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Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Brewers’

Axford note “blows up” on Twitter

May 14, 2012 Comments off

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When he wrote a quick note Friday night to the Milwaukee media, John Axford was just trying to be courteous to explain his situation. And when I tweeted a quick photo of it early Saturday morning, I thought it was something fun my followers would enjoy.

Neither of us had any idea the note would become as big a deal as it did.

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(Link to original tweet here)

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My tweet and photo soon were retweeted by Adam McCalvy, Derrick GooldRichard Justice and Will Leitch, among others, including Doug Gottlieb, Tom Oates, Bleacher Report and USA Today. Thanks to their significantly larger followings, my photo reached thousands more users on Twitter.

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It also was picked up by a number of other news websites:

John Axford blows save, evades media with clever note | CBS Chicago

John Axford is cooler than you | The Score

Twitter Responses | Muckrack

John Axford pretty much rules | NBC Hardball Talk

John Axford is awesome | SB Nation

Baseball player leaves adorable note so he can rush to help his wife | The Atlantic

John Axford letter to media | SB Nation Chicago

John Axford loses saves streak, leaves note for media to be with wife | Sporting News

John Axford left an awesome hand-written note in lieu of postgame interviews | The Big Lead

Brewers closer leaves funny note | Yard Barker

John Axford leaves a note after wife goes into labor | MLB.com Cut 4

Brewers closer John Axford lost his saves streak last night, but not his sense of humor | Sports Grid

John Axford leaves hilarious note after blown save ends streak | Midwest Sports Fans

Brewers closer blows first save in 50 chances, leaves hilarious note for the media | Reddit

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After tweeting the picture, I noticed a couple retweets, but simply went about my business writing my game MLB.com game story. It was, after all, 1 a.m., and I did have to be back at Miller Park in about nine hours. I drove home still thinking the Axford note was funny, but no big deal. Just before going to sleep, I checked Twitter on my phone and was surprised by the number of retweets.

That surprise turned to shock in the morning. All told, between my tweet and others that RT’d with a comment, I had well over 500 retweets. At its height, there was an almost constant flow of mentions coming in to my account. It was overwhelming and by far the most attention I’ve ever received on Twitter.

I owe much thanks to Axford for the note itself, as well as the high-profile writers that helped get my tweet out to the masses. I’m still just a freelance baseball writer, but it was fun to feel like more of a big shot for a day or two.

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Cuddyer’s double propels Rox to series win over Crew

April 22, 2012 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Bruised toe and all, Michael Cuddyer just keeps on hitting.

With two on and one out in the eighth on Sunday, Cuddyer ripped the first pitch he saw from Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez into the gap. The result was a go-ahead double, as Cuddyer drove in a pair of runs and set up the Rockies for a 4-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.

Every time a big late-game situation comes up this season, Cuddyer seems to be there to deliver for the Rockies. He had a game-winning pinch-hit on Friday before coming through again Sunday.

The veteran slugger seems to enjoy such opportunities, as well.

“Who doesn’t?” Cuddyer said. “A man in scoring position and a one-run game, the worst that can happen is you fail. And that happens a lot. So yeah, you’ve got to relish those opportunities.”

Cuddyer collected his team-leading 10th and 11th RBIs of the season. He also leads the Rockies in hits (19), doubles (8) and extra-base hits (11).

Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Cuddyer’s big hits this weekend came against a pair of the best relievers in the game, in John Axford and Rodriguez. With every Cuddyer at-bat, the Rockies’ biggest offseason acquisition looks better and better.

“The biggest thing is, every time he steps up to the plate, I think 24 other guys and the coaching staff have confidence that he’s going to get a big hit,” Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie said.

Along with everything he’s done at the plate so far this season, Cuddyer can play a pretty good right field as well. He showed that Sunday not long after he delivered the game’s big blow.

Cuddyer made a great read on an Aramis Ramirez line drive to right to help snuff out a potential Brewers’ rally in the eighth. Milwaukee had the tying runs on base at the time.

Cuddyer then fired a strike toward second that could have doubled up Rickie Weeks, but Marco Scutaro cut the ball off.

“As I was letting go of the ball I was yelling, ‘Let it go, let it go, let it go,’” Cuddyer said. “But he didn’t. So then Matty [Belisle] was able to make a couple big pitches.”

But as impressive as his eighth-inning heroics were, Cuddyer was quick to share the spotlight.

As he saw it, the pitching was the story of the game.

In his fourth start of the season, Jeremy Guthrie gave the Rockies everything they needed. Coming off a pair of rough home starts, Guthrie had his best outing yet, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run on three hits with three walks with two strikeouts.

“It wasn’t just seven innings, it was seven quality innings,” said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who earned the 800th win of his managerial career. “He had great movement with his two-seam fastball today, great command of his fastballs, period. Two- or four-seam. Which helped to make the breaking ball and the changeup that much more effective.”

