Some things to read while putting the clippers away.
Defense and solo home runs were the story last night as the Brewers turned a triple play and hit three solo shots en route to a 3-0 win over the Dodgers to improve to 20 games over .500. If you haven't seen video of the triple play yet, check it out. It was the first such play for the Brewers since 2009, the sixth in franchise history and the first triple play to go 4-6-3-2 since 1972. In-Between Hops has a diagram of the play.
Given a three run cushion, John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth last night for his 35th save, his 32nd in a row overall and his 22nd in as many opportunities at Miller Park, where he also has pitched ten straight scoreless innings.This is only the seventh 35 save season in Brewer history, but the fifth since 2004. Axford is now on pace for 46 saves this season, which would break Francisco Cordero's franchise record.
Other notes from the field:
- Randy Wolf, Ryan Braun and Ted Lilly are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Tim Dillard, unused last night, has pitched three times in a month since being called up.
- 38,551 paid to see last night's game, meaning I missed my Prognostikeggers prediction by 51 fans.
- The Italian won the Sausage Race.
The Brewers and Dodgers continue their series tonight, with Yovani Gallardo taking on Chad Billingsley. Cash Kruth of MLB.com has the preview. True Blue LA says that a 3-2 or 4-3 Brewer win (both 6:1 odds) are the most likely outcomes.
If Shawn Green was playing, a Dodger win would be more likely. True Blue LA remembers the night he hit four home runs at Miller Park.
Now that John Axford has pitched in three straight games, it's possible we could see Francisco Rodriguez if a save situation presents itself tonight. K-Rod was the winner of this week's El Super.
Looking back another day, Craig Counsell was hit by a pitch while starting at second base Sunday. Plunk Everyone says he's the only player who's been hit by a pitch on his bobblehead day this season.
Meanwhile, yesterday's other big story was the MLB Draft signing deadline. It came down to the wire but the Brewers were able to sign first round picks Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley and 18th round pick Chris McFarland, a shortstop (who is on Twitter) (FanShot). Thus, they'll stay off of this list of teams getting compensation picks for failing to sign players.
The Brewers did, however, have some draft swings and misses. They failed to sign 12th round pick Andrew Cain, 13th round pick Mallex Smith, 16th round pick Carlos Rodon and 17th round pick Mario Amaral, among others. (h't @SessileFielder). Cain was the most surprising as he's a collegiate player making the somewhat rare decision to go back for his senior year. The other three were all high schoolers. There's no truth to the rumor that Keith Law is planning on making them into pies.
The Brewers only had six hits last night, but Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder combined for three of them. Bill Petti of Beyond the Box Score has a chart showing both players are among the ten best hitters in baseball when measured by wOBA per swing.
Meanwhile, Casey McGehee went 0-for-3 with a walk. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the challenges of projecting a player who is performing so far below his career levels.
After improving their record to 71-51 last night the Brewers are now six games better than their pythagorean record (65-57). Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball uses interleague play to explain away some of the discrepancy. In a somewhat related note, Doug Russell has a reminder that this team probably isn't going to play .900 baseball the rest of the way. They can probably afford to cool off a little: AccuScore has their playoff chances at 95.3%. (h/t @cfly)
Speaking of discrepancies: Cory Provus asked (and didn't really get an answer to) a question I'm sure many of you are also wondering: How does a guy named Eulogio end up being called Frankie?
Tom Haudricourt has today's dose of injury updates: Carlos Gomez can run and throw but hasn't swung a bat since surgery to repair his broken collarbone. Rickie Weeks continues to take grounders but hasn't started running yet.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-2 yesterday with Lee Haydel providing three hits and scoring the only run in Huntsville's 1-0 win over Jackson. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 7-5 win over Quad Cities.
- Helena reliever Alex Jones was Toby Harrmann of Disciples of Uecker's Monday Morning Prospect.
- 2009 first round pick Eric Arnett is back in Wisconsin, and Mike Woods of The Appleton Post Crescent has a story on his unwillingness to give up.
- The Marietta Times has a story on Helena reliever Mark Williams, who the Brewers recently signed out of independent ball.
Today in power rankings:
- The Sporting News has the Brewers second, up two spots.
- FanGraphs has the Brewers fifth, up a spot.
- ESPN has the Brewers fifth, up a spot.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It'll remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
Astros: Received minor league outfielder Domingo Santana from the Phillies as the PTBNL in the Hunter Pence deal.
Mariners: Released pitcher Chris Ray.
Rockies: Signed pitcher J.C. Romero and designated pitcher Edgar Gonzalez for assignment.
Tigers: Acquired outfielder Delmon Young from the Twins for a minor leaguer and a PTBNL.
White Sox: Released pitcher Brian Bruney.
The Brewers got some help from their division rivals last night, as the Pirates beat the Cardinals to allow the Crew to extend their division lead to six games. You already know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
In former Brewers:
- Royally Speaking has a look at the offensive ups and downs of Alcides Escobar.
- Jon Heyman is reporting Carlos Lee has cleared waivers and could be traded to any team. He also made For Baseball Junkies' All Carlos Team.
Today in baseball economics:
- Teams committed over $91.5 million in bonuses and guaranteed money to 31 first round picks in 2011, setting a new record. Baseball Nation has a listing of the bonuses given to the first 60 picks. The Pirates spent over $17 million on signees this year.
- Johnny Damon, who reportedly cleared waivers and could be traded to any team, has an unusual contract clause that could impact his ability to be dealt: He could earn $750,000 if the Rays draw 2.15 million fans this season. They're only on pace to draw 1.56 million, so the incentive would likely only pay out if Damon is moved.
- Elsewhere in attendance notes, last night's Braves/Giants game in Atlanta drew just 23,498 fans.
- The Astros sale to businessman Jim Crane has been held up.
Here's an interesting statistical quirk: Jim Thome, who hit his 600th home run last night, hit his 300th (Indians), 400th (Phillies), 500th (White Sox) and 600th (Twins) for different teams. He's the first player who's ever done that.
A quick reminder of how good the 2011 Brewers are at home: The B-Ref Blog has a list of 26 teams that failed to win 25 home games in their first 120 contests, and the 1999 and 2003 Brewers are on it. The 2011 Brewers won their 25th home game in June.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to break up a fight.