Some things to read while playing out of position.
Every five days we come together to discuss the same thing, and today is no exception: Manny Parra remains terrible. Parra allowed seven runs on eight hits over six innings yesterday, allowing four walks, striking out five and giving up two solo home runs. He's posted a 6.39 ERA and allowed opposing batters to hit .295/.378/.503 against him since returning to the rotation on May 29, and the Brewers are 1-7 in his last eight appearances. But, he did have a decent FIP two years ago.
At least a change may be in the works. In his postgame news conference, Ken Macha hinted at the possibility that the Brewers will look at other rotation options in September. With that said, if the Brewers make a rotation change they might replace Chris Narveson instead: Adam McCalvy is reporting the Brewers are monitoring Narveson's innings in an effort not to push him too far beyond last season's workload.
Jaymes Langrehr of the Brewers Bar has spotted an issue with Parra's mechanics: He compares Manny's release point to Jon Garland's, and notes that Parra's release seems to fluctuate along a horizontal line.
Meanwhile, a couple of Brewers had some excellent outings in long relief this weekend: Chris Capuano and Mike McClendon kept the Brewers in Friday and Saturday's games with strong, extended outings. Capuano told Adam MCCalvy his long-term goal is to get back into the rotation, while McClendon appears to be targeting a spot in the 2011 bullpen. McClendon picked up the win on Saturday, his first as a major leaguer.
Other notes from the field:
- Ryan Braun, Luke Gregerson and Manny Parra are leading FanGraphs Star of the Game voting.
- Craig Counsell started at shortstop yesterday and went 1-for-5 in his 1500th major league game.
- Yesterday's game lasted three hours and six minutes, meaning the Brewers have now played 15 days, 22 hours and five minutes of regular season baseball in 2010.
- Bob Costas was in attendance at yesterday's game and joined Bob Uecker in the booth for several innings.
- Adrian Gonzalez hit one of the two home runs off Parra, and now has seven home runs in his first 18 games at Miller Park.
Today's biggest news will likely come regarding Carlos Gomez: The Brewers are expected to announce a decision on their plans for him before tomorrow's game. He could be activated off the DL or optioned back to AAA until rosters expand on September 1. He isn't lacking for confidence, though: He told Adam McCalvy he wants the center field job back, and dropped the line again about only being a few multi-hit games away from hitting .260 (FanShot). At this point, he'd need eleven consecutive 2-for-4 games to reach that mark.
Ryan Braun had easily the best weekend by a Brewer, going 6-for-10 with five walks and two home runs, good for a .600/.733/1.200 line. Chris Dickerson, who apparently is Braun's new personal spokesperson, told Adam McCalvy Braun has been dealing with a sore wrist but is feeling better.
John Axford has four multi-inning saves in the last two weeks, but Anthony Witrado reports that the Brewers are not concerned about his workload. If it were up to me, he'd be done recording 4+ out saves in 2010: It's great that he has that skill and I hope to see it again in 2011, but there's no reason to be putting the extra stress on his arm in meaningless games.
Yovani Gallardo is scuffling a fair amount lately: After Friday night's disaster start, he's now posted a 5.61 ERA since July 1. The Brewers Bar wonders if the oblique injury that put Gallardo on the shelf in July is still bothering him.
It seems like Ryan Braun's defensive abilities are being called into question more frequently this season, as some notable lapses at critical times have really highlighted some of his shortcomings out there. FanGraphs' Aggregate Defensive Evaluations rated Braun near the middle of the pack among left fielders in 2009, but also noted that the Fan Scouting Report ranked Braun much higher than any other defensive metric.
How much of a difference can two games make? Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that the Brewers may have reduced the Cardinals' playoff chances by as much as 20% with last week's series sweep.
As we've been expecting for a while now, LaTroy Hawkins' season is officially over. Hawkins will undergo exploratory surgery on Friday to clean up some fraying in his shoulder and check for signs of any more serious problems. The Brewers Bar has a look back at Hawkins' rough 2010.
