September 2010

Cain back in CF for finale

Lorenzo Cain is making his first start since he was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup for being tardy to Minute Maid Park. The Brewers are aiming for a three-game sweep of the pennant-hungry Giants.

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Chris Narveson  LHP
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Gallardo on the hill vs. Giants

Standard lineup. Let’s play:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Alcides Escobar SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yovani Gallardo RHP
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Melvin: Davis finished for 2010

Disabled Brewers left-hander Doug Davis will not return to active duty before the end of the season, general manager Doug Melvin said Friday. 
Davis, on the disabled list since July 16 with left elbow tendonitis, was hoping to use the final two weeks of the regular season as a springboard to a job in 2011. He expected to return to the Brewers on Friday after a stint at the team’s year-round facility in Phoenix this week. 
That plan changed after a meeting between Davis and Melvin. 
“I met with him and told him we weren’t going to be able to pitch him,” Melvin said. 
The Brewers will instead use the final two-plus weeks of the regular season to evaluate other pitchers. The club is expected to decline its half of Davis’ $6.5 million mutual option for 2011 and pay a $1 million buyout instead.
Davis did not necessarily have a setback in his recovery from the elbow issue, Melvin said, but never advanced to the point at which he could return to action. Now he will get a second opinion on his balky elbow. 
Injuries derailed Davis’ return to the Brewers, where he was a fixture of the starting rotation from the second half of 2003 through the end of 2006, when he was traded to Arizona. He struggled to start 2010, then landed on the disabled list May 16 with pericarditis, a painful swelling of tissue around the heart. 
That ailment sidelined Davis until July 9, when he made one start against the Pirates before the All-Star break. Davis returned to the DL with the elbow injury before the team began second half play. 
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Gomez in CF for opener at Giants

Carlos Gomez has seen his playing time increase dramatically on this road trip, and he’s back in the lineup for Friday’s series opener in St. Louis. 

Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Randy Wolf LHP
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Helena wins Pioneer League crown

hawn.jpg

Cody Hawn, the Brewers’ sixth-round pick in the most recent First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Tennessee, homered twice and drove in eight runs Thursday to lead rookie-level Helena to the Pioneer League championship.

Hawn led Helena with 13 homers and tied for the league lead with 61 RBIs in 65 regular season games. He had never driven in more than four runs in his 69 games as a pro.
“The last three months been above and beyond everything I thought and hoped,” he said. “There was something special about this team. Even back when we started, we had a unique chemistry. They’re a great bunch of guys. It makes winning tonight that much better.”
Also, Brewers farm director Reid Nichols is scheduled to take part in an MLB.com online chat today at 1:30 p.m. CT. Fans will have to be registered with MLB.com to participate, and you can do so at that link. 
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More thoughts on golf, pitching from Peterson

When asked a simple question about the changes Randy Wolf has made since the beginning of the season, Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson had plenty to say.

His wealth of information on the subject was particularly interesting considering the subtlety of the change in Wolf’s delivery.
“I wouldn’t even call it a change. I’d call it a very subtle adjustment,” Peterson said.
Nonetheless, Peterson went on for a few minutes about Wolf and the relationship between golf and pitching. Here are some additional thoughts that were not included in today’s story on Brewers.com:
“You try to pinpoint what it is that’s causing him to [struggle]. It’s either something in his delivery or it’s something in his concentration level, and it wasn’t anything in his concentration level. Randy prepares at as high a level as anybody can prepare. He’s totally dedicated and committed.
“The only thing that we really talked about was tempo. One of the things that Randy shared with me in Spring Training was that he wanted to make sure his tempo remained slow.”
“Randy’s an athlete. He’s very athletic, and everything that he does, including his golf swing, really has an athletic upbeat tempo. Yet his delivery is just so slow that maybe if we speed up the tempo a little bit, that will allow him to be more on time and allow him to better execute pitches.
“It’s amazing at this level how subtle the difference can be. If you take a look at games, even as some of our guys have gone through struggles, out of 100 pitches, it’s not 15 pitches that they’re off, it’s maybe three or four, and there goes your whole game.”
“When you hear golfers talk about their golf swings, they can be like elusive mistresses sometimes. You can’t really figure out what it is, but they’ve always got a coach with them. 
“They’ve got a coach right there with them before every tournament. Golf and pitching are very similar in that way. The differences are just so subtle in both.”
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Change in tempo pays off for Wolf

For the Brewers final off day of the 2010 season, we have a look at what veteran left-hander Randy Wolf has done since a 12-run outing in late July that has led to his impressive late season performance.
According to Wolf and pitching coach Rick Peterson, it had everything to do with his tempo. Below is a preview of the story that will be on Brewers.com later today:

MILWAUKEE — A year ago, Randy Wolf put together a career-best season with the Dodgers.
From start to finish, Wolf was one of the league’s most consistent pitchers as he posted a handful of career-best numbers, including 214 1/3 innings pitched and a 1.101 WHIP.

 

Opening the 2010 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, that consistency seemed to escape Wolf. He looked nothing like the pitcher he was for Los Angeles, stumbling out to a 4-6 record with a 5.31 ERA through 13 starts in the first two months of the season.

“I just knew something wasn’t right,” Wolf said of his struggles.

