September 2013

Coaching staff to return, with M. Guerrero added

The Brewers just announced that the entire Major League coaching staff will return intact for 2014, with one slight change and one addition.

Here is the team’s announcement:

The Milwaukee Brewers announced that all members of the 2013 Major League coaching staff will return for the 2014 season under fourth-year manager Ron Roenicke. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“While this season has not been what we had hoped, I believe the continuity with Ron Roenicke’s coaching staff is important,” said Melvin. “With the Club having 12 rookies and the arrival of a new group of Brewer farmhands, our coaches have worked hard to blend our young players’ development with our experienced players as we work toward getting back to the postseason.”

Ed Sedar, the longest-tenured coach on the staff, will return for his eighth season overall and fourth as third base coach. Returning for their fourth seasons on the staff are Garth Iorg (first base coach), Rick Kranitz (pitching coach) and Jerry Narron (bench coach). Johnny Narron (hitting coach) returns for his third season and Lee Tunnell (bullpen coach) returns for his second.

Outfield coach John Shelby returns to the staff but will no longer be in the dugout during games. Shelby will continue to assist hitting coach Johnny Narron. Triple-A Nashville Sounds manager Mike Guerrero has been added to the Major League staff as a coach. He will assist Garth Iorg with infield instruction and be assigned other responsibilities by manager Ron Roenicke.

“Mike Guerrero is being rewarded for the loyalty and hard work that he has provided the Brewers’ minor-league organization for many years,” said Melvin. “With the majority of his baseball career spent with the Brewers, Mike has touched and assisted in the development of a large number of past and present players.”

Guerrero joined the organization in 1996 as manager of the Rookie Dominican League Brewers (1996-2002). He has also served as manager at Rookie Arizona Brewers (2004-05), Class-A West Virginia (2006-07), Class-A Brevard County (2008-09), Double-A Huntsville (2010-11) and Triple-A Nashville (2012-13). He spent one season (2003) as the hitting coach at Class-A Beloit.

As a player, the former minor-league infielder spent nine seasons with the Milwaukee (1987-92, ‘94-95) and Kansas City (1993) organizations.


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Segura could play Saturday, but won’t play Winter Ball

Jean Segura’s strained hamstring has healed and he has a chance to return to the Brewers’ starting lineup on Saturday, manager Ron Roenicke said.

“I think he will,” Roencike said on Friday afternoon, after Segura’s encouraging running drills at Citi Field. “I think he’ll be available today, and then we’ll see if we can get him out there [Saturday].

Why risk it with a player so important to the Brewers’ future?

“They don’t feel it’s a risk; the medical staff feels that he is 100 percent, ready to go,” Roenicke said.

Before Friday, Segura had not played since Sept. 18, when he strained his left hamstring scoring a first-inning run against the Cubs. He entered the day batting .296 with 12 home runs, and 49 RBIs, and was tied with the Mets’ Eric Young Jr. for the National League lead at 44 stolen bases.

Segura is well enough to attempt stealing a base if the option presents itself, Roenicke said.

On a separate note, Segura and general manager Doug Melvin each said Friday that they had talked, and Segura will not play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where is the reigning batting champion. The Brewers want him to rest after playing, either in Spring Training, the regular season or winter ball, for all but about two and a half months since February 2012. He has more than 600 plate appearances this season.

“My point, I wish [he could play], but their point, they’re looking at the future and it’s better for me,” Segura said. “I have some people over there who want to watch me play, they want to see me on TV. I love playing over there.”

He will rest instead. Over the winter, the Brewers may resume conversations with agent Joe Klein about a multi-year contract. Klein was at Miller Park during the Brewers’ final homestand.

“We just said we would possibly revisit it in the offseason,” Melvin said. “We approach guys; some do it and some don’t. It’s up to them.”


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Attanasio sums up ‘disappointing’ season

Asked to sum up his ninth season as the Brewers’ principal owner, Mark Attanasio settled on one word.

“Unfortunately, the first word that comes to mind is ‘disappointing.’ I think we all know the reasons for that,” Attanasio said Friday afternoon at Citi Field, where the Brewers are playing the final series of a season that began with a devastating series of injuries at first base and hit bottom when Ryan Braun was suspended in July.

