The Brewers Bar Weekly Hangover 9/13/15


Each Sunday evening we will review our favorite and least favorite events of the previous week, and share our perspective on how the team is doing. Please enjoy responsibly.

Cheers! (Best event/news of the week)

Wei-Chung Wang Lives (?): One of the 2014 storylines that got overshadowed by the Brewers’ late season collapse was the apparent failure of the Wang experiment. As a Rule 5 Draft pick, the Brewers had to rush Wang to the majors even though he hadn’t pitched above Rookie ball. Wang struggled mightily, suffered a convenient mid-season injury that freed up his roster spot, and was mostly forgotten as the Brewers fell out of the pennant race.

This year, Wang pitched for advanced Class A Brevard County and was pretty much mailing it in for the first couple of months. In fact, his 5.93 ERA and .312 opponent batting average were so disappointing that the Brewers took Wang off their 40-man roster in June. The Brevard County manager and pitching coach took Wang aside and had what one assumes was a motivational talk with him.

Since then, Wang has righted the ship—he posted a 1.59 ERA in his final 14 starts of the minor league season, allowing zero or one earned run in 11 of those appearances. No one knows what the future holds, but it would be a great story if Wang could make an impact in the majors after going through last year’s Rule 5-inspired follies. And I can’t be the only one looking forward to a return of Wei-Chung Wang Wednesdays.


Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)

Jonathan Lucroy Sees Concussion Specialist: It goes without saying that sports culture has a much higher sensitivity to concussions than it did just a few years ago. In fact, later this year concussions will be raised to a new level of pop culture visibility with Will Smith’s upcoming movie about the pathologist who found chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of dead football players. (Hopefully the studio comes to its senses and changes the cringe-inducingly unsubtle title of the movie by Christmas.)

Although much concussion attention is focused on the NFL, plenty of pro athletes are at risk. Brewers fans may remember that third baseman Corey Koskie’s career ended in 2006 when he suffered a concussion on the field that he never recovered from. (He’s a successful Planet Fitness franchisee these days.) With that in mind, hearing that Lucroy saw a concussion specialist yesterday after taking a foul ball to the face in Miami earlier in the week…it’s not difficult to think about worst case scenarios. Catchers are hit in the mask by foul balls so regularly it’s hard to believe concussions aren’t more common, but as the Koskie case demonstrated, all it takes is one very serious concussion to cut a player’s career short. It’s convenient that the team is in Pittsburgh and therefore Lucroy was able to be seen at one of the top concussion clinics in the nation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It’s just very worrisome when Craig Counsell was saying things like:

“His symptoms are not changing…We’re in the same place. He’s not available tonight and tomorrow for sure. We’re just going to go slow with this. It’s going to take a little more time than we originally thought.

“It’s an injury that you’re going on his symptoms. So, we have to be patient with his symptoms and we will be.”

Get well soon, Luc.

Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)

Nevin Ashley: I’m not a huge follower of the Brewers minor leagues, so it’s not surprising when I haven’t heard of a particular player who gets called up in September. Ashley had never been on my radar before he played in his first big league game against the Marlins on Wednesday, but it turns out he has had a 10-year career in the minors. Interestingly, his wife is named Ashley so she goes by the seemingly redundant name Ashley Ashley (no Microsoft Word, I do not want to delete the repeated word there). So this guy I had never heard of steps up to the plate for his first major league at-bat and rips an RBI double.

[mlbvideo id=”467131583″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

That made me smile.

Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)

Luis Sardiñas: He had some bad throws and played generally shaky defense in the Pittsburgh series. During Saturday’s game, after Sardiñas couldn’t handle a throw from the outfield that would have been an out at second base, broadcaster Brian Anderson made a point to say how sure-handed Sardiñas usually is—something players never want to hear (not that they’re listening to the game broadcasts). TV commentators only talk about how good you usually are defensively when you’ve just committed a series of boneheaded errors.

Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)

Well, it’s the goddamn Cardinals again. The best team in baseball having the best season ever will make its last appearance at Miller Park in 2015 and stomp all over the Brewers on their way to another deep playoff run. Let’s just get it over with.

Then, the Reds—which feels like the only team the Brewers seem to have played for the last few weeks—come to town during Fan Appreciation Weekend. Traditionally, the fan appreciation promotion is done during the last home stand of the season, but it was rescheduled this year because that final series is against the Cubs. There will be giveaways all weekend, and nothing for Cubs fans, which is just the way it should be. I’m sure we can all agree that any opportunity to deny Cubs fans the feeling of appreciation is not to be missed.


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