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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.

Questionable Moves from Roenicke; Brewers Drop Fifth Straight

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Ron Roenicke, again tonight, made me question whether he has any in-game managerial skills at all.

Here’s the situation.  After John Axford pitched a solid ninth, which kept the Brewers tied 2-2, Roenicke sent up Nyjer Morgan for Carlos Gomez in the bottom of the ninth.  This was a safe move that unfortunately didn’t pay off, but I was glad he tried something.  Next, Roenicke sent Taylor Green up to bat for Axford rather than the much more reliable pinch hitter, Mark Kotsay; Green made a rather predictable out.  Finally, Jonathan Lucroy, batting ninth as he’d pinch hit for Randy Wolf in the 7th (Wolf, by the way, pitched quite well tonight, but took a no-decision), made another extremely predictable out.

So we go to the top of the tenth.  LaTroy Hawkins comes in to pitch for the Brewers, and he didn’t do badly as a pitcher.  However, he made a very poor fielding play — something that I know isn’t Roenicke’s fault, mind you, and something I’m sure Hawkins wish he hadn’t have done — and it allowed the Phillies to score the go-ahead run.

Now it’s the bottom of the tenth.  Corey Hart, the lead-off hitter, walks.  Mark Kotsay was in the on deck circle for the second time in the game, and was once again pulled back in favor of Craig Counsell.  Everyone watching the game knew Counsell was sent up to bunt, and he did on the second pitch; it was a beautiful bunt that advanced Corey Hart to second.

So here’s our situation.  We have a runner on second (Hart) with one out.  Ryan Braun comes up to bat.  He strikes out.  (It happens, even to good hitters.)  Prince Fielder comes up to bat.  He is intentionally walked (this, I knew, was going to happen, too; Fielder leads the league in intentional walks with 29).  Which brings up Casey McGehee, who hasn’t had a good year, but did have an RBI and one run scored in this game.

I don’t know about any other baseball fans, but I know I was screaming for Roenicke to put Kotsay up there to bat for McGehee.  If Kotsay could’ve gotten a hit, that would’ve more than likely have scored the speedy Hart, and remember, Counsell had already PH in the inning so he could’ve played defense at 3B at the top of the 11th if the Brewers had managed to get that far.

But no . . . Roenicke does nothing but allow McGehee to take his at-bat.  Worse yet, Yuniesky Betancourt was in the on-deck circle rather than Mark Kotsay — Betancourt is another light-hitting infielder who’s had at best a so-so year, and lacks McGehee’s power — so if McGehee had been patient and taken a walk (he was ahead in the count, 3-0, at one point), the Brewers would’ve had another guy up there who had no business being there in a clutch situation — Betancourt.

Instead, McGehee did something rather predictable; he hit a weak ground ball to third, and Hart was forced out.  Game over.

Look.  If the Brewers are to advance to the post season, as I know every Brewers fan wants, Roenicke needs to start managing every single game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series.  He needs to make good choices for pinch hitters (he did make one good choice earlier in the game by pinch hitting Rickie Weeks; I was glad to see him play.  Weeks drew a walk, and was immediately lifted for a pinch runner, Josh Wilson.), he needs to make good choices and pull pitchers out of there when they’re struggling (he never should’ve left Gallardo out there to get shelled against the St. Louis Cardinals last week; he shouldn’t have left Wolf, a few starts ago, out to get shelled against the Cardinals when the Brewers were playing at home).

So here we are.  The Brewers “magic number” to get in the playoffs stands at 11.  The Cardinals won again tonight, and the Brewers lost their fifth straight game, which means the Brewers now have a six game lead over the Cardinals with fifteen games to play.  And the Brewers have lost their second consecutive series, and their third series out of the last four, because Roenicke doesn’t pull his starters fast enough on the one hand (he should’ve pulled Marcum out sooner last night, too; this is one of Roenicke’s patterns) and sends up either the wrong pinch hitters or refuses to pinch hit for light-hitting Brewers regulars like McGehee or Betancourt when he still has someone like Kotsay sitting on the bench.