“That said, it did end up somewhat encouraging” Attanasio said, “both in terms of our wins and most importantly in terms of how all the young guys have played, the ones who came up these last 2-3 months. It certainly is going to affect how we plan in the offseason. We did our full group staff meetings, and a lot of these guys are in the mix now, and I don’t know if you would have had any of them in the mix 3-4 months ago.”

He addressed all of his players on Thursday at the start of the series, an annual Attanasio tradition. It stuck Attanasio how many of the players in uniform now were not there on Opening Day, a reminder of the tumult that marked the Brewers’ season.

“Looking around, I don’t think in nine seasons we’ve ever had turnover like that,” Attanasio said.

Other topics covered by the owner on Thursday:

— Asked about offseason resources and whether he believes big acquisitions are needed, Attanasio said, “Well, we can never have enough pitching, so we’re always going to look at pitching. We’ve already been through the free agent list; there’s not a lot of obvious candidates. Other than that, for a team that still ranks pretty low in terms of won-loss record, we have a lot of positions already filled for next year, and, in fact, in some cases, overflow.

“The budget is fluid. It depends on opportunity, trades can come up and you can increase budget through trades, too. You don’t only do it through free agent signings.”

He prefers to adjust the budget to personnel instead of the personnel to budget.

“We learned that,” Attanasio said. “We had the one season where Doug [Melvin, his general manager], who always coins a phrase well, said we had four of a kind instead of an ace. And four of a kind was four threes, actually. Or four fours. Four fours wins in poker, not in baseball.”

— On the team’s better second-half performance:

“You’re always learning in the game. We probably over-weighted the season-end performance last year,” Attanasio said. “Now we’re going to look at [recent results], but also whether guys have done it before. The good news is that now Wily Peralta has pitched a lot of innings, which he hadn’t done before. So you would assume he would have a more consistent performance next year. We feel very good about Kyle [Lohse] and Yovani [Gallardo] and Wily, and we have a number of other candidates. Marco [Estrada] has done nicely here. Tyler [Thornburg] has done nicely here. But we need to see them do it. Marco has pretty much gone for 130 innings a year. To be a No. 4 pitcher, you have to be ready to go to 175 innings.”

— How does he see first base?

“Wide open,” Attanasio said. “Doug has made the point several times: First base is a quite difficult position to play well, more than meets the eye. There’s a lot of footwork involved, and if you’re not careful, you can get injured. All of the guys are very nervous about having Jonathan [Lucroy] down there.”

— What about second base, where Rickie Weeks will earn $11 million next season but Scooter Gennett has outplayed the veteran since Weeks’ season-ending hamstring injury?

“Look, it’s all about performance,” Attanasio said. “This team has never made its decisions based on size of contract. It has made decisions based on historical performance and consistency of performance, so generally players who have bigger contracts, they have bigger contracts for a reason. They performed over the years. We’re mindful that while Scooter Gennett has done extremely well, he’s had 200 Major League at-bats. We’re mindful that Major League pitchers are going to make adjustments to him, but every night, he’s out there making plays and getting key hits. He’s certainly caught everyone’s attention.”

— It was obvious before, but Attanasio went ahead and made it official: The Brewers will exercise Norichika Aoki’s $1,5 million option for 2014.

“Yeah, we will definitely pick up Nori’s contract,” Attanasio said. “Nori has been an outstanding teammate, outstanding member of the community. He’s always willing to help out, doing things in the community. And one of the toughest outs in the major leagues. That’s a matter of fact. He’s very tough to get out.

“Our general manager likes to say that things will be decided at the end of the season, but I think Nori could go 0-for the end of the season at this point and still get his contract.”

— On his role in Ryan Braun’s character rehabilitation:

“It’s really guidance,” Attanasio said. “I think it’s important for Ryan that he works through this himself. And, importantly, he is taking the responsibility of working through this himself. The idea, for example, of calling season-ticket holders was his idea. By the way, also, his idea and us not screening those calls or calling ahead and saying, ‘Ryan Braun is going to be calling.’ I think a few season ticket holders, when they got the call, thought it was a phony call.

“I would say so far, so good. It’ too early to make any judgments on where this is going. I think we all need to step back and see how this goes. He’s in the early innings.”

Will Braun address the media in person?

“That’s his call,” Attanasio said. “I don’t know what his thinking is on that. You were asking if I give him guidance. Ryan, as he’s doing things, he has passed them by me. But we don’t talk about, ‘Should I do this? Or should I do that?’ Because I do think it is important for him to work this out. There’s not an easy path here. There’s no silver-bullet solution. It’s a process. You have to work through the process.”

