Some things to read while giving the bubbles their due.
It was another tough day for the Bad News Brewers yesterday, as they were mystified by Bud Norris' slider and left Houston having scored just six runs over three games. Hangwith'em Rach compared Saturday's loss to a drawn-out, ugly UFC fight. Yesterday's loss was more like an early knockout.
The Brewers have struggled historically against Norris, and they continued to do so yesterday. Brian McTaggart of MLB.com noted that Norris hasn't allowed an earned run in three of his last four starts. After the game he looked like the training staff was trying to mummify his right arm.
Yesterday was a rough day for former Brewer Carlos Lee: He hit the home run that blew the game open but also had to leave on a cart and spent the night in a hospital following an outfield collision that saw him get kneed in the chest by teammate Angel Sanchez. Alyson Footer reports that a CT scan showed Lee has a contusion, but no breaks in his ribs.
Nyjer Morgan is nearly ready to return from the DL: He's expected to rejoin the team today and be activated tomorrow and once he's back, the calls for him to replace Carlos Gomez in center should resume in full force. Gomez started in center and batted second in all three games this weekend and went 1-for-11 with two walks, a double and two stolen bases. The .091/.231/.182 weekend dropped his season line to .233/.277/.311, and Tom Haudricourt says there's no way to defend continuing to bat him near the top of the lineup. Gomez didn't help his case by running into another out on Saturday.
Other notes from the field:
- With the win yesterday the Astros are 11-12 since their 0-5 start.
- Bud Norris, Carlos Lee and Bill Hall are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game Voting.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- Going back a couple of days, Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus timed Prince Fielder's Saturday home run trot at 21.98 seconds, and Ryan Braun, Yuniesky Betancourt and Fielder's trots from Friday at 19, 20.59 and 23.94 seconds respectively.
- Fielder earned the right to take his time on Friday as his homer traveled 486 feet. That's the farthest a ball has been hit since Adam Dunn sent one 504 feet in 2009.
The Brewers are in Atlanta today and will open a series with the Braves tonight. Arden Zwelling of MLB.com has a preview of today's matchup (Yovani Gallardo v. Jair Jurrjens). We'll have our series preview up at 2 today.
The Braves series will see the long-awaited Brewer debut of Zack Greinke, who is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday (FanShot). When he comes back the Brewers will shift their rotation a bit: Shaun Marcum will pitch on Thursday, followed by Randy Wolf, Yovani Gallardo and Chris Narveson over the weekend. The move allows the Brewers to split their two lefties up in the rotation. Here's more on Greinke's debut:
- Danny Knobler of CBS listed Greinke among his three players to watch this week.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN called the fact that the Brewers have remained in contention without Greinke and Corey Hart a "pleasant surprise."
- Kevin Chanel of Bugs & Cranks has Greinke on his "All Scar Team."
- Greinke apparently buzzed off his hair before yesterday's game.
The calendar turned over the weekend, so it's time for monthly awards: Ryan Braun and Shaun Marcum were named the Brewers' Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively. Braun also edged out Rickie Weeks by ten votes in our Brewer of the Week balloting, meaning he's now won two of the three votes. Brewers Daily has a look at Braun's hot April, while Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says the Marcum trade is paying off early.
Braun and Marcum were also in the lineup and starting rotation for MLB Depth Charts' April All Star team. Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder were on the bench. Braun, by the way, is still one of just two players (Joey Votto is the other) who have reached base in every game this season.
Here's an interesting note on Rickie Weeks: Jonathan Scippa of Baseball Analytics says Weeks was baseball's sixth best power hitter on outside pitches in April.
Randy Wolf didn't win any awards this week, but it's worth noting that he's had a pretty good opening month too. TheJay pointed out that Wolf has posted a 0.65 ERA over his last four starts, making many/most of us forget about his 22 earned runs in 22.2 spring innings.
The Brewers went 13-13 in April, and apparently that's good enough for some: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says the month was a success, all things considered. Not everyone agrees, though: Beyond the Box Score's BsRized standings say the Brewers should have entered play Sunday at 15.3-10.7, 1.2 games back of the division leading Cardinals.
