Thursday's Frosty Mug

This was one of three ninth inning defensive miscues that nearly cost the Brewers yesterday's game and a series sweep over the Cardinals.

Some things to read while wasting perfectly good mac and cheese.

For 8.1 innings yesterday, it seemed a little too good to be true. As You Can't Predict Baseball noted, the Brewers were beating Adam Wainwright, who hadn't lost at home all season, and doing so with a near-shutout from Randy Wolf, the NL leader in earned runs allowed. Then it almost all came crashing down. In the end, Trevor Hoffman was the unlikely hero, entering as the ninth inning's third pitcher with the bases loaded and two outs, and striking out Brendan Ryan with his trademark changeup to end the game.

The one-out save gave Hoffman #598 for his career, and Jordan Schelling is making the case for Hoffman to be the closer this weekend and potentially pick up save #600 against the Padres, his former team.

The defensive miscues that extended the game were bad enough, but yesterday could have turned out much worse. Prince Fielder jammed his left wrist making a tag after an errant throw from Escobar, who left the game later in the inning with a sore hamstring. Thankfully, neither injury appears to be serious: Fielder downplayed the severity of his injury and Escobar was apparently dealing with some cramping.

Yesterday was the Brewers' final game at Busch Stadium this season, and it's possible they'll actually miss it. At 18-9, the Brewers are one of just three visiting teams with a winning record in St. Louis since the start of the 2008 season.

Other notes from the field:

Carlos Gomez is eligible to be activated off the DL any day now, but the Brewers have yet to make a decision on his short term plans, and are reportedly considering optioning him to Nashville until rosters expand on September 1. Lorenzo Cain is hitting .389/.439/.556 in his first 13 major league games, so it'd be tough to send him back down at this point.

The Brewer draft continues to take a beating: Bryan Smith of FanGraphs says the Brewers had the worst draft in the NL Central. Meanwhile, Jim Callis of Baseball America notes that the Brewers spent $2.432 million on the draft, the least in all of baseball by over a million. Even if the Brewers had signed Dylan Covey for $2 million, they still would have been over $2 million under the average.

The Brewers Bar also noted that tweet and expanded on it a bit. All told, I don't see the lack of draft spending as a sign of any larger issues at this point. For one, the Brewers didn't have a top ten pick this year, and only had two picks in the top 64, so their expected expense should have been below average in the first place. For two, with the exception of Dylan Covey the Brewers signed all of their first 14 picks, so it's not like they left a lot on the table.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 1-3 yesterday. The lone win came from Huntsville, where Taylor Green went 5-for-5 with a home run and drove in six in the Stars' 17-4 win over Birmingham. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • With the win the Stars improved their playoff standing a bit: They're now 2.5 games back of the wild card with 18 games to play.
  • Wisconsin Sports Tap has a look at 13 players that could be called up to the Brewers when rosters expand in September. Not all of them will be called up (room would have to be made on the 40 man roster for some of them), but it wouldn't surprise me if as many as eight of them were.
  • The Hardball Times has updated their list of baseball's top 100 prospects, with Brett Lawrie (#40), Alcides Escobar (#58) and Jake Odorizzi (#80) on the list.
  • The Brewers' Player Development Contract with Huntsville expires following the season, and it seems possible that the organization could look to move on. Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times has a look at the situation, and notes that the Brewers' other options (Jackson, Tennessee, Erie or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Zebulon, North Carolina) aren't exceptionally appealing, either.
  • Adam McCalvy noted that story and yesterday's note on Oklahoma in his roundup of the potential affiliation shuffle.
  • Wisconsin is taking necessary precautions with third baseman Cutter Dykstra, placing him on the DL after he was hit in the head with a pitch earlier in the week. Dykstra's bat was starting to show signs of life this season (.304/.412/.418 for Wisconsin) and he's still only 21. Hopefully this will be nothing more than a brief setback.
  • If you subscribe to Baseball America or ESPN Insider you can see BA's piece on Jonathan Lucroy and Keith Law's recap of NL drafts. I'm not a subscriber to either, so that's all I can tell you.

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed pitcher Matt Lindstrom on the DL with a back injury.
Braves: Acquired first baseman Derrek Lee from the Cubs for three minor leaguers and placed first baseman Troy Glaus on the DL with a sore knee.
Giants: Placed reliever Chris Ray on the DL with an intercostal strain.
Marlins: Signed third baseman Wes Helms to a one year, $1 million contract extension for 2011 and placed reliever Sean West on the DL with right knee inflammation.
Rays: Signed pitcher Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Are expected to release outfielder Brad Hawpe.
Tigers: Placed second baseman Carlos Guillen on the DL with a left knee contusion.

The Reds have won five straight games to improve to 69-51 and tie a season high with a three game lead in the NL Central. They're also reportedly offering Dusty Baker a contract extension. Baker's deal was set to run out following the season.

The Braves enter play today as one of just four major league teams with 70+ wins, the NL's second best record and a 2.5 game lead over the Phillies. Apparently that's not enough to draw fans out to Turner Field, though: The Braves drew just 18,105 fans to last night's win over the Nationals, and that's actually an improvement from Tuesday.

Conversation continues regarding the possibility of hard-slotting for future MLB drafts. You can add Craig Calcaterra to the list of folks saying it'll never happen.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get this off my face.

Drink up.

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