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Posts tagged with "Yuniesky Betancourt"

Yuniesky Betancourt has hit 2 grand slams this season (6 in his career), Pete Rose hit 1 grand slam in his entire 24 year career among his record 4,256 hits

(Photo: Ted Warren / AP)

May 8

Brewers hold on after 5 run 1st

Yuniesky Betancourt connects on a 2-run home run in the 1st.

Good:

  • Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura had 2 hits each. Betancourt and Aramis Ramirez had home runs.
  • Wily Peralta lasted 6 innings and gave up 2 earned runs (3 overall). 
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Brandon Kintzler, and Jim Henderson finished off the game.

Bad:

  • Martin Maldonado was the only starter that went hitless.
  • Ramirez had his 2nd error of the season.

Peralta pitched pretty well to pick up the victory.

The Brewers are playing game 2 right now. Texas is up 2-0 in the 3rd inning. Kyle Lohse is facing Derek Holland.

May 2

Khris Davis optioned to AAA, Aramis Ramirez to return, Yuni B to play regularly, and Russell Martin has sand in his crack

Davis was sent down so he could get to play every day. Right now there just isn’t a spot for him in the outfield and the Brewers don’t want to freeze out one of their best prospects. There was no corresponding move announced yet, but it is assumed to be Jeff Bianchi, who completed his rehab assignment today. 

Aramis Ramirez is set to come back from his knee sprain on Friday, barring any setbacks.

Yuniesky Betancourt is going to be playing 1B on a regular basis once Ramirez returns. 

Apparently, Russell Martin took offense to Carlos Gomez stealing 2nd and 3rd in the 8th inning last night with a 12-8 lead. Ron Roenicke was not worried about it, saying they are going to run regardless of the score if the situation calls for it. Brewer fans know all to well that a 4 run lead isn’t a sure thing. Gomez was hit by a pitch immediately after Rickie Weeks homered to give them the 4 run cushion. Instead of retaliating with a guy getting hit, the Brewers retaliated by stealing a couple of bases off of a used up, never really was catcher.

May 1

Ugh. Why can’t he just pitch good?

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Hiram Burgos pitched well. He left with a 4-2 lead after 7 innings.

Good:

  • Burgos pitched excellent in his 3rd major league game. He struck out 6 while giving up just 4 hits (2 solo home runs) in 7 innings. 
  • Carlos Gomez led the way offensively again, with 2 hits and a home run. He and Yuniesky Betancourt went back to back for the second time this series.
  • The Brewers ran roughshod over the Pirates backup catcher, stealing 4 bases.
  • Blake Lalli got his first “real” hit of the season. 

Bad:

  • John Axford blew it big time. He came in for the 8th inning and after giving up a little broken bat infield cheapy, he gave up the game tying home run. Then he gave up 2 more runs to take the loss.
  • The offense wasn’t great, only collecting 7 hits and striking out 8 times.

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Yuni B and GoGo celebrating their back to back home runs.

It kind of bothers me that I’m not more bothered about this game. After winning the first two games of the series it isn’t the end of world to drop the final game, especially when the team that you are playing was in first place in the division when the series started. It just stings because it had seemed like Axford had turned the corner. Perhaps not.

Relievers are going to give up runs. Even the best closer in the league ends up blowing one or two, usually. The problem with Axford isn’t that he is blowing the games, it is that he is giving up home runs constantly. Even in Monday’s game he gave up a long solo shot that didn’t mean anything, but was still disturbing. The penchant for giving up long balls is probably the worst thing a reliever can start doing, especially considering Axford already walks his fair share of guys. 

If you aren’t giving up home runs, the other team has to actually work for runs. Whether it is getting a three singles, or bunting, or stealing bases the team has to have a few things go right to scratch out ONE run. When your pitcher gives up home runs at an alarming rate, all it takes is one swing of the bat and the ballgame could be lost. I couldn’t tell you what his deal is, other than his fastball is flat as a board and he has some issues getting his breaking stuff in the zone. That is a bad combination.

