Thursday's Frosty Mug

Prince Fielder restrains Nyjer Morgan during a bench-clearing confrontation between the Brewers and Cardinals last night.

Some things to read while dressing appropriately.

A relatively uninteresting loss in St. Louis turned into a pretty big deal during the ninth inning last night, as benches cleared and harsh words were exchanged following Chris Carpenter's ninth inning strikeout of Nyjer Morgan. Replays pretty clearly showed Morgan yelling some obscenities at Carpenter out on the mound, although he claims Carpenter yelled at him first. That probably would have been the end of it if Albert Pujols hadn't come rushing across the diamond to get in the middle of it.

Here's some reaction from around the web:

At the end of the day, this incident probably gets filed under "N" for "nothing to see here." Nyjer Morgan, who has a history of stirring things up, had a verbal exchange of some form with Chris Carpenter, who also has been in the middle of incidents like this before. Albert Pujols, who has a reputation as a hypocritical regulator of baseball etiquette, went out of his way to get involved. No punches were thrown and the outcome of the game was not impacted. These two teams won't see each other again until April and by that point the water should be well under the bridge.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are back home tonight to open a series against the likely NL East champion Phillies in a potential playoff preview. Evan Drellich of MLB.com has the preview, Greg Schimmel of The Washington Post is calling it the game of the day and Buster Olney says the Brewers have a lot at stake: They're now just 2.5 games ahead of Arizona for the NL's second best record.

He almost certainly won't start, but the Brewers will have a welcome addition to their bench tonight: Rickie Weeks is expected to be activated off the DL today and eased back into the lineup slowly over the month of September (FanShot). Weeks has been taking BP with the team but hasn't faced live pitching in a game since July 27. Earlier in the day yesterday the team had talked about getting him simulated ABs.

Unless Weeks can pitch, this is likely true: Ken Rosenthal video blogged about this weekend's series and says that the Brewers' pitching staff has been great, but the Phillies' staff is better.

The Phillies will be shorthanded this week, though: Second baseman Chase Utley didn't fly to Milwaukee with the team and will be out at least two days after suffering what's believed to be a mild concussion last night.

You probably know the Brewer game isn't the only sporting event going on in Wisconsin tonight. Past Brewer-Packer conflicts have led to small crowds at Miller Park, but John Steinmiller says over 40,000 are expected at tonight's Brewers-Phillies series opener.

Our condolences go out today to pitching coach Rick Kranitz, whose mother passed away yesterday. Kranitz had left the team recently to be with her, but her memorial service may be held after the season to prevent him from needing to leave again.

Jonathan Lucroy had a couple of opportunities to make a play at the plate last night but was positioned well back of home, leading Adam McCalvy to wonder if the team has instructed him to avoid collisions. Alex of View From Bernie's Chalet is calling Lucroy "Milwaukee's Survivorman."

Another day, another update on Prince Fielder's impending free agency: Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors has a look at 15 teams that might and 15 more that likely won't be in the market for Fielder and/or Albert Pujols this winter.

In the minors:

  • Helena picked up another win last night, beating Billings 8-4 behind a two run homer for catcher Tyler Roberts. They wrap up their season tonight. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • H-Brewer Tyler Cravy is this week's Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week after pitching six shutout innings on Saturday.
  • Elsewhere in honors: Wily Peralta finished the season with the Southern League's lowest ERA at 3.46.
  • All five non-Arizona Brewer minor league affiliates saw attendance increases in 2011: Huntsville (+12.7%), Brevard County (+11.4%) and Helena (+11%) all saw double digit gains, although Huntsville was still the only Southern League team to draw under 100,000 fans this season. Nashville and Wisconsin both saw slight increases.
  • A couple more 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are on Twitter: Infielders Nick Shaw and T.J. Mittlestaedt.

I've tried this stand a couple of times, and the relatively low reviews surprised me: John and Cait sampled the grilled cheese stand on the Loge level at Miller Park and gave all four offerings a two out of five.

No transaction notes today, so this pause is of the "awkward" variety.

Last night's Brewer loss and Pirate win mean Pittsburgh has staved off elimination for another day, but their tragic number remains at one. Meanwhile, back-to-back wins for the Cardinals have inched them back to within 6.5 games of the NL Wild Card-leading Braves. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Meanwhile, one other NL Central rival may not be a rival for long: Reports are surfacing that Major League Baseball is attempting to force the Astros to move to the American League as part of the terms of their sale to Jim Crane. If MLB has to strongarm someone into submission for their plan to work, maybe they should reconsider the popularity of their plan.

Sun Life Stadium in Miami only has a few weeks left as home of a major league team, and Marlins manager Jack McKeon is making the most of them. The 80-year-old spent the night in his office this week.

Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. is looking for a place to sleep too: He tried to get his agent to hook him up with one of the mermaids from the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Earlier this week I mentioned that the Cubs and Old Style were potentially ending the deal that allows the team to sell the lukewarm swill beer at Wrigley Field. As it turns out, the crisis has been averted.

This morning's edition of Today in Brewer History remembers the major league debut of Kevin Kobel, the youngest pitcher in franchise history. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times points out that it's also the 40th anniversary of Cecil Cooper's major league debut. He grounded out in a pinch hit appearance in Boston's 2-1, 11 inning loss to the Yankees.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to add some >'s.

Drink up.

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