Friday, August 29, 2008

What's next, Brett Quatre?

So Chad Johnson just legally changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco, which is both hilarious and insane, as you would expect from Chad John..Ocho Cinco.

I think this creates a bit of a problem for the NFL, as I can definitely see some enterprising company paying an athlete to change their name.

Chad Goodyear
Antonio Budlight
Phil Google
Tony Roma
Peyton Pepsi-Manning
Tom Coke-Brady
Shaun Apple

This could be fun.

3 Million Tickets

The Brewers sold their 3-Millionth ticket yesterday. This is fantastic news. It's amazing that a team with the smallest market in professional baseball can have such great attendance. Winning helps, but, as the Rays will tell you, it's not everything when it comes to getting people to come out to a game.

Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times has a post up about teams that price-gouge their fans. He praises the Brewers as the biggest exception:

If there's one team I've learned to respect from looking at these prices the last two years, it's the Milwaukee Brewers. They do something very rare in pro sports; they treat their fans with respect. They'd rather grow a fan base than gouge one. Not only are they the only team to not have a processing charge, but also they have the lowest convenience fee in MLB.

On the one hand, as a Cubs fan I don't like seeing them move forward because it jeopardizes my team's chances. But I can switch off that part of my brain for a second. Taking a less parochial view, they are the most root-for-able squad out there. They develop from within, do a great job evaluating talent and serve as a model to properly deal with fans. Hang your head high, Brewers fans—you root for a club to be envied.

That's great to hear.

Hair of the Dog, Friday 8/29/08

The Brewers were off last night, but the Packers played. Some of them played anyway. They dropped their fourth preseason game to The Tennessee Thumbtacks 23-21. The Packers' starters played for just one series on each side of the ball. The offense scored on their first play from scrimmage on a Rodgers pass to Greg Jennings. So if you're keeping score at home, Ryan Grant played one play this preseason and didn't touch the ball.

After that, both rookie QBs had their chance. The Thumbtacks apparently kept their starters in for the entire first half, but that's no excuse for how bad Brohm and Flynn looked. I'm no expert, but neither of these guys looked anywhere close to being ready to run an NFL offense. As a Packer fan, it's odd to worry about what would happen if our starting QB went down, but with #4 leaving for the Jets, that's a real possibility. I wonder what Doug Pederson is up to these days?

In the only relevant baseball game, the Cubs beat the Phillies 6-4 to add another half game to their NL Central lead over the Crew. But that's probably a good thing. With 29 games left, it would be pretty tough to make up 6.5 games on the Cubs, so the most important thing is to stay ahead of the Cardinals and either the Mets or the Phillies. If the Cubs can help us do that, so be it.

One last word on the Villanueva/Pujols affair. The St. Louis beat writers and blogs are carrying on and on and on about how classless the Brewers are. St. Louis Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz has this to say:

One more thing: I don’t understand the Brewers. I just don’t. Really, I admire that team and its talent. Doug Melvin is one of the best guys in the game and an excellent GM. There are so many good players on that roster. But why do the Brewers always have to pull stunts? Why do they have to go knucklehead on us so often? What’s up with yanking their shirts out of their pants on the field as soon as they win a game, which, despite what they claim, really is an insult to the other team? What’s up with some of the showboat HR trots? What’s up with a journeyman like Villanueva gesturing wildly and cursing in the direction of the STL dugout? I don’t understand why this talented team feels that it needs to act up like NBA bad boy Ron Artest, or something. I don’t understand why this Milwaukee team feels the need to be controversial. I don’t understand the arrogance, considering that the Brewers have won NOTHING since 1982. And I don’t understand how Yost continues to allow it to happen. The Brewers will probably make the playoffs. They are that good. But we must ask: can you fellas at least hold off on the showboating until you actually win something?

Knucklehead? Ron F-ing Artest? Villanueva a "journeyman"? Really Bernie? Here's what I find classless: Hypocrisy. Complaining about showboating when your team leader, and the central figure in this controversy, is Albert Pujols. Or complaining about shirts being untucked when you're known for spiking batting helmets on the ground. I also find it classless to intentionally throw at an injured player and aim right at where he's injured, because he watched a home run a month ago. (Or maybe it was because of this: Braun is 459/493/903 against the Cards this year). It's also classless to say your teammates weren't fired up until a relief pitcher got excited about getting an out. Most of all, I find it classless to be one of the dirtiest teams in baseball and think you have the right to be that way because you won a World Series in 2005.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Playing Instead of Watching

I didn’t see the game last night because I was playing football. We had some nice fall weather, not too hot, a cool wind, and darkness around 7:30. It’s amazing and outstanding that I missed a meaningful baseball game in such conditions, and a testament to how far the Brewers have come.

