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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while drinking lots of fluids.

The Brewers provided a day to remember in the final game of their series in Washington yesterday, scoring ten runs in the first inning for the first time in franchise history. It was the fifth time the Brewers have scored ten runs in an inning, and the first time since 2001. The rally was capped by, of all things, a Craig Counsell grand slam. Tom Haudricourt noted that it was Counsell's third career slam, but his first since home runs #1 and 2 of his career.

Counsell was playing in place of Alcides Escobar, who was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive day. So, if you're scoring at home: Alcides Escobar played ten straight days, then got back to back days off. Meanwhile, Manny Parra pitched just once in the team's first nine games, then was used on back-to-back-to-back days.

Hit by pitches were also a key part of yesterday's first inning explosion. After getting hit again yesterday, Prince Fielder now leads all major leaguers with five HBP on the season, and the Brewers lead with ten as a team. As you might expect, Plunk Everyone has much more.

Unfortunately, even given a 10-0 first inning advantage, Doug Davis was unable to finish the five innings required to qualify for a win. After allowing five runs on eleven hits and a walk in 4.2 innings yesterday, Davis has a 2.500 WHIP to go with his 11.25 ERA in three starts, and leads the NL with 24 hits allowed. Jon Heyman piled on.

With Davis' implosion, the Brewers allowed at least four runs for the 22nd straight game. As In-Between Hops noted, that's the longest streak in the NL and the second longest in all of baseball since 1960.

And, as bad as the pitching was at times yesterday, it could have been much worse. Carlos Gomez and Gregg Zaun combined to get an out at the plate in a great play that prevented further damage against Manny Parra in the seventh. Casa de Machado noted a great Zaun quote about using your mask in self-defense in those situations.

Unfortunately, that was more or less Zaun's only positive contribution on the day, as he went 1-for-5 at the plate (a first inning single) and continued to jog out ground balls. I discussed it a little on Twitter and in yesterday's game thread, but Zaun, who was suffering from a quad strain at the end of spring training, still doesn't seem to be running full speed. The Brewers have a logjam of catchers in the upper levels of the minors and it's a long season, especially for a 39 year old catcher. If Zaun still can't run after two weeks, I don't understand why he hasn't been placed on the DL or given a few days off to recover. It's not like he's irreplaceable at this point.

And, as bad as Davis was (again) yesterday, Brewers Daily notes that it could be worse: The Brewers could have signed Jason Marquis.

Other notes from the field:

At least yesterday's win washed some of the taste of Saturday's loss out of my mouth. If you missed it: Livan Hernandez pitched a complete game, four hit shutout Saturday, becoming just the fourth player since the Nationals' move to Washington to do so. The Brewers helped him out a bit, though: As Brewers Bar noted on Twitter, Ryan Zimmerman saw more pitches in Saturday's game than Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun combined. Nats Triple Play has an appreciation of the rather unique career of Hernandez (h/t BBTF).

Looking even further back - A reader question got me thinking about back to back triples (a feat Alcides Escobar and Carlos Gomez managed on Thursday). I went back through the game logs and found this April 16, 1997 game where Jeromy Burnitz and Mark Loretta also did it. To the best of my knowledge, that's the last time it's happened.

The Brewers finished the weekend without a Trevor Hoffman appearance, though whether that's a good or a bad thing is a matter of opinion, I suppose. Either way, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN shared this note: Hoffman has already allowed eight extra base hits in 2010, which is more than he allowed (seven) all of last season.

Yesterday's game didn't help these numbers: In-Between Hops noted that the Brewers have scored 2.3 runs per game in Yovani Gallardo's three starts, and had scored 6.1 runs in each of their first seven games without him.

For much more from the weekend, be sure to check out FtJ's Weekend Mug.

In the minors:

  • I didn't realize this page was there - thanks to Adam McCalvy for directing my attention to Brewers.com's Minor League Affiliates page.
  • As part of his All Questions Answered thread on Friday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball suggested the Brewers will probably look to trade Mat Gamel once he's healthy enough to play again.
  • Baseball America has an article on Taylor Green, but it's subscriber only.
  • Timber Rattlers outfielder Khris Davis has a profile in the Appleton Post-Crescent.
  • In Nashville, outfielder Brendan Katin left Friday's game with an injured foot and hasn't played since.
  • If you're looking for something to do after reading the Mug this morning, the Timber Rattlers are playing the series finale in the Quad Cities at 11 am. Nick Bucci is scheduled to start.
  • The Timber Rattlers have also announced their starters for the next few days. Damon Krestalude will start tomorrow and Jake Odorizzi, who pitched five no-hit innings on Friday, will get the start on Wednesday. Efrain Nieves will pitch in relief of Odorizzi. If you're planning on catching Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday's T-Rats games this week, you might see me there.
  • Elsewhere in Timber Rattler notes, their Opening Day game (also a Jeff Suppan start) raised 480 pounds of food for St. Joseph's Food Pantry in Appleton.

