Some things to read while Jenny shows up late.
The Brewers stumbled off to a 1-2 start to their season this weekend, capped off by a 9-3 loss to the Cardinals yesterday. Noah has the recap, if you missed it. It may have been a rough weekend but Scott Venci of the Green Bay Press Gazette says the team will figure it out, and I see no reason not to agree with him.
Randy Wolf struggled to finish five innings yesterday, needing 108 pitches to record 15 outs and allowing three runs on nine hits, a walk and a hit batsman. J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Wolf's pitch location and says he needs to do a better job using his fastball outside.
The weekend got off to a rough start when Yovani Gallardo was roughed up during the Brewers' Opening Day loss on Friday. It's worth noting, though, that Gallardo also struggled to open 2011 before settling down and having a very good season.
It looks like our concerns about the Brewers rushing Corey Hart back into the lineup weren't necessary. Hart hit two homers Saturday and another Sunday to become the first Brewer with three home runs in the team's first three games since Jose Valentin in 1998. Hart's first home run Saturday traveled 432 feet according to Hit Tracker, making it the eighth longest blast in all of baseball so far in 2012. The initial announced distance was 447 feet.
John Axford also made his 2012 debut yesterday, striking out two batters and walking two before being lifted without finishing the ninth inning in a non-save situation. Axford pointed out that this is actually better than his debut in 2011. Meanwhile, the whole outing was shorter than Axford's music video debut.
Other notes from the field:
- Through four innings yesterday Ryan Braun had the Brewers' only hit, and was promptly picked off first base.
- Alex Gonzalez picked up his first Brewer hit yesterday, so hopefully Brewer PA announcer Rob Edwards can stop calling him "Alex Rodriguez."
- Randy Wolf hit Tyler Greene with a pitch, and Plunk Everyone notes that it was the 96th of Wolf's career.
- On Friday Norichika Aoki became the first Japanese position player ever to appear in a game as a Brewer, and yesterday he collected his first major league hit.
- Lance Lynn, Matt Holliday and Rafael Furcal are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 33,211 fans paid to see yesterday's game, the Brewers' smallest home crowd since a June 9 game against the Mets last season.
- George Kottaras circled the bases in 20.28 seconds following his home run Friday, while Rickie Weeks trotted in 23.22 seconds and Corey Hart in 21.27 and 20.45 seconds following their long balls Saturday.
- The Polish Sausage won both Friday and yesterday's Sausage Races, with Chorizo picking up the win Saturday.
- Jordan Schelling has a picture of the schedule pen the Brewers gave away Saturday.
Today the Brewers head out on the road for the first time in 2012, taking on the Cubs on an ESPN national telecast (seen locally on FS Wisconsin) at 6 pm. Zack Meisel of MLB.com has a preview of Shaun Marcum taking on Chris Volstad. The forecast in Chicago calls for strong winds from the west-northwest, which Twitter seems to agree will go from left to right field at Wrigley. Adam McCalvy notes that both Ryan Braun and former Cub Aramis Ramirez could get rude receptions today.
With the wind blowing hard at Wrigley it could be an interesting day for the Brewer pitching staff. Shaun Marcum is only expected to throw 85-90 pitches today, but long relievers Marco Estrada and Tim Dillard both pitched yesterday and likely won't be available for long relief. @poonix is waiting by his phone if needed.
Travis Ishikawa made his Brewer debut over the weekend, replacing Corey Hart late in Friday's game and Mat Gamel yesterday. Matt Eddy listed Ishikawa (aka Trishi?) as one of his surprising players to sneak onto an Opening Day roster. Because he made the roster, Ishikawa got to be featured as part of this Brewer Opening Day roster made of Peeps.
Three games into the season all 13 Brewer position players have seen action, but just barely: Cesar Izturis was announced as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning Friday, but lifted in favor of Nyjer Morgan when the Cardinals changed pitchers. Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball questions the wisdom of using the only backup at second, short and third base that way.
Baseball America has notes on several minor league transactions from around Opening Day. First, they're reporting the Brewers have signed Puerto Rican free agent catcher Emmanuel Quiles. He's 22 and has hit .225/.270/.293 in five minor league seasons in the Padres organization. They're also reporting that the team has released these five players:
- First baseman/outfielder Chris Dennis, a 13th round pick in 2007 who split 2011 between Wisconsin and Brevard County.
- Outfielder Chuck Caufield, a 2006 38th round pick who split 2011 between Brevard County and Huntsville.
- Infielder Kyle Dhanani, a 2009 43rd round pick who spent 2011 with Helena.
- Catcher Kevin Moscatel, a free agent they signed this winter.
- Longtime major league veteran Jay Gibbons, who also signed as a minor league free agent this winter.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- Infielder Brooks Conrad is on the 7-day DL in Nashville with a sore shoulder.
