Voting un Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey derway for Hank Aaron Awards

Hank Aaron is still widely revered as one of the game’s all-time great hitters, a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose career statistics still rank among history’s best. Aaron, who still has a presence in today’s game as a senior vice president in the Braves’ front office, is best remembered for breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record, and his 755 total ranked first when he retired in 1976. Yet for all his power, Aaron was perhaps just as effective as a contact hitter, as his 3,771 hits (third all time) would attest.

VOTE NOW: Cast your ballot for the Hank Aaron Award

Hank Aaron is still widely revered as one of the game’s all-time great hitters, a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose career statistics still rank among history’s best. Aaron, who still has a presence in today’s game as a senior vice president in the Braves’ front office, is best remembered for breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record, and his 755 total ranked first when he retired in 1976. Yet for all his power, Aaron was perhaps just as effective as a contact hitter, as his 3,771 hits (third all time) would attest.

VOTE NOW: Cast your ballot for the Hank Aaron Award

Today, the awards bestowed to each league’s best overall hitter bears Aaron’s name.

Voting is underway through Oct. 8 at MLB.com and the 30 club sites, where fans can help choose the winners Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey . The annual award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Ruth’s all-time home run record. At that time, it was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years.

Here is each club’s nominee for 2018, broken down by each division.

AL EAST
Blue Jays: Justin Smoak
Orioles: Adam Jones
Rays: Joey Wendle
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton

AL CENTRAL
Indians: Jose Ramirez
Royals: Whit Merrifield
Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
Twins: Eddie Rosario
White Sox: Jose Abreu

AL WEST
Angels: Mike Trout
Astros: Alex Bregman
Athletics: Khris Davis
Mariners: Mitch Haniger
Rangers: Joey Gallo

Video: Manfred presents Bryant, Ortiz with Hank Aaron Award

NL EAST
Braves: Freddie Freeman
Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
Mets: Michael Conforto
Nationals: Anthony Rendon
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins

NL CENTRAL
Brewers: Christian Yelich
Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Cubs: Javier Baez
Pirates: Gregory Polanco
Reds: Scooter Gennett

NL WEST
D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Dodgers: Max Muncy
Giants: Evan Longoria
Padres: Franmil Reyes
Rockies: Trevor Story

Video: WS2015 Gm4: Donaldson, Harper win Hank Aaron Awards

“I am honored to have my name on the award given by Major League Baseball to the top offensive performers in the game,” Aaron said in the past.

This marks the ninth straight year that fans’ voices and votes will be included in the selection process. A special panel of Hall of Fame players, who have been personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise — Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount — will also vote for the awards along with Aaron himself.

Th Dalton Pompey Jersey is year’s field features an array of new faces — Goldschmidt, Stanton and Trout are the only former Aaron Award winners amongst this year’s finalists — including some of this year’s true breakout stars, such as Story, Muncy and Bregman. Thirteen finalists were named All-Stars this year, and the group also features 22 players under the age of 30, with seven aged 25 or younger. 

History has typically favored the sluggers, and in today’s era, where the long ball is as prevalent as it ever has been, fans could opt for nominees in that mold. It’s worth noting that the reigning American League winner, Jose Altuve, was one of seven batting champions to win the Aaron Award in the same year.  

Here are the previous Aaron Award winners:

2017: Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton
2016: Kris Bryant and David Ortiz
2015: Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper
2014: Stanton and Trout
2013: Miguel Cabrera and Goldschmidt
2012: Cabrera and Buster Posey
2011: Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp
2010: Bautista and Joey Votto
2009: Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols
2008: Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis
2007: Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder
2006: Jeter and Ryan Howard
2005: Ortiz and Andruw Jones
2004: Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds
2003: Rodriguez and Pujols
2002: Rodriguez and Bonds
2001 Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey : Rodriguez and Bonds
2000: Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton
1999: Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa

The Aaron Awards, which are officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, will be presented by Aaron and Commissioner Rob Manfred during the 2018 World Series.  

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Brewers sweep NLDS, advance Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey to NLCS

DENVER — The Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak to the National League Championship Series.

And just like it’s supposed to be when the air turns crisp, pitching is paving the way.

View Full Game Coverage

DENVER — The Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak to the National League Championship Series.

And just like it’s supposed to be when the air turns crisp, pitching is paving the way.

View Full Game Coverage

A 6-0 win over the Rockies in Game 3 of the NL Division Series on Sunday at Coors Field gave the Brewers back-to-back shutouts and finished the first postseason series sweep in franchise history. Up next: The Dodgers or Braves beginning with Game 1 on Friday at Miller Park.

Tweet from @MLBStatoftheDay: The @Brewers are riding an 11-game winning streak into the #NLCS.Talk a Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey bout getting hot at the perfect time. pic.twitter.com/HUm9UVJioI

“We’re not going to the NLCS to lose,” said Ryan Braun, the only remaining player from the last Brewers team to make it that far in 2011. “Nobody picked us to win the division. Nobody expected us to get to the NLCS. I’m sure when we get there, nobody will pick us to win.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“But we believe in each other, and we really are playing our best baseball when it matters most. We’re excited about having home-field advantage because obviously it’s a big deal.”

Braun was right about the division, but he might be surprised when NLCS predictions start trickling in. Sweeping away the Rockies in three games means manager Craig Counsell will enter the next round with a well-rested pitching staff at the top of its game. Brewers pitchers held the Rockies scoreless in 27 of 28 innings in the NLDS, including 12 2/3 scoreless frames from their starters — er, “initial out-getters” — capped by lefty Wade Miley‘s 4 2/3 innings in Game 3.

Crew’s rebuild complete at rapid pace

Miley was followed by Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, Corbin Burnes (two innings), Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader in a second straight shutout. This one was a four-hitter.

It marked the first time in Rockies history that they were shut out in consecutive games with at least one of those contests played at Coors Field. They were only shut out here twice in the regular season: April 8 against the Braves and May 9 against the Angels.

Video: Brewers pitching shuts down Rockies in NLDS sweep

“Woody started it off with three hitless innings,” said Miley, referring to Brandon Woodruff‘s surprise start in Game 1, “and that kind of set the tempo for everybody.”

A record-setting tempo. The Brewers set an NLDS mark by holding the Rockies to two runs.

“Right now,” said pitching coach Derek Johnson, “I think we’re pitching as well as we possibly can.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Brewers on the team’s pitching in NLDS

Added Lorenzo Cain: “They get better and better. When I signed to come here, that’s what I wanted to do — enjoy this feeling. We’re not done yet.”

Jesus Aguilar homered with the bases empty in the fourth inning for his first postseason hit after an 0-for-7 start, and Orlando Arcia and Keon Broxton added insurance with back-to-back home runs off Wade Davis leading off the ninth while officials readied the visitors’ clubhouse for Milwaukee’s third champagne celebration in 12 days.

Aguilar goes deep as Crew bats find rhythm

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Aguilar drills solo HR to left field

The Brewers also got some help along the way, doubling their lead from 2-0 to 4-0 in the sixth on a run-scoring balk and a run-scoring wild pitch from Rockies reliever Scott Oberg.

Braun, Erik Kratz and Travis Shaw all logged multiple hits as the Brewers outhit the Rockies, 12-4, led by three more knocks for 38-year-old catcher Kratz. He was 5-for-8 in a pair of starts in his first career postseason series.

“You get all your celebrations in, because you never know if you’re going to get another one,” said Kratz, who found himself surrounded by teammates chanting M-V-P. “Just like you never know if you’re going to get another day in this game. That’s the best way to play. I’ve been very fortunate to be on this team where everybody plays that way.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Kratz goes 3-for-4 in Brewers’ 6-0 win

The Brewers are in the LCS round for the third time in 50 seasons as a franchise.  Dalton Pompey Jersey They beat the Angels in a best-of-five American League Championship Series in 1982, and fell to the Cardinals in six games in the 2011 NLCS.

By the time they take the field Friday night, the Brewers will have gone 19 days without losing a baseball game.

