Restoring the rosters: No. 27 – Milwaukee

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This is part of a series articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
Now that we have the obvious bottom three out of the way, I have a group of six teams without much separating them. I’ve decided to go with the Brewers first, figuring that their lack of pitching depth would cost the team in the end.
Yovani Gallardo
Ben Sheets
Manny Parra
Dana Eveland
Tim Dillard
Mike Adams
Mitch Stetter
Dennis Sarfate
Craig Breslow
Joe Thatcher
Ruddy Lugo
Jon Coutlangus
The Brewers have used an awful lot of high picks on big-time arms with very poor results. In fact, with Sheets temporarily out of the league, not one active pitcher drafted by the team has recorded 20 major league victories.
Dillard, the fifth starter here, is viewed as more of a reliever by the club, but he’s gong 10-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts in Triple-A this year. That’s good enough.
The bullpen is very weak, but Adams, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001, might not be such a liability in the closer’s role. He has a 2.01 ERA in 89 1/3 innings for the Padres since the beginning of last year.
2B Rickie Weeks
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Gary Sheffield
CF Corey Hart
3B Mat Gamel
C Angel Salome
1B/OF Matt LaPorta
OF Tony Gwynn Jr.
INF Ronnie Belliard
INF Bill Hall
C Robinson Cancel
The Brewers do possess a better lineup than many of the teams ahead of them on the list. Catcher is the only real problem in the lineup, and it might be that Cancel is currently a better option than Salome, who remains unpolished defensively. Jonathan Lucroy, who is a level behind Salome in Double-A, might prove to be the superior player.
Besides the obvious top-level talent in Braun and Fielder, the Brewers have a lot of depth here. Gwynn can play center, with Hart in right, when the Brewers need to put their best defensive lineup on the field. Geoff Jenkins is still just 34 and could yet be a decent enough right fielder against right-handers. Mark Loretta is another utility option and a better one than Hall at the moment, though Hall can’t be completely written off yet. Top prospect Alcides Escobar is also available.
Some spectacular misses with early first-round picks really hold the Brewers back here. Mark Rogers, Mike Jones, J.M. Gold, Kyle Peterson were all big flops, and 2006 pick Jeremy Jeffress seems on his way to joining the group in part because of a drug habit. Of course, every team has its failures when it comes to the draft. The difference is that it seems to be the Brewers’ only method for acquiring talent. Not one of the 25 players listed above was signed out of Latin America. The Brewers are trying to make up ground there now, and Escobar, who was signed out of Venezuela in 2003, could be a star. There’s a long way to go, though.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.