Thursday's Frosty Mug

Apr 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher John Axford (59) gets congratulated by catcher George Kottaras (9) after getting a save against the Chicago Cubsat Wrigley Field. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 2-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to read while gently shocking the world.

The Brewers stayed hot yesterday, edging out the Cubs 2-1 on George Kottaras' two run homer and seven solid innings from Yovani Gallardo. We've got the recap here, if you missed it. Kottaras finished the day with a .362 WPA (win percentage added), the best single-game total of his career.

Yesterday's win improved the Brewers to 3-0 on the road. It's worth noting that that's a big change from 2011, when they needed nine tries to win their third game away from Miller Park.

The Brewer lineup was pretty bench-heavy yesterday, with Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy all getting the full day off. Ron Roenicke told reporters Braun and Lucroy were both dealing with minor ribcage tightness.

Other notes from the field:

The two teams finish off the series with another day game today, and the Brewers will be looking for their first-ever four game sweep against the Cubs at 1:20. Mike Vassallo has the lineup (featuring Cesar Izturis' first Brewer start) and Cash Kruth has the MLB.com preview for today's Zack Greinke/Matt Garza matchup. Today's game is also one of three previewed as part of Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs' Daily Notes.

After three days of cold, windy conditions at Wrigley Field things should finally improve a bit today: The Weather Channel says temperatures will rise into the upper 50's this afternoon, and the winds should be relatively light and out of the south.

A day after recording his first Brewer save, Francisco Rodriguez was back in his eighth inning role and struck out the side yesterday. He told reporters he's still eager to get his 300th save (Tuesday's was his 292nd), but is being patient.

Alfonso Soriano drew some rare positive attention for his defense yesterday after making a nice catch to rob Carlos Gomez of a hit. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com says Soriano has shown noticeable improvement in the field this spring.

Once the Brewers are done today they'll head to Atlanta to face the Braves tomorrow. The Braves started the season 0-4 but won their last two in Houston and have the day off today before their home opener tomorrow.

It feels like a distant memory now, but remember when Nyjer Morgan skated with the San Jose Sharks this winter? The NOC has some video and quotes you may not have seen from the day.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 2-2 last night, with Jimmy Nelson allowing just one run and striking out eight over five innings in Brevard County's 5-1 win over Lakeland. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Tyler Thornburg also pitched last night, allowing just one unearned run over six innings for Huntsville. Ben Badler of Baseball America says Thornburg "could find his way to Milwaukee at some point this season."
  • Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have released catcher Tony Pechek. Pechek was a former undrafted free agent and appeared in 48 games for Wisconsin in 2011.
  • Sounds broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with outfielder Caleb Gindl, Nashville's youngest player.
  • Brevard County reliever Eric Marzec is on Twitter.

My wife and I went to Miller Park on Sunday and tried out some of the park's new food options for 2012. If you're trying to decide what you should try when the team returns home next week, you might be interested in our reviews of the buffalo chicken mac and cheese and bacon sloppy joe.

If you need to work off some of that food, the Brewers are reportedly planning on announcing plans for a "mini-marathon" this morning. It would be held sometime in September, and would not replace the Sausage Race 5K in June.

Around baseball:

Indians: Are expected to sign outfielder Johnny Damon.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Joel Pineiro to a minor league deal.
Tigers: Designated outfielder Clete Thomas for assignment.

The Brewers picked up a game on most of the field in the division yesterday, winning while the Cardinals, Cubs, Astros and Pirates all lost (the Reds beat the Cardinals). You already know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

If it seems like offense is down around baseball in 2012, it's because it is. High Heat Stats points out that scoring is down over half a run per game compared to the same number of games at the start of the 2011 season.

Earlier this week I mentioned that Ian Kinsler of the Rangers has signed a new deal. The terms have been released, and they're pretty interesting: The deal is actually frontloaded, with Kinzler getting $45 million over the first three seasons but only $25 in the last two, followed by a $10 million club option.

Elsewhere in baseball economics:

And elsewhere in empty ballparks: Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur had pizza delivered to an entire section at the Oakland Coliseum.

This might be our weirdest injury note so far in 2012: Giants catcher Buster Posey missed last night's game with shingles.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to do laundry.

Drink up.

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