Shaun Marcum didn't recognize the "grand slam" sign at first, but figured it out eventually.
Even AZ Snake Pit dropped a "WTF" after the Brewers blew a 6-1 lead by allowing seven unanswered runs and lost 8-6 to the Diamondbacks yesterday.
As is always the case following a tough loss, a fair amount of the blame is being focused on Ron Roenicke, who sent Kameron Loe to the mound as his "eighth inning guy" again yesterday and suffered what's become an all-too-frequent result. Over at Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball, Rubie Q announced he's done attending Brewer games until Roenicke is gone. Roenicke, for whatever it's worth, says he used Loe in the eighth because Zach Braddock was unavailable and he's still easing Takashi Saito back in.
Yesterday's collapse caused the Brewers to waste one of the rarest feats in franchise history: Shaun Marcum's grand slam was the first by a Brewer pitcher since the team moved to Milwaukee in 1970 and only the second in franchise history (Fred Talbot did it for the Pilots in 1969). It was also the first in the majors since Brad Penny did it in May of 2010.
Giving up a grand slam to Marcum probably answered this question: Dave Gershman of Beyond the Box Score asked if Daniel Hudson is one of baseball's elite starters.
Other notes from the field:
- Corey Hart's home run was overshadowed a bit by Marcum's slam, but it traveled 440 feet and bounced off the sign below the scoreboard in center.
- Hart and Marcum's homers were two of the Brewers' six hits in the fourth inning, the most the Brewers have had in a single frame this season.
- Chris Young, John Axford and Daniel Hudson are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 41,622 paid to see yesterday's game. BrewHaHeather can verify that I looked around during the 3rd/4th innings and predicted a crowd of 41,700.
- The Chorizo won the Sausage Race.
The two teams resume play today, with Randy Wolf taking the mound against Zach Duke. Avi Zaleon of MLB.com has the preview. Also, Nicole answered some questions for AZ Snake Pit as part of their series preview.
Ryan Braun missed his second straight game yesterday with a calf strain, but may not be out much longer: He told reporters he's feeling good. Despite some suspected voting shenanigans, he won Brewer of the Week for the third time over the weekend.
Yesterday's loss dropped the Brewers to 1-7 in their last eight games, and even the lone win was an unlikely one: @Stats_MLB notes that the seven run comeback in that game was the Brewers' largest since April of 2004.
Elsewhere in unlikely numbers from Saturday: Chris Narveson allowed 14 hits while recording just 14 outs in the game, becoming the first pitcher to allow 14 or more hits in 5 or fewer innings since Mark Buehrle in 2008.
Here's something you probably know: Prince Fielder is pretty good. Here are some things people have said about him recently:
- The Brewers named Fielder and John Axford their Player and Pitcher of the Month for June.
- Fielder was listed 14th on Jon Heyman's collection of 70 first half heroes. Ryan Braun (32) and John Axford (51) also made the list.
- Bill Petti of Beyond the Box Score is projecting Fielder's 2011 value at 7.8 WAR.
- The Ghost of Moonlight Graham listed Fielder's hot June among ten things we learned about baseball during the month.
- They also listed him (and Ryan Braun) as candidates for the first half NL MVP award, but gave it to Jose Reyes instead.
- The IBWAA gave the award to Fielder.
- Justin Bopp of MLB Daily Dish listed Fielder among baseball's leaders in OPS at first base.
- MLB Depth Charts named him (and John Axford) to their June NL All Star team.
- Christopher Rukan of The Washington Post says Fielder was baseball's best first baseman in June.
Fielder is, of course, one of three Brewers who have been selected to start the All Star Game. Hangwith'em Rach gave this week's El Super to the fans who helped get them there.
Thankfully, Yuniesky Betancourt is not one of those All Stars. Betancourt batted fifth yesterday and went 0-for-4, snapping a four game hitting streak. Here are today's Yuni Notes:
- Betancourt drew a walk on Sunday for the first time in 108 plate appearances. That's the longest streak by a non-pitcher since Kevin Mench went 153 in 2007, and the eighth longest in franchise history.
- Aaron Gleeman has turned Yuni's name into a verb.
- The Brewers now have ten days to DFA Yuni or cause me to owe Rubie Q a six pack.