Tomorrow they start a four game series with the Cardinals. The Brewers send Wily Peralta to the hill to face Jake Westbrook.

Doing two games for the price of one (free)

4-26 Brewers lose 7-5

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Hiram Burgos fires a pitch during Friday’s game.

Good:

  • Burgos fired his second straight quality start, although this one wasn’t as good as the last. He was facing the Dodgers instead of the Cubs, however, so it was to be expected. He gave up 3 runs in 6 innings and was in line for the win.
  • Alex Gonzalez led the team with 3 hits and scored 3 runs. Jean Segura stayed hot with a couple of hits and 2 RBI. Jonathan Lucroy had a couple hits as well. Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt each had home runs.
  • The Brewers didn’t make any errors, but couldn’t fully capitalize on the Dodgers’ 4 errors.

Bad:

  • The bullpen had been pitching superb, but failed to lock this one down. Mike Gonzaelz, Burke Badenhop, and Brandon Kintzler combined for 2 innings and 4 runs allowed. Gonzalez took the loss.
  • Ron Roenicke ran them into an out by trying to squeeze Norichika Aoki home with one out and Jean Segura at the plate. The thing about the squeeze play is that when it works it is genius and when it doesn’t it can make you look really stupid and completely kill a team’s momentum. With one of the hottest hitters in the majors at the plate (Segura) and a guy who can change a ball game with one swing right behind him (Braun) it doesn’t make much sense to try to manufacture a run in that situation.
  • Rickie Weeks is terrible.

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Carlos Gomez can’t come up with Adrian Gonzalez’ lead taking double.

Friday’s game was one of those that just happen no matter how hot the team is playing. The bullpen is going to give up runs here and there, you just hope that it isn’t in a tight game.

4-27 Brewers win 6-4

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Wily Peralta lets one fly during Saturday’s game.

Good:

  • Wily Peralta continued the Brewers’ run of solid outing by their starters giving up 3 runs in 6 innings.
  • Carlos Gomez led the offense with 3 hits, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, including a home run. Yuniesky Betancourt gave the team some production out of the clean-up spot by collecting 2 hits and knocking in one. Martin Maldonado had a 2-run home run, his first of the season.
  • The bullpen was solid, save for a solo shot gave up by John Axford. Tom Gorzelanny and Jim Henderson pitched scoreless innings in the tight game.

Bad:

  • Blake Lalli is worse than Rickie Weeks. I can’t wait for someone, anyone to come of the DL so we can be rid of this scourge. Why not give Josh Prince at-bats or starts? 
  • The only reason that Lalli was playing was because of a minor injury to Jean Segura. Segura split his fingernail of his throwing hand while fielding groundballs during pregame. He is back in the lineup today.

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Betancourt makes a throw from 3rd base on Saturday.

The Brewers’ management has been talking about what to do with Khris Davis and Josh Prince. They are both sitting on the bench doing next to nothing instead of getting much needed playing time in the minors. Once Jeff Bianchi is ready after his rehab assignment you can expect one of them to be sent back to AAA.

Brewers win a slugfest over the Giants

Yuniesky Betancourt (#42) is greeted at homeplate by Jonathan Lucroy (#42), Alex Gonzalez (#42), and Carlos Gomez (#42) after his grand slam in the 3rd inning. The bat boy (not #42) looks on.

Good:

  • Offensive explosion. After struggling to score runs the previous week the Brewers exploded for 10 today, including 8 in the 3rd inning.
  • Betancourt, Carlos Gomez, and Norchika Aoki each had home runs. Gomez added 2 other hits and Jean Segura and Lucroy added 2 hits each. Segura’s average actually dropped after a 2-5 day. He is tied for the best batting average in the National League.
  • Segura also stole a base.
  • The bullpen held down the fort when starter Wily Peralta struggled. Mike Fiers came in with the bases loaded and no out and managed to escape with only a single run allowed. The next inning he got into trouble of his own and Brandon Kintzler came in with the bases loaded and one out and allowed only one run. Even John Axford pitched a shutout inning.

