The City of Brotherly Love

Posted by Steve

Been a few days since I checked in.  I haven’t been able to watch each game, but I’ve followed them as much as I could and was able to watch most of Sunday’s game.

The main topic of conversation the last couple days has been Todd Coffey.  He’s been good so far, but it seems some people are overreacting a bit.  That game on Sunday took quite a bit of luck to pull out the win, particularly the line shot to Hall for a double play.  Nine innings isn’t enough to tell anything, but if Coffey is going to continue at a high level he’ll probably need to increase his strikeouts.  He’s already helped the Brewers quite a bit so far, but I’m not even ready to count on him as a prominent reliever yet.  I’m not ruling that out, but nothing he’s shown throughout his career suggests he will keep this up.

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It’s been a pretty frustrating start, but what I’m most excited about is Corey Hart’s approach at the plate.  In 657 plate appearances last year, he drew 27 walks.  This year he has eight walks after 53 plate appearances.  That patience has led to a .385 OBP so far.  If he keeps this patience up he’ll be able to replicate 2007.

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It’s officially time for GamelWatch 2009.  Mat Gamel is off to a white hot start in AAA.  He’s hitting .436… That’s his batting average!  The Brewers will have a very difficult decision to make if he keeps mashing.  His left handed bat would bring some much-needed balance to the Brewers’ lineup.  A Gamel/Hall platoon would look great at third, and it would allow Hall to go back to his supersub role on a part time basis.

Unfortunately, Gamel’s defense is still a big issue.  It’s very reminiscent of Braun a couple years ago when he was destroying AAA pitching yet playing a brutal third base.  In the past the Brewers have called up their defensive-challenged prospects to get a good bat in their lineup.  They seemed committed to giving Gamel a full year at third in Nashville before calling him up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if things change.

The Brewers are not a rebuilding team, which means the bottom line this year is about winning.  If they think Gamel improves the team (which would mean his offensive boost would outweigh his defensive issues), he should probably be up.  If he does get called up, they’ll probably go the route the Brewers went with Braun or what is happening with players like David Price, Tommy Hanson and Matt Wieters this year and wait until May or June to avoid starting his arbitration clock early.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on how he does in the meantime.

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Sticking in the minor leagues, there’s finally some good news on former 5th overall pick Mark Rogers.  Rogers was an uber-prospect who has missed two full seasons due to shoulder surgeries, but is finally back pitching this season.  Amazingly, in his second start since coming back he hit 97 mph on the radar gun.  Rogers is still only in Brevard County and has a long road ahead of him, but it’s exciting that he’s been able to come back and pitch pain free.

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Finally, some exciting news!  I will be attending the Brewers Phillies games on Wednesday and Thursday.  I’ll be decked out in Brewer gear, so I’m expecting to get stuff thrown at me.  If I make it out alive I’ll hopefully be able to check out some of the city and try a Philly Cheesesteak.  Most importantly, hopefully I’ll see a couple Brewer victories.

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3 responses to “The City of Brotherly Love

  1. Everyone has gone Coo-coo for Coffey (just a terrible phrase there, I understand). This guy has ONCE had an ERA under 4 and it came with a 1.44 WHIP. His career ERA/WHIP line is 4.27/1.54 (compare to Jorge Julio 4.37/1.44). Enjoy the ride, but I’ll eat my shoe if the wheels don’t come off by, let’s say, June 1.

  2. I went to a Phillies game last year while traveling for work. The cheesesteaks at the stadium are nothing to get excited about, however, I was a fan of the “Crab-fries (with cheese of course).”

    Side note…what’s with all the walks so far this year?? Are our guys just struggling with control, or are they scared to throw the ball over the plate? Two very different problems!

  3. I had a cheesesteak today in downtown Philly at a place called Campo’s, and that was good.

    Good point on the walks. It’s not just the Brewers, though. Take a look around the league and you’ll see walks are up. Walks are traditionally up in April as pitchers get into form. It’s a bigger problem for the Brewers this year than in the past, but it’s not that unusual. I’d guess the problem is struggling with control more than being afraid to throw over the plate, but of course that’s speculation.

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