Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Archive for the ‘Zack Greinke’ Category

Brewers News: George Kottaras Designated for Assignment; Greinke Trade Rumors

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Folks, the Milwaukee Brewers have made four roster moves so far today, but the two moves that concern me right now are these: they’ve reinstated catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the disabled list, and designated for assignment catcher George Kottaras (.209 BA, 3 HR and 12 RBI) to make room for him.  (The other two moves?  The Brewers sent shortstop Jeff Bianchi, who hadn’t yet managed to get a hit in his major league tryout, back to AAA ball, and have brought up pitcher Jim Henderson from AAA, where he’d been having an outstanding year — 4-3 record, 15 saves, a 1.69 ERA in 35 outings (48 innings) with 56 strikeouts.)

Aside from that, everything else is all rumors — but the hottest rumor right now is that pitcher Zack Greinke may be going to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Elvis Andrus via the Brewer Nation blog.  Neither player would be traded alone; supposedly, a relief pitcher and a position player would go with Greinke (anyone but Corey Hart, please!), while a pitching prospect or two would come from Texas along with Andrus.  While other rumors insist that the Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves are still very interested in Greinke and will do anything to cut the rest of MLB out of the mix . . . as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm

2012 Brewers Pluses, Minuses, and Oddities thus far

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Folks, so far 2012 is shaping up to be a very strange year for the Milwaukee Brewers.

For example, if I had to grade the starters right now, I’d say they’re a net minus for the team.  (This when they were expected to be a major strength.) 

Consider, please, that the ace of the staff right now is #4 starter Shaun Marcum.  Marcum’s current ERA is 3.46, his record is 1-1, he’s pitched 13 innings thus far and he has 12 strikeouts.  The aces we’re supposed to be able to depend on, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke, have each had one good game and one bad game thus far — they, too, are 1-1, and Greinke has 12 Ks right along with Marcum to lead the team thus far.   But it gets murky after that — Gallardo’s ERA is 5.91 while Greinke’s is even worse at 6.75.  Both have pitched exactly 10 2/3 innings, while Gallardo has somehow walked 7 men thus far (Greinke has only walked 1, but that’s not much of a comfort when almost every other statistic he has is abysmal).

And as for #3 starter Randy Wolf, he’s has had two bad outings thus far, which is why his ERA is a whopping 10.61 in only 9 1/3 innings.  Wolf said he “stunk” a few days ago, and that he will do better; he’s a proud man, and I’m well aware that no professional baseball player ever goes out on to the field and wants to do so poorly — especially to start the season.  But this just isn’t good.

And #5 starter Chris Narveson, who pitched so well in his first start, pitched poorly today; he now stands with an ERA of 7.00 with 9 innings pitched, 5 Ks and 4 walks.  While he’s not expected to be a shining light (as he is the #5 starter), he is expected to be competent; Narveson most likely will improve right along with Wolf and the others, but this is a most inauspicious start to the 2012 for the entire starting rotation.

As for the relief pitching, here we’re looking at oddities instead; while there are some minuses (John Axford’s had two bad outings, though he does have two saves, while Francisco Rodriguez has had one bad outing), there are two big pluses thus far — the pitching of Manny Parra, coming back after being out all last season with back and arm issues, and the pitching of Kameron Loe.  Both of them have sub-3 ERAs; Loe has consistently gotten the ground-ball outs he needs to get to be a successful pitcher, while Parra has 8 Ks thus far (better than some of the starters).

And the rest of the relievers have been pretty good, too; Jose Veras has pitched well thus far, as has Marco Estrada; even Tim Dillard has done surprisingly well (don’t let his ERA of 7.11 fool you, as that’s due to one, bad outing).  So the guys expected to do well — Axford and K-Rod — mostly haven’t, but the rest of ’em have.  I’d rank that an oddity.

Now, we get to the fielding, which is just plain awful and is a huge net minus for the team.  Ryan Braun, who’s hitting pretty well, has already made an unusual throwing error (he was off-balance the other day against Atlanta, threw to third base, was off the mark, and a run scored), while Carlos Gomez, probably the best fielding outfielder on the team, has already made two errors.

