Results tagged ‘ Chris Narveson ’

Brewers on a double-digit strikeout streak

After a two-day absence, shortstop Alcides Escobar is back in action for the Brewers tonight behind left-hander Chris Narveson, who will try to extend a club record the club quietly set Friday night. Brewers pitchers have combined for at least 10 strikeouts in five straight games, matching a mark set by Chris Capuano, Derrick Turnbow & Co. from Sept. 26-30 in 2005.

The current five game streak includes 63 strikeouts. The ’05 club struck out 63 batters in its five-game span, and Turnbow notched four saves.
Here’s the lineup as the current crop of Brewers try to make it four wins in a row and improve to .500 at home (39-40 entering tonight):
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Chris Narveson  LHP
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No shortage of praise for Hoffman in clubhouse

Following last night’s thriller, which featured career save No. 600 for Trevor Hoffman, we had a sidebar on his Brewers teammates’ reactions to the moment.
While that story captured the emotions and feelings in the clubhouse, there was far too much to fit in after the game. With a guy like Hoffman who’s frequently described as the “best teammate,” there was hardly of lack of things to say in the home clubhouse.
Braun: “Like we were going to the playoffs”
According to left fielder Ryan Braun, the emotion following the final out of the game was far greater than the meaningless early September game that it starter out as.
“It felt like we were going to the playoffs,” he said. “It was exciting. I think it was exciting for all of us to have something to celebrate, for all of us to have been a part of something so special. That’s something that we might not ever see again. Who knows if anybody else ever gets to 600 saves.”
Coffey: “I was 100 percent spectator”
Perhaps most excited about the achievement — more so even than Hoffman himself — were Hoffman’s bullpen mates.
Reliever Todd Coffey described his feelings as “beyond goosebumps” as he become more of a spectator than a teammate. After that, he went on for a few minutes about the emotions he felt both when Hoffman entered the game and recorded his 600th save.
“As soon as he walked out of the bullpen, the entire bullpen was up and I think we were all clapping louder than the fans, we were hollering louder than the fans,” Coffey said. “I don’t think any of us actually realized we were in the bullpen. We were all out there with Hoffy.
“We were hanging over, we even thought about, ‘let’s just jump the wall and go. Then we thought, ‘we better not jump the wall.’
“I think me, Zach [Braddock] and Kam[eron Loe] all hit the pile at the same time. I think I felt the whole pile moving when we hit it. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. He’s always there for every one of us. For us to be there for him, it’s amazing. He cares less about himself and more about his teammates than anything else.”
Davis: “Just incredible”
Others had less to say, but their thoughts were no less insightful.
Veteran left-handed starter Doug Davis recalled being part of a similar moment early in his career.
“Definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Davis said. “My first win was John Wetteland’s 300th save. I thought that was impressive, but this, twice as many saves, it’s just incredible.”
Bush: “An amazing number”
Another Brewers starter, right-hander Dave Bush, took particular notice of the number of people in the dugout during that final inning, as everyone wanted the best view they could get of Hoffman’s historic save.
“It’s an amazing number, one that nobody’s ever gotten to before,” Bush said. “I can’t even fathom at all what it takes to reach that.
“It was exciting. Probably the most people I’ve ever seen in the dugout in the ninth inning. Everybody was coming down here because they wanted to be as close to it as they could. As a player, moments like that are few and far between. To be his teammate and to be around for something like is just awesome.”
Lucroy: “I’m totally lucky and blessed”
After beginning the season at Double-A Huntsville, catcher Jonathan Lucroy called the game Tuesday night, including Hoffman’s thrilling ninth.
As he waited on the mound for the all-time saves leader, with “Hell’s Bells” blaring from the stadium speakers, Lucroy said he had goosebumps and began to shake from the nerves.
He stayed relaxed behind the plate, though, and didn’t change a thing. Until the final out as he ran down toward first base.
“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish,” Lucroy said. “To be able to remember something like that, it’s a blessing for me to even be able to experience it.
“To see him achieve a goal like that is just something that every baseball player lives for. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He totally deserves it. It’s an honor for me to even be here and just experience it.
“I was jacked up and excited. I told myself I was going to sacrifice my life to get an out for him if I needed to. I was going to go everything I could to get an out, no matter what I had to do, I was going to sacrifice everything for him.
