2014 Baseball Checkup 2 1/2 Weeks into the Season

17 Apr

Well we are a couple weeks into the baseball season and I thought I would check where some of my favorite teams, yours and others are in the baseball season so far. It isn’t September or October but we can see some early season surprises, who’s playing well and who isn’t factors that may or may not play out down the road. So here’s a look at the early season standings with a link from espn.com.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings

Concentrating on the teams I like best, its my blog  The Milwaukee Brewers are a pleasant surprise in the early season with an 11-4 record in the NL Central. They are currently 2 games ahead of the St Louis Cardinals the defending NL Central and National League Champions. The Brewers won a big game Wednesday afternoon 5-1 against the Cardinals to salvage 1 game in the three game series against the Cardinals. It helped the Brewers to keep the division lead and gave them some much needed confidence against their successful rival the Cardinals. But the Brewers are playing better anyway and we’ll see what happens. The Cardinals suffered a tough loss on and off the field when their starting pitcher Joe Kelly limped up to first base with some ligament issues that will put him on the disabled list for 15 days at least. Hopefully he will recover quickly. And the Brewers after having their 9 game winning streak stopped with two losses to the Cardinals in the first two games are back on the winning track and headed to Pittsburgh for a four game series with the Pirates who they swept last wqeekend in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile down on the South Side of Chicago the Boston Red Sox are playing a cold series against the Chicago White Sox. After losing in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, the Red Sox came back to win the game Wednesday night 6-4 in 14 innings. The defending World Series Champion Red Sox are currently 6-9 and three games behind the 9-6 Yankees heading into Thursday night’s series finale against the Whitesox, before heading back to Boston to play the Baltimore Orioles in a four game series over the weekend. The Red Sox are struggling some and first baseman Mike Napoli sustained a thumb injury in Tuesday night’s game. Hopefully he wont be out too long either. But it is tough to repeat as champions which the Red Sox have only done once in their history 1915-1916 so you get the picture. But the three most recent World Series Championships 2004, 2007 and 2013 look very nice. And the Red Sox have a combined record of 12-2 in those three World Series.

Finally the Texas Rangers who I follow as a third team living in Texas are 8-7 and traing the Oakland A’s who have won the AL West division the last two years by 2 games. The Rangers have had a lot of pitching problems and injuries. But they are finding a way to hang in the race winning some close games and working through a make shift pitching rotation until injuries heal or if they pick up a pitcher in a trade later this summer. So we’ll see what happens for a team that acquired Prince Fielder and Michael Choice to go along with Adrian Beltre and a fairly solid Rangers hitting lineup. So we’ll see what happens and have a Happy and Safe Easter weekend whatever you do and best wishes.
Also I’ll be watching the Stanley Cup Hockey Playoffs and the NBA Playoffs as my favorite team the San Antonio Spurs has the best record in the league and homecourt throughout the playoffs as they try to take that last step after losing a tough seven game series to the 2 time champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last year. Go Spurs and Take Care!

Milwaukee Brewers: Off to a Great start in 2014

11 Apr

The Milwaukee Brewers are off to a terrific start in the baseball season this year. They are currently 7-2. They have just swept 2 road series from the Philadelphia Phillies and the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox for a 6-0 road trip.
And they return home tonight leading the NL Central early in the season at 7-2 to play the Pittsburgh Pirates currently in second place at 6-3 which should be a great early season series against the Pirates who made the playoffs last year.
Following that series the Brewers will play the St Louis Cardinals who are currently 5-4 and the defending National League champions.

So what is happening with theBrewers success? A little of everything. According to Brewers Manager “A little of everything” Adam McCalvy MLB.com

The pitching has been great as Milwaukee starting pitchers have not surrendered more than 3 runs in an individual start. And Brewer relievers haven’t allowed more than one earned run in 21 2/3 innings for a Major League best 0.98 era. Marco Estrada allowed only two runs in a six inning performance Thursday night against the Phillies. MLB.com statistics.

And the Brewers are hitting the ball quite well. Ryan Braun came to Philadelphia with all the boos from his HGH use and lying and hit three home runs in the first game there.. While we cant forget what he did or said, if he is clean his performance and natural talent is impressive and backs up his 2011 NL MVP. Other big hitters include Aramis Ramirez, Khris Davis, Jonathon Lucroy and Carlos Gomez..