But the infielders have been by far worse; Alex Gonzales, who’s supposed to be such a good defender, has three errors already (though one wasn’t his fault as Mat Gamel wasn’t where he was supposed to be; really, Gonzales shouldn’t have had to be charged with that as that’s where the “team error” stat should come into play — which is why MLB needs to adopt that rule, stat).  Rickie Weeks at second base has one, while Mat Gamel has two . . . and Aramis Ramirez has one.

So the team defense so far has lacked quite a bit.

As for the hitting, only one regular player is doing very well and being productive, and that’s Corey Hart.  He’s hitting .321 thus far with 4 homers, 8 RBI, and 3 doubles.  Ryan Braun has done the best otherwise, as he’s hitting .343 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 stolen bases and 4 doubles. 

The biggest net plus when it comes to this team thus far is the catching tandem of Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras.  Lucroy is hitting .364 with 2 HR and 6 RBI, while Kottaras is also hitting .364 (a statistical anomaly, that) with 3 HR and 6 RBI.

But there’s still some real problems with the hitting; the team as a whole is only batting .228, while Weeks and Ramirez are batting below .200.  (Ramirez in particular has been terrible, as he’s batting only .114.)

This is why I call the hitting an oddity thus far; there are some people hitting, a few you’d expect to do well (Hart and Braun), a few you wouldn’t who are doing well (the catchers), and a few you expect to do well who aren’t (Weeks and Ramirez.

All of this adds up to a 4-6 record and a highly unpredictable and frustrating season thus far.

Milwaukee Brewers 2012: Off to Another Slow Start

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The Milwaukee Brewers, 2012 edition, do not seem to be firing upon all thrusters.

Now, you might be wondering, “Why say that, Barb?  After all, there’s only three games in the books, and yesterday’s game was excellent!”

Indeed, it was; Zack Greinke pitched brilliantly, then the Brewers bullpen shut the Cardinals down for a 6-0 win.

But Opening Day — Friday — was a bust; Yovani Gallardo didn’t have it, gave up six earned runs (mostly because manager Ron Roenicke didn’t take him out soon enough), including four home runs, in only 3 2/3 innings.  This is the main reason the Brewers lost, 11-5; the only reason the score looks even that good is because George Kottaras hit a 3-run pinch-hit HR in the bottom of the 9th.

And then, what about today?  The Brewers lost again, 9-3; HRs by Corey Hart (who’s off to a fast start with 3 HRs already) and Braun weren’t able to do anything except perhaps salvage a teensy bit of pride for the hitters, as Randy Wolf, the game’s starter, didn’t have it, and neither did any of his replacements from the bullpen.

Tomorrow, the Brewers play the Chicago Cubs, managed by ex-Brewer Dale Sveum.  It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen at Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs), mostly because records mean very little this early (my carping aside).  Usually, these games devolve into a slugfest of one sort or another, but as off as the Brewers have looked thus far, perhaps this year I should prepare for a pitcher’s duel.

Mind you, this is a bit of a stretch as the Brewers will start Shaun Marcum; he hasn’t looked very good thus far.  But you never know in baseball, which is why it’s so endlessly entertaining.

See you at the game.  (Or at least in front of the TV.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Saying the Brewers and Cardinals don’t like each other is like saying, “The water is wet.”

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Today’s blog post by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s regular baseball beat writer, Tom Haudricourt, states the obvious even to its title, which is: “Brewers, Cards don’t like each other.”  This is like saying, “The water is wet.” 

I’ve been discussing this for months now, with my most recent post about the Brewers-Cardinals animosity being this one regarding Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan’s “spitting incident” at Saint Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter after Carpenter swore at Morgan.  This is why Haudricourt’s blog post shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  But Haudricourt’s blog is still quite insightful due to getting a number of revealing quotes.

First, Haudricourt started with Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke, who will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series tomorrow at 2:30 PM CST at Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Greinke said, after being asked whether the Cardinals and Brewers truly have animosity toward the other team, this:

“Maybe now,” he said. “I think no one really likes (Chris) Carpenter. Besides that, I think (the Brewers) respect mostly everyone on their team.”

