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MDR Blog - 9/29
08:32 AM ET (US)
This is the last weekly MDR Blog for the 2014 season. Let’s review the season for the four MDR teams and give some ideas on what they have to do to improve. We’ll also pick a MDR All Star team and give some season honors.

Season reviews

Brewers (82-80)

For 150 days, the Brewers stayed in first place in the NL Central, but a couple weaknesses were percolating and eventually did in their pennant chances. First, they had an erratic offensive attack, too dependent on the home run. Second, manager Ron Roenicke burned out his relievers -- Tyler Thornburg, Will Smith, Brandon Kintzler, Zach Duke, etc.

In the last month of the season, the Brewers could not hit homers, and therefore had an overall anemic attack. Carlos Gomez slumped, in part due to nagging injuries, but in part because he was never the superstar caliber he played at earlier in the season. He’s come a long way, but not that far.

Aramis Ramirez, Khris Davis and others also cooled off. Then, there is Ryan Braun. The former MVP was said to be suffering from a hand injury which cut his production, but you also have to question whether this is Ryan Braun post-steroid era.

Braun allegedly took steroids in 2011 to help recover from an injury. This time, he couldn’t do that. Also, it just might be that his bat is not as explosive without some chemical help.

So, that’s the No. 1 decision the Brewers brass will have to eventually make -- do they want to pay MVP level salaries to what could be an injury prone outfielder, who while still productive is not as good as he once was? Don’t expect them to address that over this off-season, but they might have to down the road.

There has been some discussion about moving Braun to first base and going with an outfield of Gomez, Davis and Gerardo Parra next season. That’s more likely than Braun being sent elsewhere.

Some decisions should not be as complex as that on Braun. Rickie Weeks, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay should be gone. Thanks for your contributions, but adios. Then, there are some interesting possible scenarios.

Ramirez and Yovani Gallardo have option years on their contracts. This writer says exercise Ramirez’s option. There is no internal option available yet at third base, with the exception of prospect Jason Rogers. Despite his annual injuries, and his age, Ramirez still is productive at the plate and while he has lost a step in the field can still provide good defense.

Let Gallardo go. He has turned into a .500 pitcher who can look brilliant in some games and not so much in others. Another option would be to exercise the option and then use him to go after a first baseman -- most notably Justin Morneau of the Rockies.

The Brewers reportedly went after Morneau in August, after the waiver deadline, but couldn’t offer enough and the Rockies withdrew him from waivers. Maybe without the pressure of the season, the two teams now can work something out.

Milwaukee can’t go with Reynolds and Overbay at first again, and if you deal Gallardo you have a place for Mike Fiers in the rotation with Marco Estrada and Jimmy Nelson as possible fifth starters. Another trade possibility could be Matt Garza, although his salary and general inconsistency might not make him that marketable.

Even without Gallardo or Garza, the Brewers would still have a good rotation as their core. They need to add more consistent offense if they want to contend in 2015.

Cubs (73-89)

The Cubs started addressing their rebuilding process in 2014 with the additions of Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, Kyle Kendricks and others.

Look for the possibility of Kris Bryant joining the group next season, and there are others waiting in the wings.

Probably the biggest challenge for the Cubs will be to add pitching. Jake Arrieta, Kendricks, Hector Rondon and others could end up key cogs on the mound, but the club needs to add a No. 1 and perhaps No. 2 starter.

Welington Castillo is inconsistent at catcher, but provides some offense and could remain the starter. Anthony Rizzo had a fine season before he was slowed by injuries. Chris Coghlin, a one-time Rookie of the Year, played well and demonstrated he could be a regular in the outfield.

The Cubs will have to decide what they do with Starlin Castro, one of their All Stars. Baez could remain at second base, with Castro remaining at shortstop. Castro also could be traded, perhaps for a pitcher, and Baez could move to short.

Don’t look for the Cubs to contend in 2015, but they started their rebuilding process in 2014 and should show improvement next year.

Twins (70-92)

The Twins went after starting pitching last off-season and with the exception of Phil Hughes did not show much improvement. Look for them to go after pitching again this off-season.

Glen Perkins, their All Star closer, had arm problems at the end of the season, but should be mended by spring and provides a solid performer at the end of the bullpen.

Brian Dozier had a nice season at second base. Trevor Plouffe did the same at third base before suffering a season-ending injury. Oswaldo Arcia showed some pop in the outfield, and there are other candidates out there that show promise.

Joe Mauer once again had nagging injuries slow him. The Twins can only hope Mauer still has a season or two of health and production left.

In addition, to starting pitching, the Twins desperately need more offense. They have candidates who could help in that area, but none have become clear solutions to the problem. In fact, in some ways, 2014 was a season of spinning wheels for the Twins.

Ron Gardenhire has survived a couple horrible seasons as manager. The Twins’ brass obviously doesn’t believe he has been part of the problem. But, the team made little progress in the rebuilding process this year, so you could see Gardenhire go.

White Sox (73-89)

Like their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, the White Sox started their rebuilding process in 2014. Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham and others went elsewhere. Paul Konerko retired.

In their place are Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia (once he came off the DL), Tyler Flowers, Conor Gillaspie and other young players.

Chris Sale had another good season on the mound. There are other promising pitching candidates too.

That’s not to paint too rosy of a picture for the Sox. They still finished second to last in the AL Central. And, these young players might not develop into players that can make the Sox contenders again.

The Sox also face decisions on Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo. Can they help the club rise in the standings or would dealing them help more? Second base is wide open, with several possibilities.

But, especially when you compare them to the Twins, the Sox made more progress in starting a rebuilding process in the ALC.

MDR Season Honors

Player of the Year - The White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who finished at .317 with 36 homers and 107 RBIs, a OBP of .383 and OPS of .964.

Pitcher of the Year - The Sox’s Chris Sale, who finished 12-4, with a 2.17 ERA, 208 strikeouts and 39 walks in 174 innings.

Rookie of the Year - With Abreu picked the Player of the Year, we looked elsewhere for our Rookie of the Year selection. The Cubs’ Kyle Kendricks, who wasn‘t as highly touted as some of the other team‘s rookies, but went 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA after he was called up from the minors. He gets the honor.

No manager of the year was selected. Ron Roenicke would have been the pick, but could not be selected after the Brewers’ collapse. In fact, he could end up a casualty of that collapse.

All Star Team

Despite their collapse at the end of the season, the Brewers dominated the MDR All Star team selections:

Catcher - Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
First base - Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Second base - Brian Dozier, Twins
Shortstop - Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Third Base - Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Left field - Chris Coghlan, Cubs
Center field - Carlos Gomez, Brewers
Right field - Ryan Braun, Brewers
DH - Jose Abreu, White Sox
RHP - Phil Hughes, Twins, and Wily Peralta, Brewers
LHP - Chris Sale, White Sox
Reliever - Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers

Selig Farewell

Commissioner Bud Selig visited the ballpark he helped get built last Friday when he met the media at Miller Park as part of a farewell tour that included every park in the big leagues. For some comments on Selig’s tenure as commish, check out a section of the first monthly MDR Blog in November.

Pompous Prognostications

Providing proof that even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while, this writer last spring picked all the NL playoff teams -- the Nationals in the East, Cardinals in the Central, Dodgers in the West and the Pirates and Giants in the Wild Card.

In the AL, I had the Angels winning the West, and the Royals, Tigers and Orioles getting into the playoffs -- but not in the right order of finish. I picked the Rays in the AL East, which did not happen.

As for the MDR teams, I correctly had the Brewers third and Cubs fifth in the NLC. In the AL, I had the Twins fourth and Sox fifth. Those teams were switched in the actual final standings.

We’ll check how my picks for MVP and other awards turned out when the MDR Blog returns the weekend of Nov. 1. It will run monthly until spring training and then go back to weekly.

Until we return, enjoy the playoffs and World Series.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

MDR Blog - 9/22
06:27 PM ET (US)
The Brewers remained mathematically in the NL Wild Card race after weekend action, but we all know that statistics can lie.

With six games left, the Brewers find themselves 4 games behind the Pirates in the race for the final Wild Card spot. It would take a miracle for them to catch the Bucs, and this team isn’t playing like a club that can pull off any miracles.

On the six game road trip, they have scored a total of eight runs. An erratic hitting team all season, one that depended too much on the home run, the Brewers turned downright anemic in their attack.

That’s the major reason, they fell out of first place in the NLC and why they lost four of six games on this road trip to the two teams they had to beat to still have a real chance at the post-season.

