Some things to read while defending a state's honor.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Yuniesky Betancourt Golden Era.
For only the ninth time this season Yuni has a two-game hitting streak going. He hit a solo home run last night, continuing his dramatic offensive upturn in June. Just look at these numbers:
By posting a .635 mark in June, Yuni has raised his season OPS by 16 points. How many players can say that? Of course, I'm not the only one talking Yuni today: Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball devoted a whole day to him.
Meanwhile, that other guy the Brewers got from the Royals this winter had a pretty good game too. Zack Greinke pitched his best game as a Brewer last night, allowing just one run on four hits over seven innings, walking none and striking out ten. Greinke is only the third pitcher in franchise history to record back-to-back ten strikeout games, and he's the first Brewer to strike out ten batters without a walk since Yovani Gallardo last June.
Other notes from the field:
- Betancourt circled the bases in 19.8 seconds following his solo shot. He only missed the fastest trot of the day by .45 seconds.
- Ryan Braun returned to the lineup last night and went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to a career high 13 games.
- Last night's game was delayed briefly after Jonathan Lucroy was hit in a pretty unfortunate place by a foul ball. If you'd really like to see it again, Carson Cisulli has a gif.
- Zack Greinke hit Rays outfielder Matt Joyce with a pitch last night, giving him 40 hit batsmen for his career. Plunk Everyone has more.
- The Rays used three pitchers in the seventh inning and all three issued a four pitch, unintentional walk at one point. That's the first time that's happened since September of 2006. (h/t @Brewerfandotnet)
- 40,079 fans paid to see last night's game. It's the first time the Brewers have cracked 40,000 on a non-home opener weekday all season.
- The Polish won the Sausage Race.
- Colin Fly has advice for aspiring sausages.
- Adam McCalvy spotted a similarity between Rick Peterson and Rick Kranitz.
The two teams finish up the series with an afternoon game today, and Shaun Marcum is going to take the mound despite leaving his last start early with a hip flexor strain. Ron Roenicke said they're going to monitor Marcum inning-by-inning after the third, so don't be surprised if he's done early. Cash Kruth of MLB.com has the preview, and Tyler Barnes has today's lineup.
Prince Fielder was on base three times last night, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. Peter Barzilai of The USA Today wonders if he might get a bigger free agent contract than Albert Pujols. It seems unlikely.
Kameron Loe pitched a hitless eighth inning last night, walking one batter and striking one out. Loe hasn't allowed a hit since the Cubs series, but A Simple Kind of Fan is still worried about the Brewers overusing him.
Looking back a day: Major League Baseball has informed the Rays that outfielder Sam Fuld, who was sent out to warm up to delay the game in the eighth inning Monday, should have been forced to pitch to one batter. Rays manager Joe Maddon has apologized for the mistake.
In the minors:
- Takashi Saito's rehab summer continues: He had a good bullpen session this week and is expected to go out on another rehab assignment.
- The affiliates went 1-3 last night, and 2011 draft pick Brandon Williamson picked up his first professional win in Helena's 5-4 victory over Missoula. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Meanwhile, four Wisconsin Timber Rattlers appeared in the Midwest League All Star Game last night: Tyler Thornburg and Austin Ross combined to pitch 1.2 scoreless innings, while Chris Dennis went 1-for-2 with a solo home run and Mike Walker went 1-for-1 with a stolen base, a walk and scored twice.
- Rattler Radio has a slide show of the All Star festivities.
- Bernie's Crew has an interview with Brewer 41st round draft pick Jalen Harris.
- The Brewers have signed 19 year old undrafted free agent pitcher Will West to a minor league deal.
In draft notes: Texas has been eliminated from the College World Series, so the Brewers are expected to begin contract negotiations with #12 overall pick Taylor Jungmann soon. Jungmann already threw 141 innings this season, though, so it's unlikely he'll pitch much in the minors in 2011. He also won college baseball's Dick Howser Award.
The Brewers are now 2-3 in interleague play this season. Cory Provus says he likes interleague play but would make some changes to the schedule if he could.
Meanwhile, if you missed it last night here's some good news this morning: The Phillies beat the Cardinals 10-2 last night to allow the Brewers to retake the lead in the NL Central. That fact and many like it are the reason choosy moms choose Around the NL Central.
Ian Casselberry of Big League Stew thinks the Cardinals will win the NL Central, and has five reasons why.
In former Brewers:
- The Baseball Historian has an interview with Frank Catalanotto.
- Beyond the Box Score lists Jim Edmonds third among non-Hall of Famers with six seasons valued at six WAR or more, and Ted Simmons 6th with 12 3+ WAR seasons.
Earlier this week I mentioned a positive interleague play note, so it's only fair that I point this out too: The White Sox and Cubs drew 35,155 fans last night, the smallest crowd ever for a game between those two teams.
How very meta: Learning about Joe West's involvement created a "The More You Know" moment about "The More You Know."
This has me wondering if the Sausages ever get invited to go on the road: The Racing Presidents are making a guest appearance at an Angels series.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to defending mayonnaise.