May 31, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielders Norichika Aoki (left), Carlos Gomez (center) and Corey Hart embrace after the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Brewers defeated the Dodgers 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Some things to read while turning around.
If you had given me a dozen chances, I would not have predicted this week's outcome. The Brewers beat the Dodgers 6-2 last night to complete their first sweep of any kind against that franchise, and are now riding their longest winning streak of the season at four games. Morineko has the recap if you missed it last night. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says this week's sweep saved the season.
Following last night's game the Brewers had to get on an airplane and head back home to take on the Pirates tonight. Mike Vassallo reports the team plane landed at 6:15 this morning, which is even later than I estimated when I named yesterday 2012's worst travel day. Howie Magner has suggested an alteration to today's pregame schedule.
Carlos Gomez entered last night's game as a pinch hitter and went 1-for-2 with his second home run, rounding the bases in 21.85 seconds.
Gomez was the fourth Brewer outfielder to appear in last night's game. The only one who didn't was Ryan Braun, who sat out to rest his still-sore Achilles.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers have turned 14 double plays in their last ten games and committed just one error.
- Three of those double plays came last night, and they also attempted to turn one with two outs.
- Aramis Ramirez rounded the bases in 23.75 seconds following his home run.
- Three players were hit by pitches last night (two Brewers and a Dodger), and Plunk Everyone notes that they were the only plunkings in baseball on an abbreviated schedule.
- One of the players hit was Dodger outfielder Alex Castellanos, who was making his major league debut.
- Last night was the Brewers' 15th different starting lineup in as many games.
- Tim Dillard couldn't finish the ninth inning last night, but Vin Scully did refer to him as "king of the sideburns."
As mentioned above, the Brewers resume play tonight when they host the Pirates at 7:10. Jeremy Warnemuende has the MLB.com preview, and Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Randy Wolf/Kevin Correia matchup a 0 out of 10 on his NERD scale. Wolf, by the way, opted not to fly home early to get a good night's sleep before tonight's game.
If you're considering tailgating before tonight's game, it might be a little cool. Today's high in Milwaukee is only 60, and it's probably safe to guess the roof will be closed for the game.
While the Brewers were wrapping up a sweep yesterday, a heated debate was brewing about the merits of one of their more controversial strategic decisions. Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a spirited critique of bunting, while Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker has a rebuttal and Nathan Petrashek or Cream City Cables has a look at the varying levels of questionable logic used in several bunt decisions on Wednesday.
We can debate small ball until the cows (or Brewers) come home, but in my mind this single stat changes the conversation a bit: In spite of all the small ball the Brewers have played this season, and in spite of six successful squeeze bunts, the Brewers are still 20-14 this season in games where they hit a home run and 3-14 when they don't. As such, I'd rather see the team's best hitters allowed to swing the bat instead of giving up outs.
Elsewhere in strategic debate, Brewers Mix has a look at the times when it is or isn't appropriate to use an HBP as retaliation. Brewer batters have been hit 33 times this season, while no other NL team has been plunked more than 16 times.
Rickie Weeks went 1-for-4 and drove in a run last night. Rubie Q has a number that might explain some of his 2012 struggles: Over the course of his career he's hit .692 on line drives, but this season he's hitting just .467. The NL average for liners is .724.
Norichika Aoki went 0-for-5 from the leadoff spot last night, snapping a six game hitting streak. Bradley Woodrum of FanGraphs says Aoki deserves a chance to play every day.
Even after winning all four in LA this Brewer team is still five games under .500 and a strong candidate to sell at the trade deadline. Jon Heyman of CBS listed Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Rodriguez among the top 12 candidates that could move before the end of July.
This week's BCB Tracking Poll would suggest a majority of Brewer fans also see the team as sellers: just 37% of voters this week said the Brewers can still make the playoffs, down almost 20% from last week.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 0-4 last night, but shortstop Jeff Bianchi had three hits in Nashville's 4-1 loss to Oklahoma City. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Seth McClung.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has the Brewers selecting Washington high school catcher Clint Coulter and Florida high school outfielder Lewis Brinson in his latest mock draft.
Elsewhere in draft notes, Adam McCalvy has a great preview of the Brewers' strategy and a look back at previous drafts.
In power rankings:
This isn't quite a power ranking, but it's about as relevant: Mike Golic (a former NFL lineman posing as an MLB expert for some reason) drafted Ryan Braun with the #11 overall pick in ESPN's Franchise Player Draft. Eric Karabell and David Schoenfield simulated the second round and picked Zack Greinke 53rd.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I've got a couple of options for you:
- I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on AM 1570 The Score in Appleton at 2 pm today. I'll be in studio taking your questions, so call in or tweet them to @JH1570.
- I'll also be helping preview the Brewers/Pirates series on Sports Talk Pittsburgh at 4:30.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to sainzeo, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
Tonight's schedule doesn't start until 6:05, so there's still plenty of time to make your picks for today. Ecocd has some suggestions for maximizing value, if you're interested. And while you're wearing your prediction hat, don't forget about Prognostikeggers.
Cardinals: Placed outfielder Skip Schumaker on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Dodgers: Placed outfielder Matt Kemp on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Orioles: Placed outfielder Nick Markakis on the DL following surgery to remove a broken hamate bone.
Pirates: Released outfielder Nate McLouth.
You already know about Schumaker and McLouth if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 57th anniversary of a 1955 game where Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first player ever to hit three homers in a game against the Milwaukee Braves. Today is also 1977 Brewer Ken McMullen's 70th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 17 career HBP are the fifth most ever for a player born on June 1.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to build another one.