Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brewers keeping winning ways despite injuries

Wednesday's dramatic win over the Pirates may well be a microcosm of the Brewers winning ways of late and a sign there might be something special about this group. 

Rickie Weeks was making a start in the leadoff spot with Carlos Gomez out serviing his suspension and when Yovani Gallardo gave up a couple long home runs, the Brewers put a rally together and got Chris Davis to come through.

It seems like a different guy has seemed to come through each night. It has the team on the cover of Sports Illustrated and holding a five-game lead in the NL Central Division. And me starting to think there might not be a huge "regression to the mean" coming in the form of a losing streak. 

With Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list, the Brewers are missing some pop in the lineup and with a lefty going for the Pirates in the form of Wandy Rodriguez, manager Ron Roenicke gave Weeks the start today in Way back Wednesday fashion, hit him leadoff. Weeks did not disappoint, with three hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle. He has now hit safely in eight straight games he's played in and is hitting .360 for the season. As hot as he's been, I'm not sure how Roenicke can stick with his strict platoon at second base. 

His fellow benchmate for most of the season, Martin Maldanado, also hit a home run that tied the game at the time. For as little as he has played as backup catcher, he delivers every time he takes the field.

Throw in Rob Wooten helping Houdini out of the eighth inning of a jam that kept the Pirates lead at one run. He ended up getting the win in going 1.1 innings. It's just be a great run by the bullpen. Even with Francisco Rodriguez's hiccups Wednesday night and Tyler Thornburg not finding the strikezone Thursday night, 

That helped set the stage for Davis, who has certainly not performed to expectations and he'll be the first to admit to such. Hopefully this hit will give him the confidence to not be bailing off pitches as much and trying to pull everything. 

When everything comes together like it as almost when needed this season, the Brewers have gotten it. Everyone around baseball is seemingly waiting for the bubble to burst on this team and another series win shows that it may be time to start believing this team could have something going. At the quarter-mark of the season, the Brewers are in control of a division and are in position to be buyers at the trade deadline. 

Whether it will pan out, I'm not sure, but it will be fun as a fan of this team to watch!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I cheered Ryan Braun on Opening Day in Milwaukee

Opening Day at Miller Park has to be one of my favorite days of the year. With Ryan Braun making his return to the Brewers and Major League Baseball Monday afternoon, I expected a loud ovation for the 2011 National League MVP and got just that from the sixth largest crowd in Miller Park history. What followed, however, was the media crying foul on us fans for giving the man that will likely crush every Brewers team record once is all said and done a welcome back cheer.
The two-minute standing ovation Braun received at January's Brewers On Deck day gave every indication what was in store on Monday. I give every fan the opportunity to do what they want when they are at a game. You paid for that seat, why not?

Here's what went down:

Once that went down, every pundit chimed on on what was wrong about that scene. Deadspin has the best collection of them, here. I can't speak for everyone else, but here's why I stood up and made noise for Braun.
First and foremost, he's our guy. I said it on the Wilber's Way Twitter that night. I don't like to think we're stuck with him because the other 29 teams would probably move mountains if he was dangled as trade bait. The Brewers have locked him up until 2020 (with an option for 2021), so he will remain a Milwaukee Brewer for a very long time if the the team allows it. So long as he's not on one of those other teams, fans of those teams will continue to boo him or whatever every chance they get. They would have regardless, being the Brewers' best player. The way he produces when healthy, there's no reason to see that changing anytime soon.
Second, because he's not going anywhere, the Brewers need him to thrive in the place he plays 81 games. Why not make Miller Park his sanctuary where he knows the fans have his back? If nothing but negativity swirled around him, that would bring him and the team down and the Brewers would be forced to find somewhere that would take him. When he succeeded at a place he was wanted, the Brewers would have to look back and wonder what happened. With the fans behind him, he will want to be here, too. Being the smallest media market in the MLB can't hurt that part of it either.
Third, he's admitted his wrong. It was the worst kind of wrong an athlete can commit, but he has admitted it and that's more than most of the other guys that were involved with BioGenesis.
Sure, Braun is not on the level he once was because of the whole situation, but when he laces 'em up and takes the field in Milwaukee, fans here will continue to cheer him. I'm not going to argue morals. Braun seems to get it and wants to let his play speak for him (a 1 for 12 start isn't doing so good on that front right now) and it will the more time goes by.

Wilber's Way

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