Garza Instrumental to Brewers’ Success Moving Forward by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Has Matt Garza finally figured it all out?
The big offseason acquisition for the Brewers has had his struggles so far in 2014, searching to iron out his mechanics and become the dominant starter that the team shelled out big bucks for. Statistically speaking, Garza is having the worst season of his career since he was a rookie with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. But Garza shut down those very Twins on Monday night, pitching six and one-third scoreless innings against the team that drafted him, and lowering his season ERA to 4.42.
The Brewers signed Garza last offseason to a four-year $50 million contract, in the hopes of bolstering their starting rotation to the point of true contender status in the NL Central. And so far the pitching staff has been a major strength on this club, though Garza has the highest starter’s ERA on the team. The problem for Garza has typically been trouble with his command early on, leading to a problem inning or two that run his pitch count up and balloon his ERA along with it.
But Garza’s start Monday against the Twins was indicative of a pitcher who has started to find his groove on the mound.
“I felt great,” Garza said after his first scoreless outing of the season. “My mechanics are right where I want them to be.”
Garza had all of his pitches working on Monday. He was able to keep Twins hitters guessing by mixing in his slider and curveball for strikes, and kept his pitches down in the strike zone. If he continues with an increased level of effectiveness over the grueling summer months to come, it’s big time trouble for the rest of the NL Central.
Three of the five Brewer starting pitchers are already pitching highly effectively, and Marco Estrada has been more than serviceable as a fifth starter. If Garza is finding his stride, that’s four front end starters that the Brewers are trotting out on a regular basis. Combine that with a bullpen that continues to shatter expectations (Will Smith- wow) and the Brewer pitching staff is a formidable one at the top of the NL Central.
I dont know how they keep winning.. Overbay in the cleanup spot one day, Gennent in the three hole..An MVP spending time on the disabled list. The cleanup hitter headed for a DL stint. Players asked to play out of position. Bench players asked to play every day roles..Triple A callups asked to play major roles..Just examples of hurdles the Brewers have been able to overcome thus far.
Still the Brewers keep winning and remain one of the top teams in MLB.The ongoing adjustable lineup keeps putting up enough offense so the starting pitching can carry the way. How much longer can the starters keep grinding out quality start,one after another?.. The pitching has bailed out the inept offense one game after another. I don't know how they keep winning. No one in the division right now seems to be able to make their move while the Brewers stay double digits over the 500 mark. How long will this last?
With the Brewers off to a 22-11 start in 2014, not a whole lot has been made of Ryan Braun’s nagging injuries and his subsequent absence from the lineup. But with the recent struggles the offense has had since their biggest slugger was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain, it’s time to take a closer look.
Ryan Braun will have missed 16 games this season once he is eligible to return from the DL on May 12. That means he will miss a minimum of 16 games through the first two months of the season, and even more if he isn’t healthy enough to play in the 18 remaining games for the Brewers this month.
Historically, Braun has missed his share of games with nagging injuries, especially trouble with his thumb. But in his six full seasons in Milwaukee, Braun has missed 12 games total in the first two months of a season. That means in 2014 he will miss at least four more games than he has missed in his whole career in April and May. That’s troubling.
Braun said in a statement following the announcement of his season-ending suspension last year:
“During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.”
If Braun was indeed using a banned substance to battle injury, it’s certainly possible that he used it for some time prior to 2011, evading repercussions from MLB. Now that he has received a suspension for his “cream and a lozenge” usage, those medications are no longer available to him (unless he plans on being suspended for 100 games.)
The Brewers need Braun in their lineup. In the 22 games he has appeared in this season, the team is scoring 4.1 runs per game. In the eight games he has missed since April 27 (coming into last night versus Arizona), they are scoring just 2.9 runs per game. A big part of the offensive lull has to do with the struggles of Aramis Ramirez lately, but Braun’s absence in the lineup is more than slightly problematic.
The biggest concern with his injuries is that they are wide-ranging. We’re a little over a month into the season, and Braun has already been dealing with an oblique strain, an intercostal strain, and a sore thumb. It’s not as if there’s one specific injury to treat and heal. He has been nicked up in a variety of ways already. Perhaps I’m wrong, but given his time missed already, it doesn’t seem that Braun is going to be the picture of good health any time this season.
