Clean Slate

May 18, 2009
By
“And there it is! The Milwaukee Brewers are your 2008 Wild Card Champions. They are going to the 2008 playoffs for the first time since 1982!” That passage pretty much sum up the Brewers great season that they had last year. To sum up last years playoff’s for the Brewer’s was that they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, four games to one. I thin the Brewers didn’t make it to the next round because the Brewers didn’t play of type of baseball called “Small Ball”. For you readers out there who don’t know small ball is where you don’t swing for the fences, of homeruns; players bunt people over to get them into scoring position When the Brewers had a person on second with no outs they could have bunted him over to third, and then the team gets two more chance to score him from third because it is a lot easier to score someone form third than from second. He could score on a "sacrifice fly", or you could try a "suicide squeeze" as they are called; that is a pretty gutsy play though.

Most of the credit should go to Doug Melvin, general manager, and Mark Attanasio, owner of the team, who traded for starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia who had an 11-2 record with a 1.65 earned run average (ERA). C.C. also gave them 130.7 innings pitched in only 17 starts. I personally think it was because of him that the Brew Crew made it to the playoffs last year. Even though C.C. had a heck of a season he couldn’t get it done when it mattered most, during the playoffs against the, eventual, world champions. But do keep in mind that C.C did do a lot of stuff to get the Brewers into the playoffs, so don’t blame him for everything. I think the Brewers didn’t make it to the next round of the playoffs because they pitched C.C. the first game of the series and then pitched him in game four. That is way to little rest for a pitcher who was not meant to pitch this many innings of games in one week. What also didn’t help the Brewers was that Ben Sheets got injured late in the season so he couldn’t pitch in the playoffs. Eventually this would lead to one of the many reasons that the Brewers would release Sheets’. However, that was his last year, and now let’s talk about this year’s Milwaukee Brewers.
First off, let’s talk about the Brew Crew’s pitching staff. This year the Brewers pitching staff is not as strong as last year, mainly, because of losing C.C. Sabathia who signed with the New York Yankees for 161 million dollars over 7 years. They also lost Ben Sheets who helped the Brewers with a 13-9 record with a 3.09 ERA and 198.3 innings pitched. Losing Sheets’ wasn’t that big of a loss though due to the fact of him being injured every other day didn’t help the Brewers one bit.














The Brewers stating five pitching rotation consists of Yovani Gallardo who was injured last year but came out of the bullpen and had a 1.88 ERA in 24 innings pitched. Then comes Dave Bush who had a 9-10 record with a 4.18 ERA and also Manny Para who had a 10-8 record with a 4.39 ERA in 166 inning of work. They also have, “Nasty Seth”, or Seth McClung. He had a 6-6 record with a 4.02 record in 105.3 innings pitched. In the off-season the Brewers picked up another starting pitcher Braden Looper who had a 12-14 record with a 4.16 and 199.0 innings pitched. Don’t forget about Jeff Suppan who had a 10-10 record with a 177.2 innings pitched with a 4.96 ERA.
In our bullpen we have Carlos Villanueva who was 4-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 108.1 innings. In the off-season the Brewers added relief pitchers Jorge Julio, 3-0 record with a 3.60 ERA. The biggest pick-up, to me though, is the pick-up of closing pitcher Trevor Hoffman, 3-6 record with a 3.77 ERA and 30 saves. Hoffman will help the Brewers because he will be able to close out games for us instead of blowing them like Gangė sometimes did. The Brewers entire pitching staff wasn’t all that bad if you look at their stats compared to the other teams in their division and in the MLB. They were second in the National League (NL) out of 16 teams in ERA with a 3.85 ERA, and they were first in the NL in complete games with 12. A complete game, for those of you that don’t know is where a pitcher pitches all of the innings in the game with out getting taken out. In Major League Baseball (MLB) the Brewers were ranked fourth in ERA, and 13th in the MLB with strikeouts with 1100 strikeouts during the 2008 season.

During the off-season the Brewers got three new coaches. They got a new manger in Ken Macha, who was formally with the Oakland Athletics. He was with the A’s from 2003 to 2006. Macha had a combined record 368 wins and 278 losses. Macha doses have some playoff experience with the A’s. His combined record in the playoffs is 5 wins and 7 losses. His best season with the A’s was in 2003 when they went 96 wins and 66 losses. The Brewers add a new bench coach in Willie Randolph. Randolph, formally with the New York Mets, had a combined record with the Mets of 302 wins and 253 losses. The Brewers also added a new third base coach to their squad in Brad Fischer who was formally with the Oakland Athletics. The Brewers also moved some of their old coaches around too. They moved Dale Sveum from third base coach to hitting coach. They also moved their old bullpen coach, Bill Castro, to the Brewers new pitching coach. But the Brewers did keep one coach in the same spot as last year. The Brewers kept Ed Sedar as their first base coach.



This year the Brewers have All-Stars Ryan Braun and Cory Hart back. They also 2007 All-Stars in Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy back to add to their hitting lineup this year. Those four people were the backbone of the Brewers batting lineup in 2008. This year those four guys are going to have to do most of the hitting for the Brewers this year. Leftfielder Ryan Braun batted .285 with 39 homeruns and 106 runs batted in (RBI) Cory Hart had a .268 batting average with 20 homeruns with 91 RBI, who was in right field. Also J.J. Hardy batted .283 with 24 homeruns and 74 RBI. The Brewers also have big first baseman. Fielder batted .276 with 34 homeruns and 102 RBI. The Brewers have high hopes in Prince who just signed a two-year, 18-million dollar deal with the Brewers who has 114 homeruns and 312 RBI in his young career. He also had 84 homeruns in two years. Don’t forget the rest of the Brewers lineup in catcher Jason Kendall, second baseman Rickie Weeks, third baseman Bill Hall, and centerfielder Mike Cameron. Kendall batted .246 with 49 RBI. Weeks batted .234 with 46 RBI. Hall batted .225 with 15 homeruns and 55 RBI and Cameron batted .243 with 25 homeruns and 70 RBI. The hitting of the Brewers last year was not as good as everyone wanted it to be but they did okay. They were third in the National League (NL) out of 16 teams with 198 homeruns. They were also twelfth in the NL in batting average with a .253 team batting average. But the Brewers were 25th in the Major Leagues (MLB) in batting average out of 30 MLB teams, which is awful if you want to win a World Series. But to end on a good note, the Brewers were fifth in homeruns out of 30 teams in the Majors.

With this lineup coming back and the new pitching staff coming back I predict that the Brew Crew will be 92 wins and 70 losses, and they will win the division and make the playoffs. In the playoffs I predict that they will lose in the second round because they don’t have to many players with playoff experience. So that might make a lot of the players nervous to play the best that they can possible play. They will also loose in the second round because they don’t have a very deep bullpen that can pitch three or four shut out innings to win the game. We hope that this year the final words that come out of the announcer’s mouth are: “And there it is!!! The Milwaukee Brewers are your 2009 World Series Champions!!!”





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