Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while spotting the Cubs fans.

For the second straight day yesterday Trevor Hoffman couldn't hold a 4-3 ninth inning lead, continuing to raise questions about his long-term effectiveness and his future in the closer's role. Ironically enough, if the Brewers have a lead in the ninth inning of the first game in San Diego, Ken Macha said someone else will close the game. Drew Silva of Hardball Talk speculates that Hoffman might be losing the closer's job, but I think it has more to do with the fact that Hoffman has thrown 20+ pitches each of the last two days. Here's some other stuff about it:

For whatever it's worth, Hoffman's performance yesterday didn't look nearly as lost and helpless as he looked on Tuesday. The home run he allowed to Ryan Doumit was the only hit he allowed in the inning, and he retired three of the next four batters (pitching around an Akinori Iwamura walk) to get out of the inning. I know at this point I've probably slid into the "Hoffman Apologist" role, but for some reason I'm still not quite on board with the movement to remove him.

Meanwhile, a frequently maligned bullpen (see @notkenmacha) actually came together to put on a pretty decent performance yesterday. With Chris Narveson pulled after five innings, six Brewer relievers combined to pitch nine innings, and allowed just two runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out 13.

Also while @BrewCrewBabe noted that burning out the bullpen right before a west coast trip probably isn't the best-case scenario, they're actually in relatively decent shape: With Randy Wolf pitching eight innings on Tuesday, Trevor Hoffman is the only reliever who's pitched on back-to-back days. Manny Parra is probably also unavailable after pitching three innings, but there still should be five available arms tonight.

Of course, one of those arms is Jeff Suppan's. I think it says a lot about the team's confidence in Suppan that they allowed Parra to hit for himself (with George Kottaras on the bench) in the 13th inning instead of bringing in Suppan.

Other notes from the field:

Of course, yesterday's Brewer game was the final broadcast for Bob Uecker before tomorrow's scheduled heart surgery. If you'd like to send a get well message to Ueck, here's the link to do that. Meanwhile, Wezen-ball has a chart showing Uecker's place alongside some of the greatest broadcasters in baseball history.

Now, it's off to the west coast for a week and a half of 9 pm starts in San Diego, LA and Arizona. Adjust your sleep cycle accordingly. Gaslamp Ball had a few questions for Nicole about the Brewers. Before you settle in for your afternoon nap, check back here for her Padres series preview.

The Brewers will be playing the opening game of this weekend's series without Casey McGehee. He remained in Milwaukee following yesterday's game to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He's expected to rejoin the team on Friday.

They might also be without Jim Edmonds. He injured his back running the bases in the 13th inning, made a slow play back to the infield in the 14th and would have been replaced defensively in the 15th if the game had gotten that far. I'm sure he'll be reevaluated today, but I wouldn't expect him to play tonight - if nothing else, a cross-country flight after the game probably didn't help matters.

In the minors: Zelous Wheeler made MLB Depth Charts' honorable mention in their Under the Radar Minor League NL Hitting Performance of the Week award, hitting .478 with two home runs and nine RBI between April 21 and 27. Maybe next week he can be a candidate for the "Guy Who Had A Pretty Good Tuesday Despite A Somewhat Lackluster Monday and The Fact That No One Really Expected Much From Him" award.

I got an email this morning from StadiumJourney.com, asking me to mention their new review of Miller Park, and inviting all of us to weigh in with our reviews as well. The site looks great, but the Miller Park rating (3.4 stars) seems a little low. Let's go fix it.

Elsewhere in rankings:

With the long game and whatnot, it turned into a pretty busy day around here yesterday, and a couple of great posts might have gotten back-burnered a bit. If you missed them yesterday, do yourself a favor and check out this Pitch f/x FanPost on Trevor Hoffman's changeup and TheJay's post on the anniversary of Chad Moeller hitting for the cycle.

Around baseball:

Giants: Signed infielder Angel Berroa to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Designated infielder Kevin Frandsen for assignment.

No matter how bad things get, they could always be worse: We could, for example, have Ned Colletti as our general manager. Despite the fact that Matt Kemp, Colletti's rising star outfielder, is one of the most productive hitters in the NL this season, Colletti recently called Kemp out on the radio for some defensive and baserunning miscues.

Maybe the Mug needs a "Major League Baseball doesn't get it" section. Yesterday they unveiled some rule changes for the 2011 All Star Game:

  • The DH, which had previously only been used in AL parks, will now be used in every All Star Game. I'm fine with this one.
  • Since managers won't need as many pinch hitters, they can probably get by with a smaller roster, right? Nope - they're adding a position player to both rosters instead.
  • And of course, the dumbest All Star Game rule, tying World Series home field advantage to the game, is still in place.

On this day in 2001, Geoff Jenkins hit two home runs in the Brewers' 10-0 victory over the Expos. Jenkins, who had homered three times the previous day, tied a major league record with five in two days.

And on this day one year ago, Yovani Gallardo had one of the greatest pitching performances in Brewer franchise history, pitching eight shutout innings with two hits and eleven strikeouts and hitting a solo home run in the Brewers' 1-0 victory over the Pirates.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back on the bus. (h/t Pocket Doppler)

Drink up.

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