Monday's Frosty Mug

Note: Everyone deserves a day off. Yes, even Kyle. Taking his place today is J Scott Loomer, who will again write the Mug as it would have been written on this day in 1982. Enjoy!

Some things to read while making predictions.

For 47 games, the Brewers were an underachieving, bitter, paranoid bunch that mirrored their combative, meddling, aloof manager. Yes, that is a lot of adjectives. There are times when overuse is necessary. This is one of those times.

Buck Rodgers lost this team. He lost the players' attention and he lost their respect. When the "stuff" started hitting the fan during the past few weeks, no player was willing to give his manager a public word of support. 

Given what has happened since his dismissal, it should be no surprise. Rodgers immediately began throwing players under the bus, saying that unnamed "cancers" plagued the team. "I know who they are," Rodgers told the Milwaukee Sentinel, "the players know who they are and the front office knows who they are. They may have tried to stab me in the back, but they didn’t get me fired. They’ve stabbed everyone they’ve been involved with in the past, and they’ll do the same in the future."

Bitter?

On a May 30 flight from Anaheim -- after a win, no less -- pitcher Mike Caldwell was overheard telling fellow teammates during a poker game, "I hope we lose 10 games in a row just to get rid of that sucker."

Sure, Caldwell was probably one of the "cancers." Ted Simmons was likely another. But that doesn't matter. What's clear is that Rodgers was unable to communicate with these and other players on the team. The results spoke for themselves.

And since Kuenn took over? "It's just a different atmosphere," Gorman Thomas explained. Mike Caldwell pitched a complete game victory in Kuenn's debut June 2. The Brewers dominated the A's 10-1 on June 4. And yesterday? Yesterday, after an 11-3 air show against the A's, the Brewers became "Harvey's Wallbangers."

It's become en vogue to give Brewers teams nicknames. George Bamberger's team was "Bambi's Bombers." Buck Rodgers' team was "Rodgers' Raiders" (though that name was rarely used). After only three games, Harvey's bunch has their own nickname.

Of course, if we left it to general manager Harry Dalton, they'd be known as "Harvey's Ballbangers." Luckily, first baseman Cecil Cooper saw the potential disaster in such a name. "Naw, just like the drink," said Cooper. "Harvey's Wallbangers. We keep banging 'em off the walls."

It may be only three games, but this team has earned the new nickname. In Oakland yesterday, the Brewers hit five home runs. But let's break down just how historic the offense was on this day:
  • For the second time in just over a week, the Brewers hit home runs in three consecutive at bats. They had never done it before in the franchise's history. On May 28 in Anaheim, it was Don Money, Cecil Cooper and Gorman Thomas who accomplished the feat. The Brewers lost that game 6-5. Yesterday in the seventh inning, it was Ben Oglivie, Robin Yount and again Cooper.
  • Two innings later, the Brewers hit back-to-back homers in the ninth when Gorman Thomas and Ted Simmons went deep. Roy Howell was unable to make it three straight for the second time in the game.
  • The Brewers set a club record with 37 total bases. In addition to the five home runs, they also connected on five doubles.
  • Along with tying their recent mark of hitting three consecutive homers, they tied the franchise record of having 10 extra base hits in a game.
  • The Brewers have scored 26 runs in three games under Harvey Kuenn, including 10 or more in the last two. It had been 22 games since the last time they had scored double digit runs.
Cecil Cooper, Gorman Thomas and Ben Oglivie each have hit 10 home runs. Harvey's Wallbangers? Indeed. Even before the five home runs yesterday, The Brewers led the AL in slugging (.431) and home runs (59), yet they were 10th in strikeouts with only 216.

But it's not just the offense. For the second time in three games, a Brewers starter pitched a complete game. This time it was Bob McClure, who allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out eight. This is the same team that managed only three complete games in 47 tries under Buck Rodgers.

Other notes from the field:
  • Centerfielder Gorman Thomas (shoulder), right fielder/catcherCharlie Moore (thumb) and starting pitcher Moose Haas (elbow) all returned to active duty on June 4. 
  • Robin Yount leads all AL shortstops in hitting (.309), yet he trails part-time Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent in the AL All-Star voting. Dent is hitting .170.
  • First baseman Cecil Cooper (.360) trails only Cleveland's Toby Harrah (.395) in hitting.
  • In the first nine games of the road trip, Cooper has 17 hits in 37 at bats, seven for home runs, with 13 RBI.
  • Paul Molitor is the only Brewers batter who didn't get a hit in yesterday's game. He's in a 2-for-26 slump.
The Brewers go for the sweep at 3 pm CT today in Oakland, viewable on Channel 18. Pete Vuckovich (6-2, 3.23 ERA) takes the hill for the Brewers against Tom Underwood (2-3, 3.97) and the A's. This will be Vuke's third start since returning from a controversial ankle injury, suffered either while sliding down a hill behind rain-soaked Royals Stadium on May 11 or when a video game fell on his foot. But considering Vuke's threats of legal action against anyone spreading rumors about his Pac Man run-in, we'll stick with the slip. The Brewers look to extend their winning streak to five games, started in Buck Rodgers' final game as skipper.

Around baseball:

  • The Boston Red Sox beat the California Angels 7-2 yesterday to maintain a 5 1/2 game lead over the Brewers and pull into a virtual tie with the Detroit Tigers (who had a day off) for the AL East lead. Boston scored all seven runs in the sixth, six of which were off of starter Bruce Kison.
  • Despite the loss, California kept a 0.5 game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL West. The Kansas City Royals, who had a day off, are a game back.
  • Twins rookie first baseman Kent Hrbek went 2-for-4 in a 3-1 loss to the Orioles and is hitting .331 on the season.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals (33-20) lead the NL East and Atlanta Braves (30-20) lead the NL West. The Braves, who were held to only three hits, beat the Expos 2-1 while the Cardinals fell to the Dodgers 6-2.
  • Oakland's Rickey Henderson was unable to steal a base yesterday against the Brewers. This is a rarity. He has 52 stolen bases on the season, easily a record setting pace.
  • John Mayberry, George Steinbrenner's big offseason acquisition, is 13-for-77 with two home runs for the Yankees.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get in line to buy the new Blondie album.

Drink up.

J. Scott Loomer is a dude with a cool name and uncool hairstyle who is helplessly stuck in the past. He is the crazy person behind @TweetsFrom1982 on Twitter, which was started midway through 2010 to chronicle the events of the 1982 Brewers' season as they would have happened at the same time on that day. He had so much fun with it that PastKast.com was created. You can now follow both the 1982 and 1987 Brewers in the words of Loomer and Rob Peterson on Twitter (@TweetsFrom1982 and @TweetsFrom1987), Facebook (Brewers Updates From 1982 and Brewers Updates From 1987) and the growing PastKast network (PastKast.com, Brewers1982.com and Brewers1987.com). If you prefer leaving the past in the past, hitch your wagon to @BrewCrewLive.
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