Some things to read while approaching the light.
The Brewers picked up a big home win last night in Zack Greinke's Miller Park debut, but the unlikely story of the night was Yuniesky Betancourt's play to start a 6-4-3 double play in the eighth inning. You can see the play here, or virtually anywhere else gifs are stored. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar credited Betancourt with a save in last night's game.
I have to say: Betancourt's play was impressive and flashy, but I'm not sure it's worth this much hype. Danny Knobler and Craig Calcaterra are calling it the play of the year, and it caused Rob Neyer to take back all the negative things he's said about Yuni. I still feel like a shortstop with better range gets to the ball a step earlier, steps on second and completes a relatively routine 6-3 double play without the fanfare. With that said, the volume of hype the play is receiving would imply that I'm relatively deep in the minority here.
Elsewhere in lightning rods: Carlos Gomez started in center field and was back in the #2 hole last night, going 1-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and a pair of strikeouts. The triple raised his slugging percentage a bit, but he's still hitting .242/.295/.350 on the season, and the decision to keep batting him second may be starting to shorten Ron Roenicke's managerial grace period. Brewers Mix says Roenicke is creating too many holes in the lineup.
Here's something that might make you feel a little better: Inability to properly utilize the second spot in the lineup is a problem other teams have too. Eric Simon of Amazin' Avenue wants to know why bad hitters must always bat second.
Meanwhile, Zack Greinke looked very good in his home debut last night, and admitted afterward that the fans at Miller Park "got me a little more excited." Josh Wussow of Inside Wisconsin Sports notes that that's a significant change from Kansas City, where he called the fans "annoying." Meanwhile, Jonathan Lucroy caught Greinke for the first time last night and called his stuff "electric."
Greinke also picked up an infield hit in his first plate appearance last night. He's the 448th Brewer to collect at least one hit.
Other notes from the field:
- Padres hitters entered the game leading the NL in walks, but didn't draw a single free pass last night.
- Danny Knobler of CBS notes that this week's series features two managers from Mike Scioscia's coaching tree: Ron Roenicke and Bud Black. Scioscia just won his 1000th game over the weekend.
- Zack Greinke, John Axford and Rickie Weeks are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- The Brewers were hoping to draw 30,000 fans for last night's game but sold just 27,058 tickets.
- The hot dog won last night's sausage race.
- Cancer survivor Joan Kamholz threw out last night's first pitch, and the national anthem singer wore a circa 1995 Darryl Hamilton jersey.
- Carson Cistulli captured a Bob Uecker comment about the Greinke Rally Towels.
If you sat through the Brewers' recent road trip, then you earned last night's victory. Hangwith'em Rach awarded this week's El Super to anyone that managed to watch all ten games.
The Brewers and Padres play again tonight, with Shaun Marcum scheduled to take the mound for the Brewers. Avi Zaleon of MLB.com has the preview.
Ryan Braun went 0-for-3 with a walk last night, continuing his slow start to the month of May. FakeTeams is calling all slumpbusters to help Braun and several other players.
Mitch Stetter hasn't appeared in a game since pitching in both halves of the doubleheader on Wednesday. His hometown paper (The Evansville Courier Press) has a look at his return to the majors after spending most of 2010 with Nashville.
Meanwhile, Manny Parra is still shut down with the elbow issues that flared up during his last rehab appearance. Adam McCalvy reports that Parra is optimistic regarding the severity of his injuries.
The news is a little better for Erick Almonte, who has been cleared to resume physical activities following his concussion two weeks ago.
In the minors:
- Yesterday we mentioned that Wily Peralta had been placed on the DL in Huntsville. Adam McCalvy reports that the injury is not serious: Peralta had to have a molar extracted but won't be out long.
- The affiliates went 1-3 last night, scoring just 16 runs while allowing 35. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Wisconsin had the only win, and Rattler Radio has video highlights from it.
- Baseball Intellect has the second half (6-15) of their list of the top Brewer prospects. Erik Komatsu led the way at #6.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a mock draft up. He's predicting the Brewers will select New Mexico high school catcher Blake Swihart with the #12 pick, and LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook at #15.
In power rankings:
- Paul Swydan of FanGraphs has the Brewers at 11, down two spots.
- Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has the Brewers at 25, down 15 spots.
- ESPN also has the Brewers at 25, down 14 spots.
- USA Today has the Brewers at 25, down 12 spots.
The New York Daily News dropped the Brewers 12 spots from 14 to 26th.
If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include the recent road trip, the Brewer bench and more.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment this morning to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It will remain open until tonight and results are tentatively scheduled to be posted tomorrow.
Angels: Placed outfielder Vernon Wells on the DL with a strained groin.
Astros: Designated pitcher Nelson Figueroa for assignment.
Athletics: Outfielder Josh Willingham has been suspended for one game for bumping an umpire during an argument on Saturday, but appealed the suspension.
Mariners: Designated outfielders Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans for assignment.
The Cardinals were off last night, so the Brewers gained half a game in the standings to inch back within five of the division lead. You can read about that and more in today's edition of Around the NL Central.
Today in former Brewers:
- Doug Davis, who can opt out of his minor league deal if the Cubs don't call him up soon, has been promoted to AAA Iowa.
- Alcides Escobar continues to struggle at the plate for the Royals. Royals Review has noticed an improvement in his recent at bats, but he's still hitting .235/.265/.286 overall.
A good hitting shortstop has always been hard to find, but it's getting even more difficult lately: Lacy Lusk of the Washington Post has a look at 2011's power outage at the position.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Astros' sale appears to be all but wrapped up, and the final price tag is going to be somewhere near $680 million. This has me wondering what the Brewers are worth at this point...I'm not sure they're worth much less than the Astros, but $680 million would be a 300%+ return on investment for Mark Attanasio.
- The Yankees tack on a 20% service charge to concession items delivered to seats at their stadium, but now face a lawsuit from their waiters who say none of that revenue is being passed on to them.
Through April, we had actually gotten pretty far into the 2011 season without many glaring examples of confrontational umpire behavior. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be shifting back: The Platoon Advantage notes that Joe West and his crew have ejected four managers and a player in the last five days. Being baseball's most attention-seeking umpire backfired for West during a recent trip to Boston, when he was booed out of a bar.
Here's something to bookmark for future reference: Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus has one of the more comprehensive guides I've seen to baseball mascots past and present.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to move this battle. (h/t PocketDoppler)