Greinke referred to the Cardinals’ ace, whose 1-0 shutout of favored Philadelphia in Game 5 of the National League Division Series propelled wild-card St. Louis into the confrontation of NL Central rivals. That comment drew an immediate and expected response from St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.

Here, Greinke may be referring to the way Carpenter acted at the end of the concluding game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals in their National League Division Series.  The Phillies’ big first baseman, Ryan Howard, tore his Achilles tendon on the last play of the game and was writhing along the first base line as he never made it to the first base bag while the Cardinals piled into the now-traditional dogpile in celebration elsewhere on the field.  Then, Carpenter was interviewed, and he either didn’t know that Howard had to be helped off the field (and could put no weight on his leg or tendon) or he didn’t care. 

None of this looked classy on the part of the Cardinals, though the media for the most part left it alone.

Back to Haudricourt’s blog, where the next person quoted was Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.   However, because LaRussa is a very good friend of former Brewers manager Ned Yost (who was unjustly fired with only twelve games or so remaining in 2008), that might somehow impact upon what LaRussa thinks and feels.  You need to keep this in mind as you read the following:

“Very disappointed that Greinke would say that,” said La Russa. “I don’t know him a lot but I always thought he was a high character, classy guy. That’s a bad comment to make unless you know Chris Carpenter.

“Our attitude is we look at ourselves and we grade ourselves. And even if we don’t like what’s happening on the other side, it’s not our business unless somebody crosses the line.

“So, I think the Brewers should take care of their players and their comments and not be concerned about other players and comments. But, like I said at the beginning, if they had Chris Carpenter they would be cheering for him and believing in him and they would not allow somebody that was a teammate to make a crack like that.”

Haudricourt’s blog is full of information about why the Cardinals dislike Morgan in particular; it goes back to when Morgan was a member of the Washington Nationals, long before Morgan ever became a Brewer.  Morgan is a hard-nosed, gritty player with attitude and ebullience, and he isn’t shy about sharing what he thinks and feels, either (see the two “f-bombs” he let loose with in the TBS coverage during the game 5 coverage that I talked about here).  Morgan also is known for being a player whose behavior is right on the edge of what’s considered acceptable, as Tim Brown pointed out in this article from Yahoo Sports, dated September 8, 2011.

So perhaps it’s not too surprising that one Cardinals player, veteran Lance Berkman, opened up and actually discussed with Haudricourt (quoted in Haudricourt’s blog) what Berkman thinks about the Brewers in general and Morgan in particular.  

Berkman, however, was more truthful about the lingering tension between the clubs.

“It doesn’t just go away; it’s always under the surface,” said Berkman. “So, we’ll see what happens. It is what it is. I hate that phrase but that’s as good as I can come up with to describe it.

“I don’t want to create something that’s not there. We all respect the Brewers and think they have a great team. Taken individually, I think they’ve got some great guys. Sometimes, when you’re competing collectively, there are things that rub you the wrong way or incidents that happen.”

As for Morgan’s antics, Berkman said, “He’s obviously a passionate guy and intense competitor. That being said, sometimes that exuberance can spill over into a realm that I don’t feel is appropriate. But I’m not the czar of baseball, either.”

All of this is why the Brewers-Cardinals will definitely be “must-see TV” in my household, even if I weren’t such a big Brewers fan.


** Note:  You also might want to take a look at Jeff Passan’s column at Yahoo! Sports, which discusses the Cardinals and Brewers in great depth with the understanding of the whole “Brewers are ‘new school,’ Cardinals are ‘old school'” dynamic that the national media is doing its best to portray.  (Me, I see the Cardinals, and their ace P Carpenter, the same way Greinke does, quoted above from Haudricourt’s blog.)

Brewers Win Game, but Lose Weeks to DL

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The Milwaukee Brewers won tonight’s game against the Chicago Cubs, 2-0.  Zack Greinke pitched very well for 6 2/3 innings, then the bullpen (Saito, F. Rodriguez, and Axford in that order) did their part to shut the Cubs right down.