A leadoff walk issued to Ryan Braun in the fourth inning led to the Brewers’ only run off Guthrie. First baseman Mat Gamel plated Braun with a two-out single to right field on a 1-1 cutter from Guthrie.

But the run wouldn’t have happened without the help of an unusual stolen base by Braun. Guthrie struck out Aramis Ramirez looking at a 3-2 pitch, and the throw beat Braun to second base, but Scutaro did not tag the runner, apparently thinking the pitch was ball four.

Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo matched Guthrie’s solid outing with an impressive one of his own. The right-hander went seven strong innings, giving up just one run on six hits with eight strikeouts against one walk.

In addition to Cuddyer and Guthrie’s big performances, the Rockies got a boost from Belisle in the eighth inning, who retired the heart of the Brewers lineup in order.

Entering the game with two on and no outs, Belisle got Braun to pop out, Ramirez to line out to Cuddyer — on the aforementioned near-double play — and struck out Corey Hart.

It was a big moment for the Rockies en route to the road series win, and an even bigger missed opportunity for the Brewers.

“When you don’t have many opportunities through the game, then you get that one shot at it and you feel like everything is on the line in one inning,” Roenicke said. “Unfortunately, it should be a lot of different innings. It’s tough.”

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pomeranz fades as Rockies fall

April 21, 2012 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Esmil Rogers finally had an off night, and it sparked a big Brewers rally.

Entering the game having tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings over four games, Rogers had been among the Rockies’ most reliable relievers through the first three weeks of the season. But Saturday went a little differently, as he gave up four runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings in the Rockies’ 9-4 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.

Rogers entered the game with a 3-2 lead in the sixth, but a home run by Ryan Braun — which snapped an 0-for-16 streak for the reigning National League MVP — quickly tied things up.

“We needed a stop; the Ryan Braun home run is the home run, but we needed a stop in the seventh inning,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “And not only did we not get the stop, but the floodgates opened.”

The seventh inning went even worse as Rogers gave up a leadoff single, an RBI triple that gave the Brewers the lead, and an RBI single before leaving the game.

Braun, who admitted he’s been pressing to break out, added an RBI triple off the wall in left-center field. Three batters later, Alex Gonzalez connected for a 3-run homer off Edgmer Escalona to put the game well out of reach.

“Once you start struggling, you start trying too hard,” Braun said. “This game is hard enough as is. Once you start doing that, you get yourself in more trouble. Hopefully, a game like this tonight, collectively, it will get us out of our little funk.”

Tracy pointed to Rogers pitching from behind hitters as a key to the rough outing, as well as getting too much of the plate with a couple of two-strike pitches that turned into hits.

That six-run inning completely changed what was an excellent game early for the Rockies.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz retired the first 12 batters he faced Saturday, but command issues knocked him out of the game having tossed just five innings and 74 pitches. He opened the fifth with a four-pitch walk, then gave up back-to-back doubles, which put the Brewers ahead, 2-1.

Before getting the first out of the inning, Pomeranz issued a second walk. Through four batters, the lefty had already tossed 17 pitches in the inning, only five of which were strikes. All told, it was a 30-pitch frame for Pomeranz after he needed just 44 to get through four innings.

“It’s just one of those things where I lost my rhythm for a minute and you can’t do that in the middle of a game,” Pomeranz said. “It’s hard to pitch when you lose it for a second there.”

As rough as the fifth inning was, Pomeranz still managed to limit the damage, thanks in part to the Brewers’ small ball strategy. He got the first out on a sacrifice bunt, and a contact play one batter later resulted in an easy out at home. Despite facing eight batters and allowing the first four to reach base, Pomeranz gave up just the two runs.

In his second start of the season, Pomeranz went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He also walked three batters and had a career-high six strikeouts.

“I saw a guy with great stuff the first four innings and then he just lost control,” Troy Tulowitzki said. “But those first four innings, I think he needs to build off that and look at the positive.”

Tulowitzki sparked the Rockies offensively, going 2-for-3 on the night with a home run and an RBI single. The latter put Colorado in front 3-2 before the Brewers rallied against the Rockies’ bullpen.

Todd Helton also homered in the game, his third of the year and second in as many nights. Aside from one rough inning, the Rockies played another solid game Saturday in Milwaukee.

In fact, had they gotten another hit in the top of the sixth, the result may have been a lot different.

“We missed an opportunity that could have changed the complexion of the entire game,” Tracy said. “We had taken the lead in the sixth inning and we stole second and third on the 3-1 pitch. A two-out base hit there changes this entire scheme of things. But it just didn’t work out tonight and we’ve got to come back here tomorrow and try to win a series here.”

