Tag:Miguel Montero
Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm
 

NLDS Game 3 Preview: Brewers looking to sweep



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TNT

Brewers Diamondbacks
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Willie Bloomquist SS
2 Nyjer Morgan CF 2 Aaron Hill 2B
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Justin Upton RF
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Miguel Montero C
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B
6 Jerry Hairston Jr 3B 6 Chris Young CF
7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 7 Ryan Roberts 3B
8 Jonathan Lucroy C 8 Gerardo Parra LF
9 Shaun Marcum RHP 9 Josh Collmenter RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Marcum vs. Diamondbacks: Marcum earned a no decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. Every Brewer that has faced Marcum has managed a hit against him, but only Upton has more than one (2 for 6). Montero's lone hit in three at-bats against Marcum was for a homer.

Collmenter vs. Brewers: Collmenter was moved up in the rotation in part because of his success against the Brewers. In two starts against Milwaukee this season, the Brewers haven't scored on him in 14 innings. Collmenter started in back-to-back starts around the All-Star break, getting a no-decision after six innings of three-hit ball on July 6 in Milwaukee and picking up the win after allowing just three hits in eight innings at Chase Field on July 18. On the Brewers, only Fielder (2 for 5), Morgan (2 for 6) and Betancourt (1 for 3) have hits off Collmenter. All the Brewers hits off Collmenter have been singles. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Diamondbacks had hoped to have the roof open at Chase Field for Game 3, but there was a dust storm before the game that caused the team to close the roof. A final decision will be made later.
  • Left-hander Joe Saunders was the original scheduled starter for Tuesday's game, but an injury to his hand in batting practice earlier int he season pushed him back to Game 4.
  • While Milwaukee struggled on the road this season (32-42), the team split its four games at Chase Field.
  • Milwaukee is looking to win its first postseason series since the 1982 ALCS.
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Posted on: October 2, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 10:56 pm
 

Umpire's blown call costs D-Backs' Hill a double

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, an umpiring mistake has jumped to the forefront of a playoff game, even if it may not end up meaning too much in the large scheme of things. However, Arizona's Aaron Hill did get a base taken away from him in the first inning of Sunday's Game 2 of the NLDS.

With one out in the first, the Diamondbacks' second baseman hit a ball down the left-field line off of Brewers starter Zack Greinke. Umpire James Hoye, positioned on the line, called the ball foul, even as Hill scooted into second for a double. Replays showed Hill's liner hit on the fair side of a yellow stripe on the wall.

Hill went back to the plate and calmly nailed the next pitch into center for a single.

Hoye, who is working in the first postseason of his career, was in the sunlight and the ball landed into what was a shaded part of the stadium at that time. The shadows in Milwaukee have been an issue this series and may have played a part in Hoye's call.  

Greinke then got Justin Upton to pop up weakly to Prince Fielder in foul territory and struck out Miguel Montero on four pitches to end the inning. Despite that, it's impossible to say the inning was changed by the call, as pitchers pitch differently with a runner on second than they do with one on first. Chances are Greinke would get out of the inning, but there's no way to know that for sure.

Postseason games have umpires positioned on the outfield lines just for those calls. Of course, there's another way to fix those kinds of calls, but I think we here at Eye On Baseball have made our position on expanded replay clear, so no need to beat that dead horse (but feel free to do so in the comments).

More Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS coverage 

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 2:02 pm
 

NLDS Game 2 preview: Brewers can take control



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 5:07 p.m. ET, Miller Park, TBS

Diamondbacks Brewers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Willie Bloomquist SS 1 Corey Hart RF
2 Aaron Hill 2B 2 Nyjer Morgan CF
3 Justin Upton RF 3 Ryan Braun LF
4 Miguel Montero C 4 Prince Fielder 1B
5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 5 Rickie Weeks 2B
6 Chris Young CF 6 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
7 Ryan Roberts 3B 7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
8 Gerardo Parra LF 8 Jonathan Lucroy C
9 Daniel Hudson RHP 9 Zack Greinke RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Hudson vs. Brewers: In Hudson's only start against the Brewers this season, he allowed six runs (five earned) in just four innings, while giving up eight hits. Both Hart and Shaun Marcum took him deep in the game at Miller Park on July 4, but Arizona came back to beat the Brewers that day. Every Brewer starter who has faced Hudson has at least a hit against him. Hudson's never faced Braun. 

