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Milwaukee Brewers Fire Two Coaches…But Not Manager Ron Roenicke

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Which is why I find the Milwaukee Brewers’ refusal to fire manager Ron Roenicke after the Brewers’ historic collapse in September 2014 so troubling.

This past Friday, in a press release, Milwaukee fired two coaches: first base coach Garth Iorg and hitting coach Johnny Narron. Hitting was a major concern for the Brewers down the stretch, so firing Johnny Narron wasn’t at all surprising. But firing Iorg made very little sense, as Iorg wasn’t to blame for Milwaukee’s players’ brain freezes on the basepaths or Mark Reynolds’ failure to remember how many outs there were in an inning or Carlos Gomez’s inability to lay off bad pitches or even Ryan Braun’s thumb injury.

While Roenicke wasn’t directly to blame for any of those things, either, someone has to be held accountable.

I mean, really. The Brewers were in first place for 150 days of the season. Then they went 9-22 over the last 31 games to miss the playoffs and finish 82-80.

And the person who usually is held accountable is — wait for it — the manager. Not the piddly first base coach.

Of course, if the Brewers had fired Roenicke, it’s very possible that every single one of the coaches on Roenicke’s staff would be looking for work right now rather than only two of them getting their pink slips. But it still looks very strange that Roenicke stayed while Johnny Narron and Iorg had to go . . . especially when you consider that Johnny’s brother Jerry Narron is still employed by the Brewers as their bench coach. (What sense is there in firing one brother but keeping the other?)

Overall, I am extremely disappointed that the Brewers retained Roenicke. But I am even more disappointed that the Brewers didn’t even have the guts to call a press conference; instead, they sent out a milquetoast press release on a Friday afternoon in the hopes that no one would be paying attention to the fact that Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio has thus far refused to hold anyone significant accountable for the Brewers’ historic collapse.

My view is simple: Roenicke should’ve been fired, and someone else — perhaps former Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux — should’ve been hired instead.

But that’s not what the Brewers did. Obviously, Milwaukee hopes that fans will forgive and forget the Brewers’ historic collapse. But my gut feeling is this:

No. We won’t.

Milwaukee Brewers 2014 End-of-the-Season Wrap-up

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Folks, I waited a few extra days to post my end-of-the-season wrap-up for the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers, mostly to see if the Brewers would show some sense and fire manager Ron Roenicke. But as they haven’t — yet — it’s time to fish or cut bait.

Here’s what I thought of my 82-80 2014 Milwaukee Brewers:

PITCHING

  • Kyle Lohse (13-9, 3.54 ERA, 198 1/3 innings pitched) was robbed. He left with the lead six more times than he has wins; if the Brewers had won even three more of those games, he’d have had a 16-win season. Lohse was Milwaukee’s most consistent starter, and threw a 2-hit shutout gem late in the season when the Brewers were still (barely) in Wild Card contention.
  • Wily Peralta (17-11, 3.52 ERA, 198 2/3 innings pitched) was a bit overrated. Peralta improved in his second season, no lie, but unlike Lohse and the other starters, Peralta’s games featured better offensive support and better relief pitching . . . so Peralta didn’t have as many no decisions as Lohse.

These were the Brewers two best season-long starters.

“But what about Mike Fiers, Barb?” you ask. “Wasn’t he great, too?”

Yes, he was.

Fiers was Milwaukee’s best pitcher down the stretch and helped keep the Brewers in contention long past their sell-by date. But Fiers (6-5, 2.13 ERA, 71 2/3 innings pitched) wasn’t brought up for good until August, which is why he’s not listed above with the two best Brewers pitchers.

“What about Yovani Gallardo (8-11, 3.51 ERA, 192 1/3 innings pitched) and Matt Garza (8-8, 3.64 ERA, 163 1/3 innings pitched)?” you ask.

Mostly, Gallardo and Garza both had better seasons than their records indicated. Both, like Lohse, were victimized by poor run support throughout the season and hit-or-miss relief pitching that often wasted their quality starts.

These five pitchers should be in the starting rotation for 2015.

Now, as for the relievers?

  • Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez (5-5, 3.04 ERA, 44 saves in 49 opportunities) was excellent at the start of the season, had an odd July, and a decent rest of the season. The home run ball was a bit of a concern at times, and K-Rod lived up to his nickname of “twenty minutes of terror,” but he’s a quality closer and at thirty-two is already tenth on the all-time save leaders list with 348.
  • Will Smith (1-3, 3.70 ERA, 78 appearances, 30 holds) was overused; prior to his overuse, Smith was a legitimate All-Star candidate and was K-Rod’s set-up man for the first three-fifths of the season.

Everyone else (with Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang as a conspicuous exception) was competent and unexceptional over the long-term, though several (Zach Duke and Tyler Thornburg in particular) had some great stretches here and there that made me sit up and take notice.

HITTERS

Here, I’m going to break it into the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The good:

  • Jonathan Lucroy (.301, 13 HR, 69 RBI, and a league-leading 53 doubles) had a breakout season. Deservedly a starting All-Star, Lucroy will garner some MVP votes; unlike most of the other Brewers hitters, Lucroy is willing to take a walk and patiently waits until he gets his pitch. Lucroy is not the world’s fastest runner, but he also makes very few baserunning mistakes and is perhaps the smartest — and toughest — player on the team.
  • Scooter Gennett (.289, 9 HR, 59 RBI) did very well against right-handers and exceptionally poorly against left-handers in his second season in the bigs. Gennett’s main problem is that he strikes out way too much and takes far too few walks; he needs to learn some plate discipline from Lucroy.
  • Carlos Gomez (.284, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 34 SBs) did reasonably well and was a deserving All-Star. However, he swung at everything and anything — especially toward the end of the season — refused to take walks, and made some bad outs on the basepaths down the stretch. The epitome of a “high risk, high reward” player, Gomez must learn to keep his head in the game.

The bad:

  • Mark Reynolds (.196, 22 HR, 45 RBI) would’ve been acceptable if he’d just have kept hitting at his pre-All-Star levels (.205, 14, 33) because his defense at first and third was stellar. But his production fell off, his strikeouts mounted, and he had some odd mental lapses that contributed to the Brewers losing games down the stretch that they should’ve won. Reynolds should not be back in 2015.
  • Jean Segura (.246, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 20 SBs) had a great final thirty days of the season, batting .327 during that stretch, or he’d have been in the “ugly” category. And his defense continues to be way above average. But considering Segura was an All-Star in 2013, his first full year in the bigs, 2014 was a step backward. (Mind, players are only human, and Segura lost his son right before the All-Star break. That assuredly accounts for why much of his second half was abysmal.) Let’s hope in 2015, Segura gets back on track.
  • Aramis Ramirez (.285, 15 HR, 66 RBI) has decent numbers, but they are somewhat deceptive.  Down the stretch, Ramirez showed that he was tired, old, and slow — and while his defense at third was still adequate or better, he cost the team numerous runs because he simply could not run (possibly due to a lingering injury, possibly due to his age). He’s due $14 million if the Brewers pick up his contract option next year, and I’m not at all sure Ramirez is deserving of such largesse — especially considering his anemic performance (.212, 1 HR, 5 RBI) down the stretch.

The ugly:

  • Ryan Braun’s thumb injury sapped him of his power stroke and caused Braun to alter his overall hitting mechanics. None of this helped Braun’s overall numbers (.266, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 11 SBs). In addition, like Ramirez, Braun’s final thirty-day performance was dreadful (.200, 1 HR, 3 RBI). Braun has had cutting-edge thumb surgery since the end of the season, and much is riding on it; only time will tell as to whether or not Braun can regain his power stroke.
  • Khris Davis (.244, 22 HR, 69 RBI) was a major disappointment. He struck out way too much, walked too little, his defense remains a work in progress and his arm is quite weak. Ideally, Davis projects as a DH in the American League, though if he’s willing to learn how to play first base and shows some aptitude for the position, Davis might be OK there instead.

Everyone else was either mediocre or competent in some ways but not others (for example, Lyle Overbay did quite nicely as a pinch hitter and can still field at first base, but otherwise showed that he’s ready for retirement).

PROGNOSIS

Simply put: The Brewers could not hit down the stretch, which cost them any chance at the playoffs. The pitching was competent and sometimes brilliant; the hitting was OK at the beginning of the season and dreadful at the end, while the fielding was for the most part steady and unspectacular.

