years ago about the rivalry between the Brewers and the Twins entitled "Don't Call it a Rivalry". You can also probably find it on Bleacher Report because I told them to remove all my posts from their site but they have yet to do so.

There is nothing in sports quite like a rivalry. A history of battles between two teams that make every game between them seem that much more important. Pride, integrity, and bragging rights become so much more important in each victory than where it will put you in the standings. You'll witness a number of incredible games in any given season, but every game between rivals automatically becomes a classic.

In Wisconsin, we have our fair share of rivalries. Packers/Bears. Packers/Vikings. Brewers/Cubs. Wisconsin/Big Ten. What do all these rivalries have in common? It's a bitter history between the two sides, aided by their geographical proximity. It's a key component to nearly every good rivalry. Yet, as much as the MLB you like you believe it, the upcoming Brewers/Twins series is not a rivalry.

Let me just state, for the record, that I love interleague play. I also love the fact that the MLB makes sure to match up teams in similar areas on a year to year basis. No matter what the schedule says, you will always see White Sox/Cubs, Yankees/Mets, Orioles/Nationals, Angels/Dogders, Giants/A's and so on every given year. As a fan, it's a great opportunity to see your home team play without having to travel too far.

There are many feelings of hatred between teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota, but the Brewers/Twins have never been one of them. I've made the trip to the Metrodome for this series a few years ago, and besides the typical boneheaded fans of any team, the crowd was relatively friendly. I imagine a Miller Park crowd to be the same when the Twins come to town. Unlike the other rivalries I've mentioned, I feel the Brewers and the Twins have a greater respect for one another. We used to play in the same division, but that was a generation ago. In the time since, we've learned to appreciate the other for being a small-market team trying to compete, as our franchises aren't all that different (besides the Twins success in the World Series of course).

Think about it. We both hate a team from Chicago more than we can put into words. We've both been in the area for relatively the same amount of time (the Twins coming from the Washington Senators in the 60's, and the Brewers coming from the Seattle Pilots in 1970). The Twins lost Santana because they couldn't afford him, the Brewers are likely to do the same with Sheets (editor's update: now read "Fielder"). The Brewers were never close to contraction, but that's because Bud Selig was our owner. And we have both shared the wonder that is Paul Molitor.

As our teams embark on the first three of six games we'll play this year, you can bet there will be some tense times from the first pitch from the final out. But, win or lose, we'll still have respect for the fans sitting next to us. After a Brewers/Cubs game, I'm out in the parking lot looking for someone to punch in the face. After a Brewers/Twins game? You can bet we're looking for each other in the parking lot, but only to do some extra tailgating together, and perhaps share a beer.

That's why this isn't a rivarly.

Unless, of course, the Brewers lose.

Your Gold Cup Reminder

Sadly, I'm thinking that the Gold Cup final between the United States and Mexico is going to be very pro-Mexican as the two sides meet up at the Rose Bowl tonight on the Fox Soccer Channel (8pm Central). The final is however seemingly drawing a bit of interest from even the most casual sports fans, as any game between these two nations should. Mexico hasn't had too tough of a road to get to the finals, even though they have been dealing with a rash of suspensions. The United States should consider themselves almost lucky to be here, losing to Panama in the group stages before eventually regrouping and playing some decent soccer in the last week.

The two sides will meet in the final for the fifth time in eleven Gold Cup tournaments, including for the third consecutive time that the Cup has been held. I'm still working on a way to be able to watch this thing live, maybe I'll have to sack up and order the sports pack on DirecTV. Hell, I get all the WWE pay-per-views that come my way, might as well get something that's actually a legit sport (to some people!).

Brew Crew Haiku

Brewers 4, Twins 3

Decent night from Wolf
Valencia gives Twins lead
Thank God we have Prince

POTG: Prince Fielder

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago yesterday was one of the greatest sporting moments I can remember.

"Distribution Brilliant."

"Goal, Goal. USA!"

I still remember where I was and how I felt. It is one of those moments I will remember forever. 90 minutes of agony, followed by pure jubilation, almost vindication for us soccer fans out there. I will remember it even more fondly than the Superbowl, because it was just one moment, one moment which was the culmination of years and years of work for US soccer, whereas a football game is a collection of moments and numerous important plays. Here is my day of reaction.

Check out the supplemental videos below. The fan reaction one still brings tears to my eyes. I love it. And one in Spanish just for the heck of it and it does sound better. Univision is an American channel after all.

