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Old 07-13-2019, 06:48 AM   #361
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August 3-5, 1973, at San Francisco

The Brewers head out on the road for a 10-game trip starting in San Francisco against the last place Velocity.

In game 1, in admittedly a great pitchers park, a great pitcher, Cheol-han Lee displays his dominance in a complete game, 1-hit shutout. Cheol-han struck out 6 and walked 1 as he improves to 14-5 with a 2.78 ERA in the Brewers 6-0 win. If he keeps pitching like this he just might get that 4th Pitcher of the Year award. Ryan Rodgers (.337/.448/.444) had a 3 for 5, 3 runs scored game. Pat Rondeau (.367/.392/.466) continues to lead the league in batting average and went 2 for 4 while picking up his 21st stolen base (he has been caught stealing 7 times.)
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One bad inning doomed Erik Sloan and the Brewers in the second game of the series. With a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, Sloan then gave up 3 runs and the Velocity held on for a 3-2 win. Sloan drops to 10-7 with a 3.59 ERA. Josh Schaeffer (.333/.424/.506) was 2 for 4 in the loss and threw out a runner at 3rd base, his 3rd outfield assist in the 46 games he has played in right field this season.
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Another winning performance by Harry Lyerly and some good run support gets the Brewers the series win as they take the rubber match by a score of 8-1. The only run allowed by Lyerly was a 2nd inning HR off the bat of veteran Velocity left fielder Danny Sanchez. In 7 1/3rd innings pitched, Harry gives up just 4 hits while walking 5 and recording just one strikeout. He improves to 10-4 with a 2.89 ERA. Backup catcher Spencer Wilson (.227/.312/.351) helps pace the offense with a 2 for 4, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 2 double (11) game. Jonathan Koch (.313/.333/.468) went 2 for 4 and hit his 23rd double of the season. Joe McPhillips (.292/.352/.415), in his first start since returning from the IL and a rehab assignment, went 2 for 5.
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With the series victory things remain status quo in the MGL- Brooklyn still in 1st place, the Brewers 1 game back and L.A. trailing by 2 1/2 in 3rd place. The 4th place Phoenix Speed Devils have now fallen to 6 1/2 games off the pace.

Last edited by BirdWatcher; 07-13-2019 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #362
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Lineup construction and the Denver Brewers

I find myself thinking about the order of the Brewers lineup especially with the return to the active roster of Joe McPhillips.

So let's take a look at some factors and questions regarding this.

First of all, the obvious truth that is a complicating factor for the Brewers lineup is the lack of a true cleanup hitter. Thus far in the 1973 season the player who has most often filled this role is Bobby Erbakan. And he has done a good job with a slash line of .371/.426/.506 when hitting cleanup. But recent indications from the Brewers scouting staff are that they believe he has reached his maximum potential in terms of home run power. Where once it was hoped that the 21 HR's he hit in 1971 were just a hint of greater power in the future it is now felt that this likely represents his ceiling. In an average year it is expected that Erbakan could hit 15-20 HR's, but probably not much more than that. In the future the cleanup could be Joe McPhillips spot to lose. While he is still hardly the prototypical cleanup hitter he is thought to have the best power potential of any current Brewers player. Again, on most teams McPhillips might likely profile best as a #3 hitter or even possibly #2 or a leadoff hitter with some pop, given his speed and great on-base abilities.

The fact is that Erbakan, like several hitters in the Brewers lineup, profiles best as a #3 hitter. But at the moment that spot mostly belongs to veteran superstar Ryan Rodgers. And Rodgers is having another good season at the plate. In his 324 plate appearances in the #3 slot he has hit .329/.448/.438. Obviously one of Rodgers great strengths is his ability to get on base, both with the base hit and the walk. But while he still hits a good deal of extra base hits (he is on pace for 32 doubles and 6 triples this season) he will rarely hit a ball over the fence and has yet to hit a home run this season. In some ways one might see him as being more suited to leading off or hitting 2nd, but the problem there is that while he still has decent speed he is a very poor base runner. Also, Rodgers is quite prone to hitting into the double play.

Pat Rondeau on the other hand has great speed and rarely gets doubled up. He is having a career year at age 30 and is a free agent at the end of the season and all indications are that the Brewers will let him seek his fortune elsewhere (though with mixed emotions.) This year Rondeau, in 287 plate appearances hitting out of the #2 spot, has hit .386/.408/.498. Rondeau, like Rodgers, has very little over the fence power, though he has hit 1 homer this season. But also like Rodgers, he is on pace for 32 doubles. He also is on pace for 9 triples and 30 stolen bases.

But why isn't Rondeau hitting leadoff? He has done so a bit, with 93 plate appearances in that role. And while the sample size is small, he hasn't hit as well in the leadoff slot (.284/.312/.341). But probably the biggest reason is that there is no obvious replacement for him at #2. The player most likely to take over these duties next season in Rondeau's almost sure absence is right fielder Josh Schaeffer. While Schaeffer does not possess Rondeau's elite speed- in fact the recent reports from our scouting staff indicate that his pure speed is less than earlier believed- he is a very good base stealer and an above average base runner. And he is far more likely than Rondeau to get on base via the walk. Schaeffer has also shown himself to be a good contact hitter and it is now felt that he has more HR power potential than earlier predicted. There are some concerns about his handedness splits and that is an issue we will discuss a bit more about the team in general below.

