Tagged: San Francisco Giants

Ryan Braun Starts Fourth All-Star Game, Records First Hit

Manager Ron Roenicke and left fielder Ryan Braun (8) represented the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has been elected to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in each of his five full seasons in the big leagues.

The first three games saw Braun reach base exactly zero times in seven at-bats. He struck out three times to boot. (Braun’s fourth election resulted in him not playing in the game due to injury.)

Earlier tonight though, Braun started his fourth Midsummer Classic for the National League, playing left field, and hitting third in manager Tony La Russa’s lineup. Following a one-out single by San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Braun dug into the right-handed batter’s box.

On a 2-1 count, Braun took a 98-MPH fastball from American League starting pitcher Justin Verlander over the head of starting right fielder Jose Bautista for an RBI double, giving the National League a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Braun would later score from third base on Pablo Sandoval’s bases-clearing triple, but the run he drove in held up the entire way as the National League shut out the American League be a final score of 8-0!

In the fourth inning, with two outs, Ryan Braun then tripled into the right field corner. (He was stranded there when Joey Votto grounded out to end the inning.) That second hit was the first time a Milwaukee Brewer has ever recorded two hits in the same All-Star Game. A little piece of history is always a good thing.

Braun contributed on defense as well during his four innings in the field, tracking down two deep fly balls on the warning track and catching another in much shallower left. But the crowning moment was a leaping catch while running at full sprint to take away a double from Home Run Derby champion Prince Fielder to end both the fourth inning and Braun’s night of work.

Offensively, Braun finished 2-for-3 with a double, triple, RBI and run scored. Without a tremendous diving catch by Jose Bautista, Braun could have been 3-for-3 and again, his RBI was the game-winning RBI! Ryan Braun is the also only the fifth player to hit a double and triple in the same All-Star Game. He joins Earl Averill, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, and George Brett.

All things considered, it was an extremely positive All-Star break for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player.

Congratulations to Ryan!

Congratulations are also in order to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke who was named to Tony La Russa’s staff after the Brewers made it to the National League Championship Series in 2011.

Opening Disgrace…

by South Side Rob.

There was some good, some bad, and a lot of ugly. Some quotes after the game:

  • “We just didn’t pitch very well.” — Ken Macha.
  • “When you get [Lincecum] out of the game, you’ve got to feel good about
    it. When it’s in the third
    inning, you feel like you’re going to score some runs.” — Bill Hall.
  • “Those were the two at-bats that really stick out in my mind. In those situations, you’ve got to make the pitch. Both of
    [those] pitches were in a location where they could drive it.” — Jeff Suppan.
  • “Rebuild the first inning — take a look at it. With the
    exception of that changeup he left over the plate to Ishikawa, he
    didn’t get knocked around a lot and he gave up three runs.” — Ken Macha.
  • “There were a few little things, but regardless of how you get there,
    you’re always working to get out of it. You have to keep making
    pitches.” — Jeff Suppan.
  • “I don’t go out there and argue very often.” — Ken Macha
  • “How you play on Opening Day doesn’t dictate how the season plays out.” — Jeff Suppan.

On Macha saying we didn’t pitch very well, that’s obvious. I sometimes wonder what pitchers are thinking about on how they approach certain hitters. I mean, we were playing what will probably be one of the worst offenses we see all season with 3 rookies making their major-league debut. Suppan pitched like he was facing a veteran 3-hitter all day. If he dreams of being Greg Maddux, that’s fine as long as he wakes up and remembers he’s Jeff Suppan. He talks about location constantly. Everytime Suppan was hit hard, the location was easy to see which was just below the waist and right down the pipe with an off-speed pitch that had zero movement.

