Some things to read while estimating.
Yesterday, we finally saw what we've been waiting for all season: a Brewer win over the Phillies. The Brewers avoided the season sweep in their last opportunity, scoring three in the first and rolling to a 6-2 victory.
We also saw something else we haven't seen much of lately: a Prince Fielder home run with runners on. Fielder's three run home run in the first inning was his 30th of the season, making him just the second Brewer ever to reach that mark in four consecutive seasons. It was also his first three run shot of the season. Fielder is second (with 160) behind Ryan Howard (166) for most home runs since the start of the 2007 season.
Randy Wolf allowed two runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings yesterday, walking two and striking out five in his fifth quality start in his last eight outings. Anthony Witrado reports that Wolf changed his tempo on the mound, which has improved his control over his mechanics.
With Wolf on the mound, George Kottaras was behind the plate once again and went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Before the game, Ken Macha credited Kottaras for maintaining offensive consistency while getting limited playing time.
Macha also had this to say about Lorenzo Cain, in response to Cain's mishap in the outfield on Friday:
"He's done a great job. He's our best outfielder. That's why he's playing center field."
Carlos Gomez's future looks a little bleaker every day. He went 0-for-2 in a pair of pinch hitting appearances on the road trip.
Other notes from the field:
- Randy Wolf struck out Jayson Werth in the third inning for his 1500th career K.
- Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf and Kyle Kendrick are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Here are the MLB.com video highlights.
The Brewers won't get much time to recover from a 1-5 road trip: They're back in action with a rare series-opening day game against the Cardinals today. CBS Sports has a series preview.
The odds are pretty good the Brewers will try to get Trevor Hoffman his 600th save during the homestand. Andy Jasner of MLB.com says Hoffman is focused and isn't thinking about the milestone.
Corey Hart finally busted out of an extended slump on Saturday, hitting a pair of solo home runs. He has a .299 OBP since the All Star break, but Hart says the Home Run Derby is not a factor in his struggles.
Speaking of home runs, Braden Looper may be gone but there are still two Brewers (Dave Bush and Randy Wolf) among the NL leaders in home runs allowed.
Yovani Gallardo is hitting .369/.345/.558 this season, adding 1.1 WAR to his value (according to Baseball Reference). Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a post appreciating Gallardo's offensive contributions.
Saturday's game took a turn for the worse when Kameron Loe failed to record an out in the seventh inning, allowing a pair of baserunners that eventally became the game-tying and winning runs. Anthony Witrado has a look at this season's various go-to guys in the bullpen who have more or less universally been effective, overused, then ineffective.
Brewer relievers have had three games this season where at least five relievers have appeared without allowing a run. According to Baseball Reference, the Dodgers lead all of baseball with eight such games.
The middle game of the Phillies series also featured some creative umpiring: The Brewers Bar has a look at home plate umpire Mike Estabrook's inconsistent strike zone.
Brevard County played their final game of the season Sunday, and Wisconsin, Huntsville and Nashville all wrap up their seasons with afternoon games today. With the minor league season drawing to a close we might see the Brewers call up a few more players for a cup of coffee, and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says former #1 pick Mark Rogers might be one of them. Rogers set career highs for innings (116) and strikeouts (114) this season while pitching primarily for Huntsville.
What are your expectations for the rest of the month? The Brewers Bar is asking for three things: Entertain us, let the young kids play and protect Yovani Gallardo.
Meanwhile, today's most obvious note comes from Tom Oates of Madison.com, who says the Brewers will continue to struggle until they find a way to improve their pitching.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 3-2 yesterday, and Brendan Katin went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in Nashville's 7-5 win over New Orleans. Katin is hitting .282/.380/.571 on the season (with 25 HR in 333 AB), and .389/.450/.972 in his last ten games. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Wisconsin outfielder Khris Davis also homered in the Timber Rattlers' 9-4 loss to Kane County. The homer was his 22nd, setting a new franchise record.
- Speaking of the Timber Rattlers, they drew 244,331 fans to Fox Cities Stadium this season despite having 19 home dates affected by weather. That's only down about 6,000 fans from last season, and more than the attendance in Brevard County (89,729) and Huntsville (89,696) combined.
- Looking ahead, Brewerfan.net has the starting point for a conversation on this winter's Rule 5 Draft, with a look at the Brewer minor leaguers who would need to be added to the 40 man roster to be protected.
- Baseball America has stories on Mike McClendon and former Brewer farmhand Josh Romanski, but they're both subscriber-only.
On power rankings:
- Call to the Pen has the Brewers holding steady at 22.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times has the Brewers at 22, down one spot.
Athletics: Signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Pitchers Chris Volstad (six games) and Alex Sanabia (five games), first baseman Gaby Sanchez (three games) and manager Fredi Gonzalez (one game) were suspended for their roles in a brawl with the Nationals.
Nationals: Outfielder Nyjer Morgan (eight games) pitcher Doug Slaten (three games), manager Jim Riggleman (two games) and third base coach Pat Listach (three games) were suspended for their roles in a brawl with the Marlins.
Rangers: Signed pitcher Mark Prior to a minor league deal.
Twins: Designated pitcher Matt Fox for assignment.
Here's a side note on a former Brewer: Mike Rivera, who was a free agent as recently as last week, has been called up to the big leagues by the Marlins. Rivera hasn't played in the majors since being non-tendered by the Brewers following the 2009 season.
It's been almost a week, but people are still talking about Aroldis Chapman's major league debut. Pitch f/x apparently measures a pitch's speed as it leaves the pitcher's hand, but Better Off Red reports that two pitches to Jonathan Lucroy were still traveling over 96 mph as they crossed the plate. That's the fastest recorded in the majors this season. Chapman, by the way, already owns a Lamborghini and a Mercedes with vanity plates "MPH102" and "101MPH," respectively.
The Cardinals are just 6-13 since August 13, falling from a one game lead in the Central to seven games back. None of that, however, has humbled Albert Pujols, who publicly called out teammate Colby Rasmus for a reported trade request earlier in the season.
Here's a fun story on life in the minors: Diamondbacks outfielder Ryan Roberts, who has been shuttled back and forth between Arizona and AAA this season, has been living in the clubhouse in Reno.
Elsewhere in the minors, Ben Hill of MiLB.com spent a day in Burlington, Iowa, at what might be the most no-frills ballpark in the Midwest League.
On this day one year ago, Casey McGehee started a triple play and Prince Fielder hit a walkoff home run as the Brewers beat the Giants, 2-1.
Happy birthday over the weekend to:
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Del Howell, who turns 23 today.
- AZL Brewer Kyle Dhanani, who turns 23 today.
- 2000-01 Brewer Jimmy Haynes, who turned 38 on Sunday.
- 1991 Brewer Candy Maldonado, who turned 50 on Sunday.
- Madison, WI native Pat Neshek, who turned 30 Saturday. Neshek is in his fourth season with the Twins.
- 2000-02 Brewer Luis Lopez, who turned 40 on Saturday.
- 1985-86 Brewer Paul Householder, who turned 52 on Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, my eyes really should be closed.