Sure, you can argue Jonathan Broxton and the bullpen blew a couple games, but that isn’t the area that cost the team the most. They simply could not score runs.

You can accept it when Adam Wainwright sticks it to you. But they made Vance Worley look like Wainwright on Sunday in a 1-0 loss.

There is plenty of blame go to around, but those who have to shoulder the most are the teams’ stars. Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun virtually disappeared during this road trip. Jonathan Lucroy held his own a little better, but still didn’t live up to what had been a MVP-type season before the overall slump.

Some tough decisions face GM Doug Melvin and his staff after the season. The Brewers’ starting rotation was outstanding during the road trip and deserved much better. Even if most of those guys come back, they won’t be able to overcome the all-or-nothing offense the Brewers displayed all season. And, it has been mostly nothing the last month or so.

Melvin has to find some more consistent bats if the Brewers have any chance of staying in first place for more than 150 games and right to the end of the season next year.

Player of the Week

The Cubs’ Chris Coghlan had a week’s production in one game to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor. Coghlan went 4-for-4 with two homers, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the 8th inning, to spark the Cubs to a 8-7 win over the Dodgers.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ entire starting rotation, which pitched great against the Cardinals and Pirates with virtually nothing to show for it.

** the Twins’ Brian Dozier, who hit his 21st homer of the season, and first since Aug. 10.

** the White Sox’s Adam Eaton, who hit .360 for the week.

Updated Notes


** RHP Wily Peralta allowed only two singles in his first six innings Sunday.

** RHP Francisco Rodriguez moved into a tie for 10th on the all-time saves list with his save Saturday. It was his 43rd of the season and 347th overall.

** RHP Matt Garza on his ejection after hitting the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen twice: "If people think I hit McCutchen on purpose, with a 1-2 count in a game like this, then you're just an idiot, OK? Because a game like this, a starter doesn't go after a guy like that. It's a [1-2] count and I'm trying to pitch inside. Guy leans in, it hits him on the elbow, that's my day. So it is what it is, and I'm happy we pulled it out."


** Rookie RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-2, 2.28 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (9-5, 2.65) will switch spots for the Cardinals series, with Hendricks going Tuesday and Arrieta going Wednesday.

** Cubs catcher Welington Castillo returned to action after sustaining a left rib contusion during Friday's 14-5 loss to the Dodgers.

** RHP Hector Rondon, a 2012 Rule 5 Draft pick by the Cubs, has allowed one earned run in 16 appearances since Aug. 8, good for a 0.56 ERA with 12 saves, including Saturday.


** Of Aaron Hicks was held out of Sunday’s game with back stiffness.

** LHP Glen Perkins was shut down for the rest of the season after he underwent MRI exams on his shoulder, elbow and forearm on Thursday and Friday and was officially diagnosed with a strained right forearm and nerve irritation in his forearm.

** SS Eduardo Escobar is hopeful he'll return to the lineup by Monday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expressed doubts Escobar will be ready to play by then.
Escobar suffered a jammed right shoulder diving for a ball on Tuesday.

White Sox

** RF Avisail Garcia had three hits, including two home runs, in a 10-5 win over the Rays Sunday.

** 1B Paul Konerko will play as much as possible in what will be his final week before retirement.

** LHP Chris Sale surrendered nine hits and five runs over just five innings in Chicago's 6-2 loss to the Royals and lost the AL ERA lead.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers and Cubs will wrap up the season next weekend at Miller Park. The Brewers hope it will be a meaningful series in the Wild Card race, not just a I-94 Rivalry series.

Expect plenty of kudos for Paul Konerko as he plays his last week before retirement.

Next weekend’s MDR Blog will actually be posted on Monday, Sept. 29, so a complete summary of the regular season can be written. A special format will include: 1) brief reviews of the four MDR teams’ seasons, 2) MDR season honors and a 2014 All Star team, 3) a look at how the Pompous Prognostications came out and 4) the publishing schedule for the off-season.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
MDR Blog 9/14
09:30 AM ET (US)
Mike Fiers has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise bad run by the Brewers, but the righthander now has another challenge on his hands.

If you didn’t see it, Fiers’ beaning of Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton was gruesome. You could see it shook up Fiers. Things got worse when he also hit the next batter and both benches emptied.

Both pitches just got away from Fiers. He had no intention of going head-hunting. Fiers was fined an undisclosed amount, not for hitting Stanton, but for his actions during an argument, which contributed to the benches clearing.

Some will accuse Fiers of being a head hunter, and he likely will have to endure some abuse from some fans. His biggest challenge could be within his own mind and heart.

"I reached out last night," an obviously emotional Fiers said after the incident. "Left a message, whenever they want to get back, or if they do. If not, just wanted to reach out, let them know how I feel and just how I feel about the whole situation."

It was reported Friday that Stanton, who leads the NL in homers, will not require major surgery to repair facial fractures and dental damage.

This is not the first time the Brewers have dealt with such a situation. Seven years ago, Brewers pitcher Matt Wise broke the cheekbone of the Reds’ Pedro Lopez with a high fastball. Wise went from one of the team's best relievers to an ineffective pitcher who pitched just nine innings in the final two months. He admitted he had emotional difficulties pitching inside and having confidence in his control.

Fiers will have to put the incident behind him and be able to move on with the same confident approach that has led to his winning streak for the Brewers. He already has shown he is mentally tough. In 2013, he rebounded from losing his mother and
a broken arm.

"Everyone knows it was an accident. We've got to move past it," Fiers said. "I've got another start in five days, which I need to be ready for to give this team another quality start."

If he is ready, Fiers will pitch Tuesday against the Cardinals. It’s a huge series for the Brewers. who are desperately trying to hang on to slim post-season hopes.

Twins-White Sox series

Friday night’s game between the White Sox and Twins was postponed due to a forecast of rain throughout the evening and rescheduled for Saturday as part of a doubleheader.

The Sox swept that doubleheader. Jose Quintana struck out 13 in a 5-1 win. Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff homer off Glen Perkins for s 7-6 win in the nightcap.

Forty-five strikeouts were recorded by the two teams in the doubleheader to set a MLB record for a DH in which no games went into extra innings.

Hector Noesi will try to help the Sox sweep the series when he faces the Twins’ Trevor May on Sunday.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Chris Sale lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.99 with eight shutout innings Thursday. He struck out nine. That earned him the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Matt Clark, who hit two homers in starts at first base to give the club’s slumping offense a pickup.

** the Cubs’ Welington Castillo, who hit .400 for the week.

** the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia, who had a five-game hitting streak and hit .471 for the week.

Updated Notes


** The Brewers have averaged only 2.77 runs per game in September.

** Matt Clark took a gamble and opted out of his minor league deal with the Mets to sign with the Brewers.

** RHPs Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin were sent to the Reds to complete the Jonathan Broxton trade.


** The Cubs’ losing streak ended Saturday with a 6-4 win over the Pirates..

** Rookie Jorge Soler returned to Miami on Friday for the birth of his first child, and was expected to rejoin the Cubs in Chicago on Monday.

** Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was allowed to walk without a supportive walking boot on his left ankle Friday, and predicts he'll be back before the season ends. Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo continued to make progress in his rehab from a lower back strain, and was able to run the bases for the first time on Friday.


** Phil Hughes struck out a career-high 11 batters on Saturday.

** Twins closer Glen Perkins was back in uniform and blew a save Saturday. The lefthander had not appeared in a game since Sept. 4 because of a stiff neck.

** Rookie center fielder Danny Santana returned from a lower back strain and reclaimed his spot atop the Twins' batting order on Thursday afternoon.

White Sox

** 1B/DH Jose Abreu became only the fourth rookie in history to record 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

** The White Sox have just $46MM in commitments to the 2015 payroll before arbitration and General Manager Rick Hahn isn’t exactly sure how he’ll allocate that money just yet, writes Scott Merkin of

** Top prospect Micah Johnson has been shut down for the year due to an injury, but he’ll be firmly in the second base mix with Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers’ big series with the Cardinals highlights the coming week. A sweep by the Brewers could get them right back in the NL Central race and the Wild Card hunt. A sweep by the Cardinals could knock the Brewers out of both races.

Wily Peralta, Fiers and Kyle Lohse will start the three games for Milwaukee. Lance Lynn is scheduled to start Tuesday, but the Cardinals had not named their starters for the other two games, as of this writing.

Members of the Wisconsin Sports Legacy Group will conduct tours of the state Hall of Fame plaques outside the U.S. Cellular Arena on Saturday, as part of Historic Milwaukee’s Open Doors program.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
MDR Blog - 9/6
09:11 AM ET (US)
The Brewers had a depressing week, falling out of first place in the NL Central for the first time since early April.