But the Brewers win afterglow had to be somewhat dimmed by the loss of Rickie Weeks; early in the game, Weeks was busting down the line trying to beat out a ground ball for an infield hit.  He threw his front leg out to its widest extension, hit first base before the throw came in (meaning he did get that IF hit), but landed funny on the bag.  Making matters worse, he then “rolled over” the ankle as he fell face-first onto the ground.  He did not get up until the trainers, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, came out to get him; at that point, he put a little weight on his right (uninjured) foot but none on his left, and was basically carried off that field by a trainer and Roenicke.

Now, Weeks’ replacement, Craig Counsell, played sparkling defense after being inserted as a pinch runner for Weeks.  Counsell didn’t get any hits in three plate appearances, but that defense saved the Brewers quite a few headaches.  (Counsell is not only a better fielder than Weeks, but a much better fielder.)  So for tonight, losing Weeks wasn’t the world’s worst thing to happen.

However, Ron Roenicke said after tonight’s game that Weeks is headed straight to the disabled list (DL) and will have a MRI on Thursday to pinpoint what damage might be there.  (All they know right now is that Weeks did not break his ankle.  He may still have tendon damage of some sort, though I’m hoping it’s a strain rather than a tear.)

This is not good news for the Brewers.  Despite Weeks’ inconsistent play in the field, he’s been one of the Brewers best hitters this year and has 19 HR, 43 RBI, and 71 runs scored (that last is probably his most important stat, as for most of the year Weeks was batting leadoff).  Weeks was named the starting second baseman for the 2011 All-Star game and looked to have a banner season after signing a four-year contract extension earlier this year ($32 million with a signing bonus; it averages to $8 mil a year but the Brewers usually write such contracts with escalator clauses, meaning this year might be $5 mil, next year $10 mil, etc.); this injury definitely will not help the Brewers overall chances to win their division and go to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

More will be known about Weeks injury tomorrow, so check in with me then as I’ll be sure to update y’all as to what’s going on in that quarter.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

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.

Odds and Ends — including the End of the WI State Supreme Court race

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I have so many different things to discuss right now that I’ve decided to make this an “odds and ends” post — otherwise known as a “quick hits” post.

The first is that the race for the Wisconsin state Supreme Court has come to an end as JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded.   The recount, which I viewed from the beginning as a mandatory one due to the closeness of the vote and the chicanery going on in Waukesha County in particular, brought her a few hundred votes closer to David Prosser but not nearly enough for her, apparently, to keep on fighting despite the hundreds of irregularities and errors found in Waukesha County alone.  Ms. Kloppenburg is a very good lawyer and knows the law regarding recounts much better than I do, so she must’ve felt that it was unlikely she’d win a court case, so prolonging the race any further made no sense to her.

My reaction to all of this, however, is that while I found out by observing the recount in Racine County for a day that our election proceedings here are on the up-and-up, I really think the election was stolen and that Ms. Kloppenburg was the true winner.  I cannot prove this, and it’s possible no one will ever be able to prove it — or maybe someone will after the fact, as some observers did in Florida after the Bush v. Gore incident, or in Ohio with the numerous problems there in the 2004 election — but it’s how I feel.

I also feel that the state of Wisconsin has missed out, because Ms. Kloppenburg had an outstanding record and would’ve made a great judge.   Republicans, especially of the Scott Walker variety, liked to paint Ms. Kloppenburg as a “liberal,” but what she really was happened to be an independent, someone who’d worked for both Republican and Democratic Governors.  We needed a centrist on our extremely polarized Supreme Court, and we didn’t get it — what a terrible day for Wisconsin, and what an awful thing to have to say . . . but it’s all true, and it’s sad.

Now onto a happier update.  Vinny Rottino hit .373 in May for the New Orleans Zephyrs (the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins); this was after suffering a 1-for-26 slump to start the season.  Rottino has stolen 7 bases, being caught stealing twice; he’s hit 20 RBI, 2 HR, has 10 doubles and one triple, and his current on-base percentage is .407.   Rottino now appears to be playing every day in right field and is playing excellent defense and a fine overall game while putting together another quiet, but good season as a contact hitter.

