This Weeks Guest:
Eric is a contributor for the Fansided joint, Puckett’s Pond. He currently resides in the beautiful town of Platteville, WI (or thereabouts). Mr Pleiss was the first friend that I made when I became a member of the Fansided family. Eric wrote us a very nice article, a few months back, about his first trip to Miller Park as a resident of the great state of Wisconsin. From that point on we were BFFF’s. Eric is a gentlemen, a scholar, and a man who appreciates a good mustache. This edition of Brewers Buy or Sell is very special because I get to find out from Eric, “Is Wisconsin better than Minnesota?” I suspect yes, but you will have to read more to find out. Please go over and check out some of Eric’s work at Puckett’s Pond.
The way this works is simple. I make 5 realistic statements about the Brewers. Eric tells me if he is “buying” it or “selling” it. Then he has to defend himself. If it was just a True or False test, then what would be the point.
1) Rickie Weeks being out of the lineup will NOT slow down the Brewers
SELL – I was in the http://knuckleballsblog.com/ game chat for the Twins last night when Jemile Weeks reached base, and then proceeded to steal his way around the base paths against Carl Pavano, he who is notoriously horrible at holding runners. Someone in the chat said, “I hate all the Weeks.” And while Jemile might be younger and faster, Rickie Weeks is still one SUPER fast dude. Not having him in the Brewers line up is going to hurt. And while Rickie only has 9 SB on the year, his speed is always a threat to opposing teams. Remember that insane inside the park HR Rickie hit just before the All-Star break? He didn’t even RUN to first base, he could have run BACK to first base and still been safe. Felipe Lopez, he of the .565 OPS is not going to get the job done while Rickie heals up. Be ready for Below Replacement Level performances at 2B.
2) The Brewers will finish the season with five, 10 win pitchers.
SELL – Well, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum are already there. And Zach Greinke, despite just 16 starts, is already at 8 wins, and he is a virtual lock to get at least 4 more before the season ends. So you get three, no problem. And so there you have it, the Brewers top 3 pitchers are all right handed, and they’re all going to win at least 12 games. That’s pretty impressive. And then, there were the left handed pitchers. Both Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson has just 7 wins in 22 starts. Leading their team to victory in just under a third of all of their performances. Wolf appears to have been the victim of a fair number of unearned runs and his ERA+ is 115, suggesting that he’s better than the 7-8 record he is currently sporting. His ERA of 3.44 is just a tenth of a point behind Marcum for the team lead among players with 4 or more starts. He’s going to get some things going his way and he will join the three RHPs as a member of the 10 win club. So that’s 4 guys with at least 10 wins, pretty nice. And then there is Chris Narveson. Narveson is striking out a fair number of guys, and he isn’t really walking that many (3.3 per nine innings pitched), but he’s not even averaging 6 innings per start, and when Zach Braddock is on your team, you know your bullpen is capable of blowing big leads. Francisco Rodriguez should help bolster that bullpen and keep the Brewers in more games late, but I just don’t think Randy Wolf gets to 10 wins, If he continues to win just under 32% of his starts he’s going to need at least 10 more starts (which is probably doable if he stays healthy), but I don’t think he will.
3) Twins fans secretly miss Carlos Gomez.
SELL – I almost wanted to buy this one, but the truth is, with the emergence of Ben Revere in 2011, the Twins fans have found a speedster to replacing the thrills of a guy running 500 miles per hour into the center field wall. In 2009, his last year with the Twins, Gomez had his lowest OBP of his career (thought I suspect Brewer fans would take it this year, being almost 20 points higher than his current .270). If anything, the Twins want J.J. Hardy back, who came over in the Gomez trade, because the Twins seem to have struck out with Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
4) The Brewers will win the NL Central.
BUY – The Brewers are 3.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals are are in the midst of a 7 game winning streak. The 2nd place Cardinals come to Miller Park for three games this week and then the Brewers head to Busch Stadium for 3 more games next week that I think will ultimately decide the battle of beer supremacy (Really, there has to be a great beer themed name for this rivalry, right? Better than what I just came up with anyways). The Brewers have the pitching, and they have enough bats to keep pace with any offense in the league (do bats keep pace with offense? Or do they keep pace with opposing pitchers? I don’t know. If they have to keep pace with pitching, I think only Philadelphia can really slow them down over a multi game series)
5) Wisconsin is a better overall state than Minnesota.
SELL – In my life I’ve split time living all over the midwest, in Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois and now Wisconsin. Where do my allegiances lie? As a kid growing up I had family in the Minneapolis area and in the Chicago area, so for many years Wisconsin was the long boring place that I had to drive through to make holiday visits. At that young age I remember thinking to myself, “Wisconsin is only ditches, cows, and cheese huts. This has to be the worst state ever.” Lou, that memory dies hard. Now that I’m living in a beautiful part of the Wisconsin country side I’ve began to notice other great things about Wisconsin: You can buy beer at the super market, every town seems to make their own fresh cheese and have a delicious assortment of cured meats, Wal-Mart is the funniest place to go people-watch after 10pm, and there is a place in town where I can buy Grain Belt Beer (Minnesota’s best). There are also some things that are NOT great about Wisconsin: Packer fans, a HUGE collection of Cubs fans, and for reasons I simply cannot understand, people who like to drive about 5 mph below the speed limit up and down 2 lane roads. Sweet. So things are pretty much neck and neck. Both states have a similar climate, both have plenty to do outdoors, and both states are cooler than Iowa, by like 50 times! But, Lou, I am not just a Minnesota Twins fan, not just a Minnesota Twins blogger, I am a genuine Minnesota Twin. I have an identical Twin brother, and Minnesota is the home of Twins.
A very special thank you to Eric for doing this. It seems like he had a great time. If you love Minnesota Twins baseball and want to follow Eric on Twitter, you can do so here.
Brewers look to continue their hot streak tonight against the Red Birds of Missouri. Winning 7 in a row is a pretty awesome way to take control of the division. Our beloved Brewers, now find themselves 3.5 games above the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. The team is undefeated with Rickie Weeks out of the lineup…I’m not saying, I’m just saying.