Some things to read while casting a Smurfs movie. (h/t C.Trent Rosecrans)
All told, it was a pretty quiet off day yesterday. This wouldn't normally be a top story, but yesterday's biggest news might be a talk radio rumor that Ken Macha might be fired before the end of the current west coast road trip.
I haven't heard anything about a possible firing until today, but I do think it's possible that a shakeup could be in the works. If the Brewers go 3-7 on this road trip (winning one of three in LA and Arizona), they'll return home on Monday at 12-19 and might be ten games back of the Cardinals. If that happens, I can see them trying to shake things up and avoid the bad PR of getting booed at home again during a six game homestand against the Braves and Phillies.
Trevor Hoffman remains a hot topic of conversation, with Steve Sommer of FanGraphs the latest to weigh in on his struggles. Most of the stats cited in there are things we've discussed before, with one notable exception: We know Hoffman used his changeup less often early in the season, but the difference was even more pronounced (down from 32 to 10%) against right-handed batters. Again, the usual small sample size caveats apply, but I thought that was interesting.
You have until noon today to share your opinions on Macha, Hoffman and more in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. As of this writing, 245 people have weighed in. The more people we have participating, the more relevant the result, so please vote if you haven't yet. Results will be posted at 7 am tomorrow.
In one of the quieter slumps in recent memory, Rickie Weeks is batting just .103/.205/.179 over his last 39 ABs. I don't even recall hearing anything about it until he was roughly 1-for-25. With that said, he earned a spot in this week's THT Awards by striking out 15 times in 30 ABs.
With that said, it's all about to turn around: Casa de Machado has figured out what this season is missing.
With the manatee on board, clearly the Brewers are prepared to steamroll through Los Angeles. True Blue LA has a series preview. Ours will be up at 3 today.
Jim Edmonds still hasn't played since tweaking his back on Wednesday, and I haven't heard any updates on his availability for this week's series in LA. With that said, Plunk Everyone notes that he's the oldest batter to be hit by a pitch this season.
In the minors:
- MLB Depth Charts has Zach Braddock as a pitcher knocking down the door to the big leagues. Braddock has allowed just three hits while opening his AAA career with 11.1 scoreless innings, striking out 22.
- The Timber Rattlers made a transaction yesterday, and Cutter Dykstra is back with the team. The 2008 2nd round pick hasn't been seen above Rookie ball since getting off to a .212/.310/.303 start for Wisconsin last season.
Zach Braddock (along with Mat Gamel, hitting coaches and Alcides Escobar) was a topic of conversation in Adam McCalvy's latest inbox.
They're not really to the interesting part yet, but Brew City Sports has part one of a case study on Doug Melvin.
In Power Rankings:
- ESPN has the Brewers at 24 (down from 21).
- MLB FanHouse has the Brewers at 25 (down from 24).
- Craig Calcaterra has the Brewers at 25.
UmpBump continues their series compiling rankings of the greatest players of all time, and once again Milwaukee is well represented: At third base, Milwaukee Brave Eddie Matthews is #3 and Paul Molitor is #10.
And finally, here's a lesson in simple math: If you remove the games where the Brewers scored a lot of runs, their runs per game average goes down.
Astros: Placed LHP Tim Byrdak on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Dodgers: Are expected to place Rafael Furcal on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Mariners: Released RHP Ricky Orta.
Another Justin Verlander start, another question about pitch counts: Verlander threw 120 pitches Sunday against the Angels, marking the third straight appearance where he's thrown at least that many. Jeff Lubbers of Baseball Daily Digest has a look at the significance.
The count is at seven: Last night's Yankees-Orioles game drew 41,571 fans, making Yankee Stadium the seventh major league park to set a record low attendance this season.
The MLB Draft is coming soon, and it can help you if you use it correctly. The Royals, as you might expect, are providing an example of how not to do it: They optioned Alex Gordon, the #2 pick in the 2005 draft, back to AAA yesterday. The 2005 draft was loaded with future major leaguers: The Nationals and Brewers selected Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun #4 and 5, respectively. Project Prospect has a look at Gordon and #3 pick Jeff Clement, who have yet to pan out.
Speaking of the draft, I'm starting to work on a plan for BCB's coverage of the 2010 draft and would love to hear your input. If you've got something you want to see (or don't want to see) regarding the draft, drop a note in the suggestion box or the comments of this post.
It's a short-ish (and not very good) Mug today, so you should have plenty of time to enter Beyond the Box Score's prediction contest, which this year has a cash prize. Last year I finished near the top, which is a sure sign that more or less any idiot has a chance.
On this day in 1980, the Brewers beat the White Sox 11-1. White Sox first baseman Mike Squires caught the final inning, becoming baseball's first left-handed catcher in over 20 years.
Happy birthday today to:
- 2004 Brewer Ben Grieve, who turns 34.
- 1999 Brewer Robinson Cancel, who also turns 34.
- 2003 Brewer Eddie Perez, who turns 42.
- 1984 Brewer manager Rene Lachemann, who turns 65.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm clearing my calendar for summer 2012. (h/t C. Trent Rosecrans again)