This also serves as a get hype call for tomorrows game. We got this. Indivisible.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to Milwaukee

Hold up... Jimmer Fredette? No, no, no don't forget Milwaukee made a trade to send Fredette to the Kings. Instead Milwaukee will welcome Tobias Harris to the roster. He is the youngest player in the draft, and very athletic. I like the pick, because I think the Bucks have a good core to go off of, but taking a guy with upside was a great idea. I would have loved Marshon Brooks, but they took Harris that had the best IQ in the draft when it came to basketball. If I have to rate the pick I will give it a B, because they had the chance to take a guy that can score, but they passed it up for a Skiles ball player.

In the second round Milwaukee went with the homer pick of Jon Leuer. Get pick by the Bucks, because I either wanted Jimmy Butler or the man we did end up getting. These two got talked up a lot as of late, and also moved up the draft board as the week went on. Jimmy Butler went to the Bulls with the last pick of the first round. Hey Mr. Butler it was nice knowing you, but I will not cheer for you ever again unless you leave the Bulls. I really think Milwaukee did some good things tonight with the trade, and the two picks they had. I hope this works out for them, and it would also be nice to see them make the playoffs next season.

You Might Have Seen This, But it's Funny

Posting this because it's funny, and as much I want to hate the Manning brothers I just can't. I just can't do it. (h/t Awful Announcing).

The Milwaukee Shake Up

Believe it John, because you are no longer a Milwaukee Buck if the reported deals do in fact go down. You'll soon be able to take your talents to the Sacramento Kings. It sounds like a three team block-buster deal will go down tonight at the Draft. Milwaukee will get the 19th pick, Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, and Shaun Livingston. The Kings will get the 10th pick and John Salmons. The Bobcats will keep their 9th pick, and get Corey Maggette.

Now because the deal was agreed upon after 3pm Eastern, the trade can't be official after until the draft starts, so I hope this doesn't get shot down. Milwaukee will clear some cap, and move down in the draft like I said they should. With the 19 pick it would be nice to get a guy like Marshon Brooks, and in the second round I'm going with a homer pick of Jimmy Butler or Jon Leuer. Either way this adds depth at the PG spot for the Bucks, and also gives a shooter, passer, rebounder in Jackson. I hope tonight continues a trend of things looking good for the Bucks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

USA Advances to Gold Cup Final

This play is American soccer at it's finest. Some beautiful passes and a finish delivered by one of our greatest players, Clint Dempsey. The assist came from Landon Donovan, and the pass that set it all up came from... Freddy Adu? As in, the kid that whenever I tell someone that I like soccer they say, "Golly gee shucks, whatever happened to that Aye-doo kid?" What happened is that he entered the Gold Cup semifinal against Panama in the 64th minute and never looked back.

So after all the panic that went through my head and the rest of the U.S. Soccer community after the Americans loss to Panama in the group stage, the Americans are back to the Gold Cup final, taking on the winner of the Honduras/Mexico game. Well done, boys. Sorry for doubting you.

Fans Point to Roenicke After Loss

The interleague play woes continued for the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, as they dropped their series finale game against the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3. The Brewers and their fans will have a couple of days to stew over this one, as this was one of Ron Roenicke's more questionable games as a manager. First, if Shaun Marcum is hurt, he's hurt. Don't have the guy start the game if he's only going to toss three innings. And then if you do start him, don't have him bat in the bottom of the third only to yank in before the top of the fourth. Roenicke did that, and you could see Shaun Marcum wince in pain after trying to hit David Price, which makes you again question just why the hell he was in there in the first place.

Our skipper is also getting criticized for his decision to bat Mark Kotsay, who is on a recent 0 for 15 streak, with two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth instead of batting George Kottaras. Roenicke never gave an honest reason for his decision, just saying "it's just which guy you want to hit first", as Kottaras was on deck. It seems that in both of these situations, Roenicke made these decisions off of feel and with his gut, which he has done quite a few times this season to his success. But his managing didn't pay off on Wednesday, and it's easy to jump on him for that. Between the last few managers that the Brewers have had, I really can't tell if they are all just stubborn or if we as Brewers fans have been asking too much of them.

The last three series
Brewers losers in all three
Turn it around, boys

POTG: One of those games where nobody deserves it so we give it to the one pitcher that didn't give up a run. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. Sergio Mitre.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brew Crew Haiku

The question I poised earlier in the day was wondering how long I'd stay up for Brewers games considering how early I have to get up now. Well, the answer is until the game is over in the instances where Zack Greinke is dealing on the mound, as was the case in Tuesday's 5-1 victory against the Rays. With ten strikeouts and just one run allowed in seven innings, he obviously gets the Player of the Game. Credit the bullpen for locking it down after that, Yuniesky Betancourt for getting his fourth home run of the season, and the entire team for still having yet to lose back to back games at home this season. Now, while I did stay up for the game, I can't stay up for much longer than a haiku.