Asked whether Braun would attend the Brewers On Deck fan event in January, Attanasio said, “We haven’t talked about it. I was counting on having him at Brewers On Deck.”

— On a challenging season coming to an end:

“I have mixed emotions because I love baseball so much,” Attanasio said. “It’s very difficult to see the season come to an end, as difficult a season as it has been. It’s been pretty fun lately. I was at the ballpark a few times at the end of the season and it was a new experience to go to games that counted but didn’t count for us. But there was some of that tension and emotion in the air, and that was nice to feel again.”

“Every year I’m fortunate to say our fans are the best. You talk about coming out, thick and thin. They were tested with ‘thin’ of biblical proportions this year and have come through as they always have. It made me feel terrific about the team and the organization came forward. The whole organization from Doug Melvin, Rick Schlesinger and Bob Quinn, down to the folks who work concessions or help tickets. I had an employee meeting back in July, in the aftermath of Ryan’s suspension, before we had the voucher idea, and just the commitment in that room — we had 120 people in that room, fully committed to the organization and doing everything they could, and cared. I had folks asking questions because they cared. They’re on the front lines, representing the team in the community.

“This year, one of the really good feelings I had was about the strength of the organization.”


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Gomez suspended one game, apologizes again

Center fielder Carlos Gomez was scratched from the #Brewers’ starting lineup Thursday after Major League Baseball levied a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his role in Wednesday’s Brewers-Braves brawl at Turner Field.

“I expected that with what happened last night,” Gomez said. “It’s not good for baseball, all that’s going on. You have to take it like a man and be responsible for the stuff that I did. Just take the game today and come back tomorrow and come back tomorrow and continue to finish hard and strong.”

How much of the coverage and reaction did he watch Thursday?

“I mean, to be honest, I don’t care what other people say,” Gomez said. “I only care about my team and what happened last night and the reason why everything happened last night. I apologize to people from MLB, to my teammates, my team, the organization, to the Braves. It’s not really fun when everything happens like that. Take it like a man and come back tomorrow and continue to do business.”

Did he consider an appeal?

“I mean, what are the chances you win an appeal,” Gomez said. “I don’t want to take a chance to 2014 that I’m not in the Opening Day [lineup]. It’s better to take it now and be over, and start 2014 when everything is finished.”

Atlanta’s Reed Johnson, who stormed the field from the bench and delivered a punch to Gomez’s head, was also suspended one game. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and backup catcher Gerald Laird, who were ejected along with Gomez on Wednesday night, did not draw suspensions.

Gomez said he had no history with Johnson and was not sure why Johnson was particularly aggressive amid the fracas.

“I don’t even know him. I didn’t even know he was still playing,” Gomez said. “Some people try to protect his teammates. A fourth outfielder, doesn’t play every day. It’s tough when they don’t even know what happens. But it’s his team. He had to protect.”

Gomez was again asked about Braves catcher Brian McCann blocking his path to home plate after the first-inning home run that sparked the entire incident. Again, Gomez said he understood where McCann was coming from.

“He’s a team player, and he knows I overdid it a little bit,” Gomez said. “I’m not expecting any other reaction from him. You know, like i said, I apologize. I’m not supposed to go that far. I want to enjoy my home run and let them know it’s because of what happened [in June, when Braves pitcher Paul Maholm hit Gomez in the knee with what Gomez perceived to be a purpose pitch]. They know. But my emotions took [over] everything and I went far. I say I wish it was the last time and I learned [from it]. Hopefully it’s the last time it happens.”


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Gomez strikes conciliatory tone after scrum

Here’s what Carlos Gomez had to say about his role in Wednesday’s Brewers-Braves fight at Turner Field. He confirmed that his beef with Braves starter Paul Maholm dates to June 23, when Maholm hit Gomez in the knee with a fastball.

“I did a little bit more [than he should have], and I apologize for this,” Gomez said. “But if you see the replay [from June], they hit me for no reason, and I tried to get it back today. It’s the only opportunity that I have, and that’s what I did. It’s nothing against the organization, for the Braves. I respect everyone. I would do the same thing if I’m on the other side if a guy did like I did today. Defend my teammate. But they are not in my head and on my side — they hit me for no reason. If I do something to get hit, I put my head down and go to first. But I didn’t deserve to get hit by a pitch last time, [so] that’s what I did today. I feel bad for all that happened today, because they’re in a situation, they’re going to the playoffs, and I don’t want anybody to get injured from my team or from their team.”