- The affiliates went 1-1 yesterday, with Brian Baker and four relievers combining on a four-hit shutout in Nashville's 1-0 win over New Orleans. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Jed Bradley pitched 6.1 shutout innings in his regular season pro debut Saturday (Bradley also pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year), and Matt Eddy of Baseball America says he had one of this weekend's top pitching performances.
- MLB Prospect Guide notes that Wily Peralta is one of the youngest players in AAA.
- Sounds broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with first baseman Sean Halton and pitcher Mike Fiers.
- Reviewing the Brew has interviews with Huntsville pitcher Tyler Thornburg and Nashville infielder Eric Farris.
- The Timber Rattlers have a great photo of players celebrating their walkoff win over Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
- There's still snow on the field in Helena. They open their season at home against Great Falls on June 18.
If you made it to Miller Park this weekend you've likely already seen this, but for those of you that haven't: Dan O'Donnell has a picture of the new picture on the staircase between the field and loge levels behind home plate.
We're only a few days into the season but I'm already seeing a lot of feedback about the regular season debut of new Brewer broadcaster Joe Block. Meanwhile, Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs wants you to evaluate the radio broadcasts from 2011, which featured Bob Uecker and Cory Provus. They'll certainly rate higher than Jerry Garcia's Tailgate Tips.
If you were planning on getting out to the ballpark to see Ryan Braun receive his 2011 NL MVP Award it's time to get out your calendar: The team will honor his achievement on April 22 against the Rockies.
In power rankings and whatnot:
- Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star has the Brewers eleventh.
- Austin's Astros 290 Blog has Ryan Braun, Zack Greinke and John Axford on his NL Central All Star team. The Pirates, Astros and Cubs combined to produce just two players on the roster.
If you're reading this before 6 pm Monday (and if not, where have you been all day?) there's still time to make your Prognostikeggers predictions for tonight's game and the rest of the Cubs series. Even if you missed the first weekend you're not far behind me.
Finally, I want to send out condolences this morning to the Uecker family, as Bob Uecker's son Steve passed away over the weekend due to complications of Valley Fever (FanShot). Steve was 52. The family intends to hold a private memorial service this week.
Astros: Placed shourtstop Jed Lowrie on the DL with a sprained thumb and claimed outfielder Justin Maxwell off waivers from the Yankees.
Cardinals: Placed reliever Scott Linebrink on the DL with shoulder capsulitis.
Dodgers: Released pitcher Carlos Monasterios.
Orioles: Released pitcher Armando Galarraga.
Padres: Placed pitcher Dustin Moseley on the DL with a shoulder strain.
Tigers: Placed pitcher Doug Fister on the DL with a strained side.
Rangers: Re-signed outfielder Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Signed pitcher Kip Wells to a minor league deal.
The Brewers lost a game on the entire field yesterday as the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Cubs and Astros all picked up wins while they lost. You already know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
Things have already changed a bit in St. Louis: New Cardinals manager Mike Matheny used the same lineup in his team's first three games (one against the Marlins, two against the Brewers). Tony La Russa never used the same lineup more than twice in a row in 2011.
Today in former Brewers:
- Prince Fielder picked up career hit #1000 over the weekend. The first 996 of them came as a Brewer.
- Longtime big league knuckleballer Steve Sparks is on Twitter. (h/t @theronjay)
Now that the Mets and Dodgers situations have stabilized a bit, baseball's new most polarizing owner might be Jeff Moores of the Padres. He's only had control of the team back for a few weeks but Gaslamp Ball already has a story on him blackballing a local paper, along with a list of some of his past grievances.
Elsewhere in stories you might hear more about going forward: Metsblog notes that several Mets have been receiving injections of Toradol, a prescription pain killer, this spring. My wife (a pharmacist) will likely find that story more interesting than any of you will.
Today in baseball economics:
- The average price of a ticket to a major league game in 2012 is $26.92, up just once cent from 2011. That's the smallest annual increase in at least two decades.
- The Astros drew just 14,195 fans to Minute Maid Park yesterday, the smallest crowd in that facility's 12 year history.
It seems early in the season for stories like this, but I guess we're getting a head start in 2012: Hardball Talk has a photo of some Marlins dressed to impress for yesterday's trip from Cincinnati to Philadelphia.
Given the traffic through and alcohol consumed in the Miller Park parking lots this weekend, I'm surprised this didn't happen outside a Brewer game: The OC Register has a photo of a car fire outside an Angels game.
You may be having a bad day at work, but someone in Arizona's front office certainly has it worse. Over the weekend they discovered a printing issue preventing the bar codes on their entire run of season tickets (likely over a million tickets across 81 home games) from scanning properly. They're going to have to send out reprints.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my car.