Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while finishing your assessments.

Hopefully you're getting some work done this morning, because you're going to want to take a break around 11:30 to catch today's getaway-day special in Pittsburgh. The lineups have been posted, and Jerry Hairston Jr (in center) and Josh Wilson (at second) are starting behind Shaun Marcum. Evan Drellich of MLB.com has the preview.

When the two teams take the field we'll get to see the major league debut of pitcher Aaron Thompson, who has been called up to make a spot start today. Thompson is 24 and was a first round pick in 2005 but has made just four professional appearances above AA (including three this season).

The Brewers have a chance to clinch a series victory after last night's 11-4 blowout win. The Brewers are now 10-1 against the Pirates this season and Tom Haudricourt praised their ability to turn the page following Monday night's ugly loss in the doubleheader nightcap.

Another day, another record: Last night's Brewer win paired with a Cardinal loss means Milwaukee is now ten games up in the division for the first time in franchise history. Dayn Perry of NotGraphs has a gif that emulates the NL Central race.

Other notes from the field:

  • Prince Fielder went 1-for-3 with three walks and a double last night and drove in his 100th run. He's the first major leaguer to reach the century mark this season.
  • The three walks also pushed his season total to 85. He trails only Joey Votto (93) in the NL in that category.
  • Marco Estrada, Ryan Braun and Ross Ohlendorf are leading FanGraphs Star of the Game voting.

Meanwhile, yesterday's biggest news was the announcement that the Brewers are on the cover of this week's issue of Sports Illustrated. You can read the story here. Ron Roenicke shrugged off the notion of a "cover jinx." PastKast, meanwhile, remembers when Rob Deer was on the cover in 1987.

Nyjer Morgan is getting the day off today with a lefty on the mound, which should give him plenty of time to read everything that's been written about him recently. In addition to the Sports Illustrated article today he's the subject of a massive feature story in the JS and he makes an appearance (along with Bob Uecker) on NotGraphs' Best Tools list.

Here's today's injury update: Carlos Gomez took batting practice and slid into bases yesterday. He's hoping to rejoin the team on September 1.

Ryan Braun ran wild again last night, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, walking twice and stealing two bases. He also rounded the bases in 21.19 seconds following his home run Monday, a hair slower than Corey Hart's 20.06 seconds leading off the second game.

Looking ahead, the Brewers have clarified their plans a bit for the rotation going forward: Zack Greinke is scheduled to start Sunday's game against the Cubs, while Chris Narveson will get some extra rest and start on Tuesday in the series opener against the Cardinals. The Brewers could have used Narveson Sunday and saved Greinke for the Cardinals, but opted not to.

Today's Prince Fielder notes are both pretty interesting:

There are some selective sample size issues here, but the point holds: Joe Posnanski noted that Yovani Gallardo has a 2.52 ERA and 123:39 K:BB ratio if you remove five poor starts in April and May from his 2011 line.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 2-4 yesterday, and Brock Kjeldgaard and Zelous Wheeler each had three hits in Huntsville's 5-2 win over Birmingham. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Speaking of Kjeldgaard, earlier this season he tied a Brevard County record by hitting 18 home runs in a single season before being promoted. That record is already in jeopardy: Hunter Morris is sitting at 17 with a couple of weeks to play.
  • Reed MacPhail of FanGraphs has a graphical look at 2011 draft spending, and shows the Brewers in the middle of the pack by nearly every measure.
  • Wisconsin has released their 2012 schedule. Make your plans now to attend Opening Day on April 5...and by "make your plans" I mean "start knitting a sweater."

These numbers are for entertainment purposes only, of course, but Howie Magner is in Las Vegas and noticed that the MGM Sports Book has the Brewers at 5-1 odds to win the World Series, behind only Philadelphia, Boston and the Yankees.

J-Doug of Beyond the Box Score has some numbers that would suggest those aren't good odds. His projections give the Brewers a 56.2% chance of winning the NLDS, a 24.8% chance of winning the NLCS and a 9.5% chance of winning the Series.

Like many of you (presumably), I'm being forced to learn how to follow and write about a Brewer team that's consistently good. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look back at the 2002 Brewers for a reminder of how far this team has come. This week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan talks about changing the culture of losing.

If you'd like more Brewer content this morning but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include the hot streak, Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez's rehab and first round busts.

Around baseball:

Diamondbacks: Acquired infielders Aaron Hill and John McDonald from the Blue Jays for second baseman Kelly Johnson.
Dodgers: Designated catcher Dioner Navarro for assignment.
Giants: Placed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Mariners: Placed pitcher Dan Cortes on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Marlins: Designated outfielder Dewayne Wise for assignment.
Mets: Are expected to place pitcher Jon Niese and infielder Scott Hairston on the DL with rib injuries.
Orioles: Designated outfielder Felix Pie for assignment.
Phillies: Placed pitcher Cole Hamels on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Pirates: Placed infielder Steve Pearce on the DL with a broken finger, designated reliever Joe Beimel for assignment and signed pitcher Nelson Figueroa to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Acquired third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff from the A's for future considerations and placed pitcher Edgmer Escalona on the DL with a rotator cuff strain.

It's relatively likely nothing will come of this, but Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has been claimed off waivers by the Rockies. The two teams now have until sometime tomorrow to work out a deal, or Rodriguez will remain an Astro. In an added twist, Wandy is scheduled to start against the Rockies today. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central, which Rubie might have written while sitting outside Rodriguez's hotel room.

Today in former Brewers:

We've written a lot about John Axford this season, and for good reason: He's having one of the best seasons by a reliever in Brewer history. But it's possible he's not even having the best season among NL relievers: Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has now pitched 31.2 consecutive scoreless innings over 32 appearances. To put that in perspective, Axford has allowed seven runs (five earned) over the same time frame.

Away from baseball, of course, yesterday's biggest news story was the surprising earthquake that briefly shook most of the east coast. Adam McCalvy says he felt it in Pittsburgh, and it also hit during a Mariners/Indians game in Cleveland.

Elsewhere in natural disasters impacting baseball games: The Reds and Marlins have cancelled tomorrow's scheduled game and will play a doubleheader today to allow both teams to get out before Hurricane Irene hits.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need an answer to this question.

Drink up.

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