Author Topic: NL Central  (Read 3080 times)

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Offline blitzburgh

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2012, 07:54:40 PM »
Pirates' staff took a big hit with Burnett bunting off his face.. rofl
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2012, 06:55:10 AM »
Who's got the best pitching staff in the NL Center?


Hmmmm - I would have to say the Cardinals look pretty intimidating, especially if Wainwright can regain his form.  I will throw my homer vote out here and also nominate the Brewers.  They may not have a dominating #1 but have what I would perceive to be three #2's in Gallardo, Greinke and Marcum.   Add what may be considered one of the best 1 - 2 punches at the back end and you have the makings of a solid staff.

I feel it is going to be extremely competitive in the division and can't wait to get it kicked in gear.

Blitz,  that is a shame about Burnett.  One helluva way to start out the season   :(
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2012, 09:29:09 AM »
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's the position almost everybody wants to play as a kid, and the best kids usually do. So why are some Major League teams having so much trouble these days finding a long-term solution at shortstop?

Yes, there are the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro and Elvis Andrus set on their respective infields for years to come. But then there are teams like the Brewers, Red Sox, Pirates, Giants and Padres, all of whom have cycled through various shortstops in recent seasons.

Baseball faces a shortstop shortage, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin argues, one he knew his club would have to contend with when it traded budding stud Alcides Escobar to the Royals two winters ago to get Zack Greinke.
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"If you're in Little League and you've got a plus arm, they want to put you at pitcher now," Melvin said. "And at shortstop, everyone is so emphasized on offense, they're getting away from the most important part -- catch the ball, throw the ball, turn the double play. If you have a shortstop who doesn't get hits, he almost gets crucified or at least criticized."

The Brewers' shortstop carousel began turning when they traded away the home-grown J.J. Hardy in November 2009, a deal meant to free payroll for pitching and to open shortstop for top prospect Escobar. When the Brewers traded Escobar the following December, they got the free-swinging Yuniesky Betancourt in return, and now they are on to Alex Gonzalez, making him Milwaukee's fourth starting shortstop in as many seasons.

Gonzalez is part of a proud line of Venezuelan shortstops from Chico Carrasquel to Luis Aparicio to Omar Vizquel to Andrus and Escobar. He was surprised to hear some teams have had so much turnover at the position.

"Everybody loves to play shortstop," said Gonzalez, who hit a two-run double in the first and a two-run triple in the fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon's game against the White Sox. "But you have to be smart to play shortstop. It's not about going out there to run around and throw. You have to be in command of the infield, in every moment of the game."

Gonzalez has played for five different teams, and his former teammates in Brewers camp include Brooks Conrad (Braves) and George Kottaras (Red Sox). Gonzalez played for current Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron in Cincinnati. When Gonzalez was an All-Star for the Marlins in 1999, one of his teammates was Brewers special assistant Craig Counsell.

That's what happens when you bounce around. Gonzalez, known for his sure glove but also for having some pop in his bat -- he hit 23 homers for the Marlins in 2004 and for the Blue Jays and Braves in '10 -- has played for four teams in the past four seasons.

He spent the past two seasons with the Braves, who acquired Gonzalez and the prospect who would eventually take his job -- Tyler Pastornicky -- in a five-player swap with the Blue Jays. Atlanta declined to offer Gonzalez arbitration in November, a clear sign it was moving on.

Gonzalez picked the Brewers at the Winter Meetings, signing a one-year, $4.25 million deal, with a $3.5 million club option for 2013. If Gonzalez makes 525 plate appearances in '12, that option will vest at $4 million.

The pitching staff, the Brewers figure, should benefit from Gonzalez's arrival. Among qualifying hitters in the National League, only Betancourt had a lower on-base percentage than Gonzalez's .270, but he was third in the league with a .981 fielding percentage. Only Tulowitzki and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins rated better in that basic defensive measure.

The more advanced metrics, including FanGraphs.com's Ultimate Zone Rating, put Gonzalez in the middle of the NL pack. All agree he is a defensive upgrade over Betancourt.

"He's a smart player, so he knows where to position himself," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's got range, he's got good hands and he's got a nice arm. I know with the age, maybe he's not what he was 10 years ago. But he's still really good."

Said Gonzalez: "That is my priority, to help my team on defense. I do the best I can with my bat. If you play good defense, you can play a lot of games."

The Brewers also pursued free agent Clint Barmes, who got a two-year deal from the Pirates, and Rollins, who wound up re-signing with the Phillies.

