Friday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while counting the Keiths.

The Brewers lost their sixth straight game and their guru of Plushdamentals last night, as Nyjer Morgan broke the middle finger on his left hand on a bunt attempt and will be out for 2-4 weeks (FanShot). The Brewers will almost certainly make a roster move today to replace him, which could mean Brandon Boggs will be back sooner than any of us expected.

Unfortunately, the Brewers wasted a pretty good outing from Shaun Marcum last night. He allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings but was lifted after just 98 pitches, causing Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar to wonder if he's on a strict pitch count. He's thrown between 94 and 102 pitches in each of his last five starts.

This is likely the least of the Brewers concerns right now, but a poster at Brewerfan.net brings up a good point: If Marcum continues on his breakout pace in 2011, it's going to make it harder for the Brewers to work out a deal to keep him in Milwaukee past the end of the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, Kameron Loe allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the eighth inning last night to give the Braves the eventual winning run. If was only the fourth time in seventeen outings this season he's allowed a run, and the second in his last eight appearances. After the game he told Tom Haudricourt, "We're going to see what kind of character we have."

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers also made a roster move yesterday, optioning Sean Green to Nashville and recalling Mike McClendon (FanShot). The move is somewhat interesting because nearly all of us were operating under the assumption that Green was out of options. In fact, the folks at Brewerfan.net still can't figure out how he had one left. Furthermore, the fact that he could have been sent down at any time makes the decision to hang on to him this long all the more puzzling.

Looking back a day: Prince Fielder had the only Brewer home run in Wednesday's doubleheader, a solo shot off Tommy Hanson. Baseball Analytics has a great look at the at bat. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus timed Fielder's trot at 21.81 seconds.

Continuing to look back, Eric Seidman of FanGraphs says Brewer fans shouldn't be overly concerned by Zack Greinke's rough start Wednesday. Jordan has more on the subject. The Brewers say they aren't having second thoughts about the decision to bring Greinke back when they did.

Meanwhile, this is how Tim Hudson dominated the Brewers: He threw 26 of his 29 (89.7%) first pitches for strikes, the highest percentage by a starting pitcher this season.

I probably don't need to tell you this, but this is shaping up to be a pretty important weekend for the Brewers. Yesterday's loss dropped them to 4.5 games back of the Cardinals, but they've got an opportunity to make up that ground in a hurry as they open play in St. Louis tonight. If they could find a way to sweep or take two of three from the Cardinals this weekend then they'd return home with some momentum and having closed the gap a bit. If they can't find a way to win the series, though, then they'll have dug a pretty serious hole on this trip. Here's more on the series:

Three of these four things are not surprising, but the fourth caught me off guard: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk reports that NL teams combined have 32 positions that are hitting worse than the Astros' pitchers (who have a combined .650 OPS). The Brewers have four of them: Center field, right field, shortstop...and third base. Casey McGehee is hitting .246/.304/.333 in his 29 starts there, and Craig Counsell is 0-for-7 in the other two games.

It's no secret that the Brewers could use some help at shortstop, and Jose Reyes continues to be a likely candidate to become available. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated listed the Brewers as one of six teams that could use him.

Meanwhile, we're still not sure how the Brewers are planning on using Marco Estrada going forward. Baseball America has an article about him, but it's subscriber-only.

In the minors:  The news isn't much better for the affiliates, who went 1-4 yesterday and are now 1-8 in the last two days. Huntsville picked up yesterday's only win, beating Jacksonville in game two of a doubleheader. Minor League Notes are on hiatus this weekend, so you can read recaps of yesterday's games at Brewerfan.net.

If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and more.

We could all use a laugh after a tough week, right? If you haven't yet, check out the photoshop archive Nullacct posted early this morning. Here's my favorite:

Braun-sedar_medium_medium

via cdn2.sbnation.com

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed closer Brandon Lyon on the DL with a partial rotator cuff tear.
Mets: Signed reliever Brian Sweeney to a minor league deal.
Rays: Are expected to place pitcher Jeff Niemann on the DL with a lower back strain.
Red Sox: Placed relievers Bobby Jenks (biceps strain) and Dan Wheeler (calf strain) on the DL.

You already know about Lyon and much more if you read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central. If you haven't yet, go do it now.

Today in former Brewers:

Today in baseball economics:

  • Baseball's arbitration system could be changing soon: Keith Law says the "Super 2" rule determining when a player is eligible for arbitration for the first time "probably will" change before players called up for the first time this season are eligible to take advantage of it.
  • Rays attendance, which wasn't all that impressive last year, is down 30% this year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to look up "shambolic."

Drink up.

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