Monday's Frosty Mug: Brewer News, Links And Notes From The Weekend

August 26, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) and relief pitcher Kameron Loe (50) celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates following the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Milwaukee Brewers won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to read while making your sad face.

Some things never change: The 2012 Brewers have been terrible on the road most of the season but they're still good enough to win in Pittsburgh, where they took two of three over the weekend. They closed out the series with a 7-0 win yesterday, and Noah has the recap if you missed it.

Mark Rogers pitched five shutout innings yesterday with three walks and three hits, but @jdondlinger notes that he did it with significantly decreased velocity. Rogers topped out at 94 and averaged around 92 with his fastball yesterday compared to 96 and 94 two weeks ago. It might be time to thank him for his work, shut him down and see what he's got next spring.

Mike Fiers might have had this weekend's best pitching performance, as he worked 6.2 innings and tied a career high with ten strikeouts on Friday night. Tom Singer of MLB.com said he "looks like right-handed Cliff Lee." Meanwhile, the Brewers are using Fiers' winter ball innings from 2010 and 2011 as justification for not shutting him down.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewer road trip continues today as they head to Chicago to open a four game set with the Cubs. James Walker of MLB.com has a preview of tonight's Marco Estrada/Justin Germano matchup.

Norichika Aoki went 0-for-4 with an RBI yesterday and has struggled a bit lately, hitting .275/.318/.325 in 21 games in August. Julian Levine of Beyond the Box Score still says he's been a bargain for the Brewers, though.

Elsewhere in struggles, Rickie Weeks had a hit yesterday but is still batting just .167/.250/.241 in 14 games since being moved back to the #2 spot in the lineup. Ron Roenicke told reporters he intends to keep Weeks there.

John Axford also had a weekend to forget, as he had to be lifted from a save situation Friday night after throwing 35 pitches and recording just two outs. New Brewer bullpen coach Lee Tunnell had a hand in Axford's initial emergence in 2009 and thinks he'll bounce back again this season.

The Brewers made one relatively minor transaction over the weekend, outrighting reliever Mike McClendon to Nashville and calling up Jeff Bianchi. Unless something changes, McClendon will be a minor league free agent this winter. Meanwhile, Bianchi collected major league hits #1 and 2 Saturday and #3 as a pinch hitter yesterday.

McClendon's demotion leaves the Brewers with two open spots on the 40 man roster. It's possible they'll fill those spots up with September callups.

Elsewhere in roster moves, Ron Roenicke told reporters he's hoping contending teams will consider a trade for Shaun Marcum or Francisco Rodriguez in the next few days. There's still a few days to acquire a player in a waiver deal and have them be eligible for the postseason.

It'll be interesting to see how the Brewers fill innings over the next five and a half weeks without Randy Wolf and with the possibility some pitchers will need to be shut down. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew wonders what Tyler Thornburg's role will be in all of this.

It's probably safe to assume Yovani Gallardo will pitch every fifth day for the foreseeable future. His two seven inning outings last week earned him Brewer of the Week honors for the first time this season. He's the 13th different player and the fourth pitcher to win the award in 2012.

Most of us seem pretty optimistic about the Brewers' chances of being relevant again next season, but apparently not everyone feels that way. Bob Wolfley of the JS (behind the paywall) notes that five ESPN analysts ranked the Brewers 25th in their future power rankings.

In the minors:

  • If you missed it over the weekend, go back and check out Nicole's entry in the Timber Rattlers Notebook from yesterday. She's got a great look at how various Wisconsin players have handled their first taste of full season baseball.
  • Thanks to @Mass_Haas for directing my attention to this Ballpark Digest post on the Brevard County Manatees, who may consider moving to Orlando as soon as 2015. The spring training facility they're currently inhabiting could be abandoned by the Nationals soon.
  • The Manatees, by the way, had their final home game of the season rained out yesterday.
  • The remaining affiliates went 1-4 yesterday with the toughest loss coming from Huntsville, where pitchers Josh Stinson, Kyle Heckathorn and John Hellweg combined to allow a single run on five hits over nine innings in the Stars' 1-0 loss to Birmingham. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look back at this year's fifth round selections, and says Brewer pick Damien Magnifico's performance matches his scouting report as a pitcher with good velocity but poor command.
  • We've previously mentioned that Wisconsin will represent the Brewer organization in the Midwest League playoffs as their division's first half champion. The AZL Brewers, Huntsville and Nashville have all been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. Brevard County and Helena (despite a 7-20 record in the second half) are still hanging on.

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

Rank Player Points
1 takeapitchcarlos 67.7
2 Jahiegel 65.6
3 sauveb 60.7
4 Foul Tip 49.6
5 coolig 46.1
6 Megalomaniac 39.0
7 Cecil Cooper's Love Child 37.7
8 Hendrik 32.8
9 BigMac91 32.0
10 aaronetc 30.4

Today's action starts at 12:35, so you're running out of time to get your picks in. And, of course, a new series means a new set of Prognostikeggers.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Acquired pitcher Jesse Chavez from the Blue Jays for cash.
Blue Jays: Placed outfielder Jose Bautista on the DL with a wrist injury.
Braves: Placed pitcher Ben Sheets on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Dodgers: Acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto from the Red Sox for first baseman James Loney, outfielder Jerry Sands, pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, infielder Ivan De Jesus and a minor league pitcher and placed pitcher Chad Billingsley on the DL with elbow pain.
Nationals: Signed first baseman/third baseman Chad Tracy to a one year contract extension.
Orioles: Acquired pitcher Joe Saunders from the Diamondbacks for reliever Matt Lindstrom and a PTBNL and designated pitcher J.C. Romero for assignment.
Phillies: Placed catcher Brian Schneider on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Pirates: Claimed reliever Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Angels and placed reliever Chad Qualls on the DL with irritation of his left big toe.
Red Sox: Are expected to place DH David Ortiz on the DL with a sore achilles and suspended reliever Alfredo Aceves for three games for conduct detrimental to the team.

If you have a moment this morning, then you have a chance to help out with a pretty cool project. Tom Tango of The Book Blog has opened voting for the 2012 Fans Scouting Report, helping evaluate the defense of players across baseball. As of this writing 31 people have already submitted evaluations of the Brewers.

Today in former Brewers: Peter Gammons reports that Randy Wolf has "interest from several teams, including an AL East contender." Adam McCalvy suggests that contender may have been the Orioles, but they're not likely to be interested anymore.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks early 1980's Brewer Marshall Edwards' 60th birthday. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 10,000 days since Gorman Thomas' three home run game and 22 years since a Brewers/Blue Jays game was delayed by a swarm of gnats.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see if this space is available.

Drink up.

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