Their 9-game losing streak included a sweep at the hands of the Cubs. The games weren’t even very close. The slip continued with a loss to the Cardinals, who had moved into first place. The Brewers finally snapped that streak with a win over the Cards on Friday.

Adding to the depression about poor play on the field was the unexpected death of scouting director Bruce Seid. He was only 53.

Multiple factors have led to the Brewers’ slump. First, a streaky hitting team has fallen into an overall hitting slump, with an average of two runs per game.. The losses of Carlos Gomez to an injury, and Ryan Braun to a paternity leave, further hurt the offense. Neither were really hitting that well though before they exited.

The starting pitchers, an asset most of the season, looked to have run out of gas. Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo, Jimmy Nelson, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza, who was returning from an injury, all were rocked around during the club’s losing streak. Only Mike Fiers, called up in August, looked good. He broke the losing streak Friday.

Meanwhile, the bullpen has been inconsistent for weeks. That could be because of overuse in some cases. The pitching staff’s overall ERA during the streak was 6.44.

While the Brewers fell out of first place, they still are in the Wild Card race as of this writing. Their win on Friday gave them a one-game lead over the Braves for the final Wild Card position. The Pirates also hang in that race. So, the Brewers will have to turn around their slide soon to make the post-season at all.
Cubs Rising

The Cubs’ sweep of the Brewers should give their fans hope for the future. Some of their touted prospects -- Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and others -- have played well and could form a core for the team in future seasons.

Chicago’s hot streak is the club’s best since 2002. Even more impressive is the fact that the Cubs have been without their two All-Stars, Starlin Castro, who is likely lost for the season with a high ankle sprain suffered Tuesday night, and Anthony Rizzo, who has tightness in his lower back.

"We're playing good baseball now," outfielder Chris Valaika said. "I've seen it all year with these guys in Triple-A. If we keep this rolling, showing teams we can play going into next year, I think we'll have something special."

Player of the Week

The Cubs’ Hendricks beat the Brewers to improve his record to 6-1. Hendricks, who compiled a 1.69 ERA and 4-0 record in six August starts, was picked the NL Rookie Pitcher of the Month. That’s good enough for him to also receive the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Fiers, who ran his record to 5-2 with the streak-winning victory Friday.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who hit .350 with two homers.

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who hit .625 in five games and had an eight-game hitting streak.

Updated Notes


** 2B Scooter Gennett left Friday’s game in the 8th inning for precautionary reasons because of his quad problem. He had two key hits before exiting.

** After the Brewers losing streak, FanGraph gave the team just a 16.8 percent chance of winning the division and a less-than-50/50 (49 percent) chance of reaching that 50/50 Wild Card round.

** Ryan Braun and his wife, Larisa, had their first child., Celine Elysse, late Wednesday.


** The Cubs and Pirates were set to resume a game Saturday suspended by rain on Friday. The teams were tied 3-3.

** Javier Baez will take over at shortstop with Castro sidelined with his ankle sprain.

** The Cubs selected the contract of outfielder Ryan Kalish from Triple-A Iowa and transferred outfielder Ryan Sweeney to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday.


** Eight relievers were used in a loss to the Angels on Friday.

** Aaron Hicks made his first start in center field since June 7 on Wednesday for the Twins, giving regular center fielder Danny Santana his first start at his natural shortstop position since Aug. 21.

** RHP Trevor May collected his first Major League win as the Twins dumped the White Sox, 11-4, on Wednesday night at Target Field. The Twins and Sox split the two-game series.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale maintained his AL-leading ERA (2.09) in a 2-1 loss to the Indians Friday.

** Michael Taylor picked up his first hit with the White Sox on Wednesday.

** The White Sox cut more than $2 million by moving Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn over the last couple weeks.

What’s Ahead

The Twins and White Sox will meet in another MDR rivalry series next weekend in Chicago.

After their series with the Cardinals, the Brewers host the Marlins at Miller Park. The Cubs travel to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays.

The White Sox’s plan a tribute to retiring Paul Konerko on Sept. 27.

Author Joe Niese has several days left in a a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for publishing an Andy Pafko book. Anyone interested in the project and contributing to it can go to: .


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
MDR Blog - 8/30
06:42 PM ET (US)
The Brewers will start their NL Central month on Monday and will have to play well to hang on to the division lead and a chance for post-season play.

All but three games in September, a series with the Marlins, will be against NLC opponents. It starts with a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Pitchers for the Cub were named early this weekend, with Jacob Turner starting Monday, Jake Arrieta Tuesday and Kyle Hendricks Wednesday. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke held off naming his starters until it was determined when Matt Garza could come off the DL and join the rotation. (The starters will be added to the Facebook posting of this blog when they are announced.)

The Brewers split a four-game series at Wrigley a couple weeks ago and will want to do better against the last place Cubs. But, the Cubs have called up some of their top prospects, would like to play the role of spoilers and set a tone for next season.

After the series at Wrigley, the Brewers return home to host the Cardinals, who have missed several opportunities in the last week to overtake Milwaukee. In fact, the Cubs beat the Cards on Friday and Saturday to help the Brewers.

The Brewers undoubtedly are grateful for that, but they hope to build some momentum at Wrigley for that big series with the Cardinals.

Player of the Week

Jorge Soler homered in his first at-bat as a Cub. Starlin Castro was the last Cubs to do so. Soler followed his initial homer up with two more on Friday night. For that, the rookie earned the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams' Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Lyle Overbay, who hit .500 for the week, including some clutch hits in key situations.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who made history Friday night, as he connected on the 10,000th home run in franchise history, and also set a doubles record for franchise third basemen. (See Updated Notes section).

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who continued his hot hitting, including a 3-for-3 night Friday

Updated Noted


** The Brewers could have interest in current Rockies and former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau after the season. They reportedly claimed him off waivers, but could not work out a deal with the Rockies for the remainder of this season.

** RHP Jimmy Nelson was picked the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. Nelson was 10-2 for Nashville before being called up by the Brewers.

** RHP Wily Peralta has surrendered 14 runs (13 earned) on 13 hits in eight innings in his last two starts.


** Logan Watkins hit his first Major League home run one day after his 25th birthday.

** Javier Baez had a tie-breaking double, and Arismendy Alcantara homered, to join Soler in a Cubs’ rookie night Friday.

** The Cubs placed outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano on the disabled list.


** Plouffe set a franchise record for doubles by a third baseman when he passed Corey Koskie (37) with his 38th double of the season last week.

** OF Jordan Schafer, who was selected off waivers from the Braves on Aug. 2,
was hitting .328/.411/.438 with five doubles, one triple, nine RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 21 games, entering Friday.

** RHP Samuel Deduno was claimed from the Twins on outright waivers on Saturday, the Astros have announced.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale got the win Saturday to improve his record to 11-3. He struck out 13 and defeated the Tigers’ Max Scherzer, who is 15-5. Both pitchers are former La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League.

** The Sox’s losing streak reached seven games before a 3-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday.

** White Sox senior vice president, sales and marketing Brooks Boyer told Friday that nothing has been decided at this point about a reduced 2015 broadcast work schedule for Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. The White Sox play-by-play announcer, who is working his 30th season in the club's television booth, told WSCR 670-AM on Thursday that he had considered cutting back on future road games.

What’s Ahead

In addition to the Cubs-Brewers series detailed earlier, the White Sox and Twins will meet this week in a two-game series that means much less in the ALC pennant race.

The Sox’s Hector Noesi will face Tommy Milone in the first game on Tuesday. John Danks will match up against the Twins’ Trevor May on Wednesday.

The final Milwaukee Old Time Ballplayers game is a HOF Induction ceremony at Miller Park home plate on Friday, Sept. 5. The group’s Hall of Fame banquet will be held at American Serb Hall on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m.

The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below:

Edited 08-30-2014 06:51 PM
MDR Blog - 8/24
09:17 AM ET (US)
Next weekend is Labor Day weekend. Now it’s become time to watch the standings.

Anything prior to this time, while entertaining, has been premature. Pennants are won, and lost, in September.

That’s even more true this season. Schedule makers have matched up divisional foes throughout most of baseball for the final month. With the exception of three games against the Marlins, for example, the Brewers will play all NL Central teams in September.

The Brewers have led the division since very early April, but as of this writing had only a half game edge. In part, that’s because the Cardinals have gotten hot. The Pirates, who had a bad losing streak, have come to Miller Park and taken two straight.

