Can Mike Fiers and the Brewers outrace Jon Jay and the Cardinals to the finish line?
Some things to read while putting the pancake down.
The off day is over and Mike Fiers will take the mound for the Brewers again tonight as they open a series against the Mets at Miller Park tonight. Jeremy Warnemuende of MLB.com has a great story on his unlikely road to the big leagues. I think you could make a case that Fiers' story is every bit as good as John Axford's. Noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave his matchup with Jon Niese tonight a five out of ten on his NERD scale.
A Brewer win tonight would be their fourth straight. Despite the fact that they've won 20 of their last 27 games, the Brewers still haven't won five consecutive games at any point this season.
It's probably safe to assume that this will turn into nothing, but Todd Rosiak of the JS (behind the paywall) wondered aloud if the Brewers will hit David Wright tonight in retaliation for then-Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco hitting Ryan Braun on May 15. It sounds like tempers have cooled since then.
The Cardinals beat the Dodgers last night and the Phillies lost to the Astros, so here's this morning's wild card chase update:
The Cubs, by the way, were officially eliminated when the Cardinals won last night. The Rockies are now the next team on the chopping block, and their elimination number is 2.
Regardless of how these next few weeks go, the fact that the Brewers have been able to come back from being 12 games under .500 on August 15 and are now playing relevant games in September is pretty impressive. J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker says the 2012 season is already a success, and Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar wrote a thank you note to the team for not giving up. Meanwhile, Miller Park Drunk makes the case that the Crew will be a good bet to reach the World Series if they make the playoffs.
Aramis Ramirez deserves a lot of the credit for the Brewer resurgence, as he's hit .309/.393/.617 since August 15. Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation says his performance this season is making the Brewers look smart.
As the 2012 season approaches its conclusion, the time to look ahead to 2013 is drawing near. Here's one of the things we'll be keeping an eye on as we look to the future: MLB Trade Rumors reports that Jonathan Lucroy is expected to finish the season with two years and 135 days of service time, four days short of the cutoff for "Super 2" status. Those four days are worth about $2 million to the Brewers over the life of Lucroy's long term deal.
It's also almost award season, and Ryan Braun continues to present a strong case for NL MVP. For what it's worth, though, he told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that no one in the NL impacts a game more than Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
In the minors:
- The Brewers will not be changing affiliates this winter, as they extended their player development contract with AA Huntsville yesterday. Tom Haudricourt noted that the Brewers have made it clear they're not happy with the facilities in either Huntsville or Nashville but extended deals anyway.
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are off today as they travel to Fort Wayne and will play the third game of their best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series tomorrow night. The series is tied 1-1 following Wisconsin's 5-1 loss yesterday in their final home game of the season. We've got a full recap and more in the Timber Rattlers Notebook.
- Meanwhile, Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs listed Hunter Morris, Tyler Thornburg and Hiram Burgos among the best young players in the AA Southern League this season in his SCOUT stat.
Finally, congratulations are due out today to sjlee, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
No transactions today, so here's a quick lesson on ninjas:
Today in former Brewers: You may have noticed, or at least I have over the years, that the internet is sorely lacking in pictures of the Seattle Pilots from their inaugural season in 1969. The Seattle Post Intelligencer recently discovered a collection of unpublished photos which you can now see for the first time. (h/t BBTF)
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the anniversary of the final game of the 1878 Milwaukee Grays, the city's first major league team. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 41st anniversary of Hank Aaron passing Stan Musial with his NL record 1953rd RBI and the fourth anniversary of Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter against the Astros at Miller Park.
Today is also 2006 Brewer David Bell's 40th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 44 career HBP are the second most ever for a player born on September 14.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have goosebumps.