So who hits leadoff? At this time that has mostly fallen to shortstop Chad Brown. While Brown has elite speed and base-stealing/base-running abilities and is a good contact hitter, his on base skills are mediocre due to an inability to draw walks. In a traditional lineup Brown might profile best in the second slot in the lineup and in a more modern, sabermetric lineup he might be a better #7 guy. And in fact, with Brown's continued second half struggles at the plate there are thoughts of moving him down to #7 but the question remains, who then leads off?

Let's move back down the lineup a bit now. Jonathan Koch has done a nice job from the 5 spot this season as in his 158 plate appearances there he has gone .322/.335/.514, hitting 6 of his team-leading 12 HR's. Although he does lead the team in round trippers he really isn't likely to ever be a cleanup hitter. He has occasionally hit higher in the order- mostly 2nd- but although he is a good contact hitter with some pop and the speed to get infield hits and avoid double plays a bit, his lack of plate patience and proneness to strikeouts leave him more suited to a spot closer to the bottom of the order.

Andrew Kennedy has appeared in many positions in the lineup but the one he has held most often, and most successfully, is the #6 slot. Interestingly, this is where the left-handed hitting Kennedy is most likely to reside when the starting pitcher is left-handed. But more about that below. Kennedy has also hit quite well in the #2 slot but his lack of speed is somewhat of a hindrance there. Mike Foster has also hit in the #6 slot quite a bit and in his 51 plate appearances there he has gone .327/.333/.347. He has more often hit at #7, which wouldn't seem ideal for the very slow Foster, but in his 231 plate appearances there he has gone .289/.328/.431 and come up with some big hits.

The number 8 slot has pretty much always been reserved for one of the Brewers catchers. And that is almost sure to remain true for the foreseeable future. But here is perhaps where we should begin our discussion about handedness splits. I didn't even realize until I started to research this today that starting catcher Kevin Curtis has gone .321/.464/.505 against left handed pitchers and just .151/.230/.183 against right-handers in nearly the same number of plate appearances. Backup Spencer Wilson has hit almost exclusively against right handers and gone .234/.323/.366 against them. Although the 3-time Gold Glover Curtis clearly has great value beyond his bat, it appears we might need to consider getting Wilson into more games where we are facing right handed pitchers.

So here is the interesting thing about the Brewers and handedness- we almost always have much worse win-loss records when we face left-handed starters. Although this isn't as strongly true this year, it is still somewhat true. And while it might make some sense since some of our best hitters- Pat Rondeau and Andrew Kennedy- are left-handed the reality is that they both fare pretty well against same-handed pitchers. In fact, Andrew Kennedy this year has feasted on left-handed pitching to the tune of .357/.382/.520 while hitting .335/.388/.460 against right handed pitchers. And while Rondeau has been out of the world good against right handers (.378/.402/.481) he has been very respectable against lefties (.337/.364/.421). Now granted, a few of the younger left-handed hitters on the team- in particular Josh Schaeffer and Joe McPhillips- see pretty significant drops in production against same-sided pitchers. But also a factor is that right handed middle of the order force Ryan Rodgers has hit much better against right-handed pitchers (.357/.455/.468) than left-handed ones (.295/.429/.393.) Jonathan Koch has been fairly consistent no matter the handedness of the pitcher and Mike Foster, another right-handed hitter, has actually hit for a better batting average against righties though he has hit for more power against lefties. On the other hand, switch-hitting Chad Brown hits better from the right side and therefore fares better with lefties on the mound (.315/.337/.407) than righties (.279/.304/.334).

So, to sum up, the Brewers have a lot of guys who would be good #3 hitters (Erbakan, Rodgers, McPhillips, Kennedy, possibly even Schaeffer), almost nobody who is really suited to cleanup, and not a very clear cut option at leadoff either. We've been using slower players with decent contact and some power at #7, which isn't really ideal. And we've been using a leadoff hitter who isn't really all that good at getting on base, especially against right handed pitchers. Though he is very good once he does get on base. As good as the Brewers offense has been this year, it could be argued that a bit better lineup construction could make it even better. Though some of the challenges there have to do with the nature of the talent on the team and also the loss of players like McPhillips to injury.

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Old 07-13-2019, 07:13 PM   #363
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August 6-8, 1973, at Oklahoma City

The Brewers then have a scheduled 3-game series in Oklahoma City against the 6th place Diamond Kings.

In game 1 the Brewers drop a tight 2-1 affair. The Brewers had plenty of opportunities to score more than 1 run. But they opted not to take those opportunities. Which wasn't a very friendly thing to do to poor Justin Peacock, the starting pitcher, who allowed just 2 runs on 7 hits in 7 1/3rd innings pitched, striking out 6 and walking 2. The young man deserved better. In taking the loss he falls to 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA. Andrew Kennedy (.341/.387/.461) stayed hot, going 2 for 3 with 1 walk in the loss.
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Game 2 was largely a repeat of game 1. Brewers lose 2-1. Plenty of opportunities to score more- left 25 men on base. Another good start for Steve Green, again all for naught. Green worked 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on just 4 hits, striking out 6 and walking 5. With the loss he falls to 6-10 with a 4.18 ERA. Oscar Vargas (.246/.336/.325), giving Chad Brown at breather at short, was 3 for 5 in the game and hit his 4th double. Steve Green even tried to do his part to get some more runs, hitting his 4th double and driving in the lone Brewer run in the game. Mike Foster (.283/.318/.388) only went 1 for 4 but the 1 was his 10th double of the season.
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The Brewers did not lose 2-1 in the final game of the series. But only because the game was called off due to bad weather and will need to be rescheduled for later in the season.

With the 2 losses the Brewers are now in a virtual tie with the L.A. Spinners in 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:25 PM   #364
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August 9-12, 1973, at Portland

The Brewers head up to the Rose City to face the 9th place Portland Wild Things for a 4 game series.