Pitching and defense win anytime in the season, but they’re even more important in September. The Brewers need to get back to doing both well to hang on to first place. They did neither very well in the first two games of the series with Pittsburgh.

The bullpen has been a legitimate concern for a while now. Manager Ron Roenicke has a tendency to ride the hot reliever. That works for the short term, but can lead to burnout and arm fatigue long term.

Will Smith, so good in the first half, has shown signs of both in recent weeks. So have Zach Duke and Brandon Kintzler. The prolonged absence of Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson has not helped.

There might be an opportunity for a starter, either Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson, to bolster the bullpen when Matt Garza returns. They should follow the example set by Marco Estrada, go to the pen and do their best to contribute.

The Brewers also could use Ryan Braun to return to MVP caliber play. Braun is on his way to a 100 RBI season, which is very good, but his batting average has been around 30 points lower than what we came to expect and he has struck out a lot.

Some will say this is the “post steroid Braun.” They could be right, but that’s a discussion for another day when it can be looked at in more depth. A hot final month of the season would be welcomed for Braun, who in the past could carry a team at times.

Jean Segura also needs to step up his offense the final month. Second winds for Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy, who have had MVP-like seasons so far, also would help.

The Brewers should still have a good shot at a Wild Card berth if they fall out of first place, but there are a lot of advantages to finishing on the top of the heap. If they’re going to do that, the Brewers need to heat up in the final month.

Player of the Week

The Twins’ Kennys Vargas had eight hits and seven RBIs in four games. Six of his RBIs came in a doubleheader against the Tigers on Saturday. For this, he earns the MDR Player of the Week honor.

At 6-5, 275 pounds, Vargas also might end up playing in the defensive line of the Vikings after the baseball season is over.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Khris Davis, who hit .357 in five games with three doubles.

** the Cubs’ Luis Valbuena, who hit .400 with two homers in seven games.

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who hit .333 and drove in five runs to reach 94 for the season.

Updated Notes


** RHP Kyle Lohse returns to the mound Monday in the Brewers’ first game at San Diego.

** RHP Wily Peralta, going for his 16th win, allowed seven hits, three walks and eight runs (seven earned), including three home runs, Saturday in a loss to the Pirates.

** SS Jean Segura did not start Saturday after making two errors Friday and showing a “lack of focus.”


** RHP Justin Grimm pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in relief Saturday.

** Javier Baez homered Friday and Saturday. His seven homers are the most by Cub through 19 games since Mandy Brooks in 1925.

** RHP Kyle Hendricks' streak of quality starts ended at six Saturday due to a rain delay.


** The Twins scored 20 runs on Friday and 32 in their first two games against the Tigers this weekend.

** Eduardo Escobar picked up three hits Saturday, after setting a career-high with five hits on Friday.

** LHP Glen Perkins was picked to the preliminary roster of the U.S. team that will play Japan.

White Sox

** INF Gordon Beckham was traded to the Angels on Thursday.

** The White Sox optioned reliever Eric Surkamp to Triple-A Charlotte following Friday night's 4-3 loss.

** OF Adam Eaton started a rehab assignment for an oblique injury in the minors.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers head to the West Coast to play the Padres and Giants this week before starting that predominantly NLC schedule.

The Cubs, looking to play the role of spoilers, travel to play the Reds and Cardinals.

In the AL, the White Sox match up against the Indians and Tigers. The Twins go on the road to play the Royals and Orioles.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

MDR Blog - 8/17
09:46 AM ET (US)
The Brewers will send Wily Peralta to the mound Sunday afternoon in an attempt to sweep the Dodgers. At 25, Peralta has found himself in some impressive company this season.

The Brewers’ righthander was the first pitcher in the big leagues to reach 14 wins -- by a few hours over the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. He has spent much of the season among the leaders in wins and in other categories.

That has included Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and Wainwright, among others.

"There's a lot of great starting pitchers out there, and to be able to be among them, that's amazing, a great feeling," Peralta said after winning his 14th on Aug. 7. "That's a thing that I've been working hard [for] in the off-season and been working hard in the season to be on top.

“That's a few Cy Young guys. That's what I've been working for. I've improved in pretty much everything. My command has been unbelievable this year, and that's something I was struggling with last year. I was working behind the counts on hitters. I said in spring that was one of my goals -- attack hitters.

"I've been given the opportunity," Peralta added. "My other teammates are going to do it, too. I've been given the opportunity and I've been doing the job."

Peralta has been considered a prospect since signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2005. He missed the 2007 season with Tommy John surgery, but worked his way back. He first came up to the Brewers in 2012, going 2-1, with a 2.48 ERA, in six games.

Last season, he started slow, but came on as the season went on, producing 17 quality starts while finishing 11-15. He’s tried to take a similar approach this season.

“Doing same thing I was doing last year,” Peralta said when asked what he has been doing right.. “Trying to be consistent. It was great last year.

“(Rick) Kranitz helps me a lot. He’s a great coach. I’m just going to go out there and do the best I can do. I try to keep it off my mind. Try to not have too much to think about.”

Peralta unofficially has taken over the Brewers’ ace role and that of stopper. He and rookie Jimmy Nelson could end up providing a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation for years to come.

For a full feature on Peralta, check out a feature in a September issue of Game Day, the Brewers’ program.

Player of the Week
Mike Fiers was called up to replace injured Matt Garza and won two games within eight days, striking out 14 Cubs batters last Thursday. For that, he earns the MDR Player of the week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week include:

** the Cubs’ Kyle Kendricks, who held the Brewers scoreless in a Chicago win.

** the Twins’ Phil Hughes, who beat the Royals for his 13th win of the season.

** the White Sox’s Adam Dunn, who hit .467 with two homers and five RBIs during the week.

Updated Notes


** After coming up empty at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Brewers are still actively seeking to fortify their bullpen, principal owner Mark Attanasio told Saturday.

** SS Jean Segura missed Saturday’s game after bruising a hand while breaking up a double play.

** RHP Matt Garza, who remains on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, played catch for the second straight day and threw all of his pitches.


** Outfielder Matt Szczur is being called up Sunday and RHP Dan Straily was added on Saturday to make a spot start.

** Outfielder Junior Lake was optioned to Iowa to make room on the 25-man roster for Straily

** Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant had to leave Saturday's game with Triple-A Iowa before the third inning after apparently aggravating a minor foot injury.


** Danny Santana made his first start at shortstop, his natural position, since June and could stay at the position for a while.

** Reliever Anthony Swarzak threw without any issues on Friday and Saturday, and said he's been cleared to make his return after sustaining a sprained right ankle on Tuesday.

** The Twins optioned RHP Yohan Pino to Triple-A Rochester to make room for RHP Ricky Nolasco, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Friday's game against the Royals.

White Sox

** Versatile outfielder Avisail Garcia has rejoined the White Sox just four months after tearing the labrum in his left shoulder.

** The White Sox maded a series of roster moves on Saturday: left-hander Charlie Leesman was designated for assignment, outfielder Moises Sierra was placed on the disabled list, right-hander Javy Guerra was placed on the bereavement list and left-hander Eric Surkamp was recalled to take Guerra's spot.

** Carlos Rodon, the White Sox top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, will be promoted to Triple-A Charlotte following four games with Class A Winston-Salem.

Elsewhere In Baseball

The Lakeshore Chinooks won their first Northwoods League championship by sweeping the Mankato MoonDogs in the Summer Collegiate World Series. Joe Pavlovich (UW-Oshkosh) went six shutout innings in the win for the Chinooks and allowed just four hits while striking out seven.

Teammate Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee) went the final three innings for the save. The Chinooks got run support as Luke Meeteer (UW-Milwaukee) hit a solo home run and Brett Siddall (Cansius) added a RBI single.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers will continue their drive for a post-season spot by hosting the Blue Jays and Pirates at Miller Park this week.

After completing a wrap-around series with the Mets on Monday, the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to host the Giants.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

MDR Blog - 8/10
08:11 PM ET (US)
The Brewers and Cubs will play a I-94 Rivalry series at Wrigley Field this week.

Yovani Gallardo will start out the series against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta on Monday. The Brewers’ Wily Peralta and Kyle Hendricks will face off Tuesday. Kyle Lohse will start for Milwaukee in the series finale on Wednesday. The Cubs had not named their starter as of this writing.

For the Brewers, deeply involved in a three or four-team race, every series is important as they enter the stretch drive. They especially don’t want to lose to a team that has struggled as badly as the Cubs have.

The Cubs still look at the series as an intra-division rivalry and would love to play the role of spoilers. They also have called up top prospect Javier Baez and are trying to get a feel for what their future might look like.

