Thursday's Frosty Mug: Relief realignment

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We're talking bullpen struggles and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

Some things to read while changing your number.

Poor relief pitching was the story last night as the Brewers took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning but lost 5-1 to the Cardinals. Nicole has the recap, if you missed it.

Last night's game took an ugly turn in the eighth inning as Brandon Kintzler loaded the bases on two hits and a walk and Michael Gonzalez allowed those runs and one more to score on a sac fly and home run. This might have been Gonzalez's last high-leverage appearance, as Ron Roenicke told reporters after the game that he's ready to try someone else in those situations.

For the second straight night late inning issues overshadowed a great outing from a Brewer starting pitcher. Last night it was Marco Estrada's turn, as he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before losing it on a Matt Carpenter comebacker (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). Estrada pitched 6.2 innings in his first September outing and allowed a single run on two hits, walking three and striking out six.

With the Cardinals leading by four runs in the ninth inning, closer Edward Mujica sat down and John Axford got the ball to pitch against the Brewers for the first time. The longtime Brewers closer worked around a single to pitch a scoreless inning, prompting Howie Magner to reflect on the passage of time in our Tweet of the Day:

Other notes from the field:

  • Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and assistant hitting coach Bengie Molina missed last night's game to be with their mother, who underwent a surgical procedure earlier in the day.
  • The Brewers have clinched a losing series on the road for the first time since July (h/t @joe_block).
  • Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in a relief outing on Tuesday and set a franchise record by recording his 96th strikeout out of the bullpen.

The Brewers' third-to-last road series of the season wraps up tonight when Tyler Thornburg takes on Joe Kelly at 7:15. Andrew Simon has the MLB.com preview.

It's possible tonight's game could feature Khris Davis' return to action. He took batting practice Wednesday for the first time since being scratched with a sore wrist on Friday and reported improvement in the joint (h/t @AdamMcCalvy).

Looking further ahead, Miller Park Drunk has a post that's loosely based on this weekend's home series against the Reds.

Last night's game was the Brewers' first since being eliminated from postseason contention. Big League Stew marked the occasion with a series of toasts to the 2013 Brewers.

Yuniesky Betancourt appeared in last night's game as a pinch hitter, grounding out to the pitcher in the seventh inning. Yesterday we looked at him and several other Brewers who have contract incentives on the line in the season's final weeks.

Looking ahead to this winter, the Brewers announced yesterday that January's "Brewers On Deck" event will be free of charge to fans for the first time. Tickets for last year's event ranged from $9-20.

And looking still further ahead: You may want to make alternate travel plans if you're hoping to attend a Brewer game in 2019. The JS has details on a potential four-year construction project on the I-94 corridor that passes Miller Park.

In the minors:

  • The Helena Brewers will open the Pioneer League championship series on the road on Saturday, and now they know who they'll be facing: Idaho Falls won the other semifinal last night (h/t @joe_block). The Chukars are a Royals affiliate.
  • Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com has a scouting report on 2013 second round draft pick Tucker Neuhaus following his first season in rookie ball. Neuhaus has shown some signs of promise but is a long way away from being a major leaguer.
  • Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio will test your propensity for motion sickness by conducting an interview with manager Matt Erickson while driving around the warning track at Time Warner Cable Field.
  • Will Wojcik of Disciples of Uecker has an interview with Nashville catcher Blake Lalli.

Around baseball:

Yankees: Placed shortstop Derek Jeter on the DL with an ankle injury and designated pitcher Jim Miller for assignment.

Let's go around the NL Central:

  • The Pirates kept pace in the division by completing a sweep of the Rangers, winning 7-5. Recent acquisition Justin Morneau had four hits in the game and has a .421 OBP since moving to the NL.
  • The Reds avoided a sweep by beating the Cubs 6-0 in Cincinnati. Mike Leake and four relievers combined to pitch a six-hit shutout.
  • The Cardinals, you likely have heard, beat the Brewers.

You can read more about those games and all of last night's action in SBNation.com's Thursday edition of Around the Bases.

Here are today's updated standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 85 60 -- v MIL 7:15p Joe Kelly v Tyler Thornburg
Pirates 84 61 1 v CHC 6:05p Jeff Locke v Chris Rusin
Reds 83 64 3 OFF
Brewers 62 82 22.5 @ STL 7:15p
Cubs 62 83 23 @ PIT 6:05p

Today in former Brewers:

This morning's edition of today in baseball economics is largely media-based:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting sleepy.

Drink up.

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