Speaking of Suppan, he's scheduled to start again on Friday. Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory wants to know how many times the Brewers have to touch that stove before deciding it's hot. Meanwhile, Viva Cerveceros is sick of hearing about it.

After today's off day, the Brewers head to Pittsburgh to open a three game set. Baseball Brew has a collection of former Brewers working for the Pirates, including Pete Vuckovich.

If you were around a TV this weekend, you've probably seen highlights from Saturday night's 20 inning game between the Mets and Cardinals. But you might not have known that Ken Macha and Willie Randolph were on opposing sides in a 22-inning, 1-0 game between the Dodgers and Expos in 1989.

While I'm on the subject, here are some other notes from the extended game:

  • Lookout Landing has a look at bullpen warmup pitches, which aren't factored into traditional pitch counts.
  • The Cardinals got an inning from Felipe Lopez and two from Joe Mather late in the game. Keith Law noted that position players have accounted for 183 innings since 1970, and posted a 7.85 ERA.

Around baseball:

Athletics: Signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a four year, $12.5 million deal, including options that could buy out his final arbitration season and first free agent year.
Dodgers: Designated pitcher Russ Ortiz for assignment.
Giants: Placed Aaron Rowand on the DL with a mild concussion and fractured cheekbone.
Mets: Designated first baseman Mike Jacobs for assignment.
Orioles:
Placed outfielder Felix Pie on the DL with a rotator cuff strain. (h/t Camden Chat)
Pirates: Placed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf on the DL with back spasms.
Royals: Placed second baseman Chris Getz on the DL with an oblique strain and designated pitcher Roman Colon for assignment.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now but it's finally official: Eric Gagne has announced his retirement. Gagne hadn't appeared in the majors (or even the affiliated minors) since the end of the 2008 season. He will, however, retire with an 8.2 inning scoreless streak: He was unscored upon in his final nine Brewer appearances, from September 9 to September 25, 2008.

The writing might also be on the wall for Brady Clark: Baseball America's Minor League Transactions note that he's been released by the White Sox. Clark hasn't played in the majors since appearing in seven games for the Mets in 2008.

Maybe he can write a song about hypocrisy: Sunday's Pirates-Reds game was delayed three minutes because umpire "Cowboy" Joe West, who was recently outspoken about the slow pace of games between the Yankees and Red Sox, was late bringing his crew onto the field.

If you've been watching games via Gameday this season, you might have noticed a new addition, adding in the "nasty" factor of each pitch. Dave Allen of The Baseball Analysts has a look at what makes a pitch nasty.

Roughly once a week in the comments (although it seems like more lately), we discuss the somewhat arcane practice of managers wearing their team's uniform in the dugout. Apparently it's an arcane practice that will continue, because Major League Baseball has instructed Rays manager Joe Maddon to stop wearing the hoodie he's been wearing instead.

I've linked it a fair amount lately, so you're probably familiar with Wezen-ball's Tater Trot Tracker. It was the starting point for an extended entry from Joe Posnanski on the subject of home run trots.

If you've been around the site during the offseason, you probably know that I have more than a casual interest in winter league baseball. If you do too, then you might be interested in reading more about a new Australian winter league, which is receiving financial backing from Major League Baseball. That's always a good sign. 

If you're heading out to a baseball game this spring, I have a simple request for you: Don't be a douchebag. If you need that request spelled out for you, Babes Love Baseball has a guide to ballpark etiquette.

It still feels early to me, but we're about two months away so it's probably time to start thinking about the draft. SB Nation is proud to announce that Andy Seiler's MLB Bonus Baby is now part of the network, so head over there to read more as the draft approaches.

On this day in 1987, the Brewers scored five runs in the ninth to secure a 6-4, walkoff victory against the Rangers. With the win, the Brewers improved to 12-0.

A weekend's worth of birthday wishes:

Now if you'll excuse me, I need a new laser pointer.

Drink up.