Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while meeting someone famous.

The only way this weekend's series in San Diego could have been much worse is if Trevor Hoffman had managed to blow the save on Saturday. Scott Miller of CBS Sports chronicled a nice moment between Hoffman and Ken Macha after Saturday's game, and wonders if a save in his former home could be what turns his season around. Anthony Witrado has some quotes from Hoffman after the save.

Over the weekend the team named Ryan Braun (.355/.430/.581 in April) and Carlos Villanueva (who didn't allow a run in 13 innings of work) their player and pitcher of the month for April, respectively. Braun is off to a pretty good start to May as well, going 2-for-6 with a double and three walks.

Meanwhile, Villanueva allowed his first run of the season in the seventh inning yesterday, raising his ERA all the way up to 0.64. His scoreless streak to start the season moved his career ERA as a reliever down to 3.74, with a 3.40 FIP. Ken Macha is citing improved command as the secret behind Villanueva's early effectiveness.

Other notes from the field:

I've been hearing this quote (or a variation of it) a lot lately, most recently from Bill Schroeder after yesterday's third shutout loss in four days:

You're never as good as you think you are during a hot streak, and you're never as bad as you think you are during a slump.

Over the weekend, the Brewers were outscored by the Padres 21-2. That translates to a Pythagorean winning percentage of .013, or roughly 2.2 wins over a 162 game season. At least we know the Brewers aren't that bad...I think.

Meanwhile, Right Field Bleachers wonders if fans are starting to hear the window of opportunity close on the Brewers.

Disciples of Uecker notes that it's still early (too early to abandon hope), but also notes that the Brewers have fallen seven games behind the Cardinals and 4.5 games behind the Wild Card leading Giants. To contend for the Wild Card at this point the Brewers would have to leapfrog six teams.

Hopefully the Brewers can put this weekend's disaster behind them as they head to Los Angeles tomorrow for a series with the Dodgers. Baseball Brew has the list of former Brewers working in the Dodger organization, including Franklin Stubbs.

Carlos Gomez should be back on the field sometime during the series: An MRI on his strained left knee revealed no major damage, and he told Tim Powers of MLB.com that he expects to be ready to go tomorrow.

In the minors:

Here's something that might become a continuing story for Nashville: Saturday and Sunday's home games were both rained out and (as TheJay pointed out to me this morning) it could be a while before the Sounds play another home game, as weekend storms have much of Nashville under ten feet of water. The Sounds are on an eight day road trip to Round Rock and Albuquerque, and are scheduled to return home a week from tomorrow.

We occasionally discuss player/managers here, but what about a player/GM? Jody Gerut was asked for comments over the weekend on Adrian Gonzalez's contract situation with the Padres, and demonstrated an impressive grasp of economics both inside and outside the game of baseball.

At least the Brewers aren't lacking in top tier talent: Beyond the Box Score used this weekend's updated CHONE projections to make this chart showing the distribution of baseball's top 100 players: The Brewers have three, which is tied for 12th.

One of those three is almost certainly Ryan Braun: He's the starting left fielder and cleanup hitter for MLBDepthCharts' April NL All-Stars.

There was much more Brewer news over the weekend. If you missed it, be sure to check out Noah's Weekend Mug.

Around baseball:

Braves: Placed shortstop Yunel Escobar on the DL with a strained groin.
Mariners: Designated outfielder Eric Byrnes for assignment.
Phillies: Placed reliever Ryan Madson on the DL with a broken toe.
Rangers:
Placed second baseman Joaquin Arias on the DL with a strained lower back.
Rockies: Designated reliever Juan Rincon for assignment.
Twins: Placed reliever Pat Neshek on the DL with inflammation in his right middle finger.

Byrnes' sudden departure from the Mariners might not have been entirely performance-related: Byrnes had to swerve to miss GM Jack Zduriencik while riding a bike down a hallway moments after a loss this weekend. That's not the kind of thing you can get away with doing when you're hitting .094/.237/.156 on the season.

From someone who doesn't get it to someone who does: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo gave this quote to Peter Gammons over the weekend, and it might be the best summation of a general manager's job I've ever seen:

"My job is to temper expectations, then try to exceed them."

At the moment, Mike Rizzo looks like a better GM than his counterpart on the Phillies, Ruben Amaro, Jr. Here's what Amaro had to say in response to criticism of the 5 year/$125 million albatross contract he recent gave to Ryan Howard:

The sabermetricians are welcome to have their opinions about our business. However, I choose to ignore their opinions.

It could always be worse: We could be Astros fans. After opening the season with eight straight losses, they won eight of ten to get back to 8-10 overall. Now, they've lost six straight again to fall to 8-16, worst in the NL by a game and a half.

Or, on a personal level, you could be Pirates OF/1B Garrett Jones, who missed time this weekend with an obstructed esophagus.

Sometimes when things are that bad, all you can do is laugh. Bob Uecker is better at that than anyone, and 7th Inning Stache has a top ten list of their favorite Uecker quotes.

I've been mentioning the Star of the Game voting at FanGraphs every day for a month now, even though I'm not entirely sure what they're doing with the final results. With that said, they've used the early results to name Stars of the Month for April, and not surprisingly no Brewers are mentioned.

Did you watch Sunday Night Baseball last night? Me neither. Joining us in not watching was SF Gate beat reporter Henry Schulman, who was taking a stand against ESPN for featuring a New York team on Sunday night for the fourth time in five weeks. Last night was the Mets' third consecutive appearance, and the Yankees will make their second appearance next week. I'm only bringing this up because of a strange quirk: Of the first seven Sunday Night telecasts of 2010, only two won't involve the Yankees or Mets, and the Brewers are in both of them.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Padres. Despite being off to a very hot start and leading the NL West, 7th Inning Stache notes that they've been the free game on MLB.TV more often than any other team, and uses that fact to make the case that MLB sees them as one of baseball's least popular teams.

Speaking of unpopular things, we're continuing to see reaction around baseball to Arizona's new immigration law:

If you read the game threads, you likely know that I'm not a fan of the wave. If you needed a better reason not to do it, here you go: Cub fans do it.

Maybe this is only relevant to me, but as someone who spends a lot of time reading and linking baseball blogs, I found The Baseball Analysts' Network Structure graphs fascinating, and spent much too long trying to figure out which (if any) of those dots represent BCB.

Speaking of interesting posts, Sully Baseball continues to receive lots of feedback from a post from last season about former Brewer Bryan Clutterbuck, who sounds like he's spending his post-playing career helping out in the community.

A weekend worth of happy birthdays:

Finally, I wanted to take a moment today to say thank you. Brew Crew Ball drew 104,574 visits for April, the second largest month in site history. That's also up 34% from April of 2009. Thanks to all the readers, commenters and contributors that helped us reach that mark.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm not feeling harmonized.

Drink up.

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