Some things to read while being enriched.
The Brewers were off yesterday and the weather wasn't exactly beautiful, but over 7500 people showed up at the Summerfest grounds to celebrate this team's accomplishments and show their support for the playoff run to come. Nicole and BrewHaHeather were in attendance and shared their pictures here. Jordan Schelling was there and posted this recap.
Meanwhile, we finally have playoff game times and related notes to announce. Tomorrow's game will be played at 1:07, while Sunday's first pitch is scheduled for 3:37. Victor Rojas will have the call for TBS, joined by Joe Simpson in the booth and Sam Ryan on the field. Meanwhile, Joe West is the crew chief for the series' umpires.
Nothing is confirmed at this point, but I'm penciling in Zack Greinke as the Brewers' Game 2 starter. Here's what Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt about it yesterday:
"We need to talk today and then talk to (Greinke) if we think that is a possibility," Roenicke said early in the day.
"I would need Greinke to really convince me that his low pitch count (74 against Pittsburgh) would allow him to be 100%," said Roenicke.
I know Roenicke is saying he's going to be difficult to convince, but is there any chance Greinke isn't going to want the ball here? It's the first playoff start for a guy who talked his way into making a short rest appearance in a regular season game on Wednesday. I'll be surprised if he doesn't start Sunday. Jaymes Langrehr of OnMilwaukee, by the way, has a look at Greinke's record-setting strikeout numbers.
Randy Wolf, meanwhile, will almost certainly start game four. At yesterday's rally he referred to his pairing with George Kottaras as "Wolfotarras." It's probably safe to assume Jonathan Lucroy will get the day off on Wednesday.
As always, Prince Fielder needs no rest. He was the only player to make 162 regular season appearances this season (Matt Kemp of the Dodgers didn't miss a game either, but they only played 161). He also leads the league in games played since the start of the 2006 season.
We'll have our series preview in a couple of hours, but here's something to tide you over until then: Adam McCalvy has five keys for the Brewers this postseason, while Steve Gilbert of MLB.com has the same for the Diamondbacks. Jon Schlegel, also of MLB.com, has a preview of Game 1. The Brewers don't have to announce their NLDS roster until tomorrow morning.
With the playoffs opening tonight, it's a big day for predictions:
- Scott Miller of CBS Sports thinks the Brewers will take the NLDS in four games.
- Jack Moore concurs.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America is also picking the Brewers.
- Three of the four contributors at The Platoon Advantage are picking the Brewers to beat the Diamondbacks. Two are picking them to win the NLCS, and they're both also projecting them to win the World Series.
- 12 of 19 staff members at The Hardball Times are picking the Brewers over the Diamondbacks, with nine of them picking the Brewers to participate in the World Series and four predicting they'll win it.
- 74% of Lookout Landing readers are rooting for the Brewers.
- Jason Brannon of Baseball Nation isn't picking.
I know I'm biased, but I think you can make a case that the Brewers have the playoffs' best fans. As of yesterday Milwaukee was the only city that had already sold out a Division Series Game 1. FSWisconsin wants your help showing support on Twitter.
I'm guessing most Brewer fans don't need a reason to be excited about the playoffs. If you do, though, David Schoenfield of ESPN has 100 of them. Prince Fielder, John Axford, Zack Greinke, Ryan Braun, Robin Yount, Brewer fans and Yuniesky Betancourt all make appearances. Fielder, Braun and Greinke also made Big League Stew's list of 20 players capable of dominating the headlines.
J. Scott Loomer of PastKast is pretty excited too. Yesterday he told the 1982 team about his plans to move on.
For whatever it's worth: Jack Moore says the Brewers are fifth among playoff teams with 92 third order wins this season. Texas leads the majors with 104, while the Diamondbacks were the worst playoff team with 83. Milwaukee's $85.5 million payroll ranks sixth among playoff teams but is still tens of millions above what was spent by the Diamondbacks and Rays.
If you feel a cold wind from the north this morning, that's just Canada showing their support. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca notes that the Brewers lead all playoff teams in Canadians.
Stark also has his annual roundup of the season's strangest moments: Chris Narveson's scissor incident made Honorable Mention for strangest injury, and @Not_Tony_Plush penned the season's third best tweet.
Kirk Gibson is likely to beat out Ron Roenicke for the NL Manager of the Year award, but Roenicke is still getting a lot of credit for taking the Brewers to the postseason in his first season. Adam McCalvy has an extended look at his 2011 success.
Looking back a day, here are the home run trot times from Wednesday's season finale (courtesy of Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus):
|Carlos Gomez||18.25 seconds|
|Jonathan Lucroy||19.86 seconds|
|Corey Hart||20.18 seconds|
Gomez missed having the day's fastest trot by .13 seconds.
Once the playoffs are over the Brewers are going to have a series of interesting decisions to make, as highlighted by MLB Trade Rumors' Elias rankings. Prince Fielder will be a Type A free agent and the Brewers will almost certainly offer him arbitration, but Francisco Rodriguez and Takashi Saito are also Type A's, and the decision to offer/not offer them arbitration is a little tougher. Yuniesky Betancourt will be a Type B, but if offered arbitration he'd almost certainly accept it.
In the minors:
- Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have re-signed Huntsville shortstop Hainley Statia for 2012. He hit .279/.355/.380 in 95 games for the Stars this season and, at 26 years old, is possibly the organization's top shortstop prospect.
- Rattler Radio has a report from Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson following yesterday's Instructional League game.
- Baseball America has a post on Martin Maldonado, but it's subscriber-only.
In power rankings:
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has the Brewers second among playoff teams.
Yahoo has the Brewers fifth, up two spots.
There are playoff souvenirs, and then there are playoff souvenirs. Miller Park Drunk has a guide to using the playoffs as an excuse to reproduce.
Cubs: Designated pitchers Justin Berg and Brian Schlitter for assignment.
Indians: Exercised manager Manny Acta's contract option for 2013 and announced pitching coach Tim Belcher has resigned.
Padres: Fired hitting coach Randy Ready.
While the Brewers are off today, the AL playoffs kick off in earnest tonight. The Rays and Rangers get things started at 4, while the Tigers and Yankees finish off the day's action at 7. For the latest on these four teams check out this morning's edition of Around the MLB Playoffs.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Cubs are coming off a pretty terrible season, and are adding insult to their season ticket holders' injury by moving up their ticket renewal date from January to November. A lot of great seats at Wrigley Field are about to become available.
- While several teams are talking about cutting payroll for 2012, the Indians plan to raise theirs "significantly." That could be interesting.
- The Giants are one of those teams that won't be spending. They're not expected to join the market for Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.
If you're a fan of confrontational, frequently incorrect umpiring, then this weekend's games should have an extra layer of excitement for you. In addition to Joe West on the crew for the Brewers-Diamondbacks series, Angel Hernandez made the postseason roster and gets to bring his quick hook to the Cardinals-Phillies series.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers the final day of the 1979 season, when the Brewers were shut out for the first time in over 200 games. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that today is also the fourth anniversary of the final major league appearances of Jeff Cirillo, Bob Wickman and Damian Miller.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to slow down.