“For somebody like that, to put in the kind of work he has, to play for as long as he has, and have the kind of character that he has, and for something like that to happen to him, and for me to even be there and be a part of it, it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I was the first one [to the mound]. Usually I run down to first base and back up on ground balls, but I cut it off halfway. I was going to go get there first as fast as I could. I grabbed him and he grabbed me in a headlock and then everybody else hit and we went at it.
“It’s not very often you see grown men crying out there and there were grown men crying on the field. It was very emotional, I was trying to hold back as best I could. It’s just the payoff for so much hard work and just shows you that if you work hard and be a good person in this game there’s a lot of good things that happen to you.
“I’m totally lucky and blessed to even be here. To experience that, I don’t even deserve that. I don’t even deserve to be on the same field as that guy.”
Axford: “My heart was racing the entire time”
Of course, no story about Hoffman’s historic accomplishment would be complete without some mention of his replacement, rookie John Axford.
As has been the case all season, Axford had nothing but positive things to say about his mentor in the Brewers bullpen.
“He’s meant everything to my development because he carries about his business perfectly. He does everything right,” Axford said. “That’s been the best mentor for me. I just try to watch him and see what he does and see how I can build upon that. Every time I go out there I just try and do right by Trevor. I just want to do basically what Trevor would do and do things the right way.
“My heart was racing the entire time once the ‘Hell’s Bells’ started. My heart was going and it didn’t stop the entire time until we’re actually here right now and I’m still talking a mile a minute. I still feel the emotion and the rush from it. I think it was absolutely unbelievable.”
“It’s a cool kind of turn around. At the beginning of the year, I got my first save and Hoffy went in and got a hold for me. Now I got to go in and save that game for him, which is probably going to be the best hold of my entire life right there. I’m definitely glad I was in that game for sure.”
McGehee: “The ultimate professional”
Third baseman Casey McGehee admitted he was nervous when Hoffman entered the game. In fact, he was just hoping the ball wasn’t hit to him.
Once the final out had been recorded, however, McGehee was thrilled to be a part of such a big moment and to have played with someone who is the all-time leader
in any category.
“I think the reaction of all the guys kind of let everybody see how important to this team and to us he is,” McGehee said. “You couldn’t have asked for it to happen to a better guy. He’s the ultimate professional with everything he does.
“There’s not too many people you played with that you can say you played with the all-time best anything. When my career is over and I’m sitting around telling stories at a bar somewhere, that’s going to be one of the ones I tell.
“You can’t block that out, we all knew what was going on. Most of us, we’re huge fans of the game. Coming up, we remember watching Trevor Hoffman when he was in his prime and he was virtually unhittable. To be any small part of it, it’s pretty special.
“Some of these guys that got called up today, first day in the big leagues, not a bad way to start your big league career.”
Fielder: “Happy to be a part of it”
The final out was recorded by Prince Fielder, as veteran shortstop Craig Counsell fielded a ground ball and fired to Fielder at first.
As Fielder closed his first-baseman’s mitt on the ball, he joined McGehee and Lucroy as the first three players to embrace Hoffman on the mound.
“It was awesome,” Fielder said. “Coming into this year, you knew he was close to getting it. Everything he had to go through to get to it and he finally got it, I’m really happy for him. It’s really awesome.
“It [ranks] up there just because it’s your teammate and it’s a really special moment and something that nobody else has ever done. That’s what makes it even more special and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
Narveson: “Pretty amazing”
But none of it would have been possible had it not been for an impressive seven-inning performance by lefty starter Chris Narveson. 
His brilliance on the mound was lost in the shuffle, but everything was set up by one of Narveson’s best starts of the 2010 season.
“That was pretty amazing,” Narveson said. “To be able to witness it and be the guy that started that game, was pretty special.”
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Brewers pitchers raking at plate

MILWAUKEE — Facing the Brewers, the No. 9 spot in the batting order is hardly an easy out. Yovani Gallardo reaffirmed that Tuesday night, going 1-for-1 with a solo homer and a walk.


With a .219 batting average, Brewers pitchers lead the National League. Milwaukee’s pitching staff is tied for first with 33 hits and 14 runs. Brewers pitchers also rank first in home runs (3), RBI (14), doubles (8), on-base percentage (.261), slugging percentage (.331), and OPS (.592).

Along with their success, the Brewers staff has even coined a phrase to describe it.

