Some things to read while embracing a new market.
Before I get started this morning, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who filled in for me last week while I was on vacation. Miller Park Drunk, Admiral Ackbar, Rubie and Hangwith'em Rach did a great job making sure the site didn't miss a beat while I was gone. Please join me in thanking them by taking a moment to visit their sites this morning.
Chris Narveson had his worst outing in a while yesterday, allowing six earned runs for the first time since July and issuing four walks for the first time since June, while lasting just 4.2 innings. Some creative umpiring has people wondering what might have been, though: With two strikes, two on and two out in the first inning, Narveson threw a pitch to Pat Burrell that appeared to be strike three (even Adam McCalvy said so), but it was called a ball and Burrell eventually walked. That loaded the bases and set the stage for Jose Guillen's grand slam.
Lorenzo Cain was back in the lineup yesterday, going 0-for-4 in his first appearance since September 13 and his first start since the 12th. Cain was benched as punishment for showing up late for Wednesday's series finale in Houston: He told Adam McCalvy he thought it was a 7 pm start.
Alcides Escobar also went 0-for-4 yesterday, and is now hitting .145/.190/.218 in September. Ken Macha praised him for improving defensively this season but says he still has work to do at the plate, and would like to see him work on bunting for hits.
With yesterday's loss, the Brewers have been officially eliminated from postseason contention. Ryan Braun noted that this is the first season of his major league career where the team has never really been in the race, and called that "disappointing." At least Braun is finishing the season strong, though: After his home run yesterday, he's hitting .389/.444/.599 in his last 41 games, and now sits just 23 hits shy of 200 with 14 games left to play. Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew has a deeper look at the numbers and says there's still reason to be concerned about Braun's 2010 performance.
Other notes from the field:
- Jose Guillen, Barry Zito and Chris Narveson are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Here are the MLB.com video highlights, and a clip of Ryan Braun robbing Cody Ross of a home run in the first inning.
Chris Narveson's rough start followed two pretty nice outings by Brewer pitchers over the weekend. On Friday, Yovani Gallardo held the Giants to one run on five hits over seven innings (and didn't hang around to talk to reporters afterwards). Then on Saturday, Randy Wolf pitched a complete game shutout, his first since 2008 and the Brewers' first by a non-Gallardo this season. Wolf's impressive outing caught The Bucky Channel by surprise.
Jeremy Jeffress has made five relief appearances as a Brewer this September, including four scoreless outings. It's possible he could make the team as a reliever next spring, but Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy the organization still hasn't given up on him as a starter. Jeffress has pitched just 37.1 innings since returning from his suspension, and is headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more work in once the season is over.
Meanwhile, Trevor Hoffman hasn't appeared in a game since recording his 600th save on September 7. Ken Macha told Tom Haudricourt that the lack of use "has not been by design." My last two games were saves #599 and 600 and I'm going again tonight, so Hoffman will likely pitch.
Doug Davis had been working to rejoin the Brewers and pitch out of the bullpen during the season's last couple of weeks, but those plans have been scrapped and his season is over. The Brewers will almost certainly turn down Davis' option for 2011, and with injury questions hanging over his head Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar wonders if this might be the end of the road.
In the minors:
- All the talk about the Brewers potentially changing AA and AAA affiliates turned out to be much ado about nothing. The Brewers extended their agreement with Nashville for two more seasons (FanShot), and were forced to do the same with Huntsville after all 29 other teams renewed their agreements with their AA affiliates (FanShot).
- If you weren't paying attention last week, you might have missed Helena winning the Pioneer League championship. It was the first time it's happened since 1996, when Helena and Ogden (both Brewer affiliates at the time) met in the championship series.
- Minor League Baseball Prospects ranked the top 40 prospects from the Arizona League, with two Brewers (outfielder Max Walla at 14 and pitcher Brooks Hall at 32) making the cut.
- The Brewers re-signed a couple of potential minor league free agents, according to Brewerfan.net: infielder Anderson Machado and catcher Anderson De La Rosa. Both players spent the 2010 season with Huntsville.
The NBA season is around the corner, and TheJay looked ahead and made a list of potential Bucks-Brewers TV conflicts on FS Wisconsin. Four April games could be affected but, as statsllc noted in the comments, two of the Brewer games could be afternoon contests.
We don't have much for transactions today, but we do have one very unfortunate (and predictable) injury note: Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin is out for the rest of the season after being impaled with a shard of a broken bat in yesterday's game. The bat punctured Colvin's lung, and some of the air that escaped is now trapped between the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest wall. If you're still not convinced that something needs to be done to prevent broken bat injuries, Wezen-ball has a montage for you.
Elsewhere in unfortunate injuries, Cardinals backup catcher Jason LaRue is retiring due to a concussion suffered when he was kicked in the head by Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto in a brawl a month ago. Jeffrey Gross of The Hardball Times has a look at the potential legal implications of the brawl and its result.
Carlos Lee is one of baseball's worst defensive outfielders (UZR has him at -13.9 runs this season) but the Astros still owe him $37 million over the next two years, so they're looking for a new place to play him. Since Lance Berkman was dealt Lee has played in ten games at first base, and it's possible that will be his long term home.
By the end of this week the Brewers will no longer hold a pretty dubious record. As TheJay pointed out on Twitter, Arizona entered yesterday's game needing nine strikeouts to break the 2001 Crew's record for most in a season. They struck out six times in a loss to the Pirates.
Needing some help getting your brain going on a Monday morning? Sporcle wants you to name the last 5 RBI leaders by team. I got 94, and gave up four minutes early.
Happy birthday over the weekend to:
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Joey Paciorek, who turns 22 today.
- 1999 Brewer Jim Abbott, who turned 43 Sunday.
- Jody Gerut, who turned 32 Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to the parp.