To improve in 2015, the Brewers need a brand-new manager of the firebrand type — Ozzie Guillen, say. Or Mike Maddux, who definitely let it be known when he was upset with his pitchers during his stint as the Brewers pitching coach years ago. Or even Dale Sveum, who certainly mixed it up in his playing days and was willing to chew his players a new one in private . . .

Anything but Roenicke, who is too quiet and reserved to manage this bunch of huge, overpaid egos. He should’ve kicked some butts and taken some names during the Brewers woeful 1-13 stretch in September, and allowed at least some of his frustration to show through so fans understood he wasn’t happy with how his team was playing.

As it stands, Milwaukee was not consistent in how it’s handled Roenicke’s tenure, either. Ned Yost was fired back in September 2008 because his team was on a losing streak. Yet Roenicke’s Brewers were on a bigger losing streak, and the Brewers did not make a move.

But they had better. Because Roenicke, while a quality human being and a good baseball man, is not the right fit for this team.

Anyone who watched Milwaukee stumble down the stretch should know that.

AWARDS

Pitcher of the year: Francisco Rodriguez (Runners-up: Kyle Lohse and Wily Peralta)

Brewers MVP: Jonathan Lucroy (No one else was even close.)

Comeback Player of the Year: Mike Fiers (Runner-up: Zach Duke)

Rookie of the Year: No award.

Milwaukee Brewers win, 5-0, over Cincinnati — Still Alive (Barely) in WC Race

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Folks, last night I wrote a blog about the Milwaukee Brewers being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. But later on Wednesday, I found out that the Brewers had a very minimal shot at making the playoffs instead.

The way the Brewers can go to the playoffs is this:

  1. They must win all of their remaining games.
  2. The San Francisco Giants must lose all of their remaining games.
  3. Providing those two things occur, a one-game playoff would ensue between the Brewers and the Giants at the conclusion of the 162-game regular season. Whichever team won that one-game playoff would then play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the official one-game Wild Card playoff. (And whichever team won that game would proceed to play the #1 seed among the three division winners; as of today’s date, that team is the Washington Nationals.)

So at the start of Wednesday night’s action, Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse knew it was all down to him. He’s been pitching extremely well lately, though he hasn’t picked up the wins to show for it due to Milwaukee’s offensive woes, and he was by far the best pitcher to take the mound last night against the Cincinnati Reds.

What did Lohse do while under pressure? Why, toss a 2-hit complete game shutout, of course (shades of last year), helping the Brewers to a 5-0 win.

So the Brewers stayed alive another day in the playoff hunt, albeit on serious life-support. The Giants’ magic number (of Brewers losses or their own wins) remains at one, which means the above scenario remains in force.

Thursday’s afternoon game is the season finale against the Reds, and Yovani Gallardo will be going to the hill in the attempt to keep the Milwaukee’s playoff dreams alive.  (Is it just me, or is the ghost of Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis — he of “Just win, baby” fame — hovering around the Brewers for some reason?)

Providing the Brewers beat Cincinnati, all eyes will be on San Francisco’s evening game against the San Diego Padres.

Will the Padres play spoiler? Who knows?

All I know is that I hope Gallardo wins, because it’s better by far for the Brewers to end their season with a bang instead of a whimper.

Thoughts on the Milwaukee Brewers Being Eliminated From Postseason Play in 2014

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The Milwaukee Brewers have officially been eliminated from the playoffs.**

I knew this day would come, folks.

When the Brewers were not able to score hardly any runs in the second half of September, I knew this day would come.

But because hope springs eternal, I had considered some unusual possibilities that might lead to the Brewers making the playoffs anyway. Perhaps if they’d have won all their remaining games, and the Pirates had gone on a small losing streak . . . or if the Brewers had won all their games and the San Francisco Giants had gone on a small losing streak instead . . .

‘Twas not to be.

Anyway, here are just a few of my thoughts as I ponder the fact that my favorite team has been eliminated from postseason play:

  • The Brewers were at least one and possibly two hitters short in the second half of the season, and it’s not always because of the same people (though Braun’s injuries definitely didn’t help). The biggest problem I saw, throughout, were the injuries; Aramis Ramirez can’t run any longer (at all), Braun at times could barely run, Scooter Gennett could barely run, etc.But if we’d have had someone consistently mashing at first base — perhaps if Kendrys Morales had been signed in the offseason, as he was the best available first baseman, and had a full Spring Training behind him — I think the Brewers wouldn’t have lost their lead in the NL Central and would still be going to the playoffs.
  • What was Ron Roenicke thinking? Where was the urgency? He was always quiet, always understated, while the team sank and sank . . . in 2008, Ned Yost got fired when his 2008 squad did much less poorly than this one, yet Roenicke has thus far kept his job? What’s the explanation for that going to be? (Oh, I can see it now — “No one else could’ve done any better. We’re happy with Ron. See you in 2015.” Yeah, right.)