Just how many games he will miss is going to be the key. The Brewers can deal with Braun missing 25 to 30 games this year if it means he is healthy for the stretch run, as long as the pitching holds up. But anything more than that, and we’re entering the danger zone.
I will admit, that Iam waiting for a funk to set in-even a little one. The Brewers have battled thru injuries, a tired out bullpen,an offense that has yet to get cooking and a make shift lineup at times to maintain the best record in baseball. Are they the best? That remains to be seen.I don't think they are as dominant as a 20-7 April but do think they will be involved in the pennant race for the entire season. Im hoping they bounce back this weekend in Cincinnati after lopsided losses in the last two games.. They are due for slide like most teams. Just hope nothing horrible that would wipe out all the good work they have done.
Marquette has lost out to all but one of their 2104 recruiting class after Buzz Williams departed for Virginia Tech. Coach Wojo was able to keep Seymour's Sandy Cohen, but lost Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce to Virginia Tech, Marial Shayok to Virginia and most likely Malek Harris to Kansas State. It's always tough for a new head coach to keep any of the recruits from the previous staff, so this is not unexpected. In my mind Wojo has still done a terrific job since he took over. He was able to keep all returning players, which is a win in itself because of the high transfer rate nowadays. He kept Cohen, who has a chance to become a very nice player for Marquette. There are also reports Marquette is close to bringing BYU's transfer guard Matt Carlino to bring some experience to club that only has 4 upper classman.
Bringing back all 9 returning players is very important, there is a lot of talent on this team, Buzz just refused to play any of the freshman. Going into next year, Wojo will have a lot of depth in the back court with Mayo, Johnson, Duane Wilson, Dawson, and Derrick Wilson. I know we haven't seen much from Duane Wilson or Jajuan Johnson, but they were rated top players for a reason and have a really good chance of florishing in Wojo's fast pace offense. I'd look for Johnson and Duane to take advantage of their opportunities and give Marquette the best chance to win going forward.
It's tough to lose out on the recruits Buzz brought in, but Wojo was able to keep the core of this team intact and that alone, has made Wojo's offseason a successful one.
Carlos Gomez: Hot-Headed or High-Intensity? by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Gold Glove Center Fielder Sparks Debate with Brawl in Pittsburgh
We’re three weeks into the season, and the Milwaukee Brewers sit atop the NL Central at an MLB-best 15-5. Everything is peachy in Brewer Nation. Well, almost everything.
Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Carlos Gomez hit a long fly ball to deep center field, and proceeded to trot towards first and watch the ball fly until it hit the fence. Gomez then picked up the pace around first base and ended up diving into third base safely with a triple. Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole, who gave up the triple, came over barking words not suitable for this blog at Gomez, who promptly hopped up and started verbally retaliating. Gomez was quickly separated from Cole by players and the umpiring crew, and the situation seemed to be under control, even as both benches were emptying. But when Travis Snider came in and said something to Gomez, things got ugly fast.
Gomez took the first swing of the brawl, getting a piece of Snider, who then tackled Gomez and had to be pulled away by Rickie Weeks. Martin Maldonado came flying in and landed a clean punch on Snider as well before the heated players on both sides were finally restrained and cooler heads prevailed.
This wasn’t the first time Gomez got in trouble for admiring a fly ball, though he claims that he thought his triple Sunday was just a hard fly out. Gomez was suspended for one game last September after benches cleared between the Brewers and Braves. He admired a homer off of Braves starter Paul Maholm, and was met by catcher Brian McCann ten feet in front of home plate before the benches cleared and punches were thrown.
All of this history with Gomez begs the question: Is he out of control, or just a passionate player?
I tend to side with the latter. In both incidents, Gomez was technically the “instigator” by watching his fly balls for too long. But both times, a member of the opposing team reacted inappropriately as well. Brian McCann shouldn’t have met Gomez halfway up the baseline during his home run trot, and Gerrit Cole was out of line with the profane language he used toward Gomez.