Festivities are planned as part of the 100th birthday party of Wrigley Field. Go to the What’s Ahead section of this blog for more on that/

Look for brief game summaries on the Facebook posting of this blog.

Player of the Week

Aramis Ramirez was hitting over .400 for the week going into Saturday night’s game and driving in runs for the Brewers with regularity. So, he gets the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Javier Baez, who hit only .263 in his first week of action, but hit three homers.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who hit .391 with seven RBIs for the week.

** the White Sox’s Alejandro De Aza, who hit .429 in five games.
Updated Notes


** RHP Mike Fiers became the seventh pitcher to start for the Brewers this season when he started against the Dodgers Saturday. Before that day, the Brewers and Angels were the only teams to use only six starters.

** Jonathan Lucroy is on pace to break Lyle Overbay’s franchise record of 53 doubles.

** RHP Rob Wooten was sent down to make room for Fiers on the roster. Wooten has been up and down between the minors and Brewers three times this season.


** RHP Jacob Turner, acquired from the Marlins on Friday, is expected to join the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

** LHP Felix Doubront threw a side session on Saturday, his third since joining the Cubs, but there was no word yet regarding a possible minor league rehab outing for the left-hander.

** Kris Bryant continues to dominate Triple-A pitching at Iowa, but Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says Bryant won't be coming to Chicago this season unless some highly unlikely things happen in the next couple of months.


** Highly regarded prospect Trevor May made his Major League debut for the Twins on Saturday against the A's.

** The Twins optioned first baseman Chris Colabello to Triple-A after Friday's 6-5 loss to make room for May on the roster.

** Twins third-base coach Joe Vavra will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.

White Sox

** OF Avisail Garcia's injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte has resulted in a 13-for-26 showing at the plate.

**CF Adam Eaton returned to the White Sox starting lineup Friday night at Safeco Field, but he only lasted one at-bat against Hisashi Iwakuma, exiting with soreness in his right rib cage.

** The White Sox will honor retiring captain Paul Konerko throughout the month of September with tributes and a special promotional calendar for fans for each of the month's 11 home games, including the creation of "Club Konerko" in Sections 158 and 159.

What’s Ahead

Of course, the three-game series between the Brewers and Cubs is the biggest event of this coming week.
Associated with that, the Cubs are hosting a seven-game homestand vs. the Rays and Brewers, Aug. 8-14, while honoring the 1980s decade at Wrigley Field. The decade saw important moments like the ballpark's first night game and the "Sandberg Game," as well as the beginning of traditions like Harry Caray's 7th inning stretch.

The Northwoods League ends its regular season Sunday, and the playoffs start Monday. The NWL surpassed 1 million in attendance for the first time in its history this season.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

MDR Blog - 8/3
08:59 AM ET (US)
The four MDR teams made some moves before last Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but no earth-shaking, or even game-changing, ones.

In a deal with the D-backs, the Brewers brought in a lefty bat and a Gold Glove outfielder in Gerardo Parra for minor leaguers Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda. Parra made his first start in left on Saturday, scored a run and made a diving catch, but also had a throwing error and struck out to end the game.

The Cubs acquired switch-hitting catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Braves for infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, LHP pitcher James Russell and a cash consideration.

Caratini, 20, was selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 Draft (65th overall) and entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the Atlanta farm system.

The Cubs also acquired LHP Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. Doubront, 26, is 26-22 with three saves and a 4.82 ERA (224 ER/418.0 IP) in 98 major league outings (69 starts) during the last five years with the Red Sox.

Of course, the Cubs made their major trade several days before the deadline when they sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel packing to the A’s. They also traded 2B Darwin Barney to the Dodgers earlier.

The Twins bolstered their rotation, acquiring left-hander Tommy Milone from the A's in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld. It was the lone trade for the Twins, who also decided to hold on to catcher Kurt Suzuki, as they signed him to a two-year extension.

The White Sox apparently came close to a three-team trade, but ended up with no deal.

Among the four teams, the Brewers were the only one making deals for this season’s pennant race. Parra will help as a reserve in the outfield. He’s as good or better fielder than Logan Schafer and has proven he can hit big league pitching.

But, when you compare the Brewers’ activity to the Cardinals, who landed two rotation-ready pitchers, the Parra move pales. The Brewers could have used another top of the rotation pitcher or bullpen guy, but GM Doug Melvin apparently thought he could find the latter from within the organization and the asking price for the former was just too high. Most teams wanted rookie pitcher Jimmy Nelson or other top prospects.

Melvin might turn out to be right, but he and Brewers’ fans also might regret the fact the club made no major moves to get ready for the pennant drive.

It’s also still possible for the Brewers, and the other three MDR teams, to make deals in August, but players first must clear waivers.

Sox-Twins Series

The rubber game in a MDR series between the White Sox and Twins will be played Sunday. On Friday, the Sox won 10-8, as Tyler Flowers homered and Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 21 games with three hits.

Chris Parmelee homered for the Twins. Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe had three hits each.

The Twins pounded out a 8-6 win on Saturday. Plouffe had four hits. Oswaldo Arcia’s two-run double provided the winning runs. Adam Eaton had four hits for the Sox.

In an important NL Central matchup, the Brewers were going for a series win Sunday, after beating the Cardinals Friday behind Wily Peralta and losing on Saturday.

Player of the Week

The afore-mentioned Wily Peralta gets the MDR Player of the Week honor after recording his 13th win in a 7-4 win over the Cardinals. He beat St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright Friday night.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Chris Coghlan, who was hitting .385 in his last seven games and had a five-game hitting streak.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who had three hits Friday and four on Saturday.

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games before going hitless on Saturday.

Updated Notes


** OF Logan Schafer was optioned to the minors to make room for Gerardo Parra.

** RHP Jimmy Nelson, scratched from Saturday’s start because of a blister, will start Tuesday.

** 2B Scooter Gennett, suffering from a finger injury and a quad, left Saturday’s game after aggravating the quad.


** Felix Doubront, acquired before the trade deadline, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.

** INF Chris Valaika was selected by the Cubs from Triple-A Iowa to take Emilio Bonifacio's spot on the roster

** RHP Blake Parker was called up from Triple A.


** Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco are headed for rehab assignments with Class A Cedar Rapids and will play in Tuesday's game.

** The Twins recalled first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas from Double-A New Britain.

** Twins 2B Brian Dozier was back in the lineup for Friday's series opener after missing Thursday with a swollen and jammed thumb.

White Sox

** OF Adam Eaton is hitting .421 over his last 18 games despite playing with a broken middle finger on his right hand.

** RHP Matt Lindstrom and OF Avisail Garcia had successful starts to their minor league injury rehab stints Friday night with Triple-A Charlotte.

** The southpaw starting trio of John Danks, Jose Quintana and Chris Sale have combined to go 25-14 with a 3.25 ERA and 343 strikeouts in 384 2/3 innings over 61 combined starts.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers return home to Miller Park Tuesday to start series against the NL West contenders, the Giants and Dodgers.

A tour of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame will be conducted Saturday, Aug. 9, as part of the Keltner SABR meeting. Gather at Goolsby’s across from the Hall plaques at 11 a. m.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

MDR Blog - 7/27
07:57 AM ET (US)
Aramis Ramirez doesn’t consider himself an “elder statesman” or “role model” for the younger Brewers, especially his fellow Dominicans Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Wily Peralta.

At 36, however, the veteran third baseman is looked to for leadership by the younger players, as well as for his production over 14 years in the big leagues.

“He’s been doing it for a long time,” said Gomez this spring. “You have to look up to him and learn from him.”

Ramirez says, “I don’t see myself that way. I just try to come here every day and do what I can to help my team win. I had some guys who really helped me when I first came up (with Pittsburgh in 1998) and showed me some of the differences between the big leagues and the minors.

“I will help them in that way. If they are doing something I think they shouldn’t, I’ll talk to them. I’m not a real vocal guy though. I’m not going to get on a guy’s case. I like to lead by example.”

Ramirez has been doing that, first with the Pirates, then the Cubs and now since 2011 with the Brewers. Going into this season, he had a .285 lifetime average with 354 home runs and 1,276 RBIs.

He’s had an All Star year this season. In fact, fans voted him to the National League All Star team as the starting third baseman.

“That was an honor,” Ramirez said. “I’ve been an All Star before, but to be voted in by the fans was something special.”

Ramirez had two hits in the game, as did Jonathan Lucroy, who started at catcher for the NL. “I think as a group we represented the team well,” Ramirez said.

