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Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:06 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 11:35 pm

Morgan's strange journey from villain to hero

Nyjer Morgan

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The most dramatic turnaround of 2011 wasn't the Arizona Diamondbacks -- they were close, but not quite it -- instead, it was the guy who ended the Diamondbacks' season, Brewers center fielder Nyjer Morgan.

For all the T-Plush love that's been spread over the last couple of months, it's easy to forget how 2010 ended for Morgan. The last month-and-a-half of the 2010 season included an eight-game suspension, a $15,000 fine, incitement of a benches-clearing brawl, a clothesline from the Marlins' Gaby Sanchez in said brawl, had another suspension that was ultimately rescinded, was called out by his manager after running over Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson, called out his manager, was benched and also ran over Marlins catcher Brett Hayes and was tagged out when a slide would have won the game. Yeah, it was a rough 2010. 

Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 2

And 2011 didn't start out too hot, either. It's easy to forget now, but Morgan started spring training with the Nationals. He was a target in spring when Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco hit him in a spring training game and that drew the ire of Morgan, who didn't charge the mound, but took his base. He got in another altercation with the Cardinals before he told a reporter he felt he was on his way out of Washington. That upset then-Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, but it turned out to be reality, as two days later he was sent from the Nationals to the Brewers in exchange for minor-league infielder Cutter Dykstra.

Even when he got to the Brewers, he had a struggle of a different kind, with two disabled list stints in the first two months of the season -- one for a deep thigh bruise and another for a broken middle finger. He also had to share playing time with Carlos Gomez once he got back.

In Milwaukee, though, he endeared himself to the home fans with his intensity and personality, as well as his Twitter precense (@The RealTPlush). 

While it hasn't been all roses in Milwaukee-- there was an overly "aggressive" celebration in San Francisco and a dustup with Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter and subsequent Twitter "insults" to the Cardinals and Albert Pujols.

But in the end -- or at least after the NLDS -- Morgan is the team's emotional leader on a team with two legit MVP candidates.

"He's just -- he's a joy to have, I'll tell you," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. I don't care about all the little issues we have. This guy, I love him on this team. I like him as a really nice young man. He came through big, again, when we needed him."

Morgan had the winning hit in Friday's Game 5 over the Diamondbacks, driving in Gomez in the 10th. He was front and center in the team's celebration (and in the FCC's 'to do' list), but he's also a major reason the Brewers are going to play for the right to go to the World Series.

After, Morgan even reflected on his journey from Public Enemy No. 1 to Milwaukee hero.

"I mean, it's a lot. Just everything that I've had to overcome. Just the stuff that people go out there and perceive about me," Morgan said in the post-game news conference, while wearing a Brewers' branded Army helmet. "And just everything that -- all my haters. I just wanted to show them that I can play this game. Even though I've got a fun, bubbly personality and everything like that, I still come to win and I'm a winner."

For everything you can say about Morgan, on Friday, at least, you have to give him that.


For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:01 am

Nyjer Morgan drops two f-bombs on TBS

By Matt Snyder

Full Playoff Coverage
Nyjer Morgan aka "T-Plush" has been quite the polarizing figure this season. He's wildy popular in Milwaukee and otherwise seems to be pretty hated by opposing fan bases -- namely Cardinals fans due to his little brush with Chris Carpenter.

Friday night, he added another chapter both for the lovers and the haters. He picked up the series-winning single up the middle. And then he went f-bomb on TBS, multiple times.

Morgan was just off the camera when field reporter Sam Ryan looked to get an interview. You could faintly hear Morgan yell, "(expletive) yeah!"

Most people probably weren't too worried about that. But then he got up close with Ryan for an interview and clearly said "(expletive) yeah, (expletive) yeah!" into the microphone.

And non-Brewers fans went crazy on Twitter.

So the saga of T-Plush continues. He's now more beloved by Brewers fans and more hated by many opposing fans.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 5:22 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 94-68, 1st place NL West. Lost to Brewers 3 games to 2 in NLDS
Manager: Kirk Gibson
Best hitter: Justin Upton -- ..289/.369/.529 with 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB
Best pitcher: Ian Kennedy -- 21-4, 222 IP, 33 GS, 2.88 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 198 SO, 55 BB


Nobody expected much from the Diamondbacks and even when they did surprise by leading the National League West, nobody thought they could hold off the Giants. Not only did they hold off the defending champs, they left them in the dust. The Diamondbacks were ruthless in making decisions early in the season, demoting or just flat-out getting rid of players that didn't produce, like Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Wade Miley and Russell Branyan. The Diamondbacks won 16 of 18 in late August and early September, while Ian Kennedy became a legitimate Cy Young candidate. The team also discovered it has the makings of a stout rotation with Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter. They even survived the season-ending injury to Stephen Drew, winning despite his absence.