“Two more [series] to go,” said Aguilar. “I think we’re going to get there. I believe it. I really believe it. We have a great team, man.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Brewers hit 3 HRs and shut out Rockies

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First strike: The Brewers entered the day 76-28 when they score first, including Games 1 and 2 at Miller Park, so it was big to put together a little small ball in the first inning for the game’s first run. Christian Yelich, who had only two NLDS hits but posted a 1.196 OPS in the three games, started things by working an eight-pitch walk with one out against Rockies starter German Marquez. He moved to third when Braun punched a single through the right side of the infield and scored on Shaw’s fielder’s choice.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Shaw plates Yelich on fielder’s choice

“It’s huge,” said Miley. “The pressure is on them to start the game, and when we took the 1-0 lead, it was [on them] even more. I was trying to get us back in the dugout as quick as possible and turn it over to the bullpen, and they did the rest.”

Crew’s arms set tone in unconventional roles

How was Miley’s heartbeat going into the game?

“Not near as bad as I thought it would be,” he said. “These past three weeks, we’ve played every game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. I guess it kind of prepared me for this day. It’s something you dream about as a little kid, and I was able to go out there and live it.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Miley hurls 4 2/3 scoreless frames

Game-breakers: Davis is one of baseball’s best closers, but the Brewers have given him all kinds of trouble in the past 13 months, beginning with homers for Arcia and Shaw in an extra-inning win over Davis when he was with the Cubs at Miller Park last September, and continuing Sunday when Arcia and Broxton hammered long home runs to break the game open in the ninth. The home run was Arcia’s first since Aug. 8. Broxton’s came in only his second at-bat of the series.

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Arcia crushes a solo homer to left

“I can’t even describe it,” Broxton said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt. It’s always what I dreamed of. I’m just glad I was put in a position to do it. It was a bomb. It was clutch to add on after Arcia did.”

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Broxton mashes 106.4-mph, 429-ft. homer

SOUND SMART
Only once before in franchise history have the Brewers won 11 straight games in a season — 1987, when Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and “Team Streak” set an AL record by beginning the season 13-0. The Pirates had an 11-game winning streak this season, but the only one longer in 2018 belonged to the Houston Astros, who won 12 straight games from June 6-18.

Brewers ride dominant relief corps to NLCS

“It’s nearly impossible,” said Braun, “and each of those 11 wins, we approached as a must-win. It’s incredibly difficult to do that day after day, night after night, on the road, at home, against great pitchers. It’s been an incredibly difficult thing to do, but it’s been fun, man. We’re enjoying it.”

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Oberg’s run-scoring balk and run-scoring wild pitch came in quick succession as the sixth inning spun out of control for Colorado. Kratz’s double gave the Brewers runners at second and third with one out, but Oberg struck out Arcia to give himself an escape route. With Curtis Granderson up to pinch-hit, Oberg dropped the baseball while on the rubber, resulting in a balk that brought Mike Moustakas home for a 3-0 Brewers lead. With the count at 0-2, Oberg threw a wild pitch, and though catcher Tony Wolters retrieved it quickly, Kratz slid home safely with Milwaukee’s fourth run.

Video: Must C Clips: Brewers extend lead on balk, wild pitch

“I credit [third-base coach] Eddie [Sedar] for that,” said Kratz. “He prepared me for that. With two strikes, they moved [third baseman Nolan] Arenado off the line, and that gave me more of a lead — which I need. A few steps. Eddie said, ‘Hey, he’s off the line, if it goes outside the circle, you’re in.’ And [it was the] next pitch.

Oberg’s balk, wild pitch lead to 2 Brewers runs

“It’s like I’ve said before — you prepare for the moment. Eddie prepared me for the moment.”

That inning gave the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Does a victory feel close at that point?

“It does. There was a moment where I thought about that,” said Kratz. “Then I had to realize we have to come back and [make] one pitch at a time. That’s boring. I don’t get to enjoy it. … On the bench, I’m sure they were enjoying it.”

HE SAID IT
“This club is very capable. Absolutely. I think that’s the bottom line — and to do it the way they’ve done it, and do it on enemy ground … you know this club is good and solid in what they’re doing.” — Bob Uecker

Uecker celebrates with Brewers again after NLDS sweep

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Uecker on the Brewers advancing to NLCS

“Two celebrations to go! We accomplished this by everybody playing to the best of their abilities. Everybody here is doing their job the best that they possibly can, and that’s why we’re winning baseball games. Nothing’s going to change. The lights will get brighter. It’s going to be more fun than we’ve had to this point. We’re going to keep doing the same [stuff].” — Braun, in his postgame speech to the team

Video: MIL@COL Gm3: Braun gives passionate speech after NLDS

UP NEXT
The Brewers know they will host Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday at Miller Park, but they don’t yet know the opponent. Devon Travis Jersey  It will be either the Dodgers or the Braves, who won Sunday to stay alive in the other NLDS. The Dodgers lead that series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday night. The Brewers were 3-4 against L.A. during the regular season and 4-3 against Atlanta.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jesus Aguilar,
Orlando Arcia,
Ryan Braun,
Keon Broxton,
Josh Hader,
Corey Knebel,
Erik Kratz,
Wade Miley

Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelic Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey h lead Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was reminded the other day of a text-message exchange he had with a friend back on Jan. 25. Kratz was in the Yankees’ system at the time, but he is also a big baseball fan, so the friend thought he’d be interested to hear that Milwaukee had traded for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Kratz revisited the exchange this week and got a chuckle.

MILWAUKEE — Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was reminded the other day of a text-message exchange he had with a friend back on Jan. 25. Kratz was in the Yankees’ system at the time, but he is also a big baseball fan, so the friend thought he’d be interested to hear that Milwaukee had traded for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Kratz revisited the exchange this week and got a chuckle.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“Why do you think they would do that?” the friend wrote. “They have a lot of good outfielders.”

Kratz responded that he liked the trade. He was a huge fan of Yelich, whom he believed would continue to grow into his lanky frame.

Then came more news to discuss. Right after the Yelich trade was announced, word spread that the Brewers had added another outfielder, Lorenzo Cain, via a five-year, $80 million free-agent contract.

What would Milwaukee do with all of those outfielders?

“I don’t know,” said Kratz. “But it worked out, because we’re here.”

—–

The Brewers were on the eve of hosting the Rockies in today’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series for a list of reasons that begins just like manager Craig Counsell’s lineups: With Cain and Yelich.

Cain, 32, is certain to appear on ballots for the National League Most Valuable Player Award courtesy of advanced metrics that value his on-base skill, fantastic defense and plus baserunning, which added up to 5.7 Wins Above Replacement by the Fangraphs measure, which put him in a tie for third in the NL with league home run king Nolan Arenado of the Rockies.

Brewers-Rockies: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Yelich, 26, is the frontrunner for the NL MVP Award after winning the first batting title in Brewers history with a .326 average, tying for third with 36 home runs and ranking second with 110 RBIs. He led the league with 7.6 fWAR after leading qualifying players in MLB after the All-Star break with a .770 slugging percentage — a remarkable 145 points better than second-half runner-up Ronald Acuna of the Braves.

“It’s rare when you’re able to make two impact acquisitions in such a confined time period,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “We were very fortunate we were able to pull both of those off. Both of them could have fallen apart at stages of those negotiations, but we were able to pull through it.”

Video: Christian Yelich named NL Player of the Month

Did either of those deals actually come close to falling apart?

“Yes,” Stearns said. “I’m not going to go into specifics, but in any negotiation of that complexity, you always feel like there is a point you either don’t feel like you’re going to make the signing or make the deal. And then both sides regroup, and you’re able to push through and you get it done.”

Why both? A number of reasons, according to Stearns, including the way their bat-to-ball skills could help add toughness to an offense that had set MLB’s all-time team strikeout record the past two years in a row, the way their defense could impact a pitching staff not exactly stocked with aces, and that the Brewers could control both players for five seasons.

That was the idea: Run scoring and run prevention, wrapped up in two players.

