Wednesday's Afternoon Mug

Why yes, that is Nyjer Morgan with his shirt untucked following a Brewer victory.

Some things to read while pouting.

Ryan Braun was back in the lineup for the Crew last night and made an immediate impact, hitting one of the team's three first inning home runs in an 11-3 romp over the Diamondbacks. Braun did, however, leave the game early as the Brewers continue to ease him back into full time duty.

Yuniesky Betancourt played a big part in the Brewer offensive explosion last night, picking up his first career multi-homer game and his eighth with four RBI or more. In case you've forgotten, Josh Wussow has a reminder that Betancourt still isn't a productive major leaguer. Last night's 3-for-5, however, did raise his season OPS from .601 to .629.

Elsewhere in non-productive players: Craig Counsell grounded out in a pinch hit appearance and is now 0-for his last 33. Ron Roenicke says he still has confidence in his veteran backup, but Brewers in 11 says it's time for Counsell to go.

Other notes from the field:

The two teams play game three of the four game set tonight, and Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com has a preview.

Before he put up a three hit game last night, Jonathan Lucroy was the subject of an extended conversation about catcher defense. Matt Klaassen of Beyond the Box Score rated Lucroy as the third worst defensive catcher in all of baseball as part of his monthly rankings yesterday, leading Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar to suggest that the young catcher should start less often. Jack Moore, however, pointed out that Lucroy was very good at framing pitches last season.

At Disciples of Uecker Jack also has a post on Zack Greinke, who is only one quality start away from an ERA under 5.

Last night's blowout win meant the back end of the Brewer bullpen got a second consecutive day off. This week's BCB Tracking Poll shows that a strong majority of voters approve of the decision to acquire Francisco Rodriguez, but also want John Axford to remain in the closer role. Axford recently sat down for an interview with David Wells, which you can see here.

Now that Axford and K-Rod have settled into the late inning roles, this week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan has a look at the Brewers' options for the seventh inning.

Another day, another note on trade rumors: Adam McCalvy relayed a report saying the Brewers and Royals are still discussing Wilson Betemit as a possible option at third base.

Once the Brewers get off their current eleven game road trip, the schedule lightens up a bit as the Brewers play nine of their next twelve games at home and six games against the Astros. Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has an extended look at the schedule differences between the Brewers and their NL Central competitors down the stretch.

In the minors:

  • How fed up are people with the lack of production from Casey McGehee? Even Brewer VP of Communications Tyler Barnes is starting to notice Taylor Green's AAA performance. Green also made FakeTeams' Minor League Monitor for the Pacific Coast League. 
  • 2011 fourth round pick Nick Ramirez is hitting .390/.407/.713 in his first pro season in Helena, and yesterday he was named the Pioneer League Player of the Week.
  • The affiliates went 4-0 yesterday (9-0 over the last two days) and Scooter Gennett, Kentrail Davis, Hunter Morris, D'Vontrey Richardson and Scott Krieger all had multi-hit games in Brevard County's 6-3 win over Palm Beach. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.

Tom Haudricourt is reporting the Brewers are close to a deal with 2011 second round pick Jorge Lopez. Meanwhile, the Brewers still aren't close to agreement with Taylor Jungmann or Jed Bradley, their first round picks. Jim Callis of Baseball America says he still expects all 33 first round picks across baseball to sign.

Here's something that almost no one would have predicted before the season: The August 13 Brewers/Pirates game now has enough national significance that it's been moved to 3:10 Central time to accomodate a FOX broadcast.

If you've been sick or otherwise occupied (as she has), Hangwith'em Rach has a recap of the last two weeks.

If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include the K-Rod trade, Ryan Braun and the lineup change. Or, you could listen to the archived audio from my appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull from Monday.

Around baseball:

Cardinals: Infielder Ryan Theriot has been suspended two games for bumping an umpire on July 17, and plans to appeal.
Dodgers: Released outfielder Marcus Thames.
Giants: Acquired infielder Jeff Keppinger from the Astros for two minor league pitchers (FanShot) and placed shortstop Miguel Tejada on the DL with an abdominal strain.
Nationals: Designated pitcher Chad Gaudin for assignment.
Orioles: Acquired pitcher Zach Phillips from the Rangers for a minor league infielder and designated pitcher Chorye Spoone for assignment.
Pirates: Are expected to sign reliever Jason Grilli.
Yankees: Placed pitcher Sergio Mitre on the DL with shoulder inflammation.

You've already heard about the Keppinger deal and have learned a thing or two about Nick Punto's rehab techniques if you've read today's edition of Around the NL Central.

You may have noticed that the Brewers aren't running much lately: They've stolen just three bases in their last 17 games. The Cardinals, however, have taken not running to a new level: They've gone 32 games without a steal, the longest streak in the majors since 1977.

Today in former Brewers:

Here's a fun statistical anomaly: pitching against the Twins last night, Justin Masterson of the Indians worked 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out six. He did it while throwing fastballs for 103 of his 104 pitches. The Twins scored twice in the ninth and won 2-1.

Today in baseball economics: Winning cures what ails you. Just ask the Pirates, who drew 26,058 fans to last night's game despite having a Tuesday season ticket base of just 2000.

We have sad news to report today. 1956-61 Milwaukee Brave Wes Covington has passed away. He was 79 years old. He played his first six major league seasons as a member of the Braves and had one of his best years in 1958, hitting .330/.380/.622 and earning votes for NL MVP despite playing in just 90 games. (h/t Brewerfan.net)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to review Matt Treanor's scouting report.

Drink up.

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