PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers makes a throw to first against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 19, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Some things to read while loading up on quarters.
The Brewers held serve in the race for the NL's final wild card spot last night, beating the Pirates 3-1 to remain within 2.5 games of the Cardinals. We've got the recap, if you missed it. The Brewers have now either won or split five consecutive road series.
Milwaukee jumped out to an early lead last night when Norichika Aoki led off the game with a home run. The long ball gave the Brewers 185 homers this season, matching their NL-leading total from 2011. Aoki is now riding a nine-game hitting streak, his fourth streak of at least that length this season.
Rickie Weeks also had two hits last night, and is the subject of our Tweet of the Day:
Rickie Weeks sure is making the most of his regression from his regression.— Howie Magner (@howiemag) September 20, 2012
Other notes from the field:
- Carlos Gomez was caught attempting to steal third last night, ending the Brewer streak at 16 consecutive successful steals.
- Jean Segura had a double and a triple last night, moving his season total from two extra base hits to four.
- Yesterday's loss dropped the Pirates to .500 for the first time since June 2. Among NL teams, only the Astros have been worse since July 28.
- Pirates catcher Michael McKenry doubled in the second inning and became the first opposing player to collect an extra base hit since Saturday.
- Here are the MLB.com highlights.
- Marco Estrada appeared on Brewers Extra Innings on WTMJ with friend of the site Dan O'Donnell following the game.
- We've got a look at the game's turning points.
- 15,337 fans paid to see last night's game.
Unfortunately, for the third consecutive game the Brewers won and gained no ground on the Cardinals in the race for the NL's final wild card spot. St. Louis beat the Astros 5-0 last night, as you already know if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Wild Card Race. Even with last night's loss, the Astros still have eight wins in September to compare to three in July and five in August.
With that said, a new day presents a new opportunity. Mike Fiers will take on Wandy Rodriguez in the final game of the Pirates series at 3:05 today, and Clark Goble has the MLB.com preview. This is the first of four day games in five days for the Crew.
Last night's win continued a remarkable comeback for the Brewers, as they've won 22 of 28 since dropping to 12 games below .500 on August 15. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN credits Ron Roenicke for remaining calm when this season looked like a potential disaster.
Ryan Braun has, of course, been one of the reasons the Brewers have been able to surge back into contention. Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Braun could still be NL MVP if the Brewers make the playoffs.
Of course, performances from players like Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta have also kept the Brewers in the hunt. Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com says the pitching staff's relative inexperience is paying off down the stretch.
Given that we still haven't heard any different, it's probably safe to assume that Shaun Marcum will make his scheduled start against the Nationals tomorrow night despite having posted a 5.70 ERA over five starts since coming off the DL. As of this writing 66% of voters in a MLB Trade Rumors poll say the Brewers should not give Marcum a one-year, roughly $13 million qualifying offer when he becomes a free agent this winter.
Marcum is probably one of the names that came up when the Brewers held an organization-wide meeting this week. The recent hot streak, however, probably changed some of the agenda and tone of those conversations.
Francisco Rodriguez didn't pitch last night and hasn't appeared in a game since Saturday, but Adam McCalvy notes that Tuesday was the tenth anniversary of his major league debut. Somehow it feels like it's been more than ten years to me.
In the minors:
- 2012 first round pick Clint Coulter struggled a bit defensively in the AZL this summer, but Keith Law says the Brewers have to try him at catcher before considering a move to another position.
- Wisconsin has started selling Midwest League Championship apparel. I'll probably pick up a t-shirt at some point over the next week or two.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to icecreamman, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
Today's action starts at 11:05, so hopefully you got up early to get your picks in.
Diamondbacks: Designated outfielder Cole Gillespie for assignment.
Today in former Brewers: Mark Loretta, Gabe Kapler and Andrew Lorraine are all on the coaching staff for Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
Today's weirdest story comes from St. Louis, where Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter (who is still scheduled to start tomorrow) has one of his ribs in a jar in his bathroom following a July surgery to remove it.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks what would have been 1960-61 Milwaukee Braves manager Chuck Dressen's 116th birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that Dressen was also hit by 18 pitches as a player, third all time among players born on September 20.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting redesigned.