Wednesday's Frosty Mug

If Disciples of Uecker is right and John Axford really doesn't have the stuff to be a full-time closer, then my decision to request this creation from nullacct might have been a little premature.

Some things to read while stocking up.

Apparently a game against the Astros was the cure for what ailed the Brewer pitching staff. Randy Wolf pitched seven scoreless innings last night, becoming the first Brewer to throw seven since Yovani Gallardo on May 1. The quality start was only Wolf's second in five appearances in May, and lowered his season ERA from 5.10 to 4.52.

Meanwhile, Wolf got some early help from Ryan Braun, who hit a long home run off the scoreboard in center in the first inning. Hit Tracker is listing the blast as 430 feet, but it certainly seemed longer. If 430 is accurate, it's Braun's second longest home run of the year.

That wasn't the only good news of the day for Braun: He's also the leading votegetter among NL outfielders in All Star balloting. If the game were played today Braun would be the only Brewer in the starting lineup, but Casey McGehee, Alcides Escobar, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder are all in the top three.

Speaking of good news, Stan Kyles rejoined the team last night ahead of schedule following prostate cancer surgery. The Brewers are now 10-13 when Kyles is with the team, and 8-14 when he's not.

The news is not as good for Doug Davis. He reportedly had chest pains again Monday night, and the timetable for his return is now uncertain.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers have won two games in a row, and Ken Macha would like you to focus on that and forget the fact that he's 98-109 as manager of the Brewers, and still nine games under .500 this season. Macha called it "poppycock" and refused to answer further questions from a reporter who asked about his job status yesterday. The reporter was Andy Kendeigh of WISN, who has video of the incident (h/t Colin Fly).

I'm not sure what's worse: The fact that a question about job security was enough to get Macha to essentially blackball a reporter, the fact that a "job on the line" question was the only time we've seen Macha show any level of emotion while this team crumbles around him, or the fact that he used the word "poppycock."

Even the Racing Sausages are considering other options at this point.

Trevor Hoffman didn't get into last night's game, but Ken Macha told reporters he'll make at least one more non-save appearance before the team considers moving him back into the closer's role.

Meanwhile, John Axford has made himself into a popular and productive part of the Brewer bullpen overnight. Disciples of Uecker has a look at Axford's stuff and concludes that The Ax could be an important piece of the bullpen, but likely wouldn't work as a full-time closer.

In his debut post at Beyond the Box Score, Lar considers the similarities in the early careers of Jayson Werth and Corey Hart, and suggests that Werth's level of productivity might be Hart's ceiling going forward. After reading that story, I checked out FanGraphs' new WAR Graphs feature and created this comparison:

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I'm hoping Lar is onto something.

In other notes at Beyond the Box Score, they have the first draft of their 2010 Catcher Defense Rankings up. Gregg Zaun ranks 64th among all catchers with -1.5 runs defensively, while George Kottaras is 57th with -0.7.

Is the NL Central race close to over? The B-Ref Blog says that four NL Central teams (the Brewers, Cubs, Pirates and Astros) are done.

In the minors:

  • Wisconsin Sports Tap has their latest Farm Report up, with capsules on 27 Brewer minor leaguers, headlined by four rehabbing major leaguers.
  • The Brewers have signed reliever Jeff Bennett, recently released by the Rays, to a minor league deal. Bennett is a former Brewer Rule 5 Draft selection and spent the 2004 season with the Crew, posting a 4.79 ERA in 60 games. He had a 10.97 ERA after three appearances for AAA Durham this spring.
  • If the Brewers are looking to collect more of their former Rule 5 picks, the Rays have also released Eduardo Morlan.
  • On the field, Jake Odorizzi pitched seven scoreless innings for Wisconsin yesterday. You can read about that and much more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • If you're looking for something to do this afternoon, Brewerfan.net's Link Report has a link to live audio of today's 1:35 Nashville game.
  • If you're planning on heading to Appleton to catch a Wisconsin game sometime in the next couple of weeks, Rattler Radio has a look at the team's slightly modified rotation.

The out clause in Chris Capuano's minor league deal will probably be a story every day until the Brewers announce what they plan to do. Brewed Sports says everyone should be fired if Cappy isn't called up. With that said, Capuano's isn't the team's only impending roster deadline:

  • Kameron Loe can opt out of his contract if he's not added to the major league roster by June 5. (FanShot)
  • David Riske has been pitching in the minors since May 11, meaning his 30-day rehab assignment will expire on June 10. On that day, the Brewers will either have to reinstate him to the active roster or designate him for assignment.

Meanwhile, while the Brewers try to figure out what to do with these three pitchers, Baseball Brew wonders if they should also sign recent National releasee Brian Bruney.

On the draft:

On power rankings: SBNation has the Brewers 26th.

Around baseball:

Angels: Placed infielder Brandon Wood on the DL with a hip flexor strain.
Braves: Placed outfielder Brent Clevlen on the DL with a sprained big toe.
Diamondbacks: Placed infielder Tony Abreu on the DL with a wrist sprain.
Dodgers: Placed reliever George Sherrill on the DL with mid back tightness.
Mets: Claimed infielder Justin Turner off waivers from the Orioles.
Orioles: Placed relievers Koji Uehara (elbow soreness) and Alfredo Simon (hamstring) on the DL.
Pirates: Placed outfielder Steve Pearce on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Red Sox: Designated pitcher Scott Atchison for assignment.

A quick correction from yesterday's Mug: Yesterday I reported that the Red Sox had DFA'd outfielder Darnell McDonald. Those reports turned out to be inaccurate - they DFA'd Atchison instead.

With the loss last night, Felipe Paulino dropped to 0-7. Earlier in the night, Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami also lost his seventh game. The two of them are baseball's first 0-7 pitchers since Barry Zito in 2008 (thanks, TheJay). Further proof of the irrelevance of wins: Both Kawakami (4.93) and Paulino (5.08) have lower ERAs than Derek Lowe (5.30), who is 6-4. (h/t to You Can't Predict Baseball, via Baseball Musings)

In case you're wondering, and you know you were, no Brewer starting pitcher has ever opened a season 0-7. The franchise record is five, set by ten noted luminaries. Baseball Musings thinks it's possible Felipe Paulino could lose 20 games.

Above I noted that the Brewers are doing relatively well in worthless popularity contests All Star Voting. It turns out, no one stuffs a ballot box quite like Philadelphia: If the All Star Game were played today, the Phillies would have two starting outfielders and three starting infielders. Two of those starters would be Shane Victorino, who has a .308 OBP, and Jimmy Rollins, who has only played in 12 games. Two other Phillies are in second place.

Today's baseball economics note comes once again from The Biz of Baseball, who looks at both sides of the argument that interleague play drives up ticket sales.

From the "sucks to be you" files: Tens of thousands of fans came to Garden Gnome night last night in Anaheim only to discover a shipping problem had prevented the gnomes from arriving.

Target Field hasn't been the weather disaster many of us thought it might be, but it did have its first squirrel delay last night.

Happy birthday today to:

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a new bus.

Drink up.

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