“These guys have got a quote in here in the dugout,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, “they say, ‘Pitchers rake.'”

While the hurlers’ ability to swing that bat has come in handy quite a bit of late, Macha would like to see them improve on another aspect of the game at the plate: bunting.

The Brewers rank last in the NL with just eight sacrifice bunts, while they have four times as many hits.

“We’ve been working on our bunting,” Macha said. “We’ve got more hits than we do sacrifice bunts. So we’ve been putting some time in on the bunting because eventually we’re going to need to move [a runner] up.”

Still, on the current homestand, Brewers pitchers have been even better at the plate than their season average of .219. More than double that even.

With eight hits in 18 at-bats, the pitching staff had posted a .444 batting average entering Wednesday’s final game of the homestand. Along with that .444 mark, the Brewers have gotten two RBI, five runs, a walk and a home run out of the pitcher’s spot.

Each of the Brewers five starters — Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — has contributed at least one hit while all of them except Bush have either scored a run, driven in a run, or both.

“We have some pretty good [hitting] pitchers,” Gallardo said. “We have a lot of fun up their hitting. Wolfy, Bushie, Narveson and Manny, we take it serious. For certain situations you can only help yourself out. I think that’s what we try to do.

“We joke around out there when we hit BP, but you never know when it’s going to come in handy.”

— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Kottaras back in lineup

After getting a night off Tuesday in favor of Jonathan Lucroy — who made his first Major League start in the game — i catcher George Kottaras is back in the Brewers’ starting lineup for Wednesday’s game. 

Kottaras will bat seventh, behind Corey Hart and ahead of Alcides Escobar. Manager Ken Macha’s lineup remains the same otherwise as the Brewers face off against Astros ace Roy Oswalt tonight at Miller Park.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Gomez  CF
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Hart  RF
Kottaras  C
Escobar  SS
Narveson  P
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter


Suppan surprised, but 'just wants to contribute'

Jeff Suppan, who will move to the Brewers bullpen in favor of left-hander Chris Narveson, spoke to reporters a few minutes ago about moving to the bullpen. Here’s what he had to say:
“I like to go back to the basics, and my best fastball down and away is [the same] whether I’m a starter or in the bullpen,” Suppan said. “So I’m going to work on that. I’ve worked very hard since Spring Training on my mechanics and getting right, and I’m starting to see a lot of benefits to that. But the results haven’t been there, so I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team. … 
“Baseball is a humbling game, and you can’t have too big of an ego because anything can happen. I’ve always tried to be a humble guy. That’s always been the way I’ve lived my life. Whatever way I can help the team, I just want to contribute to wins. If it’s out of the bullpen or in the rotation, whatever.”
Did the decision surprise him?
“I was surprised a little bit, but ultimately I don’t concern myself with it,” Suppan said. “I just need to continue to work on what I need to work on to go out and pitch, and that’s pitch selection and pitch location. My two games I started, I had a lot of missed pitches but I threw a lot of good pitches. The missed pitches were down the middle and that doesn’t lead to good results. It was a situation where they told me today, after two starts, and I’ll go to the bullpen and help out any way I can.”
Did he think two starts was enough of a measuring stick?
“Well, it’s really not up to me. It’s not my decision,” he said. “They have their reasons and they have their thoughts, and I respect that. I’m just a player. I have a locker and they have the big offices. They make the decisions.”
Suppan was asked one final, straightforward question: He he been disappointed with his results so far?
“There’s many different ways you can look at results,” Suppan said. “I feel that I’ve made a lot of good pitches in my two games, and my bad pitches, they cost me runs. I feel that from where I started at to where I am now, I’ve made a lot of improvements. Obviously, you want to go out and get a quality start and get a ‘W.'”
Narveson will take Suppan’s spot in the starting rotation beginning Wednesday against the Pirates. 
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Suppan headed to bullpen, Narveson to start

It took three weeks, but lefty Chris Narveson will finally get his shot as the Brewers’ fifth starter, manager Ken Macha announced before Sunday’s game.

