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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while getting extra credit.

Yesterday's biggest news came off the field, when Ken Macha announced that Chris Narveson will start instead of Jeff Suppan on Wednesday (FanShot).

As you might expect, there has been much rejoicing at the decision to remove Suppan, but the move has drawn protests from many who feel that Manny Parra, not Narveson, should be the one moving back into the rotation. Adam McCalvy said Narveson's strong numbers this spring and Parra's strong outings in the bullpen were the deciding factors in the move. There's a small sample size involved, but over the course of his major league career Narveson has been significantly more effective as a starter:

Role IP ERA
As a starter 22.2 3.57
As a reliever 43.2 4.95

 

Mike Bauman of MLB.com says the Brewers made the right move by getting Jeff Suppan out of the rotation. Suppan, meanwhile, is being a professional about the move but still doesn't seem to get it. Consider this quote, after he was asked if he's been disappointed by his recent performance:

"There's many different ways you can look at results," Suppan said. "I feel that I've made a lot of good pitches in my two games, and my bad pitches, they cost me runs. I feel that from where I started at to where I am now, I've made a lot of improvements. Obviously, you want to go out and get a quality start and get a 'W.'"

Suppan has allowed nineteen baserunners (and three home runs) in 9.1 innings pitched this season. It's hard to argue that he's "just one pitch away" at this point. With that said, Fire Doug Melvin says you should turn your attention away from Suppan and to the management team that's continued to put him in a position to hurt the team.

With Narveson in the rotation and Suppan heading to the bullpen, Manny Parra is now the only lefty remaining out there. With that said, the front office doesn't appear to be in any hurry to bring back Mitch Stetter to pitch in.

With the bullpen depleted, Dave Bush was left to soak in it a little longer than normal yesterday, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 3.2 innings. He allowed ten hits, walked two, struck out two and allowed four home runs. Disciples of Uecker cited the poor outing as regression to the mean, but also says Brewer fans shouldn't freak out over it. Bush is now 2-9 with a 5.43 ERA in his career (18 appearances, 17 starts) against the Cubs.

Trevor Hoffman also pitched an inning yesterday, marking his second straight appearance in a non-save situation. Hoffman is still sitting on three saves for 2010. At this pace, he'll notch #600 sometime after the All Star Break.

As you might imagine, by following the dominant series sweep in Pittsburgh with an utter egg-laying at home against the Cubs, the Brewers have secured a rather interesting place in history. Over in the FanPosts, TheJay has a look at where this stands among the largest disparities in baseball history.

Other notes from the field:

  • Prince Fielder was hit by his sixth pitch of the season (and 54th of his career) on Friday, passing Jim Gantner for sole possession of fourth place on the Brewers' All Time list. Ryan Braun was hit with his first pitch yesterday, extending the Brewers' major league lead with 14 HBP as a team. Follow those links for much more from Plunk Everyone.
  • In-Between Hops notes that the Brewers have scored one run or less or eight runs or more in ten of their 18 games this season.
  • The large number of blowouts are part of the reason why Brewer relief pitchers already have five plate appearances this season. Leaguewide, there have been 37 reliever PAs this season. For the Brewers, Carlos Villanueva and Claudio Vargas each have two and Manny Parra has one.
  • Kosuke Fukudome won FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting for both Friday and Sunday, with Ted Lilly winning on Saturday.
  • The sweep dropped the Brewer playoff chances to 18.4%, according to CoolStandings.

At least the Brewers are done with the Cubs for a bit. The Pirates return to Milwaukee today, and Honest Wagner notes that, despite last week's trouncing (and six straight losses), they're still only a game back of the Brewers in the standings.

The return of the Pirates is one of Right Field Bleachers' several reasons why Brewer fans should cheer up.

After picking up just one hit over the weekend, Ryan Braun has 26, tied for second in the NL behind Martin Prado of the Braves. Braun told Adam McCalvy it would be "special" to be mentioned in the same breath with Tony Gwynn, the last player to lead the NL in hits in consecutive seasons.

