Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while asking the tough questions.

We're probably going to have a roster move to announce sometime in the next few hours: The Brewers optioned Brandon Kintzler to AAA last night, and are expected to announce the corresponding move(s) today (FanShot). It's widely believed Kintzler was optioned to clear a spot on the 25 man roster for Marco Estrada, who could be tonight's starter. If that's the case, the Brewers will also need to clear a spot on the 40 man roster to make room for him.

Odds are Estrada is either in Milwaukee or on his way. If the Brewers decide to go another route, though, they do have two other options:

Doug Miller of MLB.com has a preview of tonight's game, where the Brewers will face Braves top prospect Mike Minor.

On the field last night Yovani Gallardo powered the Brewers to their first win, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch a shutout and score the game's only run in a 1-0 victory. He was able to complete the game despite recording just two strikeouts, his lowest total since August 20, 2010. Here are some other notes on his performance:

These numbers are, of course, based on a small sample size, but I still think it's worth noting: Even after allowing 12 runs to the Reds on Sunday, the Brewers' team ERA is 4.22 on the young season. It was 4.58 in 2010 and 4.83 in 2009.

Elsewhere in small sample size, the Brewers are now 1-0 in games where Yuniesky Betancourt doesn't leave the bench. Asher Chancey of The Hardball Times says Milwaukee's problem is still the defense.

Craig Counsell started in Betancourt's place last night and while his offensive contributions were limited (he went 0-for-2 with a walk), he was very busy on defense. After the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had some nice things to say about him:

"They made some nice plays defensively. Counsell was everywhere today. There were a couple of balls that were going to get through the infield that he made plays on. They played a nice game and Gallardo pitched a helluva game."

It's worth noting that Betancourt probably doesn't make all of those plays. Ben Badler of Baseball America said the Royals move from Betancourt to Alcides Escobar at short "is at least a two-win upgrade on defense alone."

The Brewers are also 1-0 in games where Carlos Gomez doesn't start. Nyjer Morgan started in center field last night and went 3-for-4 with a triple. Brewers Mix is ready for Gomez to go away. Adam McCalvy said Gomez is remaining upbeat despite his slow start.

Wil Nieves was on the bench for last night's victory too. Brewers Daily doesn't understand why Nieves has started three of the team's five games.

Don't get too excited about these changes, though: It looks like Ron Roenicke might just have been playing the matchups against Derek Lowe. The win was Roenicke's first as manager of the Brewers, and he was doused with cold water in the clubhouse afterwards. I can't imagine anyone doing that to Ken Macha.

This season's two home games couldn't have been more different, attendance-wise. A day after hosting the second largest crowd in Miller Park history, the Brewers drew just 24,117 for the season's first home night game. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus was there and shared some thoughts on the experience, but also has a question about ballpark etiquette. Meanwhile, Craig Calcaterra has a link to some videos that reminded me why I skip the home opener.

Other notes from the field:

Once again in 2011, Prince Fielder is off to a slow start. He's hitting .176/.333/.176 over the team's first five games, and both of his walks have been intentional. Once he heats up, though, he has power to all fields: Beyond the Box Score listed Fielder as one of baseball's most balanced power hitters.

Erick Almonte has yet to make a plate appearance in the Braves series: He was going to make a pinch hit appearance but was lifted when the Braves changed pitchers on Monday. You won't hear Almonte complaining about it, though: Brian Carriveau of PocketDoppler says Almonte is "just happy for the opportunity."

If you went to one of the games this week, did you get a chance to try the new Racing Sausage Kabobs? Rob Iracane of Big League Stew rated them as baseball's third best new concession option.

It's likely this number was calculated without considering the $7.50 poutine: The Brewers are baseball's eighth most affordable ballpark experience according to MLB's Fan Cost Index.

In the minors: The Brewers officially announced plans to once again host a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game in 2011. The Timber Rattlers will host the Peoria Chiefs at Miller Park on June 29.

If you're looking for more about the Brewers today but you're tired of reading, you could check out the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast. They recapped the Reds series and discussed Rickie Weeks' hot start.

I have an admission to make: I really like college basketball, but once baseball starts I completely forget about it. As such, until someone reminded me this morning I'd completely forgotten about our BCB Tourney Pool. Congratulations to Mykenk, who successfully picked UConn to win it all and took the title.

Around baseball: Nothing.

We don't have any Brewer plunkings to discuss today, and I feel like Plunk Everyone is starting to get restless: Today he's posted the HBP leaderboards for all 30 teams, sorted by batting hand.

The Brewers finally picked up a win last night, but they didn't gain any ground in the standings: The Reds won again last night to move to 4-0 for the first time since 1990.

Today in baseball economics:

  • The Indians drew just 9,025 fans to their win over the Red Sox last night, marking the third game in a row they've played in front of less than 10,000. For comparison purposes, the Brewers drew over 11,000 fans to the Rising Stars game on Saturday.
  • The numbers are nowhere near the same, but it's still worth noting that the Yankees set a record low for their new ballpark with 40,267 tickets sold last night. The previous record was 40,331, set on Monday. (h/t @TwinsNow)
  • It's worth noting, though, that some other numbers are strong. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk noted that early TV ratings for some local and national games are up significantly, although opening on a weekend might have helped.

There may only have been 40,267 fans at Yankee Stadium last night, but one of them spilled onion rings on Andruw Jones and that has to count for something.

If you're a fan of minor league baseball and you're not reading Benjamin Hill's MLBlog, you're missing out on some of baseball's best promotions. Today, for example, he has a look at the West Michigan Whitecaps' plans to commemorate history's most boring day.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I still have a long way to go.

Drink up.

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