Thursday's Frosty Mug: This again?

Mike McGinnis

We're talking about the bullpen...again, and more in today's daily roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read on your journey.

The Brewers' eight-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt in the eighth inning yesterday, when John Axford and Michael Gonzalez combined to allow four runs in what went on to be a 6-4 loss to the Pirates. We've got the recap, if you missed it.

What happened to Axford yesterday is a matter of opinion, I suppose. Adam McCalvy is taking the "it wasn't his fault" approach, while David Schoenfield of ESPN used the outing to make the case for the Brewers to acquire more relief help.

Other notes from the field:

Following yesterday's game the Pirates checked out of Milwaukee and were replaced by the Cardinals, who open a four-game set at Miller Park tonight. Spencer Fordin has the MLB.com preview, and noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Wily Peralta/Jake Westbrook matchup a four out of ten on his NERD scale. Miller Park Drunk also has a preview that's loosely based on this series.

Tonight's game could feature Jeff Bianchi's 2013 Brewer debut. The Brewers activated him from the DL this morning to replace Khris Davis on the roster after the left fielder was optioned to AAA. With Bianchi back on the roster the Brewers are closer than ever to being able to play a lineup of all shortstops.

Following tonight's game we're likely to see another transaction, as Aramis Ramirez is expected to rejoin the team tomorrow. He hasn't appeared in a game since spraining his knee on April 5.

I had noticed this too but didn't want to jinx it by saying something: The Brewers did not have a sac bunt yesterday and appear to be throwing away outs much less often in 2013. Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker speculates that the team and Ron Roenicke may actually be evolving away from the practice.

Elsewhere in strange 2013 developments, we have Yuniesky Betancourt and his .570 slugging percentage. J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker attempted to figure out what's happening here, while Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a look at the various times Yuni has been intentionally walked. In a companion piece, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has a look at what happens after a free pass is issued.

Yuni, by the way, will play first base to remain in the lineup when Aramis Ramirez comes off the DL tomorrow. In an effort to improve their options at the position, Jonathan Lucroy got an inning at first late in one of the wins against the Pirates.

On the other side of the coin we have Rickie Weeks, who went 0-for-3 yesterday after his three-hit game on Tuesday. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has the latest reminder that it's not easy to find solid production from a second baseman.

Tom Gorzelanny did not pitch yesterday and continues to carry a 1.54 ERA through his first 14 appearances as a Brewer. Todd Rosiak has a look at the transition to the bullpen that may have changed the direction of the veteran pitcher's career.

In the minors:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making a couple of appearances on the radio this afternoon:

If you've enjoyed listening to me but wish you could do it in person, there's a strong chance I'll be attending the Brewers' Social Media Night in the ATI Club when the team takes on the Twins on May 28. I have a schedule conflict for that night that I'll need to resolve to attend, but Brew Crew Ball will have someone there either way.

Around baseball:

Angels: Placed outfielder Peter Bourjos on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Athletics: Placed pitcher Brett Anderson (sprained ankle) and outfielder Coco Crisp (hamstring) on the DL.
Braves: Placed reliever Luis Ayala on the DL with an anxiety disorder.
Dodgers: Signed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Are expected to designate infielder Nick Green for assignment.
Phillies: Designated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment.
Pirates: Designated pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for assignment.
Rays: Designated first baseman Shelley Duncan for assignment.
Reds: Acquired infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen from the Diamondbacks for cash or a PTBNL.
Tigers: Placed reliever Phil Coke on the DL with a groin strain.
Yankees: Acquired third baseman Chris Nelson from the Rockies for a PTBNL or cash and placed first baseman Kevin Youkilis on the DL with a lumbar spine sprain.

Let's look around the Central:

  • The Cardinals maintained sole possession of first place with a 4-2 win over the Reds. Lance Lynn allowed a single run over seven innings and is now 5-0 on the season.
  • The Cubs beat the Padres 6-2 to take two of three from San Diego, and Scott Feldman pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts for the victory.
  • The Brewers, of course, lost to the Pirates 6-4.

Here are today's standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 16 11 -- @ MIL 7:10 pm Jake Westbrook v Wily Peralta
Pirates 16 12 .5 OFF
Brewers 14 12 1.5 v STL 7:10 pm
Reds 15 14 2 OFF
Cubs 11 16 5 v SDP 1:20 pm Travis Wood v Eric Stults

Finally, today's history note comes from friend of the site Chris Jensen of Baseball: State by State, who named Al Simmons the best player ever born in Wisconsin in May.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a new name.

Drink up.

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