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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while defending your pie.

Despite a nice win against the Rockies to complete a series victory, yesterday's biggest Brewer news came off the field and will likely be a disappointment to the vast majority of fans: Jeff Suppan will pitch a rehab start for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers tomorrow, and assuming that goes as planned he'll be the team's fifth starter, making his 2010 debut on April 14 (FanShot).

Some reaction to the move:

The decision to slot Jeff Suppan back into the rotation will likely also disappoint supporters of Chris Narveson (myself included), who think he should at the very least be given the opportunity to prove he doesn't deserve the job before it's given to an inferior option. If you're looking to build a case against Narveson, though, here's some ammunition: Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs notes that Narveson gets just 18% ground balls with his fastball, the fifth lowest percentage in the majors.

According to Adam McCalvy, both Narveson and Parra have received some assurances that they won't be the one to go down when Suppan comes up. As such, both will need to prepare for a long-term bullpen role. @notkenmacha translated Ken Macha's quote from yesterday regarding Narveson.

At any rate, adding Suppan to the rotation will probably help Rick Peterson pad his lead here: Rob Neyer thinks Peterson might lead the league in mound visits this season.

On the field, the Brewers needed a team effort to win yesterday, with the bullpen and bench both playing a key role in keeping the team in the game. Jody Gerut's pinch hit double in his only at bat of the season gave the Brewers the lead, and six relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings to hold it down.

Trevor Hoffman picked up a save for the second consecutive day, and also tied Lindy McDaniel for 14th place on the all time list with 987 appearances. Goose Gossage is in 13th place with 1002. Rob Neyer watched Hoffman close out yesterday's game, and called him one of the ten most amazing pitchers in baseball.

In other notes from the field:

If you missed something this week or just want a general overview of the season to date, Brewers Daily has the series recap.

Doug Melvin was in Appleton last night for the Timber Rattlers' Leadoff Experience, and answered questions about Prince Fielder, the team's 2010 playoff chances, Suppan and Corey Hart.

Speaking of Fielder, Tim Brown of Yahoo is taking Yankees' President Randy Levine's side in his recent squabble with Mark Attanasio over revenue sharing and payroll disparity. He says the Brewers can afford to pay market value for Fielder "if they really wanted to."

Meanwhile, in a related note: The Forbes estimate of the Yankees' franchise value is up to $1.6 billion, while the Brewers are valued at $351 million, up one percent from last year. (FanShot)

In the minors: Today is minor league Opening Day, and time for the first Link Report of 2010. Follow that link for broadcast information and more details on the following four games:

In other minor notes:

Yesterday I noted that the Brewers lead the league in ballpark promotions. In a related note, the price of an average Brewer ticket is $22.10, well below the league average of $26.79. However, the "Fan Cost Index" used to add in the cost of concessions and other expenses went up nearly 10%, the third highest spike in baseball.

Wezen-ball is embarking upon a pretty cool new project: The Home Run Trot Tracker will do what the name implies, tracking the times of various players' home run trots as the season goes along. Tuesday's quickest home run trot belonged to Rickie Weeks, who rounded the bases in 20 seconds following his shot. The slowest recorded time so far is 27.73 seconds, by Yadier Molina on Monday.

Here's a scary note where thankfully everyone appears to be ok: The Italian Sausage was hit by a motorcycle while out in the community earlier this week. Somehow, he remained on his feet through the whole thing. (FanShot)

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed reliever Sammy Gervacio on the DL with a rotator cuff strain.
Claimed pitcher Nelson Figueroa off waivers from the Mets.

Elsewhere in the NL Central, it's been an all-or-nothing week. The Brewers are the only Central team with both a win and a loss:

  • The Pirates took their second straight game from the Dodgers last night on a tenth inning walk-off single by Ronny Cedeno.
  • The Cardinals have taken both games in their series with the Reds.
  • The Cubs have lost both of their games against the Braves.
  • The Astros are 0-3 after being swept by the Giants. Through three games, they've drawn two walks and struck out 22 times en route to a .196/.219/.275 line.

The jury remains out on Carlos Gomez, who looked great on Monday (4-for-5 with a double and a home run) but hasn't done anything since (0-for-7, two strikeouts). On the other side of the trade, J.J. Hardy is making a pretty good impression in Minnesota, homering in the last two games.

Last season, Hardy was relevant to this conversation: Baseball Time in Arlington used Baseball Musings' Lineup Analyzer to estimate the impact of one or more black holes in a lineup.

"Simulated game" is one of those spring training terms that gets thrown around a lot, but I've never known exactly what it means, or just how much of the game is "simulated." Craig Calcaterra witnessed a few this spring, and has a full description. They actually sound like fun.

As many pitchers make their major league debuts this week, the B-Ref blog has a list of the 20 pitchers to record at least ten strikeouts in their first major league appearance. Amazingly enough, only six pitchers have done it since Steve Woodard struck out 12 Blue Jays on July 28, 1997.

This story is newsworthy to me only because it's not about the Brewers: The Reds and Indians, who just opened their new shared spring training facility in Arizona, had the lowest attendance in baseball during the exhibition season.

On this day in 1969, the Seattle Pilots played the first game in franchise history, beating the Angels 4-3. The Pilots scored four in the first on a two run home run from Mike Hegan and a two run single from Jerry McNertney, and held on for the victory. For more on the Pilots, check out this Lookout Landing interview with Steve Cox, producer of the documentary The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History. (h/t Rob Neyer)

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron hit career home run #715, passing Babe Ruth for first place on the all time list. 420 of Aaron's 755 career home runs were hit for Milwaukee: 398 as a Brave and 22 as a Brewer.

On this day one year ago, Yovani Gallardo hit a pretty notable home run of his own: A three run shot off Randy Johnson, powering the Brewers to a 4-2 win over the Giants.

Happy birthday today to 2003 Brewer Matt Ford, who turns 29.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to observe Hot Dog Time.

Drink up.