Tagged in: Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers Promote Matt Arnold To General Manager

The Brewers announced Thursday that they’ve promoted assistant general manager Matt Arnold, giving him the title of senior vice president and general manager.

David Stearns, the team’s president of baseball operations and general manager, still sits atop Milwaukee’s baseball operations hierarchy but has had the “GM” portion dropped from his title in light of Arnold’s promotion.

The timing of the move likely isn’t a coincidence, as multiple clubs around the game have had GM vacancies open up — with a few still to be filled.

Arnold is a well-respected executive who’d surely have generated interest for clubs looking to lure him away with a promotion to a GM post in their own organization.

Arnold’s promotion won’t give him the autonomy over baseball operations decisions he might’ve been granted with another club, but it’s a notable bump in stature (and presumably in salary) that will make it more difficult for other teams to hire him away.

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“For the past five years, Matt has served an invaluable role in helping to guide our baseball operations group,” Stearns stated in a press release announcing the move.

“He has contributed to every significant decision we have made and has offered indispensable advice and support throughout that time with the Brewers. Today’s announcement formalizes how we have operated over the last few years. This move provides Matt with the deserved recognition of his tireless work and ensures that our baseball operations leadership group remains intact.”

The 41-year-old Arnold initially came to the Brewers from the Rays organization, where he spent nine campaigns in a variety of roles, including director of player personnel.

He’s also worked for the Dodgers, Rangers and Reds over the course of a 20-year baseball operations career, occupying roles in scouting, player development and player analysis along the way.

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Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams named NL Rookie of the Year

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams won the National League Rookie of the Year award on Monday night.

Featuring a devastating changeup and a four-seam fastball that gets into the upper 90s, Williams was practically unhittable during the pandemic-shortened campaign. The 26-year-old right-hander went 4-1 with a microscopic 0.33 ERA, striking out 53 in just 27 innings.

Williams is the first pitcher to gain the award without recording a save or making a start during his award-winning season — reflecting the increased importance of the bullpen in today’s game. He is the first reliever to take home the honor in either league since Craig Kimbrel did so for Atlanta in 2011, and the first Rookie of the Year for Milwaukee since Ryan Braun in 2007.

“I don’t really think that saves are the end-all be-all,” Williams said on a conference call during a vacation in Jamaica. “If I come up in the seventh inning and I go through one through five, I think that that can be pretty valuable, as well.”San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm ended tied for second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

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Williams permitted just one run in 27 innings in the shortened season and struck out 53% of the batters he faced, the highest percentage in MLB history by a pitcher with at least 20 innings pitched.

His changeup was arguably the most dominant pitch in all of baseball in 2020. Opponents batted 2-for-62 (.032) against it, the lowest opponent average on a single pitch this season (minimum 50 plate appearances against).

Williams missed Milwaukee’s loss to the champion Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs because of shoulder soreness.

“I’m doing a little bit of rehab still, but it’s feeling good,” Williams said.

Williams, a St. Louis native, was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2013 draft. Williams teamed with closer Josh Hader to form a shutdown tandem at the back end of the Brewers’ bullpen.

Williams broke into the majors last year, finishing with no record and a 3.95 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He struck out 14 in 13⅔ innings. Cronenworth hit .285 in 54 matches for San Diego, helping the Padres reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Bohm, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, batted .338 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 44 games for the Phillies.

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Brewers, Christian Yelich gets contract extension

The Milwaukee Brewers, despite being in one of the smallest markets in the game, are ready to pay big to keep superstar outfielder Christian Yelich.

The Brewers and Yelich are close to agreeing to a contract extension that will keep him in Milwaukee for the long term, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal added the deal will be a seven-year extension on top of the two remaining years on Yelich’s contract. All told, Yelich is expected to make $215 million over the next nine years with the Brewers.

Yelich, 28, has been among the game’s best players since arriving in Milwaukee two years ago. He hit .326/.402/.598 with 36 home runs en route to winning NL MVP honors in 2018, then followed it up with a .329/.429/.671 batting line and 44 homers in 2019. His 2019 campaign came to an end on Sept. 10, when he fouled a pitch into his knee and suffered a fractured kneecap.

