Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while waiting out your lag period.

So, as noted in this FanShot, Ryan Braun called out the front office yesterday regarding the current situation with the Brewer rotation, highlighted by poor starts by Seth McClung and Mike Burns over the weekend. I understand the anxiety, but let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture:
  • Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Suppan and Braden Looper all pitched well in their most recent trip through the rotation, allowing a combined four runs in three starts. Gallardo is a true ace and Suppan and Looper are at least as good as most of the pitchers who will likely be available for a price the Brewers are willing to pay at this point.
  • As noted in the Braun link above, Dave Bush threw 33 pitches off of a mound yesterday and is making strides in his rehab. He's expected to be able to return around July 20.
  • Manny Parra had a good start in AAA over the weekend and Jordan is making the case for his return. Parra could make one more AAA appearance and still be ready the next time the Brewers need a fifth starter, on July 11.
  • Mike Burns did not pitch well yesterday but, of his four extended appearances this season, yesterday's game was the only really bad one, and three productive appearances out of four isn't all that bad for a guy who essentially becomes your sixth starter.
  • And, for whatever it's worth, the Brewers still haven't given a shot to Mark DiFelice, as discussed at Brewers Bar and Brewerfan.net.
As such, I'm inclined to agree with Mike Woods of the Appleton Post-Crescent, who thinks the Brewers should stand pat.

Would any of us have been that upset about this weekend's series if the Brewers had found a way to win Friday? Over at Beyond the Box Score, jhmoore looks at the call that ended the game in the tenth inning, and uses it as a launching pad for a discussion on umpire inconsistency and the alternatives. The Brewers backed themselves onto the ledge on Friday, walking Milton Bradley and Geovany Soto to load the bases, but that doesn't excuse the fact that the umpires shoved them off of it.

The Brewers struggles this weekend can't be blamed on Casey McGehee, who went 9-for-19 against his former team and raised his OBP to .396. At current pace, McGehee might actually be the Brewers' best option to lead off games most days. The Chicago Tribune says McGehee could have been a nice fill-in for Aramis Ramirez.

With that said, the Brewers have an opportunity to make up lost ground this week, as they open a series with the Cardinals tomorrow. How important is this series? That depends on who you ask. Adam McCalvy asked both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Here's what Braun said:
"It's crucial," said Braun, who along with Prince Fielder was named to the NL All-Star team on Sunday. "We don't want to dig ourselves too big of a hole."
And Fielder:
"It's important, but it's still a long season," he said. "Hopefully, we can come out all right, but if not, that's just the way it is. I don't want to put too much pressure on the situation. It's early. We have a long way to go."
Braun and Fielder may also have differing opinions on the Home Run Derby. The Inquisitr is reporting that Prince Fielder is interested in being a part of the competition, but Ryan Braun is not.

You've probably heard by now that both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder were selected to the NL All Star team. There was a little less fanfare for FanGraphs' defensive All Star team, but both J.J. Hardy and Mike Cameron are on it.

The Brewer schedule is pretty tough this week, with division leaders St. Louis and Los Angeles visiting, but it gets easier from there. In fact, Purple Row cites the Brewers' weak schedule the rest of the way when naming them the favorites to win the NL Central.

In the minors:
  • Project Prospect is listing Brett Lawrie as a hitter who is significantly better than his competition in the Midwest League. Lawrie could be a candidate to finish the season at Brevard County, before possibly playing in the Arizona Fall League.
  • For now, though, Lawrie is teammates with Lorenzo Cain (#7 in our Community Prospect Rankings), who is continuing his rehab assignment.
Just one Power Ranking note: The Hardball Times' Dartboard has the Brewers at #14.

Around the league:

A's: Acquired Scott Hairston from the Padres for two minor league pitchers and a PTBNL.
Blue Jays: Placed reliever Scott Richmond on the DL with shoulder soreness and designated infielder Russ Adams for assignment.
Braves: Placed Kelly Johnson on the DL with wrist tendinitis.
Cubs: Signed Casey Fossum to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Placed Eric Milton on the DL with a back injury.
Indians: Designated Matt Herges for assignment and signed Bobby Livingston to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Placed reliever Chris LeRoux on the DL with shoulder inflammation and signed Brendan Donnelly.
Nationals: Designated Jesus Colome for assignment.
Padres: Placed Henry Blanco on the DL with a hamstring strain and designated reliever Edwin Moreno for assignment.
Phillies: Designated reliever Jack Taschner for assignment.
Yankees: Placed Chien-Ming Wang on the DL with a shoulder issue.

Ever wonder what would happen if a team were built just to beat the Brewers? Sheffield's House attempted to put together a starting lineup of Brewer killers.

Oh, and happy birthday to Willie Randolph and former Brewer hitting coach Jim Skaalen, who both turn 54 today.

Drink up.
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