Some things to read while cutting expenses.
Here we are, on the day widely speculated as the Brewers' opportunity to make changes in an attempt to right the ship after a 2-11 stretch that saw them drop all the way to ten games under .500 and fifth place in the NL Central.
Unfortunately, today is probably going to turn out to be as disappointing as many other days this season have been: change no longer appears to be on the horizon. Mark Attanasio met with reporters on Saturday, and had this to say about Ken Macha, who was widely expected to be let go today:
"I can tell you, unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday. There will be no news on that on Monday."
And regarding Doug Melvin (emphasis mine):
"Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You're not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You're going to have to a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security. To all of our fans, look, it feels great to get it off your chest, but you're going to have to be dealing with our general manager for a long time."
Maybe those quotes aren't what Attanasio meant to say (the tone of the bolded part above was almost certainly a mistake), but to me they read like a slap in the face, and caused me to get up and turn off a Brewer game in progress for the first time all season.
Disciples of Uecker also broke down the quotes, and makes the case that Melvin's job should be safe.
I wouldn't be on board with a decision to fire Melvin at this point, although I think it should be considered after the season. And if the Brewers aren't going anywhere this season anyway, then perhaps managerial change isn't necessary either. With that said, I found those comments from Attanasio really disappointing and frustrating for two reasons:
- First of all, it appears that both Melvin and Macha's leashes are really, really long, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.
- Secondly, though, these quotes, and especially the line about fans "having to deal with" Melvin for a long time, seem to imply that Attanasio is at best indifferent and at worst resentful of fan opinion on the matter.
Meanwhile, Attanasio told the Business Journal that the Brewers' poor performance haven't affected business at Miller Park: The team was averaging 35,970 fans per home game at this time last year, and they're averaging 35,472 this season. So, if you're looking to send a message regarding your displeasure with Brewer management, I think you know what to do. Or not to do, as the case may be.
Attanasio and Melvin are still more or less the only people making the case that Macha should keep his job: Macha finished third in Beyond the Box Score's vote to predict the next manager fired.
On the field, Zach Braddock made an impressive major league debut yesterday, pitching two scoreless innings. The Ghost of Moonlight Graham compared him to Dan Plesac, and said he should be closing now. Mat Gamel was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Braddock on the roster.
Braddock was one of four pitchers to appear in relief of Marco Estrada, who started and pitched three innings after throwing 21 pitches on Saturday. This morning I asked TheJay for some statistics to put that in perspective, and roughly half an hour later I had these three tidbits:
- Estrada was the fifth Brewer pitcher ever to make a start on 0 days rest, and the first since Pete Ladd in 1984.
- He was only the second Brewer to do it since Bill Travers started on back-to-back days in 1975.
- With that said, none of those performances quite live up to that of Tom Hausman. Hausman was a 22 year old rookie for the Brewers in 1975 when he pitched a scoreless inning in relief on July 4. Two days later, he started game one of a July 6 doubleheader but failed to record an out. He then went on to pitch seven innings in relief in the second game. Hausman pitched 112 innings in '75 at age 22, and only pitched 80+ innings in the majors one other time in his career. It's hard to imagine why.
And, of course, John Axford pitched out of trouble in the ninth to record his first 2010 save. R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs loves his mustache, and throws in a sentence calling The Ax "the garden variety hard-throwing righty with control issues." The 'stache is also a big hit with Old Hoss Radbourn.
Other notes from the field:
- Both Joe Inglett (who sprained his ankle Saturday) and Jody Gerut (sore heel) were unavailable for yesterday's game, leaving Jonathan Lucroy as the only position player on the bench.
- Trevor Hoffman's appearance yesterday was the 1000th of his career. He's 14th all time in games pitched, and needs just three more to pass Goose Gossage for 13th. Hoffman retired the side in order in the eighth with just ten pitches.
- Rickie Weeks tied Prince Fielder for the league lead with his seventh HBP on Saturday, but Fielder took it back with his eighth yesterday. Follow those links for much more from Plunk Everyone.
- Estrada was the eighth pitcher to start a game for the Brewers this season. The 2009 Brewers only used nine starting pitchers all season.
- Prince Fielder, Zach Braddock and John Axford are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting.
- CoolStandings has the Brewer playoff chances at 3.6%.
- Corey Hart's home run on Sunday was the first ball hit into the upper deck at Target Field, according to Bob Nightengale. HitTracker reported the distance as 440 feet, which would make it the second longest shot in the park's short history, behind Brennan Boesch of the Tigers' 448 foot blast.
- Dave Bush's disaster start Friday was the shortest by a Brewer since Ben Hendrickson allowed six earned runs without recording an out in 2006. That outing was also against the Twins.
Two Brewers made their major league debuts this weekend, so it's time for stories from their hometown papers: Here's the Leesburg (FL) Daily Commercial's story on Jonathan Lucroy and the Gloucester (NJ) County Times' story on Zach Braddock.
Elsewhere in profiles, Bob Nightengale of the USA Today has a look at Ryan Braun's life on and off the field (FanShot).
Here's something I thought was interesting: Plate discipline might not be helping the power aspect of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder's game: The Hardball Cooperative noted that Braun and Fielder hit just 1.8 and 5.4% of their home runs in hitters counts (2-0 and 3-1), respectively, but hit 13.6 and 17.5% of their home runs on first pitches.
