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Old 02-08-2020, 08:41 PM   #1041
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Week 12, June 27-July 3, 1976

Brewers record: 3-1 (week), 48-27, 1st place, MGL (season).

Short week with the All-Star game on Saturday, July 3rd.

June 27, versus Los Angeles: 3-5.

The Brewers drop the rubber match against L.A. with Erik Sloan (8-4, 2.74) getting the loss, having allowed 3 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings. Joe Willemse went 2 for 4 in the loss, hitting his 7th double and swiping his 4th base.

June 29-July 1, at Phoenix: 8-5, 8-3, 7-1.

The Brewers close out the symbolic first half of the season with a three game set in Phoenix against the 8th place Speed Devils.
In the first game the Brewers are led by Brett Taranto- who went 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, hitting his 7th triple and 4th homer- to an 8-5 win. RodRod was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and hit his 16th double. If Sadahige Kawasaki is the unluckiest pitcher on the Brewers staff this season, Cheol-han Lee is the luckiest. Cheol-han (9-1, 3.67) wasn't particularly sharp- giving up 5 runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3rds innings- and still got his 9th victory.

Sekien Hamasaki (6-3, 3.00) did a nice job in the second game, giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits over his 8 innings pitched for the win. Another nice game for Brett Taranto, who collected 3 hits in 5 AB's, scoring twice, and hitting his 5th HR. Brad Sherman also went 3 for 5 and drove in 2 runs.

The calendar flips to July and the Brewers stay hot, closing out the sweep with a 7-1 win behind captain Matt Helm. Matty (6-0, 2.47) gave up not a single run on 3 hits over his 8 innings pitched. Joe McPhillips went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI in the win. McPhillips also picked up his 14th stolen base (in 17 tries). Brett Taranto, naturally, went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored and hit his 19th double and extends his hitting streak to 20 games.

Notes from around the league:
The El Paso Dawgs, long the doormats of the Shoeless Joe League, head into the All-Star break in 1st place with a 48-27 record! Columbus (47-28) is just 1 game out, with the Milwaukee Cadets- another team without much history of winning- in 3rd place at 43-32, 5 games back.
The Brewers go into the break hot and now have a 5 game lead over the Brooklyn Aces (43-32). L.A. is in third (41-34, 7 games out.)
Brett Taranto leads all of the WPK in batting average at .378, OPS at .984, is 2nd in the MGL in RBI at 50, and 3rd in batter WAR at 3.7.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:27 PM   #1042
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Taranto leads MGL to All-Star game victory!

You've got to love it when the three top stars in the All-Star game are two current Brewers and one former Brewer.
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Brett Taranto continues his magical season, shining in the mid-season classic to help lead the MGL to a rather easy win.
Brewer starter Steve Green gave up a run in the 1st inning, but Taranto evened the score in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double. He hit another big run scoring double in the 5-run fourth inning when the MGL took the lead for good.
Zacarias Martell collected 1 hit in his lone official at-bat, also walking twice and scoring a pair of runs. Josh Schaeffer went 1 for 2 with 2 runs scored and a walk.
Tim Shore pitched a scoreless 8th and Jason Gottula pitched a scoreless 9th to close things out for the MGL.
A pretty good day for Brewers all around.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:30 PM   #1043
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Bobby Erbakan well enough to resume playing

The good news is that Brewers star second baseman Bobby Erbakan is healthy enough to begin playing again. He has been sent to AAA Chester for a rehab assignment.

The bad news is that he is officially considered a fragile player now.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:00 AM   #1044
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Hiatt to Brooklyn for Pester

The Brooklyn Aces and Charlotte Sting pulled off a bit of a blockbuster trade today when the Aces sent left fielder Adam Pester to Charlotte for starting pitcher Mike Hiatt.
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Pester has not made himself into a household name since being chosen by the Aces in the 2nd round of the 1966 draft, but he is a consistently solid all-around player, with a fine bat and great speed. There are some questions about his durability.
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Hiatt, on the other hand, is a durable but often inconsistent starting pitcher. But when he is on, he can be lights out, as his two no-hitters, including a perfect game against the Brewers in 1972, testify. He didn't have a great first half but he certainly adds depth to an already very strong Brooklyn rotation.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:08 PM   #1045
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Week 13, July 5-10, 1976

Brewers record: 4-2 (week), 52-29, 1st place, MGL (season).

July 5-7, versus Brooklyn: 1-0, 12-10, 3-4

Coming out of the All-Star break the Brewers first take on the 2nd place Brooklyn Aces, the team most likely to be their prime rival for MGL supremacy this season.
And in the first game the fans in Denver see a pitching duel between Sadahige Kawasaki and Brooklyn lefty Shannon Petrik. Kawasaki (5-5, 2.54) prevails, hurling 7 1/3rd scoreless innings and giving up just 3 hits. He got an assist from Jason Gottula, who pitched the last 1 2/3rds, flawlessly, to pick up his 7th save. RodRod went 3 for 4 in the victory and Joe McPhillips hit his 14th double.

A very different game on Tuesday evening for game 2. The pitching match-up of Cheol-han Lee against Aaron McNally did not produce the kind of outcome one would expect. Cheol-han gave up 4 runs on 9 hits over 6 2/3rds innings while the reigning back-to-back Triple Crown winner and Pitcher of the Year McNally gave up 7 runs (6 earned) on 11 hits in just 6 innings of work. Zacarias Martell helped lead the Brewers to victory in the slug-fest, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Walter Hackler (1-0, 5.63) got the win in relief with Tim Shore getting the final 2 outs for his 10th save.

