Sunday’s Game: Brewers 10, Giants 9
—The Brewers were down by eight to the Giants, but came back to win behind home runs from Nelson, Weeks, and Kendall. The wind must have been blowing out if Kendall hit a home run. It was his second of the spring, though.
—Bill Hall is throwing some fuel on the early MLB trade rumors regarding the Brewers, according to Peter Gammons: Hall believes the Brewers will be in on Jake Peavy, when and if he goes on the market.
It would be foolish for Melvin to not talk with the Padres if the Brewers remain in contention. Peavy is on the market and playing well and the team can make it work financially. It seems like a match, too, if Peavy would accept a trade since the Brewers could use a top-end starter and have the prospects to get it done.
—And from that same column, Weeks should improve in the field by slowing things down (stop me if you’ve heard this one before…): The way Milwaukee players describe the impact Willie Randolph has had on Rickie Weeks is that he has “quieted down Weeks in the field. He’s much more calm.”
I hope it’s true. And it can’t hurt to have someone new mentoring him. As always, it’s clear to see Weeks has a ton of talent and he is already an average second baseman (in terms of the value he brings offensively and defensively). If he can put things together, he seems to have the tools to become a great player.
—I know he’s got a lot to prove yet, but I just like Ken Macha. I like his demeanor. I like his history. I like what I know of his playing philosophy. I like that he’s not afraid to hold guys accountable for bad performances. I really think Milwaukee picked up a top-notch manager.
—Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat agrees: Macha is one of the best managers in the major leagues. That he didn’t manage for two years is a shame. That he’s managing again is justice.
Cohn also reveals that Macha contacted the Brewers about his interest in the open managing position by e-mail and reveals some more background on the process.
—Trevor Hoffman’s injury will likely mean he won’t be available to start the season. That’s disappointing, but if he only misses a week or so, it shouldn’t be too bad. More HERE.
—With question marks surrounding Hoffman and Braden Looper, Seth McClung could be in line to serve as an emergency closer or starter. You have to love the versatility Seth brings to the table. No matter what his role is, I think he’ll be an important factor for the ‘09 Brewers. More HERE.
—David Riske is getting frustrated with his performance this spring. Hopefully he works the kinks out soon. We’re running out of time and he’s an important piece to the bullpen.
—Jeff Suppan says his troubles late last season can be traced to the elbow injury he suffered. It would be a big boost to the Brewers if Sup can contribute more than he did last year.
—Mike Rivera will likely be paired with Dave Bush this season. I like the idea. There is no reason for Kendall to catch 150 games. Hopefully the Rivera/Bush combo works well together. I’m hoping Bush takes a step up this year and he’s showing flashes that he could do so with a very nice spring.
—Tony Gwynn Jr. is back on the field and looking to earn a roster spot. It looks like a long shot…
—Crawfish Boxes ranks Corey Hart as the fifth-best right fielder in the NL Central. I don’t see how Hart is behind the always injured/clubhouse cancer Milton Bradley, statistically worse Hunter Pence and less proven Jay Bruce. Sure, Bradley could be better if he ever gets his head and body in line, Pence could be better if he comes even close to the hype that surrounds him and Bruce might be better, but how do we know? Hart is easily the safest bet here and there’s no reason to believe he’s anywhere near his peak yet. I agree with their analysis that Hart needs to learn how to take a walk though.
—Cheese & Beer says Sveum can only help the Brewers hitters as the new hitting coach. The Brewers hit .253 as a team last year, averaging almost 7.5 strikeouts per game.
—Itching to hear Uecker’s voice calling some regular-season baseball games? Help ease the wait by reading up on some of Uecker’s greatest quotes.
—The BP C’mon Back Card promotion is an awesome way to get to some free Brewers games this summer. If you’re not familiar with it, check this out.
—Not Today You Ain’t—Fourth in the NL Central behind the Cubs, Reds, and Cardinals.
—Bareknucks.com—Fourth place in the NL Central with a record of 72-90.
—Protect the Plate—“They will not return to the playoffs and they will struggle to even win 80 games in a competitive NL Central.”
—snatchSPORTS—Second in the NL Central. “This is a club on the verge of winning the division. They have a great core of players that are going to give the NL fits for years to come.”
—The Fourth Strike—Second in the NL Central. “Everyone thinks the Brewers will fall off the face of the earth without Sabathia. They forget that this team went 83-79 in 2007 when Braun was a rookie and without Sabathia. They may not be a title contender this year but they still have the parts of a very good team especially in the mediocre NL.”
—Baseball-Intellect has the No. 6-15 prospects in the Brewers system. That’s a nice-looking list. It’s nice to see the Brewers pipeline of minor-league talent should be in good shape for the foreseeable future.
—Renovations continue at Greer Stadium and excitement is building for the ‘09 season. This is good news. The stadium was in dire need of repairs, but Nashville is a great city and with the upgrades and stable ownership, the Brewers could have a home for their AAA team for some time. New general manager George King says despite the team’s ups and downs, the Brewers have no qualms about staying in Nashville when their agreement expires at the end of next year.
—Catcher Lou Palmisano will remain with the Houston Astros after the Brewers declined to accept the Rule 5 draft pick back for $25,000. I’m a little disappointed they got nothing in return for Palmisano, but they didn’t really have anywhere for him to go. The catching depth in the Brewers minor-league system is outstanding.
—Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune gives nine reasons Cubs fans should be worried going into this season: Harden’s shoulder, Lee’s age, Marmol’s psyche, Soriano’s legs, Fukudome’s head, bullpen depth, Soto’s durability, infield depth and Piniella’s demeanor. It’s a pretty good list, but I’d add Bradley’s injury/mental history, Zambrano’s mental instability, the likelihood that Dempster will come nowhere near repeating his 2008 season and the loss of DeRosa as additional things to watch. I’ve said it before, on paper going into the season the Cubs are the best team in the NL Central, but they also have a lot of issues that could rise up as the season goes along. If I were a Cubs fan, I wouldn’t be counting on cruising to that NL Central title yet.
—Speaking of things for Cubs fans to worry about, Chicago scratched Harden’s start this weekend because of a “stomach illness.” Harden is already behind schedule this spring. It will probably be hard for him to be 100 percent stretched out for the beginning of the season at this pace. Harden is a great talent, but luckily for the Brewers and the rest of the NL, he makes Ben Sheets look like a beacon of durability. Hope you like the new Mark Prior, Chicago.
—Cubs fans are excited that the new/old recipe for Old Style will make the beer taste less like stale rat piss. I think whoever was responsible for convincing Cubs fans to jump on the Old Style beer bandwagon should get an enormous raise. They might only be second in marketing prowess to the whiz that convinced Cubs fans Wrigley Field isn’t a crumbling dump.
—Former Brewer Corey Koskie has ended his comeback bid with the Cubs. He decided that the risks of playing with his condition outweighed the positives. I hope he has a long, happy retirement. Good luck, Corey.
—Bleed Cubbie Blue takes a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates. It looks like another long, losing season for the Pirates.
—Dusty Baker humor never gets old. Thanks for coming back to the NL Central, Dusty.
—CC is being CC in New York. Sabathia is just a genuinely good dude and as tough as it will be to see him on the Yankees for the foreseeable future, there is no question I’ll be pulling for him.