Greinke vs. Diamondbacks: Greinke earned the loss in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, but he pitched well enough to win. On July 21 at Chase Field, Greinke allowed just five hits and two runs in seven innings, but his offense was shutout. Montero and Upton touched him up for solo homers in the loss. Upton is 3 for 7 in his career against Greinke, with a double and a homer. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Brewers have announced the roof at Miller Park will be closed for today's game. Weather.com says it will be 62 degrees at first pitch. The roof was closed for Game 1, but it was about 10 degrees cooler. The Brewers say the shadows are not as bad when the roof is closed for a 5 p.m. ET start.
  • Although Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke hinted he would play Casey McGehee in Game 2, he stayed with Hairston, who drove in the Brewers' first run in Game 1 with a sacrifice fly. McGehee is 5 for 5 with a homer in his career against Arizona's Hudson, while Hairston is 1 for 4.
  • Greinke is pitching on three days rest, something he did in his last start, going 6 innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs in a victory over the Pirates that helped Milwaukee get homefield advantage for this round of the playoffs. He threw just 74 pitches on Wednesday. Greinke is much better at home than on the road. At Miller Park, he's 11-0 with a 3.13 ERA and 5-6 with a 4.70 ERA on the road.
  • Greinke wasn't the only Brewer better at home -- the whole team performed better at Miller Park. The Brewers had the best home record in baseball, going 57-24 at home and 39-42 on the road.
  • Hudson has struggled in first innings this season, putting up an average of 6.00 in the first inning.
  • The only real lineup change from Game 1 is Arizona's Goldschmidt starting at first for Overbay. Overbay has faced Greinke more than any other Diamondbacks, and has been successful. He's hitting .348/.375/.652 with two homers and six RBI in 23 at-bats against the Brewers' right-hander.
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Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:56 am
 

NLDS Game 1 preview: Gallardo owns D-Backs

Yovani Gallardo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 2:07 p.m. ET, Miller Park, TBS

Diamondbacks Brewers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Willie Bloomquist SS 1 Corey Hart RF
2 Aaron Hill 2B 2 Nyjer Morgan CF
3 Justin Upton RF 3 Ryan Braun LF
4 Miguel Montero C 4 Prince Fielder 1B
5 Chris Young CF 5 Rickie Weeks 2B
6 Lyle Overbay 1B 6 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
7 Ryan Roberts 3B 7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
8 Gerardo Parra LF 8 Jonathan Lucroy C
9 Ian Kennedy RHP 9 Yovani Gallardo RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Kennedy vs. Brewers: The Diamondbacks' 21-game winner faced the Brewers just once this season, holding the potent Brewers offense to just four hits in seven scoreless innings. However, that one start was in Arizona and the Brewers are a much different team at home. Milwaukee is hitting .277/.344/.461 at home and .246/.307/391 away from Miller Park. Kennedy's had susccess in smalll sample sizes against Brewers batters, with Craig Counsell having the most success against him (2 for 5), while Fielder is the only Brewer batter to hit a homer off of Kennedy, tagging the right-hander once in eight at-bats, but also striking out five times. 

Gallardo vs. Diamondbacks: The Brewers right-hander has dominated the Brewers in his career, putting up a 5-0 record and 1.20 ERA in five career starts against Arizona. This season he faced Arizona twice, beating them in Milwaukee on July 6 and in Arizona on July 19. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Brewers have announced the roof at Miller Park will be closed for today's game. Weather.com says it will be 54 degrees at first pitch.
  • Fun with small sample sizes seems to be the reason for the Diamondbacks starting Overbay at first over rookie Paul Goldschmidt. Overbay is 2 for 3 in his career against Gallardo. Overbay is one of just two Diamondbacks with an average better than .333 against Gallardo, Cole Gillespie (1 for 2 with a homer) is the other. Overbay is also hot, hitting .381/.480/.667 with a homer in 25 plate appearances in September -- against, small sample sizes.
  • Another surprise in the lineups is third base for the Brewers, where Hairston gets the nod over Casey McGehee. Neither has a hit in their career against Kennedy. Expect McGehee back in the lineup Sunday against right-hander Daniel Hudson. McGehee is 5 for 5 with a homer against Hudson in his career.
  • Morgan is back in center field for Milwaukee after missing the last two regular-season games. On Monday, Morgan fouled two pitches off his right leg.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 3:22 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Brewers vs. Diamondbacks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Milwaukee made a splash in the winter acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum -- it was a signal to the baseball world that the Brewers were going for it in 2011 and anything short of the postseason would be a disappointment in what figures to be Prince Fielder's last season in Milwaukee. Well, the Brewers responded by winning their first division title since 1982, when Harvey's Wallbangers went to the World Series as the American League representatives. While the Brewers were picked by many to be in the playoffs, the Diamondbacks were a complete surprise. Both teams have used pitching to get here, so expect some strong pitching performances.