In the final game of the series, the Brewers came back late to erase a 3-0 deficit but then saw Brooklyn win it in the 11th inning. Steve Green gave up 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings in a no-decision for him. Damian Hahn (0-1, 3.27) suffered the loss, in spite of pitching pretty well. Joe McPhillips went 2 for 4 with 1 run scored and 1 driven in.

July 8-10, at San Francisco: 3-10, 11-3, 2-1.

The Brewers then head west to take on the streaking San Francisco Velocity, who came into the series having won 6 straight.
And in game 1, the Velocity make it 7 victories in a row with an easy win over Denver. Matty Helm (6-1, 2.72) gives up 4 runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3rds innings to take his first loss of the season. And reliever Antonio Nieves goes the rest of the way, allowing 6 more runs on 7 hits. Nieves promptly gets sent back to AAA the next morning. Brett Taranto went 2 for 4 in the loss, hitting his 8th triple of 1976.

The Brewers flip the script in game two as they walk away with an easy victory, sparked by a great game from lead-off hitter Josh Schaeffer. Schaeffer went 2 for 3, scored 3 runs, drove in 2 more, and walked 3 times to raise his WPK best bases on balls total to 67. Brett Taranto continued to rake, going 2 for 5, hitting his 20th double, 9th triple, and driving in 4 runs to raise his team-leading total to 57. And Joe McPhillips contributed a 3 for 4, 3 RBI game, including hitting his 15th double. The Brewers got a fine start from Sekien Hamasaki (7-3, 2.96), who is building a case for more regular starts. Hamasaki gave up 2 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings pitched, striking out 7 and walking just 1. He also went 2 for 4 at the plate, scoring twice.

The Brewers get another series victory by scoring 2 late runs to over-take the Velocity in a low-scoring affair in game 3. Erik Sloan pitched well, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits over 6 innings, but did not get the decision. The win went to Walter Hackler (2-0, 4.09) and Tim Shore got the save, his 11th. Brett Taranto went 2 for 4 and drove in what would prove to be the winning run with an RBI single in the 8th inning.

Notes from around the league: What's gotten into those El Paso Dawgs? Long the most bedraggled organization in the WPK, the Dawgs are finally having their day. They now lead the SJL over Columbus by 3 games (51-30 to the Whalers 48-33.) Milwaukee (45-36) is in 3rd place, 6 games out.
The Brewers now lead the MGL by 6 games over the red-hot L.A. Spinners (46-35.) The Brooklyn Aces fall back to 3rd place at 45-36, 7 games off the mark. And the San Francisco Velocity, at 43-38, are next, 9 games behind the Brewers.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:51 PM   #1046
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Week 14, July 11-17, 1976

Brewers record: 6-0 (week), 58-29, 1st place, MGL (season).

Well, that was a nice week.
It should be noted that after tearing up AAA pitching in a short rehab stint, Bobby Erbakan rejoined the Brewers to start the week. (Splendid fielding, weak hitting, Nick Ward was sent down to Chester to make room.) Now, Bobby didn't exactly sparkle at the plate in his first week back but he really solidified that infield defense again, making several spectacular plays. (Rich White, meanwhile, was finally healed enough to head to Chester for his rehab stint and hopefully will be back at short in Denver soon to give us back our up the middle starters.)

July 11-13, at Oklahoma City: 2-0, 2-1, 6-2.
The Brewers sweep the Diamond Kings in Oklahoma City on the strength of great pitching.

In game 1, Sadahige Kawasaki (8 IP, 3 H) and Jason Gottula combine to shutout the home team. Kawasaki improves to 6-5 with a 2.36 ERA and Gottula gets his 8th save in as many tries and sees his ERA drop to 1.66. Andrew Kennedy and Brett Taranto each went 2 for 4 in the game and Josh Schaeffer walked 4 times.

Game 2 saw Cheol-han Lee improve to 10-1 (3.66) on the season as he gave up just 1 run on 8 hits over 6 innings pitched. Three relievers combined to get the Brewers to the finish line with the narrow lead (John Weaver, Eric Marino, Tim Shore) with Tim Shore getting his 12th save of 1976. A pair of big outfield assists helped keep the Brewers in front- one by Joe McPhillips, who threw out a runner attempting to stretch a single into a double early in the game, and more importantly Izzy Veliz, playing right field, throwing out a runner at home plate in the 8th inning.

In the final game of the set, the Brewers got another fine start by Steve Green (7-5, 2.60) and this time gave him some run support for a rather easy victory. Green gave up 2 runs on 6 hits over 8 innings. Zacarias Martell led the way on offense, going 2 for 2 with 3 runs scored and 3 walks.

July 14-16, versus Charlotte: 6-4, 1-0, 8-3.

The Brewers come home to take on the Sting.
In game 1, Joe McPhillips breaks out with a 2 homer game. (This season has seen home runs at a premium as the two top individual HR leaders in each league have only 10 HR's.) McPhillips went 3 for 4 in the game, scoring 3 runs, driving in a pair, hitting his 16th double in addition to the two long balls (which gets him to 6 on the season.) Matt Helm (7-1, 2.88) is the happy recipient of the run support. Helm gave up 4 runs on 8 hits over 7 2/3rd innings but picks up the win. Tim Shore gets save #13. RodRod went 4 for 5 in the win, hitting his 2nd triple.