Sure, it’s no fun to lose, but the Cardinals really needed a sweep, and they didn’t get it. They can’t feel that good about the series, and they are worse off now than when it started; 3.5 games back, 4 in the loss column, but with only 29 games to go. That’s a tall order. Not insurmountable, by any means, but very difficult.

Time is the Brewers best friend. Every game that goes by without losing the lead brings them closer to the playoffs. It’s nice to not be chasing at this point.


College football starts tonight, as Wake Forest takes on Baylor. Uhm, really? I know Wake Forest is ranked and all, but that’s the best we can do to kick off the college season? Lame.

Thankfully the Pros are just one week away.

Did Carlos Villanueva “Wake Up” The Cardinals?

No. That’s stupid. If the threat of being eliminated from playoff contention was less motivating than Carlos Villanueva’s emotional display, then the Cardinals are huge losers who don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.

A Random Scout on Ben Sheets:

From BP:

Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets: "His stuff just hasn't been crisp since the All-Star break. His pitches have lacked bite and it seems like he's really laboring. Something isn't right with this guy."

Not good.

The Outsiders

Football Outsider Aaron Schatz recently did an interview on ESPN First Take. He thinks the Packers are Super Bowl Contenders, the Giants will regress, and the Ravens will surprise everyone. Find out why here.

Today’s Hair of the Dog is brought to you by Goose Island 312. Lemon can cover up the taste of almost anything.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will I win my bet?

Prior to the start of the season, I made a bet with a friend that six Brewers would hit 20 or more home runs. Do you think I can win it? Here are the HR totals so far this season:

Braun: 33
Fielder: 28
Cameron: 23
Hardy: 20
Hart: 19
Hall: 15
Branyan: 12
Weeks: 10
Kapler: 7

So far, I've got four guys with 20 or more homers, and one more with 19. The real question is whether Hall can get five more in the remaining 30 games. He's not really on pace, but should get more playing time with the loss of Branyan (who sort of would be on pace if he wasn't injured).

For reference, the 1982 Brewers had five players with over 20 home runs, and another with 19:

Thomas: 39
Oglivie: 34
Cooper: 32
Yount: 29
Simmons: 23
Molitor: 19
Money: 16

This all got me thinking about what the highest number of players on a roster with 20 or more home runs might have been. Here's a list of teams with the most players with 20 or more home runs in a season. Three teams (the 2005 Rangers, 2000 Blue Jays, and 1996 Orioles) have had seven players with 20 or more home runs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Wednesday, 8/27/08

That's what they call an ass-kicking. The Brewers scored 12 runs on 16 hits and Ben Sheets [sort of] came back to form, throwing six scoreless innings to put the Brewers up 4.5 games on the Red Birds, and the Mets, in the Wild Card race. Nice. Braun went yard, but since I wasn't able to watch the game, I have no idea whether or not he watched it. Did he? There were lots of big performances--even the normally useless Craig Counsell was 3-for-4. I'll call this a message to the Cards, but only if we can win tomorrow [Today? What day is it?] too.

Meanwhile, I was attending the San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies game at AT&T Park. It wasn't a particularly impressive game. Former Brewer Jorge de la Rosa started for the Rockies, and took a really really long time to throw each pitch, San Francisco center fielder Aaron Rowand made some monstrous throws to home that came up just short, and in the end, the Rockies won 7-2. AT&T Park is very nice. The food is great, and you can get field-level ticket for $50. The scoreboard said there were 32,000-odd people in attendance, but if there was actually more than 25,000 I'd be shocked. One thing that I thought was slightly cool is that I saw no fewer than three Brewers hats! Two on the train and one at the stadium. I admit that I find it wierd that someone would wear the gear of a team that isn't even playing to a ballpark, but still, it was nice to see the Brewers love.

An honest politician, or mere poltical pandering? When ESPN's "special" correspondent, Stu Scott asked Barack Obama whether he preferred the Cubs or White Sox, Obama replied:

"Oh that's easy, White Sox. I'm not one of those fair weather fans. The Cubs, they're nice, you go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, the beautiful people out there, people aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox; that's baseball."

Most people are framing this bit of "news" as a North Side vs. South Side gaff. But is it? First of all, it's basically true. That is what Cubs games are like. They're fun and all, but people are on their cell phones. The fans are pretty yuppies. They aren't from Chicago, so they aren't really Cubs' fans. So does this make Obama the rare honest politician? Did he speak the truth even though it may have annoyed a substantial part of his base? Not really. He already has Illinois locked up, and he just endeared himself to Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania etc. etc. Is there a larger voting block than "people that find Cubs fans annoying"?