Gomez plays the game of baseball with a lot of flair. That’s part of who he is as a player. He plays hard, he (almost) always hustles, and he puts on a show. He brings a Richard Sherman-like intensity to the park every night, and as a result, he gets a bit testy when rudely confronted by an opposing player. I’m guessing he also isn’t the only player that takes exception to being sworn at.
I don’t have a problem with the way Gomez plays. At all. Fans come to games to be entertained, and Carlos Gomez arguably does that better than any other player in the league. He was in the wrong to turn the altercation physical by throwing the first punch, and he will justifiably be suspended for his role in this most recent skirmish. But if I’m Ron Roenicke, I’m not telling Gomez to change his approach to the game one bit.
Opposing fans will hate on him, and he will continue to play the game with a higher level of intensity than anyone else on the club. And as long as he keeps contributing to Brewer victories, nobody can fault him for it.
After the Wisconsin Badgers were knocked out of the Final Four by the Kentucky Wildcats, lots of Bucky fans needed a little time before looking at next year. Some were real quick to figure out where UW fit in to next years Big Ten (and beyond) race. Personally, I needed a little time. I had to see what the top underclassmen in the B10 were going to, when it came to their NBA careers, specifically the current powers in the Big Ten. Let’s take a look at who left:
Michigan lost Big Ten Player of the year, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. Stauskas grew more from his freshman year to sophomore year than any player at that stage I’ve ever seen. He’s a top 20 pick. GR3 showed flashes of the player many think he can be. I don’t think he was very consistent. He probably should’ve stayed but who am I to judge? He’s a late 1st/early 2nd rd guy. Michigan will likely take a step back.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris went pro. When you’re the leading scorer on the trendy powerhouse team in the Big Ten, why would you stay? I think he’ll be a really good pro who will create on his own more than Tom Izzo allowed him to. Couple Harris leaving with Keith Appling & Adreian Payne gone to graduation and MSU will struggle to find points!
Ohio State is losing 2 big contributors from last years team: LaQuinton Ross & Aaron Craft. Ross was the teams’ leading scorer & rebounder. Craft was the team leader & the best on-ball defender in the country last year. Sorry, osu…you’re not as good either.
Indiana has lost 4 players from last years team either due to transfer or in Noah Vonlehs’ case, the NBA.
I’m sure there are others that I’m leaving out but with all that talent LEAVING the Big Ten, and most of Wisconsin’s team coming back? (Dekker, Kaminsky, Hayes, Gasser, etc - SG Ben Brust is the only major contributor UW will lose) Look out BigTen…the Badgers are gonna be TOUGH to keep out of the spotlight. Bo Ryan’s NEVER finished out of the top 4 in the B10 and I’d be SHOCKED if it started next year.
~~Success Versus Cardinals Necessary by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
The Brewers are off to an incredible start to the 2014 season. With a nine-game winning streak already in the books, the Crew owns the best record in the MLB at 10-3. Things have been clicking on all cylinders in Milwaukee, but there still remains a thorn in the sides of players and fans alike: The St. Louis Cardinals.
Monday night the Cardinals rolled into town and robbed everyone in the city of Milwaukee of free burgers, snapping the Brewer winning streak just one game shy of double digits. The loss dropped the Brewers’ record against the Cardinals to 11-24, dating back to the start of the 2012 season.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from time to hit the panic button. April has been much kinder so far than I had ever anticipated (minus the weather) for Milwaukee, and I’ll take the best record in the MLB at any juncture of the season, obviously. For fans freaking out about losing to the Cardinals, let’s remember that this squad from St. Louis was slated by almost every pundit to win the NL Central in the preseason. They’re good. Really good. The loss was amplified by the fact that it busted a huge winning streak, but no one could have realistically expected the Crew to sweep the Redbirds.
Now, that doesn’t excuse the Brewers from ever beating the Cardinals. Quite the opposite. For this team to contend in the Central this year, they need to be competitive with the Cards. At least close to .500 ball against them. Back in 2011, when the Brewers won a franchise record 96 regular season games, they played the Cardinals even at 9-9. But that was against a weaker division than the NL Central this year (the Astros were still in the NL in 2011, that’s all you need to know). Wins against division opponents will be at a premium this season (minus the Cubs) so the Brewers cannot afford to be handled by the Cardinals if they want to contend for the postseason.