The Brewers made a strong play for Rollins, making it clear to agent Dan Lozano that they would be willing to offer a four-year deal. But Lozano was busy with another high-profile free-agent client, Albert Pujols, and the Brewers decided they couldn't wait to address the offensive void left by Prince Fielder. They shifted focus to third baseman Aramis Ramirez and signed him in mid-December.

Rollins, as expected, re-signed with Philadelphia.

"That would have changed our offseason dramatically," Melvin said.

It also could have changed the franchise's immediate future. The Brewers admit they are relatively thin at shortstop in the Minor Leagues, where Edwin Maysonet is slated for Triple-A Nashville and organizational newcomer Jeff Bianchi could go to Double-A Huntsville.

The Brewers like two of their prospects: Orlando Arcia, who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League and is at Maryvale Baseball Park for Spring Training, and Yadiel Rivera, a ninth-round Draft pick in 2010 who ranked 12th on MLB.com's list of the Top 20 Brewers prospects. Rivera topped out at Rookie level Helena last season. Both players are years away from the big leagues.

Gonzalez turned 35 shortly before reporting to Spring Training. He's already appeared in three postseasons and is hoping to add to that list.

"A lot of players go a whole career and never get there," Gonzalez said. "I've been lucky. I want to get to the World Series again, and I think we have a chance."
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Offline kburjr

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2012, 04:11:54 PM »
Who's got the best pitching staff in the NL Center?

I have to be a homer here.  #1 I think that Greinke os a #1 pitcher. He had 9 wins, sub3.00ERA after the All=Star break last year and his advanced metrics all point to an ace type pitcher. #2 It's a race to who breaks down first, Marcum or Carpenter. #2A Wainwright is coming back but is he really? #3 Gallardo or Garcia?  #4 Wolf or Loshe?  I'll take wolf without Duncan to prop up Loshe. Brewers have netter bullpen hands down.

Cincy doesn't have the depth at starter, Pittsburgh doesn't have period and the Cubs and Astros will be lucky to have a 10 win pitcher on the staff
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2012, 09:44:30 AM »
PHOENIX -- A former teammate of Zack Greinke's phoned twice on Wednesday. It was annoying.

It was a pitch to consider that player's agent, variations of which Greinke has heard ad nauseam since news broke that he was the biggest free-agent-to-be working without representation. When his phone rang, Greinke didn't pick up.

"I knew that's what he was calling for," Greinke said. "Then, he called a second time and I said, 'All right, I'll answer.' I knew what he wanted, but we wasted 20 minutes beating around the bush, talking about nonsense, which, with him, I don't mind it that much. But that's the annoying part -- I knew what we were getting to. It just took forever to get to it."
   
When they did get to it, Greinke politely said the same thing he told reporters following his first Cactus League start on Thursday: He doesn't plan to hire an agent until the end of the season.

"That's been the plan the whole time," Greinke said. "Nothing has changed."

Greinke did leave the door wide open to altering the schedule if he and the Brewers engage in talks about a contract extension. He genuinely likes pitching in a Brewers uniform, calls principal owner Mark Attanasio "the best owner out there," and says he enjoys small-market Milwaukee.

The right-hander is also very aware of the market for 28-year-old starting pitchers with 3.82 ERA and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. At some point, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin plans to approach Greinke with a proposal, perhaps one in the neighborhood of the five-year, $80 million deal the Tigers and Justin Verlander reached a year ago. The difference is that Verlander was two years shy of free agency, and Greinke is only one.

Greinke expressed a very open mind about his options: Entertain an extension, or wait to test free agency.

"Free agency, I think it could be kind of neat," he said. "There could be positives to it, and then there could be negatives. It's not like everyone who gets to free agency, it ends up working perfectly for them and everything comes true that they want. Sometimes it ends up backfiring on you, and you would have been better off signing with the team."

Greinke called all of this talk premature, but if unresolved on Opening Day, his soon-to-expire contract figures to be a topic all season. He was asked whether he'll come up with some stock answers, and Greinke wanted to know who's asking.

Media?

"There's nothing to tell you guys," Greinke said.

Fans?

"Probably just ignore them," he said, grinning.

Like always?

"Not always," Greinke said, before conceding: "A lot of times."

As usual, none of this was said with malice. It was just Greinke being himself; smart, challenging, dead honest. Example: He's baseball's most famous amateur scout, but has had to learn to keep an open mind. Greinke figured former Brewer Prince Fielder was too big to hit, and that Boston's Dustin Pedroia was too small to play. In both cases, Greinke concedes he was wrong.

"I've tried not to write people off," he quipped, "like I used to."

