Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Last night was the Brewers' seventh walkoff win of the season.

Some things to read while naming your doppleganger.

Another Brewer late inning win and a Cardinals loss pushed the Crew seven games ahead in the NL Central, their largest August lead in franchise history. You can see the updated standings and much more in today's edition of Around the NL Central. For the first time this morning we're starting to see the white flag come up at Viva El Birdos. How are you handling this season's sudden success? J. Scott Loomer of PastKast is scared to talk about it, while @Tony_Plush takes the opposing view.

Last night's win continued the recent trend: Good pitching kept the team in the game, and timely hitting pushed them over the top. Mark Kotsay, whose single in the ninth drove in the winning run, told reporters after the game that the pitching staff has become this team's identity. I'm not sure if I agree with that, but they're certainly carrying the load lately.

Even before pitching eight innings last night, Yovani Gallardo was on a hot streak at Miller Park. @STATS_MLB notes that Gallardo had a 1.76 ERA in his last seven home starts. He lowered that number last night, but still received a no-decision.

Other notes from the field:

The two teams meet again tonight, with Zack Greinke taking the mound against rookie Nathan Eovaldi. Spencer Fordin of MLB.com has the preview.

John Axford got the night off last night, but he's all over the internet today: His Maxim article from earlier this season is up, and so is his interview with the American Mustache Institute.

This could spark a really interesting debate: If the Brewers continue to lead the NL Central we're probably going to start seeing more pieces like this one, which names Ron Roenicke as an NL Manager of the Year candidate.

Randy Wolf's season has been an underrated factor in the Brewers' 2011 improvement. Alex of View From Bernie's Chalet has a look at his performance. In a related note, Brian Anderson has a look at several incredible statistical quirks from Monday night's game. Speaking of Monday's game: Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy's home run trots clocked in at 20.39, 21.42 and 22.01 seconds, respectively.

Craig Counsell is a longtime Brewer fan favorite, but his lack of offensive production this season has made him something of a lightning rod. This week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan makes the case for keeping him around.

Here are today's injury notes:

  • Chris Narveson threw off a mound yesterday and could come off the DL to pitch in Monday's doubleheader against the Pirates.
  • Rickie Weeks has resumed hitting. He still hasn't started running, but once he can do that he's likely ready for a rehab assignment.

Looking ahead to the offseason, the Brewers will have an interesting decision to make regarding Francisco Rodriguez. He's almost certain to be a Type A free agent, but for the Brewers to receive compensation for him they'd have to offer him arbitration. Rodriguez is earning $11.5 million this season, so if he accepted the team's offer he'd absorb a huge chunk of their 2012 payroll. MLB Trade Rumors lists him as one of several unfortunate Type A free agents.

It's not something I would've predicted a few months ago, but the bullpen is going to be an interesting area of need for the team this winter. John Axford and Kameron Loe will be back, but K-Rod, Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins will all be free agents.

With that said, the 2012 Brewers still don't have that many question marks. Brewers Daily disputes the notion that this year's team will decline next season.

In the minors:

  • Today is Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley's second full day as members of the Brewer organization, so it's time to figure out where they fit into the prospect rankings. The Golden Sombrero listed Jungmann as one of nine 2011 draft picks that immediate become their new team's top prospect. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has Jungmann and Bradley in his top three.
  • Jungmann and Bradley talked to reporters yesterday about their signing process.
  • All told, the Brewers spent about $8 million on their 33 signed picks.
  • Meanwhile, former first round pick Mark Rogers' season is likely over and he's expected to undergo surgery for carpal tunnel in his right wrist. He should be ready in time for spring training.
  • The affiliates went 4-1 last night and Kentrail Davis went 2-for-4 with a home run in Brevard County's 6-3 win over Daytona. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • If you haven't been to a Wisconsin game this season, then you're missing out on the Diamond Dancers. Follow this link to see some of their routines and vote for one for them to perform on August 27.

As draft aftermath continues, we're seeing increasing calls for reform of the way the slotting system and negotiations are handled. The rules could be altered in this winter's new collective bargaining agreement, and Doug Melvin has accepted an invitation to the committee that's working on a proposal.

Mark your calendar: The Brewers announced yesterday they'll be giving out Tony Plush Rally Towels to the first 30,000 fans in attendance for their game against the Phillies on Friday, September 9. I can't imagine there are too many tickets available for a Friday, September game between two contending teams, so if you're dying to get a rally towel you should probably act fast.

If you'd like to laugh out loud this morning, Jack Moore of NotGraphs has audio from Robin Yount and Bob Uecker's inning in the broadcast booth on Sunday.

Around baseball:

Angels: Placed pitcher Garrett Richards on the DL with a groin strain.
Blue Jays: Placed pitcher Jon Rauch on the DL with appendicitis and designated pitcher Trever Miller for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Designated pitcher Kevin Mulvey for assignment.
Giants: Placed outfielder Carlos Beltran (strained right hand) and reliever Sergio Romo (elbow inflammation) on the DL and are expected to DL pitcher Jonathan Sanchez with a sprained ankle.
Orioles: Placed first baseman Chris Davis on the DL with a tear in his shoulder.
Phillies: Placed infielder Placido Polanco on the DL with a sports hernia.
Twins: Acquired pitcher Lester Oliveros from the Tigers as the PTBNL in the Delmon Young trade.
White Sox: Placed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the DL with a broken wrist.
Yankees: Claimed pitcher Raul Valdes off waivers from the Cardinals.

Here's an interesting note showing a pretty dramatic change in pitching strategy: Beyond the Box Score has a chart showing that the percentage of major league hitters seeing fastballs more than 60% of the time has decreased dramatically in recent years, and slider usage is steadily rising.

In former Brewers: Gary Sheffield (fourth) and Jim Edmonds (14th) made the B-Ref Blog's list of the most career home runs hit by a player who played for at least five teams.

If you've seen any highlight shows this morning you probably already knew this, but the Red Sox turned a 5-4-3 triple play last night.

Finally, a quick public service reminder: I know we're all enjoying the Brewers' recent hot streak, a relatively rare string of national relevance for this team. I know that beating the Cardinals makes it a little sweeter, and I can't say I blame anyone for being happy about seeing them lose. With that said, if you're the kind of person who's jumping on other teams' sites to gloat about it, stop it. You're one of the people that gives us all a bad name. Having to deal with crap like that when it happens here is one of the worst parts of my job.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to ignoring the statistics.

Drink up.

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