Some things to read while drifting in and out of consciousness.
The Brewers took us on a roller coaster ride yesterday and completed a rare series win in unlikely fashion, with Norichika Aoki hitting a tenth inning walkoff home run (his second homer of the day, the only outside-the-park home runs of his career) in a 4-3 victory over the Cubs. morineko has the recap, if you missed it. Aoki is hitting .346/.393/.577 in his last 22 games and Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk says he's proven to be a big find for the Brewers.
Aramis Ramirez was out of the lineup with his quad strain again yesterday, giving the Brewers a different lineup for the 21st consecutive day. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus has a look at what this kind of flux can mean for a team's full-season success.
The Brewers were in a position to win in the tenth yesterday because of two scoreless innings from John Axford, who worked the ninth and tenth. It was Axford's eighth career two inning outing during the regular season and his first since September 13 of last season. He also recorded six outs in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS.
Other notes from the field:
- Ryan Braun's 0-for-4 last night was changed to 1-for-4 after the fact when the ball he hit to third baseman Ian Stewart in the fourth inning was changed from an error to a hit.
- Randy Wolf hit Cubs outfielder David DeJesus with a pitch yesterday and has now hit 98 batters in his career. Plunk Everyone has more on the topic.
- Mike Vassallo has a picture of Norichika Aoki getting his first outside-the-park home run ball back from the man who caught it and his stepson.
- Aoki and translator Kosuke Inaji were both hit with shaving cream pies during their postgame interview.
- The Italian won the sausage race.
- 30,123 fans paid to see yesterday's game, the largest crowd of the series.
Across baseball tonight 14 AL and NL teams will pair up for interleague play, but the Brewers and Padres don't have dance partners so they'll face off in the weekend's only NL series. Alex Angert has the MLB.com preview for tonight's 7:10 start. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Edinson Volquez/Shaun Marcum matchup a four out of ten on his NERD scale.
We may see a more interesting pitching matchup tomorrow, when the Padres are expected to start setup man Andrew Cashner. He's made just 13 professional starts since the start of the 2010 season, but is getting an opportunity after starter Eric Stults got injured. He'll likely be limited to three innings.
Looking back, Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus says Taylor Green rounded the bases in 21.07 seconds following his first career home run on Wednesday. NotGraphs has gifs of his somewhat bizarre celebration with Martin Maldonado.
Elsewhere in notes from Wednesday, Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker notes that Zack Greinke had been using his new cutter heavily in April, but then got away from it in May before featuring it again against the Cubs.
With Norichika Aoki emerging as a consistent contributor in the outfield, Corey Hart may be asked to play more often at first base to make room. Adam McCalvy has a story on how Travis Ishikawa is helping Hart adjust to first base, while Hart is helping Ishikawa learn to rehab his sore oblique.
Marco Estrada is expected to head out on a rehab assignment any day now and could be ready to rejoin the Brewers by the end of the month. When he returns, Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar wonders if the team would be better off keeping him in the bullpen.
In another bullpen note, for the second straight season Francisco Rodriguez finds himself on a team that may be selling at the trade deadline. He told Adam McCalvy he hopes to stay with the Brewers this time. His two-run outing yesterday pushed his ERA back up to 4.68, so it's possible they couldn't get much for him anyway.
The Brewers may announce today that they've signed 28th overall pick Victor Roache. His deal is reportedly worth $1.525 million, which would be noticeably under the $1.65mm slot for his draft position.
Here's the rest of today's post-draft notes:
- J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker has a look at his favorite and least favorite Brewer draft picks in 2012.
- 12th round pick Eric Semmelhack, a pitcher from UW-Milwaukee, has signed. He's also on Twitter.
- First baseman Adam Giacalone, the Brewers' 16th round pick, has signed for $100,000. He's also on Twitter.
- I haven't seen an official announcement, but John Kurucz of Coquitlam Now has a story which seems to imply that seventh round pick David Otterman has signed and will be assigned to Helena.
- Similarly, Brewerfan.net has notes on left-handed pitcher Brent Suter (31st round) and 32nd round pick Nick Anderson (32nd round) that would also suggest they've either already signed or will sign soon.
- Pitcher Jono Armold, the Brewers' 30th round pick, has signed and 33rd round pick Austin Hall was expected to sign last night.
- 25th round pick Lance Roenicke is the only Brewer selection to show up in Baseball Nation's "Nepotism Rounds."
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-2 last night with the lone win coming from Brevard County, where the Manatees beat Jupiter 7-6 in eleven innings on T.J. Mittlestaedt's RBI single. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 2-1 loss to Clinton.
- Wisconsin also announced plans yesterday for a $5+ million stadium renovation project to be completed this winter.
- I was there for both the renovation press conference and last night's game and have stories on both and more in the Timber Rattlers Notebook.
- Wisconsin first baseman/outfielder Jason Rogers and Huntsville pitchers Tyler Thornburg and Jesus Sanchez are the Brewers' minor league player and co-pitchers of the month for May.
- Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have released pitcher R.J. Johnson. He was a 36th round pick out of high school in 2010 and appeared in nine games for the AZL Brewers that season, but hadn't pitched since.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, 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 live in studio taking your calls (and emails and tweets), so have your questions ready and listen in.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to Mike2K33, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
Mike also tied for yesterday's win in Prognostikeggers, so he earned two entries into our Brew Crew Ball Sweepstakes. If you're reading this post before 6:05 there's still time to make your Pick 6 picks for today, and you have until 7:10 to take part in Prognostikeggers.
Astros: Placed infielder Marwin Gonzalez on the DL with a bruised heel.
Cardinals: Placed pitcher Jaime Garcia on the DL with a shoulder strain.
Nationals: Placed pitcher Henry Rodriguez on the DL with a strained right index finger.
Phillies: Placed infielder Freddy Galvis on the DL with a lower back strain.
Rangers: Designated pitcher John Gaub for assignment and placed pitcher Derek Holland on the DL with shoulder fatigue.
White Sox: placed outfielder Kosuke Fukudome on the DL with an oblique strain.
The Brewers and Cubs weren't the only teams in the Central to play extra innings yesterday: The Pirates also picked up a 5-4 win over the Reds in ten, and now stand just two games back of first in the Central. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
If we learned one thing over the winter, it's that many of the rules in MLB's drug policy could use some clarification or adaptation. In response, the league released changes to the plan yesterday (FanShot). I'm not sure if it's fair to call them "the Braun rules," but some of them certainly would have been relevant to his case.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the eighth anniversary of a 1-0, 17 inning Brewer win against the Angels in 2004. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the anniversary of a trade that brought outfielder Jeffrey Leonard to the Brewers in 1988.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make fun of this headband.