Nicole from BrewCrewBall thought it'd be a good idea if we did a little Q&A before the 4 game series that starts tomorrow. We agreed. I feel bad though because she was working on a deadline and I had to rush through our answers pretty quickly. Reading her well thought out and witty answers now, I think we gave her the short end of the stick... thus winning the Q&A challenge! I think this bodes well for the series.
1. San Diego was named the "Best Beer City in America" by Men's Journal. How does that make you feel knowing that you're all talk and we're all walk?
Men's Journal bills itself as "A general interest, active lifestyle magazine with a focus on adventure, travel, equipment, sports, fitness, health, and style." I'm not sure any beer-drinking, baseball-watching man wants to label himself as such or quote them as law.
But hey, good for you all. You get to drink not crappy beer. We've been doing that for roughly 200 years. Milwaukee's a blue-collar sort of town and while beer snobs abound in any town, the majority of Wisconsinites are happy to drink their hometown beers. Doubt our seriousness? I draw your attention to this map comparing grocery stores and bars per capita. There are 5.88 bars for every Wisconsin resident.
2. How's Bob Uecker doing? Any updates on his condition?
Ueck has a leaking aortic valve and enlarged aorta that was first noticed last September and has recently worsened, necessitating surgery as soon as possible. Apparently the aorta enlarging means that it is in danger of rupturing. The surgery is scheduled for Friday and a cardiologist will replace the valve and a portion of the aortic root. He's expected to miss 10-12 weeks of the season. It was intimated that he may be back calling home games, but wouldn't travel with the team as he heals.
Bob is supremely healthy for a 75 year-old man who's been in baseball for more than 50 years.
No really, there's photographic proof.
In all seriousness, though, we're all a little on edge here. I'm 29 and I've never heard a single Brewers radio broadcast by another announcer. He is literally as tied to the legacy and history of what it means to be a Brewer as Miller Park, Prince Fielder, Robin Yount or County Stadium. Though everyone is jovial in their well-wishes, mostly we're all just desperately waiting for Friday Afternoon's all-clear from his doctors.
3. Our old buddy Trevor Hoffman looks to be struggling so far. What's the plan with him? Let him continue the quest for 600? Is there anybody waiting in the wings if it doesn't get better?
The simple answer is one big "I dunno" shoulder shrug.
One would think he wouldn't have been trotted out yesterday with a one run lead after his previous three blown saves at home, but he was there to give up the home run again.
The biggest questions center around his change up. He had barely used it in his previous few appearances, leaving him to throw 80 mph fastballs down the center of the plate. After Tuesday's blown save the "why no change up?" question was asked, leading Trevor to throw almost exclusively changes on Wednesday, with the same result. We fans felt a little like he was thumbing his nose at us and telling us to leave the pitching to the master.
It seems like he has some location issues to work out. He worked very, very slowly in Spring Training and the coaching staff basically left him alone, assuming a guy of his stature knew what he was doing. That line of thinking looks really silly in hindsight. One of the suggestions has been a trip to the minors where he would have more than a partial inning to work on his pitches.
The problem is a complete lack of anyone else to put in that role. The best option for the Brewers is LaTroy Hawkins, who has had his own problems to start the season. He's the only guy on the squad with closing experience, but right now we're all just as wary of him pitching as Trevor. Some fans are calling for the promotion of prospect Zach Braddock. He has an ERA of 0.00 in 9.2 IP in 6 games. He has given up just 3 hits and 2 walks and his WHIP is just .517.
After Tuesday's game, manager Ken Macha was fully supportive of Trevor, but after yesterday's day game, Macha was quoted as saying "If we have a chance to win (Thursday), perhaps it will be somebody else at the end."
4. The Padres know about winning in a weak division. That said, aside from the Cardinals, none of the NL Central teams have made much of a name for themselves. Do the Brewers have a shot at staying in the division race through the season?
No. Plain and simple the pitching just isn't there. Until a few days ago, Jeff Suppan was one of our starters. That should make the situation clear enough.
Milwaukee starting pitchershave something like one or two quality starts and when they do pitch decently and leave the game with a lead, the bullpen blows it. Or, the starter can't make it past the third inning. In that 20 run game at Pittsburgh last week, Doug Davis wasn't able to stay in the game long enough to get the quality start. The bullpen is seeing so many innings at this point and that ties back to the problems with Hoffman. Our more solid pitchers are being asked to clean up in short starts, so we can't afford to assign them to just the 9th inning.
The hitting has also been streaky. The Brewers have leveraged their offensive power to overcome pitching woes for quite a few years and the bats haven't been bailing out the mound lately.
5. Do the Padres and Brewers uniforms look too similar? Who should change?
They really are too similar and it's clear that you all need to be the one's to change. The Brewers are still in the same color family that they used back when they were an American Association minor league team in 1902. I'm not sure when or how you all switched from that yellowy-orange and brown to sand and navy, but clearly we had claim to these colors first.
Additionally, I'm pretty sure you have to turn in your man card if you walk around saying that your jerseys aren't "tan," they're "sand."