Some things to read for the right reasons.
Hopefully this trend holds: Howie Magner has christened the 2011 Brewers "team shutout" after they held an opponent scoreless for the third time in eleven games in last night's win over the Pirates. This time Shaun Marcum was the starter, and he needed just 94 pitches to get through seven innings, allowing four hits with just one walk and striking out four. Tom Haudricourt said this is the Marcum the Brewers expected.
This is another small sample size stat, but I think it's worth noting: The 2010 Brewers only shut out their opponents seven times all season. The 2011 Brewers are already almost halfway there.
Even on a day where he didn't start, Nyjer Morgan found a way to help the team win last night: He pinch ran for Mark Kotsay and scored a run by knocking the ball away from Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit. As you might expect, the @Tony_Plush Twitter feed has more on the collision, along with some rainout haiku.
It'll be interesting to see how the Brewers handle Morgan and Carlos Gomez once Corey Hart returns. Trenni Kusnierek of WTMJ says she's "worried that pride will get in the way of making the right decision" and the Brewers will continue to play Gomez even if Morgan turns out to be a better option.
Last night's only negative might have been Zach Braddock's performance. Braddock was unable to get three outs in the eighth and Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar noted that his velocity was down into the upper 80's. Braddock has a pretty extensive injury history, so this is a pretty significant red flag.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers scored six runs last night, tying a season high, for the third straight game.
- Shaun Marcum, Prince Fielder and Jonathan Lucroy are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Prince Fielder took 22.62 seconds to round the bases following his three run homer.
- After averaging 27,963 fans over their first four home games, the Pirates drew just 8755 to PNC Park last night.
- Tuesday's rainout has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Monday, August 22 (FanShot).
- Yesterday was the anniversary of Bob Uecker's first major league plate appearance, and he remembers it fondly.
The Pirates made a roster move after the game last night, activating catcher Chris Snyder off the DL and sending catcher Jason Jaramillo down to AAA. Jaramillo, a Racine native, hadn't appeared in a game in the series.
Because of the rainout this week the Brewers are missing an opportunity to face our old friend Jeff Karstens. Karstens was scheduled to pitch tonight but will be available out of the bullpen instead. Paul Maholm will start tonight's game.
There will be a fair number of us holding our breath tonight as Randy Wolf returns to the mound after a couple of pretty poor outings to start the season. Brewers Daily has some numbers that would suggest that Wolf has been unlucky in the early going and is due to bounce back. Tom Singer of MLB.com has a preview of tonight's contest.
While Wolf looks to overcome his slow start tonight, Chris Narveson will look to keep his hot start going tomorrow. Call to the Pen has a look at Narveson's early performances and finds cause for optimism going forward.
If you know a shortstop that's looking for work, now might be a good time to call the Brewer organization. With both Zelous Wheeler and Edwin Maysonet missing time, the Brewers are playing veteran Anderson Machado at short in Nashville and looking outside the organization to add some depth at the position (FanShot).
Speaking of injuries: Corey Hart took batting practice on Tuesday but still isn't expected to report to his rehab assignment with Nashville until this weekend. Apparently that trip takes a long time to pack for.
In the minors:
- Outfielder Jeremy Reed, designated for assignment earlier in the week, has accepted his assignment to Nashville (FanShot).
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball had some nice things to say about Huntsville pitcher Michael Fiers yesterday: He thinks Fiers could eventually be a #5 starter or long reliever in the majors.
- On the field the affiliates went 3-1 last night, led by Mark Rogers' 5.1 scoreless innings in Nashville's 6-1 win over Oklahoma City. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning for Brevard County last night, allowing one hit but nothing else.
Hawkins, by the way, is one of just five players selected in the 1991 draft that are still active in the majors. He was selected by the Twins in the seventh round. Former Brewer Mike Cameron (selected by the White Sox in the 18th round) is another.
Obviously, winning would help the Brewers towards this goal: David Simmons of The Biz of Baseball says the Brewers will still sell at least three million tickets in 2011.
What're you doing today, around 3:40? If the answer was "nothing," "nothing important" or "nothing I'll get fired for not doing," then you should take a moment to tune into The Big 1070 in Madison to hear me talk Brewers with Mike Heller and Phil Dawson.
Around the NL Central:
- The Reds lost 3-2 to the Padres last night on a walkoff.
- The Cubs beat the Astros 9-5.
- The Cardinals lost to the Diamondbacks 15-5.
Here's today's NL Central standings:
Here's something to keep an eye on over the weekend: Phillies slugger Ryan Howard left last night's game after being hit on the wrist by a pitch. X-rays are negative, but he told reporters the joint was sore and stiff following the game. The Brewers are scheduled to open a three game series with Howard and the Phillies on Monday.
Today in former Brewers:
- Dave Bush made a spot start for the Rangers yesterday, pitching three scoreless innings (over 71 pitches).
I must admit, after an offseason of making fun of him we haven't seen our first major incident involving umpire Joe West in 2011. While West is off directing air traffic, fellow umpire Bob Davidson is drawing attention for confrontational behavior that led to Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's first career ejection.
Here's a reminder that every game, no matter how small, is important to someone: Royals Review has a look at the impact of this week's Mariners-Royals series on the citizens of tiny Grass Creek, Wyoming.
Also, if you only watch one video recap of a silly minor league promotion on this fine day, make sure it's Benjamin Hill's video of the West Michigan Whitecaps' tribute to the most boring day.
Now, if you'll excuse me, my game is paused.