2012 AUDIT

The Diamondbacks are in a pretty good situation. So it seems they have some good, young talent that's not going to cost too much -- something that's very important to the Diamondbacks' front office. The team that they have should only get better and develop. There are small spots to fill, but nothing huge. And with Stephen Drew coming back, the team should be even better than they were in the playoffs.


RHP Jason Marquis
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Aaron Hill ($8 team option)
LHP Zach Duke ($5.5 team option)
OF Xavier Nady
SS John McDonald
C Henry Blanco ($1.5 mutual option)UTIL Willie Boomquist ($1.1 mutual option)


  • Remember last offseason when the Diamondbacks were listening to offers for Justin Upton? Don't do that.
  • Hill was acquired in a change-of-scenry trade with the Blue Jays in August and it seemed to work for both teams. Hill played well for the Diamondbacks -- but not $8 million well. The team should decline his option, but see if he'd entertain an offer for less. The other side of that trade, Kelly Johnson, talked about returning at a discounted price. If Hill's not interested in coming back on the cheap, Johnson may be.
  • The team could upgrade in left field, but that's not a pressing need. And even if it were, there's not a lot of money to spend on the likes of Josh Willingham. There should be enough on the non-tender scrap pile to bring in competition for the spring and push Gerardo Parra.
  • There's a lot of talk about the White Sox trying to trade Carlos Quentin -- at least listen and see how desperate they are to get rid of him. If they take the bulk of his contract, he wouldn't be a bad fit to put in left.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:47 pm

Halladay struggles before locking in ... again

By Matt Snyder

What is it with Roy Halladay and the first inning? Last time he took the hill was Game 1 of the NLDS, and he allowed a three-run home run to Lance Berkman in the first inning before turning into an absolute maestro. Now, in the first inning of Friday's do-or-die Game 5, Halladay gave up a triple and double to start the game. Since then? A catcher's interference and seeing-eye, ground-ball single. And 12 outs.

More Playoff Coverage
During the regular season, Halladay's first inning ERA was 3.66. In no other inning until the ninth inning did he have an ERA of worse than 2.81, and he sported an ERA of less than 1.70 in the second, third, sixth and eighth innings.

Should the Phillies advance, that's a situation worth following -- that the Brewers better get him in the first, lest he shut them down the rest of the way. But as things stood through four innings Friday night, the Phillies hadn't been able to score a run off Chris Carpenter, as the score was 1-0 Cardinals.

Things are far from over, though, so remember to ... Click here to follow the action live on's GameTracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:23 pm

Eye on Photos: Brewers defeat D-Backs in NLDS

By Matt Snyder

The Milwaukee Brewers have advanced to the NLCS for the first time in club history (note: They've been to the World Series, but that was when they were in the American League) after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks on the NLDS. Check out the pictures of the series.

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

Even for baseball, Milwaukee is all about tailgating. Brats, burgers and beer are the bare essentials. (Getty Images)
Yovani Gallardo thanks Ryan Braun for throwing out a runner at home in the first inning of Game 1. (Getty Images)
Prince Fielder is a bit fired up after his Game 1 home run. (Getty Images)
Zack Greinke struck out seven in the Brewers' Game 2 win, but he needed help, as he allowed four runs in five innings and took a no-decision. (Getty Images)
This is the Brewers' celebratory "beast mode" pose, done here by Ryan Braun. (Getty Images)
Nyjer Morgan ... feels like he needs a chalk outline, huh? (Getty Images)
Great shot of a Justin Upton broken bat. (Getty Images)
Josh Collmenter has an odd delivery, but it got the job done for the D-Backs in Game 3. (Getty Images)
Paul Goldschmidt is rather giddy after he broke Game 3 wide open with a grand slam. (Getty Images)
So much for a home-field advantage. (Getty Images)
MLB commissioner Bud Selig throws at the first pitch at Game 5. He even wore his mitt! (Getty Images)
No, he doesn't want a hug. That's beast mode again. (Getty Images)
Chris Young had a big series for the D-Backs. Pictured here is him crossing home plate after his second homer of the series. (Getty Images)
Here's the very close call in Game 4, and it's evident the out call was the correct one. (Getty Images)
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in Game 4, but it didn't hold long -- as Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first. (Getty Images)
Justin Upton got the D-Backs on the board first in Game 5 ... and flahsed The Cobra. (Getty Images)
Chris Young saved two runs with an incredible over-the-shoulder catch in the sixth inning of Game 5. (Getty Images)
Of course, Yunieskey Betancourt followed with a big two-out single to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. (Getty Images)
Willie Bloomquist lays down a safety squeeze to score the tying run in the ninth, giving John Axford a very rare blown save. (Getty Images)
Nyjer Morgan reacts after getting the series-clinching hit to send the Brewers to their first-ever NLCS. (Getty Images)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 9:46 pm