In the opening game the Brewers fought back from a 4-1 deficit scoring 3 runs in the top of the 9th to tie the game, and then scoring a pair in the top of the 12th and surviving a rally in the bottom of the inning to get a 6-5 win. Cheol-han Lee pitched an effective 8 innings, allowing 4 runs, but only 2 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 4 and walking 2. Jordan Stephens pitched 2 scoreless innings, Justin Bismark gave up the 12th inning run on a solo HR but got the win (2-0, 1.35), and Jaden Francis worked out of a jam in the same inning to get his 1st save of 1973. Josh Schaeffer's (.324/.416/.500) 3-run HR in the 9th, his 6th bomb of the year, set the stage for the come from behind victory. (He also picked up his 5th stolen base.) Ryan Rodgers (.337/.448/.444) went 3 for 5 and scored 2 runs in the game.
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The Brewers come from behind again in game 2 for another 6-5 victory, but this time they didn't need extra innings. It was not a good start for Erik Sloan as he allowed 5 runs on 12 hits over 4 2/3rds innings. But the bullpen was lights out (Sam Pruiett, Jose de los Santos, and finally 2 innings from Jaden Francis for his 2nd save in as many days.) And Pat Rondeau (.374/.398/.470) continued his breakout season, going 4 for 5 and driving in 2 runs. Mike Foster (.286/.319/.387) contributed a 3 for 5 , 1 run scored game.
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In game 3 Harry Lyerly took a loss after 5 straight wins. Lyerly didn't pitch that poorly- allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on just 4 hits in his 7 innings, but he did walk 4 while striking out 2. He didn't get much run support as the Brewers lose 4-3 and Lyerly drops to 10-5 with a 2.94 ERA. Andrew Kennedy (.339/.386/.454) went 2 for 4, as did Jonathan Koch (.313/.332/.459), in the loss.
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The offense falls short again in the final game of the series and the Brewers have to settle for a series split against one of the weakest teams in the league. Justin Peacock gives up 4 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits allowed over 6 innings pitched and takes the loss (1-2, 3.90) in the 4-1 game. Pat Rondeau (.377/.400/.472), who simply cannot be stopped, collected half of the Brewers 6 hits. The lone run came on Andrew Kennedy's (.339/.385/.460) 6th HR of the season. The final score could have been more lopsided if not for Joe McPhillips gunning down two Wild Things runners at home plate from his position in center field.
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With the series split the Brewers drop to 3rd place, 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn and 1 game behind L.A.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:13 AM   #365
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August 15th (1973) Standings Update

Let's take a quick look at the standings in mid-August.
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As you can see, the Jacksonville Wolf Pack look like they are well on their way to cruising to a 4th SJL pennant. They have now stretched their lead to 12 games over the Boston Berserkers with the surging Washington Night Train sitting in 3rd place at 16 1/2 games out. As of a few days ago, the poor Pittsburgh Roadrunners were officially eliminated from contention this season.

In the MGL it more and more looks like a 3-team race between the Brooklyn Aces, the L.A. Spinners, and your Denver Brewers. Phoenix, playing uneven of late, have slid back down to 8 1/2 games out in 4th place and the Baltimore Lords, who got off to such a good start this year, are now sitting at .500 in 5th place, 11 games off the pace.

In the SJL, San Antonio's 22-year old left fielder Joe Brodeur is on pace for the 2nd batting triple crown in WPK history. The first was claimed by Jacksonville's star first baseman Jesus Casiano in 1970 when he led the league in batting average at .367, HR's with 46, and RBI with 152. The RBI total for Casiano is the all-time single season record in the WPK but Brodeur is on pace to exceed that by a good margin with 165.
As you can see, the Brewers' Pat Rondeau continues to lead all qualifiers in either league in batting average at a scorching hot .377.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:12 PM   #366
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Casiano gets 5-year extension from Wolf Pack

It looks like the Jacksonville Wolf Pack's star first baseman, Jesus Casiano, might end up spending his entire WPK playing career in a Jacksonville uniform.
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The first place Wolf Pack announced today that they had reached agreement on a 5-year extension with the 1970 SJL MVP and 7-time All-Star. This will take him through the 1978 season when he will be 36 years old. The feeling is that the club may have gotten a bit of hometown discount from the probable future Hall-of-Famer as at this point his 1974 salary would only make him the 13th highest paid player in the WPK.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:31 PM   #367
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August 14-16, 1973, versus San Francisco

The Brewers return home to Centennial Stadium and take on the last place San Francisco Velocity for a 3-game series.

In game 1 it appeared that the Denver batters were glad to be back home in the Mile High City. They exploded for 14 runs, scoring early and often, and got a fine pitching performance from Cheol-han Lee to take the opening game of the series 14-2. Cheol-han worked 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits. He improves to 15-5 with a 2.73 ERA. Backup catcher Spencer Wilson was one of many offensive heroes in the game. Wilson (.238/.326/.387) went 3 for 4, scored 4 runs and drove in 5 while hitting 2 HR's to get to 4 on the season. Mike Foster (.285/.322/393), coming on at the plate in the second half of the season, went 2 for 3, also scored 4 runs and hit his 7th HR of the season.
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The Brewers then dropped the middle game of the series by a 5-4 score. The Brewers staged a comeback rally in the 9th but it fell just short when Bobby Erbakan hit into a 2-out fielder's choice with runners on the corners. Erik Sloan got the start and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings pitched without a decision. Jose de los Santos was saddled with the loss and falls to 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA. Joe McPhillips (.287/.380/.460) went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI in the loss and hit his 2nd HR of the season.
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Denver bounced back in the rubber match to win the series. Steve Green pitched a mostly fine game, giving up 2 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings pitched and the Brewers won 6-2. With the victory Green improves to 7-10 with a 4.10 ERA. Jordan Stephens pitched the final 2 innings and earned his 7th save (2.54 ERA). Andrew Kennedy (.342/.387/.464) went 3 for 5 in the win, continuing his fine hitting against same handed (left handed) pitching.
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The Brewers remain in 3rd place, 2 games behind both the Brooklyn Aces and L.A. Spinners who are now tied for 1st place.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:35 AM   #368
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August 17-19, 1973, versus Oklahoma City