Video: PIT@MIL: Cain runs 108-ft. to rob Mercer of a homer

The hard part was getting both of them.

“We were on a path to sign Lorenzo Cain, which was a typical free-agent process. And there were fits and starts in the attempts to trade for Christian Yelich,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “Maybe 48 hours before, it looked like they were going to converge.

“I said to David, ‘If you get one, do you really need to get both?’ And his answer, which was immediate, was, ‘If I can get one, it just makes me want to get the other one even more.'”

Attanasio thought about that for a moment.

“What I liked about it was it was really out-of-the-box thinking,” Attanasio said. “He really got criticized. ‘Brewers have 10 outfielders.’ Then when he got Mike Moustakas, it was, ‘Brewers have three third basemen.’ But we are in the position we are in because of some of this creative thinking.”

Even Stearns was surprised that the deals came together on the same day.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Cain and Yelich. Yelich and Cain. (And Eddie.) pic.twitter.com/2NIlh723V5

The players themselves were surprised, too.

“When I got the call telling me I got traded over, they said, ‘Stay tuned, we might have some more exciting news coming later today,” Yelich said. “I didn’t know what it was, and when you get traded, it’s a little bit hectic and crazy afterwards. But I saw that Lo ended up signing over here, and I was really excited.”

Yelich respects Cain’s postseason pedigree, which included back-to-back World Series appearances with the Royals in 2014-15, including a championship that second year. Teammates talk glowingly of Cain’s quiet leadership and his ability to walk around the clubhouse like every ligament in his body aches, then turn into one of the game’s most athletic center fielders the moment the bat hits the ball. Counsell compared it one day this season to ambling Cardinals outfielder Willie McGee.

Video: Cain on his postseason experience, team’s resilience

Cain, in turn, said he learned about Yelich’s ability on the very first day of Spring Training. Players can tell these things around the batting cage.

“I didn’t really know much about him, being in the American League for so long,” Cain said. “But just watching his swing, how consistent it was, driving the ball to all fields, long and lengthy, he has power to all fields.

“Like I say, day in and day out, I get a chance to watch it, and it’s definitely impressive. He shows up every day, and you guys have seen it all year long. He’s been dominant out there.”

Tweet from @Brewers: 1st press conference & workout of the postseason ��� #OurCrewOurOctober pic.twitter.com/ESzC5beGek

Naturally, both played significant roles in the win that kept them home to start this series. Yelich had three hits and an RBI in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field. Cain, after grounding out and flying out in his first two at-bats with runners in scoring position, hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Milwaukee’s two-run eighth inning.

Yelich said they were just trying to fit in.

“They had a great team last year. They fell one game short of the playoffs, and I think you’re just trying to add to what they already had,” he said. “You’re not coming over trying to be anything more than, in my case, the guy they traded for. Some good advice that I got from some guys that I played with along the way: They said be the same guy, do what you do, don’t try to do anything more or anything else. That was the goal from Spring Training.

“The group that we have in there was so welcoming, and it made the adjustment so much easier coming along. The first couple days of Spring Training you felt like you were a part of the team, a part of the family. And we’ve kind of just rolled since then.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy an Dalton Pompey Jersey d like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Lorenzo Cain,
Christian Yelich

Brewers’ r Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ebuild has been a quick success

MILWAUKEE — By Friday, when Brewers general manager David Stearns celebrates the three-year anniversary of his first official day on the job, his team will already have its first 2018 postseason game in the books.

That’s a remarkable thing, relative to other recent rebuilds in Major League Baseball.

MILWAUKEE — By Friday, when Brewers general manager David Stearns celebrates the three-year anniversary of his first official day on the job, his team will already have its first 2018 postseason game in the books.

That’s a remarkable thing, relative to other recent rebuilds in Major League Baseball.

The Royals, Cubs and Astros all endured long stretches of losing baseball before winning the last three World Series. The Brewers are trying to reach the same zenith much quicker.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“I’m proud of where the organization is,” said Stearns, whose club hosts Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday at Miller Park. “And I can say now, three years later, that I really didn’t have a timeline for when we would get to the point of consistent competitiveness.”

How did the Brewers get from rebuilding to the best record in the NL in such a short time? Perhaps by not focusing so much on a timetable.

Both Stearns and owner Mark Attanasio doggedly refused to use the word “rebuilding” throughout a process that began early in 2015. That’s the year the club replaced manager Ron Roenicke with Craig Counsell — who’d been with the organization as a player, special assistant to the GM and part-time color analyst — and when Attanasio hired Stearns to be baseball’s youngest GM at age 30. Stearns took over for Doug Melvin, who decided to step down after serving as GM since the end of the ’02 season.

Melvin had begun the rebuild, trading away established players for prospects — including one fortuitous blockbuster with the Houston Astros, whose assistant GM at the time was the up-and-coming Stearns. After the Mets had blocked one deal, Melvin made another with the Astros, acquiring pitchers Josh Hader and Adrian Houser and outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana. Rare is the deal in which every prospect pans out, but this was one of them. In other trades that summer, Melvin picked up Minor Leaguers Zach Davies and Corey Knebel.

Video: MIL@CHC: Hader gets save in NL Central tiebreaker

Stearns inherited that foundation when he was hired in September. And rather than clean house and install his own baseball operations team, he retained almost everyone, including Counsell as manager and Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash in special assistant roles. Vice president of player personnel Karl Mueller, special assignment scout Scott Campbell, director of baseball operations Matt Kleine and manager of advance scouting Brian Powalish may not be known to some of the fans who fill Miller Park each night, but all play pivotal role Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey s in the product on the field, and all preceded Stearns in the organization. Stearns promoted Tom Flanagan and Eduardo Brizuela in player development and Tod Johnson to amateur scouting director, and retained Ray Montgomery, Zack Minasian and Marv Thompson in high-level scouting posts.

The point is that Stearns kept a lot of people. Not in an effort to speed along the process — Dalton Pompey Jersey  remember “acquire, develop, retain”? – Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey – but because they were good people.

And Stearns augmented the group with others, starting with hiring Matt Arnold of the analytically savvy Rays to be assistant GM.

“I was so consumed with just trying to make as many fundamentally right decisions at the front end — from how we were going to structure the front office, how we wanted to structure the coaching staff, what kind of culture we wanted to instill throughout the organization and what kind of people we wanted to attract — that a timeframe was the furthest thing from my mind,” Stearns said. “And it never once came up in an interview with Mark or anyone in the ownership group. No one ever asked me what I thought an appropriate timeframe was.”

The Brewers were just finishing a 68-94 season then. They went 73-89 in 2016, then improved to 86-76 in ’17 and missed the postseason by one game. This year, they used Game 163 to equal the franchise record with 96 regular-season wins, finishing with the fourth-best record in MLB.

Last week, when the Brewers clinched a spot in the postseason by completing a sweep of the Cardinals, Attanasio revisited memories of those early meetings.

Video: MIL@STL: Stearns on Brewers return to postseason

“Forget about first having hired him, even interviewing him — this was the kind of thing we talked about. ‘How do we get from where we were, which at that point was pretty low, to today?'” Attanasio said. “We never talked about timeline; we talked about process and methodology.”

Stearns put that methodology to work in acquiring the rest of the pieces that helped lead the franchise to its third division title in 50 seasons of play. It was a mix of waiver claims (Jesus Aguilar), free-agent signings (Jhoulys Chacin, Lorenzo Cain) and trades (Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Schoop, Joakim Soria, Xavier Cedeno, Curtis Granderson and Gio Gonzalez since the end of July alone).

Of course, Stearns’ most notable acquisitions were Cain and Christian Yelich. The Yelich deal is particularly emblematic of strong franchise-building, since it took a combination of moves to pull off. Stearns picked up Lewis Brinson and Isan Diaz in other deals and flipped them to Miami with homegrown Draft picks Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto.

Video: Yelich’s surge gives him MVP credentials

“It was quite an accomplishment to achieve this, in whatever timeline,” Attanasio said. “We had two losing seasons and that was it. That’s pretty incredible.”

It took a lot of work. Stearns reckons he’s had one true day off, with no calls, texts or emails: His wedding day in January 2017, complete with a very famous cake.

Now Stearns and wife Whitney are expecting their first child in the coming weeks.

“It’s flown by, it really has,” Stearns said. “Maybe after the season is over, I’ll take some time and think back to what we’ve been through the past three years and some of the things we’ve done. At this point, you’re so in the day-to-day grind, consumed with the daily responsibilities of the job, that you don’t get a chance to think about it. But it has flown by.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers embrace emotio Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey n, fun in baseball

MILWAUKEE — Rewrite the rules? For sure. Show emotion? Absolutely. Celebrate the moment? Go for it.

What’s wrong with letting the world know how much you love baseball? And how much you care about your teammates? And that you enjoy winning? Yes, especially that last one.

MILWAUKEE — Rewrite the rules? For sure. Show emotion? Absolutely. Celebrate the moment? Go for it.

What’s wrong with letting the world know how much you love baseball? And how much you care about your teammates? And that you enjoy winning? Yes, especially that last one.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“You know, the way the game is structured has squashed that for a long time,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

And that’s too bad.

And that was then.

Baseball is embracing another way, officially. That’s the message Major League Baseball announced this week with the release of an ad campaign entitled simply, “Rewrite the rules.”

No team is having more fun — openly and splendidly — than these Brewers, who begin an National League Division Series against the Rockies on Thursday at Miller Park.

To sum up: Celebrations are good. So is joy.

Bat flips? Go for it, fellas.

At the end of the MLB spot, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. looks at the camera and says: “No more talk. Let the kids play.”

Indeed.

Tweet from @MLB: Rewrite the rules. #postseason pic.twitter.com/bPGdECFVbi

To watch the Brewers play is to understand all of it, from the moment injured pitcher Brent Suter begins his pregame chant to the high fives and bear hugs and dugout celebrations and postgame rituals.

“I’m glad it’s being embraced,” outfielder Christian Yelich said. “You’re not trying to show anybody up, but it’s just what it brings out of you, the atmosphere brings that out of you, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

 Dalton Pompey Jersey Tweet from @Brewers: #NowWeGo!It���s time to #PlayBall in the series finale of Brewers vs. Cubs.#ThisIsM Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey yCrew pic.twitter.com/d0LaaGvSry

Third baseman Travis Shaw remembered what Counsell told his players on the first day of Spring Training: Stay connected with one another. He told them he wanted them to play aggressively, to embrace the challenges and to find joy in the journey.

“We’re a really close-knit group, and I think that’s part of the reason for our success,” Shaw said. “Guys have a lot of fun. Even in the lowest of lows, nothing ever changed. We kept it loose, and that’s the key.”

For Milwaukee, that means first baseman Jesus Aguilar occasionally smiling into dugout cameras. At times, the dugout scene is more like a street party, and that’s OK, too.

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo home run in the 4th

That’s part of the appeal of this team. Suter was reminded of that recently when he heard fans in the bleachers doing his pregame beat.

When the Brewers clinched a postseason berth in St. Louis, Counsell summoned him to the center of the clubhouse to do his thing.

Think of rap lyrics that are basically:

“When I say Lo, you say Cain!

“Lo! Cain!

“Lo! Cain!”

Tweet from @Brewers: ���When I say Lo, you say Cain!���Welp. Looks like we���re ready to #PlayBall! pic.twitter.com/gHqdWefDsc

Suter has a similar version for Yelich’s candidacy for the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Speaking of Lo Cain, how is he with all of this?

“I didn’t know what to think actually,” Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “He has a lot of energy, brings a lot of energy to the team. It’s a lot of fun. He always finds different ideas to loosen the clubhouse and just make it a lot of fun on the field. He’s definitely nice to have on the team, for sure.”

So is Aguilar, a big man with a big personality who is unafraid to show how much fun he’s having.

“I just try to bring a positive vibe to the team,” Aguilar said. “In this game, guys have a lot of pressure already. Enjoying the game the right way is important.

“It’s love. We’re like a family here. I think that’s why we’re here [in the postseason].”

Counsell played under a dramatically different set of unwritten rules during his 16 seasons in the Major Leagues: Keep your head down. Show little emotion. He has come around to another way.

“It’s been a really important part of the culture of this team for sure, that the emotional part of it comes out,” he said.

Tweet from @Brewers: Series finale coming right up! Time to #PlayBall! pic.twitter.com/6Tesuig1US

He understands why showing emotion was frowned upon. Seasons are long. Staying the course is important. His guys prefer to do it another way.

“I’ve found that it works for these guys,” Counsell said. “It works for our guys, and they need it. So, you let the fun happen, and you enjoy it. It’s not always things I’m comfortable doing, but I don’t have to be comfortable doing it. The Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey y’re the ones that got to perform, and I want them to be at their best to perform.”

Or as Yelich said: “I don’t think it’s any extra effort to show emotion. I think it comes natural. I think the games and the intensity and the situations bring it out of you.”

And that’s a good thing.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies

Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey Bullpens key for Brewers-Rockies in NLDS

MILWAUKEE — With an eye toward how teams across Major League Baseball spent 2018 experimenting with openers, and the way relievers spent the last few postseasons elbowing themselves more and more onto the big stage, this October, and which team survives it, figure to rest as heavily in the hands of relief pitching as perhaps any other.

That was true before the Brewers decided to open the National League Division Series with a bullpen game, Milwaukee opting to tackle Game 1 in the same way the A’s did the American League Wild Card Game. Manager Craig Counsell’s announcement on Wednesday shocked few in the Brewers or Rockies clubhouses, given how both sides paved their roads to the playoffs on the backs of vaunted bullpens.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE — With an eye toward how teams across Major League Baseball spent 2018 experimenting with openers, and the way relievers spent the last few postseasons elbowing themselves more and more onto the big stage, this October, and which team survives it, figure to rest as heavily in the hands of relief pitching as perhaps any other.

That was true before the Brewers decided to open the National League Division Series with a bullpen game, Milwaukee opting to tackle Game 1 in the same way the A’s did the American League Wild Card Game. Manager Craig Counsell’s announcement on Wednesday shocked few in the Brewers or Rockies clubhouses, given how both sides paved their roads to the playoffs o Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey n the backs of vaunted bullpens.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Brandon Woodruff will open for the Brewers. He made 17 starts in Triple-A and four in the Majors this season, but was at his best late in the season out of the bullpen, compiling a 0.73 ERA and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in September.

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Black on Brewers using bullpen in Game 1

“Nowadays in the current game, the bullpen plays a huge part of successful postseasons,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s imperative that bullpen success in playoffs happen for W’s. I mean, that’s just the way it is. It’s going to hinge on that for both teams. It’s going to hinge on that, I believe, in every series that’s played.”

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

In that sense, the NLDS is set to be a showcase. No postseason team asked its starters for fewer innings this season than the Brewers, who enter their first postseason since 2011 with Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress leading the NL’s deepest relief corps. With Adam Ottavino, Wade Davis and Scott Oberg carrying the load, Rockies relievers posted a 3.27 ERA in September. That ranked fourth among NL clubs over the season’s final month. Milwaukee’s 2.70 mark ranked f Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey irst.

“We want to get a lead, get to the sixth inning or the fifth inning, then turn it over to those guys,” Brewers infielder Mike Moustakas said. “If we can get a lead and turn it over to that bullpen, we’re extremely confident we can win that game. That’s how baseball is played nowadays. Most teams have good bullpens, for the most part, but ours is unbelievable.”

Moustakas has seen the modern template work to perfection, his Royals practically inventing it on their way to two AL pennants (and the 2015 World Series title) earlier this decade. Those teams closed games formulaically, with Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Davis forming dominant bridges to the 27th out. The model has since expanded.

Davis is now the Rockies’ closer, and Black will call on Ottavino (who struck out more batters than any NL reliever besides Hader) to extinguish threats in nearly any late-inning situation in front of him. Though Jeffress mostly closed down the stretch, Counsell won’t hesitate to deploy him, Hader or Corey Knebel in high-leverage situations regardless of inning, like the Indians did with Andrew Miller to great success in 2016.