John Steinmiller makes the case for All Star Game appearances for Braun and Casey McGehee, who has either had a hit or a walk in 17 of the Brewers' 21 games in May.
We're probably getting about what we should have expected from Alcides Escobar: flashes of brilliance and rookie mistakes. Jon Heyman rated him as baseball's 21st best rookie this season.
If the Brewers decide to wave the white flag, you can add the Giants to the list of possible suitors for Prince Fielder, at least according to Jeff Fletcher.
In the minors:
- Chris Capuano pitched for Nashville yesterday, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings. (FanShot) We've got more on that and lots of other stuff in today's Minor League Notes.
- The Appleton Post-Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin second baseman Scooter Gennett, who might be having the biggest breakout year of any Brewer prospect.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America says Jeremy Jeffress could return to action this week. Jeffress' suspension has expired but he's been sidelined with forearm stiffness.
- Callis also said he's been disappointed with the performance of Eric Arnett, but it's too early to call him a bust.
- Cecil Cooper will be at Time Warner Field for the July 11 Timber Rattlers game.
- Nashville broadcaster Stu Paul has the story of how he ended up broadcasting a recent game from a conference room.
Capuano has a clause in his contract that allows him to request his release if he's not added to the major league roster by Saturday. The Brewers Bar has a look at the moves the Brewers could make to free up a spot for him.
And, on mock drafts:
- Andy Seiler of MLB Bonus Baby still has the Brewers taking Washington HS outfielder Josh Sale.
- Jim Callis says Sale might be the best outfielder in the draft.
- Call to the Pen has the Brewers drafting California HS RHP Dylan Covey.
Have the Brewers' recent drafts been a disappointment? In-Between Hops notes that only three Brewer draftees from the 2006-2008 classes have made their major league debuts, with Jonathan Lucroy becoming the first to debut as a Brewer over the weekend. At this point in 2007 seven members of the 2003-2005 classes had debuted.
It's almost certainly way too early to be looking ahead to stuff like this, but MLB Trade Rumors has the first crack at this coming offseason's Elias rankings, and they have Craig Counsell and Trevor Hoffman as Type B free agents, with Gregg Zaun and Doug Davis just outside the Type B window. Davis is actually the top unranked pitcher.
Athletics: Placed Eric Chavez on the DL with neck spasms, released pitcher Chad Gaudin and signed pitcher John Halama to a minor league deal.
Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Dana Eveland for assignment.
Cardinals: Placed pitcher Brad Penny on the DL with a strained lat muscle.
Cubs: Signed pitcher Bob Howry and designated reliever David Patton for assignment.
Dodgers: Released pitcher Josh Towers.
Giants: Placed reliever Brandon Medders on the DL with knee inflammation.
Mets: Placed pitcher John Maine on the DL with weakness in his shoulder.
Nationals: Placed Ivan Rodriguez on the DL with a lower back strain, placed pitcher Scott Olsen on the DL with shoulder tightness, and released Willy Taveras.
Orioles: Designated infielder Justin Turner for assignment.
Phillies: Placed Jimmy Rollins on the DL with a calf strain.
Here's a side note on Olsen: The shoulder he's having issues with was surgically repaired over the offseason. Olsen's return to the DL prompted FJB to post this note on the effects of smoking on recovery from orthopedic surgery. I don't know if Olsen is a smoker, but the post certainly implies it.
Of course, smoking is no worse for your health than being managed by Dusty Baker: Reds pitcher Homer Bailey will see a doctor this week after leaving a weekend start with shoulder tightness, calling into question some high pitch counts he posted late last season and in 2010.
If you had told me before the season that the Astros wouldn't contend, and that their drop in the standings would cause Roy Oswalt to request to be traded, I wouldn't have been surprised. If you had told me that one of the contending teams to express interest would be the Nationals, I might have laughed out out. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
For whatever it's worth, the NL leads the AL 22-20 after round one of interleague play. Craig Calcaterra makes the case that it's not worth anything.
After this week this stat might not be worth anything either: The Astros will come to town tomorrow with baseball's lowest team OPS, and Cy Morong notes that they're on pace to set a record for the lowest OPS+ since at least 1920.
Today's baseball economics note comes from The Biz of Baseball, which notes that the Indians will likely lose money this season, and takes a look at the challenges they might have borrowing capital in the face of the recent issues with the Rangers.
In former Brewer notes, Baseball Brew has an interview with 1987-91 Brewer Chuck Crim.
A weekend worth of birthdays:
- Huntsville Star Steffan Wilson turns 24 today.
- 2002 Brewer Dave Pember turns 32 today.
- 1971-73 Brewer Ellie Rodriguez turns 64 today.
- Nashville Sound Norris Hopper turns 31 today.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Cameron Garfield turned 19 Sunday.
- 2008 Brewer Julian Tavarez turned 37 Saturday.
- 1980-85 Brewer Mark Brouhard turned 54 Saturday.
- 1972-76 Brewer Jim Colborn turned 64 Saturday.
No matter how bad the Brewers get, it could always be worse: Without baseball, all we'd have left is Large Item Pickup Day.
Our condolences today to the family, friends and former teammates of Jose Lima, who passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack. He was 37.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to my frivolous lawsuit.