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The Most Despised Milwaukee Brewers of All Time - The Final Four!

by Tim Muma                                              3/29/2015
                                2:30pm


In the afterglow of the Wisconsin Badgers second straight trip to the Final Four, another group of Wisconsin-related individuals have made it to their own Final Four.

The Final Four of the Most Despised Milwaukee Brewers bracket!

For those unaware of the what happens from here, the "winner" of the tournament will be entered into the Brewers Hall of Shame with the original inductee: Gary Sheffield.

The other three who have reached the Final Four will join the Walk of Dishonor alongside Johnny Estrada, Ned Yost and Eric Gagne.

Furthermore, anyone who has appeared in the Final Four of the bracket is no longer eligible to appear in future Most Despised Brewers tournaments.

Without further ado, below you will see the results from the Elite 8 contests and the ensuing Final Four matchups, along with the updated tournament bracket and how to vote!


Elite 8 Results

Gagne Region

(5) Lopes over (3) Turnbow;  58%
Like Ned Yost in the first tournament, Lopes is the only manager to make the Final Four. His "sunny" disposition and old-school stubbornness put him over the top, as his decision-making at the helm was a consistent strength. Turnbow certainly still had some zip on his fastball, but the inability to finish off the game haunted him once more.


Yost Region

(1) Suppan over (7) Meyer;  87%
With Yost in the stands telling people how great Soup is playing, the Kentucky of the bracket had a much easier time than the real Wildcats. We hear complaints all the time about Suppan, but can he finish off what would amount to a perfect season? He's supposedly a great postseason pitcher, you know.


Sheffield Region

(2) Selig-Prieb over (1) Bando;  50%
A first in tournament history as the two combatants split 642 votes right down the middle. In overtime, Selig-Prieb outscored Bando 26-21 for the win. She had just enough offensive prowess in taking down the franchise - and Bando. Selig-Prieb is the first non-manager or player to make the Final Four.


Estrada Region

(1) Hammonds over (2) Betancourt;  52%
Another incredibly close battle, but Hammonds' higher payroll and hype machine was just enough to outlast Yuni being Yuni. Money talks with Wisconsin fans - especially wasted money. Some questioned the committees' selection of Hammonds as a top seed, but his performance throughout the tourney has vindicating the decision.



Full Tournament Field - Final 4




Here we go! Voting for in the Final Four will go through Tuesday, March 31 at 10pm (CT). You can vote in a number of different ways to get your least favorite into the Championship Game:

Twitter:  Tweet me your votes @Tim_Muma
Email:    Send your votes to brewersblend@gmail.com
Facebook: Message me at www.facebook.com/Tim.J.Muma or post on The Miller Park Monsters
Comments: Use the comments section below each article to vote



The Most Despised Brewers of All Time
Final Four (2015)


#1 Jeffrey Scot Suppan vs.
#5 David Earl Lopes





                   vs.







#1 Jeffrey Bryan Hammonds vs.
#2 Wendy Selig-Prieb




                  vs.

Against Righties, Aramis Ramirez Should Bat Seventh for the Milwaukee Brewers

by Tim Muma                                                            3/26/2015
                                               12:30pm


If we were to set aside the ideas of seniority and veteran preference, it stands to reason that the 36-year-old third baseman should bat in the bottom third of the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup.

Andy Lyons, Getty Images
At last check, manager Ron Roenicke indicated he still saw Aramis Ramirez as the cleanup hitter on the club - or at worst - batting 5th if they felt Carlos Gomez was the better option to hit 4th.

Perhaps against left-handed starters this can still work, but with the majority of their games opposing righties, it doesn't make much sense.


Ramirez has seen his power decline steadily the past two seasons, down to a .427 slugging percentage last season with 15 HR and 23 doubles. He wasn't completely void of power, but he finished 35th in the National League in SLG and OPS (.757) in 2014.

Considering his age, declining power, propensity for injury and the need for extra days off, there are better options to bat in front of Ramirez - not only 4th and 5th, but even in the 6-spot in the order.

Regardless if Roenicke tabs Gomez or Scooter Gennett as the leadoff hitter, against right-handed starters, they both deserve spots in front of Ramirez. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun are obvious choices ahead of him, and newcomer Adam Lind destroys righties like few others.

Roy Dabner for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Again, focusing only on the lineup facing right-handers, let's look at the last three seasons to get a handle on why Ramirez shouldn't be getting more at-bats than most of the other guys.

One stat to look at is weighted on-base percentage (wOBA). This uses a formula to properly value different types of hits (e.g. doubles, home runs) and general on-base skills in a "catch all" statistic.


*The general standard for wOBA is that .320 is average, .340 is above average and .370 is great.


2012-2014 vs. RHP (wOBA)

1) Adam Lind - .388
2) Scooter Gennett - .366
3) Ryan Braun - .358
4) Jonathan Lucroy - .351
5) Carlos Gomez - .351
6) Aramis Ramirez - .343
7) Khris Davis - .342
8) Jean Segura - .303

Only Khris Davis and Jean Segura have a lower wOBA, and I'm betting on Davis having an even better season in 2015, while there is concern with Ramirez's continued decline. If we take a look at OPS, the rankings are similar.