TEAM INFORMATION

Milwaukee Brewers (host games 1, 2, 5)
96-66, NL Central champions
Manager: Ron Roenicke
Team batting statistics: .261 batting average (3rd in NL), .325 on-base percentage (4th), .425 slugging percentage (2nd)
Team pitching statistics: 3.64 ERA (7th), 1.240 WHIP (3rd), 2.86 K/BB (2nd)
Star player: LF Ryan Braun -- .332/.397/.597 33 HR, 111 RBI, 109 R, 38 2B, 6 3B, 33 SB

Arizona Diamondbacks (host games 3, 4)
94-68, NL West champions
Manager: Kirk Gibson
Team batting statistics: .250 batting average (10th in NL), .322 on-base percentage (7th), .413 slugging percentage (3rd)
Team pitching statistics: 3.80 ERA (9th), 1.286 WHIP (7th), 2.39 K/BB (7th)
Star player: RF Justin Upton -- .289/.369/.529 31 HR, 88 RBI, 105 R, 39 2B, 5 3B, 21 SB

SCHEDULE (Click here to view the entire postseason schedule)  

Game 1: ARI @ MIL, Oct. 1, 2:07 p.m. ET. Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88) vs. Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52)
Game 2: ARI @ MIL, Oct. 2, 4:37 p.m. ET. Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49) vs. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83)
Game 3: MIL @ ARI, Oct. 4 Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54) vs. Joe Saunders (12-12, 3.69)
Game 4: MIL @ ARI, Oct. 5* Randy Wolf (13-10, 3.69) vs. TBD
Game 5: ARI @ MIL, Oct. 7* TBD vs. Gallardo
* if necessary

TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)

Catcher
Milwaukee: Jonathan Lucroy
Arizona: Miguel Montero

Hands-down Montero is the better offensive threat, hitting .282/.351/.469 with 18 homers and 86 batted in. The 27-year-old made his first All-Star team this year and while he was once thought of as an all-offense catcher, his defense has improved.

Advantage: Diamondbacks

First base
Milwaukee: Prince Fielder
Arizona: Paul Goldschmidt

The rookie Goldschmidt has come up big in some important games, but he still has 222 fewer career homers than Fielder.

Advantage: Brewers

Second base
Milwaukee: Rickie Weeks
Arizona: Aaron Hill

The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays pulled off an August deal for struggling second basemen, sending Kelly Johnson north of the border and Hill going to Arizona. The change of scenery worked for Hill, who is hitting .315/.386/.492 in 33 games with the Diamondbacks. Weeks' numbers are down and he's coming off an ankle injury that limited him to 14 games since the end of July.

Advantage: Brewers

Shortstop
Milwaukee: Yuniesky Betancourt
Arizona: John McDonald

McDonald was an emergency stopgap acquired from the Blue Jays along with Hill in August, for the injured Stephen Drew. And Yuniesky Betancourt is Yuniesky Bentancourt, one of the worst all-around players in all of baseball.

Advantage: Diamondbacks

Third base
Milwaukee: Casey McGehee
Arizona: Ryan Roberts

Roberts is better known for his tattoos, but he's also had a decent season for the Diamondbacks, while McGehee has had a disastrous 2011. With a .223/.280/.346 line, McGehee's OPS+ is just 69. There's pop in that bat, but it's been hard to find.

Advantage: Diamondbacks

Left field
Milwaukee: Ryan Braun
Arizona: Gerardo Parra

Braun is going to be one of the favorites to win the MVP, Parra is not.

Advantage: Brewers

Center field
Milwaukee: Nyjer Morgan
Arizona: Chris Young

Young is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, but has struggled a bit at the plate. Morgan is the Brewres' spark plug and resurrected his career in Milwaukee. Morgan's intangibles are huge -- and in the Brewers' favor.

Advantage: Brewers

Right field
Milwaukee: Corey Hart
Arizona: Justin Upton

Hart sometimes get lost in the shadow of Fielder and Braun, but he's had a pretty good season, as well, hitting .285/.356/.510 with 26 homers in 130 games. That said, Upton is one of the best young players in the game and will be in the top 10 of the MVP results.

Advantage: Diamondbacks

Starting pitching
Milwaukee: Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf
Arizona: Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders

Both teams are strong at the top, but the Brewers have more depth, with Marcum starting Game 3 and Randy Wolf possibly starting Game 4. Of course, the three-man rotation could really help the Diamondbacks, allowing Kennedy and Hudson to pitch twice if needed. Greinke wanted out of Kansas City so he could pitch in the playoffs, and now he gets his shot.