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cuddyer’s pinch-hit single leads Rockies

April 20, 2012 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — A bruised toe kept Michael Cuddyer out of the lineup Friday night, but it could not prevent him from delivering the game-winning hit in the ninth.

Pinch-hitting for Dexter Fowler with a runner on third and one out, Cuddyer drove a 1-1 curveball from Brewers closer John Axford back through the middle to put Colorado in front for a 4-3 victory at Miller Park.

Though he walked with a noticeable limp in the visitor’s clubhouse and during batting practice, Cuddyer’s bruised left big toe did not matter once he entered the game.

“It doesn’t feel good, but at the same time, it’s not going to prevent me from doing much,” Cuddyer said. “I didn’t feel it when I was running to first base.”

With the infield drawn in, Cuddyer got a pitch he could hit, and more importantly, did not try to do too much with it.

All he had to do was get the ball through the infield and Cuddyer did just that, ripping the ball back up the middle to score Eric Young Jr..

Cuddyer picked up his team-leading 18th hit of the season and his ninth RBI, tying him for the most on the team. In his first year with the club, Cuddyer has quickly become a key contributor for the Rockies.

“He is a professional,” said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. “If you look the word up in the dictionary, I promise you his picture will be right next to the word. That’s who he is.

“To take the type of at-bat that he took in the ninth inning, that’s just a Major League at-bat in a big situation.”

The Rockies collected 11 hits on the night, but also left 10 runners on base. Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki scored the first two runs of the game, while Todd Helton added the third for the Rockies with his second home run of the season.

Tulowitzki picking up a pair of hits, driving in the first run and scoring the second, was a good sign for the Rockies after their shortstop got off to a slow start this season.

But the real promising aspect of Friday’s victory was the performance of Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin.

After cruising through five innings, a rough sixth kept Chacin from picking up an elusive first win of the season. But Tracy was very encouraged to see the right-hander go back out for a 1-2-3 seventh.

Chacin was dominant for 3 1/3 innings, retiring the first 10 batters he faced. Just two of those outs were fly balls, while Chacin recorded four strikeouts on his first time through the Brewers’ order.

“I just was trying to get ahead and then mix it up with my breaking ball,” Chacin said.

Tracy pointed to that as the key to Chacin’s success: “His secondary pitches were that much better tonight because he was throwing strikes with his fastball.”

Norichika Aoki connected for the first hit off Chacin, a low line drive that got past a diving Carlos Gonzalez in left field and rolled all the way to the wall. Aoki rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run, the first home run of his Major League career.

In the sixth, Aoki sparked a rally with his one-out double to center field. Corey Hart and Mat Gamel each drove in a run with two-out singles, scoring Aoki and Ryan Braun to tie the game at 3-3.

Aside from that inning, however, the Brewers continued to struggle at the plate.

“From the top of the order down, including myself, we have to get better,” Aramis Ramirez said. “I don’t have to mention any names. Everybody knows who they are. It’s time right now, we have to get better. It’s not early anymore.”

The victory put the Rockies back over .500 for the first time since they were 1-0 after winning on Opening Day in Houston.

While it was just the first game of three in Milwaukee, and the 13th of 162 this season, the Rockies were happy to get a good team win.

“That was a great baseball game to win against a very good baseball team in a building that it’s very tough to come in here and win baseball games,” Tracy said. “They just have that going for themselves and they’ve earned that right the way they’ve created it here. So we feel awfully good about what we just did.”

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies notes, 4/20

April 20, 2012 Comments off

Injured Cuddyer comes through in pinch

By Jordan Schelling / Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE — Michael Cuddyer was already scheduled to get a game off this week. So, with his injured toe still bothering him a bit on Friday, Cuddyer was not in the starting lineup.But injured toe and all, Cuddyer delivered the biggest hit of the game on Friday night: A pinch-hit single in the ninth to score what proved the winning run in a 4-3 victory over the Brewers.

Having fouled a ball off his foot during Wednesday’s game against the Padres, Cuddyer left after six innings with a bruised left big toe. Two pitches after the foul ball in question, Cuddyer belted a two-run home run in the Rockies’ 8-4 victory.

“It’s feeling better, but still sore,” Cuddyer said before Friday’s game.

Tyler Colvin got the start in right field on Friday.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy indicated that while Cuddyer could play if necessary, they would prefer to take the extra day and avoid any further injury to the toe. It helped that Cuddyer already was supposed to a day off soon.

“It was supposed to be this day, but it’s kind of a combination of both,” Tracy said. “If he was to bang another one down off there tonight very quickly and he walks in there tomorrow and tells me it will be a month before you see him again, I think it’s a really, really good idea to just back off for a day.

“As a result he gets a couple days in a row … and if everything goes according to plan, he’ll be out there tomorrow and ready to go again for another extended period of time.”

De La Rosa, Outman to pitch spring games

MILWAUKEE — Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will pitch on Saturday in an extended Spring Training game, along with fellow lefty Josh Outman.

