Mike Woods column: Still no relief from Brewers bullpen

8:11 AM, Apr. 9, 2013  |  Comments
Brewers pitcher John Axford has a 20.25 ERA and allowed four home runs in three appearances this season.
Brewers pitcher John Axford has a 20.25 ERA and allowed four home runs in three appearances this season.
  • Filed Under

Taking a spin around the sports world wishing to thank my biggest fan who, unlike any other person on this earth - including me - loved every single word I ever wrote. Thanks, mom.

News: The Milwaukee Brewers stumble to a 2-5 start after surviving a four Alka Seltzer ninth inning to beat the Cubs 7-4 on Monday.

Views: It's way too early to panic but it's not too early to worry.

Of the red flags currently on display, the offense is the least of your concerns. The Brewers will come around in that department and all will be well - as long as Ryan Braun avoids the MLB guillotine as the investigation continues into an alleged PED clinic in South Florida where his name surfaced in clinic records.

Starting pitching is another matter. The Kyle Lohse signing suddenly looks like a stroke of genius. Yovani Gallardo should round into form and Marco Estrada, based on his performance last year as a starter, should be able to hold his own. But as for Wily Peralta and Mike Fiers, it will be worth watching how long GM Doug Melvin sticks with them if they continue to struggle. Melvin wouldn't want to give up on them too soon, yet he can't afford to have the season slip away quickly, either.

As for the bullpen, it's OK to panic. You have to legitimately wonder if John Axford's days as a closer are over. He had nine blown saves last year to lead the majors, he coughed up a lead on Opening Day and another in the 11th inning on Sunday and has yielded eight hits in 22/3 innings, four of them homers. He has no confidence, and no one on the Brewers can have confidence in him.

While Axford converted 17 of his final 18 saves last season, the Brewers severely miscalculated that it was an indication he was returning to form. He didn't, and as it stands now the back end of the bullpen could again be the Brewers' downfall this season.

News: Heading into Monday night's NCAA championship game, former Badger and Appleton native Brian Butch had already clinched the Bracket Challenge title between he, myself and another former Badger in Dave Mader. Advancing four Big Ten teams into the Sweet 16, and penciling Michigan into the title game, pushed Butch over the top.

Views: Informed of this monumental achievement, Butch said: "As far as the winning bracket, this ranks right up there with the 2010 Big Ten Championship. The feeling that I am feeling right now is pure joy. I am glad to win the first annual bracket challenge. I look forward to the challenge of winning many more in the years to come."

Now I don't know how Dave Mader feels, but the fact that Butch believes beating me counts for any kind of accomplishment can make a guy feel, well, seven feet tall.

News: The Milwaukee Bucks qualify for the playoffs after a two-year absence.

Views: If there ever was less enthusiasm about a state team qualifying for the postseason, I can't remember when. Of course, when you qualify for the playoffs as a below-.500 team, likely a No. 8 seed and the likelihood of a quick elimination courtesy of the top-seeded Miami Heat, it's nearly impossible to even feign excitement.

News: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been cast to play Hall of Fame quarterback John Unitas in the upcoming movie "Unitas We Stand."

Views: Joe Flacco is much more suited to play John Doe than John Unitas.

News: My mother, who passed away Easter Sunday, made the biggest save of my career.

Views: A week after putting my dad's '68 Ford Mustang through a fence and resuming my role as black sheep of the family back in 1979, my friends picked me up the following Saturday to head to another friend's wedding.

There I met a fine young lady from Milwaukee. We talked, danced and had an all-around nice evening. After the festivities, she gave me a ride to my parents house, and from there I showed her the location of the apartment she was supposed to stay at near the old Valley Fair Mall.

She assured me she had the directions down when she dropped me off again and we said our goodbyes, not quite sure if we'd ever see each other again. As she made her way to her destination, the fine young lady lost her way, but found her way back to my house and rang the door bell around 1:30 a.m.

Naturally I was fast asleep in my bed and never heard a sound. My mom, however, heard the doorbell, got up and opened the door to see someone she had never seen before. She invited her in, the fine young lady told my mom what happened and my mom made her a bed on the couch.

I was still nowhere to be found.

The next morning my younger brother stormed into my room. "Mike! You brought home a girl! Way to go!" It took a few minutes for those words to register, and so I sat up in my bed, thought about it for a second and said to myself, "No I didn't." And back under the covers I dove.

A couple of minutes later my brother was back in the room, rousting me. "Mike, get up. The girl is in the kitchen!"

At this point my curiosity was peaked. I walked into the kitchen and sitting having coffee with my mom was the fine young lady I met the night before. We took that opportunity that morning to talk more, get to know each other better and now, one mortgage, three kids and a cranky old cat later, Antonet and I are closing in on 32 years of marriage. And my mom has always been there for us, through thick and thin.

But most of all she was there that night, to open the door and open up the best chapter in my life. Thanks, mom, for everything.

- Mike Woods: 920-993-1000, ext. 232, or mwoods@postcrescent.com; On Twitter @PCMikeW

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
579 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
862 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
1025 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
1279 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports


Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports