MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 12: Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with Jeff Bianchi #14 after hitting a three-run homer scoring Bianchi and Norichika Aoki in the bottom of the 5th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on September 12, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Some things to read while checking your calendar.
The red-hot Brewers remain one of baseball's top stories as they finished off a sweep of the Braves yesterday, climbed back above .500 and closed the gap to three games in the race for the NL's final wild card spot. -JP- has the recap, if you missed it.
The Brewers won last night behind a solid pitching performance from Yovani Gallardo, who allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings for his major league-leading 24th quality start of 2012. He's now two away from tying the franchise record held by Marty Pattin and Teddy Higuera. The Brewers have won each of Gallardo's last nine starts.
Meanwhile, Rickie Weeks was last night's offensive hero. He had two hits in the game, including a three run home run in the fifth to start the scoring as the Brewers put eight runs on the board. The ball traveled 389 feet and Weeks rounded the bases in 22.84 seconds. MLB.com has the video. Before yesterday's game Miller Park Drunk listed Weeks as the #1 reason the Brewers had gotten back to .500.
The Brewers and Phillies' wins last night and the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates' losses mean the race for the NL's final wild card spot is closer than ever:
David Schoenfield of ESPN says the Brewers are making this race fun. CoolStandings has their playoff chances at 7.1%. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs characterized the Brewers' late run as "potentially tragic." Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine has a guide to being optimistic for the stretch run.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers have now won 18 of their last 23 games, and tied a Miller Park record with their ninth consecutive home win. The single-season franchise record is 10, last done in 2003. The multi-season franchise record is 16, set between 1986-87.
- Carlos Gomez left last night's game with a contusion on his right quad after breaking up a double play.
- The Braves had just one extra base hit in the three game series.
- JP has a look at last night's turning points and a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- 37,847 fans paid to see last night's game.
- The Italian won the sausage race.
- The Brewers gave Chipper Jones a gas grill (Adam McCalvy has a picture) and a year's supply of brats before his final game at Miller Park.
The Brewers are off today for the first time in three weeks before opening a series against the Mets tomorrow. Mike Flammetta of MLB.com has the preview of Friday's game.
Here are the scheduled pitching matchups for this weekend:
|Friday||Jon Niese||Mike Fiers|
|Saturday||Jenrry Mejia||Shaun Marcum|
|Sunday||Chris Young||Wily Peralta|
@Mass_Haas notes that the Brewers missed Kris Medlen of the Braves this week, and now won't see Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey this weekend.
If you're one of the 99.8% of Wisconsinites expected to watch tonight's Packers/Bears game, it sounds like you'll be seeing Ryan Braun there. With today's off day I'd guess a fair number of Brewers will make the trip up to Lambeau Field.
Meanwhile, Brewer fans continue to not see Tyler Thornburg, who has been in the bullpen but unused for most of the month of September. Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers' sudden resurgence has changed the plan for Thornburg, who was going to be reinserted into the rotation but will remain in the bullpen now.
If Thornburg ever does appear, he'll come out to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive." You know that and more if you've read John and Cait's updated list of Brewer walkup songs.
Corey Hart missed the Braves series with his sore foot, but told Adam McCalvy he's hoping to be back in the lineup tomorrow night. Ron Roenicke says it's more likely he'll play Saturday or Sunday. Tom Haudricourt noticed Martin Maldonado out taking grounders at first base yesterday.
Aramis Ramirez went 1-for-5 yesterday and did not homer. His 335 career long balls as a third baseman are seventh on the all time list, and he'll tie Ron Santo for sixth with two more.
The Brewers got two scoreless relief innings last night from Jose Veras and Kameron Loe, the latest in a pretty steady string of solid outings. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker wonders if this bullpen is all right after all.
In the minors:
- Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead in the Midwest League Championship Series last night when catcher Rafael Neda scored on a walkoff wild pitch to give the Timber Rattlers a 3-2, ten inning win. We've got a full recap and a profile of catcher/DH Cameron Garfield in yesterday's Timber Rattlers Notebook.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's eleventh walkoff win of 2012.
- The two teams are scheduled to play again at 12:05, and I'll be there again working on the Notebook.
- The mayor of Fort Wayne and the Grand Chute town chairman have some cheese and chocolates riding on this series. (h/t @bensbiz)
- Rattler Radio also has the Championship Series intro video the Timber Rattlers showed at the ballpark before last night's game.
- Mat Gamel is no longer a candidate to appear in the Arizona Fall League. Outfielder Josh Prince will take his place.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my weekly appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire has been archived. Due to this week's tight schedule I had to do the spot from my car in a parking lot: If you listen closely you'll probably be able to hear me open the door to cool off a bit, then close it again when someone's car alarm started going off.
Or, if you'd rather listen to Bob Uecker on the Dan Patrick show, he was in yesterday's second hour.
Finally, congratulations are due out to Badger Boy in Vail, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here is the full leaderboard:
|1||Badger Boy in Vail||87.2|
Today's action starts at 11:35, so you're running out of time to get your picks in.
If nothing else, trading Zack Greinke for Jean Segura et al saved the Brewers from having to take part in this mess: Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says Ronny Cedeno is likely to be this winter's best free agent shortstop.
The big story around baseball yesterday was the release of the 2013 schedule. The Biz of Baseball has the full combined schedule and we have a look at it from a Brewer perspective, but here are some of the highlights:
- The Reds will host the Angels on Opening Day in baseball's first ever season-opening interleague contest.
- The Brewers are going to Seattle for the first time since 1997, open at home against the Rockies and will play two exhibition games at Miller Park against the White Sox.
- Texas and Arizona will play a scheduled doubleheader on Memorial Day.
In baseball economics: Ken Arneson has what might be the best post I've ever read on MLB revenues and how they increasingly come from non-consumer sources, leading the game's leadership to become less responsive to the direct concerns of the fan. (h/t @robneyer)
Of course, having September and October Sundays to itself would certainly help baseball. NotGraphs has a picture of Joe West ejecting the NFL.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need more commas.