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Clearly, the knee injury is not a long-term concern. Yelich is expected to make his spring debut later this week — he’s shifting back to left field after playing mostly right the last two seasons — and all indications are his knee has healed fine. If you’re going to give a player $200 million, it should be someone like Yelich. He impacts the game at the plate, in the field, and on the bases.

For the Brewers, there was no real urgency to get Yelich signed.

They already had him locked up through 2021 and under team control through 2022. That stems from the seven-year, $49.57 million extension Yelich signed with the Marlins back in March 2015.  

Rosenthal reports Yelich’s new contract will still pay him $12.5 million in 2020 and $14 million in 2021. The 2022 option will be torn up and replaced with a seven-year extension in the $190 million range. The total value is around $215 million and the contract will also include deferrals.

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Brewers look to wrap up playoff berth vs. Reds

The Milwaukee Brewers aim to punch their ticket to the postseason for the second straight year on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds.

Milwaukee (87-70) posted its fifth straight win and 16th in 18 outings with a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati (73-84) on Tuesday. The Brewers moved five games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets for the final wild-card spot in the National League.

A Milwaukee win on Wednesday or losses by Chicago (versus Pittsburgh) and New York (against Miami) would clinch a playoff berth for the Brewers, although manager Craig Counsell admitted he has an eye on the NL Central title as well. The Brewers reside 2 1/2 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, who fell 3-2 in a 19-inning marathon at Arizona on Tuesday.

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“I think we’re scoreboard-watching now, and we’re seeing what goes on in those other games,” Counsell said. “We’ll see what goes on in Pittsburgh and see what goes on in Arizona, too.”

Another stellar September has paved the way for Milwaukee, which rode a sizzling final month of the season in 2018 all the way to within one win of a World Series appearance.

“They’ve recognized what’s at stake,” Counsell said. “I think the common theme in both cases is we were chasing something, and that’s lent some urgency to everything we’ve done. And I think our players have responded really well to that sense of urgency.”

The Reds are dealing with a number of illnesses, with infielder Freddy Galvis, utility man Josh VanMeter and right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Keury Mella under the weather. “I think mine was just like a cold,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said after he fell ill last month. “I don’t think I had it as bad as those guys.”

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Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

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(foxsports.com)- As the Chicago Cubs move closer to securing their first postseason berth since 2008, they continue to enjoy everything about the experience.

They’ll look to keep the good times coming by completing a series sweep with their 10th straight victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

Hours after manager Joe Maddon set up a small petting zoo in the Wrigley Field outfield for his players and their families to enjoy, Jake Arrieta struck out 11 while tossing a three-hitter to become the majors’ first 20-game winner in Tuesday’s 4-0 victory.

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Winners in seven of the last eight, the Cubs (89-62) trimmed their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to three. While it seems likely Chicago will open the postseason with a one-game wild-card contest, it’s poised to build more momentum, enjoy itself and see what happens.

“I think it’s just preparing us for the postseason,” said Arrieta, the first Cub to win 20 since 2001. “It’s getting better as the season goes on. … It’s been a lot of fun. We need to keep moving forward.”

Kris Bryant set a Cubs rookie record with his 26th home run and raised his RBI total to 98 with three more. He’s batting .481 in the last seven games, and .391 in the last six against Milwaukee (63-88).

“He’s going to hit a lot of home runs,” said Hall of Famer Billy Williams, who previously held that club record since 1961. “He’s got a home run swing that’s perfect for Wrigley Field.”

While Arrieta is likely to start that expected wild-card game, and Jon Lester would then take the ball should the Cubs advance, the rest of a potential division series rotation gets a bit murky with Jason HammelDan Harenand Kyle Hendricks (7-6, 4.22 ERA) all struggling of late.

Hendricks will have at least two more chances to prove his worth for any playoff role after going 3-2 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 second-half starts. He gave up four runs on three homers in a season-low three innings of Thursday’s 9-6 win at Pittsburgh.

The right-hander’s best outing since the All-Star break came Aug. 1 when he allowed his only run in two starts this season against the Brewers, lasting seven innings of a 4-2 victory.