Bad:

  • Ryan Braun was the only starter without a hit. He struck out 4 times. His is in a bit of a slump right now, but even a slumping Ryan Braun is better than half the team has been this season.
  • Wily Peralta started decent and then got into trouble in the top of the 3rd by giving up 3 runs. He settled down a bit, but got tagged again in the 5th. Even though he was staked to a nice lead he wasn’t able to get the win. 

Peralta had flashes of quality, but was largely ineffective.

Now I actually had to look up the rule on who gets the win when a starter doesn’t go the required 5 innings. I was always under the assumption that what ever relief pitcher is pitching at the end of the 5th, as long as his team was leading, was granted the win. Apparently not. If that were the case Mike Fiers would have gotten the win, but instead the official scorer gave it to Brandon Kintzler. Here is how the rule reads:

Rule 10.17(b) Comment: It is the intent of Rule 10.17(b) that a relief pitcher pitch at least one complete inning or pitch when a crucial out is made, within the context of the game (including the score), in order to be credited as the winning pitcher. If the first relief pitcher pitches effectively, the official scorer should not presumptively credit that pitcher with the win, because the rule requires that the win be credited to the pitcher who was the most effective, and a subsequent relief pitcher may have been most effective. The official scorer, in determining which relief pitcher was the most effective, should consider the number of runs, earned runs and base runners given up by each relief pitcher and the context of the game at the time of each relief pitcher’s appearance. If two or more relief pitchers were similarly effective, the official scorer should give the presumption to the earlier pitcher as the winning pitcher.

Given these guidelines I would say that Kintzler was more effective than Fiers overall, but Fiers was thrown into a pretty sticky situation and got out of it too. It doesn’t matter, a win is a win.

Tomorrow it is Kyle Lohse against Ryan Vogelsong. 

Two newest Brewers made their debuts (or re-debuts)

Kyle Lohse got the start and went 3.2 innings, giving up 1 run and striking out 2. He looked pretty good, throwing 54 pitches.

Yuniesky Betancourt, who is looking to earn a utility infield spot on the team, went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBI. He played 2B and 1B on the day.

hahahahaha oh man. if i was one of the AAA dudes trying to get that utility role i’d feel pretty sad that they think yuni is better.

I was thinking the same thing, but the more I think about it the more I think that his is just going to be a temporary thing. Right now 3B, SS, and 2B are set. Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks aren’t going anywhere and Jean Segura has been having a solid spring after an equally solid winter league. Initially they signed Alex Gonzalez to back up Segura and probably Weeks a little bit, but he has been putting in work at 1B because of the Hart and Gamel injuries. Taylor Green was projected to be the backup at 3B and probably 2B, but he was just put on the 15 DL. Backup catcher Martin Maldonado is probably going to be the backup 1B once Hart is back. That is where Maldonado played for Puerto Rico during the WBC. Once Green and Hart come back, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Betancourt be dropped. There are other guys in the organization that could possibly fill in, especially Scooter Gennett, but I’d be willing to bet that the Brewers don’t want to waste an option on a prospect if they are only going to be a backup temporarily.

Of course these are all just guesses. Honestly, I don’t mind him being back in the capacity that he is. Yuni B as a backup is much better than Yuni B as the everyday starting shortstop.

Dec 6

More good news/bad news from the Winter Meetings

First order of business, K-Rod. The Brewers offered arbitration to K-Rod in order to receive a draft compensation when he signed with another team. “When” is the operative word. He wants to be a closer, and rightfully so. He has had success as a closer and is still a relatively young guy. That “when” is quickly becoming and “if”. The market has not really developed for K-Rod and he has until Wednesday at 11 pm to accept the Brewers offer for arbitration. If he accepts, he will probably make the same as or more than his $13.5 milllion he made last year. If that is the case, he is a Brewer next season for whatever arbitration says he should make. The one caveat is that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed and the Brewers can release him during training camp and only pay 1/6th of his salary. In a year where the Brewers are figuring to be at least bit players in the free agent market every dollar needs to be spent wisely.