On the mound, he's the same old Greinke. Making his first spring start Thursday after appearing four days earlier in relief, Greinke struck out the first four hitters he faced and wound up allowing two runs -- one earned -- on three successive hits in the second inning. His stuff was so sharp that veteran plate umpire Bob Davidson walked over to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and said, "Zack's ready."

"I think he really likes where he is," Roenicke said. "He really likes the guys on this club that he deals with, [who are] in his world. That makes a big difference to Zack. ... As long as he's happy and progressing the way he is, we look for him to have another great year."


Let's hope this doesn't become a distraction
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2012, 03:34:07 PM »
I get to spend the next few days going to some spring training games, including a trip up to Vegas.

I know, you're jealous

Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2012, 05:26:59 PM »
I get to spend the next few days going to some spring training games, including a trip up to Vegas.

I know, you're jealous

Right you are don.  My daughter is flying out to AZ tomorrow to spend a long weekend with some school day chums and plan on attending the Drop Kick Murphys concert.........on St Paddy's Day mind you so I told her to bring bail money.

Oh yeah, btw, her friend is also taking her to a Brewers game as well....................that little minx.
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 06:26:35 PM »
Right you are don.  My daughter is flying out to AZ tomorrow to spend a long weekend with some school day chums and plan on attending the Drop Kick Murphys concert.........on St Paddy's Day mind you so I told her to bring bail money.

Oh yeah, btw, her friend is also taking her to a Brewers game as well....................that little minx.

Yep, Arizona is a wonderful place this time of year. And I'm sure she'll torture you with game updates and pictures.

Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2012, 08:40:47 PM »
Yep, Arizona is a wonderful place this time of year. And I'm sure she'll torture you with game updates and pictures.


HAHA, let's hope so.
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2012, 12:39:12 AM »

HAHA, let's hope so.

I guess there's a lot worse things she could be doing on Spring break

Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2012, 11:04:54 AM »
Well,  I hope this board will heat up soon.
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Re: NL Central
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2012, 11:10:35 AM »
Not a whole lot to say right now.  We have all seen enough spring trainings to know the results don't say much.  The rosters are all pretty much locked in.  No real major injuries.
If anything, the spring has reinforced my thoughts going in -- the World still thinks the Brewers cannot compete without Fielder, the Cards are old and gimpy, the Reds can't pitch.

Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2012, 12:32:05 PM »

PROJECTED ROTATION:

1. RHP Yovani Gallardo

2. RHP Zack Greinke

3. RHP Shaun Marcum

4. LHP Randy Wolf

5. LHP Chris Narveson

With all five starters returning from 2011, the Brewers are in fantastic shape entering camp. Each pitcher recorded double figures in victories last season, so their jobs are secure barring health issues.

RHP Marco Estrada proved to be a valuable swing man last year, filling in capably when Greinke and Narveson went down because of injuries. Estrada is expected to fill that role again this season, and should further depth be necessary, the Brewers will look to two prospects, RHPs Wily Peralta and Michael Fiers.

PROJECTED BULLPEN:

RHP John Axford (closer)

RHP Francisco Rodriguez

RHP Jose Veras

RHP Kameron Loe

RHP Marco Estrada

LHP Manny Parra

Not many teams have two accomplished closers at the back of their bullpen. Rodriguez complained about not getting closing chances after coming from the Mets last season, but accepted the Brewers' salary arbitration offer afterward, so he knows his role will not change.

Veras and Loe probably will share seventh inning duties. Estrada provides middle relief when necessary as well as spot starts, making him a valuable pitcher on the staff. Parra is expected to battle with LHP Zach Braddock to give something the Brewers didn't have for most of the second half of 2011, a left-hander in the bullpen.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

1. RF Corey Hart

2. CF Nyjer Morgan

3. LF Ryan Braun

4. 3B Aramis Ramirez

5. 2B Rickie Weeks

6. 1B Mat Gamel

7. SS Alex Gonzalez

8. C Jonathan Lucroy

Weeks has been a leadoff hitter much of his career, but will be counted on for run production now that 1B Prince Fielder is gone. The Brewers expect Ramirez to make up for some of that lost production and believe Gamel is ready to prove he can be a regular player in the majors.



Not too bad
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2012, 06:42:17 AM »
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki upstaged fellow Japanese newcomer Yu Darvish on Monday afternoon.

Aoki had three hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs Monday as the Brewers rallied past the Texas Rangers 5-3.

Aoki hit an RBI single in the second off Darvish, then tied the game at 3 in the sixth when he tripled to score Alex Gonzalez and George Kottaras. Aoki came home on Cesar Izturis' squeeze bunt.

