Some things to read while getting trapped in the clap cycle.
After several months of waiting and watching that giant sign in left field sit unturned, last night it finally happened: Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 600th save in a 4-2 win over the Cardinals, becoming the first pitcher ever to do so and getting some revenge on one of the teams that helped knock him out of the closer role earlier this season. Adam McCalvy has some great photos from the scene.
In-Between Hops has a stat putting some of this in perspective: There are only 20 pitchers in baseball history that have even reached 300 saves, the halfway point to Hoffman's record. There are also only 180 pitchers that have made 600 appearances (Hoffman is ninth on that list with 1032).
The Brewers had t-shirts printed to commemorate the occasion (although they might have been sitting in moth balls since April), and the first 1000 sold out in 20 minutes after the final out was recorded. One other piece of memorabilia, Hoffman's game-worn hat, is headed to Cooperstown.
Here's some more reaction from around the web and baseball world:
- Jerry Crasnick noted that Hoffman was throwing just 84 mph last night.
- Tom Krasovic of MLB FanHouse notes something I didn't know: Hoffman has pitched his entire major league career (and in fact, lived all but five weeks of his life) with one kidney.
- Jon Heyman says Hoffman is guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame.
- Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says Hoffman's consistency at a position with a high burnout and turnover rate deserves some recognition.
- Jack Moore enjoyed the event more than he thought he would.
- Adam McCalvy has quotes from Craig Counsell, who recorded the final out.
- The Padres showed the final out on the video board at Petco Park, and closer Heath Bell admitted to getting "a little misty."
- The Hall of Very Good has reactions from Dirk Hayhurst, Paul Maholm and Ken Rosenthal.
- Bernie's Crew has a look back at Hoffman's first save.
- Even Old Hoss Radbourn busted out a backhanded compliment.
- Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine has a look at the decision to get Hoffman #600 at home.
- Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com has a list of Hoffman memories.
- Aaron Gleeman notes that Hoffman, Jim Thome and Jason Giambi were all drafted as shortstops in 1989.
So, Hoffman has 600. What now? After the game, Hoffman said he'll wait until the offseason to make a decision on the future, but Howie Magner wouldn't have been surprised if he'd retired last night. Rob Neyer points out the potential positives of retiring with 600.
Unless Hoffman comes back for another season, I'd say the odds are pretty good last night will be his final save in a Brewer uniform. With the Brewers not playing exceptionally well and John Axford demonstrating the ability to pitch both multiple innings and back-to-back days, it's hard to believe the Brewers will find many more save opportunities for a backup closer who's no longer pursuing a milestone. I could be wrong, of course, but I think Hoffman will retire after the season with a round number forever tied to his name.
If Hoffman hadn't picked up save #600, the story of the game might have been some terrible umpiring. The game featured some questionable/unusual calls, a wandering strike zone and four ejections: Ken Macha, Chris Dickerson, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and a fan in the front row. Tom Haudricourt heard the fan was ejected for comments made to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
If Hoffman and the umpiring hadn't been the story of last night's game, then the spotlight might have fallen on Chris Narveson, who allowed two runs on just four hits over seven innings and tied a season high with nine strikeouts. Since August 1, Narveson has a 3.38 ERA in 40 innings and has held opposing batters to a .223/.288/.338 line.
Other notes from the field:
- Ken Macha went with a lefty-heavy lineup against righthander Kyle Lohse last night. Chris Dickerson (0-for-3 with three strikeouts before being ejected) and Craig Counsell (1-for-4) both got the start.
- Casey McGehee, Trevor Hoffman and Kyle Lohse are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Here are the MLB.com highlights.
- Chris Narveson was hit by a pitch yesterday, but the White Sox were hit by two (Manny Ramirez twice) to tie the Crew for the major league lead with 70 HBP on the season. Plunk Everyone has more.
- Reliever Brandon Kintzler didn't get into last night's game, but he still became the first Brewer ever to wear #61 during the regular season. Adam McCalvy has the story on Kintzler, who was pitching in independent ball 14 months ago, and notes that he had a pretty interesting first day in the big leagues.
