According to pretty much everybody, Milwaukee's first nine games after the All-Star break are the most vital games ever, making the previous 85 Brewers contests all but meaningless. People are saying this because 1. Such statements cause reaction and panic, which creates more page views, and 2. It's sort of true.
The Crew resumes its schedule with consecutive three-game sets against division rivals (and teams with better records) Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Perfection is a must. Anything less only gives Milwaukee 68 games to make up ground (IMPOSSIBLE!). Sensing the urgency, the Brewers front office made some serious noise (the noise of filling out basic paperwork) with some All-Star break moves.
Tim Dillard. DEMOTED!!! Tyler Thornburg. Wake up, bitch, you're a Brewer again! Taylor Green. Go back to Nashville and reconsider your choice in at-bat music! And, finally, Jeff Bianchi... welcome to Milwaukee.
By my count, the Brewers have put a "6" beside five names on lineup cards this season: Cesar Izturis (33 games), Cody Ransom (32, though some of those are from when he was with the Dbacks and I'm too lazy to figure that shit out), Alex Gonzalez (24), Edwin Maysonet (18) and Brooks Conrad (1). Bianchi's arrival signals a sixth shortstop in Milwaukee's future. If and when (and, let's be serious, if) that time comes, it will also be the inaugural big league appearance of the 25-year-old minor league journeyman. So, what the fuck, let's learn some shit about this dude.
Name: Jeffrey Something Bianachi.
Pronounced: Hopefully not. That means he's in the game.
D.O.B.: Does it matter? I just said he's 25. Could revealing his birthday is in October somehow reduce his value more? "Libras can't pick up curveballs."
How acquired: The team expressed remote interest to his agent. The rest kind of worked itself out.
Bio: Amazingly, was taken in round two (50th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in the 2005 MLB Draft, ahead of a plethora of more successful second rounders such as Travis Wood, Nolan Reimold, Kevin Slowey, Yunel Escobar, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Tom Italiano... who isn't successful but has a funny name nonetheless. Bianchi was also nabbed 65 picks before Milwaukee took Mat Gamel, who shares a Twitter account with his wife.
Anyway, Bianchi got hurt a bunch--including a torn laburm in 2006 and missing all of 2010 due to the oh-so-rare shortstop Tommy John. He was released by KC, picked up by the Cubs (obligatory "boo" for some reason), released again, picked up by the Brewers, all Milwaukee's backup middle infielders were bit by an outbreak monkey, and here we are... present day 'Merica.
Bats: At an acceptable level for a man who, to this point, has been facing pitchers oftentimes as young as five years his junior. Basically an average in the low .300s and zero power.
Throws: Somehow. It's miraculous, considering his surgically mutilated shoulder. I bet it looks all gnarly. I'm seriously about to charf just thinking about all that scar tissue.
Strengths: More ACLs than Alex Gonzalez. Is not Cesar Izturis.
Weaknesses: Is a younger and more injury prone Cesar Izturis. Doesn't have the best movie quote out there.
Ron Roenicke says: "He's a right-handed bat."
I say: I've been wrong plenty of times. I said Casey McGehee wouldn't make the team in 2009 before he had two good seasons (and one pretty terrible one). There was a brief time when I thought the film MacGruber might not be incredible. I spent, like, 24 years on this planet before trying chorizo. So, yeah, I don't always think things through.
Who knows, maybe Jeff Bianchi will kill it off the bench and make Jody Reed look like Turner Ward by comparison. But he probably won't. And as inconsequential as this move--which basically equates to swapping out Taylor Green, who has huffed turbodong so far--is, it seems to signal the team throwing shit at the wall (on the lineup card) and seeing what sticks. The Brewers are up in the air alright. And trusting at-bats to a player off the bench who currently lacks a single MLB plate appearance can't be a sign the Brewers will land in a cushy place when they come down from this uncertain levitation.
Favorite color: Burnt Sienna.