So it is a team effort and the Brewers 2 losses weren’t that bad losing 5-2 an1-0 to the Braves last week. In fact other than a 7-6 win over the Red Sox last Saturday, the Brewers have given up 4 or less runs in 7 of their 9 games.

So we’ll see what happens going forward, and it’s only April. But the Brewers are playing very well and off to a hot start in the NL Central. Go Brewers!

Boston Red Sox are the Champions! I’m so excited!

31 Oct

Well its an exciting day for me as a sports fan. The Boston Red Sox my favorite baseball team along with the Milwaukee Brewers are World Champions and it feels really good. Next year in fact both teams the Brewers and Red Sox will play on Opening Day and the Red Sox will receive their championship rings. That will be as good as a World Series for me between the two teams I like best that I don’t really want to see play in the World Series when I like both teams. If they were both good enough I might change my mind lol.
But I was thrilled to see the Red Sox win their third championship in the last 10 years since 2004. And along with four championships for the NBA San Antonio Spurs and two for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it has been a nice run of success for teams that I like. They don’t all win every year , but they are competing well and have had success.
The Red Sox victory over the St Louis Cardinals a great team and organization by a score of 4 games to 2 in the World Series was sweet and the clinching victory 6-1 over the Cardinals in Game 6 was the first time the Red Sox had clinched the World Series at home since 1918. Remember in 2004 the Red Sox won their epic World Series after 86 years in St Louis. And then 3 years later in 2007 the Red Sox won the World Series sweeping the Colorado Rockies with the final game in Colorado.
In 1967 and 1975 the Red Sox had a chance to win a World Series at home, but they lost to the Cardinals in 1967 on the day I was born as my father was watching lol and the Cincinatti Reds in 1975 both in seven games. The Red Sox had also lost seventh games at the Cardinals in 1946 and the New York Mets in 1986.
So its been a long tough road especially when the Red Sox main rival the New York Yankees has 27 championships to the Red Sox 8. But in the last 10 years the Red Sox have won three championships (2004, 2007 and 2013) to the Yankees 1 championship in 2009 and now the Red Sox have the more recent one again so life is Goode lol.
And as I said above my favorite teams have had a run of championship success since 1999 with the Spurs, Red Sox and Steelers winning championships often close at the same time if you look at runs in 2004-2005 and 2007-2008.
Now this year was a tough year when the Spurs blew a 3-2 lead and lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The Toronto Maple Leafs my favorite hockey team that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 returned to the playoffs and made the seventh game in the first round vs the Boston Bruins. They had a 4-1 lead in the third period of the seventh game before losing 5-4 in overtime. That was tough but the Leafs hadn’t made the playoffs since 2004 and they are off to a 10-4 start this year. Someday a Stanley Cup would be nice to add to the mix along with a Brewers championship provided it’s not in the same year as they play the Red Sox. If it happened I would probably root for the Brewers slightly in that one as they have only gotten as far as the World Series once before losing to the St Louis Cardinals in seven games in 1982 when the Brewers were in the American League. A couple years ago the Cardinals beat the Brewers in the National League Championship Series as well.
But today I’m celebrating the Red Sox championship for myself, Red Sox fans and my late great grandmother from Taunton, Massachusetts a Boston suburb and a lifelong Red Sox fan. She helped teach me my love of baseball and the Red Sox. Congratulations Red Sox nation and to MVP David Big Papi Ortiz who still looks as good at age 37 as he did in 2004 as the only remaining member of that team on the current Red Sox. What a wonderful day in Boston for the Red Sox and for all that city went through with the Boston Marathon tragedy in April. Best wishes Doc/Bratman

