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Brewers Bar Best of 2011

We did this at the end of the calendar year last year, so why not do it again? Here were the most popular posts on The Brewers Bar during 2011. Enjoy.

11 Expectations for 2011
7 of 11 came “true,” some expectations more reasonable than others.

Depressing Retro Previews: 2000

With high expectations heading into the 2011 season, it was important to look back and see just how far the organization has come in the past decade.

Not Everyone Impressed with the Brewers
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch predicted the Brewers would finish in 4th place, behind St. Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

Fielder on Fans’ World Series Dreams
Even before the season started, expectations were high for the Brewers, and Prince Fielder (along with the rest of the players) realized that the bar was set high.

Former Teammates Have Harsh Words for Greinke

While many people focused on Zack Greinke’s new start with the Brewers, those still in Kansas City shared what they really thought of him once he was out of town.

Former Prospect Brent Brewer Arrested
Brewer left the organization to play college football at Tennessee, and by the end of the 2010 season had played his way into the starting lineup. Brewer faced charges of domestic abuse, but those charges were eventually reduced to “offensive touching” and Brewer didn’t miss a game for the Vols.

Avoid Michael Young At All Costs

People were desperate to find a better option at short than Yuniesky Betancourt. When Michael Young demanded a trade from the Rangers after being forced off third base, it was only natural that some people thought the Brewers should be interested. We weren’t so thrilled with the idea.

Kotsay Agrees to Deal with Brewers

Mark Kotsay signed. I made a pie chart representing the things he still did well. Not many were baseball-related.

Brewers Lineup After Last Packers Super Bowl
As the Packers prepared to play in Super Bowl XLV, we took a look at what the Brewers’ lineup looked like in 1998. Hint: wasn’t nearly as good as 2011’s expected lineup.

Ken Macha Won’t Let Braun Feud Die

Macha caught wind of some of the nice things Ryan Braun was saying about Spring Training under Ron Roenicke, and interpreted them as slights against his tenure as manager.

Marcum Good, But Uecker Shines in Spring Opener
Shaun Marcum made his Brewers debut to start spring training, but Bob Uecker stole the show with some great one-liners, like “It’s a National League game, but they can do whatever they want in Spring Training” and “In case you score with us…you shouldn’t.”

How Quickly Things Change

It only took a couple weeks for Tom Haudricourt to reverse his opinion on Yuniesky Betancourt’s defense, going from calling fans “worrywarts” to calling Yuni’s D “lazy.”

McGehee Extension a Bad Idea
During Spring Training, the Brewers kicked around the idea of offering Casey McGehee a longterm deal after he put together two solid seasons. We recognized it as a bad idea, and McGehee went on to have a terrible season.

A Closer Look at Marcum’s Mechanics
Shaun Marcum’s pitching mechanics were a concern when the Brewers traded for him, and it was only a few weeks into Spring Training that the Brewers had their first Marcum injury scare. We broke down Marcum’s throwing motion, and exactly what worries most people about his delivery.

Ron Roenicke is Going to Make Me Angry
At the tail end of spring training, Roenicke reiterated his intentions to run like mad, saying if you’re not getting thrown out, you’re not stealing enough.

This Seems Like a Bad Idea

Pro Tip: If you’re going to a televised sporting event, don’t put your cell number on a sign. By far the most popular post of the year.

Benny Hill Brewers and Astros

There are some games that seem like they could be played to Yakety Sax. The 8th inning of a game between the Brewers and Astros was one that deserved the Benny Hill treatment, so we put two and two together.

Why John Axford is Struggling
Before Axford went on his record-breaking consecutive saves streak, he had a rough few weeks in April. We broke down what was going wrong.

Want to Watch the Brewers on TV? Too Bad.

Lamentations on the early-season FS Wisconsin/WMLW situation. Four of the Brewers’ first 8 games of the season were unavailable to much of the state.

Brewers Ban Junk Food in Minors

Twizzlers are now a banned substance in minor league clubhouses.

Carlos Gomez Becoming Elite CFer

Looking at partial season defensive numbers is like looking at the sun, but Gomez’s play in centerfield was so spectacular it was hard not to gush about him.

