Unlucky Number 4

by Kevin Kimmes

The number 4 seems to carry with it, a very vexing connotation in Wisconsin sports lore, and as of yesterday, the number has reared it’s ugly head again. With no disrespect to Paul Molitor, who’s number 4 was retired by the Brewers in 1999, the number is best known to carry hurt feelings over a former NFL quarterback named Burt something-or-another. However, as of last night, it has become the “Magic Number” for the St Louis Cardinals.

With Milwaukee’s’ loss to the Cincinnati Reds and St Louis’ win over the hapless Houston Astros,  it appears that the clock may be quickly approaching midnight on the Cinderella story that was the Brewers’ post season push. Now, is this to say that all hope is lost for the Crew? Absolutely not. Hell, it’s baseball, and if I’ve learned anything from watching the game over the years it is that just when things seem to be at their bleakest, the baseball gods have a funny way of throwing a 12-6 curveball that reshuffles the status quo.

If the Cardinals win today, again, DO NOT PANIC! They will pick up a win, maybe 2, over a lesser club like Houston. It’s just the way it is. The positive is that while Milwaukee may struggle with the Reds, they finish at home with 3 games each against the Astros and Padres, while St Louis will be at home taking on 2 teams that are contenders, the Nationals and Reds.

The Brewers can pull this out. It may however come down to sweeping these final 8 games to do it. Fans I ask one favor of you, don’t stop Brewlieving!

Wheel of Fielder

By Nathan Petrashek

It’s game show time here at Cream City Cables, and here’s today’s contestant, Prince Fielder.  Step right up, Prince, spin the wheel, and let’s see where your baseball destiny lies!

Texas Rangers.  I’m sorry, Prince, today just isn’t your day.  You see, while the Rangers could certainly use a power-hitting 1B or DH (Mitch Moreland and Michael Young, respectively, will probably fill those roles), today the Rangers announced that they had signed young Japanese righty Yu Darvish for $112MM ($52MM for negotiating rights plus a 6-year, $60MM contract).  Rangers GM Josh Daniels was reportedly “cornered” after the press conference, whereupon he announced that a Fielder deal was “unlikely,” adding, “I don’t expect we’ll do anything really big the rest of the winter.”

Seattle Mariners.  If you wish, you can reunite here with Jack Zduriencik, the man responsible for your drafting way back in 2002.  Unfortunately, those memories of past greatness are probably all you’ll accumulate in Seattle, as the team doesn’t look poised for competition for quite some time with the powerhouse Rangers and Angels in their division.  And not only that, the Mariners are said to have money limits (that’s code for “We can’t afford you”), so you’ll have to take less dough to not win.  Doesn’t sound like Charlie Sheen would be a fan of this arrangement.

Chicago Cubs.  I’m sure you weren’t thrilled to see Theo Epstein’s blockbuster trade involving future 1B Anthony Rizzo.  After all, teams don’t usually trade for an major-league ready first baseman prospect just so they can go out and sign a monster deal with a slugger at the same position.  Sure, the Cubs might be interested at the right price.  But then again, you’d have a lot of suitors if you lowered your demands.

Washington Nationals.  Would you like to buy a “W?”  Washington seems like a good fit:  they’re interested, their close to contending in the NL East, and they’re probably the only team that loves your agent (and by throwing oodles of cash at his clients, I’m sure the feeling is mutual). But word is they only want to go six years, possibly seven, a few shy of what you were looking for.  And what would Washington be without a little political intrigue?  The Nationals were closely watching the Darvish deal; now that another suitor has dropped out, the Nats know they hold all the cards.  Prepare for a tough negotiation here, Prince.

***

Well, Prince, the wheel is just about done spinning and the big black tile is headed your way.  You could have solved the puzzle; the Brewers dangled that 6-year, $120 million contract in front of you a few years ago, but you didn’t want any part of that.  And who could blame you; that $200 million space seemed so big, just tempting you to spin again.  But now that the  megadeal contract you’ve not-so-subtly yearned for (Remember when you changed your at-bat music to Pink Floyd’s “Money?”) doesn’t seem to be materializing, if you could do it all over again, would you trade the comfort the Brewers offered for this agonizing waiting game?

Revenge is the theme

The Brewers are on a five-game winning streak and look to close out the series against Washington tomorrow with a sixth.  And the name of the game in this series is revenge.

Three straight devastating losses to the sub par (21-27) Washington team set the Brewers back in April, dropping them below .500 again after they regained their footing following four straight losses to open the season.

In an interview with 1250 WSSP, Jonathan Lucroy didn’t mince words when asked whether the team was playing with a chip on its shoulder.  “Absolutely.  We’re still pretty bitter about that.  We don’t like getting beat like we did when we went there … I want to give them a taste of their medicine.”

The Brewers are well on their way.  Cory Hart absolutely hammered Washington starter Tom Gorzelanny and reliever Doug Slaten yesterday, racking up 3 HR and 7 RBI en route to an 11-3 Brewers victory.  Ironically, Hart, the victim of an early season DL stint, wasn’t even around during the sweep in Washington.  But Lucroy played in two out of the three games, and chimed in with two hits and an RBI.

Tonight, the Brewers clawed and scraped to beat the Nationals, 7-6, in a much closer contest.  Starter Chris Narveson pitched himself into a big hole early in the game, giving up six runs between the second and fourth innings.  But timely hitting from the series’ usual suspects – Hart (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) and Lucroy (2-4, HR, 3 RBI) – helped put the Brewers on the board, and Weeks tacked on a 2-run shot in the 7th to cut the Nats lead to one.

That set up an epic play at the plate in the eighth to give the Brewers the lead.  With two outs, Brandon Boggs walked and Casey McGehee, who had reached on a single, moved over to second.  Lucroy again proved to be the hero, singling to right field.  And as Boggs challenged the throw, Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos missed the ball, allowing the go-ahead run to score.  Axford closed the door in the ninth.

Tomorrow, Zack Greinke gets the nod, and the opportunity to bring this cycle of vengeance full circle.