Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while ripping off your shirt.

Well, the series against the Braves went about as well as @notkenmacha's visit to Gord Ash's bathroom. And while the Braves wore their sweep suits (stolen from Raul Mondesi) on the plane back to Atlanta, the Brewers are left at home trying to figure out why they can't win there.

At least it wasn't as bad as it could have been, though: Yovani Gallardo took a line drive from Jason Heyward off his left shin in the fourth inning, but remained in the game and appears to be ok. SgtClueLs was one of many wondering why Gallardo was allowed to stay in the game, and remembering a similar incident.

Other notes from the field:

  • Disciples of Uecker has a look at what might have been if Prince Fielder had managed to field Jason Heyward's seventh inning double.
  • Colin Fly noted that the top three hitters in the Braves lineup saw 211 pitches in the series.
  • Jason Heyward, Brooks Conrad and Casey McGehee are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting.
  • CoolStandings dropped the Brewers' playoff chances to 11.3%, down from 22.5% before Monday's game.
  • Even with the poor performances at home, the Brewers sold 30,175 tickets to yesterday's game.

The bullpen, which has been a strength at times this season, turned into a major liability in this series. Adam McCalvy notes that the bullpen posted a 16.39 ERA in 9.1 innings of work against the Braves, and Tom Haudricourt says they're "cooked."

It's been a while since we've had this conversation, and I'm surprised it hasn't come up: The Brewers have a bunch of capable relievers in Nashville, whether you want a potentially lights-out guy like Zach Braddock or a more reliable innings eater like Chris Smith, Marco Estrada or Kameron Loe. If the bullpen's issues really are tied to overuse, why not send down a position player (like Adam Stern, who likely won't get off the bench in a non-emergency or blowout situation anyway) and add a pitcher to the bullpen?

And, with the Brewers scuffling at home once again, the calls for Ken Macha's firing will likely heat up again. This week's BCB Tracking Poll, which opened before Monday's game, shows just 20% of voters approve of Macha's work. That's actually up from last week, when it was 13%. Drew Olson doesn't think a firing is warranted at this point, but J.C. Bradbury makes the case for the merits of an in-season managerial change, warranted or not.

At least the Brewer rotation wasn't the problem this week: Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors notes that the 2010 rotation is actually a slight improvement over the 2009 staff, but makes it clear that he hasn't watched or followed much Brewer baseball by making these observations:

  • He lists Carlos Villanueva as the next candidate to take a spot in the rotation, passing over Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan and the entire rotation in Nashville.
  • He lists John Axford as a candidate to join the bullpen over Zach Braddock, Chris Smith et al.
  • He lists Jeff Suppan as a pitcher the Brewers could use as trade bait, along with Doug Davis and Dave Bush.

With another nine runs allowed yesterday, the Brewer team ERA is up to 5.07. That isn't keeping Rick Peterson from self promoting, though.

You can't blame the Brewers' recent struggles on Casey McGehee: He's hitting .357/.449/.548 in May, and has multiple hits in four of the team's last five games (going 10-for-19 with two home runs). Miller Park Drunk wonders where the Brewers would be without him, and Adam McCalvy reports that having him in the #5 spot could eventually force pitchers to throw more fastballs to Prince Fielder.

In injury notes, Adam McCalvy reports that Ryan Braun could potentially return to the lineup tomorrow, LaTroy Hawkins has been shut down and won't pick up a baseball until Monday, and Carlos Gomez will be eligible to come off the DL on May 21.

After a day to rest and recuperate, the Brewers return to action tomorrow, opening a three game set against the Phillies. The Phillies were rained out in Colorado on Tuesday and again in the second game of a doubleheader yesterday, but plan to stick with their scheduled rotation: Jamie Moyer tomorrow, Joe Blanton on Saturday and Cole Hamels on Sunday.

Alcides Escobar went 1-for-4 yesterday and is still looking for his first stolen base. Matt Hagen of The Hardball Times says he's "shocked" by Escobar's lack of steals, but is optimistic about Brett Lawrie developing into a solid major leaguer.

Elsewhere in the minors, Brewerfan.net is reporting that the Brewers have signed outfielder Josh Anderson to a minor league deal, fulfilling their plan to look outside the organization for a player to fill Adam Stern's roster spot in Nashville. In three major league seasons, Anderson has hit .272/.313/.353. The Brewers are his sixth organization in the last four years: He's been in the majors with the Astros, Braves, Tigers and Royals, and was in AAA with the Reds this spring before being released. He hit .125/.125/.175 in 41 plate appearances for Louisville.

On power rankings: Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers holding steady at #11.

Singles Night at Miller Park was a great source of comedy the first time around, and it must also have been a success: The Brewers are planning on doing it again on May 25, and Miller Park Drunk is already getting excited.

In another scheduling note, the Brewers will be making another Sunday Night Baseball appearance on June 6 against the Cardinals. The schedule has been adjusted accordingly.

Around baseball:

Mariners: Placed shortstop Jack Wilson on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Royals: Designated reliever Josh Rupe for assignment.
Yankees: Signed pitcher Tim Redding to a minor league deal.

Yesterday I mentioned Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer, who's out for 4-6 weeks after having his appendix removed. It turns out he diagnosed himself with his iPhone. Isn't technology great?

At one point I felt bad for the Orioles - a young team that's not very good and is in position to get absolutely hammered by the AL East this season. I stopped feeling bad for them yesterday, though, when they called up Corey Patterson, started him in center field and batted him leadoff. Patterson went 1-for-5, raising his batting line to .198/.228/.325 since the start of the 2008 season.

And the Griffey nap saga continues. Not only are the Mariners denying the story, they're also blackballing the reporter for writing it and refusing to out his sources. I was going to write a rant about it, but Craig Calcaterra did a better job than I would have done, and did it in 140 characters. Keith Law had the joke of the day.

Elsewhere in asinine behavior, we have the Pirates. They're routinely drawing "close friends and family" crowds to PNC Park, but apparently the ushers haven't noticed.

At least the Brewers aren't the only National League team that struggled at home this week. Stats LLC notes that National League road teams had won 12 of 13 games coming into play yesterday.

As we continue to look ahead to the 2010 draft, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has a look back at the top picks from the 2009 draft, and how they've performed in their first year.

Happy birthday today to:

Finally, I'll admit it's a little navel-gazing, but I'm already hooked on Carson Cistulli's "Why We Write" series at FanGraphs.

Drink up.

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