Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while removing a foul pole.

Last night's big win on the road was followed by a pretty unexpected roster move: The Brewers have sent Zach Braddock back to AAA and called up recent waiver claim Danny Ray Herrera to serve as the team's situational lefty (FanShot). Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar makes a fair point in noting that "the Brewers likely won't notice much of a difference in their bullpen, since Roenicke was only using Braddock as a LOOGY anyway."

Braddock is apparently still battling his sleep disorder, and had been showing up late to the ballpark. Tom Haudricourt noted that AAA travel is tough, but if Braddock is only in Nashville for a couple of weeks he won't experience much of it: The team is in Memphis for a weekend series starting tomorrow, then returns home for a nine game homestand.

That wasn't the day's only roster move, as the team also outrighted Wil Nieves to Nashville and brought George Kottaras back up to the big club. (FanShot) Todd Rosiak said a lack of offense did Nieves in, while Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a vision of Nieves' future. Interestingly enough, Kottaras was the only Brewer to make McCovey Chronicles' All-Covet Team. A Girl's View of the Brewers and my wife are both celebrating his return.

The Brewers are wasting no time getting Kottaras into the lineup: He's batting eighth and starting at catcher against the Cubs today. Louie Horvath of MLB.com has a preview of the game.

If Kottaras gets a couple of hits today, maybe he'll get a start or two at DH over the weekend. Otherwise, Brew City Sports is preparing us for the reality of Mark Kotsay getting the lion's share of at bats.

On the field last night, the Brewers got a nice offensive boost from the bottom of the order in a 9-5 win over the Cubs. Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy each drove in two runs in the win.

Betancourt did have two RBI last night, but still managed to get on base just one time in five at bats and left six runners on. Jeff Sullivan of Baseball Nation says Betancourt is "nearing the end of his rope." One can only hope. Roguejim has a look at the shortstops who might become available as we approach the trading deadline.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless seventh inning last night, extending his streak to 16.1 innings without allowing a run. Before the game he sat down with Ron Roenicke to ask to be used more often in high-leverage situations.

Other notes from the field:

  • Corey Hart had three hits and a walk last night. It's only the second time all season he's reached base four times: the other was his three home run game against the Nationals on May 23.
  • Hart, Tim Dillard and Yuniesky Betancourt are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
  • Rickie Weeks also had three hits last night. He's been on base 12 times in the team's last six games.
  • Casey McGehee was hit by a pitch last night for the first time in 538 plate appearances. Plunk Everyone has more.
  • Here's the video of Rickie Weeks' eighth inning home run. I'll agree with Chris Mehring, who said the guy in the blue shirt needs to be made into a gif.
  • Brian Anderson posted a picture of the view from the press box at Wrigley Field during the rain delay.

Casey McGehee reached base twice last night and is at least showing brief flashes of life: He's been on base seven times in the last five days, although he still only has one extra base hit since May 20. At Disciples of Uecker, Toby Harrmann makes a strong case for Taylor Green to be considered at third base.

Prince Fielder went 1-for-2 last night and walked three times. Chris St. John of Beyond the Box Score estimates that Fielder's career OPS would be 14 points higher if he faced a normal distribution of pitchers instead of seeing so many bullpen lefties. Fielder has now walked in eight straight games, which is one shy of the Brewer franchise record. He's also second in the NL with 44 walks on the season: Joey Votto of the Reds has 56.

Here's something Cubs-related that surprised me: They have the only bullpen in baseball that throws fastballs less than 50% of the time. Those numbers are probably helped by the fact that closer Carlos Marmol is throwing over 60% sliders.

We're a little less than a month away from the 2011 All Star Game, so roster projections are starting to trickle in: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk lists Jonathan Lucroy, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Shaun Marcum and John Axford as candidates to make the NL team, and says Ryan Braun is a lock.

I'm sure John Axford would love to be selected to the All Star Game, but he probably also wouldn't mind having the break to spend at home with his new son. The Hall of Very Good has some facts about John Axford Jr.'s mustache.

Nyjer Morgan likely won't make the All Star Game, but he's still one of the most popular Brewers. Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune profiled him this week.

Shaun Marcum's impressive control continues to be one of his biggest assets: Baseball In-Depth notes that he's one of just six pitchers in all of baseball with 50+ innings pitched, a K/BB ratio of 3.5 or more and a WHIP under 1.05.

Looking forward, the first place Brewers still have a lot to look forward to as we move ahead. Adam McCalvy has a six pack of things to consider over the coming months.

In the minors:

Meanwhile, here's today's draft notes: The Brewers aren't close to deals with seventh round pick David Goforth or 12th round pick Andrew Cain. (h/t @SessileFielder) Goforth says he's eager to get his pro career started, but rejected the team's first offer. Cain is threatening to go back to college for his senior season.

Today in power rankings: MLB Soup has the Brewers #3.

Around baseball:

Angels: Released pitcher Scott Kazmir.
Astros:
Placed pitcher Brandon Lyon on the DL with biceps tendonitis.
Marlins: Designated catcher Brad Davis for assignment and signed outfielder DeWayne Wise to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Placed pitcher Alfredo Simon on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Padres: Designated infielder Jorge Cantu for assignment.
Yankees: Signed pitcher Cory Wade.

Jorge Cantu is 29 years old and has hit .242/.287/.367 as a big leaguer since the start of the 2010 season. Yet somehow, it's possible he'd still be a better bench option than Mark Kotsay.

Meanwhile, you've already heard about Brandon Lyon and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around The NL Central. It's much less violent if you read it in reverse.

The Brewers are back in sole possession of first place in the NL Central since the Cardinals lost 10-0 to the Nationals last night. Washington had back-to-back home runs in the game for the first time all season.

In former Brewers:

  • I mentioned yesterday that Ronnie Bellard has decided to retire. Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs has a look back at his major league career.
  • The B-Ref Blog listed Joey Meyer and (Seattle Pilot) Steve Whitaker among the 15 players with the fewest career strikeouts and a five K game.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to finish the schedule.

Drink up.

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