The Brewers then play host to the Oklahoma City Diamond Kings for 4 games (the opening game of the Friday doubleheader is a makeup game and though played in Denver the Diamond Kings are technically the home team.)

In game 1, the Brewers see Oklahoma City plate 5 men in the 1st inning off starter Matt Helm and though the Brewers try to battle back late in the game they fall short and lose 5-3. Helm only lasted 3 2/3rds innings, giving up 5 runs on 11 hits, and falls to 6-7 with a 4.11 ERA. Jonathan Koch (.311/.331/.464) went 1 for 4 in the game but hit his team-leading 13th HR and drove in a pair of runs.
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The nightcap also saw Koch go 1 for 4 with his 1 hit being his 14th HR, a 3rd inning 2-run shot that would prove to be all Harry Lyerly (with a little help from Jaden Francis) would need to get the win. Lyerly worked 8 innings, giving up 1 run on a solo HR and only 5 hits total, with 5 strikeouts and just a single walk. Lyerly improves to 11-5 with a 2.84 ERA. Jaden Francis pitched the 9th for his 3rd save (2.41 ERA.) Gold Glove catcher Kevin Curtis (.238/.348/.332) was 3 for 4 in the victory.
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The Diamond Kings jump out to an early 5-0 lead again in game 3 and though the Brewers battle back late they fall short and lose 7-6. Justin Peacock takes the loss, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits in 7 innings pitched, and falls to 1-3 with 4.86 ERA. Kevin Curtis (.238/.347/.342) went 1 for 4 but the 1 was his 6th HR. Andrew Kennedy (.340/.385/.459) went 2 for 4 with 1 RBI.
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And then what a gusty performance by staff ace Cheol-han Lee in the final game of the series. Even though Lee wasn't at his sharpest- he allowed 11 hits- he worked out of trouble every time for a complete game shutout victory in a game that was scoreless going into the bottom of the 8th. The Brewers finally broke through when Pat Rondeau (having collected only 1 hit in his last 17 at-bats) got a 1-out single, went to second on a Ryan Rodgers single, and came home when Bobby Erbakan followed with a single to left field. Ryan Rodgers (.344/.454/.445), the lone Brewer with multiple hits in the game, went 3 for 4. Lee improves to 16-5 with a 2.61 ERA. He is tied for the league lead in wins and is 3rd in the league in ERA (1st in fWAR and FIP.) If the can keep going like this down the stretch there is a very decent chance he claims his 4th Pitcher of the Year award in what is surely shaping up as a Hall of Fame career.
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With the series split the Brewers remain in 3rd place, 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn and 1 1/2 behind the 2nd place L.A. Spinners. The Phoenix Speed Devils have won 3 straight and are trying to get back into the race. They currently sit 8 games back in 4th place.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:07 PM   #369
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August 20-23, 1973, versus Brooklyn

While there is still more than a month of regular season baseball left in the WPK, the Brewers have entered a stretch of games that could strongly influence whether they are contenders or also-rans this season.

First up is a 4-game series against the 1st place Brooklyn Aces in Denver. Immediately following that the Brewers head to L.A. for 3 games against the 2nd place Spinners. Then after a couple of games against the Detroit Falcons they come home for 2 more games against the Spinners. It's a perfect opportunity to pull themselves back into 1st place heading into September. But it also has the potential to knock them down far enough in the standings to make a pennant winning stretch run unlikely.

Things get off to a good start in game 1 against the Aces. The Brewers get a solid enough start from reigning MGL Pitcher of the Year Erik Sloan and plenty of offense in a 9-3 victory. Sloan allows 3 runs (2 earned) in 8 1/3rd innings pitched and improves to 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA. Andrew Kennedy (.345/.390/.467), whose picture you will find in the WPK lexicon under the term "professional hitter", was 4 for 5 in the game and hit his 4th triple of the season. Jonathan Koch (.308/.328/.463) continued to show the best power on the team as he hit his 15th HR as part of a 2 for 5 day. Joe McPhillips (.290/.398/.500) also homered in the game, his 3rd as part of a 2 for 4, 2 run, 2 RBI game.
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The Brewers offense then got shut down by Brooklyn fan favorite Jose Mendoza in game 2 as the Aces won 7-1. Steve Green continued his unimpressive 1973 campaign by allowing 7 runs on 9 hits (2 HR's) in 5 innings pitched. He falls to 7-11 with a 4.41 ERA. Pat Rondeau (.367/.391/.456) was 2 for 4 in the game and scored the lone Brewer run. Other than that, there isn't much good to report from this one. (Though the bullpen was quite good, unfortunately in a shut the barn door after the horses have already run far away situation.)
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Harry Lyerly started game 3 for the Brewers. So it will perhaps not surprise you that we won this game 7-3. Lyerly did give up a pair of HR's but allowed just 3 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings pitched with 8 K's and 3 walks issued. With some good run support he improves to 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA. Jonathan Koch's (.309/.331/.468) team-leading 16th HR helped, a 3-run shot in the 6-run 6th inning that gave the Brewers the lead for good. Chad Brown (.287/.310/.355) went 3 for 5 in the game and drove in a pair of runs.
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In a series that saw the teams play to a draw by alternating easy wins, the Aces pummeled the Brewers 10-3 in the finale. Brewers starting pitcher Matt Helm gave up 5 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits in 6 innings pitched. Relievers Justin Bismark and Jose de los Santos also pitched poorly in this one. The 4 errors the Brewers committed didn't help either. One player who certainly can't be blamed in this one is Josh Schaeffer. Schaeffer (.329/.420/.495) was 4 for 4 in the game, hit his 4th triple, and drove in a run. Mike Foster (.276/.311/.388) entered the game late and hit his 8th HR in his lone at-bat.
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So after 4 games against Brooklyn things remain status quo for the Brewers. They still sit in 3rd place, 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn and a game behind L.A., their next opponents.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:32 PM   #370
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August 24-26, 1973, at Los Angeles

