Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘George Kottaras

Brewers Win, 3-2, over Dodgers; Lucroy to DL

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These days, even when the Milwaukee Brewers win a tough baseball game, they still manage to lose out.  Take today’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, for example; the Brewers played a good game in all aspects (especially defensively) and won, 3-2.  Shaun Marcum pitched well; so far this year, he’s been the Brewers’ most consistent pitcher.  John Axford picked up his 8th save, while catcher George Kottaras, never known for his defense, played exceptionally well behind the plate despite being hobbled by a hamstring injury.  Shortstop Cody Ransom, a recent addition to the Brewers (claimed off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks), third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and first baseman Corey Hart all had good defensive games as well.

But despite tonight’s win, yet another player must go to the disabled list (DL).  This time, it’s starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who broke a bone in his right hand by a freak off-the-field injury (his wife dropped a suitcase on his hand); the Brewers will officially place Lucroy on the DL tomorrow.  Lucroy is expected to be out four to six weeks.  This is particularly damaging to the Brewers because Lucroy has been hitting a ton thus far (.345 batting average with 30 RBI), and has also been steady behind the plate.

According to Fox Sports Wisconsin’s “Brewers Live” program, the Brewers will call up catcher Martin Maldonado from AAA Nashville along with pitcher Mike Fiers.  Both Maldonado and Fiers will start on Tuesday despite the fact that if the Brewers were not so badly injured, neither one of them would’ve seen a whiff of the majors.  (Fiers, while not terrible, has a 1-3 record with a 4.41 ERA; here’s the rest of his minor league stats.)

Here’s Maldonado’s current minor league offensive stats; as you can see, Maldonado isn’t hitting very well at only .198.  But the Brewers don’t have any other options; had Lucroy not injured himself, Kottaras was probably headed to the DL.  Now, Kottaras is going to have to be like several other Brewers who are playing through injuries — Ramirez (hit on the elbow last Friday by the D-backs), Ryan Braun  (injured his Achilles a few weeks ago, hasn’t been able to rest it long enough for it to heal), Carlos Gomez (isn’t running well since he’s come off the DL due to a hamstring strain), and Kameron Loe (elbow tightness) — because the Brewers just can’t put any of these guys on the DL even if they normally would go there because the team is just too banged up.

This is why Hart is playing first base despite preferring right field.  This is why Ransom is even on the team (the two shortstops the Brewers had on the roster to start the year were Alex Gonzalez, out for the year with a torn ACL, and Izturis, who’s on the DL with a hamstring strain).  And this is one of the main reasons why Rickie Weeks, who’s hitting in the .150s (you read that right), hasn’t been sat down, either — he seems healthy, so he’s still playing even though he’s not been hitting well all season long.  And that doesn’t even get into first baseman-outfielder Travis Ishikawa’s problem, who was put on the DL yesterday with an oblique strain!

Right now, the Brewers have seven guys on the DL (once Lucroy is added), and have three more who probably should be there (Kottaras, Braun, and Gomez) or should’ve been left on the DL longer (in the case of Gomez).  The Brewers have fewer than six position players who aren’t playing with some sort of issue, and of those six, one isn’t hitting (Weeks) and one is playing out of position (Hart). 

Despite that, the Brewers won a tough game today over the Dodgers.  But as a Brewers fan, I can’t help but wonder which domino (that is, which player) is going to fall next?

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Milwaukee Brewers Catcher George Kottaras Hits for Cycle

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Tonight, Milwaukee Brewers catcher George Kottaras hit for the cycle.  He’s only the seventh Brewer to have done so, and is the third catcher behind Charlie Moore (who did so in 1980) and Chad Moeller (who did so in 2004) to have attained this feat.  Kottaras is also the first major leaguer to have done so in 2011.

Now, for you non-baseball fans out there, “hitting for the cycle” means that Kottaras hit a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same game.  It is exceptionally difficult to do, and happens only rarely.  (For example, Corey Hart nearly hit for the cycle a few weeks ago, but didn’t quite get it.  And my favorite minor league player, Vinny Rottino of the New Orleans Zephyrs, nearly hit for the cycle this year but didn’t quite make it, either.)

Here’s a player analysis of the six Brewers (before tonight’s game) who hit for the cycle, in case you’re interested:

Here’s part of what the Bleacher Report article has to say about Charlie Moore, the second Brewers player overall to do so:

Moore reached the cycle on Oct. 1, 1980 . . .  According to, Moore pounded out four hits in a 10-7 win against the California Angels. Moore went 4-for-5, knocking in three runs and scoring three times.

A bit later, the same article observes:

Moore’s career spanned 15 seasons and 1,334 games. He finished with 1,052 hits, 408 RBI, and a .261 lifetime batting average.

During his time with the Brewers, Moore played multiple positions. As a right fielder in ’82, Moore posted an impressive .992 fielding percentage, second best in the American League.

I was young in 1982, but I remember Moore’s play very well; he was an outstanding defensive outfielder, a good defensive catcher, and a very good contact hitter when he was on.  He is by far my favorite Brewers player because he maximized his ability every time he went out onto the field; he was the type of guy who had no “quit” in him, and I greatly respected that.

Now, Chad Moeller is another story; while Moeller is an excellent defensive catcher, no one could ever say that Moeller’s added much with his bat except for one evening in 2004 — April 27, 2004 to be exact.

Here’s what the same Bleacher Report article has to say about Moeller:

Moeller reached the accomplishment by going 4-for-5, with four RBI and one run scored.

A bit later, the B/R article states:

Moeller spent three seasons in Milwaukee (2004-06), splitting time at catcher with Gary Bennett and Damian Miller. The year Moeller hit for the cycle, he played in 101 games, the most by far in his career.

Moeller is a career .226 average hitter, while Moore, over fifteen seasons, hit for a career .261 batting average — very solid hitter, Moore.  But as the B/R article says, the “stars aligned for Moeller” and he did, indeed, hit for the cycle.

Now, as for Kottaras . . . to date, he’s a career .219 hitter with some power in his bat and has greatly improved, defensively, in the past year or two since he came to the Brewers.  Kottaras, entering tonight’s game, was hitting .241; because he’s played sparingly, his excellent game tonight raised his average to .273 with 4 HRs and 14 RBI in 88 official at-bats in only 38 games.  (Kottaras plays once a week or so, mostly because he is Randy Wolf’s “personal catcher.”)

In tonight’s game, Kottaras started instead of Jonathan Lucroy perhaps so Lucroy could rest a bit, as Lucroy has caught a great many games this year (116 to date).  His start obviously paid off for Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, and for the Brewers as a whole.

I like Kottaras; he’s a scrappy hitter with some power and speed to him, and he fights for every at-bat he gets.  I wouldn’t have said, before tonight, that it would be likely that Kottaras would hit for the cycle as he’s received very little playing time; for example, Charlie Moore played in 111 games in 1980, batting .291 with 2 HRs (one of ’em being in that “cycle” game), 30 RBI, 10 SBs and 42 runs scored, so Moore had more opportunities to get his cycle in during the 1980 season than Kottaras has had this year.

That being said, Kottaras is now in rarefied company, as among the seven people who’ve hit for the cycle are Brewers Hall of Fame players Robin Yount (SS-CF) and Paul Molitor (3B-DH) along with Moore, Moeller, Mike Hegan (who hit the very first cycle in Brewers history) and Jody Gerut (who hit for the cycle last year).


Written by Barb Caffrey

September 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm