Monday's Frosty Mug: Off on the wrong foot

Tom Lynn

Can the Brewers bounce back from a dreadful opening homestand today in Chicago? We're talking about that and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while updating the phone book.

At least yesterday's loss was exciting, as the Brewers came back from a 6-3 deficit in the seventh to force extra innings but lost 8-7 in eleven. Noah has the recap, if you missed it.

And, of course, following another ugly loss John Axford is the story. He pitched a scoreless tenth yesterday on two warning track fly balls and a strikeout, but was sent back out for the eleventh and allowed a long home run to Eric Hinske (436 feet, according to Hit Tracker) that effectively sealed the loss. After the game Ron Roenicke said he's still not considering changing closers. For what it's worth, Adam McCalvy noted that Axford's velocity was back up in the mid 90's after being down considerably on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the best news from yesterday's game may be that Jean Segura avoided serious injury on a takeout slide from Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra, but he still left the game with a left quad contusion and is day-to-day. After the game Segura called Parra out for what he felt was a dirty slide.

Yesterday's loss was not Norichika Aoki's fault: He celebrated his bobblehead day with a career-high four hits, scoring twice and driving in three runs. His performance was the Brewers' first four-hit game since Rickie Weeks did it on August 30. Aoki's seven hits in the Diamondbacks series raised his batting average from .214 to .370.

The Brewer rally in the ninth yesterday started with a ground rule double for Josh Prince, his first major league hit. Prince was called up on Saturday when Aramis Ramirez went on the DL with a knee sprain, and is wearing #25. Adam McCalvy says Prince's versatility earned him a shot. He's the first former member of the Northwoods League's Green Bay Bullfrogs to reach the majors.

Elsewhere in injuries, Ryan Braun missed his third consecutive game yesterday with neck spasms, and his unavailability forced the Brewers to use Kyle Lohse as a pinch hitter with the game on the line in the eleventh inning. Earlier in the weekend Gord Ash told Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin that the worst case scenario for Braun's injury was five days, and Adam McCalvy reports that Braun is feeling better but still isn't ready to swing a bat.

Speaking of Lohse, his abbreviated debut on Friday remains the best outing by a Brewer starting pitcher in 2013. He pitched six innings and allowed a run on five hits, walking none and striking out five and the Brewers were pleased with his performance. He also had some fun with Khris Davis following the outfielder's first career hit on Saturday.

Other notes from the field:

There's no rest for the weary Brewers today as they head to Wrigley for the Cubs' home opener this afternoon. Marco Estrada will take on Edwin Jackson, and Joey Nowak has the MLB.com preview.

Today's game is, of course, weather permitting. It's raining in Chicago this morning but the forecast calls for it to be over before a scheduled 1:20 first pitch.

So what should we make of a 1-5 start for the 2013 Brewers? Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk says "the Brewers are one awful baseball team right now," but Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo says it's more of a fluke, not a trend and The Book of Gorman has a reminder of past fan overreactions.

Jim Henderson pitched a scoreless inning yesterday and has yet to allow a run or walk a batter in three innings this season. Kevin Nielsen of Fake Teams says Henderson is "too legit to quit."

Yovani Gallardo has a 5.73 ERA through two outings after allowing four runs on nine hits yesterday. He also holds the honor of having thrown the wildest pitch of the first week of the season, according to Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.

Meanwhile, Mike Fiers' debut performance on Saturday was also somewhat lackluster and has the Brewers considering alternatives. Off days on the calendar would allow the team to skip his turn in the rotation this time around, and as of Sunday the team was still looking at that possibility.

In the minors:

Around baseball:

Angels: Re-signed utilityman Bill Hall to a minor league deal.
Athletics: Acquired catcher Stephen Vogt from the Rays for cash.
Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Jeremy Jeffress for assignment and claimed pitcher Edgar Gonzalez off waivers from the Astros.
Braves: Placed first baseman Freddie Freeman on the DL with an oblique strain.
Diamondbacks: Claimed pitcher Will Harris off waivers from the Athletics.
Dodgers: Acquired catcher Ramon Hernandez from the Rockies for pitcher Aaron Harang and cash.
Orioles: Placed second baseman Brian Roberts on the DL with a ruptured tendon in his knee.
Rays: Placed pitcher Jeff Niemann on the DL with shoulder soreness.
Rockies: Designated pitcher Aaron Harang for assignment.
Twins: Placed pitcher Cole De Vries on the DL with a forearm strain.

In former Brewers: Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has a look at the nemesis pitcher for each NL team, and lists Jeff Suppan for the Brewers.

In baseball economics: The Phillies drew less than 40,000 fans to Sunday's game, their smallest crowd since 2009.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 44th anniversary of Opening Day for the Seattle Pilots in 1969. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 37th anniversary of Jim Slaton's 49th Brewer win to move into first place on the franchise all-time list, and the 24th anniversary of B.J. Surhoff's major league debut.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to make a lot of chainmail.

Drink up.

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