I’m not too happy with Roenicke’s managerial moves, either, to wit:

  • He waited way too long to take some starting pitchers out, and he did this consistently. (Allowing Wily Peralta to get shelled back-to-back in August didn’t help anything, to show just one bad managerial decision.)
  • In addition, why did Roenicke leave reliever Jonathan Broxton in so long in the second of Broxton’s back-to-back bad games? (When he did stuff like that, I couldn’t help it; I Tweeted stuff like, “Fire him. Fire him now.”)

Now, why did this team fall apart so precipitously? I blame injuries, mostly. But I also blame Roenicke’s inexplicable managerial moves, mostly having to do with the pitching staff.

Injuries — well, they’ll heal.

But will the team be any better this year if Roenicke stays? My guess is that it won’t.

That’s why I’m urging the Brewers to please, please, for the love of little green apples, fire Ron Roenicke and bring in someone who can instill a sense of urgency. (Much less pull the starting pitchers out a little faster when they obviously don’t have it.)

———

**Edited to add: San Francisco lost last night, so the Brewers technically can still get in the playoffs if they win all five remaining games, while SF loses all five of theirs. At that point, there would be one of the one-game playoff scenarios I’ve discussed between SF and Milwaukee; if the Brewers won that, they’d then play Pittsburgh in the official one-game Wild Card playoff.

I think there’s very little chance of this. But as Noah Jarosh of SB Nation says, it’s like a lottery ticket — it could happen.

So keep your eyes peeled on the scoreboard tonight.

And, of course, I’ll have an end-of-the-season wrap-up next week, as per usual, with my picks for Brewers’ team MVP, pitching MVP(s), and rookie of the year. Don’t miss it!

Milwaukee Brewers win, 1-0, in Pittsburgh after SP Matt Garza Ejected

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The Milwaukee Brewers have had several heartbreaking losses lately. But tonight, in a must-win situation in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, the Brewers were able to pull out a needed 1-0 victory despite starting pitcher Matt Garza’s ejection in the 5th inning.

The game was a nervous, tension-filled one from the start. Almost no one was getting on base for either team, and when someone did, he didn’t score. Brewers and Pirates kept trying to get on; two Pirates (both in the form of center fielder Andrew McCutchen, in different innings) managed to reach after being hit by a pitch. (More on that in a bit.)

Let’s put it this way. Logan Schafer’s sacrifice fly in the 9th inning was by far the biggest hit in the game, as it scored the only run for either team.

So it was a pitcher’s duel throughout. But it wasn’t a usual type of pitcher’s duel at all due to the fact that Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza got thrown out in the fifth inning after hitting McCutchen for the second time.

Here was the situation. There were two outs. No one was on base. Garza had a 1-2 count, and pitched inside to get McCutchen — who’s famous for leaning over the plate — to step off the plate a bit. (As Garza said later on in the after-game press conference, you can’t take chances with McCutchen as he’s a dangerous hitter — my best paraphrase here, as I don’t have a transcript.)

Now, there is no way in the world that Garza wanted to throw at McCutchen, OK? This is a playoff game of sorts for the Brewers, as they know they must win if they’re to have any chance of overtaking the Pirates for the second and final Wild Card slot. No runs at all had been scored, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player was at the plate in McCutchen, and he’d already been hit once by Garza so Garza knew he had to be careful not to hit him again.

That said, it’s not because Garza hit McCutchen that Garza ended up getting thrown out. Instead, it’s because Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez threw inside twice — two purpose-pitches — to Ryan Braun that both benches were warned. And once the benches are warned, even if a pitcher isn’t intentionally trying to hit another batter, the umpires basically have no choice whatsoever: They have to throw out whatever pitcher actually hit someone.

