Some things to read while accepting your mission.
Whether it was luck, skill or a combination of the two, the Brewers picked up a big win last night to open up a 3.5 game lead in the NL Central, their largest since 2007. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at some of the breaks that went the Brewers' way last night to help them build that lead.
Another day, another review of the trade deadline: Cory Provus breaks down the Brewers', Cardinals' and Pirates' trades, while View From Bernie's Chalet thinks the Brewers made the best moves among the NL Central contenders.
One of the Brewers' biggest trade-season acquisitions was Jerry Hairston Jr., but you wouldn't know it from the way he's been used. He entered last night's game as a defensive replacement and did not bat. Both Craig Counsell and Mark Kotsay have started games since Hairston's acquisition, while he's made one plate appearance. Meanwhile, Felipe Lopez has made four straight starts at second. Toby Harrmann of Disciples of Uecker used ZiPS projections to estimate what to expect from Brewer batters the rest of the way, and Hairston was significantly better than many of the alternatives.
Counsell, by the way, was the first of two Brewer pinch hitters used last night and popped out. He's now 0-for his last 45, one at bat away from tying Bill Bergen's 1909 record for position players.
Other notes from the field:
- Nyjer Morgan's three run double in the fifth was his first career three run hit. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave Morgan "huge respect" for his walkup song.
- Chris Carpenter's balk last night was his first as a member of the Cardinals.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- Nyjer Morgan, Zack Greinke and Matt Holliday are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 41,619 fans paid to see last night's game. Colin Fly says the team needs to average 38,770 over the remaining 27 home games to break 3 million.
- The Hot Dog won the Sausage Race.
- Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema spent a half inning in the FS Wisconsin booth last night and, among other things, called Miller Park "Brewers Park" and referred to Prince Fielder as Cecil (pronounced "see-sil," not "seh-sil" like his father). I'm hoping the welt on my forehead will heal before I have to go out in public.
Speaking of Prince, here's video of his massive home run from Saturday:
The two teams continue the series tonight, and Sam Zuba of MLB.com has the preview.
Now that we're into August, it's time for July's monthly accolades: Zack Greinke was named the Brewer pitcher of the month, and in a something of an upset Yuniesky Betancourt won player of the month. Betancourt hit .299/.315/.437 for a .752 OPS in the month. By my count, at least five Brewers were better: Ryan Braun (1.038), Corey Hart (.836), Prince Fielder (.809), Rickie Weeks (.790) and Nyjer Morgan (.768).
In the minors:
- The new Brewerfan.net Power 50 has been posted. Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg continue to hold the top two spots but some new names have joined them in the top five.
- Peralta is also the reigning Southern League Pitcher of the Week. Tom Haudricourt has a look at Peralta and Nashville outfielder Logan Schafer's recent hot streaks.
- The affiliates went 1-4 last night, with Wisconsin picking up the lone win on a Mike Brownstein tenth inning walkoff home run. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from the win.
It's getting to be that time of year: The Brewers announced their postseason ticket plan yesterday. Full and partial season ticket holders for 2011 will be given first priority, but the team says you can also get the ability to buy playoff tickets by making a deposit on a 2012 ticket plan.
In power rankings:
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has the Brewers fifth, up two spots.
- FanGraphs has the Brewers sixth, up one spot.
- Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers seventh.
- ESPN has the Brewers eighth, up two spots.
Braves: Placed reliever Scott Linebrink on the DL with a lower back strain.
Dodgers: Placed pitcher Rubby De La Rosa on the DL with elbow inflammation.
Giants: Pitcher Barry Zito has been placed on the disabled list with...well, something.
Indians: Pitcher Carlos Carrasco has been suspended six games for throwing at an opposing batter's head on Friday. He plans to appeal.
Mariners: Placed reliever Chris Ray on the DL with a shoulder strain.
Nationals: Released 1B/OF Matt Stairs.
Phillies: Released pitcher Danys Baez.
Pirates: Designated first baseman Lyle Overbay for assignment.
Yankees: Are expected to release reliever Randy Flores today.
Flores is a player the Brewers could target: He's left-handed, 36 years old and an eight year major league veteran. With that said, lefties have hit .275/.345/.435 off of him for his career, so he's not exactly a fit as a LOOGY. Danny Knobler said St. Louis, Boston and Arizona are also in the market for a lefty reliever.
Meanwhile, you already know about Overbay and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
Today in former Brewers: Arne Christensen of The Hardball Times posted an interview with Seattle Pilot and 1970 Brewer Greg Goossen, who recently passed away.
The Pirates are in the middle of their single most relevant season in over a decade, so it only makes sense that this is when something like this would happen: A dispute over a cable company merger has led to Pirates games being blacked out in northeastern Ohio.
If you're going to next week's Brewers-Cardinals series in St. Louis, watch your head. Sidewalks around the stadium were closed yesterday after a piece of metal trim fell off the outside of the park. No one was injured.
New Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence has had an interesting week, being traded away from the only organization he's ever known and going from last place to a pennant race. Apparently he's got so much on his mind that he forgot to remove the donut from his bat before stepping to the plate in the tenth inning last night. (h/t Hardball Talk)
I don't know about you guys, but I feel like an "Untitled" would look pretty good on Rubie's desk. You can nominate him or any of your other favorite internet writers for the first annual Untitled Sports Media Awards Project.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to sober someone up.