From this Brewers fan out into the ether: Roenicke, please get your head out of your nether regions and realize the Brewers might not make the playoffs, especially if you keep making bad managerial decisions.  You need to start managing like it’s the last inning of the last game in the World Series, or the Brewers won’t even sniff the postseason.  (You shouldn’t need a long-time fan like me to point that out, either, if you’re half the baseball man you think you are.)

Brewers Play Giants; My Thoughts

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My late husband Michael was a San Francisco Giants fan.

Of course, this isn’t surprising, considering he was a long-time San Francisco resident.  That his father and mother both supported the Giants, as did his brother and sister . . . well, that probably helped a little, though Michael wasn’t the type to join in just for the sake of joining.

Nope.  He loved baseball because it was — and is — a game that can be measured.  Baseball statistics make sense, to the degree that different eras can be compared and contrasted, as are various players, their situations and their teams.

Michael loved his Giants.  Which is why me watching my Milwaukee Brewers team play them is ever so slightly bittersweet.

I keep thinking about how Michael would enjoy this year’s Giants team as much as he would’ve enjoyed last year’s — the 2011 Giants once again have stellar pitching, defense, and play well as a team, all things Michael appreciated as a long-time baseball fan.  But, of course, it’s my Brewers playing the Giants — the Brewers, who mostly live and die by the long ball.  By the big inning.  Who aren’t exactly known for their skills at base-stealing, small ball, or for any of their starting pitchers.

I mean, think about it.  Who do you know on the Giants pitching staff that’s a big name?  Tim Lincecum.  Matt Cain, who’s pitching tonight.  Barry Zito, though he’s not done well this year and hasn’t justified the huge amount of money the Giants spent on him a few years ago.  Jonathan Sanchez, perhaps the best #5 pitcher in baseball.  And previously-unknown Ryan Vogelsong, perhaps the best story in baseball this year as he went from getting his outright release in 2010 to having the best ERA in baseball — 2.02 — in 2011, with a 7-1 record in fifteen starts.

Whereas the Brewers have two pitchers who’ve pitched reasonably well throughout — Shaun Marcum, who’s pitching tonight, and Randy Wolf.  Then, we have two wildly inconsistent pitchers who can be either really good or really bad — Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo.  And, finally, we have Chris Narveson, a guy who is better known for his bat than his pitching, though he’s had a decent year thus far.  And let’s not even start about the Brewers defense, as I could go all day about how many ways the infield in particular needs improvement (only Rickie Weeks is relatively solid at second, though he does not have great range; Casey McGehee has had some good moments but mostly isn’t known for his glove; Prince Fielder’s fielding has regressed this season, so he’s once again a well below average first baseman who holds his position due to his fearsome bat; and, of course, Yuniesky Betancourt, who hits better than he fields, but doesn’t exactly hit a ton considering his overall .250 batting average coming into tonight’s game).

I have mixed feelings here, because I see how the Giants are by far the superior team.  The Giants have pitching, defense, and overall team chemistry, even if they don’t hit particularly well . . . their pitching makes up for a great deal, which is how they win games.  While the Brewers have hitting, hitting, and more hitting, with some good outfield defense (Corey Hart in RF is good, Ryan Braun has really improved in LF but hasn’t been healthy recently, while Nyjer Morgan plays a decent center field and has speed — mind, losing Carlos Gomez due to a broken collarbone hasn’t helped), some good to better pitching amidst massive inconsistency, and more hitting.

So it’s a battle of two different styles of baseball being played out tonight in this Brewers-Giants game (currently, as I write this, the Brewers lead 3-1 in the top of the sixth).   Good to excellent hitting versus good to excellent pitching and outstanding defense.  A worthy game, one which I’ll enjoy as best I can, wishing all the while that my wonderful husband were still alive to share it with me.

Still.  I am here, and I see at least some of what Michael would’ve seen in the Giants, as I’m also a long-time baseball fan who appreciates excellent pitching and defense.   I can’t recreate a conversation which didn’t have a chance to happen, though I know what sorts of comments Michael made when he and I watched his Giants play in 2002, 2003 and 2004 . . . I suppose because I’m thinking so much about what he would’ve seen had he been here to observe it, at least a small part of Michael has survived.