Next, the Brewers are still interested in Yuniesky Betancourt. Kind of. Apparently, Yuni B likes it in Milwaukee and feels can expand on his second half successes of last year. Also, his agent said that they are willing to take a one-year deal so he can prove himself for a longer contract with the Brewers or someone else. Going back to Yuni B hinges on the next two items of business.

The Brewers are very interested in Philadelphia SS Jimmy Rollins. If they can get him, that will probably be the only major move they make. They will give Casey McGehee a chance to return to form at 3B and use Mat Gamel at 1st. Or platoon Gamel and McGehee and let Taylor Green take a shot at 3rd.

Also, former Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez’ agent said that his client puts the Brewers as one of his “favorites” to sign with. He likes the fact that the Brewers have pitching and could possibly contend again in the years to come. If the Brewers decide to go in that direction it is more likely that Yuni could be back in a Brewer uniform, although, Ramirez and Rafael Furcal have the same agent, so take that for what it is. (Nothing really) 

I wouldn’t mind either scenario, to be honest, although I would prefer Rollins. Ramirez can put a dent in the power production that Prince provided and Rollins can move the team in a more run producing/small ball direction. 

Brewers offer arbitration to Fielder and K-Rod…

…as expected. I’m not completely clear on the new CBA rules when it comes to A-level free agents, but the Brewers will get draft pick compensation if either of these guys sign with other teams (which is expected in both cases). I believe K-Rod was put in a group of 6 free agents where the team losing him (Brewers) will still get compensation in the form of draft picks, but none of them will come directly from his new club, making it him a bit more attractive to other teams. They did not offer arbitration to Yuni B. Fielder and K-Rod are expected to turn down arbitration, where Yuni probably will accept it. What he would make after arbitration is likely much more than he will get on the open market and the Brewers would be on the hook for another year of an overpaid Betancourt. Doug Melvin has been pretty hush-hush about who he is targeting in free agency, but that is normal. Any report has to be taken with a big grain of salt; the Brewers have been known to come out of left field and get deals done. 

Doug Melvin putting in work before GM meetings

Doug Melvin was hitting the phones looking to improve the Brewers for next season. It was reported by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal that Melvin talked to a number of players’ agents. He spoke with the agent for Rafael Furcal, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Yuniesky Betancourt. 

Paul Kinzer, the agent for Furcal and free-agent 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez, said he thought that Furcal would be a great addition to the Brewers. I know he was a thorn in the Brewers side. Ramirez is another guy that has been linked to the Brewers, but Melvin is looking for a SS first.

The agent for Yuni B has said that they would be “very interested” in coming back to the Crew at a lower salary. Melvin told Jaime Torres, agent for Yuni, that he want to explore the market before offering a contract.

Melvin conceded that Hairston was a “good fit” on the Brewers last year and he would love to have him back next year.

He also addressed why the Brewers might be mentioned in the landing prospects of SS Jose Reyes. He said it is because of “one call, no numbers.” Interesting. Obviously the Miami Marlins have been in the Reyes news the most. There were even reports that a contract was signed, but they proved to be false. I see Reyes do a little more shopping for a better deal. There is a lot of time and I’d be surprised if he chooses his new team before December.

Nov 2

Grades round 2b - non-Prince Fielder edition

Jerry Hairston Jr.

