Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Help
The Brewers
2005-06-06 13:22
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Milwaukee Brewers

2004 Record: 67-94 (.416)
2004 Pythagorean Record: 68-93 (.422)

Manager: Ned Yost
General Manager: Doug Melvin

Ballpark (2004 park factors): Miller Park (95/96)

Who's replacing whom?

Carlos Lee replaces Scott Podsednik
J.J. Hardy replaces Craig Counsell
Damian Miller replaces Gary Bennett and cuts into Chad Moeller's playing time
Jeff Cirillo replaces Keith Ginter
Chris Magruder and Dave Krynzel inherit Ben Grieve's playing time
Derrick Turnbow replaces Danny Kolb
Ricky Bottalico replaces Luis Vizcaino
Tommy Phelps replaces Dave Burba
Julio Santana replaces Matt Kinney
Jorge de la Rosa inherits Brook Kieschnick's innings

Current Roster:

1B – Lyle Overbay
2B – Junior Spivey
SS – J.J. Hardy
3B – Jeff Cirillo
C – Damian Miller
RF – Geoff Jenkins
CF – Brady Clark
LF – Carlos Lee

Bench:

R – Bill Hall (IF)
R – Wes Helms (3B)
S – Chris Magruder (OF)
R – Chad Moeller (C)
L – Dave Krynzel (OF)

Rotation:

R – Ben Sheets
L – Chris Capuano
R – Victor Santos
R – Wes Obermueller
L – Doug Davis

Bullpen:

R – Derrick Turnbow
R – Ricky Bottalico
L – Tommy Phelps
R – Matt Wise
L - Jorge de la Rosa
R - Julio Santana
R - Gary Glover

DL: L - Russell Branyan (3B)

Typical Line-up

R – Brady Clark (CF)
R - Jeff Cirillo (3B)
L – Geoff Jenkins (RF)
R – Carlos Lee (LF)
L – Lyle Overbay (1B)
R – Junior Spivey (2B)
R – Damian Miller (C)
R – J.J. Hardy (SS)

If the Brewers were to maintain their current .464 winning percentage, they would finish 2005 with their best record since switching over to the National League following the 1997 season, but that's not the good news for Brewer fans. No, that would be their current Pythagorean winning percentage of .549.

Yup, according to good ol' Pythagorus, the Brewers' 26-30 record should be reversed to 31-25, enough to not only put them second in the NL Central Division, but put them in the lead for the Wild Card spot. The last time that the Brewers had a winning record, their offense featured a rookie named Pat Listach and a pair of veterans named Yount and Molitor. That was 1992, which just happened to be the last year the Yankees were a sub-.500 club.

That 1992 Yankee team featured an everyday outfield of Mel Hall, Roberto Kelly and Danny Tartabull (with some 250 at-bats from this second-year kid named Bernie Williams). Just for yucks, here's a comparison between the '92 Yankee outfield and this year's:

Sheffield .315/.415/.540 (.339 EQA adjusted for all-time) 91 Rate 2 Tartabull .266/.409/.489 (.335) 92

Matsui .271/.327/.408 (.274) 91 (in CF only)
Kelly .272/.322/.384 (.279) 102

Womack .254/.296/.284 (.232) 100
Hall .280/.310/.429 (.280) 107

Certainly there were other things wrong with that 1992 club (Andy Stankiewicz's .338 OBP was the best among the nine starters not named Tartabull, as was Hall's .429 slugging; the fourth spot in the rotation was split between Tim Leary and Greg Cadaret and the fifth spot was shared by Sam Militello, Jeff Johnson, Bob Wickman, Shawn Hillegas, Curt Young, and a rookie Sterling Hitchcock--of those seven pitchers, only Militello and Young, who combined for 14 starts, had ERAs above the league average, leaving 52 starts to the rest), but the comparison is certainly revealing when contemplating where the current club could most use improvement.

Back to the Brewers, yes, Jeff Cirillo does indeed live, combining incredible defense (117 Rate) with decent OBP (.368, his best since Colorado and an exact match for his career mark) to allow the Brewers to coast by with Three True Outcomes superstar Russ Branyan on the mend (though Cirillo's been starting over Branyan even when the latter is healthy, which is an infinitely larger mistake by manager Yost than swapping Overbay and Jenkins in the order).

Elsewhere, Lyle Overbay and Carlos Lee make a great 1-2 punch in the middle of the order, even if they are inexplicably doing it from the four and five spots rather than three and four. Meanwhile, while neither J.J. Hardy (who's looking up at Tony Womack in terms of run production) nor Junior Spivey are hitting, Bill Hall is whistling a .296/.342/.507 tune while jumping back and forth between second and short on a daily basis. In fact, with Hall in one of the middle-infield spots, the Brewers have only one non-pitcher in the line-up with an OBP below Carlos Lee's .340.

On the mound, the Brewers have the same rotation as a year ago, with 29-year-old Doug Davis (tonight's starter) the senior member of the group. The Brewer starters have combined for a 3.73 ERA thus far this season, which would be even better had Ben Sheets not spent a large portion of the last two months struggling with an inner ear infection that limited him to one start in May. In his stead, Santos, Capuano and Davis have been excellent.

The pen is almost exactly the opposite in terms of make-up, but with even better results. Gone are Danny Kolb (all praise due Doug Melvin), Luis Vizcaino, Matt Kinney, Dave Burba, Brooks Kieschnick (alas), and Ben Ford. Jeff Bennett and Mike Adams are back in the minors. In their place is a motley crew headed by forgotten doping pioneer Derrick Turnbow, who is living up to the promise he never delivered on with the Angels by posting a 3.04 ERA and striking out more than a man per inning while saving eight games. The other major contributors include Marlins' castoff Tommy Phelps (as the LOOGY), veteran journeyman Ricky Bottalico, and Matt Wise, another fallen Angel. With Turbow forming the head, the Brewer pen has bested the team's starters with a 3.53 ERA.

Sooner or later, something has to give with this Brewer team. Either they'll start winning according to their Pythagorean projections, or their pitching will implode. Either way, I plan to break out my old Harvey's Wallbangers cap and my Roberto Kelly baseball cards and do my best to enjoy this three-day journey in the AL East wayback machine.

[Incidentally, today is Brooks Kieschnick's 33rd birthday, as the Yankees begin six days of NL-rules baseball, it only seems fitting that it start with an acknowledgement of his two pioneering two-way seasons. Happy Birthday, Brooks!]

Comments
2005-06-06 17:21:34
1.   Marcus
Now this is a lineup I can get to like:

Jeter
Matsui
Sheffield
Rodriguez
Posada
Giambi
Williams
Cano
Johnson

Well, with the exception of Randy Johnson in the 9 hole. We'll see how well it works out. Torre should keep this one for at least a week or so. Add Tino in the mix in place of the pitcher for non-interleague games.

Unit is not starting the day off well...

2005-06-06 17:27:03
2.   Mike Z
Nice start. Against the Brewers, of all teams.
2005-06-06 17:27:23
3.   tocho
There is no excuse today for the Unit, he's in the NL tonight. Too bad he is not the pitcher we thought the Yankees were acquiring.
2005-06-06 17:31:01
4.   singledd
Agreed... finally the right lineup. Johnson's fastball has no movement. If it's not 95mph, it looks very hitable. Like Clemens, he is gonna need to develope his splitter and other pitches. Maybe Rivera can teach him the cutter.

A good article quoting ARod's wife as saying that ARod was so out of sorts last year, that he went into therapy. It seems playing for the NYY is more intimidating that we can imagine.

2005-06-06 17:32:21
5.   uburoisc
Johnson needs to make a statement or the old man is going to say something public. NY paid for an ace, not a better than average starter. From the looks of this beginning, I'd say Johnson is about to get a dose of George.
2005-06-06 17:54:27
6.   monkeypants
"Well, with the exception of Randy Johnson in the 9 hole. We'll see how well it works out. Torre should keep this one for at least a week or so. Add Tino in the mix in place of the pitcher for non-interleague games."

Oh yeah, I forgot this was interleague play. I was initially excited that the Yankees decided to bat a pitcher instead of Womack.

2005-06-06 17:59:35
7.   singledd
If you listen carefully, you can hear them laughing in Arizona.

Tino carried us for a while. Then ARod carried us. We need someone to stand up. We really, really need it.

2005-06-06 17:59:54
8.   Alex Belth
Jeff Cirillo? You've got to be kidding me, man. Come oooonnnnnn.
2005-06-06 18:06:07
9.   tocho
Maybe Wang can pitch every day...