Casey McGehee had a pretty good day batting seventh yesterday: He picked up a double and a single in his first two plate appearances. Nonetheless, Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker noticed some inconsistencies between what the Brewers are saying and doing with McGehee. The Brewer third baseman got a vote of confidence from Doug Melvin over the weekend, but Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a reminder that Melvin quotes are virtually worthless.
Meanwhile, interleague play is over and Mat Gamel has not been sent back to Nashville as many of us expected. Yesterday he played briefly in left field following a double switch, and he's also played third and first base during his brief stay with the team.
Another day, more stories on Zack Greinke: Tom Haudricourt has a look at his struggles to live up to expectations and Adam McCalvy says he's still working to figure out why he's been giving up so many runs.
The Brewers were pretty awful at home yesterday, but they've been worse on the road. Cory Provus lists the 1987 Twins as another team that was successful despite rarely winning away from home.
This is quickly becoming one of my pet peeves: Brian Anderson has a picture of the lineup card from one of this weekend's games against the Twins, which appears to have been painstakingly crafted by bench coach Jerry Narron. I still think it's possible that ridiculous calligraphy is Narron's only role with this team, since you never seem to hear about him doing anything else.
This says a fair amount about how poor the NL Central has been lately: The Brewers took over first place and remained within a game of it for most of the month despite going just 14-13, their worst showing of the season.
We don't have any actual trade rumors to report today, but expect them to start flying this week: The Brewers have called all of their pro scouts back to Miller Park this week to discuss trade deadline possibilites.
In the minors:
- The Mansfield Patch has a profile of Wisconsin third baseman Greg Hopkins.
In power rankings:
- FanGraphs has the Brewers fifth, down one spot.
- Beyond the Box Score also has the Brewers fifth.
- ESPN has the Brewers ninth, down three spots.
- Craig Calcaterra has the Brewers ninth, down five spots.
- The New York Daily News has the Brewers tenth, down six spots.
- The Sporting News has the Brewers 13th, down six spots.
Athletics: Designated pitcher Bobby Cramer for assignment.
Blue Jays: Designated infielder Jayson Nix and outfielder Juan Rivera for assignment.
Cubs: Placed pitchers Carlos Zambrano (lower back soreness) and Marcos Mateo (elbow) on the DL.
Diamondbacks: Placed closer J.J. Putz on the DL with elbow tendonitis.
Dodgers: Placed third baseman Casey Blake on the DL with a sore neck.
Indians: Placed pitcher Fausto Carmona on the DL with a quad strain.
Mariners: Reliever Royce Ring has exercised an out clause in his minor league contract and is now a free agent.
Marlins: Designated infielder Jose Lopez for assignment.
Mets: Signed pitcher Miguel Batista to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Placed infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston on the DL with a broken wrist.
Pirates: Placed shortstop Ronny Cedeno on the DL with a concussion.
Rangers: Designated pitcher Dave Bush for assignment.
Rays: Released pitcher Chris Bootcheck.
Red Sox: Designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment.
Rockies: Acquired second baseman Mark Ellis and cash from the A's for pitcher Bruce Billings and a PTBNL.
Tigers: Fired pitching coach Rick Knapp.
This could be the end of the road for Cameron, who is 38 and was hitting .149/.212/.266 for the Red Sox before being DFA'd. David Golebiewski of FanGraphs says Cameron was a "Stealth Star" of the 90's and '00s.
If you were away from technology entirely during the holiday weekend (maybe you stayed in a cave or something), you might not have heard that Albert Pujols could rejoin the Cardinals today. You already know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central, which Rubie presumably wrote from a place that's not Miller Park.
Today in former Brewers: The Royals have promoted Jake Odorizzi to AA.
Each year on Independence Day and a few other holidays Major League Baseball busts out themed uniforms or caps, and a fair number of us complain about the atrocities (all red caps in 2009, the white "ice cream man" hats in 2010 and this year's trucker cap wannabes, for example). This morning, we should all take a moment to thank the Trenton Thunder (and a rehabbing Derek Jeter) for showing us just how much worse things could be.
Here's another reminder that things could always be worse: Astros catcher Humberto Quintero, on a rehab assignment in Memphis, was locked out of his hotel while police investigated a murder. When he finally received his luggage at his new lodgings, someone had gone through it. Nothing was reported missing.
I've linked to a fair number of NotGraphs' Adventures of Joe West over the last few months, but this one might be my favorite: Navin Vaswani has a rare image of West's VCR.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to start eating again.