The Crew has two games left in this set against their rivals from Missouri, and if they fail to win either, the Brewer fan base will go catatonic. The team can absorb this kind of result, but players and fans alike feel it’s high time to make a statement. Jonathan Lucroy said on the Bill Michaels show this morning “I feel like we’re better than (the Cardinals) are.” Let’s see the Crew prove it.
For Brewer updates and live tweets from Miller Park, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADBinMKE
(Dallas ) Whether or not Josh Gasser should have hedged up further into Kentucky's Aaron Harrison's face on
Saturday Night will be long debated. On one hand.Harrison has hit from there before with the game on the line, but then if Gasser gets up further, he risks Harrison's blowing by with his quicks and finding a way to tie a game. No blame, sometimes you just have to tip your cap and say Harrison made a big time play.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that I consdered the Badger loss on Saturday night to be one of the toughest in state sports history. Final Four appearences are one of the toughest accomplishment in sports, especially for a program like Wisconsin, as we all know. The opportunity was there for a national title,espcially with Flordia losing. I feel Wisconsin is better than U Conn. This is what makes the Final Four loss a difficultone to swallow.
More on Chuck and Wickett when I join Mike from Dallas from 8-10 AM on Monday morning.
Milwaukee Bucks C, Larry Sanders just doesn't get it. This is not a "slam Larry" blog. I'm just so frustrated (like many Bucks fans) with this guy. He was building block. A focal point. A defensive force. A "Milwaukee" guy with a midwest workman like attitude that fans could get behind. Well...that's out the window. Who is Larry Sanders? None of the above (except the defensive force part). Let's review, shall we??
August 21, 2013: Larry Sanders signs a 4-year $44 million dollar extension with the Bucks. A questionable contract for a offensively challenged Center who no doubt is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. By the way, he signed his contract at a Boys & Girls Club in downtown Milwaukee. LOVED THIS. Thought it was great to do it in front of the kids in the city & provide some inspiration. Sanders said this was going to help him become the MAN that he wants to be and the face of the franchise.
November 5, 2013: Larry Sanders was involved in a bar fight at Apt 720 in downtown Milwaukee. Video shows Sanders throwing Champagne bottles into the crowd, in the VIP area. Why was the fight started? I've heard lots of stories and versions of the incident. Regardless, Sanders SHOULD NOT be getting into fights at bars. Can he go to bars? YES. I have no problem with that. But there is no reason he should get involved with fights. We all know Larry has a problem with his temper ON the court (which he's admitted to). And now we know it's not just a "basketball thing". By the way, Sanders hurt his thumb during the fight, causing him to miss significant playing time. Man. Face of the franchise.
November 13, 2013: Reports surface that Larry Sanders was cited twice in January 2013 for cruelty to animals. According to court records, a neighbor called police to say Sanders kept his two German shepherd puppies outside in the cold for hours without proper shelter, food and water. Sanders paid a total of $330 for the two municipal citations. (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Man. Face of the franchise.
December 5, 2013: Larry Sanders responds on instagram to the heat he's taking for the 720 bar fight. I can't even describe this...just read it. As you would imagine, this didn't stay online very long. Man. Face of the franchise.
April 4, 2014: Larry Sanders was suspended 5 games for violating the NBA's drug policy. Sanders got busted for smoking marijuana...FOR THE 3rd TIME. Sanders apologized but has vigorously defended his stance on the legalization of the drug. I agree with Larry. Weed SHOULD be legal, in my opinion. But here's the problem, Larry: ITS NOT. Just because you're a millionaire and a celebrity, doesn't mean the laws don't apply to you. When they say "don't smoke weed"...well...DON'T SMOKE WEED. Man. Face of the franchise.
What should the Bucks do? Not my call but thats FOUR strikes in just over a year. As far as i can remember, you only get 3 strikes before you're out.
Larry is no longer the fan favorite he was just one year ago. As for trading him? Ask any GM in the league & they'll tell you that Sanders trade value is ZERO. Due to injuries, Sanders has played in 23 games this season. He's started 20 of them. He averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.74 blocks per game. Oh, and by the way, his $44 million dollar extension? It BEGINS NEXT SEASON.