How is he sure Maholm hit him on purpose in June?

“You can watch the replay and you get answers,” Gomez said. “I know. I’ve been in the league seven years, and I know when I get hit on purpose and when not. I get hit many times, and I put my head down, I make no controversy for my hit by pitch. I always, in seven years, put my head down and walk to first, and nobody can say nothing about that. But today, I feel like I had to take it back, and that’s what I did.”

Gomez said Maholm had hit him twice previously, “but the last one is what I remember. This is what made me limp for two weeks because they hit me right on the bone on my knee and I was limping for two weeks. That’s not fun.”

On Brian McCann blocking Gomez’s path to home plate:

“If I’m the catcher, I do the same thing,” Gomez said. “I respect McCann, all he’s played, and I’m apologizing to his manager, the organization. I know it didn’t have to be that far, but, you know, the adrenaline, the emotions take you more than you expect. I didn’t expect to hit a home run and talk all the way around the bases, but the reason that I talked is that they talked to me [first] and I responded. If nobpdy talked to me, I’m [circling] the bases like I normally do. Two nights ago, I hit a home run and I put my head down and run the bases like nothing happened. Today, I took the pain back, and that’s what happened.

“I didn’t say anything bad. I just said, ‘You hit me, I hit you. Now we’re even.’ That’s all I said. I didn’t disrespect anybody. The only bad words that came to my mouth were when I’m standing at home plate and McCann dropped them on me. I said, ‘If you say that to me, I can say that to you. We’re all men.’ It’s nothing personal against them. Next time we play, I think it’s going to be over.”

McCann, Gomez said, “was screaming at me, but you expect then when you hit a home run and you’re ‘pimping’ it. If I’m from the other side, I’m going to be [upset] too. But I’m not afraid.”

He added: “It’s not good for the game, but it happened and you can’t control it.”

The fight cost the Brewers more than Gomez, who was ejected. Two innings later, third baseman Aramis Ramirez exited with renewed discomfort in the left knee that has troubled him all season. Ramirez is now questionable for the Brewers-Mets series at Citi Field.

At first, he said he had no comment about the fracas. Then, Ramirez added: “You’re not supposed to do that stuff. You just don’t do that. On both sides. You just don’t do that stuff. You have to be a professional, and that wasn’t.”

Asked whether he understood why the Braves were upset, Ramirez said, “You don’t do that stuff. I could be wrong. I know I wouldn’t do it.”


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Peralta reflects on roller coaster season

Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta expressed no qualms about the team’s decision to bump him from his final start because of a blister.

“It feels great. I’m happy with the way that I finished up,” Peralta said at rainy Turner Field on Wednesday. “I think it’s not the way you start the season, it’s the way you finished, and I made big progress since the season started.”

Peralta went 11-15 with a 4.37 ERA in his first full season in the Major Leagues, but indeed finished much better than he started. He pitched to a 6.35 ERA in April and May, with a .311 opponents’ average in those first 11 starts. But he found a rhythm beginning with a seven-outing against the Braves at Miller Park on  June 21, going 7-7 with a 3.05 ERA and a .229 opponents’ average over his final 17 starts of the season, including a pair of complete games. Peralta’s three-hit shutout of the Reds on July 9 was the Brewers’ first complete game in two and a half years.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” he said. “I knew I was going to get through this, because I was struggling last year at Triple-A, too, when I started the season. I’ve been past this moment before. I know what I can do. I know I was going to get out of this situation. But it was tough.”

The key, said everyone from manager Ron Roenicke to Peralta’s personal catcher, Martin Maldonado, was controlling his emotions.

“I’ve always been an emotional guy. Early, I was struggling, and I’m [still] an emotional guy, but I was able to control that,” Peralta said. “Since I got my pitches, all my stuff working, I got more confident in myself. I still get mad on the mound, but I settled down and just forgot about it and made pitches when I had to.”

Maldonado helped at times by firing purposeful return throws to the mound.

“Yeah, he threw bullets at me,” Peralta said. “I know when he threw those pitches hard, he was mad at me because he wanted me to focus on the thing that I needed to do. That’s been one of the things that’s been helping me a lot, too, because it’s the same thing he did in the Minor Leagues. I knew when he threw the ball hard he wanted me waking up.”