The Brewers picked up Hairston after the all-star break when Rickie Weeks went down with an ankle injury. He was one of three moves that the Brewers made concerning the Weeks injury. They called up Eric Ferris from the minors, purchased the contract of Felipe Lopez from Tampa Bay, and acquired Jerry Hairston Jr. from Washington for OF EriK Komatsu. Hairston was by far the most successful of the moves. His numbers weren’t great in the regular season, but he is ultra-versatile; he filled in for both Weeks and Carlos Gomez. He can play just about any position on the field. And of course, he was named the starter at 3B for the postseason in place of Casey McGehee and was one of the more consistent hitters in the playoffs, hitting .385 with 6 doubles. Gotta give it up for a guy that comes through in the clutch.

Signing Hairston to another year with the team is definitely an option for the Brewers. He will come at a reasonable price, he has the ability to play 5 different positions, they know what they are getting, and by all accounts he is a good clubhouse guy with a quality attitude. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Final Grade: B+ (Uptick for versatility and a solid performance in the playoffs.)

Yuniesky Betancourt

Yuni B was much maligned on message boards, on tumblr, by the ESPN experts, and especially by anyone that puts any stock in advanced defensive metrics. I don’t know why, but I have a bit of a soft spot for Betancourt. He was truly brutal at the plate in the first half of the season. He was much better at the plate in the second half and even better in the playoffs. He is a free-swinger who doesn’t take many walks. He also hit much worse with runners on base than with the bases empty. Defensive metrics say he is a horrible shortstop. He has limited range and a tendency to boot routine balls. He did start one of the best double plays in the majors and had a handful of other outstanding plays. And he is pretty good at starting and finishing double plays. One statistical oddity (at least to me), is that his batting average was much better in the second half of 2011, but he also struck out a good deal more in less at bats. A small part of his struggles in 2011 could be due to bad luck. His BAbip (batting avg. on balls in play) was .259 for the season (league average is usually around .300). 

The Brewers declined a $6 million option on Betancourt, allowing Yuni to become a free agent. If the Brewers would be able to get a discount on Betancourt’s $4 million 2010 salary, I wouldn’t be against bringing him back. The way I see it, however, is that the Brewers will look to upgrade, especially if they don’t resign Prince Fielder and have money to spend.

Final Grade: D+ (Slight uptick for his improved play in the postseason.)

 Mark Kotsay

Kotsay couldn’t hit a damn thing in the very beginning of the season. When Ryan Braun went down with an injury he played pretty well, even though his sieve of a glove cost the Brewers a game or two. And it isn’t his fault that Ron Roenicke put him in CF in the playoffs, possibly costing them another game. Truth is, he wasn’t a key component for the Crew this season, but did what was asked of him. It wasn’t lack of effort that was the issue. He has just lost a step or four in the outfield and struggled a bit at the plate at times.

He is no spring chicken. He will be 36 by next season. The thing is, he comes cheap and seems to be a decent clubhouse guy. Bringing him back is not a priority, but it may happen anyway. I doubt teams will be beating down his door. 

Final Grade: C-

Craig Counsell

Craig Counsell had a terrible year at the plate. He tied an almost century old record of futility (which was later broken by the Dodgers Eugenio Velez), hit well below .200, and struck out at a higher rate than has been his norm. Defensively, he was an improvement at 3B over Casey McGehee (a cardboard cutout may have been an improvement), at SS over Betancourt, and late in the season, at 2B for a hobbled Rickie Weeks. All of those are not saying much, because Counsell has lost a step or two in the field as well. The guy is 41 years old, what do you expect?

Craig Counsell is probably going to retire. If he doesn’t, I would prefer the Brewers not re-sign him, but I know others feel differently. I guess one thing I’ve never understood is the undying love many Brewer fans feel for him. He is a career .256 hitter who had a few HUGE moments for teams other than the Brewers. I suppose he is a hometown guy, but so were Damian Miller (LaCrosse) and Bob Wickman (Abrams/Oconto Falls HS) and they didn’t garner the same kind of love that Counsell gets. I don’t hate the guy, but he has always been mediocre and has never really done anything of note for the franchise.

Final Grade: D (small uptick for the slide into home depicted below, that was pretty sweet.)