Jonathan Lucroy's bat has been a much-needed spark since his return, as he's hitting .340/.415/.447 in his first 13 games with the team. His defense, however, hasn't been as good as advertised: Lee Panas of Tiger Tales estimates that Lucroy has cost the team 1.9 runs with the glove, the fifth worst total among catchers.
Unfortunately, Corey Hart hasn't experienced the same offensive success. He was given the day off yesterday after hitting .214/.214/.214 in his first 14 plate appearances. He told Adam McCalvy he expects to return to form soon.
While most of the injured Brewers are getting healthy and returning, Takashi Saito is expected to be out 4-6 more weeks after suffering an oblique strain during a rehab appearance in Nashville. The injury is also going to hit Saito in the pocketbook: A clause in his contract pays him $100,000 each if he spends 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days on the active roster in 2011. As things stand right now, he's been on the roster for six days.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-1 yesterday, with Erik Komatsu going 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base in Huntsville's 3-2 win over Mississippi. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- If you're looking for something to do over your lunch break today, Wisconsin plays the second game of their series at Quad Cities this morning at 11. Tyler Thornburg is scheduled to make the start.
- Wisconsin got some bad news on the injury front over the weekend as catcher Cameron Garfield had to be helped off the field after suffering an apparent knee injury on a play at the plate on Friday. He's been placed on the DL and first baseman Chris Dennis has been activated.
- The Timber Rattlers have a rough stretch of games coming up. Because of April's crazy weather and the Midwest League's half-based scheduling, they're going to have to play four doubleheaders in eight days in May.
- The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Timber Rattlers starting pitcher Austin Ross.
- I mentioned it last night, but if you missed it you should check out Stadium Journey's review of Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Timber Rattlers. They have a lot of very nice things to say about the facility.
Meanwhile, here's a note from the road not traveled: 2010 first round pick Dylan Covey, who opted not to sign with the Brewers, is having a rough start in college. TheJay noted yesterday that Covey had posted a 7.16 ERA through his first 8 college starts, then noticed that the ERA actually jumped to 7.60 following a short start yesterday.
Braves: Pitching coach Roger McDowell has been suspended for two weeks without pay for an incident with fans in San Francisco.
Cardinals: Are expected to place third baseman David Freese on the DL with a broken hand.
Dodgers: Placed third baseman Casey Blake on the DL following surgery to remove an infection from his elbow.
Giants: Placed third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the DL with a broken wrist.
Pirates: Placed pitcher Evan Meek on the DL with shoulder weakness and returned Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez to the Indians.
Rangers: Signed pitcher Justin Miller to a minor league deal.
White Sox: Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for Friday and Saturday's games for a rant he posted on Twitter following an ejection.
Yankees: Pitcher Kevin Millwood has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent.
You already know about Freese's injury if you read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central. If you haven't yet, you should go read it now.
Here's a quick note to put Ozzie Guillen's suspension in perspective: Jack Moore of NotGraphs has a list of other offenses that have drawn similar punishment.
Jack also has the top story in former Brewers:
- At FanGraphs Jack has a look at Alcides Escobar's offensive struggles for the Royals, and how his negative contributions have been magnified by a tendency to come up in key situations.
- Carlos Villanueva is one of eight Blue Jays relievers who have combined to go 9.1 innings without allowing a hit.
- On Saturday I compiled a list of former Brewers playing in the Atlantic League.
- The B-Ref Blog notes that the Brewers allowed 15 baserunners to the Orioles on August 13, 1996 and 14 to the Angels on June 18, 1977 despite allowing just two hits in each game. That's tied for the most and sixth most all time in a game with two or fewer hits.
- John Vander Wal and B.J. Surhoff made Lookout Landing's list of players who were never Mariners.
Today in baseball economics:
- Winning is paying off in Cleveland: The Indians drew 26,433 fans to yesterday's game against the Tigers, including 8,059 walkup ticket sales. That's the third largest walkup crowd in Progressive Park history. (h/t Jim Caple)
- Joe Posnanski has a pretty interesting look at the Royals, who have baseball's lowest payroll, and why people aren't getting upset over it.
- The Padres' new TV deal could allow them to increase payroll by 10-20%. That would still leave them near the bottom of baseball.