And that, at least, is a good thing.  As is the enjoyment I get from watching my Brewers and Michael’s Giants.

Happy 4th, Go Brewers (and Marcum), and Other Odds and Ends

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Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Today’s the day to remember the beginning of the United States of America — when we declared independence from Great Britain.  (We actually declared independence on July 2, but the predecessor to the United States Congress didn’t ratify the document until July 4, which is why we celebrate on today’s date.)  It’s also a great day to watch baseball, eat hot dogs and apple pie, and for families to appreciate being with each other (or at least put aside their differences for the day).  And, finally, it’s become another day (like Memorial Day and Veterans Day) to remember our military men and women, especially those serving overseas in war zones, partly because we have three wars going at the same time, but mostly because our military remains an important part of why we remain an independent nation to this day.

Before I go on, I’d like to mention one military man overseas — my cousin, Wayne.   I know he’s seen a number of Independence Days away from the United States, but I can’t believe it ever gets that easy for him — he’s away from his family, most of his friends, and all that is familiar, which would be hard enough even without the three wars going on right now — and I want to remind him that I really do appreciate his service to our country.

Anyway, today is a day for baseball, as I said before, so it’s time to celebrate my favorite players.  Corey Hart hit his 9th home run of the year against Arizona (game is still in progress as I type this; the Brewers lead, 6-4, in the 6th) to make it 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, then Shaun Marcum — the pitcher — hit a grand slam home run to make it 6-1.  (The Diamondbacks got a run back in the top of the 5th and two runs in the 6th.)  This is the first grand slam of the year for the Brewers — with all their vaunted hitters, including the three 2011 All-Star starters Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks, and of course the aforementioned Hart, you’d think the Brewers would’ve had multiple grand slam HRs by now.  Not that the first one of the year would be hit by the rather light-hitting pitcher Marcum (who started today batting only .103).

Next, Casey McGehee looks like he’s finally getting on track, and that’s good.  He has two hits today, but so far for the year he’s hitting in the .220s with only 4 HR and 33 RBI despite playing in the vast majority of the Brewers games in the #5 spot.  McGehee has good power to all fields when he’s right, but most of this year he’s been mired in a slump and his defense has also suffered (when one thing goes bad, it tends to make everything go bad; this is an axiom that doesn’t just apply to baseball).  Here’s hoping that his two hits in two ABs (so far) will spur him to better things in the second half.

Next, I wanted to point out how former Brewer Vinny Rottino’s doing in AAA ball for the New Orleans Zephyrs.  Rottino has continued to hit well, though he’s no longer on a tear; he’s batting .307 with 4 HRs and 31 RBI, and his OBP remains a robust .378.  Rottino isn’t really a power guy; instead, he’s a contact hitter, an intelligent runner, and an above-average defender at any outfield position, first base or third base.  Rottino’s now thirty-one years old, yet is in excellent shape and could easily play several more years — perhaps as many as ten — and I really wish someone would give him a chance as a utility player and pinch hitter in the majors.

Next, there’s Chris Capuano, a former Brewers pitcher who now pitches for the New York Mets.  Capuano recently beat the Brewers in Milwaukee and was given a huge round of applause when announced in the starting line-up for the Mets — a sign of respect that isn’t often seen for an opposing player, but Brewers’ fans do not forget “their own.”  For the year, “Cappy” is 7-7 with a 4.27 ERA and has struck out 77 while walking only 24; I wish him nothing but success in the second half.

Finally, there’s former Brewer shortstop J.J. Hardy, who now plays for the Baltimore Orioles.  Hardy’s defense has remained outstanding while his hitting stroke has finally returned after a succession of wrist injuries marred his last two seasons — for the year to date, Hardy is hitting .295 with 11 HR, 30 RBI and 31 runs scored in 54 games played.  That last stat (runs scored) is a bit surprising as Hardy is not exactly what you’d call “fleet afoot” due to a horrific collision sustained in 2006 while trying to score a run — Hardy decided to slide late, and this may have exacerbated that season-ending injury.