Enough about politics, let's talk about an issue on which we can all agree: instant replay in baseball. Major League Baseball announced that it would begin using replay to call boundary issues in home runs. This much, I think, is obviously a great idea. The real questions is, what's next? Balls and strikes? Some people claim to appreciate "the human element" of the game. But aren't they just saying they appreciate bad calls? One of my favorite law professors used to tell this joke. It's an old man joke, so it's not really "funny" in a conventional sense, but I always found it somewhat profound, especially in a legal context:

There are three home plate umpires discussing how they call balls and strikes. The first umpire says, "I calls 'em as I sees 'em." The second umpire says, "I calls 'em as they is." The third umpire says, "they ain't nothin 'til I calls 'em."

The point is, that how a judge rules is more important than whether he's wrong or right. But wouldn't it be better if the judge was always right? If it can be done, and it can, why not make every strike zone the same? The only reason I can think of is that Professor McCauley would need to learn a new joke.

Here's a little puff-piece from Fanhouse's Bruce Ciskie about a day at Lambeau Field. I've had that exact same day before but the guys riding bikes were Tony Mandrich and Pookie Workman.

Todays hair of the dog was brought to you buy Red Hook ESB, which they sell at AT&T park.

Brewers-Cardinals 8/26/08 Open Thread

Will Braun get plunked? Will Hardy keep hitting? Will Sheets come back to form and win back the support of the less sophisticated Brewer fans? Will the Crew untuck their jerseys and offend the baseball pusirsts/idiots? Will Craig Counsel do anything? Wait, why is he in there?

I'll be watching as much of the game as I can, but at some point will be forsaking interesting, meaningful baseball on TV to go to the Giants-Rockies game. I'm out in San Francisco for work and thought it would be a great opportunity to see what I hear is the best stadium in baseball. So if you've been to Giants game before, let me know what I should be sure to eat, drink and see. Either way, Go Brewers! Here's tonight's lineup:

2B Ray Durham
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
CF Mike Cameron
3B Craig Counsell
C Jason Kendall
RHP Ben Sheets

The pitching match-up is Ben Sheets (11-7, 3.16 ERA, 38 BB/140 SO) against Todd Wellemeyer (11-4, 3.79 ERA, 48 BB/100 SO). Here's the Baseball Reference game preview. Wellemeyer has been tough this year. Braun has hit him in the past, and there's a solid chance he'll be hitting Braun tonight (since their bullpen would probably miss). Go Brewers!

Hair of the Dog, Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Locate Throat, Apply Boot.

The Brewers can all but put away the Wild Card today and tomorrow if they can sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in a little two-game series in St. Louis. Even a split leaves them in great shape. The pesky redbirds have defied everyone’s expectations this year, conjuring good starting pitching out of the Todd Wellemeyers of the world, and dangerous power hitters out of the Ryan Ludwicks of the world. That’s Ryan Ludwick of the 154 OPS+ and the .304/.380/.599 line. That’s Ryan Ludwick, the 29-year old journeyman (Texas, Cleveland, St.Louis), who until last year had never played in more than 47 games in a season, and has put up season OPS+s of 66, 93, and 74 prior to his 2005 mark of 125 (in only 19 games, however).

Here are some Brewers with worse lines than Ludwick’s:

Ryan Braun - .299/.338/.590, 138 OPS+
Prince Fielder - .270/.369/.501, 126 OPS+

Ludwick would unquestionably be the Brewers’ best hitter.

Baseball Prospectus wrote this about Ludwick before the 2007 season:

“Ryan Ludwick was one of a number of `in case of emergency` players that the Tigers signed last winter; he had a pretty good year at Toledo, but the emergency never came. There`s nothing to suggest that he can`t be an effective fourth outfielder in the big leagues, and nothing to suggest he`ll be better than that either.”

And this before the 2005 season:

Ludwick spent most of 2004 getting his knee healthy after an off-season operation. Acquired from Texas in 2003, he's hit relatively well in the minors but failed to produce in his brief time in the majors. In part this is because playing in the PCL overstated his offensive potential a little, in part because a mid-range offensive prospect without plate judgment is like a parachutist who fills his container with chocolate pudding instead of silk.

Yet this mid-range offensive prospect is currently 17th in all of baseball in VORP, just above Oriole second baseman Brian Roberts and just below Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Hopefully the Brewers can hit the Cardinals with a healthy dose of reality and drive the Braden Loopers and and Kyle Lohses back to the ranks of the mediocre, where they belong.

