2nd to last game of my year…

GUEST COMMENTARY BY: Adam Rygg

I attended Monday night’s game and meant to write this up after the game, but I had a bit of a problem of keeping my eyes open long enough to even listen to the entire WSSP post game show (on which I was a caller, by the by).

Anyway, I wanted to share my experience with you all a bit and tell you the things that I noticed live. Things that I haven’t really had a chance to pay attention to lately on TV and especially not on the radio (no matter how good a job Uecker does at calling the games).

Dscn0017 This is something that I have to comment on. This was the view of the 400 level (Terrace Level) concourse 10 minutes prior to game time.

Do you see anybody? I’ll give you a cookie if you do.

This wasn’t in the corner, my friends…this was pretty much right behind home plate.

The announced attendance for the game was 19,000+ (I have the exact figure in another picture, by the way which I’ll post later), but there was no way in he|| that there could have been that many people in attendance.

Dscn0019_1 We finally did make it through the massive crowd of people to our seats, and here was the view from my seat at the game last night. We were in section 424.

There wasn’t a section of the stadium that we lost due to obstruction or anything else.

Yes, my picture doesn’t have the left field corner in it, but trust me…I could see the thing.

This was in the middle of a Chris Capuano delivery to Cardinals’ back up catcher (and former Brewer) Gary Bennett during the top of the 2nd inning.

Anyway, moving along…

The things I saw first-hand during this game included actual team speed! It’s something that we haven’t seen since Rickie Weeks went down, but now we’ve got three (3!!) guys that can run.

I saw Corey Hart and Tony Gwynn (yes, neither actually caught the ball this time) converge on a shot hit to the absolute middle of the gap between them and they both got there! It was absolutely nuts. It’s one of those shots that none of us expected anyone to get to, and I GUARANTEE that if that had been Kevin Mench in left and Brady Clark in center, or Gabe Gross in either field, or even the great Carlos Lee himself, that balls drops, rolls to the wall and possibly could’ve been a triple. It was straight up refreshing to see those kinds of wheels.

Another illustration of the wheels? Check out these two pics…

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The first pic is Tony Gwynn standing on 3rd after the triple he hit. And the 2nd? Corey Hart standing on third after his RBI triple.

That kind of effort, baserunning and flat out burn-ability is something that has been sorely lacking.

Remember who won the World Series last year? It was the Chicago White Sox. Remember how they did it? By playing station-to-station ball and having guys run all over the place once they got on base. They imported Jim Thome this past offseason, and along with Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko, the ChiSox have been hitting many homeruns this year. Where do they currently sit in the standings? Not even leading the wild card, and in fact in third place in their own division. Yes, pitching had a LOT to do with their run last year, but it’s interesting to see the correllation between offensive style and win totals too.

Can you imagine the kind of speed we are capable of having on the team next season? Weeks, Hart and Gwynn can all fly. In a situation where you have them all in the lineup, you won’t have to have guys like Bill Hall and Brady Clark trying to steal second when they’re even getting thrown out by Mike Piazza’s dead arm for example.

You let your hitters hit, your runners run and you RBI guys BI R’s.

Moving along…let’s talk a bit about the old guard of this team. First up, I’d like to discuss Geoff Jenkins.

What is this guy’s deal? Not only does he have more home runs and hits this month than all of May – July combined (okay, not really, but it does seem like it, doesn’t it?), but he just keeps on playing good baseball. He went 3/4 on Monday night, including scoring the Brewers’ first run leading off the 2nd inning with a solo shot and rivaled Pujols’ three-run blast for how fast it got out of the park. (Pujols’ homer, by the way, was a full pull job that bounced off of
Friday’s Front Row in left field. Jenks’ blast was pulled slightly, but
bounced off of the ivy just below the lower right corner of the
scoreboard.)

Dscn0022

This is Jenkins after having crossed home plate on his home run trot.

Jenkins’ average is up, his power is back, and he’s been playing clutch all month. I went to the game against the Marlins back on Robin Yount bobblehead night (September 2nd) and Jenkins was Mr. Clutch in that game too, hitting a two-out, two-run homerun to temporarily tie it up in the bottom of the ninth off of the Marlins’ closer. Jenkins has been lights out.

This begs the following questions: Why can’t Geoff play like this all year? If he can, why doesn’t he? Can he not handle the pressure of a penant (or even wild card) race? Why does he thrive at the end of the dog days? Is it because the pitchers are finally getting tired so their pitches aren’t breaking like they did back in early summer months?

Geoff Jenkins is the ultimate question mark heading into the offseason. Do we trade him now (meaning when the year is over) while he is showing that he really can hit this well? Or do we keep him as our everyday rightfielder when camp breaks and pray he doesn’t hit the wall as hard next year?

I honestly believe that Geoff Jenkins is NOT a #3 or #4 hitter. Period. He struggled at the 3 hole and only responded when there wasn’t as much pressure on him because he had been dropped in the batting order. I can’t call him a poor man’s A-Rod because he’s just not that talented, but in the pressure-handling department, the label seems to have merit. Now that the Brewers are all but mathematically eliminated from the post season once again, Jenkins starts to hit.

Provacative, no?

Finally, I want to discuss what I saw out of Bill Hall on Monday night.

Here…

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…is a picture of the aftermath of Hall’s 3rd at-bat of the ball game. As you can/will see, it is Bill Hall walking back to the dugout, bat in hand, just like he had done the previous two trips to the plate. That’s right, 3 strikeouts in the game. In Hall’s defense, he did pop out weakly in his fourth AB.

I’m all for his 30+ homeruns. In fact, I love them. And I’m not naive enough to think that you can have all the homeruns and none of the strikeouts. But Billy, would it kill you to at least try to drive the ball the other way when a single or even a sacrifice fly would help out the team?

RANDOM PICS FROM THE GAME:
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The above pics are, in order, the lineup card exchanges between Tony "I had to beat the umpires to the plate because I’m too awesome for words" LaRussa and Robin Yount; Tony Gwynn scoring his first major league run on a sacrifice fly by Tony Graffanino after Gwynn tripled; the team mobbing Graffer after his game-winning walkoff single that scored Drew Anderson from 2nd in the bottom of the ninth.

For now, I must digress. I promise to have the rest of the pictures uploaded later on. I will leave you with the following questions for discussion:

1.) Should the Brewers hold onto Jenkins for next season? If so, should he start? If not, what would be okay in your opinion to get back in trade?

2.) If J.J. Hardy comes back 100% healthy and plays like he was playing before he got injured this year, what do you do as head coach with the Shortstop position? Please include information like: who starts? if there is a platoon, how much does each guy get? etc.

Thanks all!

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