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Old Yesterday, 02:59 PM   #801
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Brewers swap Flores, Sprague for Boston closer Gottula

In a continuing effort to fix their broken bullpen, the Brewers today traded away left fielder John Flores and minor league prospect Josh Sprague to Boston for left-handed closer Jason Gottula. The 24-year old Gottula is a groundball pitcher who possesses and excellent curve ball and should rarely give up the long ball while having plus stuff and above average control.
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He gives the Brewers bullpen a good 50-50 split in terms of handedness again and allows the team to send down righty Antonio Nieves, who clearly wasn't ready for the bigs.

With the trade of right-handed outfielder Flores, who has been slumping for some time since getting off to a terrific start this season, a spot was freed up on the roster for top prospect Jorge Gonzalez, who it was felt deserved the promotion.
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Old Yesterday, 03:22 PM   #802
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Obana to Houston

And sure enough, the Detroit Falcons ship out veteran second baseman Takeyuki Obana to Houston for a pair of moderate relief pitching prospects.

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Old Yesterday, 04:25 PM   #803
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Week 13- July 6-12, 1975

Brewers record: 3-3 (week), 52-29, 1st place, MGL (season).

This week was a tale of two series- one very good, the other horrible!

July 7-9, at Detroit: 3-1, 5-0, 5-1.

The Brewers return from the All-Star break to face the Falcons in Detroit.
And in game 1, Cheol-han Lee (10-2, 3.18) pitches a great game, working 8 innings and giving up just a single run (unearned) on 6 hits. Eric Marino (4.40) pitches a flawless 9th for his 3rd save. RodRod leads the offense with a 2 for 3, 2 run, 1 RBI game and hits double #19.
Game 2, more of the same in terms of great starting pitching. This time it is Erik Sloan (5-3, 3.19) who gives up nary a run in 8 innings of work, striking out 7 and walking 2 while giving up only 2 hits. Joe McPhillips was the hitting hero, going 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 3 RBI, hitting his 14th double and 10th HR.
Game 3, see games 1 and 2. This time Steve Green (8-2, 3.43) went the distance, giving up 1 run on 6 hits. Kirk Patnode (.374/.443/.458) continues his great year, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Chad Brown (.295/.331/.358) has been hitting well of late and went 3 for 4 in this one, picking up his 9th double of the season.

July 10-12, versus Los Angeles: 3-12, 1-3, 3-4.

After sweeping the Falcons on the road the Brewers return home to face the L.A. Spinners with a feeling of confidence. Nevermind that the Spinners were on a bit of a roll of their own, coming into town winners of 6 straight. And when the Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st they were feeling pretty good about themselves. And then Harry Lyerly (5-4, 3.89) gave up 5 runs, including walking in a run and giving up a Grand Slam to veteran superstar Jesus Hernandez, on the way to a disastrous outing and a humiliating loss for the home team. Lyerly gave up 9 runs on 8 hits in his 5 2/3rds innings. This game was a pretty good example of the three true things nature of Mr. Lyerly. He struck out 8 batters, walked 4, and gave up 3 HR's (2 to Hernandez.) Sepi Koller (.375/.436/.656) hit his 2nd HR as a Brewer in a 2 for 4 game but by then it was far too late, the bullpen having added to the problem, and the rout being a fait accompli.
Game 2 was at least closer, but the Brewers could never get anything started against veteran lefty Jose Santos. It was another fine start for Matt Helm (7-2, 2.37) but a tough luck loss. Helm gave up just 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings pitched but as the Brewers has scored none he left with a deficit that would not be erased. Jaden Francis rough season continues as he gives up 2 runs in his 1 inning pitched and sees his ERA rise to 4.71. Another good game for Kirk Patnode though, as he went 2 for 2 with 2 walks.
The Brewers waited until the 9th inning to blow game 3. Even though starter Sadahige Kawasaki (9-4, 2.94) gave up 3 first inning runs to the Spinners, he settled down after that and lasted 7 1/3rd with no further damage and the Brewers managed to plate 3 in the bottom of the 5th to even things. But then, even though the recently acquired Jason Gottula pitched pretty well, getting the final 2 outs in the 8th, in his first outing as a Brewer, he gave up a lead-off single in the 9th and then was lifted for Tim Shore, who could not keep the inherited runner from scoring. Gottula takes the loss but Shore should claim his share too. Since joining the Brewers Tim Shore sports a fun little 10.00 ERA. Yeah, that's going well. Little Joe Willemse (.306/.329/.419) at least did his part in this one, going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, his first 2 of the season (though he does have 5 triples.)