Playoff Odds:

Baseball Prospectus currently puts the Brewers’ odds of making the playoffs at 83.2%. Not too shabby.

The Olympics Are Chicago’s To Lose

I predicted as much when this whole process began. Getting the Olympics in your town requires a certain level of corruption, and no one out-corrupts the mayor of Chicago. What Daley wants, Daley gets.

In Pittsburgh...

It’s Zambrano v. Snell. Let’s hope that CC Sabathia is a continuing source of inspiration.

Today’s Hair of the Dog is brought to you by Three Floyd’s Gumball Head. It’s extra bubbly.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Hat tip BCB.

Hair of the Dog, Monday, 8/25/08

I spent the weekend in Minneapolis attending wedding #6 for the summer, and so I was sort of off the baseball/Internet radar. Good times were had though, and the long drive home was timed to coincide with the Brewer game. With the girlfriend passed out for 92% of the drive, it was just me, Jim and Bob, and a can of sugar-free Redbull.

JJ Hardy came through with a single in the bottom of the 12th to score Rickie Weeks and sweep the Bucs. It wasn't the prettiest game the Crew has ever played. Generally speaking, when you throw a Cy Young winner against the Pirates in late August and it takes you 12 innings to win, it isn't a pretty game. Loading the bases and failing to deliver, twice, makes it even worse. But a "W" is a "W." Sabathia remains unbeaten but didn't score the other kind of "W" and remains 8-0. Here's another take on yesterday's game.

The Brewers promoted Mat Gamel to AAA Nashville. They're saying it's a tryout. If he looks good at AAA he may get called up to the MLB squad in September. He's a monster for sure, but he's had a rough second half. Maybe the change of scenery will help him out.

The Olympic torch was extinguished last night as David Beckham kicked soccer balls and a bunch of acrobats climbed a tower. The whole opening and closing ceremony thing seems very weird to me. I guess David Beckham was there to symbolize the torch being passed to Great Britain, since they don't have any Olympic athletes.

Speaking of the Olympics, I have to throw just one more link out there before we forget about sports like swimming and weightlifting for 4 years. Here's a post by a guy who has taught me a lot about weightlifting. I've always been impressed by the physical power in display in Olympic weightlifting, but it's amazing how much more interesting a sport can become when you really understand it. I like this bit:

2) The lifter gets one minute to start the lift from the time their name is announced. If a lifter has to follow himself, due to an increase of weight that nobody else is taking or another attempt at a failed weight, they are allowed 2 minutes to start the lift. Following yourself sucks when dealing with maximal loading (more rest is better), so often times lifters will try to 'force' one another into following themselves by changing their requested weight. I.E. Adrian just missed 100kg. Kelly is slated to attempt 100kg and therefore lift immediately after Adrian, but instead changes his request to 101kg. Because the bar only goes up in weight, Adrian must either follow himself at 100kg, or request a new weight that is heavier than the weight he just failed at.


That's all I got for today. No Brewers' game today. The Cardinals are off too. The Cubs play the Pirates at 6:05. Today's Hair of the Dog is brought to you by Great Dane Devil's Lake Red.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Friday, August 22, 2008

Games That Don’t Count

Is anyone concerned that the Bears put up a better showing against the 49ers than the Packers? I’m not. Preseason doesn’t matter at all, and Captain Neckbeard is still lousy. What you can get from pre-season is a sense of what’s working and what is not. For instance, the Bear run defense, which was pathetic last year, still looks lousy.

Did everyone really forget how good Rodgers looked in game one? Yes he looked panicky in Week 2, but:

1. The 49er defense is actually pretty good.

2. The Packer offensive line looked terrible.

3. His receivers, including Donald Driver, (who said after the game: “Garbage. Awful, awful, awful, awful. We’re not scaring anyone and we feel like we have an offense that should scare anybody.”) dropped a few balls.

I’m really looking forward to tonight's game number 3, typically the pre-season game in which the starters play the most to get a better idea of what exactly we have here.

Games That Count

The Brewers play 26% of their remaining schedule against the Pirates, and the first is this evening at Miller Park as a couple of four letter words in Zach Duke and Dave Bush square off. Hopefully we won’t be dropping four letter words by the end of the game.

Meanwhile, in afternoon baseball the Cubs take on the answer to the question, “Who is worse than the Cincinnati Reds?” That’d be the Washington Nationals, who will trot out some guy named Lannan against the Cubs’ worst pitcher Jason Marquis.

St. Louis will take on the white-flag waving Braves behind Adam Wainwright.

