Some things to read while putting yourself at the top.
Hopefully you made the most of the Brewer off day yesterday, because it's the last one for a while. Yesterday's break was the only one scheduled in a stretch of 26 games in 27 days, which resumes tonight. Yovani Gallardo will face off against James McDonald in the series opener against the Pirates, and the JS has a preview. Here's our series preview from yesterday. Adam McCalvy also noted that this is the first time Gallardo and Zack Greinke (scheduled to pitch on Sunday) will appear in the same home series. Chris Narveson will pitch in the middle on Saturday.
Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has another reminder of how good the Brewers have been against the Pirates lately: They've won 28 of the last 30 meetings between the two teams at Miller Park.
Maybe a day off helped Corey Hart get back on track. Dennis Punzel of Madison.com has a look at Hart's struggles at the plate since returning from his oblique injury. Here's a Dale Sveum quote that I found both encouraging and frustrating:
"Corey needs those 40-50 at-bats in spring training, probably more than anybody else. But the last couple days he’s said he feels more comfortable and when Corey feels comfortable in the box there’s usually some good results."
If Hart really needs his spring training ABs "more than anybody else," I'd like to ask again why the Brewers brought him back after just 15 PAs in Nashville.
Looking back a day, Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus timed Prince Fielder's Wednesday home run trot at 20.58 seconds.
Larry also chatted with readers yesterday. Check out the transcript to see his thoughts on the Brewers missing Charlie Morton this weekend, Prince Fielder's contract status and trade possibilities, and Ron Roenicke.
It took more than a year longer than they expected, but the Brewers are finally starting to see dividends from the two year, $7.5 million deal they gave LaTroy Hawkins. Todd Rosiak of the JS has a story on Hawkins' return to relevance in the Brewer bullpen.
In a somewhat related note, Reed MacPhail of FanGraphs has a look at teams' decision to continue to overpay relievers.
Elsewhere in relievers, Zach Braddock did about everything one could have asked of him last night in a rehab appearance for Wisconsin: He faced five batters and struck out all of them. It seems pretty likely he'll be activated when he's eligible to return on Tuesday.
Mat Gamel went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for Nashville last night. The Nashville City Paper has a great article about Gamel's season in the minors, and he's saying all the right things about doing whatever it takes to get back to the big leagues. Meanwhile, Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar notes that the Brewers are still sending mixed messages about Gamel's future, and suspects the Brewers will bring in a veteran instead of featuring him at first base next season.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 3-1 last night and Erik Komatsu went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run in the only loss as Huntsville fell to Tennessee 7-5. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's fifth straight win last night.
- Nashville also won last night for the second time in as many days, and Jordan Brown tied a Pacific Coast League record by recording sac flies in each of his first three plate appearances.
In power rankings: Yahoo has the Brewers 20th, down four spots.
In NL Central action last night the Cardinals beat the Cubs to open up a 5.5 game lead on the Brewers, tying the largest deficit of the season. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
Today in former Brewers: Trevor Hoffman threw out the first pitch at a Tuscon Padres game last night, and they busted out Hells Bells for the occasion.
I've got two notes on attendance today:
- There were 13 games played on Wednesday and seven of them (home games for the Astros, Marlins, Indians, Blue Jays, Pirates, Braves and Orioles) were played in front of 22,000 fans or less. The Brewers haven't drawn less than 22,000 to a game all season.
- Meanwhile, a large chunk of baseball's leaguewide attendance drop this season can be attributed to the Dodgers, who are averaging 7,268 fewer fans per game in 2011.
Bad weather this season probably isn't helping the attendance numbers. You Can't Predict Baseball is reporting that there have already been more rainouts in 2011 than there were in all of 2010.
Elsewhere in weather notes: The Pirates and Dodgers were rained out last night in Pittsburgh, and Dodgers pitcher Jon Garland isn't happy with the Pirates' decision to schedule a night game on a getaway day. The Brewers' April series in Pittsburgh also ended with a night game. Their return trip in August ends with an 11:35 am start. Apparently it has to be one extreme or the other.