Thursday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while carrying a spare for a friend.

The Brewers are 67-50, five games up in the NL Central and winners of 13 out of 14 games for the first time since 1987, and they got there via a very impressive performance from Randy Wolf. Wolf held the Cardinals to a run on just five hits over eight innings last night, striking out just one batter (Albert Pujols) and walking none.

Meanwhile, we have a new Brewer. The organization decided yesterday to put Chris Narveson on the DL with his thumb laceration and call up Eulogio (better known as "Frankie") de la Cruz to fill his roster spot (FanShot). De la Cruz is expected to be used as a bullpen arm while he's here. Noah will have more on him later today, but here's a quick primer:

With Narveson on the DL there's some confusion about what will happen tomorrow, his next scheduled start. Marco Estrada is the likely candidate to take the vacant spot in the rotation, but Zack Greinke could pitch on normal rest in the opener of the Pirates series. That would mean Estrada would start on national TV on Saturday.

Speaking of Greinke, 36% of voters in this MLB Trade Rumors poll think the trade that brought him and Yuniesky Betancourt to Milwaukee was Doug Melvin's best offseason move. That trade is likely part of the reason Melvin's approval rating remained over 90% in this week's BCB Tracking Poll.

Other notes from the field:

The two teams finish off the series tonight (in a getaway-day night game), with Yovani Gallardo taking the mound against Chris Carpenter. Jon Star of MLB.com has the preview.

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday missed last night's game after tweaking his back lifting weights, and may be out today as well. He downplayed the severity of the injury, though.

Prince Fielder went 1-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly and drove in the first Brewer run last night. Baseball America's Best Tools survey credited him with the NL's best power and third best strike zone judgment. You might not have known that he still has the longest and fifth longest homer in all of baseball this season. They also say Shaun Marcum is tied for the league's second best changeup.

It's certainly tongue-in-cheek, but Brewers' in 11's point that the Brewers have gotten hot without Rickie Weeks is worth noting. The Brewers certainly aren't better without Weeks, but the fact that they're winning while he's on the shelf is encouraging.

In the minors:

We already know that the Brewers are unlikely to sign first round picks Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley before Monday, but it looks like one other decision is coming down to the wire: Shortstop Chris McFarland, an 18th round pick, says he won't decide whether he's turning pro or attending Rice until the signing deadline. (h/t @SessileFielder)

If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading and you've already listened to my appearance on The Pulse Network, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include Yuniesky Betancourt, Casey McGehee, Yovani Gallardo, the minors and more.

Around baseball:

Astros: Designated infielder Tommy Manzella for assignment.
Cardinals: Placed pitcher Lance Lynn on the DL with an oblique strain.
Dodgers: Placed infielder Dee Gordon on the DL with a shoulder contusion.
Marlins: Placed shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the DL with a shoulder sprain.
Pirates: Released pitcher Mike Crotta.
Rays: Placed outfielder Justin Ruggiano on the DL with knee bursitis.
Royals: Released pitcher Kyle Davies.

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

Today in baseball economics: The Padres are expected to raise payroll to over $50 million next season, and are saying $70 million is possible within five years. This is a nice reminder of how good we have it as Brewer fans: The Padres have a slightly newer park and a bigger city, but the Brewers are outspending them by $20-40 million annually.

Here's a strange statistical quirk: There's a chance that no major leaguers will reach 50 doubles this season. It'd be the first time that's happened in back-to-back seasons since 1991-92. The Brewer leaders this season are Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, who each have 28 and are on pace for 39.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers Doc Medich, who the Brewers claimed off waivers on this day in 1982. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a reminder that today is also the 50th anniversary of Warren Spahn's 300th win.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch cartoons.

Drink up.

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