At any rate, I enjoy watching my Milwaukee Brewers, past and present, and I hope they all succeed, wherever they are now and wherever they’ll be in the future.  They make the 4th of July — and every day — more interesting, as especially with this year’s team I never have any idea of how they’re going to do.

I hope you all enjoy your 4th of July experience — whatever it may be, from fireworks to Summerfest to just “hanging out” — and do it safely so you’ll be around for July 5th, 6th, and beyond.

Ken Macha out as Brewers manager; more on Brewers.

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The Milwaukee Brewers, who finished with a 77-85 record, fired manager Ken Macha today by the simple expedient of not picking up his option for next season.  Macha said here (http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/104276948.html):

“Nobody likes to be let go, but I understand baseball, too,” Macha said. “I’ve been around a long time and been through this stuff. I told (Melvin) this Milwaukee experience for me was tremendous.

“It’s too bad we didn’t win more games, but I appreciate him bringing me here. … The expectations were to put up more wins and we didn’t do that. That’s the game.”

Macha’s words were classy, especially as he found out he’d been fired last evening via the media rather than by his good friend, Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin.  Macha continued:

“When you sit down and build your club … you really got to compare your club to the other teams that have won,” Macha said. “How do we stack up with say St. Louis? We signed Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins. … Yeah we filled some holes, but are we on the same level with (Chris) Carpenter and (Adam) Wainright? So maybe the expectations were a little high but you still have to win.

“We lacked that No. 1 guy going out there. That’s my thoughts. If you could put someone at the top (of the rotation) and move everybody else down, you’d give yourself a much better chance to win.”

Now, this is something I, as a fan of the Brewers, said all year long.  Yovani Gallardo is not an ace.  He is a good pitcher and would probably be just fine as the second pitcher on the Brewers staff, but he is no ace.  And Randy Wolf, who’s a fine number three pitcher, has too much pressure on him as a number two pitcher — all of those roles, ace, number two pitcher, number three pitcher, are clearly defined now in major league baseball, and the ace of the staff is expected to be the guy who shuts down the opposition no matter what’s been happening with the rest of the club.  (In other words, if the Brewers had lost six or seven in a row and Gallardo’s turn was up, he was expected to keep the other team in check while he was out there and get the Brewers a better chance to win thereby.  Gallardo can do this, but he mostly doesn’t — that’s why he’d be better as the number two pitcher on the staff because he’d have far less pressure on him thereby.)

Going on in Anthony Witrado’s blog from today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Macha also acknowledged his trying relationships with stars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder while noting that several other players he had good relationships with thanked him after yesterday’s season finale, including Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Wolf among plenty of others.

Skipping ahead in the blog:

“If the effort wasn’t reciprocated, then there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. You can’t force guys to do that,” Macha said. “Some guys were open to discussion and some guys weren’t, I guess, but that’s the same with every club.

“I talked a lot to Ryan, almost every day, but he does his own thing. He’s going to do what he wants to do.

“With Prince, I think he had some issues this year to deal with, the contract probably being the main thing, and at times he was hard to talk to. I don’t know if there were any guys on the staff that talked a whole lot to him this year.

“Those are the two guys, but the rest of the guys it was all positive. I opened up to (Braun and Fielder) but you have to have a back and forth. The faces of the franchise, that’s what they are.”

After reading all this, while I remain convinced Ken Macha was always the wrong man for this job, I feel rather sorry for him.  I’ve been in positions where I came into a job and wasn’t really given a chance, and it sounds like that’s exactly what happened between Macha and Brewers’ stars Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, who were both extremely angry after Ned Yost was fired in 2008 with only twelve games remaining in the season.  (For the record, I was, too.  I liked Yost a great deal.)