Rickie Weeks had a nice game. Corey Hart had 2 3-pitch strikeouts, I guess he’s back to guessing wrong again. Braun had a nice hit but failed twice with runners in scoring position. Fielder had a nice double but also failed with runners in scoring position. Hardy had a strikeout and bounced into 2 double plays. Cameron walked 4 times and stole 2 bases. Billy Hall had an RBI double when the Brewers were down 5 runs (ala 2006) but didn’t do anything worth noting. Kendall tried to call a good game but Suppan can’t locate. He didn’t do anything at the plate. Suppan actually had an RBI double and drew a walk. Come to think of it, the Brewers drew 10 walks and were hit by 2 pitches for 12 free passes. Throw in their hits and they only managed 5 runs while knocking out last year’s Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum after 3 innings, his shortest outing in over a year. Yet, the Brewers lose 10-6.

Seth McClung showed why the Rays traded him away 2 years ago. Jorge Julio was an embarrassment as well.

It’s just one game but given the circumstances in facing one of the best pitchers in the game and getting to him early, the game was a complete waste.

Thank god for tomorrow. Baseball is cool that way. Have a bad game, let it simmer and then, go out and get them tomorrow. We hit lefties and Randy Johnson is just a shell of his former self. No excuses. We have to knock him around and win tomorrow’s game.

Opening Day Is Upon Us!!! (or is it…?)

By: Big Rygg

First, let me say that our weekly podcast (a lengthier one than normal, hence the delay) has been readied for download and is available at:

With that formality out of the way…

IT’S OPENING DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

The day that we’ve been waiting for since that agonizing night at Miller Park in October whence we lost to the eventual World Champion Philadelphia Phillies is here.

Everybody is 0-0! Everybody can go 162-0! Everybody can…

Wait, what? What do you mean 24 teams have already played and that it would have been 28 teams if not for bad weather in Chicago and Boston? You mean this would have been Opening Day for just the Brewers and Giants had all things gone as scheduled?

As annoyed as I was at the Giants for the scheduling idiocy, I must admit that it would’ve been kind of cool to open the season by ourselves in a way. Yes, a lot of other teams would’ve been playing too, but it still would’ve been an opener for just us and Giants.

Having said that, at least today is definitely the day for us! There’s no way we won’t play today! Jeff Suppan! Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum! Dueling like only two Opening Day starters can!

Oh come on! What do you mean that there’s an 80% chance of precipitation in San Francisco today? Let me guess, the heaviest rain is supposed to be coming down during our game isn’t it? Oh, only from 11am until 4pm. Great. Maybe we’ll be able to play an evening season opener. Stupid Giants.

But look, all kidding aside, it is Opening Day for your Milwaukee Brewers and I couldn’t be happier. Pitchers and Catchers Day is when optimism springs anew, Spring Training is nice, amassing an NL-best 22-10-3 record is encouraging, but nothing beats Opening Day (except of course the home opener should they happen to be different days). The team takes the field for a fresh season where anything can happen!

Who could have predicted last year that Yovani Gallardo goes down for nearly the entire season due to a freak injury suffered while hustling to cover first base on a play where everybody except for Reed Johnson did the right thing?

Who could have predicted last April that the Milwaukee Brewers would be in a position to acquire CC Sabathia nearly a month before the trading deadline and how well he would pitch for us in carrying us through the month of September and into the post season for the first time in 26 years?

Nationally who could have predicted that the Tampa Bay R
ays would not only win what is arguably the most top-heavy division in baseball but would then advance through the American League playoffs to win a game in the World Series?

And wo could have predicted last April that Ned Yost would get fired during the season and that his replacement would right the sinking ship?

Okay, so that last one was a bad example.

But the point is that anything can happen in baseball. That’s why pitchers throw every fifth day. That’s why hitters get back into the box every time their spot in the lineup is due. That’s why batting practice and side sessions take place. That’s why film study and trend analysis is completed. In short, that’s why they play the games.

