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On a 2-1 pitch to Brayan Pena with none out, John Lackey threw a pitch on the outside corner. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion called it a ball. Lackey, feeling like it should have been a ball, reacted to it. Hallion took exception to Lackey’s reaction and the two jawed at each other for a moment. The situation had seemingly calmed down and Lackey was on the rubber, preparing to throw the next pitch when Hallion stepped out from behind home plate and tossed Lackey, supposedly for arguing balls and strikes.

This hasn’t been Hallion’s first altercation with a pitcher where he likely had a quick trigger finger. Last year in April, Hallion had an incident with David Price on a blown strike three call. Price got the hitter to ground out and then while walking towards the dugout, Hallion started walking up the first base line towards Price.

Price claimed that Hallion told him to “throw the [expletive] ball over the plate,” which incited the Rays dugout. That’s a claim Hallion denies, calling Price a liar. Price called him a hothead. Price responded on Twitter and three Rays pitchers and Hallion were fined. [click to continue…]

Are the Brewers the better team?

Jonathan Lucroy said, following Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, that he believes the Brewers are still the better team. Of course, that prompted the typical reactionary bashing from Cardinals fans who couldn’t comprehend why he would say such a thing. Even Bernie Miklasz called it “special” as he wrote his article with the comments. After all, the Cardinals just won three of four games from the Brewers who have lost 11 of their last 12 and just gave up the division lead.

What I find disingenuous from a lot of Cardinals fans is that these comments, if the roles were reversed and, say, Yadier Molina was making them, we would be praising him for making the comments and crediting him for trying to rally the troops. Most of us have been saying for the last five months that the Cardinals were better than their results have shown. So why is it so egregiously unbelievable that the Brewers are a better team than they showed us this weekend?

There might be some merit to his comments too, if you take the time to look. The wheels have fallen off the bus lately for the Brewers, but there is more than enough talent on their team to make a charge at the Cardinals yet. The teams are closer than most realize or care to understand. The difference this weekend? The Cardinals are playing better baseball right now. [click to continue…]

Don’t write the Brewers off

John Lackey had faced the minimum through the game’s first two innings, but in the bottom of the third it all came undone. Lyle Overbay singles. Juan Segura singles. A sacrifice and then another single by Scooter Gennett to drive them both home. With that, the Brewers found themselves with a two run lead. Gennett would drive in Segura again two innings later and Jonathan Lucroy would bring him home as well to put the Brewers up 4-0.

This was certainly not how the story was supposed to go yesterday, at least according to what I’d read. Several members of the media wrote missives on Friday morning, in the wake of the Cardinals’ 3-2 victory on Thursday night to extend their newfound division lead to four games, that the Cardinals had just made a statement. The Cardinals were going to win the division and get to the playoffs once again. The listless Brewers stood no chance. They were little more than a speed bump on the path to victory.

The Brewers were packing it in! It was all over! Time to cruise into October. Or so they said. [click to continue…]

Why call up Scruggs if you’re playing Descalso?

It all started innocently enough and then I apparently needed more than 140 characters to explain my perspective. I tweeted, “What was the point in calling up Scruggs if not to start when Adams doesn’t?”

I questioned the reason for calling up Xavier Scruggs if you weren’t going to play him as Matt Adams‘ true backup. The argument we were given by the organization was that we needed someone to play when Adams needed some rest and we didn’t want to have to play someone out of position.

Those arguments became moot today when the lineups were released and Daniel Descalso, a middle infielder by trade, finds himself starting at first base. So I had to question, why bother calling up Scruggs if you aren’t going to play him? Here are some of the arguments I got. [click to continue…]

Scruggs gets the call

Xavier Scruggs joins Michael Wacha today as guys added to the Cardinals’ 25 man roster today. The latter was expected, the former? Maybe not so much. At least not yet.

With Memphis in the middle of the Pacific Coast League playoffs and John Mozeliak putting importance on having prospects compete in their minor league playoffs, nobody was expecting Scruggs to get a call before Memphis was eliminated. However, the needs of the big league club seem to have outweighed Memphis’ at this point in time. The Triple-A Redbirds’ lineup, already missing Randal Grichuk who had hit .259 with 25 home runs and 71 RBI for them, will now be missing Scruggs who hit .286 with 21 homers and 87 RBI.

For Scruggs, it’s his fifth straight minor league season with 20 or more home runs. The last two years it’s seemed he’s been able to take a step from being just a masher to being a legitimate threat with the bat in all situations. Posting OBPs of .376 last year in Springfield and .370 again this year for Memphis. [click to continue…]