Greinke on the hill
Ten strikeouts with zero walks
Zack Attack is back

Bogut Trade Rumors Are False

Unless the Bucks think his career is over from the injury he suffered from the picture above, Andrew Bogut will remain a Buck, and probably for a long long time. This guy is worth way more than the second overall pick in this draft. It seems that rumors are going around about Bogut and the 10th pick to the T-Wolves for the 2nd pick in the draft. That just makes no sense unless the Bucks know something crazy about Bogut that we don't. The guy was a walking double-double before he went down with that injury. I hope this off-season he will get healed 100%, and be able to play more physical again this coming season. I guess I don't see why they would trade the only center they have to get someone like Derrick Williams. No seriously, ?????

So lets just put these rumors to bed right now, and maybe I shouldn't even be justifying them in the first place. iF somehow thist does go down you can bet I won't do many Bucks posts this season, as they would have just made the worst trade of all time. Unless the Bucks know for a fact Bogut will never be the same again I would just let these trade rumors pass for now. Now if the number two pick was a LeBron, Kobe, Rose, or Love type player then count me in. I don't think Williams will be that great, but don't get me wrong he will be good. Just seems like a risk the Bucks can't afford to take, because fans need to see wins, and they need to see them now.

Oh, and Winks wanted me to tell you that Andrew Bogut just won Bucks Survivor for the third time in four years. So that's nice.

New Challenge: When Is it Safe to Sleep?

Four months ago I was working in a call center, hating each and every miserable day of my life. Then I finally got a job that I've wanted for a long time, working the afternoon drive shift on an FM radio station. Three months later, one thing lead to another and now I've been moved to the morning show, hosting the show by my lonesome. What does that mean for my professional life? Well, clearly, it's a great opportunity. But what does it mean for my life as a Brewers fan? It means watching every game in full, especially the late ones, is now impossible. Getting up at four in the morning every day means that I will likely be going to bed before the final pitch, something I have recently said I just wasn't able to do. So the question now instead becomes, how late can I stay up for my Brewers? At what point am I comfortable enough to go to sleep with knowledge of the current score and then wake up to check the final result in the morning?

That theory was put to the test on Monday night, when physically I just didn't have it in me to stay up for the whole game. I doubt I'll be able to stay up for the game tonight either, even though initially I did have plans to go (the Rays are my American League team). So the plan now is to stay up as late as I can until I decide the game is in hand, one way or the other. Last night I decided to finally crash when the Brewers went down 4-0 in the 7th inning, which proved to be the correct choice as Milwaukee eventually lost 8-4. It wasn't the best game that your Brewers have ever been involved in, as it was a game which saw another Narveson implosion, an offense that was slow to get started, and probably most memorably the "look-at-me" performance of umpire Bob Davidson.

Another challenge that not watching all of the Brewers game presents me with is just how the hell I'm supposed to write recaps of games I don't see the conclusions of? "Hey now Winks, is this just your way of telling us you don't feel like recaps for awhile?" No, no, I swear that's not what this is. I enjoy doing these capsules, even if I'm the only one who ends up reading them. Blogging like this has helped me become a more knowledgeable Brewers fan, so it's just as important as ever for me to keep writing. Plus, we got haikus and POTG awards here, where else do you find that much excitement during your daily internet sweep!

The other part that's tough to get used to is that I used to come home from work and the game would be just getting started. Now, I have all this time to kill before the first pitch, and am not sure what to do with myself. I sure as hell don't plan to work out or do anything productive. I think there is only one solution here. Work from 4am - 2pm. Sleep from 2pm - 6pm. Brewers from 6pm - 10pm. Sleep from 10pm - 4pm.

Done and done.

Roenicke tossed
Miller Park gives Standing O
Watershed moment?

POTG: As much as I want to give it to Roenicke, let's go with..... ah, what the hell. Let's give it to Roenicke.

Monday, June 20, 2011

NBA Draft Preview

We all remember last time the Bucks had the 10th pick, the time when we drafting Brandon Jennings - who wasn't even in the green room for the draft. He was down the street watching it with his family at the hotel, and after he was drafted he showed up a few picks later to shake David Stern's hand. But who will the Bucks take Thursday with the 10th pick? Well this is a weak draft, and seems to be one that will only have a few stars in this league. The Bucks could really use a scorer, but a big guy down low to help take the pressure off Bogut would be nice too.