Advantage: Brewers

Relief pitching
Milwaukee closer: John Axford
Arizona closer: J.J. Putz

Last season the Diamondbacks had a historically bad bullpen. This year it's one of the reasons they're in the playoffs. While Axford is the best of the three closers in this series (counting the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez), the Diamondbacks have the deeper bullpen, which only improved when Kirk Gibson decided to go with a three-man rotation and put right-hander Josh Collmenter in the bullpen, where he started the season.

Advantage: Diamondbacks

Total advantage: Tie: Diamondbacks (5), Brewers (5)

PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)

CBS Experts
Evan Brunell: Brewers in 5
Gregg Doyel: Brewers in 5
Danny Knobler: Diamondbacks in 5
Scott Miller: Brewers in 4
C. Trent Rosecrans: Brewers in 4
Matt Snyder: Brewers in 4

Trent's take: I'm still not exactly sure how the Diamondbacks wound up in the playoffs. The team has been doubted from spring training to the All-Star break and even at the start of the regular season's final month. Nobody has believed in the Diamondbacks at any point of this season. So I'm pretty sure they won't be too upset to be picked against here. Milwaukee has famously "gone for it" since last season, pulling off moves big (Greinke, Rodriguez) and small (Morgan). No pitcher likes to see Braun and Fielder back-to-back in that Brewers lineup, not even a 21-winner like Kennedy. The Brewers also have the arms in the rotation to be dangerous. I like the Brewers, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about Arizona.

More Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS coverage

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:25 pm
 

MLB looking into Kershaw-Parra feud

Gerardo ParraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball will likely decide whether to discipline Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw by Friday, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reports.

Kershaw was ejected in Wednesday night's game for hitting Arizona's Gerardo Parra, the day after Parra took offense to nearly being hit by Los Angeles reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Parra retaliated the old fashioned way, taking Kuo deep, before taking an extra couple of seconds to admire his homer and then spring around the bases. Kershaw, in the dugout, took offense at Parra's actions and yelled his displeasure.

Parra doubled in his first at-bat on Wednesday against Kershaw, but then Kershaw hit him in the sixth inning and was immediately ejected.

Neither team had been warned by the umpires before the game, nor during the game, but Joe Torre, the former Dodgers manager and current head of MLB's baseball operations, called Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly to tell him the head office in New York would be watching the game closely. Torre oversees the man who will decide on any further punishment for Kershaw, Joe Garagiola Jr.

Kershaw had a strike on Parra when he hit him, and both Kershaw and Mattingly argued with home plate umpire Bill Welke that Kershaw was just pitching inside and Parra didn't get out of the way. The pitch hit Parra in the elbow.

"The first at-bat I threw him all away and he hit a double, so the next at-bat I came in," Kershaw said (via the Los Angeles Times). "It's just unfortunate. I understand [Welke] has a job to do, but at the same time he has to pay attention to what's going on in the game better."

The Dodgers were leading 2-0 when Kershaw was booted. They went on to win, 3-2, with Kershaw picking up his 19th win of the season.

While I don't think Kershaw was upset the ball went in and hit Parra, I'm not so sure he was looking to hit him. Arizona's Miguel Montero doesn't agree with me, telling the Times afterward: "We knew he was going to [hit him]. I guess there was a warning going on already, especially with Parra. I think that's part of the game and the umpires did the right move."

It would be highly suspect if Kershaw hadn't been tossed after hitting Parra -- regardless of intent. That said, that should be the end of it. It seems like any other punishment would be excessive. Kershaw didn't like what Parra did, Parra took care of it with his bat and everyone's had their say. It seems it should be over -- even though Montero didn't seem to see it that way.

"We'll see him next time," Montero said.

And sure enough, MLB will be watching then.

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 11:04 am
 

Pepper: Crane's purchase of Astros in doubt

Crane
By Evan Brunell

Limbo: The saga of Jim Crane as Astros owner continues to take a strange path, and that path may be headed toward a rejection.

BizofBaseball.com outlines the reasons behind why the deal has stalled... and why approval may be a pipe dream at this point. You'll have to click through to get the full breakdown, but the main takeaway is that Crane shares some sobering similarities with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, and we all know how that turned out.