Notes from around the league: Columbus (55-26) continues to come back to the pack and now leads the SJL by just 4 games over Boston (51-30). The Philadelphia Mud Hens are on fire, having won 6 straight, and are in 3rd place with 46-35 record, 9 games off the pace.
The Brewers are lucky in that the Brooklyn Aces are also looking a bit flat right now, and therefore the Brewers still hold onto a 3 game lead (after having extended it to 5 games after the sweep of Detroit.) The red hot L.A. Spinners are now 5 games back in 3rd place.
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Old Yesterday, 06:39 PM   #804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdWatcher View Post
It was another fine start for Matt Helm (7-2, 2.37) but a tough luck loss. Helm gave up just 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings pitched.
I need the bats to back up my boy, Matt Helm! He was out there throwing daggers while our offense was lollygagging.
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Old Yesterday, 10:08 PM   #805
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1975 Mid-season Brewer report card

We officially reached the mid-way point of the 1975 season this week and it seems like a good time to take a closer look at how things have gone for the team so far this year.

Working our way down from the best aspects of the season so far down to the worst, with a mixture of grades for individual players and some larger aspects of the team's performance.

A: The highest grade goes to the catching tandem of Zacarias Martell and Kirk Patnode, not only for the basic stats of their performance and their intangible value, but also for the extent to which they have exceeded any expectations.
Let's look at it this way first: if you combine the offensive stats of these two catchers the numbers look like this- 289 AB, 49 R, 98 H, 18 doubles, 1 triple, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 37 BB, 34 K, .339 batting average, 3.1 WAR. That's a pretty darn good half season.
And they are both great defensively, with Martell ranking 1st in Range in the MGL and 5th in CERA, and Patnode ranking 2nd in Zone Rating and having an impressive 69.1% caught stealing rate, which would easily lead the league if he had enough chances to qualify. (Martell's 34.8% is tied for 7th in the league.)
And Martell is one of the hardest working, smartest, and most well liked players on the team while Patnode is a born leader.

A-: The starting rotation. The Brewers are 2nd in runs against in the league, 2nd in starting pitcher ERA, 1st in FIP, pitching WAR, and pitching strikeouts. And with the bullpen ERA ranked at 9th in the league, most of the positive numbers here are courtesy of the rotation. Also, given that the Brewers pitch their home games in one of the league's best hitting parks while the #1 ranked rotation- Brooklyn's- has the advantage of a pretty good pitcher's park for their home games, it is certainly arguable that the Brewers have had the most impressive, and almost surely deepest, rotation in the MGL. The weak link has been Harry Lyerly, but he will get his own grade below.

Also A-: Rodrigo "RodRod" Rodriguez and Andrew Kennedy. The only reason that these two don't get straight A's is that they are not great defenders. RodRod is actually a pretty decent third baseman, with decent range, a strong arm, and is great at turning the double play (not a talent that get's a lot of play at third, of course) but he will hurt you with the errors. He pretty easily leads the league in that category at his position with 13. And Andrew is just a steady but unspectacular left fielder and first baseman. But they have also been among the best hitters on the team and currently Kennedy leads the league in batting average while RodRod is third. Andrew's slash line of .376/.403/.457 puts him on pace for his best season yet and the 4.0 WAR he is on pace for is just below the 4.2 of his fine 1973 campaign. And RodRod has a slash line of .362/.410/.520 and is on pace for a WAR of 4.6, which is not too shabby for a rookie.

A-: Joe McPhillips. The only thing keeping Joe from an A or even A+ is the injury he sustained earlier in the season that kept him off the field for a month. He's caught up quick since coming back and leads the team in WAR (among position players) at 2.5. His OPS of 1.014 is easily the best on the team. And he's been looking more and more impressive in the field. Which leads to :

A-/B+: Outfield defense. When Ryan Rodgers is in left field, Joe McPhillips in center, and Josh Schaeffer in right this is more like an A, but on most nights the outfield combination is at least well above average if not outstanding.

B+: Josh Schaeffer. After getting off to an impressive start, Schaeffer has cooled off a bit. But with a slash line of .290/.385/.505 and still a team leading 11 HR's, and with signs of improved defense (which was pretty darn good to begin with), it's been a darn good season for Schaeffer, and he was at his best when the team needed him the most (while both McPhillips and Ryan Rodgers were on the IL.) Schaeffer leads the team in ISO (not counting Sepi Koller, who only has 43 PA), is 2nd to McPhillips in RBI at 41, and is 2nd in WPA to McPhillips.