Kawhi Leonard and Tristan Thompson would be the big guys I think the Bucks hope to fall. If they don't another name I see is Marcus Morris. I kind of want to stay away from a guy like Morris, who just seems to be a little of a hot head. He seems to always be talking himself up, and that worries me at a young age when people do that. Also some guard names are being thrown around for the Bucks. Alec Burks from Colorado  has been mentioned as a home for the Bucks, Jazz, or Suns. Another guy that is shooting up the charts is Klay Thompson from Washington State, who could be one of the best shooters in the draft. Something the Bucks have been lacking is a guy that can shoot, so he seems to be the right pick for them. TBC Staff Member Bear has already stated that he would love to see the Bucks draft Thompson.

Will they maybe try to trade down, and hope a guy like Thompson is still there? A few other names that have come up that might be sleepers are Jimmy Butler from Marquette, and Marshon Brooks from Providence. We should all know about Butler, and he is being compared to a Raja Bell type player that can come off the bench and play good defense. Marshon Brooks is the guy who scored 52 points against Notre Dame. I'm not saying these are guys that would go ten, but would be guys the Bucks could maybe trade down for and acquire some picks in the process. It just seems like a weak draft, so trading down if you can find someone that wants to move up would make sense. Take a chance with a sleeper later in the first round. With the team we have now we should win more games regardless, as long as people don't get hurt every week.

The draft is set for Thursday night at 7 ET. It will air on ESPN, which sucks because I don't think NBA TV will have anything live, and I'd rather watch their coverage. I don't see the Bucks getting a franchise changing type player, but you just never know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Resilient Rory

It really should have never been in doubt, but after what happened at the Masters you had to think it wasn't over till his birdie on hole one Sunday. You have to give him a lot of credit, because we always talk about athletes getting in their own heads. This was not the case for McIlroy this weekend, as he put on a show that will never be forgot. He broke records, he was the leader wire to wire, and he earned his first major. I really think this guy will be the next big superstar in golf.

I know Tiger Woods was the only player to shoot under par in 2000, but what Rory did just seems so much better. Tiger had already won a major in his career when he won the Open in 2000. Rory was coming off of a huge collapse just two months ago at Augusta. I guess Tiger had already won two majors, but him being the only one to shoot par makes it hard not to say that was the best performance of all time. We always talk about Kobe, LeBron, Manning, Brady, Jeter, Halladay, and other superstars about how they are the best of their time. but Rory has to do everything himself. He can't have a bad hole, and have his teammate pick him up. That is what makes this weekend so amazing. It just seems that golfers are over looked for what they do, but no one should ever over look this weekend.

Since it was a one man race we have to talk about the other tournament at the U.S. Open, the tournament for second place. Jason Day, a 23 year old from Australia showed he is another up and coming guy. He took second place Sunday at the U.S. Open, and also tied for second at the Masters in April. Since Rory just had to play par golf he really didn't have any pressure putts. Jason Day made a huge putt on 18 to for Y.E. Yang to make birdie on 18 to tie him for second. Yang was unable to make birdie, and Day will take home the second prize all to himself. Jason seems to be close to maybe winning a major himself, and I really hope he does. The guy plays with no fear, and just makes crazy shots.

As far as Stricker he had a great first 10 holes Sunday as he got to -5. With 5 birdies through 10 holes Steve finished the last 8 holes with two doubles, a bogey, and a birdie. Overall not a bad weekend for Stricker, but he just made too many mistakes. He dug himself a hole Thursday by shooting 4 over par. He did finish Friday with a 69, Saturday 69, and Sunday 70. So as for the three guys I picked Stricker finished -1, McDowell -2, Kuchar -2. I have to say I did fairly well, but wish I would have went with my Master pick Rory. For the rest of the scores click the link here. With the British next up in July will an American finally win a Major, or are the days of USA winning golf events over? Only time will tell.

Our 3,000th Post!

Here's to 3,000 more.

Americans on to the Gold Cup Semifinals

Excuse whatever the hell language is being spoken in this video, but here are highlights from the United States' 2-0 win against Jamaica in the Gold Cup Quarterfinals on Sunday. Jermaine Jones had the goal in the 49th minute of play, while Clint Dempsey added the dagger in minute 79, at which point the Jamaicans were playing a man down due to a red card given to Jermaine Taylor thirteen minutes prior. Dempsey did get the start today, which was in question after he and Landon Donovan both left the club for a few days to attend their respective sisters' weddings. Landon Donovan did not start in this one, instead coming off the bench with 25 minutes to play.

