Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while listening to "Maneater."

In a somewhat surprising move, we have a new Brewer today. Tom Haudricourt is reporting the Brewers have placed LaTroy Hawkins back on the DL with shoulder weakness and called up reliever Mike McClendon from Nashville (FanShot).

McClendon was the Brewers' tenth round selection in 2006 and has been having a great season pitching out of the bullpen in Huntsville and Nashville, where he's posted a combined 2.06 ERA and 1.071 WHIP in 70 innings. He'll strike out some (7.6 per nine innings this season), but his control (1.9 BB/9) and ability to keep the ball in the park (just one home run allowed this season) have been the primary sources of his value. With the Brewers needing several pitchers again last night, he could be called upon to debut today.

Elsewhere in surprises, Ryan Braun made a pinch hit appearance in the eighth inning of last night's game (and struck out with the bases loaded), and is expected to return to the lineup today. Braun didn't look very comfortable during his appearance last night and didn't stay in the game to play the field, but Jordan Schelling said he looked good during BP.

That wasn't last night's only good injury news, though: Corey Hart also returned to the lineup (going 0-for-3 with a walk). Prince Fielder also appeared in his 300th consecutive game.

Casey McGehee is getting hot: He's hitting .333/.382/.600 in his last sixteen games, is currently riding a six game hitting streak and he tied a career high with four hits last night.

Another day, another note on HBPs. Prince Fielder was hit for the 20th time last night, retaking the major league lead. The Brewers' single season record is 25 (held by Fernando Vina). Dave Bush also hit a batter (the 58th of his career, extending his franchise record), and both benches were warned after Kameron Loe threw behind a batter in the ninth inning. Plunk Everyone has much more.

The HBP wasn't Dave Bush's most egregious offense, however: He also allowed four consecutive solo home runs in the fourth inning, turning a 2-0 Brewer lead into a 4-2 Brewer deficit they never recovered from. The Brewers Bar noted that Bush had been getting lucky with some fly ball outs, and credits last night's meltdown to regression. The Brewers are just the seventh team ever to allow four consecutive homers.

Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless inning last night, and tried to kill his replacement in the closer role. This is from Adam McCalvy's Twitter:

Seen outside Miller Park: Hoffman driving a cart with an exercise bike strapped to the back and Axford riding up top. Wish I had a pic

Other notes from the field:

  • The Brewers only scored in one inning last night against Daniel Hudson, but probably had reason to expect more from the inning: After the Brewers started the second inning with four straight hits, Chris Dickerson made the first out when he fell down rounding second, and the final out was recorded on a questionable call when Alcides Escobar was doubled off following a Jonathan Lucroy lineout.
  • Arizona has now won three straight games. Their longest winning streak of the season is four games. They also haven't swept a series of three games or more all season.
  • Dave Bush (classy), Casey McGehee and Adam LaRoche are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting.
  • Here are the MLB.com video highlights.
  • The Brewers drew 29,611 fans last night, passing the 2 million mark for the season.
  • TheJay reports that last night's starting outfield (Lorenzo Cain, Chris Dickerson and Corey Hart) tied a Brewer record for the tallest outfield.

TheJay also sent me this note about today's day game:

The Brewers are 14-26 (.350) in day games this season, ahead of only the Pirates (11-21, .344) and Diamondbacks (9-22, .290) in the Major Leagues.

Carlos Gomez is still doing everything he can to deny having a concussion, and is getting ready to begin a rehab appearance with Nashville tomorrow. If all goes well, he could return to the Brewers in a week. In the interest of roster expediency, though, it might make sense to wait until rosters expand on September 1 to activate him.

Gomez is one of 15 Brewers to spend time on the DL this season. This MLB.com story notes that the Brewers lead the NL Central in both players DL'ed (15) and games missed (556) this season. Adam McCalvy notes that the numbers are a little deceiving, though, because a fair number of those days have been racked up by guys like Jody Gerut, Marco Estrada, Doug Davis and LaTroy Hawkins.

