Some things to read while a plan comes together.
The Brewers were able to claim the last two games and salvage a split in this weekend's series in Denver, but the wins might have come at a heavy cost: Ryan Braun left Saturday's game after aggravating his sore calf and was limited to pinch hit duty yesterday. Brett Christopherson of the Appleton Post Crescent says Braun may have to go on the DL to get back to 100%, but the team is saying he could be back in the lineup today.
Then, Shaun Marcum left yesterday's game after straining his neck while making a diving catch. After the game he told reporters his neck was "a little stiff," but he still expects to make his next start on Friday against the Giants.
It wasn't pretty, but John Axford recorded the final three outs yesterday for his 25th save and his 22nd in as many opportunities. He's now tied with Francisco Cordero for the second longest streak in franchise history and trails only Doug Jones, who converted 25 in a row in 1997. And he's done all this despite the fact that he's allowed a run in five of his last nine appearances.
Meanwhile, Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth for the second consecutive day. On Friday the Brewers announced they've reached a deal with K-Rod, getting him to waive his 2012 vesting option in exchange for an extra $500,000 on his buyout. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker said "It's hard to imagine the early days of the Francisco Rodriguez acquisition going any better for Doug Melvin," while Tangotiger of The Book Blog wonders how much getting K-Rod to waive the option was actually worth. Todd Rosiak said the deal makes sense for both sides. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar is celebrating the Brewers' new "double closers" situation.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers have now won back-to-back road games for the first time since June 5-6.
- Yesterday's game was the Rockies' 13th straight Sunday loss, dating back to April.
- The game was briefly delayed in the seventh inning while Takashi Saito and umpires discussed a fan who was repeatedly screaming during his windup.
- Casey McGehee, John Axford and Jason Giambi are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Giambi's home run off Shaun Marcum traveled an estimated 452 feet.
- On Saturday, Rickie Weeks needed 20.62 seconds to round the bases after hitting a game winning home run. You can see video of the home run and the trot on BCB's Facebook page.
- Brian Anderson took a picture of Jeff Cirillo next to the plaque commemorating his 2000 All Star appearance as a member of the Rockies.
The Brewers made one roster move this weekend, returning Zach Braddock to Nashville and calling up Tim Dillard (FanShot). Braddock had been ineffective since returning from AAA a couple of weeks ago. Dillard was with the team this weekend but did not appear in a game.
Of course, if you watched Brewers Live on FS Wisconsin you might not actually know about any of these things. The pre and postgame shows for all of this weekend's games were loaded up with advertisements for Wisconsin Dells disguised as features.
Prince Fielder was on base nine times in the Rockies series, going 4-for-11 with two doubles and five walks. David Schoenfield of ESPN has a look at Fielder's rise to stardom. He was also a runaway Brewer of the Week winner, claiming the title for the second time.
The Brewers have left Colorado for the final time in 2011, and now head to Arizona to open a series tonight. Jordan Garretson of MLB.com has the preview.
It'll be interesting to see if the Brewers keep their new look lineup in Phoenix. Ron Roenicke switched Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart in the lineup before Saturday's game, and the team is 2-0 since. Both Hart (2-for-8 with a HR, walk and HBP) and Weeks (4-for-9, 2 2B, HR) seemed to respond positively to the move.
While the Brewers were shifting their lineup this weekend, they also made an interesting change at shortstop: Josh Wilson started back-to-back games in place of Yuniesky Betancourt and went 4-for-8 with a double and a run scored. The Brewers are likely still looking for a more permanent solution, and Jon Heyman says Dodger Jamey Carroll would be a nice addition. Here are today's Yuni notes:
- Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a clear example of Wilson making a play Betancourt would not have.
- The Biz of Baseball listed the Brewers as the fourth most likely team to be buying this trade season, and listed shortstop as their primary need.
- Because Yuni is still on the roster, I now owe Rubie Q a six pack of Abita Turbodog.
Despite having Yuni on the roster, the Brewers are still Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation's pick to win the NL Central. Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times has a Pitch F/x breakdown of the division to this point.
Looking back a few days, the Brewers' July 10 series finale against the Reds was Max Marchi of The Hardball Times' second best game of last week. He gave it one star.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-5 yesterday, with R.J. Seidel and Evan Anundsen combining to pitch a three hitter in Brevard County's 7-0 win over Palm Beach. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 7-6, 14 inning loss to South Bend.
- Wisconsin first baseman Cody Hawn needed all 14 innings to do it, but he extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a reminder that Nashville pitcher Michael Fiers was on his sleeper list before the season. Fiers has posted a 2.54 ERA over 26 appearances between AA and AAA this season, striking out 80 in 74.1 innings.
- Tim Froberg of the Appleton Post Crescent has a look at the relationship between the Brewers and Timber Rattlers, who recently agreed to extend their player development agreement.
- The Post Crescent also has a profile of Timber Rattlers closer Greg Holle.
Angels: Placed outfielder Peter Bourjos on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Astros: Placed infielder Matt Downs on the paternity list.
Cubs: Signed Dave Bush to a minor league deal.
Giants: Placed outfielder Pat Burrell on the DL with a bone spur in his foot.
Orioles: Placed DH Vladimir Guerrero on the DL with a broken hand and signed J.J. Hardy to a three year, $22.5 million contract extension (FanShot).
Padres: Placed shortstop Jason Bartlett on the paternity leave list.
Red Sox: Placed reliever Bobby Jenks on the DL with back pain and designated pitcher Tommy Hottovy for assignment.
Reds: Placed pitcher Jose Arredondo on the DL with a forearm strain.
Twins: Placed pitcher Scott Baker on the DL with a strained flexor muscle in his elbow.
You know about Downs and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central, which is never gonna give you up.
We're a few days after the fact here, but I thought this was interesting: NL manager Bruce Bochy had Tim Lincecum on his roster but didn't use him in Tuesday's All Star Game. As a result, Lincecum was available to pitch for the Giants on Friday. The Phillies, meanwhile, did not have Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee this weekend because Bochy pitched them two innings each on Tuesday. It's another reason to be glad no Brewer pitchers were selected.
Acknowledging a problem is the first step towards solving it. When the second half opened on Thursday, Major League Baseball had split up umpires Joe West and Angel Hernandez onto separate crews. Before the split, West's crew led the majors with 17 ejections.
If you weren't around last night you might have missed a fun game: The Rays and Red Sox played a 16 inning, 5 hour and 44 minute scoreless marathon, with the Red Sox winning 1-0. The contest was also briefly delayed when a foul ball shattered a light above the field.
I'd heard this once before this season, but dismissed it. It turns out it's a real thing: Players with light-colored eyes really do have to deal with more glare during day games.
Today in baseball economics: Despite the fact that the Braves have the NL's second best record, they're just ninth in the National League in attendance in 2011. Rowland's Office has a look at some ticket price changes under Liberty Media that have probably impacted those numbers.
Marlins reliever Ed Mujica has been making headlines in an unexpected way this weekend after he was spotted napping in the bullpen during the early innings of a recent game. I'm pretty sure preventing that from happening is one of the bullpen coach's primary jobs.
Elsewhere in "oops:" The Braves picked up the 10,000th win in franchise history over the weekend, then almost lost the ball from the final out. Hopefully the Brewers will handle it better when they win their 10,000th contest sometime around the year 2100.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to set up a broadcast booth.