The highlights from the video are just of the second half, when all the scoring was done, but Jamaica nearly opened things up within the games' first five minutes, although Tim Howard made an incredible save with his feet to keep the game scoreless. The United States probably couldn't have played much better after their poor play so far this tournament, and they out shot the Jamaicans 18-4. Not so tough without John Candy around, are you Jamaica? The reggae boys have still never beaten the United States, but with the way the United States had been playing in this Gold Cup, Sunday was probably their best chance yet. Good to see the Americans rebound and dominate this one, although now we hold our breath and wait for word on the injury Jozy Altidore suffered in this game's 11th minute.

Next up, it's the U.S. vs. the winner of Panama/El Salvador on Wednesday night from Houston.

So That's Why Milwaukee Went to the NL

My goodness was that painful. If any of you settled in on Sunday afternoon to catch a ballgame with your dad on Father's Day, it's likely you tried to find something else on TV, or tried to do another activity together, pretty darn quick. As in, four Boston runs before their first out quick. The Brewers were out of their series finale with the Red Sox very early, giving up a six spot in the first and then six more runs from there. Nyjer Morgan and Prince Fielder gave fantasy players some late Sunday stats with a home run piece, but in the end there is nothing much to take away from this Boston series other than the fact that we went into Fenway and just got outplayed. Again.

Remember those comments that Ryan Braun made after the Brewers got swept by the Red Sox in 2008? If not, here they be: "I almost felt like this series, we didn't expect to win. We were competing. I know everybody tried hard. But it's not about trying hard. You've got to expect to win. I almost feel like we never really expected to win any of these games. I just kind of had that feeling."

While I wouldn't expect him to make any similar comments this time around, I wonder if it makes it worse that the 2011 edition of this matchup was a series in which the Brewers expected to win. They didn't expect to win in '08, I get that. They were young. Wide-eyed. In awe of Fenway. That's all good and fine. But this year, they are legit World Series contenders, whether you want to let yourself believe that or not. And even though they are that much better, the result was still almost identical. Thankfully they picked up the win on Saturday night, because the results on Friday and Sunday were embarrassing. A 12-3 loss to the Red Sox wasn't something that many people in Wisconsin planned on watching with Dad today.

It's been a tough week for the Brewers, first losing three out of four in Wrigley and now dropping two out of three in Boston. Thankfully, the Cardinals have had an even worse week, and even though we've tried to give them first place back all week long, they wouldn't take it. We're tied for first at 40-33, but the road is going to get even tougher the next couple of weeks. In that time, we'll be hosting the Rays, splitting a home and home with the Twins, and heading into Yankee Stadium. Honestly, I think we just need to get through these next two weeks around .500, and I'm not sure how possible that even is. Look, as good as I think the Brewers are, playing American League teams puts fear into my soul for this squad, and I'm glad we only see these teams once every three to five years instead of fifteen times per season. Let me share with you this Facebook status update posted by supposed Bucky Channel contributor Shep's dad from earlier on Sunday:

So I believe we now know the goal for the Brew Crew this season. Win the NL Central , Win the National League pennant and make it to the World Series and be cannon fodder for the Red Sox--Not so bad I'd take it.

I think I would too.

POTG: Nyjer Morgan

Brewers Finally Win in Boston

For the first time since the 1997 season, the Brewers have finally won again at Fenway Park. I can't say that I remember any of the series that occurred 14 years ago, but I still vividly remember when we were swept there in 2008. Back then, it didn't seem like the Brewers were anywhere in the league of the Boston Red Sox.  Their franchise was more recognizable, and thus more intimidating. The guys that made up that Brewers team were definitely overwhelmed by the experience, and as you can see this time around that is no such much the case. The Brewers no longer feel that there is that large of a gap between the two franchises, if they feel there is even a gap at all.

The win on Saturday was highlighted by a strong performance out of Randy Wolf, who gave up just a couple of runs in seven innings, while striking out three. He did give up nine hits throughout his time on the mound, but was able to make sure the runners that he didn't allow didn't come home. A POTG award is his reward for his efforts.

This game was won to watch right from the start, as the Brewers opened things up with back to back home runs from Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart. George Kottaras would homer as well, and the fourth RBI came from the bat of Casey McGehee, who punched one into left field after thinking twice that he was walked. So after 14 years, the Brewers finally can shake hands and give high fives after the game in the Fenway Park infield, and show the Red Sox that they belong.

Then again, as I type this game three is underway, and the Red Sox have guys at second and third with nobody out already in the first inning. Oh. Wait. Gallardo just dropped a ball at first. Red Sox up 1-0. Oh, shit. Three run shot by Youkilis. Jesus. Ignore all the praise I gave earlier.

Excited to win.
That feeling short lived, as the
Crew look bad today.

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