And then in the middle game of the series the Brewers get another spectacular combined shutout. Sekien Hamasaki (8-3, 2.70) got the start and allowed just 6 hits over 7 innings. Hamasaki is really starting to make a name for himself with his fine outings. Jason Gottula picked up the save by getting the final out of the game after Tim Shore got into a bit of trouble. For Gottula it is save number 9. Joe McPhillilps, perhaps starting to heat up for a strong second half (fingers crossed), went 3 for 3 in the win.

The Brewers close out the series, and the week, with a strong come-from-behind win. Another great game for RodRod, who went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI and raises hit batting average up to .292. Veteran outfielder Brad Tesh also contributed big with a 2 for 5, 3 RBI game, hitting his 7th double. Erik Sloan (9-4, 2.72) got the win, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits over 8 innings.

Notes from around the league:
The El Paso Dawgs are on a roll while the Columbus Whalers are scuffling big-time. The Dawgs (56-31) have won 7 of their last 10 and now lead the Whalers by 6 games. The Whalers have lost 8 of their last 20 games and have a 50-37 record. The Milwaukee Cadets still hold down 3rd place, at 48-39, 8 games out.
In spite of the L.A. Spinners continuing to play very well (8-2 in their last 10 and 51-36 on the season) the Brewers maintain a 7 game lead over them. The Brooklyn Aces are 9 game out in 3rd place, with a 49-38 mark.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:16 PM   #1047
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RodRod MGL Player of the Week

It's been a somewhat disappointing season for last year's MGL Rookie of the Year but RodRod has been hot at the plate of late.
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To be fair, his 14 errors does mark an improvement over last year.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:09 AM   #1048
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Sam Rogers to retire at end of season

Sam Rogers was one of the original Brewers and the team's captain for the three plus years of the team's existence.
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Yesterday the 36-year old 3-time All-Star catcher announced he would be calling it quits as a player at the end of the current season. Rogers was wildly popular with Brewers fans and has been a great leader during his career and he will be missed. But don't be too surprised if he turns up again in a coaching role before long.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:40 PM   #1049
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WPK Franchise Report: the El Paso Dawgs (SJL)

Now seems like a great time to take a closer look at the El Paso Dawgs of the Shoeless Joe League.

In the history of the WPK up to this point no team has a worse winning percentage than the Dawgs, unless you count the two expansion clubs, who just came into existence last season. (And even one of these, the Chicago Fire, is tied with El Paso in winning percentage.) The highest finish they have had in the standings was in the inaugural season of 1965, when they came in 5th in the SJL. It was also the only season in which they finished with a winning record. Last season, the Dawgs came in 11th place (next to last) and lost 93 games.
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And yet, here we are nearly to August of the 1976 season and the Dawgs are leading the SJL by 5 games and only the streaking Denver Brewers have a better record.

How did we get here?

History/Overview:
Well, first of all it doesn't hurt to have a lot of high draft picks over the course of many years. But of course a team has to draft wisely and develop their prospects in order to turn things around. And it is starting to appear that the Dawgs did just that. Starting pitcher Dan Bottom, winner of the 1974 SJL Pitcher of the Year award, and off to a great start this season (12-4, 2.54) was the 3rd pick overall in the 1969 draft. Their third starter, Evan Perez, was taken with the 20th pick of the 1970 draft. Talented young shortstop Nathan Littlepage was taken with the 6th pick overall in the 1974 draft. Closer Kyle Newsome was the 1-1 in the 1972 draft. And emerging superstar outfielder Pete Wiederkehr (more about him below) was the 3rd overall pick in 1973. All are playing significant roles in the emergence of the Dawgs as a contender.
They have also traded well, getting the hard working excellent defensive right fielder Anthony Schaer from Brooklyn last year, fine starting catcher Spencer Wilson from Denver in an off-season trade in 1973 (granted the Brewers got both RodRod and backup catcher Kirk Patnode in the deal), the superb and speedy outfielder Mike Schimmel from Jacksonville in 1970 (a trade that sent the great starting pitcher Ray Hartwig to the Wolf Pack, where he would help them win a championship in 1973, and then retire).
And they made one brilliant foray into the free agency market when they signed veteran third baseman and fan favorite Trevor Leach to a six-year deal. (More about Leach below.)
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The Ballpark:
The Dawgs play in cozy Arsenal Park. It's not one of the larger parks in the league as it seats 35,500, but with a very big market size and a loyal fan base, with the winning record this season the team is experiencing a boom in attendance, up 30.2% from last season. Arsenal Park is a fairly neutral environment, favoring pitchers perhaps just slightly but not a bad park for home run hitters.
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The Face of the Franchise:
As mentioned earlier, the great and extremely well-liked Trevor Leach joined the team as a free agent prior to the 1975 season and has been a great acquisition so far. At age 32 he provides veteran guidance for a young team and is still a very productive hitter and fine third baseman.
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One to watch for the future:
As mentioned above, the Dawgs have quite a few good young prospects, but none so dynamic as center fielder Pete Wiederkehr, who is on pace for a tremendous rookie season that will likely end with at least a few award celebrations. Wiederkehr is looking like the SJL equivalent of the Brewers own Joe McPhillips, but with even more contact ability and a less developed eye and much weaker throwing arm.
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A few notes in conclusion:
If there is a danger for the Dawgs it is the fragility of their starting rotation. The rotation is a big part of their success this year but ace Dan Bottom has struggled to stay healthy for a full season and second starter Adam Buhman is particularly susceptible to back issues. Evan Perez profiles as durable but fifth starter Nobushi Imamura, who El Paso astutely claimed off waivers from Houston last summer, also profiles as fragile.
The bullpen is also a liability and ranks 9th in ERA in the SJL.
On the other hand, the Dawgs have the best defense, probably in all of the WPK. And they have good team speed, ranking 3rd in stolen bases and 1st in base running.
No matter what happens this season, it has to be said that things have never looked brighter for the organization and Dawgs fans should have many happy days ahead.
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Old 02-15-2020, 02:44 PM   #1050
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Go Dawgs!
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:07 PM   #1051
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L.A. star catcher Greg Foster to the IL!

