Some things to read while making a bad investment.
The Brewers picked up their sixth straight win yesterday but got a little help from Astros manager Brad Mills, who decided to pitch to Prince Fielder with the game tied, Ryan Braun on second and first base open in the eighth inning. Fielder singled on a 3-1 pitch and Braun scored the eventual game-winning run. Moments like that are why I'm having a hard time getting too excited about the current 6-0 homestand: It's nice that the team is winning, but it feels like this week's wins had more to do with the level of competition than the Brewers' level of play.
Jerry Hairston Jr. made his Brewer debut yesterday, popping out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Hairston was acquired from the Nationals on Saturday in exchange for outfielder Erik Komatsu, the Brewers' reigning Minor League Player of the Year (FanShot). Hairston was hitting .268/.342/.385 in 2011 with the Nationals, and had already played two outfield and three infield spots. He's on a one year deal and projects to fall outside the cutoff for Type B free agency this fall. Adam McCalvy says he'll play all over the infield, make occasional starts in center and potentially start at second base.
Meanwhile, here's what people are saying about Komatsu:
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball says "he has excellent strike zone judgment and is a very polished hitter, but as a tweener-type who lacks big power, he'll likely fit best as a reserve outfielder."
- Ben Badler and Matt Eddy of Baseball America say "the Nationals did well to turn Hairston into a player with some on-base skills who will almost certainly be a big leaguer in some capacity, though his ultimate role might be as a solid backup."
- Komatsu (along with Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer) would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if he wasn't added to the 40 man roster this winter.
Even with Hairston available, Ron Roenicke decided to start Craig Counsell at third base yesterday. He went 0-for-3 to extend his hitless streak to 44 at bats. It had been previously reported that Doug Davis held the franchise record with an 0-for-42 streak, but that streak was actually 0-for-49 and stretched over two seasons. Roenicke said he still wants Counsell around for his defense.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers are eleven games over .500 for the first time this season and the first time since May 21, 2009. It's also only the third time they've ever had 60 wins before August 1 (1979 and 2008 were the others).
- TheJay noted that the Brewers' current 2.5 game lead in the Central is the largest lead held by any team since June 26.
- Corey Hart had three hits yesterday, giving him eight in the Astros series after just one in three games against the Cubs.
- Prince Fielder, Jason Bourgeois and Jonathan Lucroy are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Prince Fielder's home run Saturday night traveled an estimated 475 feet, the second longest blast in Miller Park history.
- 44,306 fans paid to see Saturday's game and 41,738 bought tickets for yesterday.
- The Hot Dog won both Friday and Saturday's Sausage Races, with the Italian winning yesterday.
The homestand continues tonight as the Brewers and Cardinals open a three game set with first place in the NL Central on the line. Adam McCalvy has a preview of the series, while Adam Holt of MLB.com has a preview of tonight's game. Greg Schimmel of The Washington Post says tonight's matchup is the game of the day. The Prognostikeggers thread for the series is here, if you're ready to make your predictions.
Francisco Rodriguez picked up his second win as a Brewer yesterday, although it came following his second blown save. David Waldstein of the New York Times has more insight into K-Rod's decision to waive his 2012 vesting option: He reportedly told the Mets he'd be willing to get rid of it before being dealt. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
Meanwhile, John Axford pitched a perfect ninth yesterday and picked up his 31st save. Kenn Hoekstra of Pocket Doppler noted that Axford could break the Brewers' single season record of 44, set by Francisco Cordero in 2007. Steve Berthiaume of ESPN makes a case for Axford as baseball's best closer.
Axford also took second in this week's Brewer of the Week voting. Ryan Braun won for the fourth time with 42% of the vote.
The Brewers made a couple of moves to improve the team this weekend, but was it enough? Call to the Pen is listing them among the trade deadline winners.
Yuniesky Betancourt went 1-for-4 in each of the three games in the Astros series, and is now hitting .299/.315/.437 in July. Nonetheless, he's a candidate to be assigned the nickname of "$45 Couch" at NotGraphs. Go over and cast your vote.
Casey McGehee got the day off yesterday. He's hitting .333/.368/.600 on the homestand, but that's still only enough to bring his season line up to .230/.282/.320. At Disciples of Uecker, Toby Harrmann has a look at the volume of leeway the Brewers have given him and their continued decision not to call up Taylor Green.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-3 yesterday with Wily Peralta allowing just one hit over seven innings in Huntsville's 1-0 win over Carolina. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 5-3 loss to Burlington.
- CantonRep.com has a story on reliever Eric Marzec, who recently made the jump from Wisconsin to Nashville. (h/t @NashvilleSounds)
- Florida Today has a story on Brevard County Manatee Scooter Gennett.
Tuesday is typically power ranking day, but Craig Calcaterra is ahead of the curve: He has the Brewers seventh, up six spots.
This might be the largest "Around Baseball" section I've ever written:
Athletics: Placed pitcher Michael Wuertz on the DL with a thumb injury.
Braves: Acquired outfielder Michael Bourn from the Astros for outfielder Jordan Schafer and three minor leaguers, placed outfielder Nate McLouth on the DL with a lower abdominal strain, and designated infielder Diory Hernandez for assignment.
Cardinals: Acquired shortstop Rafael Furcal from the Dodgers for a minor leaguer (FanShot) and placed infielder Nick Punto on the DL with an oblique strain.
Diamondbacks: Acquired pitcher Jason Marquis from the Nationals for a minor leaguer and acquired reliever Brad Ziegler from the A's for first baseman Brandon Allen and a minor league pitcher.
Dodgers: Placed infielder Juan Uribe (groin strain) and pitcher Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) on the DL.
Giants: Acquired infielder Orlando Cabrera from the Indians for a minor league outfielder.
Indians: Acquired pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies for four minor leaguers and designated pitcher Mitch Talbot for assignment.
Mariners: Designated DH Jack Cust for assignment.
Nationals: Placed pitcher Yuniesky Maya on the DL with an oblique strain.
Phillies: Acquired outfielder Hunter Pence from the Astros for three minor leaguers and a PTBNL.
Pirates: Acquired first baseman Derrek Lee from the Orioles and outfielder Ryan Ludwick from the Orioles and Padres for a minor leaguer and a PTBNL, respectively, designated pitcher Mike Crotta for assignment and placed reliever Chris LeRoux on the DL with a calf strain.
Rangers: Acquired reliever Mike Adams from the Padres for two minor league pitchers and acquired pitcher Koji Uehara from the Orioles for infielder/outfielder Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.
Red Sox: Acquired pitchers Erik Bedard and Josh Fields from the Mariners as part of a three team deal that sent two minor leaguers to Seattle and three to the Dodgers and acquired infielder Mike Aviles from the Royals for two minor leaguers.
Tigers: Acquired pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley from the Mariners for outfielder Casper Wells, pitcher Charlie Furbush and a minor leaguer.
For more on the deals taking place in the division yesterday, check out today's edition of Around the NL Central. For a full roundup of players changing teams this month, take a look at Satchel Price of MLB Daily Dish's final tally.
The non-waiver trade deadline passed at 3 pm yesterday, but teams can still work out deals involving players who clear waivers during the month of August. MLB Trade Rumors has a list of players that could still be moved.
The trade deadline is a stressful time to be a major league executive, even when you're healthy. I can only imagine what it was like for Rays GM Andrew Friedman, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Saturday. Thankfully, he appears to be ok.
I'm still pretty firmly attached to the Brewers, but if something were to happen to them I think I know which team I'd start rooting for: The Rangers are involved in a pretty impressive effort to stop the wave.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to start a business.