Here’s a story from that was written on May 15, 2011, about the Zephyrs and the hot-hitting Rottino in particular:

Vinny Rottino continued his hot hitting Saturday night, and New Orleans Zephyrs relievers continued their shut-down pitching.

The result was a 5-4 Zephyrs victory against Tacoma at Zephyr Field.

Rottino, who has reached base in 21 consecutive games, drove home the go-ahead run in a three-run rally in the sixth inning and also scored two runs.

And here’s what Rottino had to say about it all, especially his 1-for-26 start:

“I never panicked,’’ he said. “That’s the key. I’ve gone through spells like that before at the beginning of the year. … Now I feel pretty good at the plate, just waiting for the pitcher’s mistake. That’s the main thing.’’

Rottino’s game is similar to someone like the Brewers’ Nyjer Morgan; he’s speedy (though not as speedy as Morgan), he plays excellent defense and has a strong arm, and he’ll rarely make mistakes on the basepaths.   Rottino plays all positions except pitcher and second base (unlike Morgan) including catcher (though he’s more of an emergency catcher due to taking it up late) and would be an asset to any major league team whose General Manager is using his brain today.

Finally, there’s the Milwaukee Brewers update.  They actually won their first game against Cincinnati last night and Corey Hart hit yet another home run, raising his season total to five.   Hart’s still not all the way back to last year’s All-Star form, but he’s looking good in the outfield and is hitting steadily now, with some power . . . though I’m a big fan of Hart, the best thing about the ’11 Brewers is that so far, their pitching has been anywhere from OK to outstanding, with Shawn Marcum and Randy Wolf in particular pitching much better than expected.  (Yovani Gallardo is still a little inconsistent, though his last two-three games have been great, and Zack Greinke is still rounding himself into form.  As for Chris Narveson, while he’s a very nice man and can pitch, he’s had some really rough outings lately.   And I keep thinking the Brewers would’ve been better off to keep Chris Capuano, who’s doing well for the Mets despite a 3-5 record because of how poor the Mets are playing as a team.)

So that’s it for updates . . . what I’d encourage you to do is to keep your eye on Rottino (when he finally makes it to the majors to stay, that’ll be one of the best human interest stories of the past several years as he’s now thirty-one years old and has been the apparent victim of what I like to call “age prejudice” as most teams would rather look at a really young guy than an older one with a steady batting eye and a steady presence in the field), keep an eye on the Brewers (especially their pitchers), keep an eye on Capuano, and watch for the upcoming Wisconsin recall elections in July.

Brewers win, 4-3, as Greinke pitches well; recount update

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Folks, tonight I’m glad to be a Milwaukee Brewers fan.  Zack Greinke pitched well in his first appearance at Miller Park, going six innings, giving up two runs with no walks and getting nine strikeouts.  This excellent performance, along with some unusually fine defense, was why the Brewers won tonight over the San Diego Padres, 4-3. 

Note that the much-maligned of late bullpen pitched reasonably well also, with LaTroy Hawkins pitching a scoreless seventh, Kameron Loe giving up a run in the 8th due to a run scoring while a double play was in the process of being made, then John Axford picked up his sixth save by pitching a scoreless ninth.

Here’s a link to more about the game from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story:

As for tonight’s mandatory recount in the Wisconsin state Supreme Court election, held on 4/5/2011, a judge allowed Waukesha County two and a half more weeks to get its entire count done.  But as Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out, JoAnne Kloppenburg has an uphill battle on her hands if she’s to win this recount with only Waukesha County remaining as it is known to be the “reddest” Republican county in the entire state.

Here’s the link to his story dated today, May 9, 2011:

And a relevant quote from Mr. Gilbert:

With the recount in the April 5 Supreme Court race now complete in every county but Waukesha, JoAnne Kloppenburg has sliced a mere 355 votes off David Prosser’s lead of 7,316 votes, underscoring the extreme odds against Kloppenburg emerging victorious in the fiercely contested judicial contest.