For a full feature on Ramirez, check out an upcoming edition of Game Day, the Brewers’ program.

White Sox-Twins series

The Twins will try to avoid a sweep by the White Sox later today.

In the series opener on Thursday, Hector Noesi pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and Adam Eaton had three hits and two RBIs as the White Sox defeated the Twins, 5-2, at Target Field.

The Sox beat the Twins, 9-5, on Friday night as Jose Abreu hit his 30th homer, Dayan Viciedo had four hits and John Danks pitched well.

Chris Sale improved his record to 10-1 with a 7-0 shutout on Saturday. Alexei Ramirez hit his 10th homer.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Jose Abreu hit his MLB-leading 30th homer on Friday and extended his hitting streak to 16 games on Saturday. In his last 35 games, Abreu has been held hitless only once. For these facts, he is the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy, who hit two homers, including a walkoff game-winner on Tuesday night, and became a main cog in the offense once again.

** the Cubs’ LHP Travis Wood hit his third homer of the season and is tied for the most among MLB pitchers. He also has 10 RBIs, making him the first Cubs’ pitcher to hit double figures since Carlos Zambrano had 11 in 2009.

** the Twins’ Danny Santana, who brought a five-game hitting streak into Saturday, including a three-hit game against the Indians on Thursday.

Updated Notes


** 1B Mark Reynolds, who had not hit a homer for a month, hit his third in a week on Saturday.

** RHP Yovani Gallardo allowed just four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings Friday, but again failed to get a win after closer Francisco Rodriguez blew a save. Gallardo has not won since June 19, a span of six starts.

** 2B Scooter Gennett, who has battled a quad problem lately, was expected to start Sunday.


** RHP Jake Arrieta posted his ninth straight quality start Saturday, but the Cubs lost to the Cardinals.

** OF Ryan Sweeney drove in four runs Friday, including three on his second homer of the season. Sweeney also homered Saturday.

** The Cubs have attempted to deal starter Edwin Jackson, reports Jon Heyman of, but initial efforts have not been promising. Jackson, signed before the 2013 season, is playing on a $11MM annual salary this year and is owed the same amount for each of the next two campaigns.


** The Twins dealt 1B/DH Kendrys Morales last week because the veteran had not been productive since he was signed earlier this summer.

** An event honoring former Twin Chuck Knoblauch was cancelled after he was arrested for assault on his ex-wife.

** 1B Joe Mauer has been hitting some soft toss, but not live pitching yet as he comes back from a strained right oblique.

White Sox

** The Sox have had 42 hits in the last three games.

** LHP John Danks gave up four earned runs on six hits, walking nobody and striking out five to reach nine wins for the first time since 2010

** White Sox starters as a group have the second-best ERA in the American League since June 23.

Henderson Bobbler On DL

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jim Henderson is on the disabled list, and so is the truck delivering his bobblehead.

Today is the "All Fan Jim Henderson Bobblehead Day," but due to mechanical issues, the truck may not arrive in time for the items to be distributed. If the items are delayed further, fans will need to hold on to their ticket stub to pick up their bobblehead on a later date. Specifics on the delayed distribution will be announced today, if necessary.

"We are hopeful that the Bobbleheads will arrive in time, but we wanted to communicate in advance the issues with the transportation so that fans are prepared when they arrive at the game tomorrow," said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. "We appreciate everyone's patience and apologize on behalf of the transportation personnel who are bringing the Bobbleheads to Milwaukee."

Elsewhere in Baseball

Viroqua’s Mitch Stalsberg struck out 18 in a perfect game, 2-0, win over Westby in regional action of the state American Legion tournment. The lefthander, who will attend Winona State, is the same guy who struck out 21 in a state prep tournament game this spring.

What’s Ahead

MDR will be well-represented later today when the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held in Cooperstown. Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre all have ties to teams covered by the MDR web site for nine years and now the MDR Blog. You can watch coverage of the inductions on MLB Network and

Next weekend, the White Sox and Twins will do it all over again at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, with a three-game series that starts Friday.

The Brewers travel to Tampa Bay Monday to take on the Rays, who have been hot the last couple weeks.

The Keltner chapter of SABR will hold a meeting at Goolsby’s in downtown Milwaukee on Saturday, Aug. 9. A research presentation on Henry Killilea will be made by Dennis Pajot.

Tours of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. located outside the UWM Panthers Arena, will be conducted by Bob Buege, Gregg Hoffmann, and Rick Schabowski.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below:

MDR Blog - 7/20
09:10 AM ET (US)
Jean Segura and the Brewers have served as shining examples of how to deal with a tragedy.

Just before the All Star break, Segura lost his 9-month-old son Janniel, who died after a brief illness in the Dominican Republic.

The Brewers rallied to him as a true family does to a loved-one. Segura, who returned to the Dominican on a bereavement leave, demonstrated he appreciated his teammates’ response by coming back to the club in time for the first game after the break.

"I'm doing pretty good right now," said Segura told the media on Friday afternoon at Nationals Park. "I'm happy to get back to the team and enjoy the team, and get back to work.

"These guys give me support. We are like a family. For me, I feel I need to go back to work and do what I'm supposed to do. God helped me to get through this, my family, my friends, my teammates, the organization.

"This is something you can't control. I just prayed to God to get me through it the right way, and whatever he gives to us is the best way in life."

Segura told the Journal-Sentinel his family agreed with his return to the Brewers.

"It's important to me and members of my family," he said. "It was a tough moment for me and my family, but it's also important being in the locker room with my teammates and see the support they give to me.

“Even the Cardinals, when I heard about that (support when St. Louis was in Milwaukee last weekend), that they cared about me, too, I feel pretty good. I feel strong to compete and be here to do the best I can to help the team."

Carlos Gomez is probably Segura’s closest friend on the club and also a father. “I told him, 'Remember you have a friend. You can speak and talk if you need it. Whatever you need, I'm available any time,'" said Gomez.

"I didn't ask him what happened, nothing like that. I told him, 'If you need support, we're going to be on your side. Don't think too much about this‘.

"He seemed really strong. It was unbelievable, the way he looked. I think it's good for him (to be playing). The worst thing is to sit in the hotel and all those thoughts come through your mind. Here, he is more concentrating on playing the game. It's impressive for him to do this."

In fact, Segura is serving as an inspiration for the entire ball club. The Brewers need that after limping into the All Star break. Wins and losses seem trivial when tragedy strikes, but for Segura and the Brewers moving on with the effort to compete and win can serve as therapy.

Player of the Week

Jonathan Lucroy had two doubles and two RBIs as the starting catcher in the All Star Game to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who hit .333 with two homers.

** the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe, who his .385 with a homer, triple and two doubles.

** C Tyler Flowers was 4-for-6 in his first two games back from the break and 6-for-9 in his last three games.

Updated Notes


** RHP Matt Garza made his shortest start Saturday, giving up five runs in only 1/3 inning.

** RHP Jim Henderson has moved to Triple A in his rehab assignment from shoulder problems.

** LHP Will Smith said he was feeling better after suffering back spasms.


** LHP Tsuyoshi Wada and RHP Dan Straily are options for the No. 5 starter spot.

** 3B Mike Olt leads all National League rookies with 12 home runs, but entering Saturday, he was batting .144.

** 1B Anthony Rizzo’s 22 homers are one shy of his season total in 2013.


** 1B Joe Mauer took some grounders, but has no timetable for return to action from an oblique strain.

** Josh Willingham, rumored to be on the trading block. went 0-for-3 on Friday night, and has hit just .118 in his past 27 games.

** OF Byron Buxton. ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the minors by, went 2-for-5 with a solo home run on Thursday night, and has now hit safely in four straight games for Fort Myers in A ball.

White Sox

** Avisail Garcia continues to take batting practice and work out with the team, but had no minor league rehab assignment as of Sunday.

** The last time the White Sox bullpen threw four perfect innings, as it did Friday night, was June 24, 2004, against the Indians.

** Infielder Carlos Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following Saturday's 4-3 victory for the White Sox over the Astros. Sanchez played in just one game after being recalled on July 13, starting at shortstop that same day in Cleveland.

What’s Ahead

The White Sox travel to Target Field for a four-game series with the Twins, starting Thursday.

The Brewers return to Miller Park for an important series against the Reds, who have had Milwaukee’s number so far this season.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

09:33 AM ET (US)
Friday was the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's first major league ball game;
appearing as a pitcher and getting his first W. Below is an interesting fact
from David Vincent the SABR HR guru.