Video: NL WC: Ottavino works into trouble, gets K to end jam

The re-emergence of Knebel, a 2017 All-Star who was briefly demoted in August, provides Counsell even more flexibility. The right-hander earned NL Reliever of the Month honors by holding opponents scoreless over 16 appearances in September, striking out 33 across 16 1/3 innings. Jeffress, who led all NL relievers with a 1.29 ERA and 92 percent strand rate, logged 10 scoreless appearances last month. Hitters went 8-for-94 (.085 average) against Jeffress and Knebel combined. Hader led all NL relievers with 143 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.

“The depth of the roster is one of our true strengths this year, and that’s something that we’re going to lean on the whole way through here,” Counsell said. “We’ve got to take advantage of what our players are good at and what their strengths are and how collectively we are strong.”

How much these strategies have shifts is not lost on Black, Counsell or veterans in either clubhouse. Black noted that when he won the 1985 World Series as a pitcher with the Royals, Bret Saberhagen threw two complete games. When Craig Counsell won the 2001 World Series, his D-backs did so behind historic performances from starters Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

“That’s a stark comparison what we see now, with bullpen games,” said Brewers catcher Erik Kratz. “But nothing has really changed, just the personnel. There were people back in the day who scoffed at relievers in general. All you’re trying to do is put the best pitchers out there.”

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies,
Wade Davis,
Josh Hader,
Jeremy Jeffress,
Adam Ottavino

Brewers-Rockies N Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey LDS positional breakdown

The Rockies and Brewers have one thing in common, which is to say that they each stormed into Wrigley Field in a one-game playoff situation and vanquished the mighty Cubs.

Their reward? One another, in the National League Division Series beginning today at Miller Park. While the Brewers won five of seven games between the two this year, none of that really matters now. Those games were months ago. The rosters are different. The stakes are different — and the Brewers may have baseball’s hottest player.

The Rockies and Brewers have one thing in common, which is to say that they each stormed into Wrigley Field in a one-game playoff situation and vanquished the mighty Cubs.

Their reward? One another, in the National League Division Series beginning today at Miller Park. While the Brewers won five of seven games between the two this year, none of that really matters now. Those games were months ago. The rosters are different. The stakes are different — and the Brewers may have baseball’s hottest player.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Remember, though: These aren’t your older sibling’s Rockies, the baseball-mashing sluggers who could never find another arm. This group can really pitch. Their offense isn’t threatening. It’s not what you expect. It’s what they have. Will it be enough to topple the Brewers? Let’s break it down, position by position.

Catcher

We start with a position that’s not terribly strong for either side, as both the Rockies and Brewers were in the bottom 10 in the Majors in catching value. Interestingly, Milwaukee has actually been going with 38-year-old Erik Kratz, who has a career line of just .211/.258/.363, though he does rate highly in framing metrics. Of course, Colorado has a strong framer themselves in Tony Wolters, and starter Chris Iannetta (.224/.345/.385) is closer to a league average hitter than Kratz is.

Small advantage: Rockies

First Base

Jesus Aguilar had a breakout season for Milwaukee, hitting .274/.352/.539 with 35 homers, and what was most impressive was his lack of meaningful platoon splits. (He slugged .550 against lefties, and .535 against righties, though with a lower on-base percentage.) Ian Desmond hit just .236/.307/.422 along with baseball’s highest ground ball rate and has been worth -1.5 Wins Above Replacement in his two years with Colorado. Consider this an enormous edge for Milwaukee.

Huge advantage: Brewers

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo home run in the 4th

Second Base 

Travis Shaw had never even played second base before July 28; while he’s handled himself adequately there, it’s clear that DJ LeMahieu is the superior defender. Then again, Shaw’s offensive edge is clear — he slugged .480 to LeMahieu’s .428, and holds a 24-point on-base percentage edge — and the Brewers can call upon Jonathan Schoop for platoon or defensive purposes.

Advantage: Brewers

Shortstop

Let’s give credit where its due, in that Orlando Arcia‘s four-hit game in the NL Central tiebreaker couldn’t have come at a better time, but it’s going to take more than that to forget that his .236/.268/.307 season was legitimately one of the weakest lines of any player in baseball. Meanwhile, Trevor Story (.291/.348/.567) put up a season that got him some MVP discussion, adding 110 points of slugging while also cutting his strikeout rate by 9 points from last year. He’s a strong defender, too.

Big advantage: Rockies

Video: Black on Story putting himself into MVP conversation

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (.297/.374/.561, with 38 home runs) is a superstar on both sides of the ball, and concerns that he might be limited by a shoulder injury that contributed to a disappointing August were somewhat alleviated when he came back to slug .564 in September. The Brewers added Mike Moustakas at the deadline, and he’s doing the same thing for Milwaukee (.256/.326/.441) that he always does, which is to pair a slightly above-average bat with average-ish defense. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s still an easy Colorado edge here.

Big advantage: Rockies

Left Field

Finally healthy, David Dahl (.273/.325/.534) has added some badly-needed offense to the Colorado lineup, and the return of Matt Holliday has worked out well so far, especially against lefties. Once you adjust for ballparks, Ryan Braun‘s .254/.313/.469 is about as valuable Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey  as Dahl’s, each five to 10 percent better than league average, so this is essentially a dead heat. We’ll give Braun a small edge just because of how good he was in September, when he led all of Major League baseball with a 62.5 percent hard-hit rate.

Small advantage: Brewers

Video: DET@MIL: Braun smashes solo blast in the 1st

Center Field

Lorenzo Cain‘s return to Milwaukee was a smashing success, as he hit .308/.395/.417 with 10 homers, 30 steals, and his usual elite defensive work. Ironically, last winter we recommended that Colorado sign Cain and move Charlie Blackmon to a corner, upgrading two spots. They didn’t, and Blackmon had a good-not-great .291/.358/.502 season that was a step back from his elite-level 2017 campaign, especially on defense. He did turn it on in September, hitting .357/.421/.625, but Ca Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey in’s all-around game takes the day here.

Advantage: Brewers

Right Field

It almost doesn’t matter who Colorado has here, because Christian Yelich (.326/.402/.598, with 36 home runs and 22 steals) is almost certainly going to with the National League Most Valuable Player award, and so the edge here is his by default. Neither Carlos Gonzalez (.276/.329/.467, a slightly below-average line once adjusted) nor Gerardo Parra (.284/.342/.372, about 20 percent below average) have had terribly impressive seasons, anyway.

Big advantage: Brewers

Video: Christian Yelich named NL Player of the Month

Starting Pitchers

Surely, the baseball world knows about Kyle Freeland by now, especially after his outstanding performance on three days’ rest in the National League Wild Card game. But it’s not just him, because German Marquez broke out in a big way too, putting up a 2.24 ERA with 110 strikeouts against only 16 walks in his final dozen starts. (Only Jacob deGrom had a higher Wins Above Replacement mark in the second half.) Though Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray have been inconsistent, this has been a legitimately strong rotation, one of the better ones in the National League.

The Brewers managed to dig up some solid performances from veterans Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley, but they never did manage to replace injured ace Jimmy Nelson. It’s been a fine rotation. Colorado’s is better.

Big advantage: Rockies

Video: MLB Tonight on Freeland’s outing in the NL Wild Card

Relief Pitchers

This is a good reminder not to worry about full-season stats here, because you might look at Colorado’s relatively unimpressive marks and think they aren’t that strong. Then again, who really cares what Mike Dunn (9.00 ERA) and Bryan Shaw (5.93 ERA) did? They won’t be on the roster, and the quartet of Adam Ottavino, Scott Oberg, Wade Davis, and Seunghwan Oh have been legitimately good.

Of course, the Brewers have Josh Hader. They have Corey Knebel, who struck out 33 hitters against five walks in 16 scoreless outings following a brief August demotion. They have young Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, who combined for a 3.14 ERA and a 25 percent strikeout rate, and they have Jeremy Jeffress, who had a 1.29 ERA all year.