Today's Hair of the Dog is brought to you by a $5.00 pitcher of Bud Light. You all know what that looks like.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Thursday, August 21st, 2008

It would be fair to say that Be Sheets experienced a spell of bad luck in Tuesday's game, and equally fair to say that Manny Parra and company leveled out the universe by getting extraordinarily lucky in yesterday's 5-2 win. Parra was seemingly in trouble all day, as he had trouble finding the (small) strike zone and let it get to his head. Eric Gagne loaded the basis, as Eric Gagne is want to do (with an assist from some terrible defense) and wriggled out of it with a 1-2-3 double play.

Luck happens. It's helps to remember the good as well as the bad.

Speaking of which, Tim McCarver's favorite pitcher Brandon Arroyo shut down the Cubs yesterday which allowed the terrible Reds to steal a game 2-1 and allowed the Brewers to climb back to within 5 games of the Ursa Minors.

The Brewers (and Cardinals) have the day off, but the Cubbies play a day game. Unfortunately, one of the Cubs' best pitchers, Carlos Zambrano, will be facing one of MLB's worst in Josh Fogg. It should be over by 1:25 so tune in early.

Only His Pride Is Hurt

Andrew Bogut will be OK. His ankle injury, suffered in team USA's drubbing of Bogut's Aussie squad, is minor. This should come as a huge relief for the Bucks, who have no one else up front.

Snell's like CC

Pirates' starting pitcher Ian Snell has struggled mightily this season. At least until he encountered the inspirational power of CC Sabathia:

"I couldn't take my eyes off CC," Snell recalled. "And you know what? The more I watched, the more I knew what I had to do."

And so, he took the mound last night and tore through St. Louis for seven scoreless innings and eight strikeouts to carry the Pirates to a 4-1 victory last night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' damage was limited to four hits and a walk.

Read the whole thing, and maybe you will be inspired to glory in whatever it is you do. Last night at my fantasy football draft CC inspired me to get St. Louis RB Steven Jackson for only $4.00. Which is awesome.

A Quick Note About Mike Golic

ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike do a segment leading up to the NFL season called "Two-A-Days" where they claim they will give you and in-depth look at every team in the league, two per day (of course). For each segment, each mike answers 5 questions about the team, with the 5th question being a prediction about their record.

I don't think Mike Golic does any prep work for this at all. Today they previewed the Atlanta Falcons and for every question his answer was "I'm just not sure, I don't know. Time will tell." He sounds like he Joe Morgan at an average JoeChat.

I don't expect in-depth analysis from Mike and Mike, but I do expect, at the very least, a stupid guess.

Today's Hair of the Dog is brought to you by

Lagunitas IPA. I would describe the taste as "strong" as most IPA's are. This one will stick with you for awhile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

8/20/08 Brewers-Astros Open Thread

Like Monday's game, today's game is another lefty vs. lefty match-up. Manny Parra (9-6, 4.12 ERA, 63 BB/118 SO) takes on Wandy Wodwiguez (7-5, 4.15 ERA, 36 BB/95 SO). Wandy is actuawy pwetty good, and Pawwa hasn't been at his best ovew his wast few stawts. Let's hope he can bwing his best stuff today.

Rickie Weeks is returning to the lineup, but still no Ryan Braun. We do get to enjoy the rare Mike Rivera appearance though. Game starts at 1:05.

2B Rickie Weeks
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Gabe Kapler
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
CF Mike Cameron
C Mike Rivera
LHP Manny Parra

In other relevant Nationa League action, the Reds send Bronson Arroyo (10-10, 5.51) against the Cubs' Ted Lilly (12-6, 4.32), while the Pirates Jason Davis (1-2, 1.80) meets the Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer (10-4, 3.79).

Breakfast of Champions

Olympic swimming MONSTER Michael Phelps is taking some heat for signing a deal to endorse Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. They're Grrrrrreat.

"I would not consider Frosted Flakes the food of an Olympian," said nutritionist Rebecca Solomon of Mount Sinai Medical Center. "I would rather see him promoting Fiber One. I would rather see him promoting oatmeal. I would even rather see him promoting Cheerios."

Notice that it does not say Ms. Solomon (Dr. Solomon?) is an Olympic athlete. Or even that she watched the news. Michael Phelps does eat sugary crap for breakfast:

For breakfast: three fried egg sandwiches, with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise, followed by three chocolate-chip pancakes; a five-egg omelette; three sugar-coated slices of French toast and a bowl of grits (a maize-based porridge), washed down with two cups of coffee.

I'd guess that brings out the tiger in you since he won 8 gold medals. But the key thing here is that if you swim a few miles a day, you have to eat a lot, including carbohydrates. If you are an obese child, you should probably stick to ice cubes. A guy that trains like Phelps, or Tony the Tiger, is a good role model for kids, even if he eats sugar cereal for breakfast.