In effect, Kloppenburg would have to gain 6,962 votes in one county – Waukesha – after gaining a tiny fraction of that in the recount of all the state’s other counties.

In those 71 counties recounted so far, Kloppenburg has made a net pick-up of one vote for every 3,873 votes cast.

In Waukesha County, she would have to make a net pick-up of one vote for every 18 votes cast.

And that math actually understates the improbability of a successful outcome for Kloppenburg because about 30% of Waukesha County has already completed the recount process. So far, there’s a net gain of 18 votes for Prosser.

But here’s the main reason why Kloppenburg had to pursue the recount, IMO:

Without taking Waukesha County into account, Kloppenburg leads in the other 71 counties by 712,910 to 660,366, for a margin of 52,544 votes.

So you see how close this election was, state-wide, right?

Here’s the rub:

But based on the election canvass, Prosser carried Waukesha County by 59,505 votes out of a total of 125,021 votes cast.

The problem is, the vote total is in question all because of Kathy Nickolaus’s actions not just in finally figuring out she hadn’t counted the Brookfield tally until a day and a half after the election had ended (and everyone in the state save the folks in Brookfield who knew their vote totals weren’t properly reflected in the count thought JoAnne Kloppenburg had won by about 200 votes), but in several previous elections.

As I’ve said before, there are problems in Waukesha County that go back not just to 2008, but actually to 2004.  (See this link for further details:  Seven years ago, there were problems.  Again, five years ago, there were problems.  Then three years ago, there were more problems, yet nothing was ever done by the Government Accountability Board, the Wisconsin state Senate or Assembly (or both), or anyone else, because despite all these systematic problems, apparently no one was paying attention.

If this recount has done nothing else, it has at least assured me that the voters of Wisconsin will be paying attention to Waukesha County for a long, long time to come.  And that the way Waukesha County conducts their future elections had best be a whole lot better — more ethical, above-board, understandable, comprehensible, and transparent — than they have for the past seven years.  Minimum.

Otherwise, as I’ve said before, we in Wisconsin will have no faith at all that our elections mean anything at all.

More baseball updates — Greinke pitches, Hart plays

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I wish I had a better update today to report, folks, but here it is.

Zack Greinke, while he looked really good at the start of the first inning, was done in partly by very poor defense behind him and partly because he had to throw too many pitches in the first inning (over thirty) — he lost his first game, giving up 5 runs (4 ERs) in 4 innings.  Here’s the story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Note that the Brewers were swept by the Atlanta Braves and are currently 1-5 during this recent 10-game road trip.  (That means we Brewers fans have four more games to endure before the Brewers finally return home.)

And while Corey Hart is back, and looks good in the field, he does not have his hitting stroke yet and it shows every time he’s at bat.  (But I’m still glad he was finally put back in the #2 hole tonight; no way, ever, that Carlos Gomez should bat there due to Gomez’s awful on-base percentage much less Gomez’s propensity to strike out swinging as often as humanly possible.)

Now, the real story of this past game (which was an 8-0 loss to Atlanta) was pitcher Tim Hudson of the Braves; he pitched a one-hit, one walk shutout (both the hit and the walk came to Rickie Weeks, Brewers second-baseman).  Unless it was the terrible defense by the Brewers — mind you, Hudson was on his game and the Brewers would’ve done poorly anyway.  But it would’ve looked better and perhaps felt better for the Brewers if they hadn’t committed three errors in the field.

In other baseball updates, Vinny Rottino has started to hit at New Orleans; he’s hit .350 in his last ten games and his overall average for the season is up to .235 (remember, he started out something like 1 for 24 or the like, so it takes time to pull the average up).  His OBP is a very fine .354 and he has 2 HRs, 7 RBI, 3 SB (no caught stealings, so a perfect 3-3 percentage), has taken 11 walks and has struck out 7 times.  So it sounds like he’s having a much better time of it and he is playing often (every day or every other day — maybe in the fourth OF slot?) for the Zephyrs.  (Good for him!)

