Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while squinting.

It's likely going to be a big day for folks who like to second guess managers, as Ken Macha pulled Chris Narveson from the game after he allowed just two hits in 6.1 innings last night and the three relievers that followed Narveson to the mound allowed six runs to cross the plate, sealing the sweep for the Reds. After the game, Ken Macha defended the decision to take Narveson out early.

Clearly, Macha will take some heat for deciding to pull Narveson early, but the questions won't come from Narveson, who gave this quote to reporters after the game:

"Would you rather have a fresh guy coming in throwing 95 (mph) or a guy throwing his 100th pitch?"

At the plate, Narveson's impressive offensive season continued. He went 2-for-2 last night with an RBI single and is batting .467 in his last eight starts, driving in five runs. Dave Cameron noted that Narveson's .372 OBP would lead the Mariners.

Meanwhile, the Brewers got to see Aroldis Chapman for the second straight night, and are probably hoping they don't see him again for a while. While pitching a scoreless seventh inning Chapman hit 103.9 mph on the radar gun, the fastest recorded speed in Pitch f/x history (dating back to 2008). Of course, Carson Cistulli found a way it could be better.

The Brewers had their own debuting flamethrower last night: Jeremy Jeffress pitched a scoreless inning in his major league debut, allowing a hit but nothing else. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a quick look at his stuff and says he expects Jeffress to open the 2011 season in AAA, but he could be producing for the Brewers by the end of the year. He's wearing #41 this September. And his name is apparently pronounced like it's spelled.

Other notes from the field:

Mat Gamel didn't get into last night's game, but that's hardly surprising. The Brewers Bar has a pie chart showing how Gamel will likely spend September. With that said, Gamel doesn't sound too eager to get into a game at first base. Here's what he told Tom Haudricourt about it:

"It was a lot easier for me (in right field) than first base," said the third-base prospect, who played two games at first and five in right with Class AAA Nashville before being called up by the Brewers. "It's a lot less stressful.

"It's tougher than people think. First (base) ain't easy. I have a lot more respect for those guys knowing what they do."

If you watched last night's game you likely got the unparalleled experience of witnessing it via WMLW, whose picture quality is barely a step above radio. It turns out the alternative wasn't a lot better: Hang with 'em Brewers! documented some puzzling and awkward exchanges on the FS Ohio broadcast.

The Brewers have named Ryan Braun and Randy Wolf their player and pitcher of the month for August, respectively. Braun's .424 batting average in the month was the third highest in a calendar month in franchise history, among batters with at least 75 at bats. Braun went 0-for-4 last night and is now hitting exactly .300.

Another day, another note on surprising Brewer rookies. Adam McCalvy has a preview of a story that will run on The Official Site later today.

Of course, those rookies aren't this season's only bright spot: Pocket Doppler has a look at the underrated performance of first base coach Ed Sedar.

Yovani Gallardo has been struggling lately but Jack Moore has a look at his contract, and compares it to deals signed by Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester. Manny Parra has struggled too, but Miller Park Drunk has a list of reasons not to hate him.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 3-3 last night, with Brendan Katin going 4-for-8 with three home runs as Nashville split a doubleheader with Oklahoma City. Katin has hit five home runs in his last four games. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • The Brewers are going to challenge pitcher Dan Merklinger in the last week of the minor league season: Merklinger posted a 3.64 ERA in 25 appearances for Brevard County, and has been promoted all the way up to Nashville. In another somewhat aggressive promotion, the Brewers filled his spot in BC by promoting AZL reliever Dexter Bobo.
  • Two of Bobo's former teammates, pitcher Charly Bashara and second baseman Nick Shaw, were named to the AZL Postseason All Star Team. Manager Tony Diggs also won the league's Manager of the Year award.
  • Brewerfan.net has the list of Brewer farmhands that will be eligible for free agency after the season: The list includes Tim Dillard, Angel Salome, Chris Smith, Martin Maldonado and roughly two thirds of the pitchers who have appeared in a game for Nashville this season. The Brewers could prevent any of these players from becoming free agents by adding them to the 40 man roster, but most will likely move on.
  • Looking ahead to the 2011 draft, the Brewers project to pick 12th and 15th in the first round. The #12 pick is tied to the Brewers' record and could change, while #15 is the organization's compensation for failing to sign Dylan Covey, and will not move.

Even if the Brewers aren't exceptionally good on the field, their fan base continues to outperform expectations: Ron Moshier of the Utica Observer Dispatch notes that the Brewers are on pace to outdraw the Mets this season.

Around baseball:

Angels: Acquired pitcher Loek Van Mil from the Twins as the PTBNL in the Brian Fuentes deal.
Orioles: Designated outfielder Lou Montanez for assignment.
Padres: Designated pitcher Cesar Carillo for assignment.
Red Sox: Released outfielder Jeremy Hermida.
White Sox: Designated pitcher Clevelan Santeliz for assignment.

I've mentioned the Reds attendance woes every day this week (and they continued to disappoint last night, with 16,412 tickets sold), but I guess it's important to note that that's not the only way to measure a fanbase: They also set a new TV rating record on Fox Sports Ohio. With consistently small crowds at home (12th of 16 in attendance), I wonder if it's possible the Reds could make the playoffs and lose money this season.

He's been one of the most used (and likely overused) catchers in all of baseball over the last few seasons despite getting up there in years, so one had to suspect this day was coming eventually. Jason Kendall will undergo surgery this week to repair a torn rotator cuff, and is expected to be out 8-10 months. He still has a year remaining on his contract with the Royals, but just in case this is the end R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs has a look at Kendall's career.

Elsewhere in much maligned former Brewers, the Astros completed a sweep of the Cardinals last night by beating up on Jeff Suppan, and this Brian McTaggart tweet would suggest not much has changed:

Suppan absolutely hangs a breaking pitch and (Hunter) Pence sends it into the Crawford Boxes for a 3-run HR, putting Astros ahead 4-2.

I have no idea what he's doing with the data, but the project sounds interesting so hopefully we can help him out: Bill from The Platoon Advantage is asking readers to help him document throws to the plate over the coming weeks.

If you play your cards right, you can trade it for Cash Considerations: The Iowa Cubs (AAA, Pacific Coast League) are giving away a Player to Be Named Later Bobblehead on Sunday.

Any day you beat the Cubs twice is a good day, but on this day in 1957 the Milwaukee Braves took it to the next level, sweeping a doubleheader by a combined score of 27-10.

Happy birthday today to 1983-87 Brewer Rick Manning, who turns 56.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to WMLW jokes.

Drink up.

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