Does Baltimore defeat the mighty Yankees 10-5 yesterday on paper? Nope.
Does Pittsburgh start the season 1-0 at the expense of Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals on paper? Don’t think so.
Do the Rockies and Diamondbacks, on paper, combine for 8 Opening Day home runs against a pair of starters that had the highest ground ball to fly ball ratios in the league last year? Survey says: Not bloody likely!

The phrase “any given Sunday” is used in profession football to infer that any team can beat any other team on a given day regardless of how the match up looks on paper. Baseball is the same way…but they play 162 “Sundays”…and then several “Super Bowl Sunday-esque” games in the playoffs.

Well, Sunday #1 is here for Milwaukee and San Francisco.¬†Perhaps we get underway in just over nine hours, perhaps in about a dozen, or worst-case scenario maybe in about 29. But regardless of the actual time of the first live pitch from Tim Lincecum to Rickie Weeks one thing will always be the same…the feeling that we get from our national past time.

Last year the Brewers swept the Giants in the season series outscoring them over the six games by a combined 49-18. Looks good on paper. Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young Award last year, as previously mentioned, by compiling a record of 18-5 supported by an ERA of 2.62. Looks good on paper. Against the Brewers, in his career Lincecum is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.65. That doesn’t look so good on paper for San Francisco.

Then again…what does paper have to do with any of it anyway?

Pray For Rain

By: Big Rygg

First of all…Happy Birthday to me!

With that out of the way, I can move on to other topics.

Do you know the old expression in baseball “Pray for rain”? For example, when a team has , for instance, two dominant starting pitchers and the others on the staff are terrible or at least sub-par, the expression is used by that team’s fans to indicate that they have supreme faith in their big two and want them to pitch every game. Like the year the Diamondbacks won the World Series, it could have easily been “(Curt) Schilling, (Randy) Johnson…and pray for rain.”

Obviously that can’t happen in baseball because there are far too many games, and everyone knows this, but it’s a fun sentiment either way.

I bring it up, not because I don’t have any faith in Jeff Suppan or Sethid McBush (the name I’ve given our hybrid 5th starter since Ned Yost has decided to try the home/road platoon with Seth McClung and Dave (David) Bush for the time being), but because I believe our opponents will start using it in a very different manner soon, if they haven’t already.

Yes, I believe that our opponents will soon be saying “Suppan, McBush, and pray for rain.” This phrase of course meaning that they’ll hope they face our pitchers that have actually been hittable from time to time and then the third game of the series will be rained out so that they don’t have to face CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets or Manny Parra.

Allow me to discuss a case-in-point…

Brewers 9, Giants 1
The Brewers opened up the second “half” of their season last night in San Francisco, California. The opposition, if you could even call them that last night, were the flu-affected Giants. Their starting second and first basemen were out sick with the same flu-like symptoms that kept Tim Lincecum from pitching in the All-Star Game.

But all that aside, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy still filled out his lineup card with nine big leaguers. One of those was young strikeout artist Matt Cain who toed the rubber for San Francisco. He lived up to his own billing for six innings before running into trouble in the 7th. He allowed two base runners in without recording an out in the frame which his relief then allowed to score. Prior to that, the only run he gave up was when Brewer starting pitcher Sabathia scored after his second hit as a Brewer (a double to right-center).

Speaking of Sabathia, he was amazing again. We all know that the Giants don’t exactly have a good offense, and they’re even worse when Cain is on the hill for some reason, but they looked foolish Friday night. Sabathia pitched a 110-pitch complete game near shutout, cruising through everyone and everything except for a bad pitch to Aaron Rowand to start off the 8th inning. 78 of his pitches were thrown for strikes, which is a strong ratio. Sabathia even helped out with his bat as I had mentioned already. He scored the Brewers first run.

Yes, the Brewers blew it open late once Cain tired and the Giant bullpen faltered, but two runs were all Sabathia needed to win his third game in three starts for Milwaukee.

Today, the Giants face Ben Sheets. Come on Sheets…how about a series win as a nice birthday present for me?

San Francisco? If I were you, I’d start praying.