Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while keeping the safety on.

Somehow it feels like days off always come at times like this, when the last thing we need is two days to think about the previous game's epic failure.

Yesterday's game was pretty ugly for eight innings before the Brewers showed a brief flash of life in the ninth inning, plating a run and bringing the tying run to the plate with Jonathan Lucroy due up. Yet somehow, inexplicably, Ron Roenicke extinguished the team's chance of winning by lifting Lucroy from the game in favor of Mark Kotsay. Kotsay grounded out on the first pitch, a hanging slider from Kyle Farnsworth, and the game was over.

There's been a lot of criticism for Ron Roenicke passed around lately. I haven't agreed with all of it, but he absolutely deserves every bit of the blame he's receiving for that decision. If Roenicke honestly believes that Mark Kotsay is still a viable major league hitter, someone needs to pull him aside and enlighten him.

  • In non-intentional walk plate appearances, Kotsay is a .234/.295/.281 hitter this season. He's even worse against righties: .220/.272/.268. Against right handed pitching, Lucroy is hitting .273/.317/.403, 180 OPS points better.
  • Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the grooved slider that Kotsay was unable to handle. 
  • Josh Wussow of Inside Wisconsin Sports says "This Kotsay business is getting silly."

Even if Lucroy had to come out of the game, George Kottaras was also available on the bench. He was scheduled to pinch hit next, but Roenicke decided to bat Kotsay first and declined to explain why (FanShot). Even Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball didn't have to add much to this conversation. Kotsay, by the way, denied an earlier report that he's interested in the vacant managerial job at Cal State Fullerton.

While Roenicke didn't give a reason for his decision to use Kotsay in the ninth, he did find time after the game to complain about the Brewers' interleague schedule. He has a point but so does TheJay:

Bad timing on Roenicke's complaint. Before the season he could have complained with the fans. Now he's just whining after a loss.

Even before yesterday's loss Ron Roenicke's approval rating had dropped eight points in the latest BCB Tracking Poll, and now sits at 53%. If we took another poll today I'd guess it'd be significantly lower.

Meanwhile, Shaun Marcum was limited to three innings yesterday as he continues to recover from the hip flexor strain he suffered in Boston over the weekend. He's expected to make his next start.

Other notes from the field:

Yesterday's loss wrapped up a stretch where the Brewers played 20 games in 20 days. They have an off day today before hosting the Twins tomorrow, but Joey Nowak of MLB.com already has a preview.

The Brewers are pretty well represented on Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score's NL Central Dream Team: He has Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun in the starting lineup, Zack Greinke (#1) and Shaun Marcum in his rotation, Prince Fielder on his bench and John Axford in the bullpen.

A day later, some of us are still talking about Greinke's performance from Tuesday. Jack Moore of FanGraphs says Greinke has "found his zone."

Casey McGehee had a hit yesterday and has now has at least one in nine of his last ten games. Nick Petakas of The Brewers Bar says McGehee "should at least end 2011 as an even-plus WAR player thanks to the 3B anemia that has recently plagued professional baseball."

Many major leaguers have a clause in their contract preventing them from riding motorcycles, but I don't recall seeing anything about joining a motorcycle gang. Bradley Woodrum of NotGraphs raised some suspicions based on Axford's recent facial hair stylings.

In the minors:

  • The Brewers are reportedly using the minor league All Star breaks to make a few promotions: Last night Jimmy Nelson tweeted that Wisconsin teammates Tyler Thornburg and Austin Ross are moving up to Brevard County (FanShot).
  • The affiliates went 2-3 last night, with Taylor Green going 3-for-6 with a home run as Nashville split a doubleheader with Omaha. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • The Notes also have a link to this story on Brock Kjeldgaard, who was left out of the Florida State League All Star Game despite his incredible run for Brevard County.
  • Kjeldgaard was also MLB Depth Charts' NL Minor League Hitting Performer of the First Half for the FSL.
  • Huntsville was off last night, but four Stars took part in the Southern League All Star Game: Steffan Wilson went 3-for-4 with a double and drove in two runs, Erik Komatsu went 1-for-4, Wily Peralta allowed a run on two hits over an inning, and Michael Bowman had a scoreless .2 inning outing.

I know it's been a rough week for Brewer baseball, but maybe winning something will cheer you up? Forward Fabrics (run by friend of the site Tyler Maas) has some great Brewer t-shirts and you could win one just by liking them on Facebook.

Around baseball:

Braves: Claimed pitcher Dustin Richardson off waivers from the Marlins.
Cardinals: Released pitcher Miguel Batista.
Phillies: Placed pitcher Jose Contreras on the DL with a sore elbow.

You already know about Batista and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central, which takes a ticking and keeps on licking.

Today in former Brewers:

  • Former top prospect Alex Periard has signed a minor league deal with the Mariners.
  • The B-Ref Blog has a career leaderboard for percentage of plate appearances ending in one of the three true outcomes (walk, strikeout or home run). Rob Deer and Russell Branyan crack the top seven.
  • They also have a list of pitchers since 1901 with over 150 career innings and an ERA over 6. There are 54 pitchers on the list but surprisingly only three (Andrew Lorraine, Ruben Quevedo and John Snyder) are former Brewers.

Matt Kemp is probably having the best major league season you're not hearing much about: He's only the eighth player in major league history with 20 homers and 20 steals before the midway point in the season.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going dancing.

Drink up.

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