Brewers gutsy 8-5 comeback win vs Nationals

5 Aug

For six innings on Sunday August 4th it was another ho hum game for the struggling Milwaukee Brewers who had lost three straight games, had a record of 46-64 and are in last place in the NL Central, two games behind the Chicago Cubs.
And the Brewers are 20 games behind the division leading Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brewers have had a lot of injuries and are playing with a lot of young call up players.
But in a game that I went to see at Miller Park in Milwaukee, the Brewers were trailing the Washington Nationals 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. And all of a sudden with some timely hitting and running led by a soft bloop over the second baseman by Jeff Bianchi which led to two runs to give the Brewers the lead. And the Brewers would go on to win the game 8-5.
The Brewers even got a lucky break when a hit in the inning by Frank Fransisco appeared to go foul in front of the first base bag and Nationals first baseman Dave LaRoche who protested the call on what became a key RBI groundout in the pivotal sixth inning.
“ I thought it was foul” LaRoche protested to no avail. “Close but foul” he said “But it was a bad break he continued.
Meanwhile on the Brewers side, Jeff Bianchi was more positive on the winning side saying “It’s always good to put up a crooked number like that, a five spot, especially late in a ballgame. Good things happen when you battle.”
Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse who struggled early in the game giving up three second inning runs, but took a no decision added “We could have just rolled over, and we didn’t do that and beat a pretty good team. “We’re going to be playing teams that have a chance at the playoffs and we’ve got to take pride in making them feel what we’re feeling right now “, which is struggling but continuing to play hard the rest of the season.
Quotes in article from Kevin Massoth/MLB.com

For me personally I saw the Brewers win in person for the second time in a row dating back to my most recent Brewers game in September 2011, when the Brew Crew beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on the way to the 2011 NL Central title. There will be no division title or playoff appearance for the Brewers this year, but on this Sunday afternoon it was very nice to see them get an exciting scrappy come from behind win while I was at the game. And hopefully some continued success for this young and never quitting team. Best wishes and Go Brewers! I have never given up on them and it’s nice to see them not give up on themselves. Doc.

Ryan Braun PED Users face shame. Real Brewers and Baseball Go On

25 Jul

It has been a tough season for the Milwaukee Brewers. 42-58 as I write this with an afternoon game against the San Diego Padres. They have the fourth worst record in baseball currently, and are both 20 games behind the division leading St Louis Cardinals and 3.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central basement.

But no one is talking much about this of course since MLB suspended Brewers star and PED user Ryan Braun for 65 games and the rest of the season. Other shoes may drop in this regard most notably Alex Rodriguez, A Rod who is the biggest suspected performance enhancing drugs user of the current time in baseball. Who knows what will happen with him. We’ll find out soon. But Ryan Braun and his suspension is a very close second in the shame of major league baseball.

We’ve all “watched and enjoyed “ these suspected steroid users over the years from Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmerio , Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez among others. And now here we go again with the current players although the 41 year old Ramirez isn’t quite done with a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. But then we are shamed and disgraced by these players. And now some of the current players like Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and maybe others soon.

I am going to a Brewers game in about a week against the Washington Nationals, and despite their disappointing performance, I’m looking forward to watching what I’ll call the Real Brewers. How ironic those are the same initials as Ryan Braun, RB.

I’m excited about the game and seeing the young team I like to follow.  They won their game vs San Diego last night 3-1 and have another game this afternoon as I write so add or subtract one from their record.

Jean Segura .317 BA and Carlos Gomez .297 BA both Made the All Star Team. Norichika Aoki the second year Brewers player after several seasons in Japan is hitting .294. And last Sunday  vs the  Florida Marlins, the Brewers had an exciting game winning home run from Caleb Gindi, a 24 year old left fielder. It was Gindi’s first major league homer, a walk off and I’ll show it here. http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=29015645&c_id=mil And the Brewers have won 5 of their last 7 games and maybe 6 of their last 8 after this afternoons game in progress at this writing to close out the current homestand. Stats courtesy of Milwaukee Brewers and MLB.com

The next time I’ll write will be a writeup after I go to the Brewers Nationals game on Sunday August 4th. And no matter what it will be about the Real Brewers and Ryan Braun who I think got off easy with just a 65 season ending suspension for the Brewers who aren’t going anywhere up in the standings likely this season. But the shame for Braun, A Rod and other PED users will last much longer. I’d personally like to see all steroid users records stripped or have an asterisk give the home run records back to Henry Aaron for a career 755 and Roger Maris for a season 61 in 1961,  but keep the team records. We can never totally whitewash the shame of users like Braun, but baseball needs to keep doing something to deter their accomplishments maybe a lifetime or season ban and whitewashing their records. It isn’t a perfect solution but just my thoughts. Talk soon. Doc.

Why I think fans should have a say in the Baseball All Star Game

11 Jul

 

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/columnists/rick-gosselin/20130709-gosselin-as-adrian-beltre-s-exclusion-illustrates-fan-voting-a-flaw-in-all-star-games.ece

I was reading an article this week by sportswriter Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News titled “As Adrian Beltre ( of the Rangers) exclusion illustrates, fan voting a flaw in all-star games.” And it got me thinking about the All Star Game to be played next Tuesday night at the Mets home stadium, Citi Field in New York.