Narveson is slated to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates.
Macha also announced veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan — and his $12.5 million contract — will move to the bullpen.
“I talked to Jeff today and… he was extremely professional about the whole thing,” Macha said. “He said he’d help the club any way that he could.”
“I was surprised a little bit, but ultimately I don’t concern myself with it,” Suppan said. “I just need to continue to work on what I need to work on to go out and pitch, and that’s pitch selection and pitch location. My two games I started, I had a lot of missed pitches but I threw a lot of good pitches. The missed pitches were down the middle and that doesn’t lead to good results. It was a situation where they told me today, after two starts, and I’ll go to the bullpen and help out any way I can.”
Did he think two starts was enough of a measuring stick?
“Well, it’s really not up to me. It’s not my decision,” Suppan said. “They have their reasons and they have their thoughts, and I respect that. I’m just a player. I have a locker and they have the big offices. They make the decisions.”
Narveson earned the spot because of his performance in September 2009 and Spring Training this season, Macha said. Of the three candidates for the fifth starter role — Narveson, Suppan and lefty Manny Parra — Narveson had the best Spring Training by far.  
During the spring, he pitched 13 innings over five games and did not allow a run on 10 hits. Suppan and Parra each finished with an ERA of more than 5.00. 
Narveson has struggled a bit out of the bullpen, including Saturday’s game in which he allowed three runs to score in the eighth on two hits and two walks. In the ninth, however, he came back and retired the side in order.
After Suppan managed only 9 1/3 innings over his first two outings — forcing the bullpen to pitch 8 2/3 in those games — Macha and the Brewers are hoping Narveson can give them more innings and quality starts.
“That kind of stuff hampers you,” Macha said. “When you get a lot of innings out of your bullpen, that has a residual effect, as it did yesterday.”
–Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter


Suppan named fifth starter

The Brewers made a long-discussed, much-dissected decision on Wednesday morning and anointed veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan their fifth starter. 

He has to get off the disabled list first. Suppan, who opened the season on the 15-day DL with a neck injury, is scheduled to make a rehabilitation appearance for Class A Wisconsin on Friday night. If he gets through that outing without a setback, Suppan will slide into the big league rotation to start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday. 
Suppan gets the gig over left-handed competitors Chris Narveson and Manny Parra. Macha conceded that Narveson had the best spring of that trio, working 13 shutout innings over four Cactus League starts and one relief appearance. 
Suppan got the nod because of his Major League track record. Macha discounted the notion that Suppan’s $12.5 million guaranteed salary entered into the decision. 
“I don’t think if he was in the bullpen … [the salary] would matter,” said Macha. “He was going to be one of the 12 pitchers.”
The fact that Suppan has been a starter his whole career did figure into the decision, Macha said. So did the fact that Suppan has pitched parts of the past 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, compiling a 135-135 record and a 4.68 ERA. Parra is 21-20 in parts of three seasons with a 5.17 ERA. Narveson is 2-0 with a 3.99 ERA in 26 Major League games, just five of them starts. 
Still, Narveson had a case to start. Before his solid spring, he won the Brewers’ pitcher of the month honors for September/October 2009 by going 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in four starts and five relief appearances. 
“But then if you take a look at, really, his entire Minor League career, those aren’t numbers that would support you saying, ‘This guy is going to be our starter,'” Macha said. “So how big a window are you looking at? September and Spring Training? 
“Before it’s all said and done, all three guys may get an opportunity to get out there [as a starter].”
Macha made that final point several times. 
“We could have a number of No. 5 starters over the course of the year,” Macha said. “Right now, we’re going in this direction. Production will be a big part of it. We’re lucky to have Manny Parra and Chris Narveson in the bullpen, and if it warrants that somebody gets injured or there is non-production, we have somebody to step in.”
That comment seemed to indicate that the Brewers would hold onto Narveson and Parra — both of whom are out of Minor League options — when Suppan is activated from the DL, and that somebody else, perhaps right-handed reliever Carlos Villanueva — who has options — would be the odd man out. But Macha declined to talk about the team’s pending roster decision. 
Suppan, meanwhile, was preparing for the 100 mile drive north to Grand Chute, Wis., home of the Brewers’ Midwest League affiliate. He also made a rehab start there last season. 
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Brewers say Suppan has stiff neck

Brewers manager Ken Macha formally named Dave Bush the team’s No. 4 starter on Tuesday but provided a detail that further clouded the race for the No. 5 slot. 

