Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Lucroy

Tough Day to be a Brewers Fan…Lucroy, Jeffress, Smith Traded

leave a comment »

Some days, it’s harder than others to be a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

My team has never, in its forty-six year history, won the World Series. It’s won only one league championship, back in 1982 — when the team was still in the American League. It’s competed only a handful of times in the postseason, including 1981, 1982, and 1983 (banner years, truly), 2008, and 2011.

That’s been about it, for me as a Brewers fan.

So I’m used to futility. I’m used to frustration. And I’m used to the best players I’ve come to know and appreciate ending up on better teams around the league, as only a few players these days play their entire careers in Milwaukee or anywhere else.

Still, today is a worse day than many, because the Brewers have done something teams rarely do — on August 1, 2016, Milwaukee traded their starting catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, their closer, Jeremy Jeffress, and one of their best bullpen arms in Will Smith away to two different teams. Lucroy and Jeffress went to the Texas Rangers, while Smith went to the San Francisco Giants. And what did the Brewers get back? Prospects…with one exception. (And that one exception, former Giant catcher Andrew Susac, has played fewer than 100 games in the major leagues.)

Up until now, the Brewers have been better than expected. While not a world-beating team by any means, they haven’t been embarrassing, either. They’re currently five games over .500 while home at Miller Park, and their overall record is 47-56.

In fact, a few weeks ago, my father asked me, “How many more games do you think the Brewers can win?” My answer was between thirty-five and forty, as they’d been improving lately…providing Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun were not traded. (I would’ve included Jeremy Jeffress in that, but trading a closer at the deadline that’s still extremely productive is almost rarer than trading a starting catcher, so I have to admit it never crossed my mind that this would happen.)

This year has had some good surprises — pitcher Junior Guerra being one of those. So it’s obvious that David Stearns, the Brewers GM, can find talent…but so far, he doesn’t seem cognizant of the fact that fans have to have something on the field to root for.

I expected this to be a bad year, mind. I expected this to be a year where top prospect, shortstop Orlando Arcia, gained time in Triple-A, and where we’d have a shuttle going back and forth from Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs and Milwaukee — and we have.

I did not expect this to be the year the Brewers traded away two impact players, literally minutes before the trade deadline, and then expect fans to be happy about it.

I’m sorry. I’m not into pain, so of course I’m unhappy with this move.

Do I understand it rationally? Sure.

Do I appreciate it emotionally? Oh, Hell no.

And will I watch games? Yes, but quite frankly, I won’t expect very much…especially with the new closer almost certainly to be Tyler Thornburg. (I like him, but is he closer material?) And with the new starting catcher being defensive whiz Martin Maldonado…

All I can say is this: Dammit. (In lieu of a blue streak of profanity that none of you need to hear, or see, or that I need to say.)

And, of course, I need to add this, specifically to Lucroy, Jeffress, and Smith: Good luck to all three of you. May your teams go to the playoffs, and may you enjoy excellent careers. And someday, remember the fans in Milwaukee, still waiting for our day in the sun…and that we remain in your corner.


Brewers Fans: Leave Lucroy’s Wife Alone

leave a comment »

I never thought I’d have to write this blog, folks.  I never thought that anyone — much less a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers — would criticize any of the players’ wives for anything, as any given wife has little influence (if any) on her husband’s performance on the field.

But it appears some ill-bred Brewers fans are criticizing Mrs. Jonathan Lucroy due to the odd, off-the-field accident he suffered, resulting in a broken hand.  Lucroy was reaching for a sock that had fallen under his hotel bed when his wife dropped a piece of luggage; this luggage landed on his hand, resulting in a very unusual “boxer’s fracture.”  Mrs. Lucroy, by all accounts, feels terrible about this, because of course she never wanted to injure her husband.

Yet because Lucroy was hitting a ton, doing well as a Brewers catcher, and was garnering some national support for the National League All-Star team, these same ill-bred Brewers fans appear to believe that Mrs. Lucroy hurt her husband on purpose.  And because they apparently believe this mistaken view should be shouted from the rooftops — or at least listed at Facebook, where Mrs. Lucroy apparently has a page (I haven’t been able to find it) — Mrs. Lucroy has actually received hate mail over this.