The L.A. Spinners have been playing great baseball of late and are maintaining a spot still within striking distance of the even more en fuego Brewers (spoiler alert: Brewers have won 12 of their last 13 games), and sit at 6 games out in the MGL.

But they did not get good news today as it was announced that their 4-time All-Star catcher Greg Foster will be on the IL and out for likely at least a month and half. Foster is actually dealing with two injuries- a quadriceps strain that is likely to affect his mobility for about a month and the more serious severe hip strain which is expected to take about six weeks to heal. Foster is arguably the best hitting catcher in the WPK and is also a 3-time Gold Glove winner (though, to be fair, his defense profiles as basically league average at this time.)
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Then again, Spinners fans might not be panicking too much, since their backup catcher is Jason Ott, who was chosen 2nd overall in the 1971 draft and looks like he is on his way to being perhaps the best catcher in the league.
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:52 PM   #1052
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Week 15, July 18-24, 1976

Brewers record: 5-2 (week), 63-31, 1st Place, MGL (season).

July 18-20, at Baltimore: 2-0, 6-4, 11-5.

The Brewers take an 8-game winning streak with them to Baltimore to take on the 8th place Lords. And they leave Baltimore with an 11-game winning streak.
Game 1 sees Sadahige Kawasaki hurl a shutout, with a little help from Jason Gottula (pretty much the same as his last start.) Kawasaki (7-5, 2.20) gave up 6 hits over 8 innings pitched. For Gottula it was his 10th save in as many tries. It was a scoreless tie going into the 9th inning and a RodRod 2-run single was the difference maker. RodRod went 2 for 4 in the game and hit his 17th double.

In the second game Cheol-han Lee continues his lucky season, as he gets his 11th win in spite of allowing 4 runs on 10 hits over 7 2/3rds inning pitched. Cheol-han is now 11-1 with a 3.65 ERA. Jason Gottula picks up another save, his 11th, and sees his ERA drop to 1.52. Andrew Kennedy led the offense with a 3 for 5, 2 RBI game and hit his 14th double.

The third game wasn't as close as the final score even makes it look, as the Brewers were leading 9-0 going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Steve Green pitched great for 6 1/3rd innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and improves to 8-5 with a 2.61 ERA. The bullpen was a bit shaky (Ben Flynn, as has so often been the case this season, being the weak link) but they held on and the offense scored a few more runs to easily get the road sweep. Zacarias Martell was the hitting star, going 4 for 5 with 1 run scored and 3 driven in and hit his 12th double of the season. Little Joe Willemse, who has been doing a fine job filling in at short in the absence of Rich White, went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored and hit his 9th double. The Brewers also hit an uncharacteristic three homers (in this HR deprived season)- RodRod hit his 1st of the season, Brad Tesh his 2nd, and Bobby Erbakan his 3rd.

July 21-23, versus Detroit: 6-9, 11-5, 2-3.

The Brewers return home to Centennial Stadium to take on the last place Detroit Falcons, who historically have been a pesky team for the Brewers even when they aren't very good.

And sure enough, the Falcons stop the Brewers winning streak by taking a topsy-turvy game 1. Having been down 4-2 going into the 7th inning the Brewers scored three times in the bottom of the 7th to take the lead. And then gave up five 9th inning runs to give up the hard-earned lead. Although the Brewers threatened in the bottom of the 9th, scoring once, they fell short. It didn't help that starter Matt Helm had to leave the game in the 2nd inning with a sore elbow (he is expected to be ready to go again with his next start only pushed off a day or two), and the bullpen just couldn't quite get to the finish line in spite of some solid innings from John Weaver and Damian Hahn. Tim Shore (1-3, 2.66) took the loss and had probably his worst outing of the season. Bobby Erbakan went 3 for 5 in the loss, driving in two runs but also committing his 4th error. RodRod went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, and hit his 18th double of 1976.

The Brewers bounced back in game 2, led on offense by Joe Willemse, who went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, and 1 walk, though he also was caught stealing for the 3rd time and committed his 9th error. Sekien Hamasaki (9-3, 3.01) pitched better than his line score would indicate. Although he gave up 5 runs on 7 hits over 6 2/3rds innings, all but 1 of those runs came in his last inning and his manager (yes, that would be me) should have seen the fatigue in his face and pulled him a few batters sooner. He also was done no favor by reliever Ben Flynn, who allowed his one inherited runner to score. Andrew Kennedy, hot at the plate of late, went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored in the win.