Can Shaun Marcum Keep This Up?

Through his first 10 starts with the Brewers, Marcum was the team’s best and most consistent starter. We wondered when/if he would start to come back down to earth, and of course, he did later in the season.

Jonathan Lucroy All-Star Campaign Update

We like to have a little fun, and part of that was Nick Petakas trying to get Lucroy elected to the All-Star game. Lucroy’s bat was red-hot in May, so it looked like he had a legitimate candidacy at the time. He ultimately fell off the pace, though.

Is Carlos Gomez The Worst #2 Hitter in the NL?

As easy as it is to like Gomez’s glove, Ron Roenicke tested everyone’s patience with his insistence that Gomez hit second in the order. Using wOBA, Gomez wasn’t the worst second hitter in the NL at the time, but he was close — 4th from last.

Mat Gamel (Still) Getting Mixed Messages

Gamel’s been jerked around more than any prospect in the Brewers’ system I can remember, and while much of it is his own fault, it doesn’t help that Gord Ash & Co. can’t seem to give him a public vote of confidence.

Transcribing Tony Plush

Nyjer Morgan had his first career walkoff hit, and the postgame interviews were just as good as you’d expect from Tony Plush. We transcribed his appearances on the postgame shows for FS Wisconsin and the Brewers Radio Network. Morgan thought it was the bottom of the 8th inning and couldn’t figure out why everyone was going crazy.

Summarizing Brewers Picks, Rounds 2-30

Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley got most of the digital ink in June as the team’s two first round picks, but plenty of talent was added in the following rounds. We summarized everyone from Jorge Lopez (my personal favorite pick of the draft) to Trent Boras (Son of Sat..er, Scott, who didn’t sign).

Ron Roenicke Channels Ned Yost

The birth of Kameron Loe, 8th Inning Guy, reminded us of Ned Yost referring to Guillermo Mota as the “8th inning pitcher” in 2008.

Prince Fielder’s Game-Changing Hot Streak

Prince was the hottest hitter in baseball for a stretch in June, hitting 8 home runs over a 10-game span, and 7 of those either tied the game or gave the Brewers the lead. His WPA over that stretch was 1.553, meaning his heroics alone were worth over 1.5 wins.

No, Bill Hall is Not Better Than Yuni

The Houston Astros released Hall in June, and it seemed like quite a few fans were wondering if Hall would have been an upgrade over Yuni at short. Short answer: no.

Great Moments in Overreaction: Nyjer Morgan

Nyjer Morgan made a gesture that everyone seemed to think was the finger, but it wasn’t the finger, and a lot of people ended up looking foolish.

Rickie Weeks Hurts Ankle; Pressure on for a Deal?

Weeks severely sprained his ankle against the Cubs (I still am amazed that it wasn’t broken, looking at the picture) just a few days before the trading deadline, putting the Brewers in a bit of a bind. Infield depth already wasn’t a strong point, and Doug Melvin was forced to act quickly. A few days later, Jerry Hairston was a Brewer.

Time to Start Jonathan Lucroy Less?

Lucroy fell off after his hot start at the plate, and his defense was also starting to suffer by the time the Brewers hit July. He was basically catching every day except for Randy Wolf’s starts, which led us to wonder if he needed more days off.

Doug Dealing Again: Brewers Trade for K-Rod

Doug Melvin didn’t rest during the All-Star break, pulling the trigger on a rather shrewd deal for Francisco Rodriguez. While the deal created some headaches when K-Rod decided he really wasn’t okay setting up for a contender, he did solidify the 8th inning (albeit with a few white-knuckle outings).

Breaking Down the Brewers’ Outs on the Bases

Through late July, the Brewers had run into more outs on the bases than any other team in baseball. Of course, the overall team numbers were being skewed by a select few players.

A Short History of Tony La Russa’s Complaints

After Tony La Russa complained that the ribbon board at Miller Park was giving the Brewers an unfair advantage, we dug through history to find some more examples of his ridiculousness. We were able to go all the way back to 1990, when he accused the Brewers of stealing signs while he was in Oakland.

