Some things to read while condemning yourself to eternal torment.
Last night's Brewer win was filled with memorable moments, not the least of which was Braden Looper's three hit night, the first one by a Brewer pitcher since Brad Woodall did it in 1998. Tom H. didn't remember the guy at all, and I'm embarassed to admit I didn't either. 1998 was Woodall's only season as a Brewer.
Looper also gave up a home run to Joey Votto, putting him in sole possession of first place in the National League with 23 home runs allowed. Looper set a career high with 25 home runs allowed last season, 1.1 per nine innings pitched. This season he's giving up 1.9 home runs over the same span, putting him on pace to allow 35 this season. That would be the second highest total in team history, behind Wayne Franklin's 36 in 2003.
But Votto's home run wasn't just any home run, it was the 12th longest shot in Great American Ball Park history.
After taking a moment to reflect on winning the Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder stepped back into the box and picked right back up where he left off. After picking up his 23rd home run and two walks last night, Fielder has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games and is hitting .373/.511/.731 over that stretch. He's moved up to second in the NL in OBP, third in slugging and second in OPS.
Seth McClung was a rare dark shadow on the Brewers' bright and sunny day last night, walking the first two batters he faced and allowing a three run home run to the third. View From Bernie's Chalet says McClung and Villanueva give the Brewers two bullpen arms you don't want to see in a close game right now.
Sheffield's House was upset by Craig Counsell's performance in the #2 spot last night, and wonders why he wasn't asked to bunt in two early at bats. Maybe Counsell should have been asked to bunt, but I think there's a more pressing question: If Craig Counsell is so inept with the bat that you'd like to take it out of his hands in important situations, why is he hitting second in the lineup while Casey McGehee and Mike Cameron, among others, are batting fifth or lower?
Dave Bush suffered what is being called "a minor setback" in his rehab and will not be available to pitch on Monday as planned. Even if the setback is minor, Bush had only thrown 91 pitches over two rehab appearances (and just 40 in his last one), so he'll probably need at least one more start to get stretched out. Mike Burns will start Monday instead.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has video of interviews with Trevor Hoffman and Prince Fielder from the All Star Game. Hoffman says it's time for the Brewers to "kick it in gear." I couldn't agree more.
How far did the Brewers drop during their cold spell before the break? Beyond the Box Score gives them a 22% shot at winning the Central, and Jeff Lubbers of Baseball Digest Daily, who picked the Crew to represent the NL in the World Series before the season, is now picking the Dodgers instead.
Jason Kendall is hitting .237/.327/.279 in 2009, but continues to play consistently, and his defense and game-calling abilities are typically cited as the reason why. Obviously, "game calling ability" is hard to quantify, but Viva El Birdos ranked Kendall around the middle of the pack defensively through the first half of 2009.
I recently participated in the SB Nation NL Central Roundtable, moderated by Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Box Score. Follow the first link to head over to Crawfish Boxes and check out part 1 of the roundtable, where we discuss potential moves at the trading deadline.
In the minors:
- Rob Neyer was at the AAA All Star Game Wednesday, and was wowed by R.J. Swindle's curveball. Because I was living in the TV Dark Ages (Iowa) during Swindle's brief run with the Crew, Wednesday's game was my first opportunity to see it too, and it's amusing to watch, to be sure.
- The Brewers have added a catcher to their list of undrafted free agent signings: former CSU-Pueblo catcher Tony Pechek. Pechek was a 2005 draftee of the Tigers, and has bounced around between four colleges since then.
Are you watching more Brewer games this season? Someone must be, because the Brewers have moved all the way up to third in Nielsen's list of most-watched baseball broadcasts, taken by percentage of households.
The Brewers dropped from 11th to 16th in MLB FanHouse's Power Rankings.
Around the majors:
Cubs: Signed B.J. Ryan to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Will allow Orlando Hernandez to become a free agent on Monday so he can throw the banana for other teams.
Rockies: Signed Matt Herges to a minor league deal and designated Matt Belisle for assignment.
Royals: Designated Tony Pena Jr. for assignment.
Ever wonder what the Home Run Derby would be like in a park where no one can hit home runs? Citi Field is rumored to be hosting the 2013 All Star Game, so I guess you'll find out. (h/t C. Trent Rosecrans)
Inside the Majors is a site run by former Blue Jays Assistant GM Bart Given, and he frequently tackles reader questions about things only someone who's been inside a front office would know. In this post, for example, he answers questions about reasons to or not to put an injured minor leaguer on the 60-day DL, scouting of umpires and travel arrangements. Interesting stuff.
I think some of the misconceptions on the relationship between the mainstream media and internet-based writers are summed up nicely in the results of this Penn State survey of bloggers. Of the 210 bloggers surveyed (including me), 85% said they view their work as sports journalism, but 75% said they don't see themselves as rivals of professional journalists. That seems about right. (h/t FakeTeams)
If you're having a hard time making bullpen decisions in your day to day life, or just need someone else around to stubbornly insist on nodding in all situations, perhaps you should buy this Ned Yost Bobblehead off Craigslist. It drinks a lot less coffee than the real Ned Yost.
Happy birthday today to former Brewer Pete Ladd, who posted a 4.32 ERA and 33 saves over four seasons as a Brewer from 1982-1985, and turns 53 today.
Finally, thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday's Mug, emailed, Facebooked or otherwise contacted me to offer your condolences yesterday. As hard as the last 36 hours have been, it's nice to know I have the support of many of you behind me.