Some things to read while staying brave.
I'm running out of things to say about Brewer victories, so today's opening line comes from Craig Calcaterra:
Probably worth noting at this point that the Milwaukee Brewers are unstoppable. They’ve won 19 of 21 games. When this nice little run began in late July they were tied with the Cardinals for first place. Now they lead by seven and are close to putting the NL Central away.
Zack Greinke picked up his ninth home win last night, making him the first pitcher ever to open a Brewer career with a 9-0 home stretch. After the game he told reporters the NL Central is the Brewers' to lose. This is only the second time he's been on a team that's won 73 or more games in a season.
The Brewer hot streak is starting to become historic. Last night they became the first team in franchise history to hold opponents to one run or less in five straight games. They're only the sixth team since 1900 to win five straight games while scoring three runs or less. They're 19-2 in a 21 game stretch for the first time in franchise history, and 24-6 in a 30 game stretch for the first time since 1983.
Other notes from the field:
- Francisco Rodriguez told reporters he was available to pitch before last night's game but wasn't used in the eighth inning as he continues to deal with leg soreness.
- 42,804 fans paid to see last night's game, a relatively rare Wednesday night sellout.
- Zack Greinke, Jerry Hairston Jr and Jonathan Lucroy are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Andre Ethier might be the tallest player in Miller Park history. (h/t Baseball Nation)
- The Polish won the Sausage Race.
The Brewers and Dodgers finish up the series with a 1:05 start at Miller Park today, with Marco Estrada on the mound. Today's lineup has been posted and features Jerry Hairston Jr in center and Josh Wilson at second. Jordan Schelling of MLB.com has the preview. Nyjer Morgan is out of the lineup, which might give him more time to spend with his new kitten.
Today's game is #10 in a stretch of 17 games in 16 days for the Brewers, including a doubleheader on Monday. One of those games could feature a matchup of two returning pitchers: Chris Narveson might start for the Brewers against Ross Ohlendorf of the Pirates, everyone's favorite former Department of Agriculture intern. You know that and more if you've read this morning's Around the NL Central.
As you might expect, poll voters don't have much to complain about this week. The BCB Tracking Poll shows high approval for the Brewer braintrust across the board. Jim Peltz of the LA Times has a story on Ron Roenicke, who will likely continue to come up in Manager of the Year conversations.
If you're looking for a dark cloud on the horizon, though, you might find one lurking over the shortstop position. Yuniesky Betancourt went 0-for-3 last night, raising his line to 0-for-9 against the Dodgers and 3-for-20 on the current homestand. He's drawn a couple of walks and picked up two extra base hits, but his performance recently has been poor enough to bump Tom Haudricourt off his bandwagon:
I realize Yuni B. couldn't stay hot forever but isn't it amazing that he went all the way back into the dumper? No in-between for him.
And, as Rubie Q noted, we've probably reached the point where it's too late for the Brewers to do anything about him.
Here's today's injury note: Carlos Gomez swung a bat yesterday for the first time since surgery to repair his broken collarbone. He's getting close to going out on a rehab assignment.
Most of us probably aren't thinking this far ahead (which is nice for a change), but here's something the Brewers will have to think about this winter: Casey McGehee will likely make around $3 million in arbitration next season, and MLB Trade Rumors is listing him as an early candidate to be non-tendered. Unless the team is willing to hand Taylor Green an every day job in 2012, I can't imagine they'll let McGehee walk.
Elsewhere in upcoming offseason notes: We're probably going to hear a lot over the coming weeks about potential suitors for Prince Fielder. The Mariners are one team that could be in play, but Pro Ball NW says they shouldn't be. Trenni Kusnierek has an open letter to Fielder encouraging him to stay.
One of the factors Trenni mentions is the family-friendliness of the Brewer clubhouse. Kids are typically only allowed in there after home wins, but that's been happening a lot this season.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 5-1 last night and Wily Peralta and Austin Ross combined to pitch 14 scoreless innings in Nashville and Brevard County's victories. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Guy Curtright of MiLB.com has a story on Scooter Gennett and the hot streaks and slumps that have defined his 2011 season.
- The Timber Rattlers have one more Sunday home game, and Wisconsin native and former Brewer Damian Miller will be in attendance.
- Bob Brainerd has a profile of Wisconsin catcher Tony Pechek, a former undrafted free agent.
Here's a quick look down the path the Brewers didn't take: J. Mike Blake of the Cary News has a story on unsigned 16th round pick Carlos Rodon, who told teams he was looking for a $750,000 signing bonus and rejected an offer from the Brewers to be drafted in the fourth round if he agreed to sign for $250k.
Angels: Designated outfielder Reggie Willits for assignment.
Braves: Signed infielder Wes Helms to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks: Released pitcher Juan Jaime.
Indians: Released outfielder Austin Kearns.
Mariners: Acquired pitcher Chance Ruffin as the PTBNL in the deal that sent pitcher Doug Fister to the Tigers.
Marlins: Placed reliever Brian Sanches on the DL with a right elbow strain.
Here's a sideeffect of the Brewers' recent hot streak we haven't discussed: The Astros, who just picked up their 40th win last night, have an elimination number of seven. (Actually, Rubie says it's six). They're nearly certain to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in August. Their 33-game deficit is easily the largest in baseball: The 47-73 Orioles are second at 27 games back.
Depending on your phobias, this is probably about the scariest thing some of us can imagine: Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had to call for help on Twitter yesterday after getting stuck in an oxygen chamber.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting a cat.