The "playoff contention" portion of the Brewers' 2012 season may be over, but it's still fun when they win. They beat the Cubs 4-1 last night behind a strong outing from Yovani Gallardo and Jeff Bianchi's first home run, and we've got the recap if you missed it.
Bianchi was still looking for his first career hit entering play on Saturday, but his homer last night was his fifth hit in five at bats. He's raised his career OPS from .000 to .636 in the last four days. And, of course, a Cub fan threw the ball from his first homer back onto the field.
Yovani Gallardo pitched seven innings last night and struck out nine Cubs while allowing a single run on just three hits, and was named one of Head & Shoulders' "Mane Men" of the night. The Brewers struck out eleven batters last night and have now retired ten or more that way in eight straight games. They've got a chance to break baseball's single season strikeout record, but Rick Kranitz doesn't want them thinking about it.
Last night's win improved the Brewers to 14-11 in August with three games to play. If they can manage to win one of the next two against the Cubs or beat the Pirates on Friday they'll have their first winning month of the season.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers' three hits allowed last night tied a season low. They've now done that five times, and gone 3-2 in those games.
- BrewGIFS has a look at Jeff Bianchi's first career home run.
- Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch last night for the 107th time in his career. Plunk Everyone has more on the topic.
- We've got a look at the game's turning points.
The four game set continues tonight when Mike Fiers takes on Jeff Samardzija at 7:05. Mark Clements has the MLB.com preview.
For as long as Fiers continues to pitch this season, we're going to be wondering if shutting him down would be the better move. Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com asked several shutdown candidates for their thoughts on the possibility of ending their season early.
Shaun Marcum is scheduled to start tomorrow, but could it be his last appearance as a Brewer? A report surfaced yesterday that Marcum has been placed on trade waivers. If a team claims him within the next 36 hours the Brewers will have a chance to work out a deal with them. If no team claims him, then the Brewers would be free to trade him anywhere.
Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 last night after hitting a pair of home runs Monday night. Miller Park Drunk is ready to anoint Ramirez as "True Blue Brew Crew" and Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at what might be his career year.
Speaking of Ramirez, here are his home run trot times along with the others from Monday:
|Ryan Braun||25.39 seconds|
|Aramis Ramirez #2||24.67 seconds|
|Aramis Ramirez #1||23.39 seconds|
|Corey Hart||22.62 seconds|
|Carlos Gomez||17.52 seconds|
Ramirez is a big part of a Brewer offense that's been quietly good this season. Joe Block notes that they entered play last night averaging 4.65 runs per game this season, up from 4.45 in 2011.
Last night's win was Ron Roenicke's 157th as manager of the Brewers, tying him with Ken Macha for the seventh most in franchise history. He needs 394 more wins to tie Phil Garner for the most as a Brewer manager, but our poll from yesterday showed that over 50% of voters don't expect him to be with the Brewers that long.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 6-1 last night behind solid pitching outings from Tyler Thornburg, Jimmy Nelson, Drew Gagnon, Nick Bucci and David Goforth. Minor League Notes is off today, but Disciples of Uecker has more in their Minor League Box Scores.
- Zack Cox of MiLB.com has a story on Jimmy Nelson, who allowed just one hit while pitching seven shutout innings for Huntsville.
- Brevard County third baseman Mike Walker is the only Brewer farmhand on the Florida State League's postseason All Star team.
- Reliever Seth Harvey, who split 2012 between Wisconsin and Brevard County, made MLB Depth Charts' 2012 "Under the Radar" NL All Star Team. Harvey posted a 2.96 ERA with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings between the Timber Rattlers and Manatees.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look back at the seventh round of the 2012 draft and notes that pitcher David Otterman has struggled a bit in Helena and Arizona, but says the sample size is too small to be significant and he's "considered raw for college arm but has nice delivery."
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Sounds reliever Brandon Kintzler.
- Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times has an interview with Stars GM Buck Rogers, who appears optimistic about the future of baseball in the city despite no tangible evidence to support said optimism.
- OpposingViews.com has a story on Helena first baseman Adam Giacalone and his relationship with his agent. (h/t to @Mass_Haas for the last two links.)
When the Brewers return home on Friday they'll honor Bob Uecker, as his statue outside Miller Park will be unveiled in an afternoon ceremony. Adam DeCock of MLB.com has video of players discussing some of Uecker's most memorable recent calls.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, you can look both forward and back in today's audio options:
- My weekly Tuesday appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire has been archived.
- Looking ahead, I'll be appearing on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM/AM 1570 The Score in Appleton at 3 pm today. I'll be live in studio taking your calls and tweets for most of an hour.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to gobrew23, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
Today's action starts at 12:05, so you're running out of time to get your picks in.
Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com says the Orioles expect to use Wolf as a reliever, but haven't ruled out letting him start. He's never pitched in the American League.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my dictionary.