What does Peralta view as his next challenge?

“Just trying to be consistent the whole year, trying to start the year right away,” he said. “That’s the thing that I’m going to work on in the offseason, being prepared in Spring Training. When the season starts, I’m going to be as ready as I can. I don’t want to start the season bad again.”

He plans to relax at the beach at home in the Dominican Republic in October before ramping up workouts beginning in November. Peralta is one of three pitchers, with Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo, assured of a spot in next year’s starting rotation, barring offseason transactions.

His last two months have renewed Peralta’s confidence.

“Yeah, sure,” he said. “Like I said, I’m happy with the way that I finished, and I think these last two months are making me more confident for next year.”


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Brewers think less is more for Francisco

Juan Francisco, whose awful second half slump has called into question whether he will fit the Brewers’ plan for 2014, debuted a subtle change in his batting stance on Sunday night that manager Ron Roenicke believes will play dividends in the future.

“He’s not going with the leg kick right now. I don’t know — that was a really good at-bat,” Roenicke said, referring to Francisco’s groundout as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. “He saw the ball well and he ended up smoking a ball for an out, but he hit it well. I think if he does that, I’m excited about that stance and what I think can happen with that stance.”

The idea is to eliminate unnecessary movement in a swing that has produced 134 strikeouts — and 18 home runs — in 338 at-bats this season for the Braves and Brewers. Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron hopes Francisco continues working on the adjustment in the Dominican Winter League.

“Johnny showed him some film of some of these great hitters,” Roenicke said. “He showed him [Albert] Pujols and how he goes with that wide stance, doesn’t stride. These big guys, if you look at a lot of them ,they don’t do much. There’s hardly any action going on. Look at [Joey] Votto, there’s not much going on. David Ortiz, there’s not a whole lot going on. [Francisco], he likes [Edwin] Encarnacion because they’re friends. Encarnacion has a little leg kick, but it’s just up and down real quick. A lot of these big, strong guys are really quiet, really simple. I think he should be one of those guys that’s able to do that. He’s so strong, he’s still going to hit balls 500 feet doing that, but he’s going to square them up more often.”

Who approached whom?

“Well, sometimes you can wait around and wait for the player to come to you, and sometimes you’re proactive. We needed to be proactive,” Roenicke said. “We had talked at the very beginning about it, and it’s not just us. He’s got his own teammates telling him the same thing. The guys that he respects and listens to, they’re telling him the same thing.”


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Hart says he would take discount to stay

Much more to come on Corey Hart’s recovery from double knee surgery, but here’s the part Brewers fans will care about the most.

Hart, a free agent to be, made very clear he’d like to re-sign with the only franchise he’s known in a professional career that began in 2000.

“We’ve not really had any discussions, but I’ve told them numerous times that obviously I’ll be healthy and I’d like to stay a Brewer and help this team out,” Hart said this morning. “They have a lot of good young players, but this team needs a veteran presence and I’d like to be one of those guys. I’ve told them, and I think they want me. I just don’t know where that’s at. They’ve hinted, but it’s early, and coming out of knee surgery, I’m sure they want to see me run first before they actually talk to me.”

Hart has an appointment next week with his knee surgeon, during which he expects to get clearance to begin running. He wants to be back to 100 percent before the Winter Meetings so he can work out for teams or send them video of him hitting, running and fielding.

He earned $10 million in 2013, the final season of a three-year contract. What would it take to bring Hart back?

“I’ve told them I would be very generous to stay here,” he said. “I wouldn’t sit there and ask for anything that is outlandish. I would take a discount to stay here because I think I owe it to them to stay here and be a cheaper player, because — nobody wants to play for free — but I’ve basically sat there and watched all season. I think I owe it to them and the fans to come back. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for, but at the same time, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He added; “If it’s up to me, I would stay here. I think we’re leaving it up to them if it’s something they want.”

Hart dropped by this week to visit teammates. He conceded the notion that if the Brewers go in a different direction at first base, this could be his final visit to the home clubhouse.

“At the same time, I’m pretty optimistic I’ll be back,” Hart said. “That’s what we’re hoping for. If i’m, not, I’ll see these guys again, but at the same time, I’m kind of going forward as I’ll be healthy and I’ll be back.”


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Braun back in Milwaukee

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin posted photos of Ryan Braun's visit on its Twitter feed and Facebook.

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin posted photos of Ryan Braun’s visit on its Twitter feed and Facebook.

