Some things to read while using your powers.
The Brewers opened their final road trip of 2013 with a dominant win Monday night, beating the Braves 5-0 in Atlanta. We've got the recap, if you missed it.
Marco Estrada had another big night last night, shutting out the Braves for seven innings on just two hits and three walks while striking out six. He also had two hits and threw a career-high 115 pitches in the game. (h/t @joe_block)
Braves hitters went a combined 2-for-23 against Estrada last night, and he's now holding opposing batters to a .178 batting average on the road this season. That would be the best mark ever for a Brewer pitcher, topping Shaun Marcum's .202 mark in 2011. (h/t @AndrewGruman in two parts)
Jonathan Lucroy's fifth inning home run gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead last night. It was his 18th homer of 2013, and he's now tied for the third most ever by a Brewer catcher in a single season. (h/t @MikeVassallo13)
Other notes from the field:
- Last night's win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Brewers at Turner Field (h/t @MikeVassallo13). Their last win in Atlanta came on July 17, 2010.
- The Brewers didn't get their first shutout until June 15 but have 14 of them since, tying the Dodgers for the most in baseball over that span. (h/t @MikeVassallo13)
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected from last night's game after home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ruled that Paul Janish did not attempt to avoid a pitch that hit him.
- Mike Vassallo apparently talked the Turner Field organist into playing the Fandango theme for Norichika Aoki's walkup music (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). You can see the rest of his Brewer-themed song selections on his Twitter feed.
- Here are the MLB.com video highlights.
- The Hammer won the "Home Depot Tool Race" at Turner Field.
Looking ahead, Wily Peralta is questionable for his scheduled start on Saturday as he continues to deal with a blister on his throwing hand, raising the possibility that Jimmy Nelson could take his place in the season's final series. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew wonders where Nelson fits into the Brewers' staff going forward.
Kyle Lohse is still scheduled to make one more start, which will give us another chance to talk about him as a statistical anomaly. Jonathan Judge has an article in FanGraphs' Community Research section looking at how Lohse has consistently outperformed statistical projections. (h/t Disciples of Uecker)
Lohse, by the way, is one out away fro reaching 190 innings for the season and earning a $350,000 contract incentive. Adam McCalvy reports that Norichika Aoki also earned $250,000 by making his 140th start last night, and MLB Trade Rumors reports that he'll trigger more incentives when he appears in his next game.
Juan Francisco did not appear in last night's game, but when he gets back into a game he'll be sporting a new approach. He's been working with hitting coach Johnny Narron to calm down some of the movement in his swing in an effort to make more consistent contact.
If the Brewers stay hot, maybe they can finish the month in the even-lower 20's: Jonah Keri of Grantland moved the Brewers up a spot to #24 in this week's power rankings. They passed the Mariners this week.
The season is just about over for dozens of Brewers, but not for TV broadcaster Brian Anderson: He'll be teaming with John Smoltz, Joe Simpson and David Aldridge to call one of this October's Division Series for TBS.
Meanwhile, new Brewer minor leaguer Josh Ravin is one of dozens of players looking ahead to 2014. Benjamin Orr of Reviewing the Brew has an introduction to the latest addition to the 40-man roster.
In the minors:
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a review of the first professional seasons for players selected in the second round this year, including #54 overall pick Devin Williams.
- Baseball America released their list of the top 20 prospects in the 2013 Arizona Rookie League, and Williams was #12. (h/t Brewerfan.net)
- In related news, Chris St. John of Beyond the Box Score listed fellow 2013 top pick Tucker Neuhaus around the middle of the pack in walk and strikeout rates for rookie-level players this season.
Looking ahead, here are the scheduled announcements for top prospect lists in other leagues:
|Pioneer League||Helena||September 25|
|Midwest League||Wisconsin||October 1|
|Florida State League||Brevard County||October 7|
|Southern League||Huntsville||October 9|
|Pacific Coast League||Nashville||October 14|
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in our BCB Tracking Poll. It will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton at 2:30 today. I'll be in studio for 2-3 segments taking your phone calls, emails and tweets, so listen in and join the conversation.
Let's go around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals held on for a 4-3 win over the Nationals, eliminating Washington from postseason contention. Trevor Rosenthal recorded the final two outs for his first MLB save.
- The Reds needed ten innings to finish off a 3-2 win over the Mets. Shin-Soo Choo's walkoff single was his third hit of the game, while Joey Votto walked in all five plate appearances.
- Starling Marte's ninth inning solo homer was the difference as the Pirates edged out the Cubs 2-1 at Wrigley. Charlie Morton threw seven shutout innings but received a no-decision.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, beat the Braves.
You can read more about those games and all of last night's action in the Tuesday edition of Around the Bases at SBNation.com.
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
|Cardinals||92||65||--||v WAS||7:15p||Michael Wacha v Gio Gonzalez|
|Reds||90||67||2||v NYM||6:10p||Mike Leake v Jonathan Niese|
|Pirates||90||67||2||@ CHC||7:05p||Gerrit Cole v Chris Rusin|
|Brewers||70||86||21.5||@ ATL||6:10p||Tyler Thornburg v Freddy Garcia|
I know they're a rival and we've had some fun at their expense in the past, but it's hard not to feel good for Pirates fans today. Their team won their 90th game and clinched a playoff berth last night, both for the first time in decades. Check out this thread over at Bucs Dugout if you'd like to briefly share in their joy.
Today in former Brewers:
- Peter Jackel of The Racine Journal-Times has a great story on Larry Hisle and one of the latest cases where he's made an enormous impact in the life of a local child.
- Kevin Kimmes of Cream City Cables notes the irony in John Axford being assigned #34 with the Cardinals.
- The Brew Crew Project remembers Jason Kendall's contributions to the 2008 playoff team.
Today in baseball economics: The Rays, who are 87-69 on the season and project to be a Wild Card team, drew just 1.51 million fans to Tropicana Field this season. That's their lowest single-season total since 2007. (h/t @JaymesL)
The Astros have three home games against the Yankees remaining but have already drawn 1.54 million fans, edging out the Rays and Indians for the AL's lowest attendance. They've also clinched the #1 pick in the draft for the third consecutive season, and managed to record a 0.0 TV rating in Houston on Sunday.
Elsewhere in the AL West, Raul Ibanez is quietly having a historic season for the Mariners. Rob Neyer looks at how Ibanez's performance compares to the best ever by 41-year-old position players.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the fifth anniversary of the Brewers beating the Pirates 4-2 in 2008 on just two hits. Meanwhile, Enrique Bakemeyer of The Brewers Bar notes that yesterday was the second anniversary of the Brewers clinching the NL Central in 2011.
I'll wrap up today with a sad note: I think I've previously mentioned Jacob Landis, the man who had been attempting to bike to all 30 MLB stadiums this season as a fundraiser for childhood cochlear implants. His efforts stopped just four miles short of his final MLB Park (Marlins Park) when he was hit by a truck. His injuries were serious but fortunately do not appear to be life-threatening.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have things to blow out of proportion.