The Brewers released Randy Wolf today. A curious move considering they are about to shut down two starters, but an understandable move nonetheless. Randy Wolf has not been very good in 2011. He has been unlucky, but luck can only account for so much. Anyone who has watched him pitch this season knows that no matter how hard he worked or how well he was throwing, he was always hittable. I don't want to throw around the S word because Wolf was a lot better than that dude, but there was the same sense of "the Brewers are going to need to score a lot of runs today" when he pitched. Fair? Probably not, but that's the way it worked out.
Is it too many years? Not really. You can expect Wolf to be average to above average this year with a slight drop off next year and then anything can happen in the third year. (Hopefully.) He could age well or he couldn't. I've been staring at his Baseball Reference page like it was the Carrie Prejean sextape for about two weeks now trying to figure him out and I think I'm getting there. Randy Wolf has only been awesome twice, last year and 2002. Don't expect him to be awesome. Yet he's only been crappy twice, his rookie year (doesn't count) and 2006 when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Don't expect him to be crappy either. After that every season of his career has been average to slightly above average and if he can do that, the Brewers will be extremely happy and you should be too.
I will not admit that this Brewers season is over because we're probably going to see a NL Wild Card that wins 85 games and that number does not seem impossible and I will not give up on the Brewers season because, seriously, what else am I going to do for the next three months? With that being said I will say that this season has still been incredibly disappointing, no fun and not at all what we thought it would be. But what did we really think it would be?
Vegas set the Brewers pre-season over/under win total at 84.5. They weren't ever going to be a team that ran away with the division. Did last season's 96-66 record distort our expectations? Probably, but we should always remember that team had +6 wins over it's Pythagorean record (or expected record) and was a league best 30-18 in one run games. Those are two things that are really hard to repeat. For the Brewers to make a return trip to the playoffs this year they once again need a lot of things to go right and thus far this season almost nothing has. This isn't a lack of "drive" or a team that doesn't "mentally have it", this is baseball. You play more games than any other sport and less teams make the playoffs than any other sport. A lot has to go right for any team to succeed.
Thus far they haven't succeeded and a lot of reasons have been thrown around as to why. Here are a few of the most popular:
Injuries, man. Injuries.
Offense is worse than last season.
And while there have been a myriad of problems with this season there really is only one thing that has kept the Brewers from being "in it" and that thing is the bullpen. No, seriously, it's not Rickie Weeks. It's the bullpen. It's not injuries. It's the bullpen. That's it. Seriously. Continue reading »
I figured I should probably write about some baseball today and I have a few things to say about the Brewers pitching staff, but not enough to make each individual one into it's own post. Here we go.
Yovani Gallardo: I was glad to hear that we signed this guy to a five year extension. An extension for a pitcher is always risky, but not giving a pitcher an extension when you expect him to be awesome is even riskier. That being said, I wonder if I will start spelling his name right on a regular basis by the end of the contract (always with the extra N). Or if this picture will ever get old. Doubtful on both ends.
Randy Wolf: I mentioned this on twitter and I was accused of being a bad fan. (You know because people who spend their time blogging about the Brewers obviously don't even really like them.) But I want to say it again, why did he get a standing ovation when he left the game on Tuesday? He pitched pretty good, but it wasn't amazing or even a quality start. (Not to mention the fact that he left runners on that could have potentially tied the game.) The only difference, of course, is that the Brewers had the lead when Wolf left. Is that how it works? Leave with the lead and you get an ovation? I'm curious.
Doug Davis: Not a great start for the Big Tuna exacerbated by the fact that he works slower than Betty White. I don't expect him to look that bad the next time out, but I also don't expect him to work any faster the next time out. On the bright side, a Davis start almost guarantees an extra half hour of beer sales during the game.
Jeff Suppan: Two bits of news came out on Jeff Suppan this week. The first being that he was named the team's fifth starter. I'll let Disciples of Uecker handle that. The second, that the reason he may have been injured was because of an uncomfortable pillow. The Brewers announcers did a fine job making fun of him for this.
As much as everyone hates this move (and it is a bad move in a win-now sense) I have to trust the brain trust on this one. Rick Peterson was hired to fix Manny Parra and if Rick Peterson says that Suppan should get the job while he works on Manny a bit more, I have to go with what he says. If Suppan is as bad as we think he is, he'll play his way out and if Narveson/Parra are as good as we think they are they'll play their way in. It'll all work itself out.
Trevor Hoffman: The countdown to 600 saves in left center is this year's coolest addition and makes me want to be there very badly when it finally happens. Of course, that means it will happen on the road. Second, "Hell's Bells" is still very, very awesome.
In a move that was surprising to Randy Wolf's mom, Patricia Gallardo's ex-boyfriend Joel and like, five other people Yovani Gallardo was named the Brewers Opening Day starter for 2010. It's quite a contrast to last season when manager Ken Macha decided that winning on Opening Day wasn't really a priority to him and started Jeff Suppan. (Yes, the same Jeff Suppan who the Brewers are currently considering paying a whole lot of money to not play for them.)
Macha actually said that he "thinks he's ready for it." Really? Do you think the sky is blue? Do you think sex leads to babies too, Ken? Seriously, this is something that should have been announced in May of 2009. Gallardo is the Brewers best pitcher, by far, and whatever "pressure" is put upon him by being the Brewers number one starter is as made up as my girlfriend who lives in Niagra Falls. You can't be sure if it was Gallardo's 2009 season where he became only the fourth pitcher in Brewers history to have 200 strikeouts in a season (despite skipping his last few starts), his spring training showing, the quality of the other options or something else that changed his mind, but he did. Whatever it was we should all take solace in the fact that Macha made the right choice this year.
Doug Melvin: It gives me great pleasure to introduce the man who I believe will single handedly turn around the Brewers next season, the man who will save our pitching staff and lead us back to the promised land of the playoffs, the man who will surely make up for the loss of the players we have let go and take us to our rightful place atop the National League, ladies and gentlemen Mr. Randy Wolf!
Randy Wolf: Thank you very much Doug. I just wanted to start by saying that although Milwaukee wasn't my first choice, they did offer me the most money and I am honored to be here. I think that we have a great chance to finish at least second next year and that should be awesome. Now, if you'd like to ask some questions I'd be glad to answer them. Continue reading »