Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Brewers 2014

Milwaukee Brewers 9-Game Winning Streak Comes to an End

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All good things must come to an end . . . something every baseball fan knows, most particularly a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers like yours truly.

You see, over the past two weeks, the Brewers had won nine games straight up until last night’s contest against the St. Louis Cardinals (which the Brewers lost by a score of 4-0). After my blog post bemoaning the Brewers’ lack of hitting in their opening series against the Atlanta Braves, the Brewers started to hit.

Better yet, Brewers pitchers kept pitching at the same high level as they had during that opening series.

And every baseball fan knows that when a single team has both good pitching and good hitting, that particular team is likely to win more games than it loses.

But a nine-game winning streak takes more than just good pitching and good hitting, welcome though those are. It also takes good defense — which, to the Brewers credit, they’ve mostly had — and a goodly bit of luck, besides. Without all of that, you don’t win nine games in a row.

So what will happen next to the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers, now that their first winning streak is over?

Well, there’s an old truism that states you’re never as good as you think you are (with the corollary, of course, that you’re also never as bad as you think you are, either). This is the main reason I don’t expect the Brewers to win ten out of every twelve games for the rest of the season — well, that, and the fact that the best team of the modern era, winning-percentage wise, won approximately seven games out of ten (that team, of course, being the 1954 Cleveland Indians and their gaudy 111-43 record in a 154-game season).

And in the past twenty years, only two teams have approached the level of the Indians’ past success — those two teams being the 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46), and the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48).

So no, I don’t think the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers are likely to reach such dizzying heights.

But I do think they are likely to make the playoffs, providing Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez stay healthy.

Anyway, it’s been fun watching them play so well . . . and for the record, the main reason I didn’t talk too much about the Brewers during their nine-game winning streak was because as a true-blue diehard baseball fan, I really didn’t want to jinx my favorite team.

Realistically, I know that nothing I say matters. The Brewers are going to go out there and play the same way regardless. But I still didn’t want to jinx them . . . make of that what you will.

Answering Questions — Milwaukee Brewers First Basemen, Figure Skating, and More

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Folks, sometimes people ask me questions . . . and when I’m hunting for a blog subject, as now, I decide to answer them. (Lucky you, huh?)

The first question goes something like this: “So, Barb. Why is it that you get so hyped up about figure skating, anyway? You’re not a figure skater, so why do you care?”

Hmph.

Well, I care because I like to see justice done. I got upset back in 2010 during the Vancouver Olympics when Johnny Weir didn’t get the score he deserved as he should’ve won the bronze medal.  So I signed petitions, formed groups, wrote to the United States Figure Skating Association (to no avail) . . . all because I felt injustice should not be a part of sport.

Why?

Obviously, I realize that nothing in life is fair. But we should strive to make our pursuits as fair as we possibly can.

And sports, in particular, should be much fairer than most other things. People spend years of their lives in the pursuit of perfection, so when inaccurate or shoddy judging — or worse, potentially corrupt judging as in the case of the 2002 Olympics — ruins the skater’s Olympic experience, that can’t help but make me take notice.

Another question: “But Barb. Seriously, Yuna Kim is a millionaire with a gold medal from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She doesn’t need your help, so why is it you’re so upset regarding Adelina Sotnikova’s free skate in Sochi? Will anyone really care in four years anyway?”

I don’t know if anyone will care in four years or not. But the system needs to be overhauled. Ashley Wagner was right when she said the judges should stop being allowed to hide behind their supposed anonymity . . . if the skaters must identify themselves (as they do), the judges also must identify themselves so if they get something wrong, they can be retrained — or at the very least questioned as to what happened that led to whatever wrongness that occurred.

And again, I go back to Johnny Weir’s skate in 2010. I still care about it in 2014, because justice was not served.

So it’s quite likely that in 2018, I will still care about this if justice is again not served.

Onto another topic: “Barb, who do you think the Milwaukee Brewers are going to trot out at first base this year? They didn’t sign Manny Ramirez, so who do they have as possibilities?”

Heh. The Manny Ramirez thing was something I threw in there just to see if people were paying attention, though I honestly think the man can still hit and could learn to play first base if he wanted . . . but as the Brewers didn’t sign him, here are the potential first basemen in camp at this time:

  1. Hunter Morris (spent last year at AAA, hit .247 with 24 HR and 73 RBI). He is a bit raw, but has power to burn and a good, solid work ethic. He’ll probably start the year again at AAA but might come up later.
  2. Lyle Overbay (hit .240 with the New York Yankees with 14 HR and 59 RBI in 2013). Overbay still fields well at first, and continues to have some pop. He’s been with the Brewers before, so he knows Milwaukee well. My guess would be that he starts the year with the Brewers, as Overbay also can pinch hit and is a left-handed bat.
  3. Mark Reynolds (hit .220 with two teams with 21 HR and 67 RBI in 2013). Reynolds strikes out a ton. He is not a good defensive first baseman, to put it mildly. But he does have some power and it’s very likely the Brewers will keep him around to see what he’ll do as some of his HRs are moon shots of the Russell Branyan variety.
  4. Juan Francisco (His 2013 campaign was split into two parts — he hit .221 with 13 HR and 32 RBI in Milwaukee; before that, he hit .241 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in Atlanta). He is not a good first baseman, though some of that is because he’d never played the position prior to last year. He has astonishing power potential, but strikes out a good deal — nearly as often as Mark Reynolds. It’s likely that the Brewers will keep him around, but they also could trade him if they can find a buyer.
  5. And finally, there’s always Jonathan Lucroy. Yes, Lucroy’s a catcher, but he played first base several times last year and was competent if not comfortable. Lucroy is a consistent hitter who’s only weakness is grounding into double-plays . . . then again, Carlos Lee used to ground into double-plays all the time and no one complained, so it’s unlikely anyone’s going to say much about Lucroy either.

One final question, this yet again on a different topic entirely: “So, Barb. Why didn’t you review any books last week at Shiny Book Review?”

This one’s easy, folks . . . as I was doing my best to get a major edit out the door for a client, I simply ran out of time.

But I’ll be reviewing at least two books this week, so do stay tuned.