From: David Vincent
Subject: Babe Ruth

Friday, July 11, is the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's major league debut.
There are many interesting and amazing facts about the Babe but this is my

In 1920, Ruth became the first batter to hit 30, 40, and 50 home runs in one
campaign - and he did this all in one season! The Babe out-homered all seven
other American League teams and seven of eight in the National League in


Dennis D. Degenhardt
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
09:25 AM ET (US)
Midwest Diamond Report Blog - 7/13

The Twin Cities and Target Field are in the final stages of getting ready for the All Star Game.

Of course the big event is the All Star Game itself, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There are many other events, however, some of which have started and some which are ongoing throughout the five days.

On Monday, the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Target Field will feature the Gillette Home Run Derby.

Today, Sunday, the Taco Bell All-Star Sunday will be held at Target Field. The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will be held at 4 p.m. followed by the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.

The MLB All-Star Summer Pepsi Block Party is being staged at the Minneapolis Butler Square Sunday through Tuesday.

The T-Mobile All-Star FanFest started Friday and also will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

On Saturday, the Target All-Star Concert, presented by Budweiser, was held, featuring Imagine Dragons with musical guest Atmosphere.

This five-day celebration is a big deal for the Twin Cities. It’s expected the economic impact on the area could reach $75 million. About 160,000 visitors to the area are projected because of the events.

In case you missed it, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and White Sox’s Chris Sale won the Final Vote to earn selection to their respective teams.

Brewers’ All Star Swoon

We warned of it in last week’s Blog, and it happened. The Brewers have virtually collapsed in the last week before the All Star break.

A loss to the Cardinals on Sunday will put them in second place at the break, after once holding a 6 game lead in the NL Central. At best, they will hold a one game lead.

This isn’t the first time the Brewers have done this. For example, in 2007, they went 3-7 in the last 10 games before the break. In 2009, they lost consecutive series to the Cubs, Cardinals and Dodgers before breaking There are other examples.

Of course, it looks somewhat inconsequential right now after the news that Jean Segura’s child died suddenly Friday in the Dominican Republic.
But, the season will go on and so must the Brewers. Their slide doesn’t look like something that can be solved internally. Calling up RHP Jimmy Nelson, for example, didn’t help, at least not short term. (See the results of his first start in Updated Notes).

It looks like GM Doug Melvin is going to have to make a big move, ala CC Sabathia, if the Brewers are going to stay in the race. Perhaps dealing for David Price or another front line pitcher, or acquiring a first baseman that could add some consistent offensive production, are types of deals he needs to make.

Player of the Week

Cubs rookie Arismendy Alcantara was 7-for-18 with three RBIs after being called up from the minors to play second base and the outfield. For that, he earned the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Matt Garza, who had two quality starts during the Brewers’ slump.

** the Twins’ Sam Fuld, who has had at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games.

** the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, who hit his MLB-leading 29th homer Saturday and upped his RBI total to 73.

Updated Notes

** RHP Jimmy Nelson gave up eight runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings in his first start on Saturday.

** Elian Herrera was called back up to replace Jean Segura, who was put on the bereavement list because of the death of his child.

** Jonathan Lucroy will start at catcher for the NL in the All Star Game, replacing the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, who is on the DL.


** RHP Edwin Jackson gave up nine runs in 3.2 innings on Saturday.

** Emilio Bonifacio went 3-for-4 with three singles as the designated hitter in his rehab debut with the Arizona League Cubs.

** Justin Ruggiano's walk-off single gave the Cubs a 5-4 victory over the Braves on Friday before a packed house of 39,544, the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field.


** RHP Kevin Correia went at least six innings in his seventh consecutive start Saturday and dropped his ERA to 2.30.

** Catcher Kurt Suzuki was scheduled to get a day off Saturday, even before he fouled a ball off the back of his left heel on Friday night. Suzuki stayed in the game and said he was fine Saturday.

** The Twins will end their road trip on Sunday, which will mark their 20th game in 20 days leading up to the All-Star break.

White Sox

** SS Alexei Ramirez and winning pitcher Scott Carroll left Saturday’s game with back stiffness.

** OF Adam Eaton was out of Saturday's lineup against the Indians and probably won't play during the first-half finale on Sunday because of a sore right ankle.

** The Sox signed LHP Carlos Rodon, the club's first-round pick (third overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, to a minor-league contract with a $6.5-million signing bonus.

Landmark Decision

The Cubs won a big decision last week which will allow them to expand the bleachers in Wrigley Field. For a full statement by the club, go to Midwest Diamond Report Blogs message board at

What’s Ahead

The biggie for the week is the All Star Game at Target Field. After the break, the Brewers will try to get back on track against the Nationals in Washington D.C.

A countdown to the trade deadline also will start, as the Brewers are likely to be buyers and the Cubs, Twins and White Sox could be sellers in the market.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
Gregg HoffmannPerson was signed in when posted
07:58 AM ET (US)
Statement from Cubs

Cubs Win Landmarks Approval

After more than a year of robust dialogue with community stakeholders and city officials while gaining several of the required approvals to begin the historic restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field, we have crossed our final hurdle with the City of Chicago as the Commission on Chicago Landmarks today approved our revised bleacher expansion. Today’s affirmative vote means we are much closer to achieving our goals of winning a World Series, preserving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor by investing in our community.
The revised bleacher expansion includes our original proposal of seven outfield signs, which are an integral part of the overall planned development. The revised plan also includes additional seating and open spaces in the Budweiser Bleachers, new group terraces in right and left field, enclosed hospitality areas and new outfield lighting. All of these features will be a tremendous source of revenue to fund parts of the restoration project and put more resources on the field.
In the coming weeks, we will submit permit applications and prepare to get construction started in areas around the ballpark.
The initial phase of construction will include our surface parking lots and two-story parking lot on Eddy Street. First, we will begin demolishing the Brown Lot later this month. The new Brown Lot will be expanded by 100 parking spaces to accommodate gameday parking and guests staying at the new Sheraton Hotel. As the season concludes, we will begin work in the Gold, Red and Purple Lots. The Gold Lot will be the home of our new broadcast center for home and visiting television networks. Currently, broadcast teams are located in the Red Lot adjacent to the ballpark, which will be the site of the new western gate and plaza. The most significant work will occur in the Purple Lot. We will begin excavation of the Purple Lot to lay the foundation for the sub-basements which will house the Levy commissary space and the new clubhouse for Cubs players.
The City of Chicago also will be closing portions of Waveland and Sheffield to relocate underground water and sewer infrastructure in preparation of the team moving the ballpark walls out onto Waveland and Sheffield this fall.
Much of this work won’t impact fan access and gameday operations, so construction will occur throughout our remaining homestands. Following the conclusion of the season, we will immediately begin the Budweiser Bleacher expansion and anticipate completing the installation of new seating, group terraces, outfield signs and lighting, including the new left field video board, by Opening Day 2015.
Finally, as we begin work to restore beautiful Wrigley Field, we hope to avoid litigation and will continue to talk with rooftop businesses to determine if there are opportunities to broker a final settlement. If not, we are prepared to defend our right to expand Wrigley Field.
This is a long time coming and we want to thank you for your support in helping us preserve the greatest ballpark in baseball while investing to build a championship ballclub. There will continue to be challenges and hurdles along the road ahead and we look forward to your continued support.
As we begin this historic restoration and expansion, we will continue to provide important updates related to the construction process and schedule as the project moves forward. For news and updates, please visit
Edited 07-11-2014 07:58 AM
MDR Blog - 7/6
08:19 PM ET (US)
The success the Brewers have had in the first half of the season was reflected in their number of All Star selections Sunday night.

Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez were voted in as starters at 3B and in the outfield. Jonathan Lucroy was selected as a reserve at catcher, and Francisco Rodriguez as a reliever.

Ramirez probably should have been a reserve, if for no other reason the fact he was on the DL for a considerable amount of time. But, in some ways his first selection as a starter can be seen as a career honor, since he has been one of the most productive third basemen in the game for several years.

“The All Star break has given me a chance to be with my family for a few days in the past, but it is an honor to be selected,” Ramirez said several days ago in an interview before he knew the outcome of voting.

Gomez has become one of the most dynamic players in the game. Some will argue that Giancarlo Stanton should have started ahead of him, but the Marlins’ star can serve as DH since the game is at Target Field, an AL location.

Lucroy should have been the starter, but is undoubtedly fine with his selection as the backup to the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. As reported last week, Lucroy was a bit embarrassed by a Fox Sports Wisconsin promo that hyped him over Molina.