There’s a reason Milwaukee is here without a standout rotation. Colorado’s bullpen is better than you think, but this is the strength of the Brewers.

Advantage: Brewers

Prediction

While the Rockies have a considerable edge in the rotation, Milwaukee’s offense is much deeper, and they have a stronger bullpen too. Brewers in 5.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies

Cra Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey ig Counsell discusses bullpen day in Game 1

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers didn’t release a National League Division Series roster until this morning, but Wednesday of Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey fered a preview: Johnny Wholestaff made the cut.

Yes, Milwaukee will be “bullpenning” for Game 1 t Devon Travis Jersey oday at Miller Park in the opener of the best-of-five series. And that bullpen could be busy again in Game 2 on Friday, since the team’s No. 1 starter, Jhoulys Chacin, will start on three days’ rest for what is likely to be a shorter-than-usual stint.

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers didn’t release a National League Division Series roster until this morning, but Wednesday offered a preview: Johnny Wholestaff made the cut.

Yes, Milwaukee will be “bullpenning” for Game 1 today at Miller Park in the opener of the best-of-five series. And that bullpen could be busy again in Game 2 on Friday, since the team’s No. 1 starter, Jhoulys Chacin, will start on three days’ rest for what is likely to be a shorter-than-usual stint.

Brandon Woodruff will open Game 1. Woodruff is really a starter, having made 17 Triple-A starts and four in the Majors this season, but was at his best late in the season out of the bullpen, compiling a 0.73 ERA and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in September.

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

“Everybody is rested. That’s the first thing,” said Counsell. “And I think for our team, we have — largely, we’re trying to get away from what the word ‘starter’ and ‘reliever’ means. That’s how we’re going to get through the postseason, I think.”

That’s essentially how the Brewers got through the regular season, as well, amassing an NL-best and franchise-record-tying 96 victories (including Monday’s 3-1 win over the Cubs in Game 163) with a starting rotation that doesn’t feature big names but ranked 11th of 30 teams in the regular season with a 3.92 ERA and 22nd in innings per start.

Brewers-Rockies: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

Counsell relied on a fantastic relief corps that finished the regular season fifth in the Majors with a 3.47 ERA and led the way from Sept. 1 to the finish at 1.98.

“We really think when we’re going to put together our pitching staff for this series, every one of the guys we’re adding is going to pitch significant innings in the series,” Counsell said. “I think that’s what allows us to consider different ways to get to 27 outs. … We’re going to share the outs a little bit more, but we really are confident with the days off  Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey in the series and the way we’re coming into the series that we’ll be certainly able to do it.”

Brewers’ quick rebuild built on strong foundation

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Counsell on starting Game 1 with bullpen

Milwaukee employed a bullpen strategy for one notable regular-season victory in St. Louis on Sept. 24, when lefty Dan Jennings faced one hitter: Matt Carpenter. After getting the out, Jennings yielded to rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta, who pit Dalton Pompey Jersey ched through the end of the fourth.

Video: MIL@STL: Jennings retires Carpenter, exits in 1st

Peralta was one of the Brewers’ options for Game 1. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and struck out 13 Rockies in a record-setting Major League debut at Coors Field on Mother’s Day. Then on Aug. 4, he struck out eight more against Colorado and picked up another win at Miller Park.

Video: MIL@COL: Peralta strikes out 13 over 5 2/3 in debut

The Jennings experiment was unlikely to be replicated, since Counsell will probably have a 12-man pitching staff to draw from. On that date in St. Louis, Milwaukee had 14 pitchers available in the bullpen alone.

For those wondering, there is no MLB rule requiring teams to announce their starting pitcher for the next game, although most do it as a courtesy.

“Look, these aren’t going to be one-out appearances,” Counsell said. “These are going to be longer appearances. These are going to be two- [or] three-inning appearances that we think we can get through this with.”

Jeffress OK, expected to play big role
Brewers officials are declining to specify what prevented closer Jeremy Jeffress from participating in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field, where Josh Hader covered the final two innings, including a two-out at-bat against Javier Baez in the ninth inning that seemed perfect for Jeffress.

But Jeffress will be a full participant in the NLDS, both Counsell and general manager David Stearns said.

Jeffress’ agent, Joshua Kusnick, said the matter had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Jeffress has been open about past battles with both.

“He is perfectly fine. He’s on the roster, no restrictions,” Counsell said. “If we feel like we’ve got a win that we can lock down, we can do it [today]. And then maybe we’ve got to scramble in Game 2, but then we’ve got fully rested guys, where we can do it in Game 3, too. That’s a good feeling.

“He is a huge part of it. We talked about how we got Josh a break in late August, and with JJ and the way the games went down in September, we were able to get JJ a rest in September. Now, we feel like going into the playoffs, he is the pitcher who is in the best spot to contribute the most in these series. He is the guy who does bounce back well, and we have been able to get him days off.

“I’m thinking that he could play a really big role. Bigger than I thought after Saturday, when he had pitched a couple days in a row. Now, I’m thinking he can play a huge role in this series. And the fact he didn’t pitch Monday is really important.”

Video: DET@MIL: Jeffress closes 6-5 win, K’s the side in 9th

Melvin a Mets candidate?
The New York Post reported that former Brewers GM Doug Melvin, now a special assistant to Stearns, would interview for the Mets’ GM vacancy in the coming weeks. The 66-year-old led both the Rangers and Brewers to postseason appearances as GM, a role he served in Milwaukee from the end of the 2002 season through Stearns’ arrival at the end of 2015.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jeremy Jeffress

Top 50 Players of ML Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey B Postseason

October is always the most thrilling month for Major League Baseball. The drama, the intensity of every pitch, the late nights that leave you giddily staggered the whole next day. This is baseball’s month to strut its stuff. The game is at its absolute best.

And, more than that, it’s a chance for stars to truly shine. Baseball’s greatest players have had their most indelible moments in October, from Reggie Jackson’s (and Albert Pujols‘) three World Series homers to Madison Bumgarner‘s dominance to Derek Jeter turning into Mr. November. This is the month when you want to see the best baseball has to offer.

October is always the most thrilling month for Major League Baseball. The drama, the intensity of every pitch, the late nights that leave you giddily staggered the whole next day. This is baseball’s month to strut its stuff. The game is at its absolute best.

And, more than that, it’s a chance for stars to truly shine. Baseball’s greatest players have had their most indelible moments in October, from Reggie Jackson’s (and Albert Pujols‘) three World Series homers to Madison Bumgarner‘s dominance to Derek Jeter turning into Mr. November. This is the month when you want to see the best baseball has to offer.

Thus, as the postseason kicks off, we rank the top 50 players competing Dalton Pompey Jersey  in this year’s tournament. Some of these players have been great for years; some have emerged in recent weeks. But all of them are absolutely pivotal for their team’s success. And they are the players baseball wants to show off the most in October. These guys are as good as it gets. If you were picking a team based on trying to win in October, these are the guys you’d pick.

(Note: We are accounting for injury here, which is why, say, Aaron Judge and Kris Bryant might be a little lower than you might like.)

Video: Must C Cycle: Betts homers in the 9th to finish cycle

1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox RF
Either Betts or Mike Trout will win the AL MVP Award, but, as usual, Betts is here in the postseason while Trout is not. So while that debate is a fascinating one … with no Trout here, there’s no question who tops this list.

2. Christian Yelich, Brewers LF
Remember when there was a legitimate debate about who should win the NL MVP Award? Yelich has left no doubt that he’s one of the best all-around players in the sport and that he can carry his team for long stretches, particularly when it matters most.

Video: MIL@CHC: Yelich nets 3 hits, SB in Brewers’ clincher

3. Jose Ramirez, Indians 2B/3B
Ramirez does everything well and can absolutely electrify the Indians, though he slumped in September. He might be the player most likely to introduce himself to casual fans in a spectacular way this October.