But the pesky Falcons took the series with a 1-run victory in game 3. Erik Sloan (9-5, 2.64) gave up 3 runs, though only 1 earned, on 8 hits over his 6 2/3rd innings pitched. The Brewers could not solve former teammate Hector Hard, who improves to 10-6 (2.54 ERA) with the win. Little Joe Willemse went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored in the loss.

July 24, versus Portland: 2-1.

The first game of three against the Portland Wild Things started off with some classic Ruben "Streak" Souffront action. Ruben beat out a squibber in front of the plate to reach first base, leading off the game. He then stole second. And third. And scored on a fly ball hit far too shallow to right for a player with mere mortal speed to score on, especially with Josh Schaeffer's excellent throwing arm. And that was it for the scoring until the Brewers managed to tie things up with a run in the bottom of the 8th. Sadahige Kawasaki got the start, and very nearly the identical results as his last two starts, except this time he allowed a single run on just 4 hits over 8 innings, and got a no-decision. And once again he was followed by Jason Gottula (2-2, 1.73), who this time got the win. And he got the win because of the Denver Brewers 1976 MVP, Brett Taranto, whose single scored Bobby Erbakan from 2nd base (Erbakan had walked, Joe McPhillips had reached on a infield single to send him to second) to end the game in walk-off fashion. A Joe McPhillips strike to home plate to stop the speedy Aaron Rains from scoring and end the top of the 7th inning was also key.

Notes from around the league:
The El Paso Dawgs (60-34) maintain a 6 game lead over Columbus (54-40) in the SJL. Milwaukee (51-43) is 9 games out in 3rd place.
The Brewers finish the week with a 6 game lead over the red-hot L.A. Spinners (57-37) and a 9 game lead over 3rd place Brooklyn (54-40.)
Brett Taranto still leads all of the WPK in batting average (.367), OPS (.936), is 2nd in the MGL in RBI (62), 3rd in batter WAR (4.6) behind two Brooklyn stars, Felix Lopez and Jeremy Brigatti, who are tied at 4.8.
Sadahige Kawasaki is 3rd in the MGL in ERA (2.13). And Cheol-han Lee's 11 wins puts him in a tie with Aaron McNally and, amazingly, L.A.'s great reliever Shouta Hori.
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:58 PM   #1053
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Harry Lyerly pitches shutout for Philly

Our old friend Harry Lyerly started the 1976 season in the Portland Wild Things bullpen but was cut by that team in early May.
Fortunately for him, the SJL's Philadelphia Mud Hens decided to take a chance on him and signed him to a minor league contract a few days later.
Harry has made his way into the Philadelphia starting rotation and has done a fine job thus far, including hurling an 8-hit shutout against the Washington Night Train yesterday.
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Nice to see that Harry still has some career left in him. He is, after all, only 28 years old. Here's hoping to many more good seasons for the hard-throwing righty, especially if they all happen in the SJL and not against our Brewers.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:07 PM   #1054
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Intriguing trade offer received as deadline approaches

Intriguing, but not actually tempting.
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The Milwaukee Cadets have offered to trade us starting pitcher Art Ferrante for catcher Zacarias Martell and minor league prospect Billy Ferguson.

Now, the intriguing part is that Art Ferrante is a terrifically talented pitcher, a strong leader, and would fit into the Denver pitching philosophy as an extreme groundball type. But he's also fragile. And really, how many great pitchers can one rotation hold? Pitching is definitely not a need for the Brewers, especially with the emergence of Sekien Hamasaki this season.

And Martell remains a very valuable asset and is wildly popular in the clubhouse and with the Brewer fans.
(Ferguson probably wouldn't be a huge loss, though our scouting staff still thinks the 22-year old left fielder has great bat potential, including plus power. But he's slow, a sub-par fielder, and reportedly lazy and not a great team-first guy, so he's not a favorite with the front office.)

Suffice it to say, the offer was summarily rejected.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:42 PM   #1055
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Nice post on the Dawgs, including the history leading up to their first real effort at fielding a playoff type team.
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:11 PM   #1056
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevem810 View Post
Nice post on the Dawgs, including the history leading up to their first real effort at fielding a playoff type team.
Thanks.
This is the kind of twist I love, watching a perennially horrible team turn into a contender. I am so rooting for the Dawgs (well, right up until they face the Brewers in the Kinsella Classic Series, if that happens. )
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:49 PM   #1057
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Cotton heading to San Antonio for Knighton

The Charlotte Sting today traded their outspoken starter Jalen Cotton to the San Antonio Keys for talented infielder Tony Knighton.
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The hard throwing and durable lefty Cotton has had an inconsistent career but there is no doubt about his talents. The Keys rotation, currently sitting at 7th in the SJL in ERA, can certainly use the assistance.
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With the loss of Knighton, it appears that for the moment the Keys will rely on a pair of veterans- Norm Howard and Kyle Watts, both former All-Stars- to man third base.

