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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while buying your ticket early.

If you were at yesterday's game, you might have witnessed the dawn of a new era in roof/shadow management at Miller Park. In an effort to cut down on the glare caused by the afternoon sun, the Brewers kept the roof partially closed yesterday and saw immediate success against the Pirates. Ryan Braun, one of the most vocal critics of the shadows, went 4-for-4 with the roof repositioned. After the game, however, he refused to talk to reporters about it.

Fans at yesterday's game also got to witness a small piece of history, as Trevor Hoffman recorded his 599th career save, leaving him one away from the milestone we've all been waiting for. Howie Magner has quotes from Hoffman about gratitude to the fans, and wanting to pick up save #600 at home. Ken Macha didn't come straight out and say it, but it seems unlikely Hoffman will be used in a save situation before the Brewers return home a week from today.

Corey Hart got a day off yesterday, and Ken Macha decided to start Joe Inglett in right while keeping both Lorenzo Cain and Carlos Gomez on the bench. So, if you've lost track, here are the Brewer outfielders sorted by starts in the series:

Outfielder Starts
Ryan Braun 3
Corey Hart 2
Chris Dickerson 2
Lorenzo Cain 1
Joe Inglett 1
Carlos Gomez 0

Gomez did, however, appear as a pinch hitter in all three contests.

Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder were both hit by pitches yesterday, their 23rd and 21st of the season, respectively. Plunk Everyone notes that it's just the third time all season they've both been hit in the same game. Also, in an interesting note, fifteen major league games were played yesterday but the Brewers and Pirates played the only game with an HBP.

Other notes from the field:

  • Pirates reliever Evan Meek left the game in the eighth inning after taking a Ryan Braun line drive off his right wrist. X-rays revealed no fractures, so Meek appears to have avoided potentially serious injury.
  • Chris Dickerson, Charlie Morton and Casey McGehee are leading the FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
  • Here are the MLB.com video highlights.
  • The Brewers have now beaten the Pirates in 28 of their last 30 matchups at Miller Park.
  • Charlie Morton was the losing pitcher yesterday for the tenth time this season. TheJay noted that he has the worst ERA ever for a ten game loser, and Dejan Kovacevic points out that he's the Pirates' fifth ten game loser, the most they've had since 1954.
  • Yesterday was CC Sabathia bobblehead day, celebrating his contribution to the 2008 playoff team. Jordan Schelling has a picture, if you haven't seen it.
  • 35,733 fans paid to see yesterday's game. I'm not sure what to make of the fact that a Sunday, bobblehead day game didn't come all that close to selling out.

Jonathan Lucroy got the day off yesterday, but is hitting .342/.390/.500 in his last ten games. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at Lucroy's first 50 games as a Brewer, and notes that Lucroy's defense has been solid, but his plate discipline could use some improvement.

Manny Parra pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Chris Capuano on Saturday, lowering his ERA as a reliever to 3.21 (compared to 6.19 as a member of the rotation). After the game, Parra told reporters he still wants to start, but also said the right things about helping the team and whatnot.

Prince Fielder hit a tape measure blast on Saturday, bouncing a ball off the truck cutout in right center field. The Brewers are estimating the distance of the home run at 455 feet, while HitTrackerOnline has it as 444. 455 feet would be the third longest home run by a Brewer this season, while 444 is tied for the fifth longest. The home run was Fielder's second of the day, giving him 20 career multi-homer games and three this season.

Fielder is one of five Brewer position players (joining Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Rickie Weeks) that have been worth at least two wins above replacement this season, according to Baseball Reference. That's tied for the major league lead.

Looking ahead, the Brewers open a three game set against the NL Central leading Reds tonight. The Brewers play the Reds nine more times in their final 32 games, and this might not be a good time to catch them: The Reds are 11-4 in their last 15 games and have opened up a season-high five game lead on the Cardinals. Carson Cistulli previewed all of tonight's matchups for his daily One Night Only feature at FanGraphs, and gave tonight's contest a 6 out of 10 on the NERD scale.

Looking farther ahead, Wednesday is September 1, meaning the Brewers will be free to start adding players from their 40-man roster to the major league squad. Bernie's Crew considers ten players that could be called up, but Tom Haudricourt says the Brewers are unlikely to make many callups before the end of the minor league season, and won't call up players who won't play consistently.