Sheets should be fine

Amidst all of the Sheets doom-sayers, Scott at In-Between Hops, points out that Sheets's year may not be too unlike the last time he pitched this many innings in a season:

2004 ERA
April 3.25
May 2.19
June 2.29
July 2.60
August 4.61
September 1.53

He obviously bounced back nicely in September, posting a 1.53 ERA in 7 starts - the best of any month that year.

Maybe we should hold off on moving him to the bullpen.*

*I actually heard some d-bag call in to the post-game show and suggest this.

Hair of the Dog, Wednesday, 8/20/08

Things were not so happy as the Brewers dropped a big one on "Happy Days Night" last night. It's unfortunate that, before a crowd that includes all of the stars of the Happy Days minus the narrator from Arrested Development, we couldn't pull off a win. It's unfortunate that 10 hits, including 2 doubles, could only netted us 2 runs. One reason for that was stupidly aggressive 3rd base coach Dale Sveum. In the post game interview, Sveum made it clear that he doesn't value outs very much. Bases loaded with one out and some big bats coming up strikes me as a much better position to be in than runners on first and third with probably two outs (but a teeny-tiny chance at a run? Maybe?). It's also unfortunate that Sheets didn't look particularly Acey, but it would be nice to give the brotha a little run support. He's had a rough record lately, but still has a sub-3 ERA over the last 10 games [ed. I meant sub-4. Oooops]. He'll get us some more wins this season. Let's just hope this isn't the game where the Brewers "jumped the shark."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost to the Pirates while the Cubs blanked the pathetic Reds. Harden got his first win a Wrigley. The Brewers remain 2.5 games up on the Cards and drop to 6 games behind the North-siders.

In other Milwaukee sports news, this morning's Olympic basketball contest is Team USA featuring Michael Redd squaring off against Andrew Bogut and the Australian Boomer team. You can watch it here if you're up early enough (7am). Here is Fanhouse's live blog. The winner will take on the winner of Greece/Argentina for the gold. The United States and Australia are the two highest scoring teams, and the Boomers, minus one Andrew Bogut, gave the Americans a run for their money in an exhibition game prior to the Olympics, losing 87-76. That includes a second half in which the Boomers outscored the Americans 47-43. Ehhh, it probably won't really be close, but I wanted to try and build it up a little bit.

UPDATE: Bogut injured. Will undergo an MRI.

A few links and stuff:

Below is a fun video of a Sunday conversation with CC Sabathia. Don't you just love that smile?

Here is Deadspin's Wisconsin football preview. Apparently they let some pig-f[arm]er write it.

Bugs & Cranks has the Brewers at 7th in their most recent power rankings.

Oh, and the Reds are sorry for sucking.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

8/19 Brewers-Astros Open Thread

Okay, let's try this again. Tonight we have Big Ben Sheets (11-6, 3.00 ERA, 37 BB/133 SO) against Brian Moehler (8-4, 3.97 ERA, 26 BB/58 SO). This should be a good match-up.

We have a Braun-less lineup, which is a bit disconcerting, but let's hope it's just precautionary and that we'll see him back and clouting homers before we know it. Said Braun, "I can definitely play with it. It's not 100% but I can deal with it. I think it'll eventually get better. I hope it does." Ehhhh, I'm not sure I like the sound of that.

Gabe Kapler is in the three spot for Braun, and Durham is taking his regular spot at 2nd against the right-handed Moehler. Craig Counsel is in at third and, for some retarded reason, is batting before the 9-spot.

2B Ray Durham
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Gabe Kapler
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
3B Craig Counsell
CF Mike Cameron
C Jason Kendall
RHP Ben Sheets

Go Brewers!

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood Is Filled With Defensive Linemen

From FO's Every Play Doesn't Count column:

If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t let go of the need to make things happen under siege, he won’t last half the season. In his sole performance of note last year against the Cowboys, Rodgers had good instincts about pressure around him, and he knew when to get rid of the ball. But his four-sack day against the 49ers, exacerbated as it was by the efforts of guard Jason Spitz, has to have the Packers worried. This is not a great pass-blocking line, and Rodgers will have to learn to adjust sooner than later.

I'm still a Rodgers optimist, but a few commenters to the linked post pointed out that his sack rate has historically been high. If he does not address this problem with this offensive line, he will be both ineffective and injured in short order.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Tuesday, 8/19/2008

I'm Dr. CC, Get your medicine from me.