Coming in, Aoki had been 4 for 28 during spring training.

"He needed to have that game just so he could get back on track," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I know he's been pressing and has been trying to do well for us. This has to make him feel good."

Roenicke told Aoki last week not to put too much pressure on himself.

"It's just an honor to have a conversation with him," Aoki said through an interpreter. "Playing in a different environment it helped me relax and calm down."

Making his third start, Darvish allowed one hit and three walks in four innings with four strikeouts and a hit batter.

Aoki and the Brewers were able to capitalize on Darvish's inconsistency.

Travis Ishikawa led off the second with a walk, and Darvish hit Jonathan Lucroy in the back with a fastball that appeared to slip out of his hand. Aoki, who said he was 0 for 4 against Darvish in Japan, followed with a single that pulled the Brewers to 2-1.

Aoki singled again in the fifth, and he tripled in the sixth against Joe Nathan.

"He's a great hitter," Darvish said through an interpreter. "He's always been a great hitter. The Brewers have a lot of tough hittersm and he seems to be just like one of them."

Darvish, who retired the side in order in the first and third, walked a pair of hitters in the fourth. He escaped trouble when he induced Lucroy into an broken-bat, inning-ending double play on a two-seam fastball inside.

"A few weeks ago, I couldn't even throw that for a strike," Darvish said. "Today, throwing that pitch in that situation and getting a ground ball when I needed one was a relief."

Fastball command remained an issue for Darvish, who threw only 39 of 70 pitches for strikes.

"Every spring I'm usually not sharp," Darvish said. "I think my situation right now at this time, I don't see much difference from previous springs. The way my body's working and my delivery, I'm not able to repeat right now. These are the things I'm going to work on polishing."

Rickie Weeks struck out twice against Darvish.

"I'm not the guy to talk to for all this praise, but he's a great pitcher," Weeks said.

Darvish is slated to pitch in an intrasquad game Sunday rather than travel to Tempe to face the Los Angeles Angels.

Brewers starter Randy Wolf gave up three runs, 10 hits and two walks in five innings with four strikeouts.

Elvis Andrus had three hits, including two off Wolf. Kentrail Davis homered for Milwaukee.
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2012, 01:45:44 PM »
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mr. Baseball is getting a statue outside Miller Park, begging the question: What the heck took so long?

"I didn't have enough for the down payment," Bob Uecker said.

The 77-year-old Brewers broadcaster, star of television and film and all-around funnyman, will be immortalized in bronze on Aug. 31. He'll stand on Miller Park's home plate plaza alongside the three other members of the Mount Rushmore of Milwaukee baseball: Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and MLB Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig.
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Uecker will be depicted casually, with his hands in his pockets, just like the thousands of times he's stood around the Brewers' batting cage since taking a broadcasting job with the team in 1972. Selig moved Uecker from the scouting apartment to the booth, the story goes, because Uecker's reports arrived covered in mashed potatoes and gravy.

Forty years later, the light-hitting catcher-turned-broadcaster-turned actor is a baseball icon.

"It's going to be there forever and ever," Uecker said.

Seriously, it's a huge honor.

"My family, my friends, are all excited about it," Uecker said. "I'm honored, and I'm pleased with it. I thank the whole organization. [Principal owner] Mark Attanasio. The players. Who are we as broadcasters without the guys who make the game to call and make the games exciting? I hope the fans have enjoyed listening as much as I've enjoyed doing the games.

"I don't think I've ever gone to the park where I've had a bad day."

He paused.

"Discounting playing," Uecker added. "A lot of bad days there."

So much for a moment of seriousness amid Uecker's usual deadpan. Asked how they would keep pigeons away, he said, "We're going to invite pigeons. We are. That's the other enhancement, I'm holding a stand. It's a feeder-type thing."

Before a Brewers spokesperson arrived to tell the straight story, Uecker was asked what the statue will look like.

"Kind of a Schwarzenegger-type thing," he said. "Beefcake. Speedos. Pretty buffed. It's really enhanced. I've seen pictures of the finished product, and, yes, I'm very pleased, as a matter of a fact. It's drawing a lot of attention. More than that swimsuit issue."

Uecker was referring to a 2008 Sports Illustrated photo, in which he appeared to the side wearing a skimpy swimsuit. He has since dubbed it, "My swimsuit issue."

Chalk it up among Uecker's accolades.

Born in Milwaukee in 1935, Uecker signed with his hometown Braves in 1956 and made his Major League debut in '62, the first of his six seasons in the big leagues with the Braves, Phillies and Cardinals. The '64 Cardinals won the World Series, but Uecker didn't appear in that postseason. The trainer, he jokes, injected him with hepatitis to help the Cardinals' chances.