Update: Yep, he’s at Miller Park catching up with teammates this afternoon. Here’s the original blog:

Ryan Braun was back in Milwaukee on Wednesday to meet with staffers of at least one of the charities for which he’d done work, though it was unclear whether the suspended slugger would have a visible presence at Miller Park during the Brewers’ final homestand.

The Brewers have five home games remaining, including Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs. Major League rules allow Braun to visit the ballpark, providing he is off the field before gates open to the public.

On Wednesday afternoon, he delivered lunch and spoke to employees of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. Last year, Braun served as the honorary chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin, an event that raised $361,392 for HIV prevention, care and treatment services.

Braun has stayed mostly out of the public eye since accepting a season-ending suspension from MLB on July 22 but has spent the past month issuing apologies for his transgressions. On Aug. 22, he issued a statement acknowledging taking banned substances to recover from a leg injury late in the 2011 season and vowing to “share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes.”

“Moving forward,” Braun said then, “I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.”

If he visits Miller Park to informally catch up with Brewers teammates, Braun would have company. Injured first baseman Corey Hart, sidelined all season by surgeries on each of his knees, was expected to drop by Wednesday. Another injured Brewers mainstay, second baseman Rickie Weeks, has been rehabbing at home in Orlando.


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Squeeze pays off, contact play not so much

There was some good and bad for the Brewers on the basepaths Tuesday night.

First, the good. Bottom of the ninth inning, tie game, one out after Caleb Gindl’s infield pop-out. Logan Schafer batted next, squared to bunt on a 1-1 pitch and caught the Cubs napping, delivering a perfect suicide squeeze for a 4-3 Brewers win. It was their second walk-off win in three days.

“I saw how [Cubs reliever] Justin Grimm kind of caught it and was like, ‘Now what do I do?’” Schafer said. “Then he hesitated and threw it to first. It’s pretty surprising — with the bases loaded and one out, you’re not really thinking about a suicide squeeze. But I pride myself on all facets of the game, especially bunting, so I knew I had that ability and the coaching staff had that call and it worked out well.”

Was Brewers manager Ron Roenicke surprised that the Cubs seemed so surprised by the bunt?

“Bases loaded, it’s not ideal,” Roenicke said. “I have to think about it when we have bases loaded because it’s a flip and a force play at home. It’s so much easier than having to tag at home, so most guys won’t do it there. … But I got the perfect situation, and the count was 1-1, a tough count to pitch out in. I just liked the matchup there.”

Here’s the best part of that play. Flummoxed, Grimm took a look at Schafer and threw to first base for an out — according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the arbiter on these sorts of things — that counted, even though the game was already over. Combined with his error two batters earlier, Grimm managed to save himself an earned run, because the “out” at first base — even though the game was already over — would have been the third out of the inning.

Even though the game was already over.

You don’t see that every day.

“I was trying to get the guy out,” Grimm said. “It didn’t work out in my favor.”

Now, for the bad on the bases.

In the sixth inning, with the Brewers nursing a 1-0 lead, Norichika Aoki hit a lead off triple. He was frozen there when Jean Segura popped out, but broke home on contact when Jonathan Lucroy hit a sharp grounder to third. Aoki was out easily between third and home, and Lucroy was thrown out trying to get to second base.

The “contact play” has similarly burned the Brewers all season.

“It’s not good,” said Roenicke, asked about the team’s success rate running on contact. “We’re not running it right. The whole purpose of the contact play is, if the ball is hit right at somebody, you stop short of the catcher and you stay in a rundown, and that [batter] ends up at second base. So the disadvantage is you’re not on third, but you’re still in scoring position.

“The risk of doing it becomes much higher when you obviously can’t get to second base. It becomes a bad play, and that’s what’s happening with us. We’re not getting that runner to second base. The whole thing is designed for that, and we’re doing a really bad job of it. We’re not staying in the rundown long enough. We’re either getting too close to the catcher, and then we can’t make a decision if we go to second base a lot. So I’m not a big fan of it right now because we’re not running it properly.”

Will he run it any more this season?

“I talked to Jerry [Narron, his bench coach] after that, and if the personnel are right, we like the guy at third, that we think he can stay in a rundown, and we think the hitter has a good idea of what he’s doing, we’ll still run it,” Roenicke said. “But if we have personnel that we don’t think are going to run the play right, we won’t do it.”


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