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The real question is how Charlotte will fit Knighton into their lineup. With third baseman Alex Villatoro in the midst of a breakout season it appears most likely that Knighton will return to his earlier position of second base instead of Amari Williams, who turned 30 a few days ago, is having a poor season, and is injury prone. And who will take Cotton's spot in the rotation? It isn't clear, but the most likely option is 30-year old Marino Misiano, who has the repertoire and stamina to start, but nothing like the level of talent of Cotton.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:45 AM   #1058
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August 1st Denver Brewers team review

Having received the latest development update from the scouting staff, now might be a good time to review how things look for the Brewers heading into the last two months of the season.

We will mostly focus on the big league club in this post but we will also touch on some minor league prospects as well.

Starting Rotation:
This has been perhaps the area of greatest strength for the Brewers this season. The rotation has the best staff ERA in the MGL at 2.75. They are a large part of why the team is 1st in the MGL in FIP (3.10), and WAR (19.1), and 2nd in strikeouts (430).

The clear ace is Sadahige Kawasaki (8-5, 2.06) even though his won-less record is one of the worst on the team due to poor run support and bad luck.
Cheol-han Lee (11-1, 3.60) is the mirror image of Kawasaki. His incredible record belies his underlying decline in talent. The most recent scouting report indicates that he is rapidly losing velocity and is down to averaging 87-89 mph with only his not very fast sinker being more than an average offering. His stuff is down to 3 (on a 1-10 scale) but he retains elite movement (9) and very good control (8). As an extreme ground ball pitcher with a great infield defense behind him, it is likely that Lee can retain value for awhile in spite of his poor stuff. He is also a durable innings eater.
Steve Green (9-5, 2.48) remains a fine middle of the rotation starter. The most recent scouting report indicates that if anything his control is getting better with age (up to 7). His cutter is elite, he gets an extreme amount of ground ball outs, and things look very positive for him going forward.
Left-handed veteran Erik Sloan (9-6, 2.65) is a great control pitcher and another ground ball inducer. His best pitch is his screwball and while his stuff isn't what it once was he remains a solid mid-rotation arm.
Team captain and lefty Matt Helm (7-2, 2.99) has arguably been over-achieving for several seasons now. He has a great slider but only a slightly above average cutter and a very average change-up. His stuff is only a bit above average as is his movement and his control is quite average. He doesn't have great stamina and he is injury prone. And yet, he remains a valuable starter and a great leader.
So, who has the second most wins on the Brewers staff? Well, that would be Sekien Hamasaki (10-3, 2.98) who started the season in the bullpen. Hamasaki has been the biggest revelation on the Brewers pitching staff this season. He has good stuff trending towards great, fine movement, and above average control. His slider is top of the line (10) and he pairs it with a good cutter (7), and a fine change-up (6). (His fourth pitch is a sub-par curveball.) Hamasaki is a ground ball pitcher with good stamina. He is smart and controls the running game well, especially for a right-hander.

The Bullpen:
The Brewers bullpen is much better in 1976 than it was in '75. Then again, there was nowhere to go but up. Currently the 'pen is 4th in the MGL in ERA at 3.56. But that is largely due to poor performances by Ben Flynn and a few other young relievers who have been up and down between AAA Chester and Denver this season.
Jason Gottula (2-2, 11 sv, 1.73) has been probably the best of the staff. The left-hander has appeared in 31 games and been nearly flawless. He has great stuff (with an elite curveball), elite movement, and good control. He is a hard-throwing ground ball pitcher and the latest development report is very positive.
Tim Shore (1-3, 13 sv, 2.66) is the right-handed counterpart to Gottula as a high-leverage late-inning arm. Shore's ERA has been inflated by one very bad outing lately, but mostly he has been quite good. He also has elite movement. His two pitch repertoire includes a plus fastball and a plus slider. There is some indication that his control might be diminishing a bit, but he remains a gifted reliever.
Left-hander Eric Marino (2-2, 1 sv, 2.38) is having the best season of his young career. He has an elite slider (10) and a good sinker (7). He has plus stuff with room to get even better, good movement, but struggles a bit with poor control. He has the stamina to be a multi-innings reliever and is fantastic at holding runners.
Young (23) John Weaver (3-1, 1 sv, 2.47), who came up through the minors as a starter, has been mostly pitching out of the 'pen this season, and doing an admirable job. Weaver has good stuff and good movement but is somewhat control challenged. He has a plus change-up (8), an elite fastball (9), an average knuckle curve (5) and a mediocre curveball (4). He is a durable ground ball pitcher with a great work ethic (sparkplug) but his stamina is just above average and he may end up being more valuable in the swing-man role he currently holds.
Walter Hackler (2-0, 0 sv, 3.77) started the season in AAA but has been doing a solid job since being brought up to Denver. He has a great fastball with room for growth which gives him plus stuff that has the potential to become elite. His control is good, not great, and the long ball might be a problem. He's a smart power pitcher who induces ground balls and should prove valuable as a Brewer reliever.
If you listen to the scouts Ben Flynn (2-3, 4 sv, 6.03) should be one of the best relievers in the game. It hasn't worked out that way yet. His big league ERA over parts of the last five seasons is 5.07 and he has been over 7 several times this season. He has bounced back and forth between AAA and the WPK this season. There have been a few signs of him turning things around in his last few appearances so he's earned a bit more time. He profiles with good stuff, great movement, and good control. His fastball is plus (8) with potential to be plus plus. He has a good curve-ball with some room for growth still, but a horrible change-up. He's durable, a great leader, has great stamina and is wonderful at controlling the running game. Oh, and he's a great hitter with maybe the best raw HR power on the team. And with all of that talent, he can't seem to get the results he needs on the mound.

