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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Axford Saves 25th Straight

When John Axford recorded the third out in the ninth inning last night against the Cubs he matched the club record for consecutive games saved. Axford's run seems all the more impressive considering how his season began. He lost a heart breaker on opening day, allowing a walk off home run to Ramon Hernandez. He then blew his second save within his first five opportunities, bringing back memories of 2010 and Trevor Hoffman's infamous implosion that opened the door for Axford in the first place. Since that second blown save, though, he's been nothing short of remarkable. True, he still puts a runner or two on base more often than we'd like, but you can't argue with the results.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Carlos Gomez Will Be Missed

Carlos Gomez broke his collar bone Wednesday on a typically exceptional diving catch that just might have saved the win for the Crew at that early stage of the game against the Diamondbacks. A tough break (literally and figuratively) for Gomez who always gives it his all. Gomez is likely out for the season and I, for one, will greatly miss his glove in center field, even if Nyjer Morgan has shown that he deserves to start there on a regular basis.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brewers Lineup Shakeup Paying Dividends

After losing their first two games in Colorado following the All Star break Ron Roenicke shuffled his lineup, moving Corey Hart into the leadoff spot and Rickie Weeks to bat fifth. Since then the Brewers, who have mostly struggled on the road this year, are 4-1. Weeks' and Hart's numbers haven't shown marked improvement over these past few games, and it certainly helps that Ryan Braun has returned to the starting lineup, but it's definitely possible that the lineup shakeup has played a role in the Crew's recent success. Sometimes a tweak like that is just what a team needs to get things going after a rough stretch. I still think Nyjer Morgan makes a better leadoff hitter than Hart, as Morgan is more of a pure on-base player, with speed and little power.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Deal For K-Rod = Great Move For Brewers (So Long as He's Not Closing)

The Brewers acquired a high-quality bullpen arm last night in Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. K-Rod logged a Major League record 62 saves while pitching for the Angels in 2008. He will slot in nicely as Ron Roenicke's new "8th Inning Guy" in front of Brewers closer John Axford. The addition of Rodriguez strengthens the Brewers bullpen, which already consisted of several late inning, quality arms in Takashi Saito, Latroy Hawkins, Zach Braddock, and yes, Kameron Loe. The Brewers will eventually send two players to be named later to the Mets to complete the trade, which means they'll likely not give up exceptional talent. Indeed, the Mets most likely looked to dump payroll and protect themselves from K-Rod's 2012 vesting option (keep reading for details) by making this trade, given their financial woes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rickie Weeks is a Sleeper to Win the Home Run Derby

Many non-Brewers fans derided Prince Fielder for selecting teammate Rickie Weeks to participate in tonight's Home Run Derby. Most of those people cried favoritism without really knowing anything about how Weeks might fare in the contest. Those of us who have shared the privilege of watching Weeks grow into the player he is today know that he certainly has the skills and power to compete in the derby, and are excited to watch him share the limelight with household names like Fielder, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez. Granted, he's facing several people who have competed in the contest before and, along with home run machine Jose Bautista, are likely considered the favorites to win in 2011.

Friday, July 1, 2011

CC Sabathia is Still Awesome, and the Brewers Are Still in First Place

The Brewers were swept out of town Thursday at the hands of their old teammate, CC Sabathia (13 K, 7.2 IP), and the Yankees. As much as I really wish the Brewers had scored 8-10 runs and forced CC's exit in the second or third inning, Sabathia will always be one of my favorite pitchers for what he did for the Brewers in 2008 (plus he's just a standup guy).

It really would have been nice if the Crew had been able to win at least one game in New York, but they're now past the most difficult part of their schedule and they still share first place in the NL Central with the Cardinals. They now travel to Minnesota with an interleague record against non-Twins a paltry 2-7.