Some things to read while drinking beer at noon on Tuesday, in a bar that faces a giant car wash.
So after 162 regular season games and ten more in the postseason, here we are: The Brewers' backs are against the wall tonight as they face elimination in Game 6 of the NLCS, and Shaun Marcum will take the mound with the season on the line at 7 pm tonight. Mike Bauman of MLB.com has the preview and Kevin Dame of Baseball Nation has a look at Edwin Jackson and Marcum's repertoires.Tonight's game was moved to 7 pm when the Rangers and Tigers wrapped up their series last night (FanShot).
If the season ends today, we're probably going to revisit the decision to start Shaun Marcum over and over again in the years to come. By sending Marcum to the mound today Ron Roenicke is rejecting the chance to use Yovani Gallardo on short rest with the season on the line. Gallardo also won't be available out of the bullpen (FanShot). Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin speculated that Gallardo might not have been all that good on short rest anyway since he's expended a lot of effort over his last few starts.
We had this debate ad nauseum in the comments of Friday's Mug, and now we know which side Ron Roenicke is on: He said he's not starting Yovani Gallardo on short rest today because the Brewers need two wins, not just one. So he's taking "best chance to win the series" over "best change to prolong the season."
At this point it's safe to say the odds aren't in the Brewers' favor. J-Doug of Beyond the Box Score has the Crew at 31.8% and Dan Szymborski has them at 27.9% to win the series. With that said, Jon Heyman says the team is loose and they "still have a decent shot at this." Toby Harrmann is still picking them to win the World Series. Yahoo has four ways the Brewers can jump start their offense today.
Of course, the Brewers have been very good at Miller Park this season. Adam McCalvy says the Brewers are counting on their homefield resiliency tonight, and notes that it would also help if they scored first.
If you're going to the game today, make sure you're in your seat early: The Brewers are planning a "surprise guest" to throw out the first pitch tonight. It probably won't be the Undertaker. The roof will be closed at Miller Park. Adam McCalvy has a guide to the rest of Game 6's happenings.
His defense didn't help him, clearly, but part of the reason the Brewers are in this position is Zack Greinke's rough outing on Friday. He failed to complete the sixth inning in the Cardinals' 7-1 win and didn't record a single strikeout for just the second time in the last four seasons. Jeff Passan of Yahoo talked to Greinke about the loss while he downloaded a movie for the flight home. Josh Weinstock of FanGraphs has a look at Greinke's pitch selection patterns.
I think this might be the first time all season we've seen Greinke show any serious signs of frustration: Big League Stew has a gif of his ball spike following Jerry Hairston's error.
Other notes from the field:
- Jaime Garcia, Yadier Molina and David Freese won FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Here are a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments, our Stat of the Night and the game's turning points.
- MLB.com named Tony LaRussa their Performer of the Game. Joe Frisaro has a story on his bullpen usage in the series.
We're five games into this series and Nyjer Morgan has only started two of them: He was held out of the lineup against Jaime Garcia in Games 1 and 5 and against Chris Carpenter in Game 3. Bill Ladson of MLB.com talked to Morgan about his new home and his exit from Washington this spring.
Morgan was one of Doug Melvin's better acquisitions this season. Jon Heyman says one fellow postseason GM is picking Melvin for Executive of the Year.
There's a strong chance we're going to see some individual history made today: Ryan Braun enters the game tied for first in franchise history with 22 postseason hits (Robin Yount and Paul Molitor also had 22), and two behind Cecil Cooper for first on the all time RBI list.
We may or may not see Carlos Gomez today (it's unlikely he'll start), but keep an eye out for him in the dugout: Apparently he shaved his head yesterday.
Rickie Weeks will start, despite the fact that he's just 5-for-37 this October. He'll be across second base from Yuniesky Betancourt, who Todd Rosiak says has gotten hot at the right time.
Elsewhere in game preparations: Mark Attanasio will have a glove in the stands tonight after his wife Debbie was hit by a Mark Kotsay foul ball in Game 4.
Regardless of what happens today, Jerry Hairston Jr has done a lot this postseason to increase his free agent value. Red Reporter has an appreciation of his Game 4 slide.
Meanwhile, it's been a tough season for Rick Kranitz, who lost his mother in September. Michael Hunt of the JS has comments from the Brewer pitching coach about his tough time and how the team helped him get through it.
Hopefully tonight won't be the last time we hear Bob Uecker in 2011. Yesterday Uecker told Adam McCalvy he plans to return next season, and for every year thereafter as long as he's able. Follow that link for the video.
In the minors:
- Zelous Wheeler had a pair of doubles as Peoria picked up an 8-7 win over Scottsdale in AFL play yesterday. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
- Baseball Think Factory has a look at the impact of various fields across the minor leagues.
- Baseball America has a post on Taylor Green, but it's subscriber-only.
The Brewers have produced all kinds of playoff apparel, but is the best stuff being made on the black market? Big League Stew says they found the best postseason gear in a drug store.
Maybe the Brewers should make some postseason phiten necklaces. NPR has a look at 2011's new MLB fad, complete with a picture of Chris Narveson wearing one. Narveson, by the way, talked to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his relationship with several former Cardinal teammates.
This is how you know there's been a profile of everyone: The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram has a story on Brewer grounds manager Michael Boettcher.
White Sox: Released pitcher Tony Pena and outrighted pitchers Kyle Cofield, Josh Kinney, Shane Lindsay and Leyson Septimo. All will be free agents.
today in former Brewers:
- Willie Randolph will not return to the Orioles coaching staff in 2012. He split the season between jobs as bench and third base coach.
- 1997 Brewer Jack Voigt is interviewing for the Mets' first base coach opening.
I haven't seen today's collection yet, but Lookout Landing has Friday's playoff puns.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to clean up this mess.