Thursday's Frosty Mug: Brewer Links, News And Notes

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 18: Francisco Rodriguez #57 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate the 4-3 win over the St Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on July 18, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Some things to read while waiting for a reply.

The Brewers played their third consecutive one run game yesterday and picked up a series win over the Cardinals with a 4-3 victory. We've got the recap, if you missed it.

Yesterday's game got more interesting than it needed to be in the ninth inning, as Francisco Rodriguez gave up a double and three walks (one of which forced home a run) before getting Lance Berkman to fly out to the warning track with the bases loaded to end the game. K-Rod thought Berkman's hit was gone off the bat. After the game Berkman complained about a lack of bat speed since his recent return from surgery.

Meanwhile, one of yesterday's biggest stories came in the fifth inning when John Axford was called upon in relief. It was the earliest Axford had appeared in a game since his debut season in 2009, and only the second time he's recorded four outs or more in a game this season. MLB.com named him one of their "Head & Shoulders Mane Men of the Day." He also got to witness the sausage race from the dugout for the first time.

Doug Melvin expressed support for Axford following yesterday's game, but also had this quote that is likely going to rub some of you the wrong way:

"The reason you turn it over is because of the impatience of people -- the media, the fans, everybody else," Melvin said. "He's still got the best arm on the club."

The Brewers needed a lot of help from the bullpen when Tyler Thornburg had to be lifted from the game in the fifth inning. Despite the fact that he was making just his third start in around six weeks and was on three days rest following a Saturday relief appearance, the Brewers let him throw 103 pitches yesterday. Both runs he allowed yesterday came on solo home runs, his sixth and seventh in three major league appearances.

Yesterday was also a big day for Aramis Ramirez, who was able to remain in the game and went 3-for-3 after getting hit on the elbow by a fastball in the first inning. Plunk Everyone has more on the plunking, which was his sixth of the year. David Pinto of Baseball Musings says Ramirez "may turn out to be one of the better free agent signings of the off-season."

Losing Ramirez early in yesterday's game could have been a big blow as the team was also without Ryan Braun, who sat out for the day with the mild groin strain he suffered Tuesday night. He's expected back in the lineup tomorrow.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are off today but travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds tomorrow night in another critical series for their playoff hopes. Adam Berry of MLB.com has the preview.

Manny Parra worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless inning for the second consecutive day yesterday. Nick Prill of The Brewers Bar wonders if he should be the new setup man.

Here's today's lone Zack Greinke note: Dan O'Donnell of WTMJ noted that the Phillies are reportedly planning on offering Cole Hamels six years and $130 million, and says that may make it impossible for the Brewers to extend Greinke. Not surprisingly, Jon Morosi says there hasn't been much progress in contract talks.

In the minors:

  • Baseball America says the Brewers spent roughly $7.2 million on draft bonuses in 2012, down about $300,000 from 2011. They also had two picks in the top 16 last year, though.
  • The Brewers will have one extra pick to play with in 2013: They were awarded a pick between the second and third rounds in yesterday's Competitive Balance Lottery (FanShot).
  • The affiliates went 2-1 yesterday with Wisconsin getting 6.1 innings of scoreless relief pitching from Jacob Barnes and a walkoff home run from Ben McMahan in their 5-4 win over Great Lakes. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's win, including a Yadiel Rivera turn of a double play that you need to see.

Finally, congratulations are due out today to -JP-, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:

Rank Player Points
1 -JP- 57.4
2 Beaver9 44.9
3 Foul Tip 40.0
4 PCLOUSE7 39.0
5 brewman70 37.6
6 pecanpie 37.4
7 BrewCrewBrian 35.2
8 Mike2k33 33.0
9 mls4 31.9
10 sauveb 29.5

-JP- isn't eligible, so Beaver9 gets the entry in our Brew Crew Ball Sweepstakes. Today's action starts at 11:10, so you're almost out of time to make your picks for today.

Around baseball:

Giants: Placed catcher Hector Sanchez on the DL with a knee strain.
Mariners: Placed pitcher Charlie Furbush on the DL with a triceps strain.
Nationals: Designated outfielder Rick Ankiel for assignment.
Orioles: Designated pitcher Brad Bergesen for assignment.
Red Sox: Placed DH David Ortiz on the DL with an Achilles injury.

Yesterday I mentioned that the Royals had designated starter Jonathan Sanchez for assignment. This morning Wendy Thurm of FanGraphs has a look at what's gone wrong for him, and -JP- has a look at his season and the possibility he could help this team in the latest edition of Freely* Available Talent.

In former Brewers: Let's Go Tribe is listing reliever Eric Plunk as the 88th best Indian of all time.

Interested in painting your house PRECISELY Brewer blue, or painting someone else's house the color of some other team? Flip Flop Fly Ball has a graphic of MLB teams and their pantone colors that may help you.

Today in baseball economics: As part of his weekly Youtube mailbag Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation considered a report suggesting that having a higher income makes one less likely to invest the time it takes to watch a World Series game.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 43rd anniversary of Seattle Pilots first baseman Don Mincher recording the only 0-for-9 line in franchise history in an extra inning loss to the Twins. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the anniversary of the Milwaukee Braves signing Phil Niekro in 1958 and it's been exactly 8000 days since a Brewers/Blue Jays game in Toronto was delayed by a swarm of gnats.

Now, if you'll excuse me, this doesn't look clean.

Drink up.

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