Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Brewers’

Another Season is upon us.

Ahhhhhh! Great to feel the warm sun and hear the neighborhood lawnmowers hard at work. Well, I actually haven’t heard any mowers today but I did a few days ago. It is a little cool and windy at the moment but the forecast for the week is sunny and high 70’s…perfect weather for the beginning of baseball season!

Yes, the 2014 Major League Baseball season starts in earnest tomorrow, March 31st. Technically the season started in Australia last weekend when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks had a two game series. Ok another technicality is that the Padres are hosting the Dodgers tonight for their season and home opener in San Diego. The free spending and greedy Dodgers have found another way to get more attention by attempting to win their first three games before the rest of the league has even seen their first pitch.  Yes, the games in Australia and the game tonight on the West Coast do count in the standings but 25 other teams begin their 162 game regular season journey tomorrow. The Yankees and Astros start the day after tomorrow and since the Diamondbacks have already played those 2 games Down Under…when you look at the overall schedule, tomorrow truly marks the beginning of baseball!

I am of the opinion that Opening Day for MLB should be a National Holiday if it falls on a weekday, especially a Monday. Games start at 1:00 pm and go until the last game starts on the West Coast at 10:00 pm. How great would it be to have the day off to just veg on the couch and watch as many of these games as possible or better yet, go to the ballpark and catch one live! I know the “all day in front of the TV” scenario does not appeal to everyone, especially the significant others of an avid baseball fan (you know who you are), but what if you have to work and your team plays an afternoon game? My Braves are playing the Brewers tomorrow in Milwaukee at 2:00pm so I am out of luck. I can record the game but it isn’t the same plus I will have already heard the outcome before I get home regardless of how hard I try not to. I have tried before, it rarely works out.

I, like many other fans, will need to be patient for the first night game to be televised in the coming week. Thankfully we only have to wait until Tuesday.

 

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Summer begins…

It is Memorial Day 2011. Summer has officially begun underway and baseball is well underway. This is a good time for teams to take stock on their strengths and weaknesses while fans can finally stop saying it is still early and accept that almost 1/4 of the season is gone and this is the time your team either needs to turn it around or take it to the next level.

Here is a quick run down of what is happening at the 1/4 mark of Major League Baseball…

American League East: After starting the season 0-9 the Boston Red Sox now stand at the top of the AL East. This should not be a surprise to anyone considering the substantial offensive signings they pulled off this off-season. Adrian Gonzalez is performing up to expectations and Carl Crawford is breaking out of his early season struggles. The rest of the AL East looks like what you would expect. The Yankees are in second place even though they have been playing sub-par baseball lately and the Tampa Bay Rays are up and down but always hanging around. Toronto is playing good ball and have an offensive juggernaut in Jose Bautista but suffer from playing in one of the strongest divisions in all of baseball. Despite Baltimore’s strong start to the season they now find themselves in a familiar place and will probably be competing the rest of the season just to stay out of last place.

American League Central: The team no one expected to be anywhere near competitive this season is riding their great start to the season and still remain atop the AL Central. The Cleveland Indians!? Yes, the Indians have strung together some impressive pitching starts and have also provided much more offense than anyone expected. The Detroit Tigers have figured out a few things and have found their way back to the top but still 5 games back from 1st. The Kansas City Royals have not disappeared from the race as many expected but they are still in the thick of things. Two big surprises or disappointments from the Central are the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Both teams have good pitching and offensive power but only the White Sox have been flexing their muscle. Despite all of their pop with the bat the Sox are still next to last and the Twins are desperately missing their superstar catcher, Joe Mauer, while they flounder in last place with the worst record in baseball.

American League West: This four team division usually has big gaps between the division leader and the last place team but this season is an exception thus far. The reigning AL Champion Texas Rangers sit atop the division but only one game ahead of the Angels and only one and a half head of the Athletics and Mariners who are both sitting right at .500.

National League East: No one is surprised that the Philadelphia Phillies are in first place but many are surprised that their vaulted pitching staff has not dominated as expected.  The Florida Marlins have a solid offense and pitching staff and still remain in second place. The Braves starting pitching and bullpen have kept them afloat while their Dan Uggla cursed offense can’t score runs consistently. The New York Mets could explode at any moment and become a serious contender or they could just implode and struggle the rest of the season while selling of players to the highest bidder. The Washington Nationals can be a frustrating team to beat and they have upgraded their offense with Jason Werth but are still very beatable and should remain NL East cellar dwellers.

National League Central: No big news here. The Cardinals are in first, the Brewers are flexing their muscle closely behind in second, and the NL Central Champion Reds are close behind in third waiting to pounce. The big surprise of the NL Central is that the Pirates are not in last place and even seem to have the ability to have a .500 season. Then you have the dismal Cubs and Astros. I don’t recognize most of the Cubs players and the Astros don’t seem capable of avoiding the 100 + loss mark.

National League West: The World Series Champion San Francisco Giants have suffered a devastating loss with Buster Posey’s recent injury and have also given up first place to the surging Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies are waiting in the wings and could go on a crazy winning streak at any time while the Dodgers seem to have lost any steam they created earlier in the season. The Padres have a dismal offense but a good pitching staff backed up by a great bullpen which means they will not remain in last place for long.

Long story short, things can and will change to disrupt these current standings.  The next big report card will be at the All-Star break in six weeks when the truth of the season will start to be played out for real. The contenders and the pretenders will separate themselves soon but there are still plenty of questions to be answered during the 2011 baseball season.

Almost perfect…

Tim Hudson almost threw a perfect game Wednesday night.

One night after Fancisco Liriano of the Twins threw a no-hitter, Tim Hudson of the Braves almost did the same thing. The main difference is Liriano did not give up a hit while Hudson did, which means Hudson’s game will only be recognized as a one-hit shut out. A one-hit shutout is an amazing accomplishment but what makes Hudson’s performance even more impressive is how close the game was to being perfect.

On Liriano’s no-hit night he walked 6 and struck out only 2 and had a lot of help from his defense. Hudson’s night consisted of only 1 walk, 6 six strikeouts, and a solid hit by Rickie Weeks of the Brewers(who also drew the walk). Erase those two mistakes to Weeks and you have a perfect game.

Through the course of a season a lot more pitchers will throw one-hitters than will throw no-hitters but it is still an impressive feat. Hudson was a more dominant and controlled pitcher in his one-hitter than Liriano was in his no-hitter. I am not belittling Liriano’s achievement, I just hope Tim Hudson’s accomplishment does not go un-recognized.

Way to go Huddy !!