Some things to read while assuming the worst.
Here's a little proof that every dark cloud has an occasionally difficult to spot silver lining: By losing to the Cubs last night the Brewers ensured they won't clinch the NL Central before returning home on Friday. So there's that.
Ryan Braun was held hitless last night to drop to .333 but retained his lead in the race for the NL batting title: The Mets were idle, so Jose Reyes is still at .331. Jaymes Langrehr of OnMilwaukee.com asks if Braun is having the best season in Brewer history. No one can really hold a candle to Robin Yount's 1982 season (11.5 rWAR), but you could make a case for second place.
Meanwhile, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts says Braun and Matt Kemp have made the NL MVP a two-man race. Tom Haudricourt has a note on Braun's resume. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs has moved Braun back up to #2 in his position player NERD rankings.
Other notes from the field:
- Jerry Hairston made his first start at shortstop last night, and hit a solo home run.
- Last night's Brewer loss allowed the Phillies to clinch homefield advantage throughout the NL playoffs. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Pennant Chase.
- Geovany Soto has three career multi-homer games, and they've all come against the Brewers.
- Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch last night, setting a new career high with 14. Plunk Everyone has more. Morgan's total is now tied for the eleventh highest in franchise history.
- Bob Uecker missed the weekend in Cincinnati due to a family engagement, but rejoined the team yesterday.
The Brewers and Cubs renew hostilities tonight, and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has the preview. The Brewers might get to see catcher Steve Clevenger or pitcher Rafael Dolis, as the Cubs called them up yesterday.
Jonathan Lucroy went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks last night but also struck out to extend this record: TheJay notes that Lucroy's 96 strikeouts are the most ever for a Brewer catcher.
Looking ahead, The Brewers Blurb has started work on the Brewer playoff rotation. They've got Zack Greinke pitching games one and five of a potential NLDS series.
Don't look now, but the Brewers are averaging just 2.2 runs per game in their last ten contests against everyone but the Reds. That seems like as good a reason as any to give this week's El Super to Cincinnati's pitching staff.
Another day, another series of notes on Prince Fielder's pending free agency:
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated ranked the Brewers sixth in a nine-team race for Fielder, with the Orioles in the lead.
- U.S.S. Mariner thinks the Mariners should forego the Fielder sweepstakes and try to convince the Reds to trade Joey Votto.
If you're near a TV this afternoon, John Axford will be appearing live on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" at 4:10.
Looking ahead to 2012: David Simmons of The Biz of Baseball named the Brewers one of baseball's schedule winners for next season, citing a favorable interleague slate.
In the minors:
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball listed 31st round pick Sean Albury as the Brewers' sleeper in the 2011 draft. He spent the season pitching as a reliever in Helena and posted a 0.90 ERA over 20 innings, striking out 27 and walking five.
- Sickels, by the way, is hosting an All Questions Answered thread this morning.
- Baseball America has released a list of the top 20 prospects in the Arizona League, and no Brewer farmhands made the cut. The AZL Brewers went 17-39, so that's not really surprising. Jim Callis said second round pick Jorge Lopez missed the cut because he hadn't pitched enough.
- Congratulations are due out to Wisconsin trainer Jeff Paxson, named the Midwest League Trainer of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Nearly half a million people on Facebook like the Brewers, and The Biz of Baseball says that ranks 13th among MLB teams. The Yankees are first with 4.5 million, while the Nationals are last with 115,000.
With just six home games remaining before the playoffs, you're running out of time to try out these tips: The Janesville Gazette's Peace and Glove Blog has some thoughts on visiting Miller Park on a budget.
In power rankings:
- ESPN has the Brewers fourth, up two spots.
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has the Brewers fifth, and says they're the one team that can stop the Phillies from reaching the World Series.
- FanGraphs is leaving the Brewers at five.
- Beyond the Box Score also has them fifth.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow night or Thursday.
Diamondbacks: Designated shortstop Tommy Manzella for assignment.
We all knew this moment was inevitable, but I was hoping it'd hold off until 2012: Mariano Rivera recorded career save #602 yesterday, breaking Trevor Hoffman's career record. Here's what Hoffman had to say on the achievement:
I want to congratulate Mariano Rivera on setting the all-time saves record. It's a great accomplishment and he is still going strong! I have tremendous respect for Mariano not just for his on-field accomplishments, but also for his service to the community.
Adam McCalvy and Samuel Zuba have reactions from John Axford and Francisco Cordero.
The Brewers won't be seeing two relatively familiar pitchers over the season's final days: Cubs reliever Kerry Wood is done for the year with a torn meniscus, and Pirates starter Jeff Karstens is being shut down to limit his innings. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
Elsewhere in former Brewers:
- Reviewing the Brew says Pete Vuckovich has the second best Brewer mustache of all time.
- Yesterday I mentioned that Vuckovich was hired by the Mariners to serve as a special assistant in their front office. While there he'll join Senior Advisor Ted Simmons.
In baseball economics:
- Apparently there are still plenty of great seats available in St. Louis, where the Cardinals' average attendance has fallen nearly 3000 fans per game from 2010.
- Meanwhile, Jen Langosch of MLB.com estimated less than 20,000 people in attendance when the soon-to-be NL West Champion Diamondbacks hosted the Pirates last night. Paid attendance for the game was 24,458.
The 1962 Houston Colt 45's lost 96 games as an expansion team. The Astros just might match that number when they celebrate the team's 50th anniversary next season.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find more bald former NFL quarterbacks.