De La Rosa, who is in his fifth season with the Rockies, made just 10 starts a year ago before having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

“It will be to the tune of four innings and 60 pitches,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Outman is working his way back after an oblique strain sustained earlier this month, after the 27-year-old reliever got food poisoning that resulted in a significant amount of vomiting.

“His will be a more controlled circumstance,” Tracy said. “His is more of a batting practice-type situation than it is actually pitching in the game like Jorge’s going to do.”

For Roenickes, series a family affair

MILWAUKEE — When right-handed reliever Josh Roenicke looks in from the visiting bullpen this weekend at Miller Park, he’ll see a very familiar face in the home dugout.

That’s because Roenicke’s uncle, Ron, is the Brewers’ second-year manager.

“I’m never very comfortable having him on the other side,” Ron said of Josh. “I’m rooting for him, but I’m rooting against him today. I hope he has a good year, but not against us.”

The younger Roenicke is in his second year with the Rockies, and will be squaring off against his uncle for the fourth time in his career. While he did not pitch last September during the Rockies’ two-game set in Milwaukee, Josh took the mound three times during the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Blue Jays against the Angels, when Ron was bench coach under Mike Scioscia.

Toronto won two of those three games against Los Angeles.

“I did pretty well against them,” Josh said. “It’s always fun [to face] him.”

Josh and Ron Roenicke talked on the phone on Thursday night, and also chatted on the field before Friday’s series opener.

The two are fairly close, and always spend time together in California during the holidays, where baseball is one of the main topics of conversation within the Roenicke family. Josh’s father Gary also played in the Major Leagues and Ron’s son Lance, who is an outfielder at UC-Santa Barbara, could be the next to carry on the family tradition.

“I saw him during Spring Training, and we went to dinner,” Josh said of Ron. “I’ll text him once in a while. A couple times a month, maybe.”

Josh, whose athletic ability Ron raved about before Friday’s game, said he keeps up with how the Brewers are doing throughout the season, checking the standings and boxscores, while also getting updates when he talks to his father.

With the Rockies having missed the 2011 playoffs, Josh was a big Brewers fan during the month of October.

“That was cool seeing him in his first year go to the playoffs; they had a good team,” said Josh, who also liked what he saw out of the Brewers in winning two of their last three coming into this weekend.

“It was good that they took a couple from the Dodgers.”

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morgan says stop sign “was a deke”

April 19, 2012 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Nyjer Morgan ran through a stop sign from third base coach Ed Sedar on his way to scoring the winning run in Wednesday night’s 3-2 Brewers victory.

That much we know, and there’s no doubt about that. Unless of course you believe the replay showed Morgan being tagged out at the plate, then that’s an entirely different story.

But the question Thursday morning was this: Did Sedar put the stop sign up just for show, or was it definitely a signal for Morgan to retreat back to third base? Well, it depends whether you are more inclined to believe Morgan or Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

“It was a deke for the other team,” Morgan said with a grin. “It was a deke. I can’t tell you that, but it was a deke. It got ‘em, too.

“If you see the replay, he second-guessed himself that little bit.

“[Sedar] said, ‘Anything close, anything in the vicinity, I’m going to put up the stop sign, but still you go.

“Never underestimate the sneakiness, guys, come on.”

After further review, that is to say asking Roenicke about it, it would seem there was no decoy intended in Sedar’s actions.

“I guess I can’t answer that then, I’d give away his secrets,” Roenicke said, before acknowledging decoy signals are not common in such situations in the Major Leagues.

“But like I said last night, sometimes you want a player to instinctually do things that he sees. And even when it doesn’t work out, we have to be OK with that.”

Roenicke also noted that he’s been through similar situations in the past when he was a third base coach with the Angels under manager Mike Scioscia. Sometimes the coach has to make the decision too soon, especially if he stays up closer to the base. And when he goes farther down the line as Sedar did, the runner may put his head down and miss the sign, which Morgan indicated also was the case in this situation.

What the runner is supposed to do with Sedar up the line is to go, but pick up the sign on his way to the plate. But Roenicke still gives his players the freedom to make the decision themselves if they’re so inclined.

So, what did Morgan see on the play that made him decide to go home on such a short flyball?

“I knew we had to get home. It was a quick turnaround the next day,” Morgan joked.

“Caught him (Kemp) flat-footed. He’s still one of the best center fielders in the game, one of the best ballplayers in the game. I’m always up for a challenge, and it was one of those where we had the crowd in it, the momentum was there, time to go home.”

As far as the question or whether he was safe or out, Morgan definitively — and unsurprisingly — believed he was safe. The Dodgers saw the replay differently, as it appeared that the tag may have been applied just before Morgan dragged his knee across the plate.

“But you can’t change it now,” he said.

“I knew I was safe.”

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