CC Sabathia continues to dominate on the mound. Even though he scuffled a bit he made up for it with some slick glove work and by knocking in a few runs to boot. The crew keeps giving their rented Ace plenty of run support and they've already made Astros' manager Cecil Cooper look stupid. Yeah, they're not saying Cooooop, this time, they're saying stuuuuupid.

On the downside, Ryan Braun sure looked like he was in pain after his last at-bat. This could be a big problem.

NFC North Note

Yesterday Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith declared that Kyle Orton would be his starting QB. Then, after the snickering subsided he said "No, really, Kyle is our quarterback." Some in the local media continue to assert that the Packers' QB situation is as bad as the Bears' QB situation. This is simply not true. It is better the have quarterbacks who might be bad than it is to have quarterbacks who are bad.

Mike Cameron > Corey Hart

I love Corey Hart, but despite his heroic efforts last night he is having a bit of a down year due to his low on base percentage. Simultaneously, Mike Cameron has been getting all kinds of scorn (particularly from fans of Tony Gwynn Jr.) from the locals. This is unjustified. Cameron plays better defense than Hart at a tougher position than Hart, and has an OPS+ of 116 compared to Hart's 114.

VORP-wise Corey has put up 25.3 runs over a replacement player, while Mike has put up 18.6, but Mike has done so in 140 fewer plate appearances.

Corey's played pretty well, don't get me wrong, but people have been way too down on Mike Cameron this year. He has definitely been a positive addition. By the way, Brewed Sports favorite Russell Branyan is still 7th on the team in VORP despite having only 3.1% of all Brewer plate appearances.

Fantasy Football Note

Cleveland starting QB Derek Anderson played poorly against the Giants last night, and then was knocked out with a concussion. Brady Quinn came in and played well. Let the controversy begin again!

Big Ben Goes Today

at 7:05 against 36-year-old Brian Merritt Moehler, who is actually having one of his best seasons.

Let's continue to make Coooop look stuuuupid.

Today's Hair of the Dog is brought to you by Flying Dog In Heat Wheat, Hefe Weizen Ale, a summery beer that tastes slightly too much of bananas. Of course, any beer that tastes anything like bananas tastes slightly too much of bananas.

8/18 Brewers-Astros Open Thread.

I doubt we have enough readers (threeish?) to make this much of an open thread, but if you're watching the game and you find yourself reading this here rag, leave a "Go Brewers" in the comments. The lineup tonight is:

2B Ray Durham
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
CF Mike Cameron
C Jason Kendall
LHP CC Sabathia

With Weeks injured, we have Durham playing out of his platoon spot against the left-handed, Brewer-killing Randy Wolf. But we also have CC on the mound so I feel alright about this one. His left-handedness should slow down Lance Burkman, and his awesomeness should slow down everyone else. Closer Solomon Torres should be available after what the club has called "stiffness in his groin." If that lasts more than 24 hours, be sure to call your doctor.

Matt LaPorta Wounded By Communist Fireballer After Bravely Plowing Over Red Catcher


Matt LaPorta knocked China's catcher out of the game, Zheng Xu sent LaPorta to a hospital with a beanball, China manager Jim Lefebvre was ejected, Yang Yang hit a symbolic moonshot off Blaine Neal to break up the shutout, and the Americans stayed on semifinal pace with a 9-1 victory.

A symbolic moonshot? Symbolic of what? That America may have the most runs, but China has the prettiest one? That China wants to destroy the moon?

Laynce Nix's brother Jayson (y Mrs. Nix, y?) was earlier drilled in the face by Cuba. I tell you people, the Red Menace is upon us!

News and Notes

1. Rickie Weeks is out at least 3 days with a bum thumb. Wait, that sounds dirty. Eh, let's go with it anyway.

2. Today on the Cub Broadcast after the announcement of an upcoming Spongebob Squarepants promotion (no, really):

I wish I had a sponge in my pants right now.

- Bob Brenley

3. I was listening to the Brewer Post Game Show today on WTMJ today, and I do not envy having to deal with those callers. I would immediately swear at people and lose the station its license.

4. Ryan Braun is awesome.

5. People who argue that Ned Yost is not a bad manager because the Brewers have a good record both overstate the importance of managers and incorrectly diagnose Ned Yost's effect on a team. If you meet these people, back away slowly, get to a safe distance, and run.

6. If you see Rex Grossman playing catch in the park, cover your head. You are in danger.

7. If you see Kyle Orton playing catch in the park, cover your head. You are in danger.

8. The Journal-Sentinel Writers have the following problems:

a. They rely too much on batting average. However, this is your fault for only understanding batting average.

b. They like bunting too much.

c. They take all team news at face value.

d. They do not check defensive metrics, which causes them to think stupid thoughts, like the idea that Craig Counsell plays a better third than Russell Branyan. Not true.

