Thursday's Frosty Mug

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 9: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds scores a run in the ninth inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers catches the ball at Miller Park on May 9, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Reds defeated the Brewers 2-1. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Some things to read while getting Grandma a refill.

Despite a great outing from Zack Greinke the Brewers lost again yesterday to fall five games under .500 at 13-18. We've got the recap here, if you missed it. Tom Haudricourt notes that they're now 3-12 in day games this season, and wonders if their practice of skipping BP before those games is part of the reason. At any rate, Miller Park Drunk has ten reasons you shouldn't be worried.

You can add John Axford to the list of people pointing out that last year's Brewer team also struggled out of the gate before getting hot and winning 96 games.

I'm not here to tell you what to believe or not to believe. This team is certainly capable of big things and if you'd like to assume they'll live up to those expectations that's fine, but last year's team needed a nearly-unprecedented 83-47 finish to bounce back from their 13-19 start. There's a chance it could happen again, but expecting it is like rolling a 12 with two dice, then picking up the dice and assuming that will happen every time. Not every team that starts slow bounces back like that, and the 2012 Brewers have played themselves into a pretty tough spot.

Regardless of outcome, Zack Greinke's performance yesterday was one for the ages. Jaymes Langrehr of Disciples of Uecker notes that his 89 game score was the fourth best in all of baseball so far this season. It's also tied for the eleventh best performance in Brewer history, and the fourth best of the Miller Park era. He's one of just ten pitchers in Brewer franchise history to record eleven strikeouts in a game without a walk.

I think Ryan Braun summed up the Brewers' current situation pretty nicely when he told Ryan Kartje of FS Wisconsin "we have to find a way to win games."

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are off today before opening a home series with the Cubs tomorrow night, and Joey Nowak of MLB.com has the preview. Randy Wolf will start the first game of that series, and Fake Craig Counsell wonders how long he'll get a personal catcher if his ERA remains around 7.

Even before losing two of three to the Reds this week, the effects of this season's slow start were pretty clearly apparent in this week's tracking poll. Ron Roenicke's approval rating is down to 53% this week, and was over 80% a month ago. Nonetheless, the Brewers announced on Tuesday that they've extended Roenicke's contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015, and promoted Doug Melvin to President of Baseball Operations with a new contract through 2015 (FanShot).

Doug Melvin is already baseball's eighth longest tenured GM, and by the end of his new deal he'll be one year shy of Harry Dalton's franchise record.

Cesar Izturis started his fifth consecutive game at shortstop yesterday and went 0-for-3 to drop his batting line to .200/.222/.286. David Schoenfield of ESPN is suggesting the Brewers should call the Mariners and offer George Kottaras and Taylor Green for Brendan Ryan.

I didn't check to see if any of Izturis' outs from yesterday were actually successes under this measure: Ron Roenicke told Adam McCalvy about the "team production" formula they're using to measure good at bats.

Travis Ishikawa isn't the most popular Brewer right now after he popped up the first pitch to end the Brewers' ninth inning rally against the Reds yesterday. Nonetheless, Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee has an interview with him.

The Brewers added a little depth at the shortstop position this week, signing former Astro Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal. Manzella is 29 and was the Astros' Opening Day shortstop in 2010 but is a career .224/.266/.262 hitter in the majors and was hitting .100/.143/.125 in 15 games for AAA Reno this season.

In the minors:

Monday night the Brewers held their Social Media in Sports event, and John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have a recap of the evening here. Discerning readers may notice a picture of me in the slide show. I'm also briefly visible in the right field corner in this highlight, if spotting me in random places is really how you'd like to spend your day.

Speaking of John and Cait, they also have a review of various offerings from the State Fair concession stand.

In power rankings:

Congratulations are due out this morning to brewerspug, winner of yesterday's SBNation Pick 6 contest. Here's the day's top ten:

Rank Player Points
1 brewerspug 72.1
2 TheDirty1ne 71.2
3 5toolz 63.4
4 Cheeseandcorn 56.3
5 Mike2k33 56.0
6 airfigaro 50.2
7 HouseJehnkins 49.8
8 c.stet 48.8
9 MadtownTim 47.4
10 Lewthelegend 47.2

There's still a few hours left to make your picks for today before the afternoon games start.

Finally, I wanted to take a moment this morning to thank Admiral Ackbar, S.J. for filling in for me on Tuesday's Mug. He did a great job as always, and you should follow him on Twitter for links to more of his work.

Around baseball:

Angels: Placed pitcher LaTroy Hawkins on the DL with a broken pinkie finger.
Dodgers: Placed outfielder Juan Rivera on the DL with a knee injury..
Mets: Placed catcher Josh Thole (concussion) and shortstop Ruben Tejada (quad) on the DL.
Padres: Placed pitcher Joe Wieland on the DL with elbow discomfort.
Phillies: Pitcher Cole Hamels has been suspended five games for intentionally hitting Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper with a pitch.
Royals: Placed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez on the DL with biceps tendonitis.
Twins: Designated pitcher Matt Maloney for assignment.

With their loss and the Cardinals' win yesterday, the Brewers have fallen seven games back of first place in the NL Central, which is further back than they were at any point in 2011. You know this and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Today in former Brewers:

Brewer fans have certainly had plenty of opportunities to learn about bunting during the Roenicke era. If you need someone to clarify the difference between a "suicide" and "safety" squeeze, though, Rob Neyer has you covered in his latest Baseball Nation Video Mailbag.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to push the button again.

Drink up.

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