So we go back to Garza in the 5th inning. It’s a tie game, nothing to nothing. McCutchen is, as usual, standing right on top of home plate. McCutchen is one of the best hitters in the NL, and Garza can’t give him anything, so probably the best outcome for Garza if you can’t get McCutchen off the plate would’ve been a walk.

But McCutchen also is a very fast runner. So if you put him on, you risk him stealing a base or two and creating a run. Which is the main reason Garza was trying to get McCutchen to back off a bit from the plate — that’s the only way Garza has, as a pitcher, to force McCutchen to hit Garza’s pitch. (I know all this “inside baseball” stuff may throw some of you. If it does, don’t worry; just skip to the next paragraph or so down.)

Anyway, because of Volquez’s actions in nearly hitting Braun twice (and throwing in the same place both times), when Garza hit McCutchen twice (albeit in two different innings), tempers would’ve flared and the benches might’ve cleared if the umpires hadn’t thrown Garza out. That’s the main reason the umpires don’t have much discretion in those cases; they are trying to prevent brawls where people get hurt, then the league office ends up fining people and issuing suspensions. And when both teams are still in the playoff hunt (no matter how tenuous it might be for the Brewers), the last thing you want is for someone’s season to end via injury because of a bench-clearing brawl.

So Garza was out, and so was Brewers manager Ron Roenicke (as that’s what the rule is; both must be ejected). The game could’ve turned ugly fast for the Brewers . . .

Except that every relief pitcher who was brought in subsequent to Garza’s ejection, starting with Marco Estrada, put up goose eggs.

Look. I’m a Brewers fan, but I’m also a baseball fan. I understand that McCutchen was hit badly in Arizona on August 2 due to a stupid, intentional action. That nearly ended McCutchen’s season right then and there.

I also understand that the Pirates don’t especially like the Brewers, because for years the Brewers would go into Pittsburgh and wipe the floor with the Pirates. Even when the Brewers had horrible teams that seemingly couldn’t beat anyone else, the Brewers just had the Pirates number, and it showed.

But I also know this: There’s no way, in a playoff hunt, that Garza wants to hit McCutchen right there. It would be a stupid act. More to the point, it would be a senseless one, as he has to know that McCutchen is still upset over the August 2 HBP that nearly ended his season . . . Garza’s job was to get McCutchen out, not to hurt McCutchen.

And Garza said as much in the postgame press conference. He wasn’t necessarily kind about it, as he said, in essence, that McCutchen “isn’t his guy” and that Garza pays attention to what’s happening right now, not what happened to McCutchen back on August 2. But as Garza said, you would have to be “an idiot” to believe Garza was intentionally trying to hit McCutchen under the circumstances — especially as Garza had no way to know at the time that his bullpen would step up and that the Brewers would actually find a way to win this game after losing three heartbreakers.

Anyway, the Brewers 1-0 win has kept their playoff hopes alive. My hope now is that Wily Peralta can come out on Sunday and pitch as well as the rest of the Milwaukee starters have done for the past two weeks, and shut the Pirates right down . . . and that the Brewers offense wakes up enough to win another game.

Brewers Beat Marlins, 4-2, After Giancarlo Stanton Gets Hit in the Face

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The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t been playing well lately, to put it mildly. After losing more than they’ve won since the All-Star Break (with a record of 22-28 starting tonight’s action), the Brewers have needed wins in the worst way.

Enter starting pitcher Mike Fiers. Fiers has been brilliant since being brought up from AAA Nashville a month ago; he’s now won six games and lost only one, with an ERA of 1.74. More importantly still, Fiers has struck out 54 while walking only 10, and before tonight’s game had hit no batters. None.

What a difference one game makes.

With the Brewers up, 4-0, in the top of the 5th, Miami’s RF Giancarlo Stanton came up to the plate in a high-pressure situation. There were two outs and a runner stood on first; as Stanton leads the National League in both HRs (37) and RBI (105), he’s obviously someone Milwaukee — and Fiers — took very seriously.

Fiers was in an 0-1 count before he threw a pitch up and in to Stanton — the pitch that hit Stanton in the face, causing a nasty, gruesome injury with a great deal of facial bleeding. After several long, tension-filled minutes, Stanton was taken off the field in an ambulance cart, and the game resumed with an 0-2 count to emergency pinch hitter Reed Johnson.