2012-2014 vs. RHP (OPS)

1) Adam Lind - .895
2) Scooter Gennett - .846
3) Ryan Braun - .833
4) Carlos Gomez - .804
5) Jonathan Lucroy - .802
6) Aramis Ramirez - .783
7) Khris Davis - .782
8) Jean Segura - .691

The numbers here speak loudly as well.

And if we're looking at power, which is what the middle of the order is for, only Segura has a lower slugging percentage than Ramirez the last three years against righties. Davis, who is neck and neck with Ramirez in wOBA and OPS, sits 31 points higher in slugging than Ramirez.

Last season, amidst his injuries and general struggles, Ramirez said he's willing to hit down in the lineup if it's best for the team.

Getty Images
This can be a difficult conversation to have with a respected veteran who has been a great hitter for nearly two decades, but in the end, he may fit best in the 7-hole against right-handed starters on this club.

If Roenicke goes with Gomez as the leadoff man, I could then see the argument that Gennett drops to 7th, but if you trust the numbers against righties, that seems foolish.

If Roenicke likes Gennett in the top spot, it gets even tougher to justify Ramirez in the middle.

With Opening Day quickly approaching, Roenicke has a few tough calls to make; however, it's comforting to know that regardless of where guys hit in the order, there is some serious offensive firepower if they can just stay healthy.

Most Despised Brewers of All Time - Elite 8

by Tim Muma                                                        3/25/2015
                                           12:30pm


Just eight competitors remain in the second Most Despised Brewers tournament. One more victory gets a special group into the Final Four, etched in history amongst the most disliked individuals in club history.

The Sweet 16 had a little bit of everything, including the first number one seed to fall, a second two-seed biting the dust, and a surprising underdog continuing to battle.

You can check out the voting results of the Sweet 16 matchups below, as well as the Elite 8 contests you can now vote on. The fully updated brackets can also be viewed midway down the article (click image to enlarge).

Voting for the Elite 8 matchups will go through Saturday, March 28th at 12pm (CT) as we will set the Final Four!  Once again, you can vote in a number of different ways:

Twitter:  Tweet me your votes @Tim_Muma
Email:    Send your votes to brewersblend@gmail.com
Facebook: Message me at www.facebook.com/Tim.J.Muma or post on The Miller Park Monsters
Comments: Use the comments section below each article to vote



Sweet 16 Results

Eric Gagne Region

(5) Lopes over (1) Parra; 54%
As was the norm, Parra fails to live up to expectations here as the first 1-seed to fall in the tourney. Lopes will try to follow in Ned Yost's footsteps as a manager in the Final Four.

(3) Turnbow over (2) Surhoff; 56%
And the 2-seed also goes down in the region with Turnbow's short-lived, rock star success leading to a harder, more memorable crash. Surhoff just didn't have the juice as the tourney went on.


Ned Yost Region

(1) Suppan over (4) Weeks; 78%
Another strong performance from the tourney favorite as many fans continue to express their pure disdain for the former Cardinal. Compared to 'Soup,' Weeks had too many positive qualities.

(7) Meyer over (3) Quevedo; 52%
Unlike in his professional career, Meyer continues to outperform his projections with a nail-biting win. Meyer overpowered Quevedo late and forced him to run the floor - not exactly his thing.


Gary Sheffield Region

(1) Bando over (5) Marcum; 86%
This one was over early as Bando's region has left him largely unchallenged. Of course, with the resume he has, Bando would be a strong play anywhere. He'll meet a familiar face in the Elite 8.

(2) Selig-Prieb over (3) Carr; 62%
Many lamented that Carr had to face such a tough battle in the Sweet 16, as they would've liked to see him go further. Selig-Prieb simply brings too much to the table each time out.


Johnny Estrada Region

(1) Hammonds over (4) Stubbs; 52%
Hammonds hangs on late despite suffering numerous injuries throughout the contest. Stubbs simply couldn't hit anything or hang onto the ball. You could say Hammonds stole one from the fans (again).

(2) Betancourt over (11) Sanchez; 66%
The Cinderella story ends here for Sanchez. Yuni B's "unique" skill set and mentality is tough to decipher, making him as strong a favorite as anyone left in the tournament.



Full Tournament Field - Elite 8





Elite 8 Matchups


Gagne Region:  #3 Derrick Turnbow vs. #5 Davey Lopes

This one could go either way with both guys pulling off Sweet 16 upsets, having not really been considered challengers for the title.

They each lost their jobs early in their final season in Milwaukee, and depending on what you expected from each of them, it could sway the vote. Both personalities were "interesting" and it may come down to the intangibles when picking the winner







Jim Rogash, Getty Images
Yost Region:  #1 Jeff Suppan vs. #7 Joey Meyer

In the words of Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again." In the first version of The Most Despised Brewers tournament (2013), Suppan squared off against the 7-seed in the Elite 8.