Uecker's big break came in 1969, when he appeared on stage in Atlanta with jazz trumpeter Al Hirt, who later arranged for Uecker to make the first of some 100 appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. Those appearances led to other television gigs, including turns hosting "Saturday Night Live" and "Wrestlemania," two syndicated talk shows and a role on "Mr. Belvedere," a sitcom that spanned 122 episodes.

He also appeared in a popular series of Miller Lite commercials, never quite able to make it to the front row. In 1989 he starred as Indians radio voice Harry Doyle in the film "Major League," Uecker's best-known role.

Put all together, Uecker is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2003 Ford C. Frick Award Winner, in the Brewers' Walk of Fame, the Radio Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame and the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. An avid bratwurst enthusiast, he's also in the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

On April 17, Uecker will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

Not bad for a guy with a .200 lifetime batting average.

"The joy that Bob has brought to us over the years is priceless, and with 2012 being the 50th anniversary of his first Major League game, there's no better time than now to celebrate his achievements," Attanasio said in a statement. "Bob represents everything that is good about Milwaukee and Wisconsin. He is an iconic figure for the franchise, and his passion for the Brewers is second to none.

"Bob is a national treasure who calls Wisconsin home. I'm proud to have him as a great friend. I couldn't be happier to add this statue to his legacy." Uecker's statue is being designed and produced by Brian Maughan, who, with Douglas Kwart, also created the Aaron, Selig and Yount statues. As fans approach Miller Park, they will see from right to left, Uecker, Aaron, Yount and Selig.

The Brewers have been planning Uecker's statue for more than a year. Uecker was measured at "Brewers On Deck" in January 2010, a year that turned tumultuous. He underwent two very serious heart surgeries and missed a significant number of games for the first time in 19 years.

But on the day he was measured, Uecker was in good spirits. He told the sculptor to send his measurements to the Schramka Funeral Home in Milwaukee, "'cause I'm not doing this again."

He kids, he kids.

"When you realize that something is going to be there as long as Solomon Juneau," said Uecker, referring to a Milwaukee founder whose statue rises 15 feet on bluff at the city's lakefront, "it's a pretty neat thing."


It's about time if you ask me.  Congrats Uke
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2012, 08:40:23 PM »
Now's the point in the spring where I just wish real games would start. I wanna see Dempster face Strasburg on opening day already

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2012, 09:15:37 PM »
Now's the point in the spring where I just wish real games would start. I wanna see Dempster face Strasburg on opening day already
rofl  It's almost here !
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2012, 05:45:29 AM »
Now's the point in the spring where I just wish real games would start. I wanna see Dempster face Strasburg on opening day already


That should be a great match up.  Personally, I am looking forward to Gallardo vs Wainwright
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2012, 02:15:31 PM »
Now's the point in the spring where I just wish real games would start. I wanna see Dempster face Strasburg on opening day already


That should be a great match up.  Personally, I am looking forward to Gallardo vs Wainwright

I thought the Cardinals had announced Kyle Loshe as their opening day starter?

Offline kburjr

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2012, 02:49:54 AM »
Cards are playing Miami Opening Day I believe
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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #45 on: March 26, 2012, 05:56:06 AM »
I thought the Cardinals had announced Kyle Loshe as their opening day starter?

I hadn't heard that.  I assumed (wrong I know) that with Waino returning from TJS, it would be a toss up between him and Carpenter.  With the latest news that Carpenter is shelved indefinitely, for now at least, it would come down to Waino.

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Offline packerzrule

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #46 on: March 26, 2012, 05:56:58 AM »
Cards are playing Miami Opening Day I believe

If that is the case, there's going to be around 44K pissed off Brewers fans  :)
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donbedouin

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #47 on: March 26, 2012, 01:34:42 PM »
I hadn't heard that.  I assumed (wrong I know) that with Waino returning from TJS, it would be a toss up between him and Carpenter.  With the latest news that Carpenter is shelved indefinitely, for now at least, it would come down to Waino.

Apparently they haven't named a starter, I had just read speculation that it could be Loshe

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Re: NL Central
« Reply #48 on: March 26, 2012, 02:03:28 PM »
Apparently they haven't named a starter, I had just read speculation that it could be Loshe

No matter.  I look for the Brewers to roll through that series..........................least that is what I hope.
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Re: NL Central
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2012, 07:07:26 PM »
And one of the worst parts is that tonight's(?) game is just going to wet my pallet. And yes, me and my roommate from Seattle are getting up to watch the game at 3 am.