9. Even though you hate the Cubs, you know they're really really good.

10. Joe Torre, as it turns out, is a terrible manager. When you manage the Yankees it's tough to fuck up, and you'll look good no matter what you do. Joe tends to play Juan Pierre at the expense of today's hero, Andre Ethier. Juan Pierre is awful. Too bad he got the day off.

11. Welcome, old fans and new. Take a peak around.

Monday 8/18/08--And like that, it was gone.

Last night's game was pretty brutal. Losing 5 to 1 would have been bad, but to have Ryan Braun tie it up with a 9th inning dinger only to lose it minutes later when Andre Either hit a homerun of his own was really brutal. But the Cardinals lost too, so the Brewers remain 2 games ahead in the Wildcard. They fell to 5.5 games back on the Cubs in the NL Central.

Speaking of the Cubs, if you want to be able to throw out the opening pitch at Wrigley, all you need is really stupid parents.

The Brewers return to Miller Park today with a series against the red hot Houston Astros. CC Sabathia (13-8, 3.04 ERA, 47 BB/183 SO) takes the mound against Randy Wolf (8-10, 4.56 ERA, 57 BB/124 SO). Cecil Cooper thinks the Astros will sweep the Brewers. They took 2 of 3 from us their last time in Milwaukee, but that was against Suppan, Bush and Parra. Hopefully CC and Benny can crush their spirits early and we can make it a sweep the other way. I'll post the lineups when they're available. Rickie Weeks will be spending some time on the bench, or possibly the DL, after leaving yesterday's game with a sprained thumb--the same thumb he had surgery on a few years ago. I think the reaction from a lot of us is that this could be a blessing in disguise. Weeks has been disappointing for the most part and an injury lets Yost stick by his guy but still play the better player. I'd prefer to have a manager manage the team, but if injuries are going to manage it for him, that's fine. If Rickie's injury is serious enough to send him to the DL, who should Yost bring up? Tonight's game starts at 7:05. Go Brewers.

In other sports news...

Brew Hoops is talking about who the Bucks should start at point guard. I'd guess Ridnour for a while, but Sessions by the end of the first month. Of course I know nothing about basketball.

Ace Cowboy thinks that if you aren't cheering for United States Swimming MONSTER Michael Phelps, you might be a Communissss... or something. Yeah, I agree.

[added] And thanks to ESK for pointing out that Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth got like 5th in some race this weekend. That guy sure can turn left.

Happy Monday folks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Packer Season Preview

There's a great one at Deadspin.

Ted Thompson has been building this team for the post-Favre era. Few will excuse him for ushering that era in a tad bit earlier than Favre would have liked, but you could not ask for much more as far as well-oiled machines go. You get the feeling that this one could almost drive itself. It’d better be able to, for Thompson’s sake.

Read the whole thing. Oh, and by the way, Paul wrote it.

Sunday 6/17/08 Sports--Brewers vs. Dodgers

Ryan Braun returns to the lineup today as the Brewers look to win game three of their series against the Dodgers. The Brewers look to stay hot after their 10th inning victory last night. Today's lineup:

2B Rickie Weeks
SS JJ Hardy
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
CF Mike Cameron
C Jason Kendall
P Jeff Suppan

The Pitching matchup is the veteran Suppan (8-7, 4.56 ERA, 52BB/68SO) versus rookie left-hander Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.78 ERA, 35BB/ 58SO). The Cardinals have already fallen to the Reds while the Cubs are crushing the Marlins (with an inning left to play as I write this). Go Brewers!

Last night was an action-packed evening for Wisconsin sports fans. Besides the 10th inning JJ Hardy heroics, we were also treated to two relevant preseason football games. First, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were dismantled by the San Francisco 49ers. Any goodwill Rodgers earned in his previous preseason game may have taken a hit. Playing for the entire 1st half, he had 9 completions in 16 attempts for 58 yards and a passer rating of 64.1. Ouch. Also, it wasn't just the numbers. Rodgers looked rough. He was indecisive, made mistakes, got sacked a bunch of times, and was basically outshined by J.T. O'Whatshisname. Yikes.

Meanwhile, Brett Favre made his N.Y. Jets debut. He was 5 for 6 with 48 yards and a TD in his 14 snaps. The ol' man bust be quick study. Or maybe he only learned enough for 14 snaps. Either way, a nice game for Favre.

In the biggest non-Wisconsin sports news of the night, US Swimming MONSTER Michael Phelps made history by winning his 8th gold medal of the games. Many are saying that this makes Phelps the greatest olympian of all time. I think that sounds about right.