Now, I’m a Brewers fan, but I honestly don’t understand why Stanton wasn’t awarded first base after getting hit in the face. Yes, he swung — a defensive swing, because his body was already in motion, trying to avoid the ball coming at his face — but the most important thing was that Stanton got hit in the face.

Everyone in the ballpark, much less every fan watching the Marlins-Brewers game, knows that.

Anyway, Johnson stepped into the batter’s box, and he, too, was hit by a pitch — this time on the hand. Again, there’s a defensive swing . . . again, the umps call a strike, and this time call it a strikeout due to a dead ball (the ball hitting Johnson’s hand, that is).

So even though the box score will not show that Fiers actually hit two batters, anyone with eyes knows good and well that Fiers first hit Stanton, a genuine MVP candidate for the NL, in the face. (Was it intentional? Of course not. But the fact remains that Fiers hit him.) Then, after the  umps did not award Stanton first base as they should’ve, Johnson stood in there against Fiers and Fiers threw it in more or less the same place — up and in — this time grazing Johnson on the hand.

The benches cleared after the second hit batsman, which is somewhat sensible. Former Brewer Casey McGehee, who knows Fiers, came out and yelled — either at the umps for not sending Stanton’s replacement to first base right off the bat, or for the umps perhaps crediting Fiers with the oddest “strikeout” I’ve ever seen . . . or maybe at Fiers**, who is known for being a control pitcher as his fastball tops out around 88 mph (which is very slow for MLB, these days). McGehee was ejected, as was Miami’s manager Mike Redmond, and everyone else was sent back to their respective dugouts to cool off.

I reiterate: I don’t believe Fiers was trying to hit Stanton. Nor, for the record, do I think Fiers was trying to hit Reed Johnson, either.

But the fact of the matter is, Fiers hit two guys on two successive pitches, one right after the other. And the umps didn’t send either one of them to first base.

Instead, both benches were warned that if anyone else was hit, the manager and pitcher would be concurrently ejected.

The Marlins did retaliate, of course, despite the umpire’s warning.

With two outs and no one on in the sixth, reliever Anthony DeSclafani promptly hit CF Carlos Gomez on the left elbow on the first pitch. And as expected, DeSclafani was immediately ejected, along with acting manager/bench coach Rob Leary.

The rest of the game was an afterthought, as it was obvious both teams were far more worried about Stanton’s injury than they were in finishing this game out. So while the Brewers did “win” this game, it didn’t really feel like one.

As for postgame reaction?

Both Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Fiers said during comments to the media as shown by Fox Sports Wisconsin during their “Brewers Live” postgame telecast that they both hope Stanton will be all right — and of course Fiers wasn’t trying to throw at Stanton (or Johnson, either).

Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s postgame comments were also shown by Fox Sports Wisconsin. Redmond said that anyone being upset at the Marlins for being angry that their MVP Stanton’s season has probably ended due to terrible hit to the face isn’t being honest with themselves, because any team would be upset under these circumstances. And that he, personally, was very upset that Fiers hit two guys in a row with two pitches, but neither Marlin was awarded first base.

I think Redmond’s comments are understandable. I hope he knows that Fiers would not hit Stanton in the face intentionally, because Fiers isn’t that type of guy at all — he’s worked too long and too hard to get back to the major leagues after his mother’s untimely passing last year due to complications from lupus. But losing your MVP to a freak thing like that? I’d be upset, too, especially considering how Fiers hit Johnson on the next pitch in the hand, with neither of them being called a HBP by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg.

Anyway, that was a very weird game, and a very odd victory that doesn’t at all feel like something the Brewers should celebrate.

Before I go, here’s the most current update on Stanton’s condition from MLB’s Joe Frisaro, one of the beat writers for the Miami Marlins. Frisaro Tweeted this in regards to Stanton’s injuries just a few minutes ago:

Giancarlo Stanton suffered a facial laceration requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage

Obviously this is terrible news . . . certainly not the news I’d hoped to hear, especially considering the early news from the Marlins only said “facial laceration.” (Which, admittedly, seemed ludicrous. I suspected a broken orbital bone or possibly a broken cheekbone, considering, and “facial laceration” seemed remarkably light.) This will end Stanton’s season in a truly freakish way, something no one — not Mike Fiers, not the Brewers faithful, not anyone affiliated with the Marlins and certainly no one around MLB itself — wanted.

My hope now is that Stanton will make a quick recovery and be ready to go during Spring Training 2015.