The Catchers:
It's no secret that the Denver catchers have over-achieved at the plate the past few seasons. And predictably they have reverted to the mean somewhat this season. But it remains a very good duo.
Zacarias Martell (.293/.382/.388) has been hot of late at the plate and his numbers are pretty consistent and might reflect his actual ability as a hitter. His defense is good and he has a fine CERA of 3.08 but he is prone to passed balls and isn't great in controlling the running game (35.2% CS.)
Kirk Patnode (.254/.311/.297) has offensive numbers much more in line with what would be expected, but he's a marvelous back-stop, a durable player, and a good leader. His CERA of 2.54 speaks to his receiving abilities and he has a fine 46.7% caught stealing rate. He is the ideal back-up to Martell.

The Infield:
First baseman Brett Taranto (.355/.397/.505) has vastly exceeded his pre-season expectations. He is almost surely the Brewers MVP this season. Not only does he lead all of the WPK in OPS and batting average, but he is an excellent defender, only a tick below the multi-Gold Glove award level of Bobby Erbakan, if that. The recent scouting report indicates that his contact skills are better than thought with potential for elite levels. Then again, one could just watch him play this season and realize that.
Second baseman Bobby Erbakan (.304/.358/.397) just needs to stay healthy. And the indications are that, as he approaches his 30's, that might not be so easy. Defensively, in this his first year starting at second, he is nearly without peer (10). And while his raw foot speed isn't quite what it once was (7) he remains a great base-stealer and base-runner. He is a plus contact hitter with fine gap power and somewhat above average HR power. He's a superstar but his fragility might lead to steep declines soon.
Third baseman Rodrigo "RodRod" Rodriguez (.286/.309/.354) has seen offensive decline from his ROY of the year campaign in 1975. But he remains a very fine contact hitter with plus gap power and average HR power. He'll rarely strike out, but he'll also rarely walk. He has good speed, can steal bases, and has above average range at third and a great arm. He will fumble routine plays, routinely. But his 14 errors this season certainly puts him on a better pace than last year when he ended up with 32 defensive miscues. RodRod is considered fragile and with one of the Brewers best position player prospects Jose Figueroa having an excellent season in A-ball, RodRod's reign at third may not be long lived.
Shortstop:
When he has been healthy this year, Rich White (.326/.379/.484) is possibly the best shortstop in the game. He has given the Brewers Gold Glove level defense while also hitting much more than anticipated. He has a great eye at the plate and average pop and is a fine base runner with good speed, which has allowed him to beat out a good deal of infield hits, inflating his batting average. If we can keep White and Erbakan healthy, we have perhaps the best up the middle defense in the game.
Utility:
The primary utility infielder on the team is Joe Willemse (.284/.322/.335), and with the injuries to Erbakan and White he has received plenty of playing time. Willemse is a great and versatile defender, best at second base but also quite good at third (with a fine arm) and capable at short. He's smart and a decent little contact hitter with good foot speed (though not a great base stealer.) He would be sub-par as a starter but as a utility man he is gold.

Outfield:
Left fielder Andrew Kennedy (.353/.389/.426) is a pure contact hitter. He is tied (with Lazaro Lowndes) for the 5th best career batting average (.321) in WPK history. He's a good teammate, an average (at best) fielder, and an iron man. He is on pace for a 2.4 WAR this season. Which speaks to his limitations, given his great bat. He'll turn 30 this off-season and eventually we will surely need a replacement for him in left. But for now, he provides value.
Center fielder Joe McPhillips (.295/.369/.409) is one of the true superstar five-tool players in the WPK. It is probably a testament to how good he is that this season could be considered disappointing and he is still on pace for 5.8 WAR. He's a supremely gifted defender with a cannon arm (10). He's fast and knows what he's doing on the base paths. He has no flaws as a hitter. He's as hard-working as they come (sparkplug). And so far this season he has remained healthy (knocks on wood.)
Right fielder Josh Schaeffer (.289/.455/.366) is the most over-achieving lazy player I recall seeing. He has a reputation for sloth but I can't say I've seen it. The man can play right field with the best of them and has a great arm. He has good speed and is an excellent base stealer. He is currently the best in the business when it comes to getting on base. And if recent scouting reports can be trusted, his over-the-fence power is if anything on the rise (7). He will strike out a bit and his gap power is pretty average. But all in all, Schaeffer's a gem (and on pace for 5.1 WAR.)
Other outfielders: Brad Tesh (.224/.274/.309) is a celebrated veteran who might end up in the Hall of Fame. But since joining the Brewers, he just hasn't hit. He's a bit better defensively in left field than Kennedy so he's getting some starts. But if he doesn't start hitting soon he might not be around for the post-season, should the Brewers make it.
Izzy Veliz (.222/.300/.278) is a 25-year old hard-working gifted defender who was recently demoted to AAA Chester because he simply couldn't provide evidence he could hit big league pitching.
In his place the club promoted 23-year old Jon Williams. Rumor has it that Williams is a favorite in the front office, but the scouting staff is increasingly unimpressed with his big league potential. He profiles as an excellent defensive right fielder with an even stronger arm than Schaeffer. He has great speed (10) and savvy on the bases. And he might still develop slightly above power to go with his decent eye and strong ability to avoid striking out. And he's a good guy- a likable teammate. But his hit tool is average at best. Still, in his first game with the Brewers he collected 2 hits including a 3-run HR, so a good first impression at least.