It probably won't be the Brewers' highest profile offseason move, but a change in the third base coaching box might be long overdue. Ryan Braun was nearly tagged out between third and home on an ugly baserunning play over the weekend after what Jordan Schelling said looked like "a bad sign or conflicting signs" from third base coach Brad Fischer. Fischer also waved around Chris Capuano when he was thrown out at the plate on Friday with Corey Hart due up.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went just 1-4 yesterday with the lone win coming in the Pioneer League, where Cody Hawn went 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and three runs scored in Helena's 11-4 win over Idaho Falls. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Bob Brainerd of Fox Sports Wisconsin has profiles of Timber Rattlers Hunter Morris and Jake Odorizzi.
- The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin pitcher Damon Krestalude. (h/t Rattler Radio)
- Catcher Rafael Neda, a 2010 tenth round pick, has been promoted to Helena.
On power rankings: Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers holding steady at 20.
This isn't exactly a power ranking, but Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave the Brewers an eight out of ten (tied for fourth in all of baseball) in his new Team NERD stat, designed to identify teams that are fun to watch.
We're down to the final few nominations for the SBN Wisconsin Hall of Fame:
- Brew Hoop nominated Jon McGlocklin, Bob Lanier, Terry Cummings, Marques Johnson and Junior Bridgeman and Glenn Robinson.
- Bucky's 5th Quarter nominated Joe Thomas.
If all goes well, I'm hoping to open fan voting for the inaugural class one week from today.
Angels: Placed shortstop Maicer Izturis on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Athletics: Placed first baseman/outfielder Conor Jackson on the DL with a lower abdominal strain.
Cubs: Lou Piniella, scheduled to retire after the season, has instead decided to retire immediately.
Diamondbacks: Signed pitcher Mike Hampton to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Designated infielder Juan Castro for assignment and acquired catcher Rod Barajas from the Mets for cash.
Giants: Designated infielder Matt Downs for assignment and claimed outfielder Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins.
Marlins: Catcher Ronny Paulino has been suspended for the rest of the season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Twins: Placed pitcher Kevin Slowey (tricep discomfort), pitcher Ron Mahay (shoulder) and infielder Nick Punto (hamstring) on the DL.
Yankees: Placed Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a calf strain.
Who says losing doesn't pay? The Pirates have baseball's worst record and lowest payroll this season, but made over $34 million between 2007 and 2009, according to recently released financial reports.
While the news has been good for the Pirates off the field, the situation remains pretty bad on it. The Pirates lost their 82nd game over the weekend, clinching their 18th consecutive losing season. At this point they'd have to go 28-10 the rest of the way to avoid becoming the fourth team ever (and the first non-expansion team since 1930) to lose at least 94 games in six straight seasons, joining the 1925-30 Red Sox, 1962-67 Mets and 1969-74 Padres. (Thanks to TheJay for the info.)
The news also isn't exceptionally good for unsigned Brewer first round pick Dylan Covey: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has a look at the unpredictable track record of players who were drafted in the first round but didn't sign.
Anyone want to rehash the debate about pitchers batting eighth? Tony La Russa and the Cardinals moved the pitcher back into the #9 spot for Saturday's game, and broke a five game losing streak. Brendan Ryan batted eighth and went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk.
Jody Gerut probably should be the third Brewer on this list: Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times lists former Brewers Chad Moeller (#5) and Charlie Moore (#9) among the ten least likely position players ever to hit for the cycle.
Happy birthday over the weekend to:
- DSL Brewer Raul Mondesi Jr., who turns 18 today.
- Zach Braddock, who turns 23 today.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Erik Miller, who turns 23 today.
- Mark DiFelice, who turns 34 today.
- 2000-02 Brewer Raul Casanova, who turns 38 today.
- 1997 Brewer Julio Franco, who turns 52 today.
- Randy Wolf, who turned 34 Sunday.
- 1997-98 Brewer Darrin Jackson, who turned 47 Sunday.
- 1978-92 Brewer and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, who turned 54 Sunday.
- Milwaukee native Happy Felsch, who would have turned 119 on Sunday. Felsch spent six seasons with the White Sox from 1915-1920 before being banned from baseball for helping fix the 1919 World Series.
- 1999-01 Brewer Lou Collier, who turned 37 Saturday.
- Craig Counsell, who turned 40 Saturday.
- 1986-87 Brewer John Henry Johnson, who turned 54 Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I missed a turn.