Jeff Suppan has been getting treatment throughout the spring for a stiff neck and one of the various scenarios has him beginning the season on the disabled list, Macha said. Instead of pitching Suppan in Tuesday’s “A” game against the Angels, the Brewers organized a simulated game in Minor League camp for Suppan. He was expected to throw about 90 pitches. 
The DL is only one of a series of possibilities, but Tuesday’s ‘sim’ game could allow the Brewers to shorten a potential season-opening stint on the 15-day disabled list. Such assignments can be backdated to March 26, providing the player doesn’t pitch in an official Spring Training game.  

Chris Narveson was to start against the Angels and Manny Parra will follow in relief. Narveson, Parra and Suppan are the candidates for the fifth starter’s role, which might not be used until the Brewers’ April 12-15 series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs and is not absolutely needed until the series after that, in Washington. 
Narveson and Parra are out of options and Suppan is guaranteed $12.5 million this season in the final year of his contract. The Brewers have made a priority of preserving their depth after struggling last season to overcome injuries to Suppan and Bush. 
The lineup against the Angels:

Carlos Gomez  CF

Alcides Escobar  SS
Rickie Weeks DH
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Adam Stern  LF
Brett Lawrie  2B
George Kottaras  C
Ryan Braun is getting one more day off for a stiff back but said he expects to play Wednesday against the Cubs. Macha held out catcher Gregg Zaun one more day because of a sore quadriceps but called that injury very minor. Outfielder Jim Edmonds traveled home to California on Monday night to tend to a family emergency. 
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Fifth starter still in flux

Barring some unexpected next-day soreness for Dave Bush, the Brewers’ first four starters are set. The No. 5 slot, meanwhile, remains a mystery. 
The candidates are left-handers Chris Narveson and Manny Parra and right-hander Jeff Suppan, all of whom are on schedule to pitch Tuesday. Brewers manager Ken Macha said Narveson would start the afternoon Cactus League game against the Angels and Parra would follow in relief, but he said curiously little about Suppan. 
“Hopefully I’ll be able to answer that for you [Tuesday] morning,” Macha said. 
That raised some eyebrows because it is uncharacteristic for the schedule to be so fluid, especially for a 15-year veteran like Suppan. He has not been particularly sharp this spring, but he’s entering the final season of a four-year contract and is guaranteed $12.5 million.
Parra, 27, and Narveson, 28, are both out of options and the Brewers are hesitant to risk losing either lefty. The Brewers could keep all three pitchers on the Opening Day roster if they are willing to keep two of them in the bullpen. Otherwise, some kind of roster move is in order. 
If it involves Suppan, 35, it could be an expensive one. 
Macha was pressed on Monday about his vague answers regarding Suppan. Is some kind of roster move coming?
“There could be a roster move at any time, let’s put it that way,” Macha said. “This is the end of Spring Training, so stuff like that happens. There are moves every day.” 
Indeed, the team returned first baseman Joe Koshansky to Minor League camp after Monday’s game. Stay tuned to see if there is more roster manipulation on Tuesday.
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Crew taking its time on rotation decisions

The Brewers are making arrangements to give themselves as much time as possible to render decisions about the back end of their starting rotation. 
They scheduled a “B” game against the Rangers for Thursday that will allow Dave Bush and Manny Parra to continue working on the same day, and are trying to schedule another for Sunday against the White Sox to allow Chris Narveson to continue pitching on the same day as Randy Wolf. On Tuesday, Wolf pitched a Minor League intrasquad game so Brewers officials could evaluate Narveson in the afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Royals. 
Bush, Narveson and Parra and competing along with Jeff Suppan for two openings in the rotation. 
“We’ve still got a lot of time to figure that out,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “We talk about it every day.”
Narveson delivered four more scoreless innings against the Royals on Tuesday and has yet to allow a run in three Spring Training starts. He’s building off a strong finish to last season, when Narveson went 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five relief appearances and four starts to win the team’s pitcher of the month honor for September/October. 
The Brewers announced before the game that Bush would start an afternoon “B” game against the Rangers before Parra takes the mound for the regularly-scheduled nighttime affair. 
“I talked to Doug about it and I think we’d like to see Parra pitch in the ‘A’ game,” manager Ken Macha said. “We want to see the progress that he’s making. Bush has background and track record. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be able to pitch, and he appears to be healthy. We’re looking for improvement from Parra, and he’s shown that so far.”
Suppan’s next turn in the spring rotation should come Friday against the Angels.
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