NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Norichika Aoki #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teamate Corey Hart #1 after defeating the New York Mets at CitiField on May 15, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Brewers defeated the Mets 8-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Some things to read while attracting your own followers.
Last night's game got ugly late as Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco gave up a long home run to Rickie Weeks, then hit Ryan Braun with the first pitch and was ejected. Mets manager Terry Collins removed third baseman David Wright from the game before the next half inning, and told Tom Haudricourt (linked via Twitter) that he was concerned about retaliation. The Baseball Codes has more on the incident. Plunk Everyone notes that Braun has already been hit five times this season, two more than any other NL player.
The HBP incident and Travis Ishikawa's two homer night overshadowed a great performance by Zack Greinke, who is only the second pitcher in Brewer history ever to hold the opponent scoreless and walkless in back-to-back starts. Jon Heyman says the Brewers and Greinke love each other, but still doesn't like their chances of staying together past this season.
Speaking of Ishikawa, he hit his first multi-homer game as a big leaguer and tied a career high with five RBI last night. He's hitting .364 with four home runs in 33 at bats as a starting first baseman, and Howie Magner noted that he's on pace to hit 40 home runs over 490 plate appearances.
Rickie Weeks was back in the starting lineup last night, batting second and going 1-for-5 with the aforementioned home run and three strikeouts. Here's what Ron Roenicke told Adam McCalvy about the decision to keep Weeks in the 2 spot:
"The thing is, we need Rickie to swing the bat," Roenicke said. "That’s the biggest thing. I mean, for our offense to really go, we need Rickie to swing the bat well. So, how to we get Rickie to swing the bat the best?
"Is it to leave him second? Is it to put him eighth? Those are the discussions I had with Rick. Where he is, is where he thinks he has a chance more quickly to be where he needs to be."
Other notes from the field:
- Aramis Ramirez went 1-for-3 last night to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
- Brooks Conrad walked in a pinch hit appearance, and is still 0-for-14 as a Brewer.
- Brewer starting pitchers have now provided seven consecutive quality starts.
- Corey Hart played the eighth and ninth innings at first base, his first appearance there since 2006.
- We've got highlights from the game's turning points and a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- D.J. Carrasco, Zack Greinke and Travis Ishikawa are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
The Brewers resume play tonight at Minute Maid Park as they take on the Astros at 7:05, and Joey Nowak of MLB.com has the preview. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Randy Wolf/Bud Norris matchup a 5 out of 10 on his NERD scale. The Brewers have an opportunity to make up some ground over the next two weeks, as their next four opponents have a combined .406 winning percentage in 2012.
Last night's win brought the Brewers back to four games below .500, meaning they still have a lot of work to do to climb back to preseason expectations. Kevan Feyzi of PocketDoppler.com has a reminder that we're not watching the 2011 Brewers anymore.
I've already mentioned Zack Greinke today, but he's just one of several tough decisions the Brewers will have to make following this season. MLB Trade Rumors has a look at their contract issues heading into 2013.
John Axford worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation last night. Mike Bauman of MLB.com says he deserves some kind of award for the note he left for reporters after Friday night's game.
Jose Veras got the night off last night following a perfect inning Monday. Ron Roenicke told Adam McCalvy he hopes Veras can turn the corner.
The Brewers made a minor transaction this morning, signing two-time former Brewer Claudio Vargas to a minor league deal. Vargas is 33 and hasn't pitched in the big leagues since the Brewers released him in June of 2010. He had been pitching in the Mexican League this season, and is expected to report to Nashville.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-2 last night and Nashville third baseman Andy Gonzalez had three hits in the Sounds' 9-7 win over Reno. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Logan Schafer left Nashville's game in the first inning yesterday with what appears to be a leg injury.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Doug Melvin.
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers open a six game homestand (and Carlos Gomez rehab appearance) tonight, and have a look at this week's upcoming promotions.
In power rankings:
- Sports Illustrated/FanGraphs have the Brewers tenth, up six spots.
- Jonah Keri of Grantland has them holding steady at 25th. (h/t BBTF)
If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, my weekly appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska has been archived.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to...me, I guess, for winning yesterday's SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the day's leaderboard:
If you haven't yet you still have plenty of time to make your picks for today.
Angels: Fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Travis Blackley off waivers from the Giants.
Cardinals: Placed outfielder Jon Jay on the DL with a shoulder sprain.
Cubs: Signed pitcher Mike MacDougal to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Designated pitcher Eric Stults for assignment.
Yankees: Placed reliever David Robertson on the DL with an oblique strain.
You already know about Jay, MacDougal and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
If you've been around the internet or highlight shows this morning you've likely seen this: Brett Lawrie will almost certainly be suspended today after accidentally hitting home plate umpire Bill Miller with his helmet following a blown strike call last night. The call was terrible but there's still no way professionals can be allowed to behave like that.
The Lawrie tantrum wasn't the only incident involving an umpire last night, however. Deadspin has video of Bob Davidson escalating a confrontation and then ejecting Phillies manager Charlie Manuel from the dugout. (h/t @craigcalcaterra). The fact that MLB allows unprofessional behavior like this to continue is a black eye on the sport.
Now, if you'll excuse me, there appears to be someone in my room.