Gosselin like a number of other members of the media, thinks that fans shouldn’t vote for the All Star Game and the best players should be chosen by the league offices,  players, coaches and expert broadcasters and writers. And it also got me thinking how we the fans have the least amount of say and control over the games and happenings in sports, yet we put in an awful lot of money and passion.

We have to put up with player and team  moves, lockouts and strikes, rule changes and many other things out of our control. So why shouldn’t we the fans continue to have some control and vote who we want into the All Star Game. A popularity contest maybe. Does the All Star Game count for the winner of the World Series? Yes, that was a stupid league rule instituted in 2002 after a tie in the All Star Game used up a lot of players and innings.

The way I see it voting in the All Star Game gives us the fans a say and a small part of responsibility as to who gets into the game. Personally I wish it was an exhibition game again and with interleague being played all season they should see which league has the best record in interleague games if they are not going to go by the team with the best record or alternate years for home field between the leagues like they used to.

I also like seeing a player from each team in the All Star Game. For some losing teams it may be one of a few moments during the season in the spotlight, and this game is about all of baseball.  And baseball has the best All Star game in sports overall, because every team is represented. Besides the game, my favorite moment of the All Star Game is when the players of all the teams are introduced and doff their cap to the crowd.

The Mid Summer Classic. I’m looking forward to it along with the fun Home Run Derby the night before. And if a young hot star like the Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig who was called up to the majors in May and is batting above .400 and playing extremely well, is invited into the game well then that’s just great even if there are more deserving players according to the media and MLB people. After all in the end it was a game that was put together for the fans to enjoy. So why not keep them a part of it and give them a say in some small way.

References: Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News, MLB.com

2013 MLB Breakout Stars: Chris Davis, Max Scherzer and Yasiel Puig

5 Jul

th270px-Chris_Davis_on_August_10,_2011imagesCADKMZB9A little more than a week until MLB Baseball’s All Star Game and we already at the half way point of the season, I wanted to look at some of the breakout or star baseball players in the first half. There are several young and veteran MLB stars , but there are three that stand out to me so far.

Chris Davis of the Orioles has hit 32 home runs and a .330 batting average so far and could be on pace to break Roger Maris “normal and untainted” record of 61 home runs and Babe Ruth at 60 which were the single season records for home runs before the steroid era in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs and Barry Bonds hit 73.

But those records are tainted and as soon as a power hitting star like Davis has a big year, the naysayers and critics say steroids or HGH which is somewhat unfair until proven true and then that’s always tricky as we’ve seen with several suspected players. But a great start for Chris Davis and congrats to him.

Also an amazing start for Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer who is 13-0 after a 6-2  Tigers victory over the Blue Jays in Detroit. He has kind of passed by Justin Verlander as the ace and best pitcher currently in Detroit and Verlander is a 2 time Cy Young winner and has pitched a couple no hitters. But Scherzer is the first pitcher to start 13-0 since Roger Clemens started 14-0 in 1986 for the Boston Red Sox.
Scherzer has also matched Tigers pitcher Bobo Newsom from 1940, with 18 starts without a loss. Scherzer should start the All Star Game for the American League, and in a real outside shot could Scherzer go after another former Tigers pitcher Denny McClain’s record of 31-6 back in 1968. Everything would have to go right in the second half, but the way Scherzer is pitching right now who knows what kinds of heights he can reach.

Finally , Yasiel Puig,  the Cuban star right fielder on the Los Angeles Dodgers has been an instant success. Puig is the first major leaguer with 34 hits and 7 home runs in the first 20 games of his career. He hits for power and average, he can steal bases and he has an arm like a cannon that has already thrown out three runners from right field. It will be very interesting to see how Puig develops once  he and other players adapt to his games. And we’ll see if Puig is just a flashing star or a superstar. Some like Phiilies reliever Jonathon Paplebon have questioned his ability, while others think he could or should be voted into next weeks All Star Game even after only a month of major league play. He’s been that good, and the All Star Game is played under bright lights and for home field advantage in the World Series so its important for a number of reasons. But is Puig deserving for his short time of play in the major leagues. That is the question.

As I said there are many excellent stars in the major leagues right now but Chris Davis, Max Scherzer and Yasiel Puig are the brightest lights at this time. Best wishes and enjoy the baseball games and its stars.

References: MLB Statistics, Bleacher Report

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