4. Chris Sale, Red Sox SP
Sale hasn’t yet had his true postseason moment, but he should have plenty of opportunities this year.

Video: Bregman has 30 homer, 50 double, 100 RBI season

5. Alex Bregman, Astros 3B
With all of the Astros’ talent, it’s Bregman who emerged this year as their top all-around player.

6. Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians SP
You may remember what Kluber pulled off last October. He’ll have more help this time.

Video: NYY@CLE Gm5: Kluber leaves after 3 2/3 innings

7. Jose Altuve, Astros 2B
The reigning AL MVP Award winner hasn’t had his best season this year, but he’s still the leader of this team and one of the most exciting players in the sport.

Video: NYY@BOS: Martinez reaches 130 RBIs with 3-run homer

8. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox DH
Dinged for not paying the field … but the absolute best pure hitter in baseball this year, hands down.

9. Manny Machado, Dodgers SS
One fancy thing to show off for free-agent suitors is a championship ring.

10. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers SP
Here we are again with Kershaw, looking for that perfect October moment and the ultimate breakthrough.

Video: Must C Comeback: Astros tally four in 4th off Kershaw

11. Javier Baez, Cubs INF
In a year in which so much has gone wrong for the Cubs, Baez has been a constant delight and force all season.

Video: CLE@KC: Lindor slugs a home run, swipes 2 bases

12. Francisco Lindor, Indians SS
Adding power to his game has elevated him to the next grade of superstar.

13. Justin Verlander, Astros SP
Every postseason inning he pitches makes his Hall of Fame case that much stronger.

Video: Watch Verlander’s 21 K’s in 21 seconds in the ALCS

14. Justin Turner, Dodgers 3B
He’s the engine that makes the Dodgers’ whole team go — the central figure that the team, when rolling, rallies around.

15. Josh Hader, Brewers RP 
How often can the Brewers deploy Hader? It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in just about every postseason game they play, no?

Video: COL@LAD: Arenado belts a solo homer to left field

16. Nolan Arenado, Rockies 3B
Some shoulder issues have popped up for Arenado of late, but the world is finally understanding just how perfect of a ballplayer he truly is.

Video: WSH@COL: Davis slams the door to clinch playoff berth

17. Aaron Judge, Yankees RF
Judge’s health is obviously a concern, but if he can stay on the field, Judge can turn this Yankees team back into the monster we all thought it would be.

Video: OAK@SEA: Chapman lays out to catch Gordon’s bunt

18. Matt Chapman, A’s 3B 
If he were playing in a year in which there weren’t so many ridiculously well-deserving candidates, Chapman could have sneaked away with the AL MVP Award this year.

Video: STL@ATL: Acuna Jr. belts a solo smash for his 26th HR

19. Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves LF
The kid might be the most viscerally exciting and eminently marketable guy MLB has on display this October.

20. Blake Treinen, A’s closer
Treinen is actually the MLB leader in Win Probability Added among pitchers this season.

21. Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox closer
Remember when everyone was worried Kimbrel had lost a little velocity on his fastball? He just went out and wiped everybody out again this year, just like every other year. 

22. Trevor Bauer, Indians SP
You look at all these Indians starters and you wonder how in the world they only won 91 games.

23. Freddie Freeman, Braves 1B
Freeman slowed a bit in the second half, but he is the one Brave who has been in the postseason before with this organization. 

Video: PHI@ATL: Freeman on going back to the postseason

24. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers CF
The stealth down-ballot NL MVP Award candidate — look at his defensive numbers — has been the other key offseason acquisition for Milwaukee. 

Video: MIL@CHC: Statcast™ measures Rizzo’s 110.6-mph homer

25. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 1B 
Rizzo regressed slightly this year, but only slightly. The guy has been here plenty of times before.

26. Kyle Freeland, Rockies SP
It is possible that Freeland just had the best pitching season in the history of the Rockies’ franchise.

Video: WSH@COL: Freeland on his outing, making the playoffs

27. Jed Lowrie, A’s 2B
There may be no player more perpetually overlooked than Lowrie.

Video: NYY@BOS: Stanton drives in 100th RBI on 38th dinger

28. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees DH
It’s great to have a good old-fashion basher in the playoffs.

Video: OAK@LAA Devon Travis Blue Jays Jersey : Davis crushes his 48th homer in the 1st

29. Khris Davis, A’s DH
Speaking of which … can we turn the AL Wild Card Game into a Home Run Derby?

30. Gerrit Cole, Astros SP
Cole has turned out to make the exact improvements upon coming to Houston that many predicted he would.

31. Mike Clevinger, Indians SP
How many teams in the playoffs would Clevinger — probably Cleveland’s third starter in the American League Division Series — be the ace for? More than half, right?

Video: NYY@BOS: Hicks clubs 3-run jack for 27th home run

32. Aaron Hicks, Yankees CF
Hicks might have been the most underrated Yankee for a few years now, but he finally hit enough homers this season (27) that everyone seems to have noticed him.

33. Mike Foltynewicz, Braves SP
To win the NL East this year, maybe a year earlier than they might have expected, the Braves needed certain players to ascend from “solid” to “spectacular.” Folty did precisely that.

34. Kris Bryant, Cubs 3B
Bryant’s health (left shoulder and left wrist) is obviously a major concern, but if he can get right, Bryant is obviously one of the best hitters in baseball. But he hasn’t really been right all year.

Video: PIT@CHC: Maddon discusses Bryant’s injured wrist

35. Trevor Story, Rockies SS
Story went from “out for the season” with a UCL injury in his right elbow last week to “hitting homers while leading his team on a crazy win streak” in a matter of days. 

36. Didi Gregorius, Yankees SS
Considering how the Yankees have played without Gregorius, there may be no player whose health is more important this entire postseason.

37. Chris Taylor, Dodgers INF/OF 
Last year’s surprise star is another invaluable Swiss army knife for the most versatile team in baseball.

Video: ATL@NYM: Albies hammers a 2-run dinger to left field

38. Ozzie Albies, Braves 2B
With all the Acuna fun this year, it has been easy to forget the Braves’ other young potential superstar.

Video: Must C Crucial: Rox drop 3rd strike, Bellinger homers

39. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers 1B/CF
Bellinger’s numbers have been down slightly from his NL Rookie of the Year Award-winning season, but his talent is massive, and we know he’s motivated to make us forget last year’s World Series.

40. Luis Severino, Yankees SP
Severino hasn’t quite been the pitcher he was last year, but he is the best strikeout starter the Yankees have and is the one guy capable of shutting an entire team down by himself.

Video: COL@LAD: Muncy crushes a 421-ft. shot for 35th homer

41. Max Muncy, Dodgers 1B
Out of all the home run hitters in baseball, it’s still Muncy who leads the Majors with a home run every 11.6 at-bats.

42. Marcus Semien, A’s SS
One of the most underappreciated players in the game, Semien is one of the two major cogs of Oakland’s incredible infield defense.

Video: NYY@BOS: Chapman polishes off Yankees’ 100th victory

43. Aroldis Chapman, Yankees closer
There has been a slight step back this season, thanks partly to injuries, but it’s still a rather small step back. Chapman, after all, remains the hardest-throwing hurler in the postseason.

44. Walker Buehler, Dodgers SP
At one point, the Dodgers were nervous to even call up Buehler. Now you can make an argument he has been their best starter, and maybe even the guy who saved their season.

Video: COL@LAD: Buehler K’s career-high 12 over 6 frames

45. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox SS
The Red Sox have been so good that it’s almost been easy to overlook Bogaerts having his breakthrough season. And he’s still only 25 years old.

46. David Price, Red Sox SP
Price hasn’t had so much a bounce-back season as he has simply stayed healthy, but as he knows, none of that will matter if he struggles in October.

47. Carlos Carrasco, Indians SP
Carrasco might be the ace on some other teams, but here, he’s maybe the Indians’ fourth starter. What a nice one to have.