B: Joe Willemse, Jorge Gonzalez, Sepi Koller. These three part-time players have all played better than expected when called upon. Willemse is making himself indispensable as the Brewers primary utility infielder. Jorge Gonzalez has earned a shot at a role in the outfield sooner rather than later. And while Koller likely doesn't have a future as a Brewer, he has proved he likely deserves a shot at the bigs, which he will probably get elsewhere before long.

B-: Bobby Erbakan, Ben Flynn. Erbakan hasn't been bad this year, but he hasn't been nearly as good as he was in his breakout 1974 season, or even really quite as good as he was the two seasons prior to that. And now he sits on the IL with a fractured finger. There is still time for him to have an impact down the stretch, but expectations were high and he hasn't met them thus far.
Ben Flynn has at times looked like one of the more stable members of the very poor bullpen (more about that below) and he's a good hitter who has been getting some playing time at first base also with Erbakan on the IL. This grade is mostly still about lower expectations mixed with signs of promise for the future, but he's been mostly a plus.

C+: Chad Brown, the infield defense. These two are related as shortstop Chad Brown is showing some declines in range and therefore defensive value. After another slow start the plate, Brown is hitting more or less at his career numbers (.294/.331/.355, this year, .278/.306/.363, career). But he is only on pace for a 2 WAR season and likely needs a change of position (to second base) or a change of scenery. The infield as a whole is suffering from his diminished skills, the absence of Bobby Erbakan's steadying presence at first, Jonathan Koch's increased propensity to commit errors (11 errors this season, career high of 12 last season) though he does remain a very good defender otherwise, and RodRod's error issues. It's not a horrible infield defense, but it isn't up to previous Brewer standards.

C: Harry Lyerly, and Ryan Rodgers.
As the weak link of an otherwise tremendous starting rotation Harry get's his own grade. And this is where one of the biggest conundrums of the Brewer front office lies. Harry is arbitration eligible at the end of the season, his last year before he can file to be a free agent. In a purely pragmatic sense, the thing that would make most sense for the Brewers front office is to either try to trade Harry now or non-tender him at the end of this season and let him got to free agency early. We have at least 2 (and maybe 3) pitchers at AAA right now who could probably give us comparable, if not more, production than Harry is and at a greater economic value. (Sekien Hamasaki really needs to come up soon and John Weaver could use a bit more seasoning but will likely be ready next year.) But he's Harry Lyerly, one of the most interesting stories and compelling characters in Brewer history so far, so this is a tough decision to make.
Veteran superstar outfielder Ryan Rodgers had a great 1974, one of his best seasons in years. And he came into this season with all indications being that he had lost little skill, if any. And yet, after suffering an injury earlier in the year, he currently has a slash line of .258/.431/.288. This from a man with a career batting average of .333 who has never hit below .300 in any of his 10 seasons prior to this one. He can still draw a walk and he still plays a solid outfield, but he's on pace for just a 1.9 WAR, this for a man with a 162 game average WAR of 8.0. Granted his BABIP is a very low .272 so there is probably a lot bad luck involved here. But still, at age 36 one has to wonder if our scout (and the OSA, for that matter) just haven't yet registered some significant declines in his game.

D: Jonathan Koch. Koch has a slash line of .241/.287/.328. He's on pace for a WAR of 0.8. He's theoretically our starting second baseman. This isn't cutting it. We have some solid options at AAA in David Bennett and Brett Taranto (Bennett the better defender, Taranto the better hitter) and Joe Willemse could certainly be an adequate option at this stage too. (In almost 100 fewer plate appearances than Koch, Willemse has more than double the WAR so far.) Rumor has it that Koch was originally part of the negotiations in the trade that brought closer Jason Gottula to the team. It seems the Brewers front office has been hanging on due to Koch's solid defensive skills (increased errors notwithstanding) and the belief that he will inevitably start to hit again (his BABIP is a very low .255) but given that there are plenty of other options, his time could be running out.

F: Bullpen, and team base-stealing and base-running.

The bullpen=dumpster fire. 'Nuff said.
As for base-stealing, please just stop trying guys. One of the requests from the owner this year was to improve our league ranking in stolen bases. We were 9th last season (out of 10) and are a solid 10 this year. But worse than that, our paltry 30 stolen bases have come at the cost of being thrown out attempting to steal 27 times. I really am getting to the point where I want to tell the guys, just don't try. It's not worth it.
Earlier in the season we were near the top though in base-running stats. Now we sit at 8th in the league. Not good.
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