For one, Crane had a contentious divorce himself that ended up in the papers back in 2000, where he reportedly came to blows with his son. Crane's history in court is also checkered, as allegations of racism and war-profiteering are very real concerns, and baseball understandably may not be interested in being affiliated with such a person, especially one whose companies were in federal court 130 times in 15 years.

Current Houston owner Drayton McLane expects a vote to be passed at any minute. But it won't come this week, and might not come at all unless commissioner Bud Selig and all 29 current owners can get on board. But even that might be rendered moot, as Crane is reportedly having a hard time keeping his investment group together, which is large and has investments as low as $25 million committed. Eventually, these investors may tire of having their money tied up in a venture that looks less and less ideal.

Time for a four-man: For a few years now, I've strongly believed that the best rotation would be that of four men plus a fifth starter who could start every now and then. I've blogged on it before, and now Jeff Passan comes out in favor of a four-and-swing rotation, even as teams move to six-man rotations these days. (Yahoo! Sports)

Managers of the year: You know it's September when you start seeing articles on who should win certain awards. Today, two candidates for manager of the year are discussed: The Angels' Mike Scioscia by the Orange County Times while Ron Roenicke of the Brewers gets love from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Return of Strasburg: The return of Stephen Strasburg was highly anticipated, and the phenom delivered Tuesday night with a dazzling performance. Here's a pitch F/X review of the outing. The biggest takeaway? Strasburg is throwing a new changeup. (Fangraphs)

Finally: It took three years, but Dustin McGowan has finally moved past all his injuries, surgeries and rehab. For the first time since July 2008, McGowan pitched in a game when he threw four innings Tuesday night. He wasn't lights out, but that's besides the point. (Toronto Star)

Done in Pittsburgh? Paul Maholm is shut down for the year due to injury, which may bring an end to his Pirates career. The club holds a club option, but it's anyone's guess if the option is exercised. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Venable a Bear: Wil Venable's brother has made the Chicago Bears football team. Winston was an undrafted free agent, but made the squad on special teams. (North County Times)

Beer me: If you're looking for a good beer, give AT&T Park in San Francisco a try, a destination that received a glowing beer review. (Fangraphs)

Montero wants to return: 'Zona catcher Miguel Montero will be in his final year of arbitration next season before becoming a free agent. The backstop has indicated his desire to stay, and the team has reciprocated, with both sides likely to discuss an extension after the season. (Arizona Republic)
 
Team USA
: Brett Jackson won't be called up to the Cubs this season, as he will instead play for Team USA in the Pan American Games. With a solid spring training, Jackson should cement himself as the Cubs' center fielder. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Back in L.A.: Rod Barajas has found a home in Los Angeles and is interested in returning. The Dodgers may disagree, though, and may prefer to go young at the position next year. (Los Angeles Times)

Social day: Speaking of L.A., it's hard to argue against the fact that the Dodgers have taken the biggest step back in public relations this year. As an attempt to reconnect with fans, the team is holding a Social September campaign, a month-long campaign that will give fans the ability to win prizes and interact with the team. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Cardinals may face Brewers without Molina

Yadier MolinaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals may be without one of their most important players when they host the division-leading Brewers for three games starting on Monday, as catcher Yadier Molina is out of the team's lineup for the second straight day on Sunday and may not be ready to face Milwaukee.

"Hopeful is the best way to put it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Molina's availability for the Brewers series (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Molina was suffering from soreness in his left calf muscle and told his teammates Saturday that he wouldn't miss Sunday's game. But when La Russa filled out the lineup for the last game of the series against the Reds, Gerald Laird was penciled in to catch Edwin Jackson.

The Cardinals also said they wouldn't promote Tony Cruz from Triple-A Memphis before the Redbirds' season ends on Monday because of the moves that would have to be made throughout the rest of the organization to make sure every team had a catcher.

Molina's hitting .294/.333/.451 with 12 homers, but his worth isn't best measured by any of those numbers or even WAR or any advanced stats, instead, it's best shown by 111 -- the number of games he's started behind the plate in the Cardinals' 139 games. Only Florida's John Buck (113) and Arizona's Miguel Montero (112) have started more games behind the plate this season than the three-time Gold Glover. Molina also has the reputation as one of the best catchers in the majors at handling pitchers.

Laird, 31, is hitting .235/.305/.365 with one homer this season and has started 20 games for the Cardinals this season behind the plate, including Saturday's victory. 

St. Louis enters Sunday's game 8 1/2 behind the Brewers in the National League Central and with 23 games remaining, would likely need another sweep of the Brewers to keep any hopes at the playoffs alive. The Cardinals swept the Brewers in Milwaukee last week.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com