Monday's Afternoon Mug

Some things to read while expanding your apology.

The Brewers are 16-11 in May and 15-4 in their last 19 games, but that hot streak will be put to the test tonight as they travel to Cincinnati, a place where they haven't won in years. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com has a preview. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs is listing tonight's pitching matchup, Chris Narveson v. Travis Wood, as a 7 out of 10 on his NERD scale.

Today's game opens one of the tougher stretches the Brewers will play this season. Cory Provus notes that the Brewers only have ten games against teams with losing records between now and the end of June, and have to face the Reds, Marlins, Cardinals, Red Sox, Rays and Yankees over that stretch.

Yovani Gallardo was great yesterday afternoon as the Brewers finished off an 8-1 homestand. He shut out the Giants for eight innings on just eight hits and a walk, striking out five and getting through eight innings with fewer pitches (109) than he needed to get through six innings (114) two starts ago. Jared Smith of SB Nation New York is listing Gallardo as baseball's hottest starting pitcher, and Brew Gritt notes that ESPN is listing Gallardo (and Shaun Marcum) among the ten pitchers most likely to win the NL Cy Young.

Other notes from the field:

Ryan Braun stole a base yesterday, and is now 13-for-14 in steal attempts this season. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar notes that Braun could become baseball's first 30/30 player since 2009 (Ian Kinsler), and the Brewers' first since 1970 (Tommy Harper). Coming into play today he's on pace for 40 steals. He'd be just the sixth Brewer to reach that mark and the first since Scott Podsednik stole 70 in 2004.

Jonathan Lucroy had a poor day yesterday, going 0-for-4 and striking out four times for the first time as a major leaguer. He's still hitting .322/.366/.496 on the season, though, and Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has an updated look at his chances of making the NL All Star Team. Lucroy also won our Brewer of the Week voting for the first time over the weekend.

Lucroy's four strikeout game, by the way, was the 123rd in Brewer franchise history and the first since Corey Hart did it on October 2, 2010. He also still can't get on the same page with Randy Wolf, which is why Wil Nieves started on Saturday.

If you missed this weekend's games (or simply watched them on WMLW), then you missed one of baseball's rarest feats: Carlos Gomez's inside the park home run on Saturday. Even Miller Park official scorer Tim O'Driscoll needed some help figuring out what happened as WMLW didn't have an angle showing how the ball got past the defender and into the right field corner. Gomez rounded the bases in 14.29 seconds, easily Saturday's fastest trot. It's only the 23rd insde-the-parker ever by a Brewer, and the fourth at Miller Park.

Meanwhile, Friday night's game changed direction in a hurry on a couple of poor baserunning decisions that turned into outs. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the advanced metrics regarding the Brewers on the bases this season.

Elsewhere in aggressiveness, Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs says the Brewers are the least likely team to foul off two strike pitches and/or take a ball to extend a plate appearance (FanShot).

You can't talk about aggressiveness without discussing Ron Roenicke. He told Adam McCalvy he felt the squeeze was a "safe call" in the ninth inning on Saturday. Jacob Peterson of Beyond the Box Score recently introduced the Traditional Manager Index and ranked Roenicke 15th in baseball when it comes to bunting with position players and issuing intentional walks.

Here's another note from Friday's game: Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is the first major league shortstop since 1919 to hit a grand slam in his major league debut, and just the fourth position player to do it.

In the minors:

  • This never fails to surprise me: For the third time this season, Brandon Boggs has accepted an assignment to the minors and been returned to Nashville (FanShot). 
  • Mike Rivera also has an assignment pending, but I haven't seen an announcement on his plans yet.
  • Brewerfan.net is reporting the Brewers have released pitcher Trey Watten. Watten is 24 years old and was a seventh round pick in the 2008 draft. He had posted a 9.17 ERA in 14 relief appearances during his second season with Brevard County.
  • The affiliates went 4-0 yesterday and Tyler Thornburg was the story of the day, pitching a complete game shutout (on 108 pitches) in Wisconsin's 2-0 win over Kane County. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Wisconsin is right back on the field at 2 pm today. The Brewerfan.net Link Report has details on audio coverage.
  • Zach Braddock struck out the side in an inning of work for Nashville on Saturday.
  • Mark DiFelice has appeared in 14 games for the Sounds this season with a 2.30 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. Dennis Deitch of the Delaware County (PA) Times says he's earned another shot at the big leagues.

In a somewhat related note, the MLB Draft is on the horizon. Here are a couple of notable predictions:

  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has the Brewers selecting South Carolina high school pitcher Taylor Guerrieri and LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
  • Baseball America has the Brewers selecting Florida high school shortstop Francisco Lindor and Vanderbilt pitcher Sonny Gray.

While Zach Braddock's rehab is nearly concluded, Manny Parra is ready to start his again. A second opinion confirmed his original diagnosis of an elbow sprain, and he's returned to extended spring training in Arizona.

Parra will be joined in Arizona by Mark Rogers, who received a cortisone injection in his wrist and is expected to start a throwing program again soon.

What would you do with an extra few hundred bucks? I'm guessing you wouldn't buy flower-shaped cookies or celebrate Takashi Saito's birthday three months late, but that's what John Axford did as part of a feature for Maxim.

Here's a cool note on Miller Park: Nate Silver of the New York Times ranked major league parks by their Yelp rating, and listed the Brewers' home 11th. (h/t Baseball Musings)

In power rankings:

  • Yahoo has the Brewers tenth, up ten spots.
  • ESPN has the Brewers 16th, up three spots.

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (fluid in left elbow) and catcher Humberto Quintero (sprained ankle) on the DL, claimed pitcher Blake King off waivers from the Cardinals and released Joe Inglett.
Blue Jays: Placed infielder John McDonald on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Cubs: Designated pitcher Jeff Stevens for assignment and placed outfielder Reed Johnson (back spasms) and infielder Jeff Baker (groin strain) on the DL.
Dodgers: Placed pitcher Kenley Jansen on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and designated pitcher Travis Schlicting for assignment.
Mets: Designated pitcher Pat Misch for assignment.
Nationals: Placed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny on the DL with elbow soreness.
Padres: Placed second baseman Orlando Hudson on the DL with a groin injury.
Pirates: Placed infielder/outfielder Steven Pearce (calf strain) and reliever Joe Beimel (elbow inflammation) on the DL.
Reds: Placed pitchers Sam LeCure (forearm strain) and Homer Bailey (shoulder sprain) on the DL.
Rockies: Designated infielders Alfredo Amezaga and Jose Lopez for assignment.
Tigers: Acquired pitcher David Purcey from the Athletics in exchange for second baseman Scott Sizemore.
Twins: Placed pitcher Joe Nathan on the DL with elbow soreness.
White Sox: Placed reliever Tony Pena on the DL with elbow tendonitis.

Things could always be worse. The Astros entered the ninth inning with a lead yesterday but blew their 13th save of the season en route to a 4-2 loss and a sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. You know that and much more if you've read today's edition of Around the NL Central.

This weekend's strangest news story likely came from Los Angeles, where a fire broke out during Saturday's game in a storage room at Dodger Stadium, causing smoke to billow out into the stands and onto the field. The fire was put out and the game was not delayed, but the same room started on fire again this morning.

Omar Vizquel, who is 44 years old, is a career .273/.338/.354 hitter and went 0-for-6 in the White Sox's 9-8, 14 inning loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday. He did, however, get to play first base for the first time in his 2,874 game major league career.

I know today's Mug was both late and long, but hopefully I've left you enough time to finish a really easy Sporcle quiz. (h/t Baseball Nation)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a race to win.

Drink up.

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