The Top Prospects:
Starting pitcher Jim Atwell remains the top Brewer prospect and is having a fine season (3-2, 3.30, 1.13 WHIP) at AA Nashville. He's durable, hits triple digits, induces ground balls at great rates, has a curve ball that looks to be developing to elite levels, has excellent stamina, and good makeup. Hey, pitching prospects, well, you know. Still, this kid looks like the future ace.
And then we have Bryant Cox (7-6, 3.77) a level below him at Bainbridge. The latest development report indicates his control potential is greater than previously thought. He has three pitches that are already big league ready, two of which have potential to be elite. He's an extreme ground ball pitcher with already above average movement. His stamina isn't great (6) but he has clear potential to turn into at least a mid-rotation arm.
What to do with first baseman Mike Lovett? After a bit of slow start at AAA Chester he is starting to tear up the league (.323/.439/.595), has hit 21 HR's, walks more than he strikes out (65 BB, 52 K), and has the potential to win both batting titles and HR crowns. But he's a poor fielder and slow. And there is no DH in the WPK. Most importantly, how does he unseat a man who is having an MVP-type season in Taranto?
And finally, the future (probably) Denver third baseman, Jose Figueroa. Figueroa (.324/.354/.446) is having his best minor league season yet playing at single A Bainbridge this season. At 21 years old he still has room for growth but our scouting staff is high on his future. He should be an elite contact hitter with good gap power, average HR power, a great ability to avoid striking out, though not one prone to drawing many walks. He profiles as a well-above average defensive third baseman. He's slow but not disastrous on the bases. And his makeup, led by great humility, is very encouraging. He should be a starter and likely an All-Star.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:04 PM   #1059
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Week 16, July 25-31, 1976

Brewers record: 3-3 (week), 66-34, 1st place, MGL (season).

July 25-26, versus Portland: 3-4, 4-1.

The Wild Things take the second of three at Denver by coming back from being down 3-1 to tie things and take the game in extra frames, and then plating 1 in the top of the 10th and holding off the narrow victory. Cheol-han Lee did not get a decision, allowing 3 runs on 11 hits over 9 innings pitched. Eric Marino (2-2, 2.38) took the loss in relief. RodRod hit his 19th double and Bobby Erbakan his 4th HR in the loss.

The Brewers take the series though behind a fine complete game performance from starter Steve Green (9-5, 2.48) in game 3. Green gave up just 1 run on 9 hits over 9 innings. Rich White went 3 for 4 and drove in 2 runs, hitting his 19th double in the win. Joe McPhillips also went 3 for 4, scoring once. And Zacarias Martell hit his 3rd HR of 1976.

July 27-29, at Los Angeles: 8-3, 1-4, 3-5.

The Brewers then head to L.A. to take on the second place Spinners.
In game 1 the Brewers prevail as Sekien Hamasaki (10-3, 2.98) has another fine start, working 7 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits. Ben Flynn pitched the final 2 innings to get his 4th save. Bobby Erbakan was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and an RBI and hit his 6th double of the season.
In game 2, the Brewers fell victim to Obandomania. The 27-year old Mexican righty Eduardo Obando, probably the best story of the 1976 season, held the Brewers to 1 run on 6 hits in picking up the complete game victory to improve to 11-3 with a minuscule 1.69 ERA. Matt Helm (7-2, 2.99) took the loss, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings pitched. Joe McPhillips and Andrew Kennedy each had 3 hits apiece to account for all of the Brewers base knocks. Kennedy's first triple of the season was the only extra base hit for the visitors.
And the Spinners take the series led by veteran (and future HOF'er) Jesus Hernandez in game 3. Erik Sloan (9-6, 2.65) took the loss, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) in 6 1/3rd IP. Rich White went 2 for 4 with 1 run scored and 1 driven in.

July 31, versus Phoenix: 7-1.

After a travel off-day the Brewers return home to Denver to take on the Phoenix Speed Devils. And they get break their 2-game losing streak.
Sadahige Kawasaki (8-5, 2.06) stays hot, getting the complete game victory, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits. Bobby Erbakan went 2 for 2 with 3 RBI, 2 walks, and hit his 7th double in the win. And rookie outfielder Jon Williams, in his first big league start, picked up his first hit with an opposite field seeing eye single in the 6th inning. His second big league hit was a bit more impressive: a towering home run pulled into the left field stands with two men on base the following inning.


Notes from around the league:
In the SJL the Columbus Whalers (58-42) are starting to catch the El Paso Dawgs (62-38) again as they draw to within 4 of first place. The Milwaukee Cadets (55-45) are still in third, 7 games back.
The Brewers maintain a 6 game lead over L.A. (60-40) to end the week, and the month. Brooklyn (57-43) is 9 games off the pace.
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:51 PM   #1060
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July Batters of the Month (1976)

July was a good month for the old guys.

The two Batters of the Month- Jesus Casiano in the SJL and Felix Lopez in the MGL- are veterans headed into their mid-30's and pretty surely eventually to the WPK Hall of Fame in Dubuque.

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