Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while learning when to stop.

I checked Toby Harrmann's handy dandy chart this morning and learned that a 2-5 road trip is "disappointing, but not the end of the world." I can see how one would see it that way but I'm feeling more than that level of disappointment now that the Brewers have been embarrassed three times in four days and lost two of three in Boston to go with three of four in Chicago.

Yovani Gallardo melted down in yesterday's loss, allowing six runs in the first inning and retiring just nine batters on the day. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says Gallardo was hanging his curveball.

Mark DiFelice made his 2011 debut yesterday, allowing a run on two hits while pitching the seventh inning. Corey Hart did him no favors by dropping a fly ball that led to the run. DiFelice rejoined the team when Daniel Ray Herrera was designated for assignment following Friday's game (FanShots on DiFelice, Herrera).

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers only had four hits yesterday but Ryan Braun had one of them, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. The hit was his first ever as a DH, snapping an 0-for-14 skid. Braun is the only Brewer starter on The Common Man's All Star team, but Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke also made the squad.

Here's another note on Fielder: Jeff Sullivan of Baseball Nation listed him among players who are having success in 2011 by making more contact.

Yuniesky Betancourt went 0-for-8 in Boston this weekend, and his OBP is now down to .247. Here are today's Yuni notes:

Rickie Weeks went 0-for-4 yesterday but still has multiple hits in six of his last ten games. Over at Disciples of Uecker Jordan declared yesterday Rickie Weeks Appreciation Day. Weeks, by the way, is leading last week's Brewer of the Week voting. I'm leaving the poll open for an extra day since I dropped the ball on Friday.

The Brewers returned home yesterday and open a three game set against the Rays tonight. Spencer Fordin of MLB.com has a preview, and we'll have ours later today. Tonight's game is also the start of the Brewers' "Green Week" promotion.

Shaun Marcum is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon's game, but that could change: Marcum left Friday's game with a strained hip flexor and the team isn't sure if he'll be able to go.

Looking further ahead, the Brewers series against the Twins this weekend might be more difficult than we had expected. The Twins were baseball's worst team for a while this season but have won 14 of 17 to climb back into contention in the AL Central.

Looking even further ahead: Takashi Saito may rejoin the Brewers someday, but when still remains a question. Saito returned to Milwaukee to be reevaluated after complaining of still feeling the effects of the oblique injury that's had him on the shelf since April. He's thrown two scoreless innings in rehab appearances for Nashville.

In the minors:

  • Tyler Thornburg is tearing up the Midwest League, with a 1.57 ERA and 76/25 walk ratio over 12 starts. John Sickels of Minor League Ball says Thornburg is "too good for the Midwest League right now and as a college pitcher he should move up sometime in the second half."
  • The affiliates went 2-1 yesterday, with Brandon Boggs and Brett Carroll each hitting a pair of home runs in Nashville's 5-3 win over Memphis. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • The Walton Sun has a profile of Mat Gamel, who sounds like he's getting comfortable at first base.
  • Speaking of Nashville, Wil Nieves has accepted his assignment to the Sounds.
  • Brevard County was off yesterday for the Florida State League All Star Game. Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis went a combined 0-for-7 with a walk, but Nick Bucci pitched a scoreless third inning for the North Division in their 5-3 win.
  • Gennett was one of nine top prospects to appear in the game, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
  • The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin reliever Stosh Wawrzasek.
  • The Helena Brewers start their season tonight, and Eric Arnett is expected to get the start. The H-Brewers roster includes seventh round pick P David Goforth and 21st round pick 1B Mike Nemeth, who both signed over the weekend.
  • The Brewers have also signed undrafted free agent P Connor Whalen of UC-Santa Barbara.
  • The AZL Brewers open play tomorrow.

Today in draft notes: First round pick Taylor Jungmann had a rough outing for Texas in the College World Series on Saturday, and people are noticing that his velocity appears to be down. Jungmann has already thrown over 130 innings in 2011. Keith Law, however, acknowledged the possibility that Jungmann could add velocity by learning to use his legs more.

Tuesday is almost always power ranking day, but Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk is once again an overachiever: He has the Brewers fifth this week, down two spots.

If you'd like more from me today but your eyes need a rest, you're in luck: I'll be making an appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull around 2:30 today on The Score 1570 in Appleton.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Signed shortstop Yunel Escobar to a two year, $10 million contract extension with club options for 2014 and 2015.
Braves:
Designated infielder/outfielder Joe Mather for assignment and placed pitcher Tommy Hanson on the DL with a sore shoulder.
Dodgers: Placed catcher Rod Barajas on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Indians: Fired hitting coach Jon Nunnally and placed first baseman Matt LaPorta on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Marlins: Announced the resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez, placed outfielder Chris Coghlan on the DL with a knee injury and designated pitcher Dustin Richardson for assignment.
Nationals: Placed outfielder Rick Ankiel on the DL with an intercostal strain.
Orioles: Designated pitcher Jeremy Accardo for assignment.
Red Sox: Placed shortstop Jed Lowrie (sore shoulder), outfielder Carl Crawford (hamstring) and pitcher Clay Buchholz (back) on the DL.

The Marlins are expected to name 80 year old former manager Jack McKeon as their interim skipper today. In today's best read, Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a look at just how long McKeon has been around. Edwin Rodriguez, by the way, was the lowest paid manager in baseball before he resigned.

Unless you spent the weekend under a rock (everyone celebrates Fathers' Day their own way, I suppose), you've probably heard that Albert Pujols injured his wrist in a collision at first base yesterday with Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit (video here). Rubie has more on that story and much more in today's edition of Around the NL Central, which as always comes sealed for your protection.

Today in former Brewers:

  • There might not be a hitter in baseball hotter than Alcides Escobar right now. He has multiple hits in eight of his last nine games and is hitting .512 over his last 12. Yet somehow, he's still only hitting .255/.289/.322 on the season.
  • Jason Kendall is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment in Arizona this week. It's unlikely he'll still be with the team when the AZL Brewers and Royals meet on July 7.
  • The B-Ref Blog lists Randy Lerch as one of twelve pitchers in major league history with an ERA+ under 92 but an OPS+ over 50.

Not everyone likes interleague play, but this is why MLB keeps it around: This weekend's Cubs-Yankees series set a Wrigley Field three day attendance record, and Saturday's crowd of 42,236 fans was the Cubs' largest since 1978.

Here's today's bad umpiring note: Astros center fielder Michael Bourn and manager Brad Mills were both ejected yesterday after Bourn allegedly asked home plate umpire Jeff Nelson a question about the locaton of a pitch that was called a strike.

Elsewhere in umpiring: Joe West hasn't had much time for off-the-field adventures lately, but it's good to know he still has them on occasion: Navin Vaswani of NotGraphs caught pictures of West practicing his skills on a balcony, then putting them to use during recent rioting in Vancouver.

That's all I've got for you today, unless you needed another tattoo.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take cover.

Drink up.

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