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Some things to read while running down from the attic to answer the door.

Ryan Braun was out of the lineup yesterday for the second time in seven games, but this time Braun and Ken Macha had their story straight, and referred to it as just an off day. Braun was hit by a pitch in a pinch hit appearance, raising his season total to 12. Plunk Everyone notes that Braun had only been hit 13 times in his first two seasons, and could double his career total in 2009.

Prince Fielder had a rough day yesterday at the plate, but continues to be the focus of speculation regarding offseason trade possibilities. Buster Olney thinks Fielder could be a fit for the Red Sox next season. Tom H. thinks the Brewers would need to get multiple pitchers in return for Prince, and MLB Daily Dish isn't sure where the Red Sox would find the financial flexibility or playing time for him. Meanwhile, Bob Brenly, ever the pompous douchebag, compared his jersey to an infield tarp.

Meanwhile, there's a new J.J. Hardy rumor out there. Prospect Insider is citing "a source close enough to the situation" as saying the Brewers fully expect to trade J.J. Hardy this offseason. That's not really surprising in the least, but it is something like a confirmation of what we expected.

The Brewers may have a roster move to announce before tonight's game: The Contra Costa Times is reporting that Josh Butler, possibly the fastest rising pitcher in the Brewer organization this season, has joined the team in Chicago and is expected to be in uniform today. (h/t Butler could be a candidate to start on Friday if Manny Parra still can't go. Before that can happen, though, the Brewers will have to clear a 40 man roster spot to make room for him. If anyone who's not Corey Patterson is DFA'd, I may break something.

Yovani Gallardo will return to action tonight for the first time since skipping a start last week, and for the first time at Wrigley Field since that thing I'd prefer we didn't talk about. He's looking forward to getting back out there, and Quevedo at the Buffet is looking forward to watching him take on Carlos Zambrano tonight.

Here's something I never, ever would have expected to say: The Brewers can only hope Gallardo's performance tonight will compare to Jeff Suppan's performance last night. Suppan pitched very well despite continued soreness in his oblique which is preventing him from swinging the bat. Suppan bunted with the bases empty in both at bats last night, which is a really puzzling decision...even if he just stood there and took three strikes, he at least would have forced Ryan Dempster to throw six pitches.

Miller Park Drunk has video and a thought-by-thought breakdown of Alcides Escobar making one of this season's greatest defensive plays over the weekend. After Escobar made that play, Ken Macha responded by sitting him on the bench yesterday so Craig Counsell could start at short.

Two weeks ago, I was indifferent on Macha. Now, I'd applaud the move if he were fired today. Macha checks in at #5 on Jon Heyman's list of managers on the hot seat. Heyman also notes that the Brewers have a replacement in waiting in Willie Randolph. If you didn't shudder when reading that, you should have. Dale Sveum is also still on the staff, and at the moment he'd be my first choice.

As great as Felipe Lopez has been as a Brewer over the last couple of months, it feels like there's a new story about his lack of hustle every couple of weeks. Last night he didn't run out a dropped liner that might have changed the complexion of the game in the late innings. Everything Lopez has done this season would suggest he'd be a solid long-term investment, but these little lapses (along with his performance after his last big contract) make him a major candidate to disappoint someone next season.

Mark DiFelice got some good news yesterday, as an MRI showed no structural damage in his sore shoulder. With that said, there's no reason he should pitch again in 2009: The Brewers have more than enough arms in the bullpen, and getting some rest can't possibly hurt at this point.

You'd never guess it by looking at this winter's prospective free agents, but FanGraphs says we're witnessing the golden age of center fielders. And yes, the Brewers started Corey Patterson in center for back to back games during said "Golden Age."

In the minors:
  • Matthew Pouliot of Circling the Bases has the OPS leaderboard from the PCL, and Adam Heether checked in at #9 this season, significantly ahead of both Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar.
  • Brett Lawrie went 1-for-5 with a walk as Team Canada fell to Australia in 10 innings in Baseball World Cup play yesterday. The Canadians are now 0-2 in second round play. (h/t Rattler Radio)
On power rankings and whatnot: Even when they're not winners on the field, the Brewers are winning at the box office this season: Beyond the Box Score has a chart showing that the Brewers are drawing over 40,000 fans per win in 2009, the second highest total in the National League.

Around baseball:

Indians: Placed reliever Joe Smith on the DL with a left knee injury.

I'm working on starting a new trend, feel free to help me out. Every time someone stops by the comments section to complain about strikeouts, I plan on posting the following quote from this Circling the Bases post:
Among all hitters with at least 400 plate appearances this season, the 10 guys who strike out most often have an average OPS of .938 and the 10 guys who strike out least often have an average OPS of .753.
Read it over and over again if you have to.

Yesterday I mentioned that Brewer cleanup hitters (see Fielder, Prince) have the highest OPS in all of baseball. On the other end of that list are the Kansas City Royals, whose cleanup spot is the third worst held by a position player in all of baseball. I'll agree with the theory that most lineup tinkering doesn't create a huge difference, but the Royals are proof that, if you try hard enough, you can really screw it up.

As this season draws to a close, so does the career of Hall of Fame beat writer Hal McCoy. Today's story is about his relationship with Aaron Boone, and how it extended his career. It's worth a few minutes of your time.

On this day in 2007, Prince Fielder hit his 46th home run, setting a new franchise record. The Brewers beat the Reds, 5-3.

And, of course, today is the one year anniversary of the firing of Ned Yost. Celebrate accordingly. This year's parade plans fell through. Instead, I'm planning on leaving something in the toaster until it starts on fire, then attempting to put it out with gasoline. When the police come to investigate the fire I'll tell them, "Toasty really battled today."

I don't have a Brewer birthday today, but isn't the Yost anniversary enough? If you need a birthday, Gaylord Perry is 71.

Drink up.