Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while embracing your feminine side.

Before we get started today, I wanted to take a moment to thank Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar for filling in on the Mug yesterday, and everyone else who's helped keep the site going while I've spent most of the last eight days on the road. It's good to be able to leave things in capable hands when I need to step out.

In a long overdue moment that both the team and player desperately needed, Casey McGehee hit a three run, pinch hit homer yesterday to drive home the tying and winning runs in a Brewer 3-1 victory to avoid a sweep. McGehee's home run broke a 158 PA homerless streak, which was over 50% longer than his previous longest drought (96 PAs to open his MLB career).

Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker asks if we can start believing in McGehee again now. If nothing else, maybe now Brewers in 11 can stop writing fan fiction about him. McGehee also made Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times' All-Collapse All-Star team.

The Brewers got a very good outing from Yovani Gallardo yesterday, who settled down after allowing a leadoff home run and allowed just four hits over seven innings while walking just one and striking out six. He did, however, throw 123 pitches in the game. That's the second highest total of his career and the most by a Brewer since Randy Wolf threw 124 last October.

The Brewers are now 1-0 since Ron Roenicke called a team meeting following Tuesday's loss. Cory Provus talked to Josh Wilson about the meeting, and he said moments like that can help a team turn things around.

Other notes from the field:

The Diamondbacks have left Milwaukee and will be replaced by the Reds, who open a four game set at Miller Park tonight. Joey Nowak of MLB.com has the preview, and I'll have ours in a little while. If the Reds look a little worn out today, it's because they used every bench player and bullpen arm in last night's 13 inning win over the Cardinals. You know about that and much more if you've read today's edition of Around the NL Central, which has a great beat for dancing.

Ryan Braun sat out once again yesterday, but an MRI on his strained calf showed no structural damage. He says he won't play in the All Star Game unless he can get back into action this weekend. Meanwhile, Braun is likely available for pinch hitting duty but Ron Roenicke said he's afraid Braun will "try to turn it on" and aggravate the injury if given an opportunity to run a ball out.

Today in managerial acrimony: Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a really interesting post on the possibility that we're incorrectly assigning blame for Roenicke's tendencies to overuse/misuse players.

Yesterday's win ended a stretch where the Brewers had lost seven of eight games. The starting pitching has performed pretty poorly over that span but Jaymes Langrehr of the Brewers Bar says you can't blame everything on them at this point.

By now, you've almost certainly heard that Rickie Weeks will be joining Prince Fielder in Monday's Home Run Derby. The folks in Vegas don't think much of his chances: He's the event's biggest long shot at 12:1. Fielder is tied for second at 7:2. Both Brewers say they won't let the Derby impact their swings. Jeffrey Gross of The Hardball Times has a look at how the derby contestants' numbers would change if they played their home games at Chase Field in Arizona. Jeff Sullivan of Baseball Nation says Fielder should have picked Wily Mo Pena, Justin Upton and Mike Stanton as his teammates.

Speaking of Prince Fielder, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated passed over him and awarded the NL first half MVP to Jose Reyes. Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score also gave the award to Reyes, and didn't even list Fielder among his candidates.

Going back to Rickie Weeks: He's one of two second basemen (joining Robinson Cano of the Yankees) participating in the Home Run Derby. Weeks is also in relatively rare ground as a leadoff hitter in the derby. Nyjer Morgan would seem like a likely candidate to bat first going forward, but Ron Roenicke told Adam McCalvy he's sticking with Weeks in that spot.

In the minors:

  • BCB Community #2 prospect Kyle Heckathorn is on the move: He's been promoted to Huntsville, and is expected to join the team today. The #47 overall pick in the 2009 draft had a 3.95 ERA and was striking out 7.3 batters per nine innings for Brevard County.
  • Hopefully it's just a precaution, but Mark DiFelice has been placed on the DL in AAA with soreness in his shoulder.
  • The affiliates went 0-7 last night, but Eric Farris went 4-for-7 with a stolen base in Nashville's 6-5, 13 inning loss to Memphis. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 10-7 loss to Kane County yesterday. They're in action again today at 12:05, and you can listen live online via WNAM.
  • Here's another reminder that the Brewer prospect cupboard is pretty bare: Helena shortstop Yadiel Rivera (19) is the only Brewer farmhand among the top ten youngest players at any level.

Second-guessing the MLB Draft isn't really fair, but sometimes it is interesting to look down the other path: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk is re-selecting the 2001 draft and gave the Brewers center fielder Chris Young instead of Mike Jones. Young was drafted 493rd overall.

If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, check out the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast. This week's topics include the Brewers' recent skid, Zack Greinke and Ron Roenicke's bullpen usage.

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed pitcher Fernando Abad (shoulder tendonitis) on the DL.
Cardinals: Signed relievers Blaine Boyer and Ron Mahay to minor league deals.
Mariners: Designated catcher Jose Yepez for assignment.
Mets: Are expected to place shortstop Jose Reyes on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Nationals: Designated pitcher Collin Balester for assignment.
Orioles: Placed outfielder Luke Scott on the DL with a torn labrum.
Padres: Placed pitcher Clayton Richard on the DL with a strained shoulder.
Rangers: Released pitcher Dave Bush.
Red Sox: Placed pitcher Jon Lester on the DL with a lat strain.
Yankees: Released pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.

The Brewers have been getting by for a while now with six relievers, but they still seem to be treating it as a temporary situation. Meanwhile, Lookout Landing has a look at the Mariners, who have had six relievers all season and rarely use one of them. They lead the league in outs recorded by starting pitchers and are last by a wide margin in pitching changes.

Here's our near-daily reminder that the state of major league umpiring is a joke: After going over a month without tossing anyone, Joe West and his crew recently ejected three players, two managers and a coach in a three day span. Tigers manager Jim Leyland says something needs to be done to ease the tension level between umps and players. Getting rid of roughly 8-10 confrontational umpires would be a big step in the right direction.

Today in baseball economics:

  • Interleague play has concluded for 2011 and this year's edition drew over 8.5 million fans, up slightly from last season. The average 2011 interleague contest drew 33,126 fans, up from 29,099 for intraleague play in the previous weeks.
  • The Brewers haven't been active on the international market this season, but that may not be a bad thing: Ben Badler of Baseball America declined to name a team that's getting good value on the July market, saying teams are "out of control."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a new Christmas card idea.

Drink up.

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