Thursday's Frosty Mug: A big road trip

Jonathan Daniel

The Brewers just wrapped up a 3-6 homestand and head out for what could be their most important road trip of the season. We're talking about that and more in our daily news roundup.

Some things to read while taking a seat.

The Brewers managed 12 hits but just one run against the Rangers last night, falling 4-1 to complete a 3-6 homestand. Hangwith'em Rach has the recap, if you missed it.

The brightest of bright spots for the Brewers last night was Carlos Gomez, who went 4-for-4 and finished a home run shy of the cycle. Gomez now has hits in 14 consecutive games, the longest active streak in baseball. Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo says it's time for everyone to take notice of Gomez's remarkable start. His .386 batting average is the highest in baseball at this point.

Meanwhile, Rickie Weeks batted one spot behind Gomez and went 0-for-3 before being removed as part of a double switch. After the game Ron Roenicke continued to insist that Weeks needs to hit his way out of his extended struggles.

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are off today before opening an all-NL Central road trip tomorrow in Cincinnati. Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to take on Tony Cingrani, and Zack Meisel has the MLB.com preview.

It's awfully early to say things like this, but it's entirely possible the next ten games could be season-defining for this team. They're two games under .500 and about to play ten straight road games against the three teams in front of them in the standings. Something like a 7-3 trip could propel them right back into the race, but a 3-7 trip could put them in a pretty significant hole.

If the Brewers can't turn things around on this road trip, we'll have another reason to add to this list: Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo has a list of five reasons it's hard to be a Brewer fan.

With that said, in hindsight it sounds like a lot of us came into 2013 with low expectations. This week's BCB Tracking Poll showed that 70% of us identified the Brewers' 14-16 start as being "about what I expected."

Yuniesky Betancourt went 0-for-4 last night, casting a shadow over his Golden (Hands) Era. We've got three notes about Yuni today: Miller Park Drunk has stopped worrying and is enjoying the ride, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs suggests that nothing about Yuni's game has significantly changed since his time as a Brewer in 2011 and Rubie Q narrated some painful talk radio banter about everyone's favorite recent topic.

Actually, here's another Yuni-related note: Enrique Bakemeyer of The Brewers Bar did a great post looking at how Brewers respond to being behind in the count, and noted that Betancourt falls behind in the count more often than any other member of this team.

Elsewhere in once-unpopular Brewers, as of this writing a Reviewing the Brew poll showed that 60% of voters do not want Francisco Rodriguez to return to the Brewers. Rodriguez pitched his first minor league outing earlier this week and might be due to pitch again today.

Meanwhile back in Milwaukee, Brandon Kintzler talked to Adam McCalvy about his recent promotion to an eighth inning role. Kintzler and some of the other relievers' performance in the coming days could impact the eventual decision on K-Rod.

In the rotation, Wily Peralta is still only 24 and projects to be a part of this team for a long time. Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com has a profile of Peralta as he works through his first full MLB season.

In the minors:

Around baseball:

Athletics: Released pitcher Jordan Norberto and placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the DL with a wrist injury.
Blue Jays: Placed pitcher J.A. Happ on the DL with a head contusion and designated pitcher Edgar Gonzalez for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Placed closer J.J. Putz on the DL with an elbow strain.
Marlins: Placed second baseman Chris Valaika on the DL with a fractured wrist.
Pirates: Released pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.
Rangers: Placed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the DL with an oblique strain.

Let's look around the NL Central:

  • The Cardinals improved to 11-4 in their last 15 games with a 5-4 win over the Cubs. Carlos Beltran went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the game, and Jon Jay's RBI single in the eighth was the difference.
  • The Reds dropped a game in the standings after a 7-2 loss to the Braves. Juan Francisco's grand slam off J.J. Hoover in the eighth was the big blow.
  • The Pirates remain tied for second after a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. Felix Hernandez pitched eight innings and outdueled A.J. Burnett.
  • The Brewers, of course, lost to the Rangers to drop back to two games under .500.

Here are today's standings and the lone set of probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 21 12 -- OFF
Reds 19 16 3 OFF
Pirates 18 15 3 @ NYM 6:10p Jeff Locke v Dillon Gee
Brewers 15 17 5.5 OFF
Cubs 13 21 8.5 OFF

Meanwhile, Vineet Barot of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the stories of the division to this point.

Today in former Brewers: If you missed it this morning, I'd like to direct your attention back to morineko's review of Closer, a new book looking at the evolution of the role over time. If nothing else, the book features interviews with a bunch of current and former Brewers.

Today in baseball economics: A proposal before the Chicago City Council would allow the Cubs to play as many as 46 home night games at Wrigley Field in a given season, up from the current 30. If the proposal passes the Cubs could look to move some weekday day games in 2013 to the night, possibly including the Friday, September 6 game against the Brewers.

This morning's edition of Today in Brewer History marks the 39th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 240th and final stolen base. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 34th anniversary of Robin Yount's first and only game-ending, bases loaded strikeout. Finally, today is Prince Fielder's 29th birthday and Plunk Everyone notes that his 97 career HBP are the most ever for a player born on May 9.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm on the phone.

Drink up.

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