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It feels like rolling into the office on Monday morning

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It's the day before Opening Day, and I've bookmarked about fifteen things I wanted to share with you.  If that weren't enough pressure, I totally forgot it was Daylight Savings today until I got out of the shower this morning, turned on my computer and learned that I'd been in the shower for about an hour and twenty minutes.  So, despite the fact I don't work in an office, especially not on Monday morning, you understand my title.

Yesterday's game: In between player substitutions and pitching changes, the Crew lost to Colorado, 6-1.  Dave Bush was looking great, no hits through three, and then fell apart in the fourth.  It all started with a Jamey Carroll double and a Todd Helton home run that, under normal circumstances would've ended up  in someone's glove.

The Brewers were distressingly punchless, mustering only two hits, one of them a JJ Hardy solo shot.  The good news: if Bob and Jim are to be believed, Billy Hall is just about the second coming of Andruw Jones in center field.  He made what Bob described as "the best play I've seen in a long, long time," and moved Jim to say, "some people have got it, and some don't.  Bill Hall has got it."  Are we setting the stage for trading Brady Clark next offseason?  It's something to think about that I'll probably explore a bit more in the next couple of weeks.

Lineup set: We more or less knew this, but Ned Yost has decided on his batting order:

Center fielder Brady Clark, shortstop J.J. Hardy, right fielder Geoff Jenkins, left fielder Carlos Lee, first baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, third baseman Corey Koskie/Bill Hall and catcher Damian Miller/Chad Moeller.

Koskie may get the majority of starts at third base, though Hall is the likely Opening Day starter because the Brewers are facing left-handed Pittsburgh starter Oliver Perez. Miller is expected to get most of the starts behind the plate.

Turnbow extension: No deal yet, but T-bow says: 'way better than 50-50 that it will get done.  "I think they talked again [Saturday]. Maybe in the next few days, it will be done."  With Capellan and Turnbow potentially under contract for not too much money, that could be a very solid back of the bullpen for the next few years.

Hometown paper: Tons of stuff in the Journal-Sentinel this weekend:

  • Nice article about Jack Taschner, a Racine native currently with the Giants;
  • Drew Olson's version of the Bill Castro rocks story;
  • Tom Haudricourt looks at the payroll:
    Since Mark Attanasio took over as owner of the club in January 2005, the Brewers have increased their payroll by 94% from its $27.6 million level during the '04 season. Attanasio said he will continue to raise payroll as long as revenue streams in Milwaukee allow it.

    "We're 25th out of 30 teams in payroll but we're also 30 out of 30 teams in terms of the media market," Attanasio said. "That's a fact. We're not complaining about it. That's what it is. Our fans are 15th in terms of fan support, and that's great.

    "I think we can go higher. If we're at midyear and one player can make a difference (in the pennant race), we're going to get that player.

  • Also from Tom H., a lengthy career retrospective on Doug Melvin.  Nicely done and worth a read.
  • In case you haven't gotten enough predictions, the J-S staff wants you to have more.  I'm a little disappointed in these guys: only Michael Hunt and Don Walker pick the Crew to win the Wild Card, and neither predict they'll win the NLDS.  What is this, the Chicago Sun-Times?  Get on the bandwagon, people!
  • Bob Wolfley writes about FSN, and the (thankfully!) expanded coverage this year.  For those of us who can't regularly go to games, this is excellent.
  • Drew Olson compares our young trio to a few other good players:
    If Fielder, Weeks and Hardy can somehow manage to avoid injury, inconsistency, trades, free agency and the countless other possible pitfalls looming on the baseball horizon and repeat that simple but not-so-simple act every April through 2015, they will match the mark established by Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Jim Gantner, who made 10 opening-day starts together during their record 15 years as teammates."

Doug Davis: Finally we get some baseball coverage from the Capital Times (Madison), today about our Opening Day starter.

Pirates management philosophy: I thought you might be interested in this take on Dave Littlefield from Bucs Dugout:

Even the Jeromy Burnitz transaction may have been influenced by non-baseball factors. Yes, it displaced a better and more popular player in Craig Wilson. Case closed, right? It was dumb. But, as WTM has pointed out, the Pirates' minor spending spree this offseason may have been the result of an attempt to avoid attention when the players and owners get together to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which currently enriches the Pirates by providing them with revenue sharing money. If it's clear that the Pirates aren't spending the revenue sharing money they receive, the next CBA might keep them from receiving so much of it. Then consider that the Burnitz signing occurred late in the offseason, when most of the expensive players were already signed. It's at least possible that Littlefield agrees that Wilson is a better player than Burnitz, but he felt he had to spend the money so that the Pirates wouldn't get in trouble.

Alumni report: Victor Santos appears to have won a starting job in Pittsburgh, but only because of an injury to Kip Wells and Brandon Duckworth pitching even worse.  There have also been rumors about the Bucs acquiring another starter, so Dracula may not be in the rotation for long.  But I think we'll see him on Tuesday.

Not so good for other notable ex-Brewers: Junior Spivey may not make it for long with the Cardinals.  The Cards already cut Deivi Cruz and his $850k salary; could Spivey be next?  And in a sign that the world is just not fair, Russell Branyan didn't make the Devil Rays.  Luis Ordaz did.  Who's Luis Ordaz, you say?  Someone less worthy of making the D-Rays than Branyan, that's for sure.

Beyond the Boxscore: My buddy Marc Normandin wrote a lengthy, great analysis of the Brewers offense.  And I made my last contribution of the pre-season with this Houston Astros pitching preview.

True Blue LA: At long last, SB Nation has a complete set of baseball team blogs: welcome Michael Nicks, Dodger blogger, at True Blue LA.  Stop by and say hi!

On deck: If you're reading this now, you're probably not going to make it to the Brewers' On Deck event today, but you can still catch Jim Powell's radio special starting at 10 CT, running to the end of the festivities.  FSN North will also have an hour-long broadcast at 1PM CT.  

And of course, a little thing called the regular season starts tomorrow: 1:05 CT is the first pitch, to be thrown by Doug Davis.  He'll be taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates and lefty Oliver Perez.  Tomorrow (and every day throughout the season) I'll be opening up a game thread to discuss it as it happens--make Brew Crew Ball your in-game hangout!

Countdown: 27 1/2 hours to the first pitch!