Some things to read while making a trip to the store.
Norichika Aoki had two hits, drove in two runs, stole a base and was hit by a pitch last night. The Cornell ILRSBS blog has a comparison of Aoki and A's import Yoenis Cespedes. Meanwhile, Aoki tied a Brewer rookie record with his 12th HBP last night. Plunk Everyone has much more on the topic. Aoki is even bringing some of the Doug Melvin skeptics along, as shown in today's Tweet of the Day:
I'm not a big fan of Melvins approach to the club, but that Aoki signing is awesome.— Aaron Gross (@Poonix) September 19, 2012
Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo had another solid outing last night and is now just the fifth player in franchise history to have the team win each of ten consecutive starts. Keith Law, however, wonders if his hair might be playing a role.
Other notes from the field:
- The offense had 13 singles last night but no extra base hits after collecting at least one in 85 consecutive games.
- The Brewers have gone two full games without allowing a run or extra base hit.
- The Brewers had five different players steal a base last night for the first time since 1992 and just the tenth time in franchise history.
- We've got a look at the game's turning points.
- Here are the MLB.com highlights.
The series continues tonight when Marco Estrada takes on Pirates rookie Kyle McPherson (making his first MLB start) at 6:10. Mark Clements has the MLB.com preview and noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's matchup a nine out of ten on his NERD scale, good enough for Game of the Day. Meanwhile, The Book of Gorman has an in-depth look at Estrada's arsenal.
Every Brewer game the rest of the way is critical to their playoff chances, but Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation says both the Brewers and Pirates' seasons are on the line this week.
Rickie Weeks was on base twice last night with a single and a walk and also stole a base. Jon Heyman says he's gone from being one of the worst players in baseball early to one of the best now. Weeks is also the Brewers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Weeks stole his 14th base of the season last night, so he probably won't join his teammates on this list: Three Brewers (Carlos Gomez with 33, Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun with 27 each) have stolen 25 bases in a season for the second time in franchise history and the first time since 1992.
The Brewers gained a game on the Pirates and half a game on the rained out Dodgers and Phillies last night, as you already know if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Playoff Race. @Mass_Haas also notes that last night's Washington/Los Angeles rainout will likely affect the Nationals' rotation for their series with the Brewers this weekend.
It also looks like Corey Hart is unlikely to see the field in Washington this weekend. He told reporters his sore foot had not improved yesterday, and his day-to-day injury is starting to look more like week-to-week.
We also won't see Mat Gamel in the Brewer dugout this weekend: He's returned home to Jacksonville to continue rehab on his surgically repaired knee. He won't play in the Arizona Fall League, but could still play winter ball in the Dominican Republic as he did last year.
The Brewers are still a long shot to make the playoffs, but it's worth noting that they're now closer than both the Tigers (with Prince Fielder) and the Angels (with Zack Greinke). Those two players are also among the nine featured in Peace and Glove's look at the nine players who have moved on from the Brewers since the end of the 2011 season.
The Brewers are going to have an interesting decision to make this winter, as they have the in-house candidates to try to build a young starting rotation around Yovani Gallardo in 2013, but also have the money to chase a veteran in free agency. Brad White of Reviewing the Brew has a look at the options.
In the minors:
- Congratulations are due out this morning to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who won the Midwest League's Larry MacPhail Award for "outstanding and creative marketing and promotional efforts," and to team president Rob Zerjav for winning the league's Executive of the Year award.
- Speaking of the Timber Rattlers, I wrapped up our season-long coverage of the team in the Timber Rattlers Notebook.
- Seedlings to Stars has a look at three players in the lower levels of the Brewer organization, including 2011 second round pick Jorge Lopez.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a recap of the 16th round of the 2012 draft and says Helena first baseman Adam Giacalone's "bat has some polish" but his power is a question mark.
- Brewer affiliates went a combined 316-373 this season, finishing 26th among 30 organizations.
- Baseball America has a story on Huntsville Star and 2012 Southern League MVP Hunter Morris, but it's subscriber-only.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my weekly appearances on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM/AM 1570 The Score in Appleton and The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire have been archived.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to jarlbartar, 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 make your picks for today.
Blue Jays: Suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for taking the field with a homophobic slur written on his eye black.
Escobar's suspension will cost him roughly $92,500, according to Jerry Crasnick.
The Astros failed to help the Brewer playoff chances last night, losing 4-1 to the Cardinals. Houston has now collected 100 losses for the second consecutive season.
Of course, last night's most interesting game was played in Seattle where the Orioles beat the Mariners 4-2 in 18 innings. The Orioles have now won each of their last 14 extra inning games.
Randy Wolf was not one of the eight Orioles pitchers to appear in last night's game, but he is the pitcher whose sub-50 mph curveball ranks as the third slowest pitch in all of baseball this season, according to Matthew Kory of Baseball Prospectus.
Elsewhere in late games, we spent a fair chunk of yesterday discussing the Pirates/Cubs game in Chicago Monday night that lasted until 1:28 am Central time. It turns out that's the latest a Cubs game has ever ended.
Speaking of the Cubs, the pilot of the new NBC series "Revolution" had shown characters walking past Wrigley Field with a banner hanging from the 2012 World Series. That was too far-fetched for even a post-apocalyptic drama, though, so they digitally removed it.
A few weeks ago the Milwaukee media market said goodbye to Trenni Kusnierek, who has moved on to Boston to work for NESN. Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine has a great story on Trenni's time in Milwaukee and the battle with depression that most of us never knew about.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks 1984 Brewer first round pick Isaiah Clark's 47th birthday. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 8th anniversary of Dave Burba's final major league game: Burba was pitching for the Giants at the time but spent most of the 2004 season with the Brewers.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have my orders.