He fell to Johnny Estrada that day, who went on to lose the Championship Game to Gary Sheffield. Can Meyer bring the same magic and knock off big, bad Jeff Suppan? Experts are skeptical and see Suppan in a rout.




Sheffield Region:  #1 Sal Bando vs. #2 Wendy Selig-Prieb

Both were in positions of power during the franchise's worst era of baseball, and they left an ugly mark in their wake.

Selig-Prieb had more power as CEO, and while she didn't hire Bando, she kept him in charge for seven years and played a large role in many payroll decisions. Bando was in charge of the baseball side, destroying the farm system and making countless questionable choices. Quite the battle for a Final Four berth.






Estrada Region:  #1 Jeffrey Hammonds vs. #2 Yuniesky Betancourt

In a rare occurrence, the Vegas odds-makers have installed Betancourt as the favorite, despite going up against a number one seed.

There could be a strong recency bias in this matchup, with the Yuni B. wounds still fresh. At the same time, Hammonds delivered next to nothing and cost tons more, while Yuni B. was on a playoff team and was relatively cheap. Tough call.






Once again, voting for the Elite 8 matchups will go through Saturday, March 28th at 12pm (CT) as we will set the Final Four!  You have multiple options to vote your "favorites" into the Final Four:

Twitter:  Tweet me your votes @Tim_Muma
Email:    Send your votes to brewersblend@gmail.com
Facebook: Message me at www.facebook.com/Tim.J.Muma or post on The Miller Park Monsters
Comments: Use the comments section below each article to vote

Milwaukee Brewers' Schedule Offers Challenges to Start and Finish the Season

by Tim Muma                                                3/23/2015
                                   12:45pm


Greg Giesen, Racine Journal Times
Looking ahead at a team's schedule can often be an overrated and irrelevant activity. Especially when "experts" talk about the toughest schedules, there are a lot of assumptions being made regarding the quality of the opponents from one year to the next.

A couple of distinct parts of the schedule that always stand out are the distribution of division games and long road trips. While there's little that can be done to counteract the effects of the schedule, these areas can play a huge role in the success or failure of a club.


The 2015 Milwaukee Brewers will see both of these factors impacting their playoff run.

The start of the season has the potential to bury them in the National League Central or see them looking down at everyone for the second straight year - at least in the beginning.

Following the Brewers' opening series against the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee battles the rest of the NL Central for 22 consecutive contests (12 road, 10 home) from April 10 - May 3.

7 vs. Cincinnati
6 vs. Pittsburgh
6 vs. St. Louis - Includes Cardinals' Home Opener
3 vs. Chicago

Over the past five years, the NL Central champ has also owned the best division record that season. The last time the Brewers even had a winning record against their rivals came in 2011, the last time they took the crown.

Mike McGinnis, Getty Images
Though some (e.g. Ron Roenicke) would argue that all the games count the same, it's quite obvious the intra-division competitions have greater value. Technically, a win is a win; however, if Milwaukee beats St. Louis on a given night, it's an automatic two-game swing in the standings.

As we've seen the past three years, for example, losing games within the division is a good way to finish out of the playoff picture.


In 2013 and 2014, the Brewers were a combined 12-26 versus the Cardinals, who won the Central. Back in 2012 the Reds were on top and Milwaukee lost six of nine to Cincy that year.

Last season was also a great reminder that you can't win a division in April, so a quality start against the division won't guarantee anything. At the same time, sitting in the basement early can make a climb to the top improbable - especially in the best division in baseball.

But like 2014, it's the ending that may be the hardest part if the Crew finds itself in a playoff push.

The end of the campaign doesn't have the same obvious pros to go along with the cons. The Brewers won't see much of Miller Park as they're forced to be road warriors with the daily grind at its worst. Sure, their final series will be in front of the home faithful, but that could be too late given the four weeks leading up to it.
Mike McGinnis, Getty Images

From September 4 - October 1, a span of 28 days, Milwaukee will be the visitor 20 times and home for just six. Two 10-game road trips, each to three cities, puts the Brewers in an extremely tough spot as they potentially fight for a postseason berth.

In-between the pair of traveling periods, Milwaukee gets a solitary six-game homestand against the Cardinals and Reds.

The second 10-game roadie concludes with a 5:40pm (CT) start time in San Diego before they head back to Wisconsin without an off-day.

Speaking of off-days, the Brewers get only a couple over the final 34 dates. The depth of the bullpen, including arms in the minors, will certainly be tested in that time.

As mentioned earlier, nothing above guarantees anything, but it's worth noting and keeping an eye on throughout the long season.

Elise Amendola, Associated Press
The Brewers could finish their early slate with a 7-18 record and a room at the bottom of the division. They could then flip the script from 2014, go on a torrid late-season run, and welcome last 20 road tilts with a 15-5 mark en route an NL Central title.

How much do you think the schedule matters when you're playing 162 games? At worst, we might find out the actual impact of divisional games and long, late road trips when the 2015 schedule closes.

Brewers Mix blog featured writers Tim Muma, John Linn
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