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Thursday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while waiting for a call.

The box score from last night's game showed an unimpressive line for Randy Wolf (6.1 innings, ten hits, five walks, six earned runs). It probably wasn't as bad as that line makes it sound: Wolf was sent back out to pitch the seventh despite an elevated pitch count, and was victimized by a ground ball that got through and a bloop hit in the inning. With that said, after the game Wolf told reporters "I'm concerned about the fact that I suck," so he appears to realize that his results need to improve.

The losing streak is at nine, and the seats keep getting hotter. Ken Rosenthal has a pretty scathing look at Doug Melvin's well-documented struggles to evaluate and develop impact pitchers.

I'm not sure why yesterday was the day, but for some reason during last night's game I came to peace with it: This team is out of contention, and isn't coming back. In-Between Hops noted that this is just the fifth Brewer team ever to go 15-25 or worse in their first 40 games. The best of those previous four teams was the 2003 squad that won 68 games. Baseball Prospectus, CoolStandings and Vegas Watch have the Brewer playoff chances at 5.3%, 4.9% and 2.5%, respectively. Disciples of Uecker is also waving the white flag.

I think it's time to start looking ahead to 2011. Prince Fielder doesn't need to be traded before the trading deadline, but I'd start seriously entertaining offers for him. I think it's time to see what the Brewers have in Manny Parra, Chris Narveson, Zach Braddock and perhaps Marco Estrada, along with Mat Gamel, Jonathan Lucroy and perhaps Lorenzo Cain. And I think it's time to see what Dale Sveum can do as an interim manager.

Trevor Hoffman was unavailable last night and will be out tonight as well has he works with Rick Peterson to make some mechanical adjustments that might help his control. Hoffman told Adam McCalvy he's frustrated but still wants to close. He's supposed to be reevaluated tomorrow.

Thinking back to happier times, Wezen-ball has a look back at the origin and history of Hoffman's Hells Bells entrance.

Other stuff from the field:

  • Just 9526 fans attended last night's game in Pittsburgh. It was the second time all year the Brewers have played in front of fewer than 10,000 fans. Both occurrences were at PNC Park. 
  • Last night's game was the 16th in a row where a Brewer starter has pitched less than seven innings.
  • Garrett Jones, Steve Pearce and Casey McGehee are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game vote.
  • With last night's win, the Pirates are now 16-15 in games not started by Charlie Morton.

At least the news is good for Manny Parra. Ken Macha said yesterday that Parra will start again on Sunday against the Twins.

The news still isn't very good for Ken Macha. Brewers Daily has joined the group calling for his departure.

Actually, the news isn't all bad for Ryan Braun either: He went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk last night, and Bernie Brewer noted that he's hitting .424 on the road, the best mark in the NL.

Back closer to home, Carlos Gomez made his first rehab appearance for Wisconsin yesterday, going 1-for-3 with a stolen base and playing five innings in center field. He's expected to play the full nine today and could be activated on Friday. Brett Christopherson of the Post-Crescent reports he's also been working with 2009 draft pick D'Vontrey Richardson.

Elsewhere in the minors:

  • Matt Hagen of The Hardball Times has been impressed with what he's seen from Jake Odorizzi so far, and moved him up to the 91st spot in his top 100.
  • Mat Gamel was scratched from his scheduled rehab appearance in Brevard County last night due to illness. They'll try again today.
  • It was a good night, however, for some of the top prospects that did play. Both Brett Lawrie and Lorenzo Cain homered last night. We've got details on that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • The Timber Rattlers made some roster moves yesterday, bringing up 2009 43rd round pick Kyle Dhanani and pitchers Santo Manzanillo and Andy Sauter from Helena, and sending down 2009 6th round pick Hiram Burgos, infielder Carlos George and pitcher Chad Robinson (FanShot).

Gomez might be activated Friday, but it doesn't sound like the Brewers will be seeing J.J. Hardy when they take on the Twins this weekend. Hardy is still only hitting off a tee as he rehabs an injured wrist, and doesn't sound like he'll be ready to play this weekend.

Here's a power ranking headscratcher: Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers at #12.

Elsewhere in rankings: The B-Ref Blog has Jim Edmonds 17th in WAR among players that aren't yet in the Hall of Fame. His 66.1 WAR is better than the career totals of 34 current HoF outfielders.

Looking for something to listen to at your desk today? Viva Cerveceros has a playlist of Brewer walkup music.

Here's something pretty cool: Navin Vaswani of The Globe and Mail is on a road trip to all 30 major league stadiums this season, and had some nice things to say about Miller Park and its occupants.

Around baseball:

Astros: Are expected to release second baseman Kazuo Matsui.
Blue Jays:
Released first baseman Randy Ruiz, who immediately signed to play in Japan.
Cubs: Placed reliever Esmailin Caridad on the DL with an elbow strain.
Indians: Placed outfielder Grady Sizemore on the DL with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Marlins: Placed reliever Chris Leroux on the DL with an elbow strain.
Mets: Placed pitcher Jonathan Niese on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Red Sox: Placed Josh Beckett on the DL with a back injury and released Scott Schoeneweis.

As we get ready for the 2010 draft we typically have a fair amount of conversation about the types of available players, and the risks inherent in drafting them. High school pitchers have typically been considered the most risky, but John Sickels of Minor League Ball says enhanced scouting, better youth programs and organizations better prepared to manage young arms have decreased the risk.

Make no mistake, the Reds are hot. Last night they came from behind to tie the game against Braves closer Billy Wagner, causing John Fay to note that they'd forced blown saves from closers with a combined 985 career saves on back-to-back days. The Braves won yesterday's game in the bottom of the ninth.

Today's baseball economics note is of the historical variety: On this day in 1953, the Milwaukee Braves drew their 281,278th fan to County Stadium for their 13th home game. That surpassed their attendance total in Boston for the full 1952 season.

I struck out on birthdays today, sorry.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to modeling.

Drink up.