Monday's Frosty Mug

So, Mike Rivera is batting .500 since I suggested he should play more. I know it's a small sample size (4-for-8), but it'd be a bigger sample size if he played more.

Win Expectancy Graph
BR Box Score
BDD Recaps

Thanks to Jeff for allowing you to drink straight from the tap with the Win Expectancy Graphs and BR Box Scores over the weekend.

Jim Powell blogged after Saturday's game. He's pretty excited about the homestand so far, and reasonably so.

He also mentions the massive home run Russell Branyan hit Saturday. I was at the game (my first of the season), and from my perspective, it didn't look like the ball actually made the Dew Deck. It looked like it hit near the back of the second deck. Unfortunately, at the ballpark I only got to see it once, and at game speed. Anyone have access to it on video?

Following Saturday's game, Ned Yost took a beating from Beyond the Box Score for allowing Ben Sheets to throw 120 pitches. I understand the logic at play here, but I find myself agreeing with the first commenter, who notes that everything would've been fine if not for the 11 pitch at bat with Lance Berkman, with two outs in the ninth.

Also Sheets related: Another Baseball Blog takes a look at Sheets' hitting and how it impacts a game. He estimates that the difference between Gallardo's hitting (near elite) and Sheets' hitting (near inept) is equivalent to about a .30 difference in ERA. If the swing from top to bottom is that small, maybe I've spent too much time worrying about pitcher hitting.

Dave Pinto notes that Brewer starters are 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA over their last 7 starts. It's probably a little early to say our pitching woes are over, but this is certainly an improvement.

Here's an interesting new stat: The Beane Count. It tracks home runs and walks, by hitters and pitchers, and combines them to form one number to evaluate. The Brewers rank 13th in the NL at present. I rank somewhere near dead last in being able to explain new stats.

While I'm on the topic of interesting stats, Recondite Baseball takes a look at the all time highest and lowest BABIP numbers. Most of these guys aren't huge surprises, but somehow, Gorman Thomas cracked the list on the low end, at #18. How did that happen?

On injuries:

Twins P Nick Blackburn is fine, amazingly, after being hit in the face by a line drive. He may not miss a start.
Hank Blalock had carpal tunnel surgery Friday and will miss at least another month.
J.D. Drew missed a start over the weekend with vertigo.
Padres P Shawn Estes broke his thumb falling down the stairs. The bad jokes here can only escalate.
Angels IF Chone Figgins has been placed on the DL with irritation in his hamstring.
Reds P Josh Fogg has been placed on the DL with a bad back.
Travis Hafner has been placed on the DL with a sore shoulder.
D-Backs 1B Conor Jackson will be out for a few days with a strained quad.
Braves OF Mark Kotsay has been placed on the DL with a strained lower back.
David Ortiz felt something pop in his wrist Saturday and will (maybe already did?) undergo an MRI.

The Brewers aren't the only team that can't win on the road. At The Book blog, MGL notes that the homefield advantage this year is significantly higher than average, and offers some reasons why.

Dugout Central notes a moment from Friday that's indicative of the problem MLB has with confrontational umpires:
In Friday’s game, the home plate umpire, Andy Fletcher, made an emphatic strike three call to Coco Crisp in the ninth inning. The pitch he called actually made the count 3-2. When Coco questioned him if he knew what the count was, Fletcher took off his mask and started screaming at Crisp. Tito came out and the umpire took the offensive with him as well. Instead of acknowledging his gaffe and apologizing, Fletcher acted like one of the arrogant men who seem to have taken over the umpiring profession.
Seriously, aside from professional wrestling, is there another major sport where this would be tolerated?

If this works out, it'll set a dangerous precedent: Last week, the Braves designated backup C Brayan Pena for assignment, and placed him on waivers, presumably hoping to send him to the minors. The Royals claimed him off waivers, kept him on their roster for a day, then DFA'd him again, hoping to send him to the minors as well. If this is possible, couldn't Pena be claimed and DFA'd by teams needing a AAA catcher every few days for months?

Here's something new to check periodically: Baseball Musings has a daily chart showing the probability Chipper Jones will hit .400.

Oh, and here's some fun with misheard lyrics.

Drink up.
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