And even farther ahead, we're starting to get a hint of the Brewers' possible offseason plans: Tom Haudricourt talked to Mark Attanasio about the importance of improving the pitching staff before 2011, and again suggested the possibility that the Brewers will seek to improve via trade instead of free agency.

LaTroy Hawkins underwent surgery on Friday to remove frayed tissue from his labrum and rotator cuff. As expected, he's done for 2010. It's too early to tell when or if he'll be ready to pitch in 2011.

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 5-2 yesterday, with Josh Butler (one run on two hits in eight innings pitched) and Brendan Katin (3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI) powering Nashville to a 10-1 win over New Orleans. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Entering this season, Jake Odorizzi had thrown a grand total of 67.2 professional innings over two minor league seasons. This year he's thrown 116, including eight no-hit innings last week, so the organization plans to shut him down after tomorrow's scheduled start for Wisconsin. 
  • Wisconsin second baseman Scooter Gennett is back in action, and riding a six game hitting streak. He missed five games last week and it was reported that he was in his manager's doghouse, but Adam McCalvy is reporting that he was actually nursing a sore shoulder from a dive.
  • The season is almost over for the AZL Brewers, who play their final regular season game tonight. At 34-22, they've clinched first lace in the AZL Central and will advance to the four team, single-elimination playoffs.
  • The Helena Brewers are also likely headed to the playoffs: They've won seven straight games and lead the Pioneer League North Division.
  • Project Prospect has updated their ranking of baseball's best second base prospects, and Brett Lawrie is an honorable mention.
  • The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin pitcher Efrain Nieves. (h/t Rattler Radio)

If you're feeling nostalgic today, check out Faith and Fear in Flushing's review of old County Stadium. The Mug probably would have been 10-15 minutes earlier today if I hadn't gotten hooked and read the whole thing.

On power rankings: Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers holding steady at 20.

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Placed third baseman Edwin Encarnacion on the DL with a sprained wrist.
Nationals: Signed pitcher Livan Hernandez to a one year contract extension for 2011.
Phillies: Placed reliever Danys Baez on the DL with back spasms.
Rangers: Placed reliever Frank Francisco on the DL with a strained ribcage muscle.
Rays: Are expected to sign outfielder Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal.
Reds: Placed pitcher Mike Leake on the DL with shoulder fatigue.
Twins: Acquired reliever Brian Fuentes from the Angels for a PTBNL and designated pitcher Loek Van Mil for assignment.
White Sox: Claimed outfielder Manny Ramirez off waivers from the Dodgers and placed reliever Erick Threets (Tommy John surgery) on the DL.

Assuming the Wihte Sox-Manny Ramirez deal goes down as reported (and given all the false starts and unsubstantiated rumors we've already seen, there's a good chance it won't), the White Sox will owe Ramirez $3,825,136.61 for the season's final month, according to Jayson Stark.

Think you can predict the rest of the season? Head over to The Hardball Times and do it for a chance to win a copy of their 2011 Annual.

Baseball players take occasional heat for "needing a day off" while playing a sport that's seen as pretty non-strenuous. If you're one of those people who think everyone should be able to play every day, consider this note from Rob Neyer at this weekend's Pitch F/x Summit: in one game, a center fielder may run or walk eight miles.

Got a moment for another strange statistical tidbit? The Royals beat Cleveland 6-2 yesterday, and it was their first win by more than three runs since July 7th.

On a sad note today, former Brewer pitching coach Cal McLish passed away Thursday. He was 84. McLish was the Brewer pitching coach from 1976-82, but is better known for having the longest full name in baseball history: Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish. Follow the link for an explanation of the name.

On this day in 1982, the Brewers acquired pitcher Don Sutton from the Astros for three minor leaguers. Sutton went 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA in seven starts down the stretch for the Brewers, and made three playoff starts.

It was a relatively light weekend for birthdays, but best wishes to:

  • Helena Brewer Stosh Wawrzasek, who turns 20 today.
  • 2000-01 Brewer Henry Blanco, who turned 39 yesterday.
  • Former Seattle Pilots manager Joe Schultz, who would have turned 92 yesterday.
  • Brevard County Manatee Mike Roberts, who turned 23 Saturday.
  • Burlington, WI native Braggo Roth, who would have turned 118 on Saturday. Roth played eight major league seasons between 1914 and 1921 with the Indians and five other teams.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting into the pet business.

Drink up.