In the opening game of a 3-game series against the 2nd place Spinners in L.A., Cheol-han Lee carries a no-hitter into the 8th inning when veteran Spinners right fielder Bob Hernandez hit a little dying quail into right to spoil the no-hit bid. No problem for the veteran Lee though. He just emitted a little frustrated sigh and went back to work mowing down L.A. hitters. In the end he had his league leading 5th complete game shutout, giving up just 2 hits, striking out 6 and walking 2. The Brewers win game 1, 5-0. Lee improves to 17-5 with an MGL best 2.49 ERA. Bobby Erbakan (.342/.397/.465) helped lead the offense with a 2 for 5, 2 RBI game and hit his 8th HR of 1973. Jonathan Koch (.312/.334/.470) chipped in with a 3 for 5 performance. One of the pre-season requests from Brewers owner Steve Lester was that we upgrade at second base. With just a little more than a month left in the season it appears that Koch's performance will help us pass that goal with flying colors.
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Jason Wilson, the 1969 MGL Pitcher of the Year (the most recent year a Brewer did not win this award) returned the favor by shutting out the Brewers 5-0 in game 2. Erik Sloan had a fine performance as this was a 1-0 game going into the bottom of the 8th. Sloan allowed 1 run on 6 hits in his 7 innings of work but took the loss to drop to 11-8 with a 3.60 ERA. Jaden Francis gave up 4 runs in his 1 inning pitched but although he did allow 3 hits he can't be faulted too much as none of the runs were earned and the inning was extended when on two consecutive batters, with a runner on and one out, Chad Brown committed errors, getting him to 34 miscues on the season. Professional hitter Andrew Kennedy (.344/.387/.462) was a bright spot for the Brewers as he went 2 for 3 in the loss.
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With the inconsistent Steve Green on the mound against L.A.'s hardworking All-Star righty Kerry Krieg, Brewers fans could be forgiven if they assumed their team was likely to drop another series to the well-rounded Spinners. Fortunately, they also would have been wrong. Green pitched well enough- allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings pitched with 7 strikeouts and 4 walks- and the Brewers hitters were patient against the sometimes control challenged Krieg and Denver walked away with a 5-2 win and a road series victory. The Brewers drew 6 walks off Krieg and combined those with some big hits: a Joe McPhillips (.281/.390/.500) 2-run HR in the 5th and a Bobby Erbakan (.344/.399/.473) 2-run HR in the 7th. Professional hitter Andrew Kennedy (.346/.391/.465) went 2 for 3, drew 2 of the Brewers walks, and hit his league leading 29th double. With the win Steve Green improved to 8-11 with a 4.32 ERA. Sam Pruiett gave one of his finest and most important performances of the season as he pitched the final 2 innings against the always dangerous Spinners, giving up just 1 single and striking out 3 while walking none. Pruiett gets his 4th save and sees his ERA improve to 3.72.
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A series victory against the Spinners in L.A. is a huge psychological boost to the team and also gets them into a tie with L.A. for 2nd place, just 1 1/2 games behind Brooklyn.

Last edited by BirdWatcher; 07-21-2019 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:36 PM   #371
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August 27-28, 1973, at Detroit

Between series against the L.A. Spinners (road, then home) the Brewers had a short 2-game visit to Detroit to take on the 6th place Falcons.

The Brewers get a 7-5 win in the first game behind Justin Peacock, who pitches a nice 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. The bullpen scuffled a bit in the 7th inning (allowing 4 runs) but then Jordan Stephens came in and pitched an excellent 2 1/3rd innings for his 8th save (2.30 ERA.) With the win Peacock improves to 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA. Bobby Erbakan (.349/.404/.480) went 4 for 5 in the game, hitting his 18th double and driving in a pair of runs. Ryan Rodgers (.347/.450/.444) went 3 for 5, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2.
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The second game saw Harry Lyerly strike out 8 batters but also giving up 4 runs on 8 hits (1 HR) and with very little run support the Brewers lose 4-1 and Lyerly drops to 12-6 with a 2.98 ERA. And there is really very little else to report for the Brewers in this one.
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The Brewers head into a 2-game series against the L.A. Spinners again, this time in Denver, trailing L.A. by a game and Brooklyn by 2 1/2.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:47 PM   #372
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Seattle's Mannarino lost for season! (Again.)

