Some things to read while covering your trail.
The Brewers completed a sweep of the Cubs yesterday and improved to 1-0 with Rickie Weeks on the DL, but didn't get much offensive help from their second baseman: Craig Counsell got the start, went 0-for-3 and is now hitless in his last 41 at bats, one shy of Doug Davis' Brewer franchise record.
John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched scoreless innings for the third consecutive day yesterday, which raises an interesting question: What happens if the Brewers find themselves in a save situation again tonight? In-Between Hops wonders if the Brewers should have saved a closer. Meanwhile, Axford is the tenth Brewer in club history to save 30 games in a season. Only Dan Plesac (1988-89) has ever done it twice.
Other notes from the field:
- Eric Farris grounded out as a pinch hitter in his major league debut.
- Ryan Braun, Shaun Marcum and John Axford are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- The Hot Dog won the Sausage Race.
A few more notes on Farris:
- He didn't arrive at the ballpark until about noon yesterday, and apparently didn't get any sleep the night before.
- He's on Twitter, and called yesterday "the best 24 hrs of my life!"
The Brewers made a minor trade yesterday, re-acquiring infielder Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash (FanShot). Since leaving the Brewers at the end of the 2009 season Lopez is a .230/.299/.340 hitter and has played for three different teams (the Cardinals, Red Sox and Rays). He was, however, hitting .305/.357/.474 for AAA Durham. He'll take Eric Farris' spot on the roster in Nashville while the Brewers try to figure out what to do with him.
Lopez almost certainly doesn't solve all of the Brewer problems, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com seems to think his acquisition means the Brewers have turned away from Dodger infielder Jamey Carroll. Jon Heyman says the Brewers (along with the Pirates and the Indians) are still interested. Ken Rosenthal reports the Brewers are also still talking to the Dodgers about Rafael Furcal, but LA isn't interested in trading both him and Carroll.
Prince Fielder went 0-for-2 yesterday with a pair of walks and was on base six times over three games against the Cubs. One of those occurrences was Wednesday's home run, and Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus says he circled the bases in 21.41 seconds.
The Brewers continue the homestand tonight, with Randy Wolf on the mound against the Astros. Anthony Chang of MLB.com has a preview.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-5 yesterday, with Taylor Green hitting two home runs in Nashville's 13-2 win over Oklahoma City. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look back at his preseason ranking of the top 20 Brewer prospects, and sees some encouraging performances from players like Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America is reporting that catcher Dustin Houle, the Brewers' eighth round pick in the 2011 draft, has been placed on the 60-day DL. Houle, who won't turn 18 until November, had yet to make his pro debut. I haven't heard what's wrong with him.
Meanwhile, Brewer 29th round pick David Lucroy, Jonathan's brother, has decided to go to Eastern Carolina and will not sign.
There are days where I feel like I'm still the only person who wants to move on: Subjective Baseball says the Brewer retro logo is the greatest baseball logo of all time.
Giants: Designated infielder Bill Hall for assignment (FanShot)
Indians: Acquired outfielder Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs for two minor leaguers and designated outfielder Travis Buck for assignment.
Rangers: Placed outfielder Craig Gentry on the DL with a concussion.
Twins: Placed infielder Alexi Casilla on the DL with a hamstring injury.
The Brewers got a little help from the Astros yesterday: They beat the Cardinals to allow the Crew to expand their NL Central lead to 1.5 games, the largest it's been since June 28. You know about that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
Speaking of divisional foes, Brewers in 11 has a preview of the Cardinals' stretch run.
Meanwhile, the Reds dropped a 10-9 decision to the Mets yesterday to fall to 50-55 and 6.5 games back. After the game, infielder Miguel Cairo told reporters "we stink right now."
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History commemorates the eleventh anniversary of Bob Wickman All Star Poster Night, which came one day after he'd been traded to the Indians. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a happier memory: It's also the fifth anniversary of the Chorizo's debut in the Sausage Race.
The Mug is a pain to write sometimes, but at least it keeps me from having the time to do something like this.
We have sad news to report this morning from California, where former major league pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead yesterday after an apparent suicide. Irabu was one of several well-hyped Japanese players from the last 15 years or so who have struggled to meet expectations in America. I think Jay Jaffe's four part tweet on the subject sums up the matter pretty nicely:
I think people tend to vastly underestimate difficulty for Japanese ballplayers to make the transition stateside, and not just on the field
Granted, those players made choice to ply their forturnes halfway across globe, but their isolation doesn't even register to some MSMers
instead the players get ripped for not fitting in, for not speaking the language, and for not adhering to customs completely foreign to them
it makes you appreciate the rarity of Matsui and Ichiro. What they've done is a hell of a lot harder than it looks
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to work on my timing.