Nyjer Morgan will get hell for this

Another Morgan walkoff (this time a sac fly), and he posed like he hit a walkoff home run in the World Series.

Brewers on cover of Sports Illustrated

The Brewers caught fire in August, leading to a lot of national coverage. They made the cover of SI for the first time since 1987, ESPN started talking about them as favorites in the National League…it was bizarre.

The Brewers are Happy Gilmore

The Brewers are the fun-loving and non-traditional Happy. The Cardinals are the traditionalist and conservative Shooter McGavin. The Brewers starting to win on the road is like Happy finally learning how to putt, and that’s when things get ugly for the Cards/Shooter.

Sometimes it’s better to by lucky…

10 lucky breaks the Brewers seemed to get in a game against the Cardinals. Everything seemed to be bouncing the Brewers’ way in August, and the Cardinals were starting to look dead.

No Worries about Brewers Beating Up Bad Teams

With eyes set on October, a lot was made of the fact that the Brewers were thriving off their games against subpar clubs. Nick Prill showed why that worry was a little overblown.

Sorry, Ryan Braun is not the NL’s MVP

While it was cool that Braun was the leading candidate for the award at the time, I didn’t think he deserved the award more than Matt Kemp. That didn’t seem to go over too well.

Math Still in Brewers’ Favor

After the Cardinals swept the Brewers, Milwaukee’s division lead was down to 7.5 games. This caused some people to panic that the Brewers were going to miss the playoffs (it sounds crazy in hindsight, doesn’t it?). We went through the scenarios on just how bad the Brewers would have to be down the stretch for the Cards to catch them.

The Brewers Against Elite Pitching

It was myth-busting month in September, apparently, as we took on the notion that the Brewers couldn’t hit elite pitching (and thus were doomed in the playoffs).

Yes, Math is Still in Brewers’ Favor

The Brewers’ September losing streak hit five games, the Cards cut the division lead down to 6, but there were only 15 games left. We updated the scenarios.

Finding Candidates to Replace Prince Fielder

We sorted through a bunch of possible replacements at first base, from Mat Gamel to Corey Hart to free agents like Carlos Pena. We still don’t have a solid answer as to who will be manning first, but it’s looking like Gamel.

What do the Brewers Need to Do This Offseason?

Once the Brewers were eliminated, Nick started looking at what needed to be done over the winter. It seems like the Brewers have followed most of Nick’s advice to this point.

Brewers decline option on Yuni Betancourt

The Brewers were probably never going to pick up Yuni’s option, but that didn’t stop everyone from feeling a sense of relief when they finally declined.

Why the Brewers Have the Edge in Game 5

Ahead of the winner-take-all game in the NLDS, Nick took a look at why the Brewers could be expected to win the game. Hey, they did.

Remember the Ride, not the Finish

The Brewers were just eliminated from the playoffs, and the wounds were probably still too fresh to think about the big picture, but we tried reminding everyone just how special the season was.

Ryan Braun is Not Your Friendo

Braun won the MVP, but it seemed like most people were talking about the way he was wearing his hair while appearing on MLB Network. He bore a striking resemblance to Javier Bardem in “No Country For Old Men.”

The Pros and Cons of Trading Randy Wolf

With payroll space looking tight at the time, Nick weighed the good and the bad that would come from trading Wolf to free up some money.

MVP Debate: Ryan Braun vs. Matt Kemp

Once Braun won the MVP, the debate was re-ignited. We posted virtually all of the numbers for Braun and Kemp side-by-side. Kemp was better in 11 categories, while Braun claimed 9.

Exploring the Shortstop Trade Market

The free agent market wasn’t exactly appealing when looking for Yuni’s replacement, so we took a look at some trade possibilities.

Where, exactly, is the money for Jose Reyes?

A lot of people wanted the Brewers to pursue Reyes in free agency, but the numbers just never added up from the start.

We won’t go through December, since those posts were recent enough that you could just page back if you wanted to.

Thanks for all the support in 2011. Hopefully 2012 proves to be just as interesting to follow. Happy New Year!