In an echo of the 1972 season, though at a much more advanced stage of the schedule, Seattle Allligator 27-year old starting pitcher Taylor Mannarino suffers a season ending injury. Last season it was a torn back muscle that sidelined him but this time it is a torn rotator cuff that is expected to keep him out of games at least into early next season.
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Mannarino is possessed of one of the finest change-ups in the WPK and is in the midst of a fine season (14-9, 2.89, 1.17 WHIP, 3.6 WAR) but there are growing concerns that his apparent fragility will keep him from ever reaching his big league potential.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:28 PM   #373
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WPK Franchise Report: the Pittsburgh Roadrunners (SJL)

Up to now I've mostly focused on teams at or near the top of the standings, but for this franchise report let's look at the other end of the spectrum. The Pittsburgh Roadrunners are currently on pace to lose 110 games. The 1967 El Paso Dawgs lost 117, so the Roadrunners could still avoid record-breaking levels of futility. But they will almost certainly finish in last place for the second year in a row. And in their history, second division finishes have been common with their best place in the standings coming in 1966 when they finished in 3rd place.
The current Roadrunners have some very good players and an offense that isn't as bad as you might expect. But when it comes to pitching and defense they are the league worst in nearly every category (5th in pitching strikeouts and 9th in errors.) Their most talented pitching prospect, Fumito Konishi, has been out with forearm inflammation since late July and likely won't be back this season so that doesn't help. They do have some good young power hitters coming up through the organization and their 23-year old right fielder, Bill Winchester, is in the running not just for Rookie of the Year but for league MVP. But they are going to have to develop or acquire much more pitching and tighten up their defense if they hope to rise from the cellar anytime soon.
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The Park: On the bright side, the Roadrunners play in gorgeous Carnegie Field, which plays fairly neutral but favors left handed batters a bit. And in fact, the Roadrunners two best hitters at the heart of the lineup, Winchester and veteran third baseman Trevor Leach, are indeed left-handed batters. Sadly, with the poor play of the Roadrunner, very few fans come to see them play in their beautiful park. For perspective, the Denver Brewers lead all teams (as always) in attendance at 2,096,443. Pittsburgh is last with a grand total of 685,813.
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The Face of the Franchise: Although Bill Winchester is the brightest star for Pittsburgh this year, the extremely popular 6-time All-Star third baseman Trevor Leach is clearly the face of the franchise. Although Leach has never led the league in any category, he is consistently good year in and year out and has put up 37.0 WAR in his nearly 7 seasons in a Roadrunners uniform.
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One to Watch: This is usually where we would feature the most famous/best/interesting, etc. former player for the franchise. But honestly, most of the players who would qualify still play for the Roadrunners. So instead we will take a closer look at the already mentioned budding superstar Bill Winchester. Although his defense will probably never be any better than average other than his very strong arm, he is an extremely talented hitter who tore up the minors and so far this year has carried that into his rookie big league campaign. And given that the thought is that he has potential for greater power hitting in the future- and he's 2nd in the league right now with 32 HR's- it should be interesting to see what he accomplishes going forward.
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:21 PM   #374
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A few words about the Denver Brewers as we head into the stretch run

We have arrived at September 1st in the 1973 WPK season and the Brewers currently sit in 3rd place in the MGL, 4 1/2 games out of 1st.

They are currently thought to have just a bit under a 6% chance to win the MGL and have the toughest schedule of the 3 teams in legitimate contention (Brooklyn and L.A. being the others, of course.)

The Brewers have received some great individual performances this year. Cheol-han Lee has a good chance to win his 4th Pitcher of the Year award (his 2nd as a Brewer.) Pat Rondeau, at the age of 30 getting his first opportunity to be something more than a 4th outfielder, looks like he will hold on to win the batting title. And if he doesn't the two batters behind him currently are both Brewers (Bobby Erbakan and Andrew Kennedy) so likely a Brewer wins this no matter what. Jonathan Koch is having a breakout season, leads the team in HR's and plays great defense at second base. The outfield features four players who are likely to finish over .300 with good to great WAR values- Rondeau, Kennedy, Ryan Rodgers, and youngster Josh Schaeffer- and perhaps the most talented outfielder on the team, Joe McPhillips, is showing signs of a strong finish.

The starting pitching has not been quite up to previous Brewer standards but it isn't horrible by any means. In addition to Lee, Harry Lyerly is having a pretty typical solid season. Last year's MGL Pitcher of the Year, Erik Sloan, has regressed a bit this year, but is still a solid #3 and at times looks like a near ace. After that things get a bit more problematic. Steve Green has been largely very disappointing, and there are now some concerns about his motivation and work ethic. Matt Helm, the team captain, has had moments of brilliance and at other times has looked horrible. Justin Peacock and Eric Johnson, who have alternated between Denver and AAA Chester, have had their moments and still have potential for the future, but they can't be counted on for consistent performance at this time.

The bullpen has been very good even though the two pitchers who started the season with the biggest reputations- Jose de los Santos and Liann-wei Hua- haven't really been very good. Jaden Francis and Jordan Stephens have been mostly excellent, though, and Sam Pruiett has probably pitched better than his basic stats would indicate. Justin Bismark has likely been a bit lucky so far and seems to be regressing a bit. But for most of the season the Brewers bullpen has had the best ERA in the MGL.

The Brewers offense is, we all know, under-powered (in terms of home runs, anyway.) But with the return of Joe McPhillips, the continued surprising power of Koch, some flashes of power potential from Schaeffer, a bit of a return to form by third baseman Mike Foster, etc., the Brewers have risen of late from last in the league to 8th in this category.
The defense continues to display great range. But they make too many errors, particularly Chad Brown at short and Foster at third.
Base running, which had been a great strength for the team earlier in the season, has declined a bit and they are closer to the middle of the pack now. The more players like McPhillips and Schaeffer play, and continue to get on base, combined with Rondeau and Erbakan just continuing to do what they have been all season, this metric should improve. (Chad Brown getting on base more consistently would sure help in this regard too.)

The reality is that the Brewers starting pitching likely just can't match up, in depth at least, with that of Brooklyn or L.A. And L.A., in particular, certainly has a lineup with more power.
There is still hope among the Brewer faithful for a late-season run that sees the team return to the top of the MGL. But realistically, it might be another season of close but no cigar.
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Old 07-24-2019, 11:04 PM   #375
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August 29-30, 1973, versus Los Angeles

The Brewers host the L.A. Spinners for 2-games at Centennial Park as August winds down.

Game 1 is a great pitching match-up with Cheol-han Lee on the mound for the Brewers against the Spinners captain and staff ace, Jose Santos. And this time Santos and the Spinners came out on top by a score of 3-2. Lee takes the loss and drops to 17-6 with a 2.55 ERA as he allowed 3 runs on 11 hits in 6 innings pitched. Jonathan Koch (.311/.333/.466) was 3 for 4 in the loss and hit his 24th double of the season. Andrew Kennedy (.347/.391/.466) was 2 for 4 and hit his league best 30th double.
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The Brewers got a fine start from Erik Sloan in the second game of the series and bounced back with an 8-4 win. Sloan worked 7 innings, gave up 2 runs on only 3 hits and struck out 5 while walking 1 to improve to 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA. Another good game for Jonathan Koch (.313/.334/.472) who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 3 RBI, and hit HR #17. Joe McPhillips (.285/.386/.512) also went 2 for 4 and hit his 5th HR.
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Old 07-24-2019, 11:37 PM   #376
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September 1st call-ups

The Brewers promote several players to the big league active roster for the September 1st roster expansion.
The reality of the Brewers minor league system is that they have a good number of big league ready players at the top of the system and not a great deal of talent further down the organization.

The bullpen is one interesting area where a good number of pitchers will be jostling for limited open spots next season. Two left-handers get the call up from Chester in the recently acquired Eric Marino, who appeared in 15 games with Oklahoma City earlier in the year with mediocre results, and Brewers 1967 supplemental 1st round draft pick Jeremy Walker, who appeared in 3 games for the Brewers last September. (Walker joins Joe McPhillips and Josh Schaeffer on the team from that 1967 draft class which is starting to look like the Brewers best yet.)
Veteran reliever Antonio Rojas, who the Brewers signed to a minor league free agent contract in early July, was brought up to give some veteran presence to the 'pen. Rojas has control issues but features a great cutter, impressive movement, and is an extreme groundball pitcher.
Eric Johnson also returns to the team, having gotten off to an impressive start in 1973 for the Brewers but then struggling and being sent back to Chester.
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Among position players called up, first baseman Greg Tietz, who hit so well, and with power, in his 21 games in a Brewers uniform earlier in the season, returns. Joe Willemse, getting a bit of a longer audition (he was with the team for 3 games earlier in the year) to join Oscar Vargas as a utility infielder and defensive specialist, is called up. Like Vargas, Willemse can play pretty much any infield position at near gold glove levels (or better). Unlike Vargas he doesn't have much power and won't draw many walks, but he is a much better contact hitter than Oscar and has better foot speed (though he isn't a very good base stealer.) Plus, he is a good left-handed compliment at the plate to Vargas right-handed bat.
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Perhaps the most intriguing call-up is 23-year old catcher Zacharias Martell. This is Martell's first taste of the bigs but the thought among the Brewers scouting staff is that he is ready to stick at the WPK level. He has the potential to deliver Kevin Curtis-type defense (which is to say, gold glove level) though with a bit of a weaker arm. And while he isn't likely to be a star at the plate, he looks solidly average to even a bit above average as a hitter. The real question is whether this will mean the beginning of the end for Spencer Wilson in a Brewers uniform. Like Wilson, Martell is a left-handed hitter and while Wilson is a hard-working player, Martell profiles even better in terms of makeup which could bode well for his future development. He is also a little more than a year younger than Wilson. The thought is that Wilson could be a starter elsewhere and might make for good trade bait in the off-season, should it appear that Martell is ready to back-up Curtis in 1974.
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:31 PM   #377
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Spinners veteran right fielder Hernandez sidelined rest of season

With the season entering the stretch run and the MGL race looking to come down to a 3-team race, one of the those 3 teams, the L.A. Spinners, suffer a blow as their veteran right fielder Bob Hernandez sustains a fractured ankle which puts him out of commission for the rest of the season.
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Earlier they had lost 25-year old right fielder Brett Prather, a defensive whiz, also for the season with a torn back muscle.
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Fortunately for the Spinners they have depth on their roster and 30-year old slugger Rigby Muckenfuss will take over as the starter in right. At this stage of his career though Muckenfuss is a defensive liability at any position.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:01 AM   #378
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August 31-September 2, 1973, versus Detroit

The Brewers end the month of August on a sour note in the first of three games versus the Detroit Falcons at Centennial Stadium when they lose 10-4. Matt Helm gives up 6 runs (5 earned) on 9 hits in 5 innings pitched to take the loss and drop to 6-9 with a 4.33 ERA. Bobby Erbakan (.349/.402/.478) was 3 for 4 and hit his 19th double in the loss. Pat Rondeau (.359/.383/.446) went 2 for 4 and hit his 24th double. Mike Foster (.274/.307/.387) hit his 9th HR.
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It required walk-off heroics in the bottom of the 9th, particularly on the part of Josh Schaeffer, but the Brewers get September started on a better note with a 4-3 victory. After the Brewers blew a 1-run lead in the top of the 9th to allow the Falcons to tie the score at 3-3, they got a lead-off walk from Ryan Rodgers to start the bottom of the frame, saw him erased at second on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Oscar Vargas. Chad Brown then flew out to left with Vargas still stuck at 1st base with two outs now. Josh Schaeffer came up and the question on everyone's mind was whether the Brewers manager would pull the left-handed hitting Schaeffer with the Falcons lefty closer Jon Schmidt on the mound. And at the time pretty much all agreed that he should, with all indications being that the young Schaeffer is much less proficient hitting against same handed pitchers. But for whatever reason the skipper stuck with the young right fielder. And on the very first pitch of the at-bat this decision was rewarded as Schaeffer went with the pitch and lined a drive deep into the gap in left-center, with the strong running Vargas hustling all the way home with the winning run. Steve Green pitched a strong 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on just 5 hits, striking out 8 and walking 2 batters. The decision went to left-handed reliever Jeremy Walker in his first WPK appearance of the season and just his 4th overall. It was Walker's first big league win. Schaeffer (.321/.411/.487) went 1 for 3 in the game, drawing 2 walks in addition to his game winning double.
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In the rubber match Harry Lyerly gave up a lead-off HR to open the game which was then followed by a single and it looked like maybe Harry didn't have his best stuff on this particular day. But baseball's a funny game and two at-bats generally mean very little. Lyerly, in fact, had fine stuff indeed and was largely lights out after that. He hurled 7 innings, giving up just that 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2. His teammates gave him good run support to get an 8-2 win and Lyerly improves to 13-6 with a 2.91 ERA. The three top hitters in the MGL (in terms of batting average) are Pat Rondeau, Bobby Erbakan, and Andrew Kennedy. So it should probably come as no surprise that Rondeau (.362/.387/.448) was 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored in this one (and stole his 23rd base), Erbakan (.350/.400/.481) also was 3 for 5 and he drove in 3 runs, hitting a pair of doubles to get to 21 on the season, and Kennedy (.348/.391/.465) chipped in with a 3 for 4 game, hitting his league leading 31st double.
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With the series victory the Brewers remain in 3rd place but now trail by just 2 1/2 games again.

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Old 07-27-2019, 04:49 PM   #379
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September 3-5, 1973, versus Portland

The Brewers wrap up the home stand with 3 games against the 8th place Portland Wild Things.

With staff ace Cheol-han Lee on the mound in game 1 the Brewers were feeling confident about keeping their little September winning streak alive. But instead Lee had a disastrous 5th inning, in which he nearly wriggled out of a bases loaded, no out jam, but with two outs allowed 6 runs to score. The Brewers tried to battle back late but fell short to lose 6-3. Lee drops to 17-7 with a 2.72 ERA. Josh Schaeffer (.327/.415/.490) went 3 for 5 with 1 run scored and 1 RBI in the loss.
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The Brewers bounced back in game 2 when MGL batting leader Pat Rondeau (.367/.392/.452) went 4 for 4 with 3 RBI, 1 walk, and picked up his 24th stolen base. Justin Peacock got the start and the win for Denver, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings pitched, striking out 7 and walking 3. He improves to 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA. Chad Brown (.284/.307/.354), who has been struggling for awhile at the plate, broke through with a 3 for 5 outing, hitting 2 doubles (22) and a triple (2). Jonathan Koch (.306/.326/.462) was 2 for 4, hit his 2nd triple and drove in 2 runs to take his team high total to 91. The Brewers won 8-4.
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And then Eric Johnson gives the Brewers an even better performance in the final game as he pitches 7 innings giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 7 and walking none. The Brewers win 7-2 and Johnson sees his record improve to 6-2 (with a 4.29 ERA.) Chad Brown's (.289/.311/.358) bat seems to have fully come to life again as he went 4 for 5 in this one. Joe McPhillips (.279/.376/.485) contributed a 3 for 5, 2 runs scored game. And professional hitter Andrew Kennedy (.349/.391/.464) also went 3 for 5 and drove in 2 runs to get to 72 for the season (3rd best after Koch and Erbakan.)
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Although the Brewers are playing pretty well the two teams they are trying to catch are playing even better and the Brewers remain in 3rd place, 3 1/2 games behind Brooklyn and 2 games behind L.A.

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Old 07-27-2019, 08:18 PM   #380
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Boston star Horah out for rest of season

Adding injury to insult today the Boston Berserkers lost their star left fielder Curtis Horah for the rest of the season due to him suffering a broken bone in his elbow.
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The insult part is that the Berserkers are on the verge of having their pennant run end as the first place Jacksonville Wolf Pack are charging down the stretch and have a magic number of 3 to clinch the SJL with Boston their current nearest competitor. The Washington Night Train are the only other SJL team to not have already been mathematically eliminated.
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Meanwhile in the MGL, only 4 teams have officially been eliminated but realistically it is down to a 3 team race, with our Denver Brewers hanging in there, still in 3rd place, but only 2 1/2 games behind the leader.

It still appears that someone on the Brewers squad will end up with the best batting average in the league (with Ryan Rodgers hitting .357 but just a bit short of enough plate appearances at this point to qualify.)
In the SJL San Antonio's Joe Brodeur is still holding on pace to get a Triple Crown though he only has a 2 home run lead over fellow youngster Bill Winchester.
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