Some things to read while changing the station.
The Milwaukee Brewers have won back-to-back series for the first time this season, getting a three-run homer from Martin Maldonado and holding on in the ninth to beat San Diego 6-5 in yesterday's rubber game. Noah has the recap, if you missed it.
Yesterday's win got more exciting than it needed to be in the ninth, when the Brewers allowed three runs to turn a non-save situation into Jose Veras' fifth career save and first since June 16 of last year. John Axford started off the inning but was only able to record one out while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks, including one with the bases loaded. He faced six batters and threw 37 pitches.
As has become common, Axford's rough outing was followed by a litany of morons insulting him on Twitter. Fortunately Axford has a sense of humor about it and preserved the tweets for posterity under the #TwitterToughGuy hashtag. Landon Evanson of Bugs & Cranks wants the kind of person who ends up tweeting something like that to stop ruining Twitter for everyone else.
The late-inning meltdown yesterday overshadowed a big day for Martin Maldonado, whose sixth inning homer was his third go-ahead hit in as many days. He also made a hole in the press box drywall on Friday night.
Norichika Aoki went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks yesterday to extend his hitting streak to five games and is now hitting .337/.398/.551 over his last 25 appearances. We've got a fair number of notes on him today:
- Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables says Aoki "doesn't have the speed of a prototypical leadoff hitter, but on a team without one, Aoki is probably the closest we're going to get."
- The Catlantis noticed a similarity between the leg kick in Aoki and Don Mattingly's swings.
- Aoki is also our Brewer of the Week for the first time.
- He rounded the bases in 22.68 seconds following his walkoff homer Thursday.
Ryan Braun had a pretty good weekend, picking up five hits over three games and homering yesterday. Braun now has hits in six straight games, and it's only the ninth time this season a Brewer has done that. David Pinto of Baseball Musings notes that Braun's stat line from 2012 is almost identical to his 2011 marks.
Other notes from the field:
- Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch yesterday, and the Brewers are now on pace to be hit 100 times this season. Plunk Everyone has more.
- The Padres sent Andrew Cashner back to the minors following Saturday's game to get stretched out to start again.
- The Italian, Brat and Polish won Friday, Saturday and Sunday's sausage races, respectively.
- NotGraphs captured some audio of Bob Uecker talking about Brewers Radio Network giveaways.
43,021 fans paid to see yesterday's game on Nyjer Morgan's bobblehead day, the third largest Miller Park crowd of the season. The Brewers also sold out Saturday's game, and one of the fans in attendance was New Orleans-based comedian Chris Trew. He wrote about his first Miller Park experience here.
Following an off day today the Brewers will open a three game set in Kansas City tomorrow with Zack Greinke facing the Royals for the first time since being traded to Milwaukee before the 2011 season. James Walker has the MLB.com preview. Greinke's 89 game score on May 9 against the Reds is still tied for the seventh best in the majors this season.
Here's a weird statistical quirk from this weekend: Corey Hart hit a foul ball during an at bat Friday night, ending a streak of 22 consecutive plate appearances without one. That was tied for the eleventh longest streak since 2005.
Elsewhere in unusual numbers: Taylor Green hit another pinch-hit home run Friday night, his second in seven days and the second of his career. Mike Vassallo notes that only two other Brewers have hit career homers #1 and 2 as a pinch hitter: Trent Durrington in 2004 and Prince Fielder in 2005.
I've already mentioned the new hole in the press box wall, but Adam McCalvy is reporting that the team also patched a hole in the wall near the Brewer clubhouse after a player must have taken out his frustrations sometime last week. Details aren't available, but we do know that it wasn't Corey Hart or Shaun Marcum.
Marco Estrada continues to rehab from injury and is expected to pitch a simulated game in Kansas City tomorrow. After that he's expected to make two rehab starts and could rejoin the team around the end of the month. When he does return he's expected to be slotted back into the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Brewers' recent play has given them some tough decisions to make when Cesar Izturis and Jonathan Lucroy are able to come off the DL. Adam McCalvy says it's too early to think about either decision, though.