48. Cole Hamels, Cubs SP 
The initial surge Hamels gave the Cubs after they acquired him ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline has abated, but Hamels is still a former World Series MVP Award winner we’re talking about here.

Video: DET@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo home run in the 4th

49. Jesus Aguilar, Brewers 1B
Aguilar cooled down a bit in the second half, but he has been one of baseball’s best stories this year, and he’s a linchpin of the hottest lineup in the game.

50. Wade Davis, Rockies closer
Davis has certainly has some issues this year, but he’s settled down to be excellent in September, and there’s no question he’s proven he can be counted on in October.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Lineup Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey s, matchups, FAQs for Rockies-Brewers

The Brewers will be well-rested. The Rockies will be battle-tested.

Those teams will meet in a best-of-five National League Division Series after knocking off the Cubs at Wrigley Field on consecutive days in back-to-back thrillers. The Brewers beat Chicago in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker to earn the league’s top seed, home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs and a couple of welcome days off. It was their eighth straight win, dating back to Sept. 23. The Rockies had to play three straight days in three different time zones, capped by a 13-inning, 2-1 win over the Cubs in an epic NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night.

View Full Game Coverage

The Brewers will be well-rested. The Rockies will be battle-tested.

Those teams will meet in a best-of-five National League Division Series after knocking off the Cubs at Wrigley Field on consecutive days in back-to-back thrillers. The Brewers beat Chicago in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker to earn the league’s top seed, home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs and a couple of welcome days off. It was their eighth straight win, dating back to Sept. 23. The Rockies had to play three straight days in three different time zones, capped by a 13-inning, 2-1 win over the Cubs in an epic NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night.

View Full Game Coverage

Over the next week, they will meet at Miller Park and Coors Field for a Suds Series.

NLDS presented by Doosan, Game 1: Today, 5:07 p.m. ET on FS1

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

The starting lineups
Rockies: This is the usual lineup against a right-handed starter. Is this grouping capable of big offensive performances? Of course. Is it capable of outages? Just put it this way: the Rockies are in the postseason with the lowest regular-season batting average (.256) in the club’s 26-season history. But late-inning savoir faire, solid infield defense and, of course, pitching are this team’s calling cards.

1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. David Dahl, LF
5. Trevor Story, SS
6. Carlos Gonzalez, RF
7. Ian Desmond, 1B
8. Chris Iannetta, C
9. Antonio Senzatela, RHP

Brewers: The Brewers were fourth in the NL in OPS but better down the stretch, ranking second after GM David Stearns added Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop to the infield mix at the non-waiver Trade Deadline to give manager Craig Counsell a slew of matchup options. On Aug. 31, Stearns picked up Curtis Granderson to provide similar flexibility in the outfield.

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 2B
5. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Manny Pina, C
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Brandon Woodruff, RHP

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Senzatela, Woodruff to begin NLDS

Who are the starting pitchers?
Rockies: Manager Bud Black said after Tuesday’s game that Senzatela (6-6, 4.38 ERA) is the likely Game 1 starter. “We’ll work through that, maybe as early as on the bus ride up, right?” Black said. That leads to lefty Tyler Anderson starting Friday’s second game on regular rest after his 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 162nd game at home against the Nationals. Lefty Kyle Freeland (17-7, 2.85), who threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s NL Wild Card win, could then be slotted in for Sunday’s first postseason game at Coors Field since 2009. Righty German Marquez (14-11, 3.77) would fall into place for Game 4 on Monday.

Video: NL WC: Black on upcoming series against the Brewers

Brewers: Counsell announced on Wednesday that the Brewers would use an “opener” for Game 1, though he didn’t name him — no surprise, considering the Brewers didn’t reveal who would start Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker at Wrigley Field until three hours before the first pitch. About seven and a half hours before the first pitch of the NLDS, the team said it would start 25-year-old Brandon Woodruff, who made 17 Triple-A starts this season and four in the Majors, but who was best out of the bullpen down the stretch, compiling a 0.73 ERA while striking out 16 in 12 1/3 innings in September. He got knocked around in Denver on May 11 to the tune of seven earned runs on nine hits in three innings of a game in which the Brewers overcame a six-run deficit to win in 10 innings. However, Woodruff only allowed one run the first time through the order of that May game. Everything else happened the second time through. Today, he’s probably just going to face every batter once.

Video: MIL@CHC: Counsell on Jeffress, Yelich in 3-1 win

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Rockies: The Wild Card Game went 13 innings, but Black kept things close to normal. He usually reserved righty Adam Ottavino until the eighth but went to him in the seventh Tuesday and to closer Wade Davis for the final out of the eighth. Righty Seunghwan Oh, lefty Chris Rusin and righty Scott Oberg — all of whom usually appear before Ottavino and Davis when the Rockies protect a lead, were the right calls in extra innings. Expect no drastic changes in how Black will use his ‘pen, and as long as he can ride his starters the way he did during the regular season, the relievers should be in good shape.

Video: NL WC: Davis induces grounder to send game into 10th

Brewers: The tiebreaker offered a roadmap. Starter Jhoulys Chacin made it 5 2/3 innings before Counsell finished the sixth with lefty Xavier Cedeno and Joakim Soria, then used Corey Knebel in the seventh and lefty weapon Josh Hader to finish the game because closer Jeremy Jeffress was unavailable. Those are the Brewers’ “A” relievers, with rookie Corbin Burnes pitching brilliantly lately and available along the way for multiple innings if needed. Hader is the key, after a season in which he led MLB relievers and set a Brewers relief record with 143 strikeouts. But also look for big innings from Knebel, who was so sharp after returning from a late-August demotion to Triple-A that he was named NL Reliever of the Month for September.

Video: MIL@CHC: Hader gets save in NL Central tiebreaker

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Rockies: No. The bullpen struggled while lefties Mike Dunn (out for the year with left shoulder surgery) and Jake McGee and righty Bryan Shaw all dealt with injuries or slumps or both during the regular season. But it’s possible none of them will be on the NLDS roster, especially if Black goes with three catchers. Among the group pitching now, Oh’s September hamstring tweak was the only injury and that’s long gone.

Brewers: No, although the Jeffress situation is worth monitoring. It was a surprise when Hader was left in Monday’s game to face Javier Baez with two outs in the ninth inning and Woodruff warmed up instead of Jeffress, who was unscored upon in 63 of his 73 appearances on the way to a 1.29 ERA. The Brewers did not provide any details about what sidelined Jeffress, though Stearns, Milwaukee’s GM, said Jeffress will be a full participant in the NLDS.

Any injuries of note?
Rockies: No.

Brewers: No.

Who is hot and who is not?
Rockies: It’s an all-for-one, one-for-all offense. They surge as a team and slump as a team. The last two games they’ve scored a total of four runs, but they won the one that counted. Blackmon, Arenado, Dahl and Story came into the postseason hitting, and two down games isn’t enough to scuttle that feeling.

Video: NL WC: Story previews NLDS matchup vs. Brewers

Brewers: You might have heard that Yelich is hot. He is the first batting champion in Brewers history, and his .770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break was a whopping 145 points better than the next qualified player in MLB, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (.625). Yelich led all NL hitters with a .352/.500/.807 slash line with 10 homers over 26 games in September to win the league’s Player of the Month honor. On the other end of the spectrum is Schoop, who delivered a huge moment when he hit a go-ahead grand slam off Madison Bumgarner on Sept. 9, but had a disappointing .577 OPS in 134 Brewers plate appearances. He continued to garner playing time against left-handers, however.

Video: Yelich discusses winning the NL Central

Anything else fans might want to know?
The Brewers won both regular-season series against the Rockies, taking three of four at Coors Field in May capped by right-hander Freddy Peralta‘s 13-strikeout Major League debut, then two of three at Miller Park in August beginning with Eric Thames‘ walk-off homer against Davis. Both Peralta and Thames are on Milwaukee’s NLDS roster bubble. Senzatela made his Major League debut at Miller Park and won it — five scoreless innings, two hits, six  Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey strikeouts and three walks in a 2-1 victory April 6, 2017.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Colorado Rockies