- Luis Cruz was also on the bench for the first time last night, and told Adam McCalvy he's looking ahead to 2011 and trying to make a positive impression.
The Brewers close out the Cardinals series tonight, with Chris Capuano taking the mound against Jaime Garcia. Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says you can make the case that Garcia should be NL Rookie of the Year, and notes that he's gone 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA against the Brewers this season. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs listed tonight's game as the second most interesting in baseball as part of today's "One Night Only" feature.
After wrapping up the Cardinals series tonight the Brewers might add another pitcher to the roster before facing the Cubs on Friday. Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net reports that the team is expected to call up Mark Rogers for Friday's game. It'll be interesting to see how or if they use him.
Meanwhile, we probably shouldn't expect to see Mat Gamel in a major league game at first base or in right field anytime soon. Before yesterday's game, Ken Macha was asked about Gamel's defensive abilities at his potential new positions and cut right to the chase:
"He needs work," Macha said.
Rickie Weeks went 0-for-3 last night, but walked and scored a run. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that Weeks is the only Brewer position player worth five WAR this season, which puts him in pretty elite company.
Weeks is also the Brewers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes players for their work in the community. You can head here to vote for Weeks and enter for a chance to win a trip to the World Series.
Beating up on Brewer pitching is a pretty common pastime around here, but how much of the blame belongs to the defense? At The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man makes the case that the Brewers have failed to convert two full games worth of balls in play into outs this season.
Of course, if Brewer pitchers got more strikeouts there wouldn't be so many balls in play. The Baseball Analysts has a look at 100 pitchers that qualify for the ERA title, ranking them by strikeouts per 100 pitches: Yovani Gallardo is tenth on the list, but the three remaining qualifying Brewers (Chris Narveson, Dave Bush and Randy Wolf) are all in the bottom half.
In the minors:
- While nearly all of the Brewer affiliates have wrapped up their season, Helena still has a few games (and potential playoff appearance) remaining. Last night, Tyler Cravy pitched 7.1 scoreless innings but it wasn't enough, as Great Falls beat the H-Brewers 1-0. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Second baseman Nick Shaw is finishing out his season with Helena after being a postseason All Star for the AZL Brewers. Jeff Moore of The Hardball Times says Shaw "could eventually serve a role on a major league team."
- Speaking of second basemen who improved their prospect status this season, Bob Brainerd has a profile of Scooter Gennett, including the origin of his nickname. (h/t @TimberRattlers)
- With the minor league season mostly concluded, the affiliate shuffle is close to underway. The Oklahoma Statesman is reporting the Brewers are expected to move their AAA operation to Oklahoma City, with the Rangers (OKC's current team) moving to Round Rock and the Astros taking the Brewers' place in Nashville (FanShot). Of course, all of this is far from official.
- Wezen-ball has a graphical look at the history of AAA team relocation and affiliation changes.
- Ben Hill of MiLB.com was at Wisconsin's season finale in Kane County, and has some great pictures of the game and promotions.
In you haven't yet, please take a moment to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. The poll will remain open until noon today, with results posted tomorrow.
Angels: Released infielder/outfielder Robb Quinlan.
Dodgers: Designated infielder Ronnie Belliard for assignment.
Nationals: Designated catcher Carlos Maldonado for assignment.
Rockies: Designated reliever Taylor Buchholz for assignment.
In former Brewer notes: John Sickels of Minor League Ball listed Robin Yount as the starting shortstop on a team of his all time favorite players.
Bay City Call's Chernoff Faces for every major league team might be the most fascinatingly abstract baseball analysis you'll read all day. I read the whole thing and I'm still not sure exactly how it works.
On this day in 1963, the Braves beat the Phillies 3-2, clinching Warren Spahn's 13th and final 20 win season. Nine of those seasons came in Milwaukee, including six straight from 1956-61.
Happy birthday today to: