I don't have an opening joke today. I'm not really in the mood for one.
It was another Tough Day for Suppan yesterday, on a day where he walked the tightrope for four innings, walked in a run and gave up a grand slam in the fifth, then was left in to allow four more runs in the sixth. Ken Macha sounded a lot like Ned Yost while defending his decision to leave Suppan in after the game, citing a tired bullpen but also mentioning that Suppan was "one pitch away" from getting out of the fifth. Opportunities to provide that "one pitch" came several times, but Suppan walked in a run and grooved a fastball instead.
The "tired bullpen" argument only works for so long here. Six members of the seven man Brewer bullpen have been overworked of late, including R.J. Swindle, who was called upon for two innings last night, just one day removed from pitching two innings for Nashville on Saturday. One arm, though, is hardly seeing any work at all: Trevor Hoffman has appeared in just five games (six if you count the All Star Game) in July, and will enter play today with a full week of rest.
It will be another long day for the bullpen today, as Carlos Villanueva makes his first start of the season (Also noted in FanShot). Villanueva is expected to pitch 3-4 innings and be followed to the mound by Tim Dillard, who isn't getting the start he expected today but is just happy to be here.
There's disrespect all around this decision. First, Macha decides to pitch Villanueva over Dillard because Dillard "is kind of limited in his pitches." Here's the problems with that logic, which I'll bullet point so I don't go on all day about them:
- The bullpen is exhausted and desperately needs someone to eat innings. Dillard pitched eight innings his last time out in AAA. Villanueva is expected to go 3-4 today.
- Villanueva has allowed 13 earned runs in his last 8.2 innings. View From Bernie's Chalet argues that Villanueva does not give the Brewers the best chance to win.
- Dillard takes shots left and right for not getting strikeouts or having weak secondary stuff, but he gets outs. He's averaging roughly 6.1 innings per start and posting a 3.66 ERA in AAA, where he leads the PCL with ten wins. He is exactly what the Brewers need in a starter right now.
The disrespect for Dillard doesn't end there. His seven inning, one hit shutout for Nashville last week earned him PCL Pitcher of the Week honors, but the award was presented to Tom Dillard. (h/t Rattler Radio)
Baseball Digest Daily says the Brewers can win the Central if they can go 38-25 the rest of the way. The Nationals need to go 61-3 and are scrambling to schedule 64 more games against the Brewers. The Bucky Channel is ready to admit this team is no longer a playoff contender. Over at Cute Sports, tristarscoop says she's embarrassed to be a Brewer fan right now. Quevedo at the Buffet is splitting time between lamenting the Jeff Suppan signing and looking ahead to next year. John Buchel says the beer doesn't even taste good in the Brewer clubhouse.
Some production from the catcher spot would really help the Brewers turn things around. Jason Kendall (ranked 22nd in catcher career WAR) has the second lowest OPS+ among players qualified for the batting title. If the Brewers are in fact sliding out of contention, and most signs point to it, it might be time for the Brewers to sit Kendall down and see what they have in Mike Rivera and Angel Salome.
Here's your daily lumping of trade market notes:
- Mike Wilner of Toronto's The Fan 590 says Roy Halladay would approve a trade to Milwaukee, for whatever it's worth.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times discussed trade rumors with Jarrod Washburn, who doesn't sound too eager to leave Seattle.
- Now that the possibility of trading J.J. Hardy for two months of Washburn has passed, Doug Melvin has moved on and is now offering Hardy in exchange for a 1969 Camaro.
The Brewers could free up one roster spot for a new player by cutting their losses on Bill Hall. Brewer Paradise Lost wonders if it's time to dump Hall once and for all and eat his contract. Keeping Hall on the roster just because he's getting money either way is just compounding a bad decision.
The Crew dropped seven spots to 18th in Inside the Majors' Power Rankings. That was the largest drop of any team.
Maybe, though, the Brewers can still get hot. Anyone can get hot, as it turns out: just ask the 2003 Brewers, the third worst team ever to win ten straight games.
Giants: Acquired Ryan Garko from the Indians for a minor league pitcher.
Reds: Placed Micah Owings (shoulder stiffness) and Chris Dickerson (bruised shoulder) on the DL.
Twins: Kevin Slowey will have surgery to remove bone chips from his wrist and miss the rest of the season.
If you need some help making it through the day today, here's a section I'll call "It could be worse."
- The Brewers could be the Royals, who have lost eleven of twelve games but aren't planning on making any changes.
- They could be the Reds, who are 45-53, fifth place, 3.5 games back of the fourth place Brewers and seven back of the Cubs, but still see themselves as contenders in the Central.
- Or, they could be the Mets, who held a press conference yesterday to jump from one fiasco (the insanity of Asst. VP Tony Bernazard) to another, as Omar Minaya called out a reporter. The reporter's response is here. Jon Heyman is already making a list of new potential GMs.
A little Brewer history to close out today's Mug: On this day in 1997, Steve Woodard beat Roger Clemens 1-0 to earn his first major league victory. Exactly three years later, he was traded to the Indians in the trade that made Richie Sexson a Brewer.