Oh, yes — Rottino continues to hit left-handers better than right-handers, having an overall .286 BA against lefties, with an overall .222 against righties.  (There appear to be many, many more left-handed pitchers in the minors than there are right-handers considering Rottino has batted at least four times as much against right-handers thus far this year.)

So at least there’s good news about Rottino, and about Hart and Greinke’s health as both are now healthy enough to play.  But otherwise, the Brewers aren’t playing very well right now and it shows.  Unfortunately.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Brewers Update, and two novellas by Kate Paulk reviewed by me at SBR

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Folks, I just reviewed two excellent novellas by Kate Paulk, both available at the Naked Reader Press ( — they’re called “Knights in Tarnished Armor” and “Born in Blood,” with the first being a really funny farce written in epistolary style (letters to one another) and the other being a very nice prequel to Paulk’s novel IMPALER, also out from the fine folks at the Naked Reader.

Before I get, here’s a link to my review of those two fine novellas at Shiny Book Review:

Now, as for updates:  Zack Greinke will pitch tomorrow for the first time in the regular season for the Brewers against the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a doubleheader (as Tuesday night’s game was rained out).  This is very good news, and I know I, for one, will be riveted to the television to see how well Greinke pitches.

I also have a political update of sorts; the drive to Recall the Republican 8 netted only six of the Republicans — to wit, the petitions against Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) both failed.  Grothman’s failed by about 5,000 signatures, while Lazich’s was far closer — apparently they were less than two-thousand signatures short there.

I know some of the folks recalling both the Republicans and a few of the Democrats (though I don’t approve of the latter, as I think the Democratic Wisconsin Senators — often called the “Wisconsin 14” — did the only thing they could in leaving the state for three weeks in order for every citizen of the state to get a chance to read Governor Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill” for themselves), and I know that folks in the Recall Grothman and Recall Lazich camps needed more resources — they weren’t able to start as soon as the others (from what I could tell, the really big efforts to get both Grothman and Lazich out started about two and a half or three weeks after the others yet had to meet the same deadline) and didn’t have the same monetary resources as both Grothman and Lazich are in heavily Republican districts — yet both found many people willing to sign recall petitions to remove both Lazich and Grothman.  This bodes well for the future, at least so far as getting a decent candidate of some sort to run against both of these Senators . . . Grothman has not fared well in the media, especially due to his famous “slobs” comment (where he called Wisconsin voters, some from his own district, “slobs” for protesting in Madison against Walker’s “budget-repair bill”), and one would hope that he will indeed go down to defeat in 2012 (which is when his, and Lazich’s, seat is set for re-election).

What it looks like to me is, there will be six recall elections from the “recall the Republican 8” push, and there will be one or two or maybe three recall elections from the three Democratic petitions which were turned in.  I am hesitant to say whether or not more than one of those petitions will hold up because in at least one case, a dead person’s name was used and a signature forged on a recall petition against the three Democratic Senators — and I find that disgraceful.

Also, because we have a mandatory recount going on in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court judicial race, the Government Accountability Board (which oversees that, and the recalls, among other things) cannot do much to look at the petitions against the Dems or the Rs until that recount has been completed.  The GAB has mandated that the recount must finish by May 9, 2011, but the Waukesha County folks have already indicated that they wil be unable to do this as apparently many oddities have been found there.  (So far, only about 15,000 votes have been counted in Waukesha County according to representatives from the Kloppenburg campaign.)  Fourteen counties, including Milwaukee, Dane and Waukesha, have yet to complete their recount; the other counties in Wisconsin have completed their tallies (mind you, Dane and Milwaukee are the most populous counties in the state, so it’s not surprising they have not yet completed thier recount.  It is surprising that smaller Waukesha is having so very many problems, but in another way I’m not at all surprised because as I’ve said and written before, Kathy Nickolaus’s procedures, at best, were highly suspect and have been since at least 2004.)

So that’s about it from here; watching the recount unfold, and continuing to read interesting stuff from the Naked Reader Press folks, along with a little baseball watching.  (If the economy were a bit better, I’d even say it’s fun — as far as it goes.)