Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while finding another scapegoat.

Chris Narveson avoided his traditional first inning jam yesterday and pitched a great game, allowing just four hits and a walk while pitching eight shutout innings in a 3-0 Brewer victory. After the game, Narveson told reporters he and Jonathan Lucroy simulated facing the first two batters in the bullpen in an effort to change something up to avoid the first inning troubles that have plagued him this season.

Carlos Gomez went 1-for-4 at the plate yesterday, struck out twice and collided with Alcides Escobar while chasing a popup (thankfully, both players were fine). Anthony Witrado has a look at Gomez's steady slide down the order and out of the lineup. Gomez's first month as a Brewer wasn't all bad, but he's gotten progressively worse each month since:

Month PA OBP SLG
April 74 .310 .463
May 55 .273 .358
June 62 .250 .304

On the other end of the spectrum we have Rickie Weeks: Weeks tied a career high with four hits yesterday and is now hitting .315/.415/.581 in his last 31 games.

Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a recap of this weekend's games, if you missed them. Here are the other notes from the field:

  • Rickie Weeks led off the game with a home run yesterday and now leads the major leagues with four such shots.
  • Weeks was also hit by two pitches on Friday, and Plunk Everyone reports he's now just one HBP away from tying the Miller Park record.
  • Joe Inglett hit a pinch hit triple last night, and TheJay noted that he's now just the sixth player ever to amass three pinch hit triples in a season.
  • Chris Narveson, Rickie Weeks and Casey McGehee are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
  • CoolStandings has the Brewers' playoff chances at 4.4%, the highest they've been since May 20.
  • Here are yesterday's MLB.com video highlights.
  • 41,995 fans attended yesterday's game, a sellout for the second consecutive day.

If the Brewers can take one of three from the Astros this week they'll finish June with a winning record, their first winning month since May of 2009 (unless you count October 2009, when they went 3-1). The recent winning trend has inspired a fair amount of renewed optimism, and Noah used his Weekend Mug to let us know why he's still hopeful.

This weekend's most interesting read might have come from Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, who sat down with Mark Attanasio and asked him about the trading deadline, next year's payroll (he expects it to hold steady), Prince Fielder, Trevor Hoffman and more.

Meanwhile, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis are among the leaders on a team you don't want to make: Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has them as the first two starters on his Alvin Davis All Stars. The Brewers Bar wonders if it's too early to regret signing Wolf.

Davis headlines a busy weekend of injury reports:

  • Davis will make a third rehab start, this time pitching for Wisconsin on Wednesday (FanShot). Davis posted a 1.12 ERA in two starts for Nashville, so I'm not sure what he stands to gain by pitching again at a much lower level.
  • Jody Gerut was able to take batting practice on Friday. His next step is likely a rehab assignment, but no timetable for that has been mentioned.
  • LaTroy Hawkins reports progress in his throwing program and is ready to throw off a mound again. He'll accompany the team to St. Louis, then could be sent on a rehab assignment.

For once, the trade rumor front has the Brewers as buyers: Ken Rosenthal reports the Blue Jays are interested in Brett Lawrie, and suggests the Brewers could pull the trigger on a deal if the Jays are willing to offer pitchers Brett Cecil or Shawn Marcum. Marcum is 28 years old and is the ace of the Jays' staff, posting a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts this season. He's currently in his first arbitration season, so he has two more years under team control. Cecil is 23 and has a 4.39 ERA in his first full season: He's under organizational control for five more years. Either would go a long way towards stabilizing the Brewer rotation.

Kameron Loe pitched two scoreless innings over the weekend, extending his scoreless streak to 4.1 innings and lowering his ERA to 0.59. Tom Haudricourt has a look at his disastrous 2009 season in Japan and his devastating fastball.

Zach Braddock retired the only batter he faced on Saturday via strikeout, and has now K'd 19 hitters in 11.1 major league innings. Baseball America (subscriber only) has a look at the events surrounding his callup.

Ryan Braun was in attendance at the opening of his new restaurant in Lake Geneva on Thursday, and told Jordan Schelling he's in Lake Geneva on every off day. Braun went 0-for-4 yesterday, 2-for-11 over the weekend and is hitting just .277/.317/.404 in June, but the updated ZiPS projections still have him fifth among major leaguers with 76 extra base hits expected for the rest of the season.

In the minors: The affiliates went 3-2 last night, and you can read all about it in today's Minor League Notes. Helena and Arizona both won again yesterday, improving their records to a combined 12-1.

Around baseball:

Astros: Designated pitcher Josh Banks for assignment.
Cardinals: Are expected to sign reliever Renyel Pinto to a minor league deal.
Cubs: Designated third baseman Chad Tracy for assignment and suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely.
Dodgers: Designated pitcher Charlie Haeger for assignment.
Mariners: Placed 1B/DH Mike Sweeney (back spasms) and pitcher Shawn Kelley (elbow inflammation) on the DL and acquired Russell Branyan from the Indians for two minor leaguers.
Marlins: Designated pitcher James Houser for assignment.
Red Sox: Placed second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the DL with a broken left foot and acquired IF/OF Eric Patterson from the A's for a minor league pitcher.

The Zambrano suspension above came after an ugly incident in the Cubs dugout on Friday with Derrek Lee. The Cubs haven't announced how long Zambrano will be out, but say they're sending him back to the bullpen when he returns.

Two unrelated notes on pitch counts today: First, Don't Bring In The Lefty has an extended look (and charts) on the practice and how it's changed over time. Second, the Diamondbacks are going to give Edwin Jackson a few extra days of rest after allowing him to throw 149 pitches while completing a no-hitter Friday night.

I'm not sure why this fascinates me, so I'll pass it along and maybe it'll fascinate you too: The Mets and Marlins open a series in Puerto Rico tonight, playing regular season games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium for the first time since 2004.

On this day in 1998 the Brewers lost to the White Sox 10-8 despite a five hit day for Jeff Cirillo. He had four singles and a double, but scored just one run.

A boatload of happy birthdays from this weekend:

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

Drink up.

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