Here’s a link to the story from Fox Sports Wisconsin:

And here’s a relevant quote:

“It’s tough for me because it’s already a freak thing as it is,” Lucroy told WSSP. “My wife has been getting hate mail on her Facebook, messages and stuff. It’s really sad that these kind of things happen from a freak thing. She didn’t do it on purpose, man. It was an accident. Stranger things have happened.
“It’s been a battle for me, personally, because there’s no one to blame, and my wife is getting killed by this. It’s not like she’s not hurting enough already, feeling guilty enough already. I really wish people would leave her alone, leave us alone, just let us try to move forward and get this behind us.”

Now, this shouldn’t even need to be said, but since this has happened, apparently it does.  Brewers fans, no matter what you think about Jonathan Lucroy’s accident, please leave Mrs. Lucroy alone.  She feels bad enough as it is.

Now, let’s get back to watching the Brewers play rather than criticizing a player’s wife, shall we?  Because as Brewers fans, we should have the class to leave players’ wives out of it.

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

leave a comment »

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

Ill; Watching Brewers in Post-season

leave a comment »

For the past several days, I’ve been battling some sort of sinus issue, so getting up to watch the Milwaukee Brewers in post-season play was difficult even though it’s a real “happening” here in Wisconsin (partially due to its rarity; this is only the second time the Brewers have made the post-season since 1982).

While I’m not feeling at all up to snuff, I have to wonder what it’s like to play baseball when you aren’t feeling well, especially when it’s post-season time.  For example, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy admitted that he wasn’t feeling particularly well (he was quite hoarse) on the Brewers pre-game show carried by the Brewers Radio Network (I listen on the “flagship” station, WTMJ-AM 620 in Milwaukee), also with some sort of sinus issue.  Lucroy called it a “cold,” but if it’s anything like what I’ve been dealing with for several days, it’s not a minor problem — it causes a great deal of fatigue, it’s hard to breathe, and it has definitely gotten in my way.

Lucroy is catching his first major league baseball post-season game ever; to be ill while doing something so exciting must be intensely frustrating.  But so far, you’d never know he’s ill unless you listened to the Brewers pre-game show as the national announcers certainly haven’t said word one about it.

As for anything else, so far it looks like Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is on his game; after a problematic first inning (where no runs scored only because Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun threw out an Arizona runner at home plate), he’s settled down and looks as good as I’ve seen him all year.  Which is good, because the Brewers’ bats have thus far been rather quiet; the only rally we’ve had so far was in the second inning due to a walk to Rickie Weeks and an infield hit to Jerry Hairston, Jr., who’s playing in place of the light-hitting Casey McGehee at third (while Weeks is in his customary place at second).

Anything can happen in the post-season . . . heck, anything can happen in baseball, as was shown on Wednesday night with some of the wildest season-ending games in baseball history.  But what I’d like to see are good, solid games that feature the Brewers at their best, with their pitchers and hitters both doing well. 

I know the Brewers’ opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks, are a tough team with excellent outfield defense and better infield defense than the Brewers have; the D-backs also have quite a few home run hitters (they’re similar to the Brewers in that) and much better than average pitching.  But I believe if the Brewers play their best, they will vanquish Arizona; now, it’s just up to the Brewers to do what they do best, not have any mental let-downs, and play their game.  Providing they do that, I will be content.


Personal update stuff:

As for me, despite feeling terrible, I managed to get a story off to the Writers of the Future contest yesterday about eight hours before the 9/30/11 11:59 PST deadline (no idea how good or bad the story is, but at least I finished it and sent it off).  I did some editing this week, too, and wrote one review last night; that, and this blog, and a few others on Wednesday (when I was feeling a little better) will probably have to stand for my writerly output this weekend unless something really outrageous, outlandish, or upsetting happens.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean the rest of my life just stops, but it does have to slow down when I feel like this.   (Live to fight another day, and all that.  Or in my case, write another day.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm