Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while keeping your options open.

All told it was a pretty good day for the Brewers yesterday, as they swept a doubleheader against the Mets (the 52nd such sweep in franchise history and first in seven years). It was not a good day to be Yovani Gallardo, however, as he posted a disaster start in his final 2010 appearance. After pitching two scoreless innings without incident, the Brewer ace allowed two runs in the third and melted down in the fourth, allowing five more runs while recording just one out. After the game, he told reporters he "lost his release point."

Including yesterday's rough outing, Gallardo posted a 6.50 ERA over his last eight starts, raising his season mark from 2.97 to 3.84. The lone bright side for Gallardo is this: He finished with four strikeouts on the day and an even 200 on the season, joining Teddy Higuera as the only Brewer pitchers ever to record two 200 K seasons.

You probably could have made some money betting on Dave Bush to outperform Gallardo yesterday. Bush pitched six scoreless innings in the nightcap and outdueled R.A. Dickey. In response to Dave Bush's last outing, we're seeing roughly the level of faint praise you'd expect for a pitcher who spent a long time lingering around replacement level as a Brewer. Howie Magner credited Bush's professionalism. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says, "There are certainly worse everyday pitchers out there." Jonathan Ede of Brewers Daily says, "He will be missed in Milwaukee, but if Bush makes another start in a Brewers uniform, Doug Melvin will have done something wrong."

Unlikely as it might have seemed a couple of weeks ago, Hang With 'em Brewers! notes that yesterday's wins put the Brewers back in a tie for third place in the Central. The Astros have a game left against the Reds before finishing the season with three against the Cubs.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers managed to pick up a pair of wins yesterday despite being held homerless on the day. The B-Ref Blog notes that the Brewers have won a game where they didn't hit a home run just 16 times this season, which is tied for 25th. Interestingly enough, the Brewers are tied with the Reds and one ahead of the Yankees (15 homerless wins).

They managed to avoid it yesterday, but the Brewers' next loss will mark an interesting, if somewhat sad, milestone: The team is 1808-1999 in the 3807 games played since Juan Nieves' no-hitter in 1987.

There's a good chance we witnessed Trevor Hoffman's final major league save yesterday, as he retired the side in order in the ninth inning of game two to notch #601. Meanwhile, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN listed #600 at #6 on his top nine feel-good moments of the season.

Mat Gamel probably would have gotten some playing time yesterday if he'd been available, but he was in Milwaukee instead preparing to have surgery on his left big toe today. Ken Macha is calling Gamel's season "a lost year," and it's tough to argue with that.

Looking ahead, there's a strong possibility the weather will be a factor once again tonight. The Weather Channel is predicting thunderstorms and strong winds in New York today, followed by heavy rain with more wind tonight. It seems somewhat unlikely they'll get tonight's game in, and even less likely they'll do it without some form of delay.

A rainout tonight would likely lead to some rotation shuffling over the weekend, as Ken Macha still says all three starters for the Reds series are to be determined. Mark Rogers will still likely start tomorrow and Randy Wolf will probably pitch Sunday, with either Chris Narveson (scheduled to start tonight) or Chris Capuano starting on Saturday and the other pitching in relief of Rogers.

Another day, another 2010 post mortem: Baseball Reflections took the time to paint an even coat of blame on three levels of Brewer management.

In the minors: Baseball Intellect has a look back at their preseason rankings of Brewer prospects. They conclude that the Brewers have a few nice pieces to work with, but they're "not crazy about the system's upside." They cite a lack of athleticism as a primary concern.

No transactions today.

Regardless of where you stand on the "pitcher abuse" spectrum, I think this is interesting: Justin Verlander made his final start of the 2010 season yesterday and threw 121 pitches, hitting 101 mph on the gun with the last one. There are only two major leaguers who have thrown 120 pitches in a game more than six times this season. Verlander is one of them: He's done it 11 times, and five times in September alone. He averaged 113.5 pitches per start this season, and he's the only major leaguer averaging more than 110. I know some will define this as "pitcher abuse" and some will call it "the way the game should be played," but I think the fact that Verlander is the only pitcher in baseball to be used this way this often is pretty fascinating.

Every weekday morning I get up at 6:15 to spend hours reading countless baseball blogs and sites while putting the Mug together. It takes most of the morning most days, and I frequently get asked why I spend so much time on it. The answer is simple. If I didn't read everything, I'd occasionally miss posts like this: Braves Journal's rewrite of Hamlet to feature Jeff Francoeur. I might also miss this picture of Blue Jays wearing eye black mustaches on the field to honor manager Cito Gaston before his final home game.

Speaking of the Blue Jays, I feel like they haven't gotten enough attention for this impressive feat: Last night they hit their 247th home run as a team, the most in franchise history and the fifth most in baseball history.

And speaking of great pictures, Babes Love Baseball has a roundup of photos of rookie hazing days around the league.

I mentioned Rob Deer's birthday yesterday, but this note makes it worth bringing up again: Big League Stew notes that Deer was once on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Happy birthday today to:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've been meaning to learn to make gnocchi.

Drink up.

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