Some things to read while being influenced.
As the Brewers and Cardinals spend the day getting ready to resume the NLCS tomorrow and the rest of us nurse our baseball hangover, all eyes are on Shaun Marcum. Everyone but Brewer management seems to feel like he pitched poorly yesterday:
- David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics has a pretty telling quote from Jonathan Lucroy and some graphs analyzing Marcum's performance.
- Rubie Q points out that Marcum's changeup wasn't as slow as usual and his fastball was nearly perfectly straight.
- Ryan Topp of Bernie's Crew has a look at Marcum's location.
- Rob Neyer wants to know if something is wrong with Marcum.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN says the Brewer rotation is in trouble.
- Jay Jaffe notes that Marcum's five earned runs over four innings last night actually lowered the non-Gallardo starting rotation ERA from 11.57 to 11.51.
#Brewers Shaun Marcum's last 6 starts -- 33 IP, 46 H, 30 ER. That's an 8.18 ERA. The guy is cooked. Don't see how they can start him again.
Well, if you can call allowing 46 hits and 30 runs in your last 33 innings bad luck, be my guest. But you wonder who they think believes it.
The second tweet was in response to this: Both Marcum and Ron Roenicke attributed last night's struggles to bad luck. Adam McCalvy noted that it sounded a lot like Ned Yost's old refrain: "Soup pitched great." Roenicke says he plans to stick with Marcum, although he could have just been saying that because he hadn't had a chance to talk to his pitcher.
Of course, Shaun Marcum wasn't the only Brewer pitcher who struggled yesterday. Kameron Loe recorded just one out in the seventh and became the first pitcher in postseason history to allow six hits without retiring two batters.
At the end of the day, I'm not all that worried about the Marcum/Narveson Game 6 debate. If the Brewers have to win the game to advance, I'll be surprised if they don't start Yovani Gallardo on short rest anyway.
Last night's defense was pretty bad too. After watching Corey Hart fail to catch a popup in foul territory, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs sent out this tweet:
Hey @jh_moore - does Corey Hart always run like he just got shot?
If you really want to get angry this morning, Jeff Passan of Yahoo has a story about Nyjer Morgan and Albert Pujols that will certainly do it. Here's the paragraph that got me to stop reading:
Somewhere along the way, the Milwaukee Brewers’ winning emboldened the clown. He made Albert Pujols the object of his mockery, calling him "Alberta" on Twitter. And whether it was this year or next, Morgan set in motion a certainty: Pujols, baseball royalty, would sharpen the guillotine and do what monarchs do.
Morgan, for whatever it's worth, didn't have much to say to reporters last night.
At any rate, Trenni Kusnierek says this Brewer team is not lacking in confidence as they head to St. Louis.
Other notes from the field:
- Rickie Weeks went 1-for-4 with a homer last night. Jordan Schelling says he's starting to find his groove at the plate, while Rhett Bollinger has a look at the blown call at the end of his fifth inning double play.
- Albert Pujols is only the fourth batter ever to record four extra base hits in a playoff game.
D.J. Short of Hardball Talk notes that if the Cardinals sweep the three games in St. Louis, last night could be Prince Fielder's final home game as a Brewer. Matthew Leach of MLB.com doesn't think it will be.
- Fielder set a Brewer franchise record with his fourth career postseason home run.
- LaTroy Hawkins retired two batters last night, and after the game Ron Roenicke revealed that he's been hampered by sore fingers on his pitching hand where he attempted to catch a line drive during the season's final game.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments and a look at last night's turning points.
- Pujols, Jon Jay and Prince Fielder are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 43,937 fans paid to see the game.
- The Italian won the Sausage Race.
- Matthew Leach likes the music at Miller Park.
- Keith Law's daughter had a scouting report on Rickie Weeks' dreadlocks.
Here are last night's home run trot times, via Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus:
|David Freese||20.68 seconds|
You can see Larry's recap of the game here.
With the series tied 1-1, tomorrow's Game 3 in St. Louis becomes even more important than usual. Yovani Gallardo will take the mound against Chris Carpenter in what Howie Magner is calling the biggest start of his life. Mike Bauman of MLB.com has the preview. If you're ready to make your predictions, this week's Prognostikeggers thread is open.
Unfortunately, tomorrow night's game has the "weather permitting" tag attached to it. There's a 60% chance of rain in St. Louis tomorrow night. If it is played, Matthew Leach of MLB.com says we should expect a lower scoring contest.
It'll be interesting to see if the national media picks up on this: After a single last night Yadier Molina reached first base and appeared to go into "Crybaby Mode." Given the Cardinals' reputation, I can't think of a more appropriate celebration. (h/t @tristarscoop)
Meanwhile, Ryan Braun just keeps hitting. He went 2-for-4 with a double last night and became the first player in over 20 years to record seven extra base hits in his first 22 postseason at bats. Braun and Yovani Gallardo are currently neck-and-neck in our voting for Brewer of the NLDS. I'll leave the poll open for one more day so you can cast a ballot if you haven't.
While Braun has clearly been the Brewers' best hitter this winter, at least one of us is wondering why he's spending so much time playing defense: The Brewers Blurb asks why Ron Roenicke sends in a defensive substitution for Corey Hart and not Braun.
I guess I didn't believe in the logic that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder would split votes in the race for NL MVP until I saw this: Jordan Bastian of MLB.com is picking Fielder over Braun. He still has them 1-2 on his ballot, though. Rany Jazayerli of Grantland wonders if Braun and Fielder will be enough to carry the Brewers to the World Series. (h/t BBTF)
The Brewer bullpen wasn't all that good last night (5 IP, 7 ER), but that doesn't change the fact that they've been mostly good lately. Nick Fleder of The Hardball Times has a post on them. Elsewhere at THT, Shlomo Sprung has a post on the Brewers' tendency to score lots of runs at home for Zack Greinke.
Last night's game will likely knock these numbers down a bit, but before the game J-Doug of Beyond the Box Score gave the Brewers a 70% chance of winning the NLCS and a 24.6% chance of winning the World Series.
Hopefully we'll all be watching a Sausage Race again soon, either on Sunday in NLCS Game 6 or in Game 1 of the World Series: Jay Jaffe remembers the time he got to run in the race. Pat Borzi of the New York Times has a great feature on the event.
In the minors:
- Logan Schafer had two hits and was one of three Brewers to appear in Peoria's 7-6 win over Phoenix yesterday. You can read about that and more in today's AFL Notes.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in our BCB Tracking Poll. The poll remains open through the day and results will be posted tomorrow.
White Sox: Are expected to name Mark Parent and Joe McEwing their bench and third base coaches, respectively.
Over in the other league, Nelson Cruz took late inning dramatics to a new level with a walkoff grand slam in Texas' 7-3, 11 inning win over the Tigers. You know about that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the MLB Playoffs.
Today in former Brewers:
- This B-Ref post notes that Paul Molitor (a career .368/.435/.615 postseason hitter) is first all time in batting average among players with at least 100 playoff at bats. Ryan Braun is hitting .429/.468/.762, but only has 42 ABs.
- Gorman Thomas threw out the first pitch on Sunday, and Jack Moore of NotGraphs says he's aged exactly as you'd expect.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've found something to discuss this winter.