The good thing about the game tonight is that Doug Davis looks really vulnerable (4 K's in 3 innings)

2005-06-06 18:06:16
10.   singledd
Man.... Jetes is magic even when he screws up. Did you see that throw to 3rd. Only a PERFECT throw gets him. And he got him.
2005-06-06 19:05:16
11.   jedi
Rally Killer of the Night Award in Bases Loaded Situation: Co-Winners Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi.
2005-06-06 19:05:37
12.   tocho
Bases loaded, no outs... Nice job by Posada and Giambi. Three outs for the price of 2.
2005-06-06 19:20:35
13.   singledd
The real crime was Posada swinging at the first pitch after 3 consecutive walks. As it turns out, it was a ball high. 1-0 is VERY differenct then 0-1 was the bases are loaded with no outs.

Doesn't Torre have a Take sign?

These guys make millions but still don't know the basics of how to play the game.

2005-06-06 19:52:04
14.   tocho
Is it illegal for Giambi to bunt? Can't he train to do it for hours and then do it in situations like tonight... Are we really geniuses here and they are idiots there. Why is this? Answers please...
2005-06-06 20:05:26
15.   tocho
Get womack to run!!!!!!!!!!!!
2005-06-06 20:09:04
16.   Mike Z
My thoughts exactly.
2005-06-06 20:15:21
17.   Mike Z
Tino should've hit for Stanton instead of Ruben. What was Joe thinking, sending up someone who is hitting .130 against righties?

That was absolutely disgraceful.

2005-06-06 20:16:52
18.   singledd
"Tino should've hit for Stanton instead of Ruben. What was Joe thinking, sending up someone who is hitting .130 against righties?"

I like Torre but I'm beginning to wonder. Tino was the OBVIOUS choice. Geez Joe... where's your head at?

2005-06-06 20:20:41
19.   uburoisc
Oh, Joe woke up and realized what Womack was for. Ruben stunk in the clutch--cut him loose. Jeter discovers that defense in the outfield does make a team better. Can we get that guy next year, or maybe have him come in and give a seminar on how to get a jump on the ball?
2005-06-06 20:21:18
20.   Simone
At least, Womack didn't start. I view that an improvment. Hopefully, Joe keeps him out of the line up. I've decided that RJ's struggles are similar to Clemens 1st season struggles in NY because it is the only thing that keeps me positive. Oh well, the Yankees try again tomorrow.
2005-06-06 20:21:56
21.   Mikey Bronx
It shouldn't take much for a Major League hitter to pull a ground ball to the right side to move that runner to third with no outs.

This team doesn't even come close to being fundamentally-sound. It's an entire lineup filled with hitters who can't put the ball in play.

Bases loaded with no outs and no runs?

It's sickening to watch.

2005-06-06 20:22:34
22.   dtrain
Torre's a creature of habit...he sent Ruben up because Ruben's role on the team is pinch-hitter. Creature of idiotic habits, that is. It was Don Zimmer who forced Torre to think outside the box during the glory years, and now that he's gone, Joe finds a formula and sticks with it whether it works or not.
2005-06-06 20:24:56
23.   Mikey Bronx
Oh, but it gets better -- we get two more years of Randy Johnson pitching six innings of mediocre baseball every five days to "keep the team in the game."
2005-06-06 20:27:29
24.   uburoisc
Yes, Simone, at least the ripple effect of 20 million people all bad vibing Joe about Womack finally worked--several weeks too late. Hopefully it will stick and we can all move on to Ruben, and collectively get him off the roster.
2005-06-06 20:40:05
25.   brockdc
"Can we get that guy next year...come in and give a seminar on how to get a jump on the ball?"

Good stuff.

2005-06-06 20:41:09
26.   tocho
Womack was not in the line-up because the starter was a lefty. He'll be there tomorrow, with his amazing OPS and soft ground ball POWER to all fields... As will BP Pavano (TM).

This is getting really difficult to watch, now I know what a Orioles fan used to feel like.

2005-06-06 21:56:30
27.   Jeff P
"Now this is a lineup I can get to like:

Jeter
Matsui
Sheffield
Rodriguez
Posada
Giambi
Williams
Cano
Johnson"

I'd prefer to see Giambi batting BEFORE the sluggers rather than after. Put him at two or nine, and let the guys following drive him in.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.