Over the weekend we picked up a bunch more draft notes:
- The Brewers officially announced the signings of first round picks Clint Coulter and Victor Roache on Friday, signing Coulter to the $1.675 million deal his draft position called for. Coulter is expected to begin his pro career in the Arizona League, while Roache isn't expected to be healthy enough to play until instructional league this fall.
- Coulter, by the way, has been given #15 while Roache will wear Prince Fielder's old #28.
- 13th round pick Alan Sharkey, a high school first baseman, has signed. He tweeted yesterday that he's headed to Arizona.
- So has 25th round pick Lance Roenicke.
- The Brewers have signed undrafted free agent pitcher Taylor Mangum, a right-hander from Utah Valley University.
- It sounds like Adam Giacalone enjoyed his travel day more than Austin Blaski.
Congratulations are due out this morning to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who clinched their first playoff berth since 2005 and their first as a Brewer affiliate with their win and Kane County's loss yesterday. Wisconsin is guaranteed one of the top two spots in the Midwest League Western Division in the first half, and leads Beloit by four games with seven to play for the top spot.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-2 yesterday and Taylor Jungmann picked up one of the wins, allowing one earned run on six hits over seven innings in Brevard County's 3-2 win over Lakeland. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights of Wisconsin's 5-2, ten inning win over Beloit.
- Logan Schafer went 7-for-10 this weekend with a triple, two walks and two stolen bases and Baseball America credited him with the best offensive performance.
- Shortstop Chris McFarland, who signed too late to appear in any games last season, will make his pro debut for Helena.
- Bruce Gentry of AL.com has a profile of Huntsville outfielder Kentrail Davis.
- The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin first baseman Nick Ramirez.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Sounds catcher Jason Jaramillo.
- Saturday was Star Wars Night for Wisconsin. Here's a picture of outfielder Chadwin Stang with Darth Vader.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, my debut appearance on WSSP from yesterday has been archived (look for the June 10 pregame show). I was on the roundtable with Chuck Freimund and Andrew Wagner.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to Beaver9, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
Beaver9, Kiev 'n Rice (Sunday's winner) and texwestern (Saturday's winner) have all earned entries into the Brew Crew Ball Sweepstakes. You can see the full sweepstakes rules here. Today's abbreviated MLB schedule doesn't start until 6:07, so there's plenty of time to make your picks for today.
Astros: Placed outfielder Fernando Martinez on the seven-day concussion DL.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Danny Farquhar off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Cardinals: Claimed pitcher John Gaub off waivers from the Rangers and released pitcher Scott Linebrink.
Marlins: Designated infielder Donnie Murphy for assignment.
Red Sox: Placed pitcher Rich Hill on the DL with an elbow injury and designated outfielder Marlon Byrd for assignment.
Rockies: Designated pitcher Esmil Rogers for assignment.
Royals: Placed pitcher Felipe Paulino on the DL with a groin strain.
Tigers: Catcher Omir Santos has rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
The Pirates remain the NL Central's hottest team: They've won eight of their last ten games and will resume play tomorrow tied with the Reds for first place in the division. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
The Cubs lost two of three to the Twins this season in their first-ever visit to Target Field. Carrie Muskat noted that the Cubs have now played games in 120 different ballparks since 1876.
This season's new draft rules have had at least one really positive consequence in the fact that a lot more players are signing early and getting their pro careers underway. The Cardinals, for example, have already reached agreement with 27 of their 44 picks.
Today in former Brewers:
- Adam McCalvy says Mark Kotsay was the "biggest gap between opinion of fans and opinion of manager/coaches for any player, ever."
- McCalvy also remembers the time a teammate threw former Brewer outfielder Alex Sanchez through a clubhouse wall.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates 1961 and '65 Milwaukee Brave Frank Thomas' 83rd birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that his 51 career HBP are the second most ever for a player born on June 11.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm pretending to have something else to do.