Over that stretch, Wolf mixed in impressive outings, as he tossed six scoreless innings at Pittsburgh on April 20 and seven scoreless against the Astros on May 25. More frequently, however, Wolf struggled, as he did in allowing eight runs over 4 2/3 on June 9 to the Cubs.

As he watched his club’s newly acquired veteran left-hander struggle, Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson struggled himself as he searched for an answer.

“You’re trying to pinpoint what exactly it is. Why exactly is he struggling? What’s different from the year before and this year?” Peterson said.

“So I went and I looked at all the pitch f/x information going back three years, taking a look at his vertical and horizontal movement on all his pitches, and the velocities on all his pitches. They were all the same. It was actually identical.”

If his stuff was the same early in 2010 as it was throughout the last three seasons, why were Wolf’s numbers so much more inconsistent?

Following his rough outing on June 9, Wolf bounced back, going 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA over his next seven starts. Wolf’s next start after that stretch, July 21 at Pittsburgh, was his worst yet. Entering with a 4.56 ERA, Wolf surrendered a career-high 12 runs on 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings pitched, causing his ERA to jump to 5.20.

While that Pittsburgh outing certainly was forgettable, the silver lining was that it marked the date Peterson and Wolf finally figured out what change was necessary.

“The difference, from this year to past, was that he just wasn’t making pitches,” Peterson said. “For whatever reason, he was missing location consistently. Everything else was the same, but that makes a huge difference.

“What I think had happened was that his slow tempo had worked for a long period of time, but now it was almost so slow that it was affecting his release point and his ability to execute pitches.”

For more on Wolf’s adjustments since that rough outing Pittsburgh on July 26, watch for the full story on Brewers.com later today.

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Anderson back on TBS postseason team

Brewers broadcaster Brian Anderson will be part of TBS coverage of the Division Series for the third straight season. He’s part of the release I received this morning:

TBS today announced the network’s broadcasting teams for exclusive coverage of all four MLB League Division Series (LDS) and the American League Championship Series (ALCS).  For the ALCS, TBS’s team will be led by Emmy winner Ernie Johnson, paired with analysts and World Series Champions Ron Darling and John Smoltz.
TBS’s coverage of the American League Division Series (ALDS) and National League Division Series (NLDS) will be handled by a quartet of play-by-play announcers: Johnson, Brian Anderson, Dick Stockton and Don Orsillo.  These announcers will work with a team of veteran analysts, including regular Sunday MLB on TBS announcers Darling, Smoltz and Buck Martinez, along with Bob Brenly and Joe Simpson, who are both returning to TBS this postseason.
David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. announcing the team said “We’ve assembled a great group of talented, experienced announcers for our MLB Postseason coverage.  This versatile team will be fully prepared to deliver insightful and engaging analysis that will complement all of the excitement and drama that will unfold on the field in October. I am also thrilled Ernie will take on the lead role of play-by-play during the LDS and ALCS. He is one of the preeminent announcers in sports today and his experience and presence in the booth during the postseason will clearly enrich our game telecasts.”
The 2010 MLB Postseason on TBS kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 6 with a LDS tripleheader (times TBD).  The network’s exclusive coverage of the ALCS will get underway on Friday, Oct. 15.
Following are the announcer pairings for TBS’ exclusive coverage of the LDS and ALCS (play-by-play/analyst):
o Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling (analyst) and John Smoltz (analyst)
o Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Joe Simpson (analyst)
o Dick Stockton (play-by-play) and Bob Brenly (analyst)
o Don Orsillo (play-by-play) and Buck Martinez (analyst)
 
In the studio, host Matt Winer will be joined by Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Cal Ripken, as well as two-time World Series Champion David Wells.  The team will offer insights and break-down all the action throughout TBS’s postseason coverage.  MLB insider and Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer for the magazine and SI.com Tom Verducci, along with Craig Sager, Marc Fein and David Aldridge, will serve as TBS reporters during the ALDS and NLDS.
 
“The MLB Postseason is one of the crown jewels in sports and must-see programming for TBS,” said Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer.  “We look forward to maximizing our productions resources, including the varied unique perspectives of our on-air talent, to provide baseball fans across the country with informative and entertaining telecasts throughout our Postseason schedule.”
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Rogers to start vs. Marlins

The Brewers will employ a six-man starting rotation for at least one turn this month, meaning right-handed prospect Mark Rogers will make his first Major League start before the end of the season. 
Manager Ken Macha made that announcement on Sunday after meeting with pitching coach Rick Peterson to set plans for the season’s final three weeks. Rogers was penciled in to start one of the Brewers’ four games against the Marlins at Miller Park from Sept. 23-26, and could make a second start during the Brewers’ subsequent series against the Mets or their season-ending series against the Reds, depending on whether the Cincinnati match-up has postseason implications. 
The specific dates will be announced later, Macha said. 
“There will definitely be one [start],” Macha said. “There may be some shuffling going on.” 
Rogers was the team’s first-round Draft pick in 2004 and made his Major League debut on Friday in relief. He will continue to be available out of the bullpen until a few days prior to his start against the Marlins. 
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Brewers trying to avoid sweep

Manager Ken Macha has all of his regulars in the lineup for Sunday’s daytime series finale against the Cubs, as the Brewers try to avoid a three-game sweep. Heck, they’re just trying to score a run in the series after being blanked in the first two games. 

Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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