In the minors:

  • Brewerfan.net has a new Power 50, with Jonathan Lucroy moving into the #1 spot.
  • You can count Ben Badler of Baseball America on the "pro" side of the Caleb Gindl prospect debate: He noted that Gindl struck out in just 3 of his first 66 AA plate appearances.
  • Battlekow thinks it's possible Zach Braddock will be a Brewer by the end of June. The bullpen is pretty full right now (with Mitch Stetter still in Nashville), but Braddock and Marco Estrada are probably two of the top candidates to fill a spot should the need arise.
  • Meanwhile, Mat Gamel still isn't anywhere near returning, and Project Prospect listed him as one of their ten prospects whose stock is falling.
  • Elsewhere in injury notes, Lorenzo Cain was removed from yesterday's game in Nashville after coming up lame between first and second on a double. I haven't seen any updates on his condition.
  • Brewerfan.net is reporting that the Brewers have released reliever Nick Tyson. Tyson posted a 3.29 ERA in 38 appearances (one start) for Wisconsin last season, but had allowed a 6.75 ERA in his first 6.2 IP for Brevard County. Chris Capuano was activated from the DL to take his roster spot.
  • The Appleton Post-Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin third baseman Joey Paciorek, the son of former Brewer Jim Paciorek.
  • Wisconsin will start Damon Krestalude, Efrain Nieves and Eric Arnett tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, with Jake Odorizzi pitching in relief of Nieves.
  • Looking back, the Charleston Gazette notes several players from the 2005 West Virginia Power that have gone on to make an impact in the majors.

In rankings, power and otherwise:

  • WEEI has the Brewers ranked 24th, and quoted Noah's game recap from yesterday in their comments.
  • Walkoff Walk compiled several lists to form one master list of the greatest relief pitchers of all time. Trevor Hoffman is #2, and Rollie Fingers is #5.

All Star voting is off to a ridiculously early start, and I've done my best to avoid even bringing it up. With that said, if you're into it you might be interested in the Rickie Weeks All Star Campaign Twitter account.

Around baseball:

Dodgers: Placed Manny Ramirez (calf strain)  and Vicente Padilla (forearm soreness) on the DL.
Pirates: Designated outfielder Brandon Jones for assignment and placed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas on the DL with a head contusion and mild concussion.
Red Sox: Claimed outfielder Jonathan Van Every off waivers from the Pirates, and designated pitcher Santo Luis for assignment.
Rockies: Placed outfielder Brad Hawpe on the DL with a quad strain.
Royals: Released pitcher Juan Cruz and designated reliever Luis Mendoza for assignment.
Twins: Placed Nick Punto on the DL with a groin strain.

After the last seven games, this study is exceptionally relevant to the Brewers: Cybermetrics takes a look at consistency and concludes that it matters, but not as much as scoring and preventing runs.

Consistency is an especially elusive goal for the Astros: Since starting 0-8, they've won eight of their last ten games.

I thought it was just a strange quirk in Ryan Braun's game, but apparently it's a growing trend: Tim Kurkijian notes that steals of third base have gone up in each of the last five seasons, and are on pace to go up again in 2010.

Jeff Suppan's move to the bullpen has drawn a fair amount of attention, but he's not the only high-profile veteran moving out there: The Red Sox are also sending Tim Wakefield to the bullpen to make room for the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Today's baseball economics note: Although six parks have set new record attendance lows already this season, The Biz of Baseball notes that April attendance is down just 4% from this point in 2009.

Here's another topic that seems to come up a fair amount: MLBPA chief Michael Weiner is hoping to negotiate something into the next collective bargaining agreement that will end the practice of service time manipulation.

It certainly feels like I'm spending more than this lately, but maybe that's just the losing talking: Flip Flop Fly Ball did the math and discovered that a Tigers fan who watched all 163 games last season spent 10.4% of the season watching the games, or roughly 5.5% of the year.

The internet teaches me something new every day. Take this Brewers-Marlins game from April 23, 2003 as an example. Geoff Jenkins and Juan Encarnacion each had a single, double and triple in the game. I didn't think that was a big deal, but the B-Ref Blog says it's one of just twelve times on record where two players have done it.

A great storyteller can make anything interesting, and Blue Jays beat reporter Jordan Bastian is quickly becoming one of my favorite storytellers. It's not often you see a must-read story about a normal trip through the airport.

Is it the greatest plague facing baseball? No, probably not. But if someone wanted to organize an awareness week for Bill James Disease, I'd be all over it.

Still nursing a hangover this morning? I probably would be too, but it's asparagus season.

If you missed it over the weekend, Saturday was the anniversary of the lone major league appearance of Chris Saenz, and Fatter than Joey covered it in epic detail.

A weekend worth of happy birthdays:

  • Timber Rattlers catcher Austin Stockfisch turns 24 today.
  • AZL Brewers outfielder Robbie Garvey turns 21 today.
  • 2004-05 Brewer Chris Magruder turns 33 today.
  • Sal Maglie, All Star pitcher and pitching coach for the expansion Seattle Pilots, would have turned 93 today.
  • 1970-71 Brewer Lew Krausse turned 67 on Sunday. Krausse was the Brewers' first Opening Day starter.

That's all I've got for you today, unless you wanted to read about the origin of the eephus pitch.

Now, if you'll excuse me, someone bruised my macaroni.

Drink up.