Thursday's Frosty Mug

HOUSTON - MAY 16: Corey Hart #1 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks away from the plate after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 16, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Brewers remain five games under .500 after an 8-3 loss to the Astros last night. We've got the recap here, if you missed it.

Last night's game was over early after Randy Wolf allowed seven runs (six earned) and ten baserunners in just four innings of work. His defense didn't do much to help him out, but the outing pushed his ERA back over 6. Rubie Q wonders why we're not seeing more comparisons between 2012 Wolf and 2010 Jeff Suppan.

Meanwhile, Rickie Weeks also had a dreadful night last night, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Last night's Stat of the Night looked at strikeout records Weeks is on pace to break. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker, however, says that Weeks' plate discipline would suggest he should pull out of this slump. Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball is bringing back the Summer of Rickie.

What to do with Weeks in the short term, however, is open for debate. The majority of voters in this week's Brew Crew Ball Tracking Poll think Jonathan Lucroy should take his place in the #2 spot in the lineup.

Other notes from the field:

The two teams wrap up the brief two game series tonight, and Josh Liebeskind of MLB.com has the preview. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Shaun Marcum/J.A. Happ matchup a five out of ten on his NERD scale. Sole possession of fourth place in the division will be on the line tonight, as both teams enter play 16-21. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Despite the fact that the Brewers are getting very limited production from the hitters both in front of and behind him, Ryan Braun is quietly having another MVP-caliber season. He's hitting .305/.388/.611 in 2012 and said this to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

"I feel better this year,'' Braun said. "As long as I stay relatively healthy, I'll do better this year than last year. Last year was good. But I could do better.''

Elsewhere in strong seasons, Zack Greinke's 15 inning scoreless streak has probably raised his future value a bit. Chris Cwik of FanGraphs says Greinke deserves to get paid like an ace this winter.

Speaking of Greinke, Glenn Dupaul of Beyond the Box Score compared him to Curt Schilling. Both are pitchers with high strikeout and low home run rates, but unusually high opponent BABIPs.

Jonathan Lucroy might be this season's biggest positive surprise offensively. He told Glenn Sattell of MLB.com the team needs to be more consistent.

In the minors:

Congratulations are due out this morning to torts, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:

Rank Player Points
1 torts 70.4
2 Infield Fly Rule 67.1
3 mpbMKE 64.8
4 SAE 61.6
5 MadisonWino 60.9
6 weisomatic. 60.6
7 theacox 56.3
8 MadtownTim 51.9
9 texwestern 51.6
10 juggernaut400 51.3

Today's first game is already underway, but there's still time to make picks for tomorrow.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Third baseman Brett Lawrie has been suspended for four games for his actions following a strikeout on Tuesday. He plans to appeal.
Cubs: Placed pitcher Lendy Castillo on the DL with a strained left groin.
Mets: Designated pitcher D.J. Carrasco for assignment.
Indians: Released pitcher Robinson Tejeda.
Phillies: Acquired outfielder Kyle Hudson from the Rays for outfielder Rich Thompson and placed pitcher Vance Worley on the DL with elbow inflammation.
Rays: Placed outfielder Brandon Guyer on the DL with a shoulder injury.
Twins: Placed catcher Ryan Doumit on the DL with a calf strain.

Here's an interesting transaction note: When the A's added recent waiver claim Travis Blackley to their roster, it gave them five left-handed pitchers in their bullpen.

Last night's scariest moment came in the Rays game, where infielder Will Rhymes was hit in the arm with a pitch and collapsed near first base. He's expected to be ok.

Another day, another note on awful umpiring. The Red Sox were charged with three balks last night, becoming the first AL team to do so since 1994. The third base umpire in their game was, of course, "Balkin'" Bob Davidson.

Today in former Brewers: Dana Eveland is on Twitter. (h/t @mitchstetter)

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks what would have been the 80th birthday of Wisconsin native and 1964 Milwaukee Brave Billy Hoeft. Today is also Appleton Baseball Hall of Famer Carlos May's 64th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 45 career HBP are the third most ever for a player born on May 17.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to hire an agent.

Drink up.

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