Wednesday's Frosty Mug: Downturn In The Desert

Franklin Gutierrez celebrates with teammate Vinnie Catricala after homering off Yovani Gallardo Tuesday. - Norm Hall

These games don't actually count, but losing four in a row still isn't much fun. We're talking about that and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while fighting crime in the 1970's.

Day 16 of spring training 2013 will hopefully be the day the Brewers snap their long losing streak. John Axford blew a save as the Brewers lost 6-5 to the Mariners yesterday, and their 1-0 spring start has since dropped to 1-4. We've got the recap, if you missed it.

I don't usually link to other sites' recaps of games, but you really should check out Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing's take on yesterday's proceedings too.

The big star of yesterday's losing effort was Marco Estrada, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief while allowing just one hit and striking out four. Paul Rice of Fake Teams listed Estrada (and Shaun Marcum) as one of five "devalued" pitchers to watch this season.

Yesterday was the second time we've seen John Axford and Jim Henderson pitch this spring, but we still haven't seen new Brewers Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelanny or Mike Gonzalez. Adam McCalvy reports that Badenhop is scheduled to pitch today, but it might be a few more days for the others. There's no real hurry for any of them, with over a month remaining before Opening Day.

Yovani Gallardo also made his Cactus League debut yesterday, but was lifted in the third inning after giving up back-to-back home runs. Looking ahead, Brewer fans will get to see Gallardo at least once more before the WBC: He's scheduled to start for the Brewers on Sunday before pitching for Mexico against the US on March 8. Marco Estrada will likely also make one more start before pitching against Canada on March 9. Rick Kranitz talked to Adam McCalvy about watching those games as a spectator.

Here's today's daily update on the first base situation: Alex Gonzalez manned the position yesterday and went 2-for-3 with a double, scoring a run and driving one in. Brandon Berg of Chippewa.com has a look at the candidates to fill in for Corey Hart and asks if Russell Branyan is available.

Meanwhile, Hunter Morris went 0-for-4 as the DH yesterday and is now 0-for-13 this spring. He told Adam McCalvy that he's typically a slow starter, though.

Other notes from camp:

The Brewers will look to snap their losing streak today in Surprise(!), where they play the undefeated Royals at 2. Chris Narveson will take the mound for the first time this spring and face former #1 overall pick Luke Hochevar. Narveson told Tom Haudricourt he's "pumped" to get back on the mound in a game for the first time since April. We talked to Old Man Duggan of Royals Review for today's edition of "Better Know A Cactus League Opponent."

Looking ahead to next winter, Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo has a look at the free agents-to-be that the Brewers should and should not re-sign. He advocates for keeping Carlos Gomez and Norichika Aoki but not Corey Hart or Alex Gonzalez.

This deal may gave the team a few more dollars to spend when those contracts come up: The Brewers recently renewed their agreement with Miller Lite as the team's "exclusive beer sponsor."

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, Tuesday's edition of The Home Stretch Hangout features an extended conversation on Carlos Gomez, his value to this team and his hot start this spring. Justin Hull of 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton and I will be back again later today with more.

No transactions around baseball today, so here's a musical interlude from The Darkness:

Earlier this week Hiram Burgos gave up a home run to Padres prospect Jedd Gyorko, but it turns out Gyorko is hitting everyone. He went deep again yesterday and now has three home runs and nine RBI already this spring.

Today in former Brewers:

If you find yourself getting down on the Brewers this season, remember that things could always be worse. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria met with reporters yesterday and was forced to defend allegations that he's putting a glorified AAA team on the field.

At least they may scrape together a few bucks to pay new knuckleballer Josh Booty. Booty recently won a reality TV show for a spring training invitation from the Diamondbacks, but it turns out he's still technically property of the Marlins. He was in their organization when he retired in 1999.

In baseball economics:

Today's most interesting statistical note comes from Baseball Reference, where they're compiling spring training stats for the first time in 2013 and unveiling a measure to track the quality of the opposition.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks 2002 Brewer Matt Stairs' 45th birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that his 57 career HBP also make him the all-time leader for players born in February 27.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm drifting away.

Drink up.

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