Some things to read while hiding.
The Brewers picked up a big win in Philadelphia last night, but it looks like it's going to come with a cost. Between last night's 12 inning marathon and Sunday's doubleheader, the Brewer bullpen has covered 10 2/3 innings in the last two days. Don't be surprised if the team makes a roster move to call up reinforcements today, because it might be tough to get through a Randy Wolf start tonight with the following limitations in play:
- Sergio Mitre was hit on the right triceps by a line drive last night, and won't be available today.
- Brandon Kintzler is almost certainly unavailable after pitching two innings on two straight days.
- Kameron Loe, Mitch Stetter and Sean Green have all pitched in each of the last two days.
LaTroy Hawkins is with the team in Philadelphia (FanShot), but the Brewers don't plan to activate him until tomorrow at the earliest. He just pitched back-to-back days for Nashville on Saturday and Sunday.
Speaking of roster moves, Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a couple of moves he'd like to see made to improve the bench: He suggests sending down Erick Almonte and Mark Kotsay to make room on the roster for Mat Gamel and Brandon Boggs. Gamel is hitting .400/.500/.525 for Nashville, and has yet to make an error at first base.
The Brewers had an opportunity to win last night's game in regulation, but another blown save for John Axford sent the game to extra innings. Control was the issue for the Ax last night as he threw just nine of his 24 pitches for strikes, allowing a hit and two walks in his lone inning. Josh Wussow of Inside Wisconsin Sports says Axford still has the right stuff for the job, and would like to see him get another inning today to get himself straightened out. Given the Brewer bullpen situation, I'd say there's a good chance an inning or more will be available.
Here's an interesting dose of perspective: Right on cue, J Scott Loomer of Brewers1982.com notes that the eventual AL Championship team was having some closer issues at this point in their season, too.
Unfortunately Axford and the defense's struggles cost Shaun Marcum a win last night, despite the fact that he allowed no earned runs and just five hits in six innings of work, striking out five and walking none. Hangwith'em Rach awarded Marcum this week's El Super Award, and @Tony_Plush said "it would appear his stones are of the brass variety." Apparently eloquence is one of the Plushdamentals.
Carlos Gomez had a pretty good night last night, going 2-for-5 with a stolen base, scoring two runs and driving one in with a two out single. Breaking Down The Brewers has a quote from Ron Roenicke defending Gomez's slow start. Until Nyjer Morgan is healthy enough to play the field or the Brewers make a roster move, Gomez will almost certainly play every day in center.
Other notes from the field:
- Brandon Kintzler picked up his first major league win last night, and TheJay notes that he was pitching for the independent St. Paul Saints two years ago.
- Shaun Marcum, Kintzler and Ryan Braun are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Phillies reliever J.C. Romero left last night's game with a calf injury, and will likely have to be placed on the DL.
- You Can't Predict Baseball notes that last night's game (4 hours, 5 minutes) was the first Phillies game of the season to run over 3 hours.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
The Brewers hit their magic number again last night, scoring six runs. This is the fifth time this season they've scored six, but they have yet to score more. Here are a couple of notes on that:
- Stats LLC notes that the Brewers and Twins are the only teams that haven't scored more than six in a game this season.
- The 1972 Brewers (31 games) are the only team in franchise history that's started a season with more than 16 games scoring six or fewer runs.
Yuniesky Betancourt made the play of the night at shortstop last night and drove in two runs despite going 0-for-5. Nonetheless, Ken Rosenthal is listing the Brewers as one of the teams that could benefit from acquiring Jose Reyes from the Mets. I have a hard time believing the Brewers have the pieces available to make that work.
The Brewers enter play today at 8-8, but still have games remaining against the Phillies and Reds (and Astros) in April. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look back at the first 15 games and says he "will feel very good about Milwaukee's chances to return to the playoffs" if they're still within two games of first place at the end of the month.
Randy Wolf takes on Roy Halladay and his former team tonight. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has the preview.
All told, it's been a pretty interesting first month as a major league manager for Ron Roenicke. Brian Anderson has a look at some of Roenicke's managerial philosophies.
Today is a pretty big day in Zack Greinke's rehab, as he's scheduled to make his first appearance for Brevard County tonight. Almost entirely coincidentally, today is also the day Carson Cistulli found an excerpt from Greinke's future biography.
In the minors:
- Mark Rogers really struggled for Nashville yesterday, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks in just 1.1 innings and losing to Jeff Suppan. Ben Badler of Baseball America says Rogers "just has not been throwing strikes at all this year."
- All told, the affiliates went 1-3 last night. You can read more about the games in today's Minor League Notes.
- The Brewers are still in a bit of a hole organizationally at shortstop, so the fact that they haven't played Eric Farris there yet in Nashville is interesting. They're now saying they still plan to get him some time there eventually.
- Brian Carriveau of PocketDoppler has a look at Tyler Thornburg's hot start with Wisconsin.
- Meanwhile, the Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin second baseman Nick Shaw.
In power rankings:
- Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has the Brewers at 12, up two spots.
- USA Today has the Brewers at 12, up eight spots.
- Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers at 13.
- ESPN has the Brewers at 17, up one spot.
I won't spoil the ending for you, but I feel like you should know that today is the anniversary of the 1987 "Easter Sunday" game, and @TweetsFrom1987 will be covering it in real time at 1:30.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in our Brew Crew Ball Tracking Poll. The poll will remain open until game time tonight and results will be posted tomorrow.
Athletics: Placed pitcher Dallas Braden on the DL with a sore shoulder and acquired pitcher David Purcey from the Blue Jays for a minor league pitcher.
Cubs: Pitcher Brian Schlitter has been returned to the team. (see below)
Dodgers: Designated outfielder Xavier Paul for assignment.
Orioles: Placed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas on the DL with a strained groin.
Reds: Placed third baseman Juan Francisco on the DL with a calf strain.
The Schlitter story above is a pretty interesting series of moves. The Yankees claimed Schlitter off waivers from the Cubs during the offseason, then lost him on waivers to the Phillies. Philadelphia placed him on the DL with an elbow issue but, since the injury was pre-existing, Major League Baseball has voided all of the waiver claims and returned the pitcher to the Cubs.
Around the NL Central yesterday:
- The Pirates beat the Reds, 9-3.
- The Cubs shut out the Padres 1-0 in ten innings.
- The Cardinals and Astros were off, giving St. Louis more time to show off their turtlenecks.
Here are today's updated standings:
Yesterday's strangest news story came from the Reds, where starting pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for shoplifting after allegedly attempting to take roughly $60 worth of t-shirts from a Macy's. The Reds haven't announced if he'll make his next scheduled start on Thursday.
Today in baseball economics: The Astros gave away free donuts for a year to one lucky fan last September, but the promotion ended up costing the fan $237 in taxes.
If you've ever been to a game at Miller Park when the roof is closed, then you'll understand just how unlikely an event like this is: Ryan Raburn of the Tigers became the first player ever to hit a ball off the roof at Safeco Field in Seattle last night. Safeco Field has been in operation since 1999.
Speaking of rare events, there have only been two games in all of baseball this season where teams have led off with back-to-back home runs. Edinson Volquez of the Reds was the pitcher on both occasions.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting another cookie.