For Rodriguez, his selection marks a comeback for the guy who once earned the nickname K-Rod. Just a couple years ago, he was considered done by many.

The Brewers could make an argument for Kyle Lohse and Will Smith to be selected as pitchers, but both have struggled somewhat in recent outings.

Instead, the Brewers should probably concentrate on not taking a dive in the week left before the ASG. In years past, after getting off to a good start, they somewhat stumbled right before the break. They’ve lost five of their last six and should concentrate on finishing strong.

The other MDR teams All Stars include the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, Twins’ Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez.

Jeff Samardzija actually was picked an All Star before he was traded by the Cubs to Oakland and could still make an appearance. The Sox probably have the most legitimate beef with Chris Sale not on the AL team.

Two-For Deal

Most people expected the Cubs to trade RHPs Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but not necessarily to the same team in the same deal. The pair was sent packing to Oakland in exchange for prospects SS Addison Russell and OF Bill McKinney, and veteran pitcher Dan Straily.

The deal comes at a time when the Cubs were playing much better, and tells fans they have to wait until next year or beyond. Russell and McKinney are considered top prospects, but also are a couple years away.

Russell also is a shortstop which gives the Cubs Castro and prospect Javier Baez at the same position. It makes it very likely Castro could be traded in the future, or he or Baez could change positions.

Player of the Week

The White Sox’s Abreu extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He also hit his MLB-leading 27th homer. That gave him the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:

** the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, who hit .368 for the week with six RBIs.

** the Cubs’ Justin Ruggiano, who had consecutive three-hit games and drove in seven runs in those two games.

** the Twins’ Suzuki, who hit .350 in a six game stretch.

Updated Notes


** RHP Matt Garza retired the first 12 Reds he faced and allowed only two hits over all nine innings of the Brewers' 1-0 win Saturday.

** Braun suffered from back spasms over the weekend. OF Logan Schafer was called up and started in LF for the injured Khris Davis. Utility player Elian Herrera was sent down to make roster space. Davis returned to the lineup when Braun had to be removed from Saturday’s game.

** The Brewers have agreed to sign international prospect Gilbert Lara, reports Enrique Rojas of (via Twitter). Lara will receive a $3.2MM bonus, according to colleague Dionisio Soldevila (via Twitter).


** The trade of Samardzija and Hammel left Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood in the rotation. Tsuyushi Wada will be called up from the minors to start Tuesday and could stay in the rotation. Carlos Villanueva made a spot start Saturday and was the loser in a 13-0 decision to the Nationals.

** Before departing to Oakland, Hammel held the Nationals to two runs and five hits in six innings of a 7-2 win on Friday.

** Rooftop owners apparently have decided to accept the Cubs' plan of installing two outfield signs at Wrigley Field, including a video scoreboard in left, and drop their threatened lawsuit.


** RHP Mike Pelfrey, who underwent elbow surgery in early June, isn't expected to start throwing again until September and could miss the rest of the season, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.

** 1B Joe Mauer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. First baseman Chris Colabello was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the roster.

** The Twins have reached agreement on a $800K bonus with righty Huascar Ynoa. The younger brother of record-holding international signee Michael Ynoa, the Dominican landed at 17th among available prospects on the list and 14th in the eyes of Baseball America, which credits him with outstanding stuff but streaky control.

White Sox

** Dayan Viciedo, who is involved in trade rumors with Seattle, went 4-for-4 in a 7-1 win over the Mariners, and belted his 10th home run of the season.

** The White Sox have made several big-dollar signings: shortstop Ricardo Mota has signed for $750K, second baseman Felix Mercedes will receive a $950K bonus, and catcher Jhoandro Alfaro (brother of Rangers’ prospect Jorge) will get $750K

** The Sox have claimed righty Angel Sanchez off waivers from the Rays. He will join the club’s Class-A affiliate.

What’s Ahead

The Brewers will host their closest NL Central rival, the Cardinals, in a three-game series next weekend before breaking for the All Star Game.

Northwoods League teams have started their second half. Willmar won the first half North Division title, and the Lakeshore Chinooks took the South Division.

The Keltner Chapter of SABR will meet at Major Goolsby’s on Aug. 9 and take a tour of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. More details will follow.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.
MDR Blog - 6/29
08:12 AM ET (US)
Jonathan Lucroy doesn’t need any extra help to make the National League All Star team. The Brewers’ catcher deserves selection because of his play in the first half of the season.

But, some TV spots on Fox Sports Wisconsin, created in part as a parody of political ads, boosted Lucroy while taking satirical aim at the Cardinals and their perennial All Star catcher, Yadier Molina.

Brad Weimer, the Fox Sports Wisconsin producer who created the spots, said he thought the ad was funny, “The Internet likes funny things,” he added.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who played catcher for the Brewers, wasn’t as amused. "I think you have to take it in the nature in which it was meant and it was meant to be geared toward their fan base," Matheny said. "It was just amazing that it was that much directed at our organization. I think that part probably caught me off-guard the most."

As for Lucroy, he said, “I had no idea what direction they were going to take. I just said the line about approving this message and they shot me nodding my head. When I saw it, I understood where they were going, but I also see where the Cardinals could be put off by it.

“As for myself, I would never single out an individual like that. I’m more about trying to make myself better and helping this team win. He (Molina) is the best overall catcher in baseball, has been for a while. I have nothing but respect for him and the Cardinals as a team.”

The bottom line is Lucroy deserves selection. He has spent much of the first half ranked in the top five in hitting in the NL.

He made the transition into the cleanup spot when needed, then into the third spot when manager Ron Roenicke shook up the order, with Ryan Braun batting second.

Lucroy thinks he played better than ever in the first half because the team played so well. “It takes four wheels to move a car,” he said. “If you only have one or two working, the machine doesn’t work well. We’ve had all four wheels working and the machine has run well. It’s easier to contribute when the guys around you are playing so well.”

While Lucroy could have done without the All Star ad, he has become more of a team spokesman and leader in recent years. He often is sought out by reporters after games and serves as the Kwik Trip spokesman for the Brewers.

“It’s not something I seek out,” he said. “I prefer to make my statements with my play on the field, but I try to be cooperative and will speak up when I think it‘s right.” For a full length feature on Lucroy, see Game Day, the Brewers’ program magazine, after the All Star break.
Worth Noting

We can’t let this accomplishment pass without noting. Viroqua’s Mitch Stalsberg set a new WIAA state tournament record for strikeouts in one game with 21 in a 2-1 win over Ripon, breaking the mark of Eau Claire's Hud Gelein, who struck out 20 in a WIAA Division 1 state tournament game in 1958.

Stalsberg sat down 21 of the 37 batters he faced by strikeout. His performance came in the semi-final game of the tournament. Viroqua went on to lose 10-0 in the championship game.

The senior lefthander will attend Winona State this fall.

Player of the Week

The Twins have been slumping, but Joe Mauer has been hot with a .417 average and five RBIs in his last six games. For that, Mauer is the MDR Player of the Week.

Other MDR teams’ Player of the Week are:

** the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy, who his .360 with four RBIs for the week.

** the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who hit .313 with two homers.

** the White Sox’s Alejandro De Aza, who hit .368 in his last six games.

Updated Notes


** The Brewers became the first MLB team to 50 wins.

** RHP Matt Garza won his first game since June 7 on Saturday.

** CF Carlos Gomez was day-to-day with a sore neck after colliding with Ryan Braun Saturday. SS Jean Segura was expected to return to action after suffering leg cramps.


** The Cubs played a doubleheader Saturday and will be off Sunday to accommodate the big Pride Parade in Chicago.

** Dallas Beeler did not allow an earned run in six innings and got a hit in his MLB debut on Saturday.

** RHP Jeff Samardzija dropped to 2-7, but continues to be a hot commodity on the trade rumor market.


** The Twins lost their 10th straight road game Saturday.

** The bullpen has a combined 2.04 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit only .196 in the last 11 games.

** INF Pedro Florimon is hitting .093 in 31 games.

White Sox

** LHP Chris Sale improved to 7-1 with the win in a 4-3 decision over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

** Zach Putnam earned the save Saturday, as the Sox have gone to the closer by committee approach for now.

** OF Adam Eaton returned to the lineup after suffering leg soreness.

What’s Ahead

All Star selections will be announced later in the Week. The Brewers could have 4-5 players selected.

The first half Northwoods League season ends this week. Races remained tight in the closing days. The Willmar Stingers and Lakeshore Chinooks held leads going into the last couple games. Winners of the first and second halves of the season meet in the divisional playoffs in August.


The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below.

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