Macha had nothing to do with Ned Yost’s firing whatsoever, but I think because he was known to be such good friends with Brewers GM Doug Melvin, those two players in particular never gave Macha much of a chance.  But what really surprises me is that apparently no one could reach Fielder this year — which explains Fielder’s extremely poor year, where he dropped in home runs from 46 to 31, dropped in RBI from 141 to 83, and dropped in batting average from .299 to .261.  Fielder is the Brewers clean-up hitter, yet he had the fewest RBI of anyone who batted in the top five of the Brewers batting order, as you’ll see by this quick list:

Brewers RBI leaders:

Casey McGehee, 104 (bats fifth) — .285 BA, 23 HR, .464 slugging percentage

Ryan Braun, 103 (bats third) — .304 BA (led team), 25 HR, .501 slugging percentage, .365 on base percentage

Corey Hart, 102 (bats second) — .280 BA, 31 HR (8th in league), .525 slugging percentage (led team)

Rickie Weeks, 83 (bats first) — .269 BA, 29 HR, 184 strikeouts (led team), .366 on base percentage

Prince Fielder, 83 (bats fourth) — .261 BA, 32 HR (sixth in league), .401 on base percentage (led team), 114 walks (led team)

Now that you’ve seen that list, here’s some more information.  Corey Hart started the season on the bench because he’d had a horrible Spring Training; he played so well Macha had to play Hart, and eventually Hart not only made the National League All-Star team, he took part in the Home Run Derby as he was among the league leaders in home runs at that time.  Corey Hart finished with career highs in home runs and RBI and greatly improved his defensive play in right field; pretty good for a guy who started out on the bench, eh?

Then there’s Casey McGehee, who in his second full season led the team in RBI.  McGehee is a third baseman who was an older-than-average rookie last year that GM Doug Melvin picked up prior to 2009 — McGehee had been buried in the farm system of the Chicago Cubs, but was a good, solid hitter and Melvin knew it.  Signing McGehee, who started 2009 on the bench and eventually became the starting third baseman, then continued on in that role in 2010, was probably one of Melvin’s best — and most unheralded — moves of the past two years.

The other three guys — Weeks, Braun and Fielder — were all expected to do well.  But Weeks, in the past, had trouble staying healthy due to problems with his wrists that required operations; that he finished a whole season credibly, improved his defense, and led all major league lead-off men in RBI was impressive.  Braun got hit on the hand by a fastball thrown by Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson early in the season, had a huge dip in all batting stats during the summer, but rallied to have his usual excellent year in RBI, batting average and on base percentage (this includes hits, walks, and getting on base via errors).  It was only Fielder who had a rotten year, especially by his standards — and as Macha said, that’s probably due to contractual reasons as Fielder is eligible next year for arbitration, then is a free agent, so for the moment does not have financial stability assured.  (That Fielder is a client of hard-nosed agent Scott Boras is another concern, but of course Macha would never mention that even though everyone knows it’s part of the problem.  The Brewers offered Fielder $100 million for five years — $20 million a year — but Boras said that wasn’t enough.  That didn’t go over well with Brewers fans at all, though no one blamed Fielder, a bluff, genial, good-hearted man, for Boras’s actions even though Boras works for Fielder, not the reverse.)

Since this will probably be my final blog about the Brewers for a while, I may as well give my end of the season awards now.

Brewers Most Valuable Player: Corey Hart (Casey McGehee, second) — this is because when the Brewers still had a shot to get back in the pennant race and everyone else slumped, Hart carried the team through much of May and June.

Rookie of the Year: John Axford, who took over the closing job from Trevor Hoffman and never looked back, going 8-2 with a 2.48 ERA, and saving 24 out of 27 games.

Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher: John Axford.

Comeback Player of the Year: Chris Capuano — Capuano’s stats of 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances (and nine starts) are a little misleading, though they’re perfectly fine.  As it stands, “Cappy” is the first player to effectively pitch in the major leagues after a second “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery on his pitching arm.  He also is a study in perseverence, as his second comeback required nearly two full years of rehabilitation.  Capuano deserves serious consideration as major league comeback player of the year.

The Brewers had many good players who had fine years for them in 2010; they just did not jell as a team.  Here’s hoping that next year, the Brewers will be much better and give the fans a great deal more excitement overall.