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Giants/Brewers series preview

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There’s a small, nay, large part of me that really pulled for the Brewers a couple of years ago. The C.C. Sabathia nuttiness was enviable. A hard-luck franchise builds through the draft and international free agency after years of dejection, and we’re supposed to root against them? Pshaw. This is ‘murica. We root for those underdogs. We’ll punch Ivan Drago right in his Rooskie face every chance we get. And whoever was playing against the Brewers back when they were contenders were the Ivan Dragos of the baseball world. Heck, maybe the Brewers are my second-fa....

 

Oh, come on. That doesn’t change a thing. I mean, it doesn’t change much. It certainly doesn’t change everything. Not really. Kind of. Wait.

 

Alright. The Brewers can go neck with a bag of yeast and hops for all I care. They are not friends of the program. It took two images to convince me of that.

 

Seriously, just stop. You’ve convinced me, stray images. Please, no more Bud Selig pictures. I know lawyers.

The once vaunted Brewers pitching staff -- Sheets! Sabathia! Gallardo! Uh, Manny Parra! -- isn’t what it used to be. And by that, I mean they allowed 36 runs to the Giants in the last series between the two teams. Thirty-six runs! Against the Dodgers, we like to call that "the ‘80s." It was an offensive explosion, a prelude to a fantastic, Posey-led July. It was a series that took the Giants from a team scraping against .500 to the team that’s contending for the division title. It was the least tortuous series of the entire season, and it isn’t really close.

More, please.

Here’s the fear, though: After the Dodgers were in town, here come the Brewers. Like, after throwing Emperor Palpatine down some sort of OSHA-unapproved shaft, we get to have an arbitration hearing with an Ughnaught about a worker’s comp claim. The Brewers have nothing to lose. They still have a bunch of good players. It’s not too wild to imagine Ryan Braun getting a home run at a crucial point in the first game, Prince Fielder doing something annoying in the second game, and To Be Announced shutting down the Giants in the last game. That’s baseball. Forty-six percent of the time, the team just under .500 wins every time. If they are wearing uniforms, they’re dangerous. Well, if they aren’t wearing uniforms, you should probably call security, but you know what I mean.

Hitter to watch:

Has anyone realized that there was a singer in the ‘80s who was named Corey Hart? That’s hilarious. I can’t believe no one ever mentioned that. Maybe we should make some sort of reference to "Sunglasses at Night" when he’s up. I get to do it first since I totally noticed it first.

For all of the rage directed toward the Jose Guillen deal, at least we didn’t give up Brandon Belt and Zack Wheeler for Corey Hart, or something like that. Hart’s a good enough player -- he’s also hitting well again after a miserable August -- but he was never a lineup anchor worth emptying the farm for. He signed a three-year extension with the Brewers, so Sabean’s going to have find another 30-slider-chaser to overpay in the offseason.

Pitcher to watch:

I don’t know why Carlos Villanueva has been so bad with such a good K/BB ratio. I haven’t watched him a whole lot. For the past calendar year, though, he has a K/9 of 11.4. He gots the stuff, and he’s only 26. I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and guess that next year is the year that he puts it all together and becomes a top-flight setup man. My confidence is justified because of my jerkish cynicism and pessimism.

Year   Age  Tm W L  ERA  G   IP  H  R ER HR BB IBB SO ERA+  WHIP
2004 30 SFG 2 1 6.39 43 50.2 55 37 36 11 22 2 40 69 1.520

Yeah. That’s what we got for Villanueva. It’s not a colossal, Liriano-sized screw-up just yet. But have faith. Next year, I’m telling you. Next year. And when Villanueva shuts the Giants and the National League down in 2011, remember Steve Finley, man-buzzard, raising his arms in triumph while wearing a Dodgers uniform. That’s what the Giants received in exchange for Villanueva.

Maybe Villanueva won't ever amount to much, but he'll always remind me of Wayne Franklin and Steve Finley.

Prediction:

I mean, how did Mays Field not burn to the ground when the Giants traded for Finley? Was Edgardo Alfonzo that disliked? No. No, I can’t believe that. There was some sort of mass hysteria going on.

Oh, right. A prediction. If the Giants trade for either Wayne Franklin or Steve Finley during this series, Mays Field will burn to the ground. Them’s the stakes.