———-

**Fiers looked wild all game. Perhaps the colder-than-average weather didn’t help, as it was 50 degrees at game time . . . yes, the Brewers have a domed stadium, and  the roof was closed, but that damp cold still seeps in and it does affect the pitchers.

##A personal update: I am recovering from surgery, and posts have been few and far between for the past week because of that. But I couldn’t let this one go by . . . really hope Stanton will be OK down the road, and had hoped that somehow he would escape serious injury.

Tagged in the Meet My Character Blog-Hop…and Other Stuff

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Folks, I’ve been tagged by author Erin Moore in the Meet My Character(s) Blog-hop. She’s the author of AWAKENED BY THE MINOTAUR, a contemporary romance about a man forced to shapeshift into the form of a Minotaur that’s set in Greece and uses Greek myth as its basis. Her book looks a little bit like P.C. Cast’s Goddess novels, which means it should be a fun, fast read with some really good grounding in history and mythology and a goodly amount of spice.

And as I’ve read nearly every book P.C. Cast has ever put out — even if I haven’t reviewed most of them — I look forward to diving into her book soon.

Now, observant readers may be aware that I’ve done this particular blog-hop before (here’s the link, if you don’t believe me) — but I talked about Bruno the Elfy, then. This time, I’m going to talk about Sarah, his human love interest — both are teens (or the equivalent, in Bruno’s case, as Elfys mature more slowly than humans), so it’s an age-appropriate, gentle romance — and discuss things from her point of view.

So look for my response to Erin’s tag next Monday, OK? (And thanks again, Erin, for tagging me! I’m always glad to discuss AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.)

Now, as for the other stuff.

I’ve taken to Twitter in my support of comedienne Joan Rivers, as the eighty-one-year-old dynamo had a heart attack while undergoing a throat procedure in an outpatient clinic in New York nearly a week ago. Since that time, Ms. Rivers has been in a medically-induced coma, but the most recent word is that the doctors have started bringing her out of that.

No one knows how long Ms. Rivers was without oxygen, though. And that’s important — someone can survive a heart attack with immediate treatment (CPR, in this case), but the longer the brain goes without oxygen, the more likely she’s going to be impaired either physically or mentally.

Here, obviously, losing mental faculties has to be the main issue. (No one wants to lose the ability to move around, but actors and comedians can continue to make a living providing their minds are intact and they can speak and be understood.) As Ms. Rivers has made her way in the world due to a razor-sharp intellect, she must have her mind or she can’t work.

More to the point, she won’t be herself if she doesn’t have her mind, whether she ever works again or not. So I hope she does regain her mental faculties, knows who she is and recognizes her family and friends when she wakes up, regardless of whether she ever steps foot on stage again.

Because I don’t know about you, but losing one sharp-witted comedian earlier this year in Robin Williams — a good friend of Ms. Rivers, I might add — was more than enough.

Next, what can I say about my poor favorite baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers, that isn’t already being said? The words “collapse” and “folding” and “I told you so” are already emerging from the national pundits, as the Brewers have now officially lost their nearly year-long lead in the National League Central due to their 4-2 loss today to the lowly Chicago Cubs.

But I’m more concerned about the fatigue I’ve seen on the faces of too many of the Brewers regulars. Ryan Braun looks like he needs not just one day off, but several — his thumb, and perhaps his back as well, is obviously hurting him. Khris Davis is not running as well as normal, so he looks to be ailing. Aramis Ramirez is still playing good defense, but he can barely run, and probably would be on the disabled list if not for being in the thick of the pennant race . . . the list goes on and on. And that’s not even discussing the relief pitchers who’ve been with Milwaukee since the start of the season, who to a man are exhausted due to their many, many appearances.

Mind, the Brewers traded a few days ago for Jonathan Broxton, late of the Cincinnati Reds, who’s a former closer and perhaps may serve as a fresh arm. But they look tired, they’re not playing well, and the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals look to be pressing their advantage — as they should, mind, because that is their job.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Finally, I’m working on two fiction short stories and finishing up a major edit right now, so I may be scarce for the next several days. (We’ll see.) Don’t be surprised if you don’t see much of me until next week, as that’s what tends to happen when I’m on deadline.

As Maury Povich says, “Until next time, America…” (or should I say world?)

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