Monday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while getting your fix.

Despite having five games on the trip where they scored two runs or less, the Brewers returned home last night with a 5-6 road trip and still tied for first in the NL Central. The record could have been better if yesterday's game hadn't turned into a comedy of errors. I think this Ron Roenicke quote about Josh Wilson's pop up blunder is a pretty nice microcosm of the way things have gone on the road this season:

"When you're in the Major Leagues, you take it for granted that guys know when to put glasses on."

While the defense and most of the Brewer bats were struggling, Ryan Braun looked pretty good this weekend. He got a day off on Friday but hit home runs on Saturday and Sunday to extend his hitting streak to five games. His first inning homer yesterday was his 20th go-ahead plate appearance of the season, keeping him among the league leaders in that category. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus reports that Braun circled the bases in 21.72 seconds on Saturday.

Outs on the basepaths were a big part of the story this weekend. Tom Haudricourt noted that the Brewers were baseball's first team to make more than 50 of them this season, and they made another one yesterday when Yuniesky Betancourt was doubled off second following a Jonathan Lucroy fly out. Adam McCalvy said Runnin' Ron isn't backing down.

Unfortunately, the umpiring was also a story. Joe West's crew covered the three game set and Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at the inconsistent strike zone from all three contests.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Nyjer Morgan this morning. It was largely overblown based on some bad information, but Morgan had a brief exchange with hecklers following a play in center field Friday night and got Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News all worked up. Jason Turbow of The Baseball Codes has one of the fairest, most level-headed analyses of the situation I've seen. Morgan, by the way, won our Brewer of the Week voting over the weekend. He's only the second player (joining Ryan Braun) who has won three times.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are off today and start a series against the Cubs at home tomorrow. Nick Kosmider of MLB.com has the preview. Ryan Dempster, who has dominated the Brewers in the past, will be on the mound. Tom Haudricourt is wondering if Dempster's jock could beat the Brewers single-handedly.

By my count Josh Wilson, Yuniesky Betancourt, Brett Carroll and Casey McGehee had 12 of these yesterday: Saberilliterate notes that the Brewers have given 1250 plate appearances this season to players with an OPS+ below 75, over 400 more than any other team.

Speaking of McGehee, if you replace "Nick Markakis" with "Casey McGehee" then this post at The Book Blog becomes an interesting read on the possibility that the third baseman's sudden drop in power this season is simply the result of incredible luck to this point.

Speaking of powerless swings, Carson Cistulli of NotGraphs has a gif of Randy Wolf's "ghost swing" on Saturday.

Even with their weaknesses, The Outside Corner is still listing the Brewers 5:2 odds to win the NL Central, best of any competitor.

At least Yuni has been hitting a little better lately. He went 1-for-4 (with three strikeouts) yesterday to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Hangwith'em Rach is still comparing him to a car that takes much too long to leave a parking space.

It's rumor season (more on that below), and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has connected the Brewers to a couple of names I hadn't heard before: Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda and A's outfielder Coco Crisp. Meanwhile, Toby Harrmann of Disciples of Uecker has a look back at the CC Sabathia trade.

Some unforeseen circumstances might have put the Brewers in the market for a bullpen lefty. Zach Braddock is still away from the team in Nashville, and Mitch Stetter has suffered a setback in his rehab and may require hip surgery.

Elsewhere in injury notes, Adam McCalvy is reporting that both Carlos Gomez (having a small metal rod inserted in his collarbone) and Brandon Kintzler (having a screw inserted to help repair a forearm stress fracture) will have surgeries to help with their rehab.

Meanwhile, new Brewer Francisco Rodriguez had a pretty quiet road trip: He pitched just once each in Arizona and San Francisco. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com talked to him about the adjustment of pitching in the eighth inning.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 2-4 yesterday and both wins came from Brevard County, where Nick Bucci pitched a seven inning complete game as part of a doubleheader sweep of St. Lucie. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • 2011 4th round pick Nick Ramirez, who had been tearing up the Pioneer League, has been promoted to Wisconsin.
  • The Appleton Post-Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin reliever Brian Garman.
  • The Baseball Historian has an interview with Yankees prospect Ben Gamel, who mentions his brother Mat a few times.

As of today the Brewers have three weeks to come to terms with their remaining unsigned picks from the 2011 draft, including their top three selections. Adam McCalvy suggested that none of the Brewers' top picks are in any hurry to get a deal done. Jim Callis of Baseball America says we could enter the day of the deadline with 25 first rounders remaining unsigned.

Continuing their series on Miller Park food, John and Cait sampled several offerings from the French Fry stand on the third base side. They also weren't fans of the execution of the poutine, but suggested some alternatives that might be worth trying.

Here's a nice accolade for the front office: Cork Gaines of Business Insider says the Brewers, not the Rays, are the model small market teams should be following.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Are expected to place infielder Geoff Blum on the DL with a broken pinkie finger and released outfielder Wily Mo Pena.
Mets: Claimed first baseman/outfielder Mike Baxter off waivers from the Padres and designated infielder Nick Evans for assignment (h/t Amazin' Avenue).
Phillies: Designated pitcher Danys Baez for assignment.
Rangers: Placed third baseman Adrian Beltre on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Red Sox: Are expected to place outfielder J.D. Drew on the DL with a shoulder impingement.
Reds: Placed third baseman Scott Rolen (shoulder strain) and shortstop Zack Cozart (hyperextended elbow) on the DL.
Rockies: Placed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on the DL with a strained wrist.

You already know about Cozart and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Yesterday's loss dropped the Brewers to 3156-3456 all time, an even 300 games below 500. Don't feel bad, though: Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that every MLB expansion team has a losing record all time.

Today in former Brewers:

  • The Hall of Very Good says Trevor Hoffman is in, and Jim Edmonds is on the bubble for Hall of Fame induction in 2016.
  • Paul Molitor was in attendance at this weekend's Hall of Fame festivities, and Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says he received a huge ovation from Blue Jays fans.

The non-waiver trade deadline is on Sunday afternoon and, while this is an exciting time to be a baseball fan, it's not an enjoyable experience for everyone. Jeff Fletcher of Bay Bridge Baseball has a look back at his time spent covering deadline rumors and a look at how so much bad information gets out there. Aaron Gleeman called a scout for comment.

The AAA team currently known as the Tucson Padres is on quite the roller coaster ride. They were basically kicked out of Portland at the end of last season so the city could make room for a soccer team, then were purchased by Padres owner Jeff Moorad, who intended to move them to suburban San Diego once a park was constructed. Funding for the park has fallen through, though, so the team now has no long term home and is expected to go up for sale again this winter.

If you've got some time to kill on the off day today, here's a fun Sporcle quiz: I was able to correctly guess 11 of 15 non-first ballot Hall of Famers (h/t For Baseball Junkies). In a related note, I'm not sure what it says about me that I was able to fill in all 20 of these blanks in 44 seconds.

Before I close things out today, I wanted to take a moment to offer best wishes to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs and U.S.S. Mariner, who announced this morning that he's batting Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to pick up my ride.

Drink up.

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