If you hadn't already guessed it, here's confirmation: MLB Trade Rumors' look at the Brewers projected 2011 rotation would suggest the team could use some help out there. Rob Neyer says there will be help available on the free agent market, but says "the target for 90 wins is probably 2012 or '13 rather than '11."

The picture is even less optimistic at Baseball Reflections, where Kenn Olson says the Brewers' window of opportunity has closed, but the team has "an air of false optimism" to keep the fans from leaving.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 3-2 last night. One of those wins came from the AZL Brewers, who beat the AZL Cubs 14-4 behind a 3-for-5 night from catcher Tyler Roberts, who had two doubles and a home run. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Nashville also picked up a win last night, coming from behind in the top of the ninth to beat Las Vegas 6-4. Erick Almonte had the game winning single.
  • Mat Gamel might be starting to put it together in Nashville: View From Bernie's Chalet notes that he's hitting .312/.385/.494 in AAA and joins Wisconsin Sports Tap in making the case that he should get a shot at the big leagues in 2011.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look back at his preseason Top 20 Prospect list for the Brewers, and notes (among other things) some nice seasons from Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain and others. (FanShot)
  • Wisconsin outfielder Khris Davis has eighteen home runs on the season, and is closing in on the team record of 21. Chris Mehring notes, though, that Davis still needs 13 more to tie the all time Appleton record, set in 1941.
  • A friend of mine was in Davenport last night to watch the Timber Rattlers play the Quad Cities River Bandits, and sent me a somewhat troubling report on catcher Cameron Garfield. He tells me Garfield flipped off a fan in the stands, shouted obscenities after striking out and yelled at third baseman Cutter Dykstra on the field after a missed play. Garfield is having a rough season (hitting just .237/.280/.312 in 334 PAs), but is still very young for the Midwest League (he won't turn 20 until May) and apparently has some growing up to do.

Yesterday I mentioned that Tuesday was team photo day at Miller Park. John Steinmiller has a great post with pictures and video from the event.

I've mentioned before that I'll be attending Miller Park Drunk's Pants Party on August 29, and you should too. If you needed more encouragement, here's some from Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs/U.S.S. Mariner and Larry Granillo of Wezen-ball, who will also be in attendance.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Placed Jeff Suppan on the DL with a groin strain.
Giants: Placed shortstop Edgar Renteria on the DL with a bicep strain and acquired infielder Mike Fontenot from the Cubs for a minor leaguer.
Red Sox: Placed catcher Kevin Cash on the DL with a hamstring injury.

The Cubs are playing the Giants this week, so Fontenot just picked up his stuff and changed clubhouses. This is the third time in three seasons the Giants have made a trade with their current opponent, including the Ray Durham deal in 2008.

It seems like there's a pretty good chance Ken Macha will be let go following the season after just two years on the job, which isn't exceptionally unusual in today's game. At U.S.S. Mariner, Carson Cistulli notes that the median major league manager has been in his current position for less than three full seasons.

The Brewers still haven't struck a deal with first round pick Dylan Covey, but it could always be worse: Dodgers first round pick Zach Lee says he hasn't heard from the Dodgers since draft day. Lee is expected to play football for LSU this fall, and it's believed the Dodgers knew they wouldn't be able to sign him when they selected him.

There's been a lot of talk this week about comments Brandon Phillips made about the Cardinals and the fight that ensued. It's worth noting, though, that the Cardinals got the last laugh: They swept the series to retake the lead in the Central.

In the comments of a Mug last week we discussed the possibility that Ben Sheets could return to the Brewers once he's done rehabbing from his flexor tendon surgery. I suppose that reunion is still possible, but it will have to wait until 2012 at the earliest: Sheets also underwent Tommy John surgery this week, and any effort to rehab will likely be complicated by dealing with both issues at the same time.

On this day in 1994, the Major League Baseball Players Association went on strike, ending the season.

On this day in 1999, the Brewers fired manager Phil Garner and replaced him with Jim LeFebvre. With 563 wins, Garner is still the winningest manager in franchise history.

Happy birthday today to 1953-62 Milwaukee Brave Bob Buhl, who would have turned 82.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm missing the joust.

Drink up.

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