Khris Davis is 4 for 9 against Hendricks and batting .355 in the last nine games. Teammate Ryan Braun took batting practice Tuesday but could miss a fifth straight game with a back problem.

Losers in 12 of the last 14, Milwaukee has totaled 20 runs, hit .195 and struck out 87 times during its nine-game skid to the Cubs, who get their first look at Zach Davies (1-2, 6.00).

The right-hander didn’t walk a batter while lasting seven innings to earn his first win in his second career start at Miami on Sept. 7. Since, he’s walked nine while giving up nine runs and 11 hits in 9 2-3 innings to lose two in a row.

“Just losing a bit of the command,” Davies said after allowing four of those walks in six innings of Friday’s 5-3 loss to Cincinnati.

 

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San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers

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The San Diego Padres had been executing better with runners in scoring position in recent weeks, but timely hits have been rare in the last few days.

They’re hoping for better situational hitting to end this 10-game trip on a positive note Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Padres (52-56) won eight of 10 from July 24-Monday, going 23 for 53 with runners in scoring position in the last five victories. They’ve lost three of four, however, going 4 for 27 in those situations in the losses.

San Diego matched Milwaukee’s 11 hits Wednesday, but was 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position in an 8-5 loss to the Brewers (46-63), who were 4 for 7.

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Murphy did have a few reasons to be encouraged: San Diego rallied for three runs in the ninth, Justin Upton was 2 for 4 after sitting out Tuesday with a sore thumb and Yangervis Solarte extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Padre since Will Venable’s 15-game run in August 2013.

San Diego’s Odrisamer Despaigne (5-7, 4.75 ERA) is aiming to win a third straight outing after back-to-back victories over Miami. He had won only once in his previous 12 starts.

Despite Murphy’s glowing assessment, those performances might have been misleading given Miami’s major league-worst 3.5 runs per game – though Milwaukee isn’t much better at 3.9 per game. Despaigne was also excellent in his only start against the Brewers, giving up one earned run while striking out nine over seven innings of a 3-2 victory for the Padres on Aug. 27, though he wasn’t credited with the win.

Matt Garza (5-12, 5.17), conversely, is trying to avoid dropping a third consecutive start for the third time this year. He had three such skids in his previous nine seasons.

Garza — trying to avoid joining teammate Kyle Lohse as the only 13-game losers in the majors — is 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in his last seven outings, walking 13 in the last five.

Though he issued four free passes Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, he was solid otherwise, allowing three runs – all on Anthony Rizzo’s homer – over six innings in the 4-2 loss.

The Milwaukee offense was lackluster as it often has been with Garza on the mound, and he fell to 1-11 when getting two or fewer runs of support.

He hasn’t faced San Diego since 2011 but has fared well in three matchups, going 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Upton is 2 for 15 with six strikeouts versus Garza.

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Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies

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(SportsNetwork.com) – In the second installment of a four-game series of Philadelphia Phillies versus the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, and Cole Hamels hasn’t earned a win in more than a month, he won four straight starts from May 8-23, but is 0-3 with a 3.82 earned run average in his last five appearances.

The Phillies are 1-4 in that span and were hammered by the New York Yankees in Hamels’ previous start on Wednesday in a 10-2 setback in the Bronx. Said so, he has fared well in 12 career starts against the Brewers as evidenced by a 7-3 record and a 3.71 ERA.

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Taylor Jungmann will make his fifth career start for Milwaukee and the rookie is 2-1 with a 2.74 earned run average in four appearances. Jungmann has won both of his road starts and will face the Phillies for the first time.

The Brewers erased a 4-1 deficit in Monday’s 7-4 victory, as Jonathan Lucroy led the comeback with four hits, two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Jimmy Nelson gave up four runs early on and settled down for the win, lasting five innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Francisco Rodriguez posted his 16th save with a scoreless ninth.

Philadelphia lost for the fourth time in five tries last night and is an MLB- worst 27-51 on the season.

The Phillies and Brewers are meeting for the first time this season and are scheduled to play three games at Miller Park in August. Philadelphia had won the past four games in this series.

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