Instant Reaction: Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 2

Nyjer Morgan

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hero: Nyjer Morgan scored the Brewers' first run and drove in the last. His one-out single up the middle in the 10th inning gave Milwaukee its first postseason series victory since 1982. With Carlos Gomez on second, Morgan singled up the middle and there was no chance for the Diamondbacks to get the speedy Gomez. Morgan scored the team's first run in the fourth when he tagged up on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s popup to shallow right that was caught by second baseman Aaron Hill. It was a heads-up piece of baserunning, realizing the second baseman couldn't get a throw home in time.

Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 2

Goat: J.J. Putz is a closer, and he wasn't in line to close, but he needed to hold the game for the Diamondbacks in the 10th inning. Instead, he gave up a single to Gomez and then another to Morgan to end the Diamondbacks' season. Putz had gone 17 2/3 innings without giving up a run and finishes the season having converted his last 24 save opportunities. It's tough to call anyone a goat in such a great game, but Putz is about as close as it gets here.

Turning point:  Gomez's stolen base in the 10th erased any shot of Putz getting to face Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder without a runner in scoring position. With the speedy Gomez at second, there was doubt he could score on any hit to the outfield.

It was over when … When the ball got past Putz -- who tried to deflect the ball with his foot. Once it got by him, shortstop Willie Bloomquist had no shot. It was obvious it was going to get in the outfield and Gomez would score.

Next: The season is over for the Diamondbacks, while the Brewers move on the National League Championship Series to face the winner of the Cardinals-Phillies Game 5.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 6:25 pm

Upton continues Diamondbacks' homer barrage

Justin Upton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Brewers have the reputation as a big, lumbering slugging team -- and much of that probably comes from the image of Prince Fielder and his bombastic blasts. But Arizona has counted on the long ball more than Milwaukee in the National League division series -- at least so far.

NLDS Game 5

After Justin Upton's solo shot in the top of the third of Game 5 off of Yovani Gallardo, the Diamondbacks have tagged Brewer pitchers for 10 homers in the series, with homers accounting for 17 of the team's 24 runs so far in the series.

All six of the Diamondbacks' runs at Miller Park have come on home runs.

Milwaukee led the National League with 185 homers in the regular season, with Arizona's 172 homers the fourth-most in the league.

Friday's homer was Upton's second of the series, he also homered in Game 2. Five different Diamondbacks have homered in the series and of those five, all but Aaron Hill have more than one homer in the series. Chris Young has three -- including two in Game 3 -- with Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts and Upton all hitting two.

No Brewer, on the other hand, has hit more than one homer in the series, as Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart and Fielder have all homered.

Follow the action live on's GameTracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:21 pm

LCS gametimes announced

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball has announced the game times for the League Championship Series, and we've updated our handy-dandy postseason schedule.

But if you just want the Cliff's Notes version on the ALDS and NLCS game times, here you go -- with the note that we don't know where any of the NLCS games will be played.

American League Championship Series (Best of 7)
Game Result Home team in CAPS
Game 1 10/8: Detroit at TEXAS
Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 2 10/9: Detroit at TEXAS
 Time: 7:45 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 3 10/11: Texas at DETROIT
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 4 10/12: Texas at DETROIT
 Time: 4:19 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 5* 10/13: Texas at DETROIT
 Time: 4:19 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 6* 10/15: Detroit at TEXAS
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
Game 7* 10/16: Detroit at TEXAS
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: Fox
National League Championship Series (Best of 7)
Game Result Home team in CAPS
Game 1 10/9: ARI/MIL @ PHI or STL @ ARI/MIL
 Time: 4:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 2 10/10: ARI/MIL @ PHI or STL @ ARI/MIL
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 3 10/12: PHI @ ARI/MIL or ARI/MIL @ STL
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 4 10/13: PHI @ ARI/MIL or ARI/MIL @ STL
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 5* 10/14: PHI @ ARI/MIL or ARI/MIL @ STL
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 6* 10/16: ARI/MIL @ PHI or STL @ ARI/MIL
 Time: 4:05 p.m. or 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS
Game 7* 10/17: ARI/MIL @ PHI or STL @ ARI/MIL
 Time: 8:05 p.m. ET | Broadcast: TBS

Also note Game 6 of the NLDS will be held at 4:05 p.m. ET if there's a Game 7 in the ALDS and 8:05 p.m. ET if the American League champion has already been decided.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or