Some things to read while the decision is made for you.
Good morning, and welcome to first place.
The Brewers needed to sweep the Cardinals over the weekend to claim the lead in the NL Central and that's what they did, led largely by the heroics of Prince Fielder. Fielder, already the reigning Brewer of the Week, went 3-for-7 this weekend with four walks, an HBP and two more home runs, good for a .429/.667/1.286 line against the Cardinals. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports and Steve Gardner of USA Today both noted that Fielder's free agent value is skyrocketing during this current hot streak, and Jamyes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar is starting to see him as an MVP candidate.
Fielder's hot streak is also coming at the best possible time: Audrey Snyder of MLB.com noted that six of Fielder's last eight home runs have given the Brewers the lead, and the other two have tied games. He was a trending topic on Twitter during yesterday's game.
Prince Fielder now has 3800 career plate appearances. You might not have known that that's 21st among active players who have only played for one franchise.
Even Fielder's HBPs are historic lately: Fielder was hit by a pitch on Friday night, and it was the 600th plunking in Miller Park history. Plunk Everyone has more.
Fielder will get most of the credit for yesterday's win, but this play deserves to be remembered: Disciples of Uecker has a look at Carlos Gomez's great catch in center field to preserve the lead in the ninth.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers are now in first place for the first time since 7/4/2009, and ten games over .500 for the first time since June of '09.
- Prince Fielder, Shaun Marcum and John Axford are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- The Brewers drew 42,692 fans yesterday, and were one of three major league teams at or above 100% capacity. I'll have more on attendance later today.
- The Polish won Sunday and Friday's Sausage Races, with Chorizo picking up a victory on Saturday.
Saturday night was Cerveceros Night at Miller Park, and despite the big win a fair amount of conversation from the game focused on the Brewers' barley/mustard/yellow uniforms. J.D. of View From Bernie's Chalet was a fan of the new look, while Toby Harrmann was not.
The uniforms didn't seem to bother Zack Greinke: He allowed three runs over seven innings, walking none and striking out nine in a 5-3 Brewer win. Troy Patterson of ESPN's SweetSpot blog has a look at Greinke's recent resurgence. Daniel Moroz of The Outside Corner says it's probably too late for Greinke to catch up with the Cy Young frontrunners, but he could be enough to help carry the Brewers to the playoffs.
Here, by the way, is a reminder of the uselessness of the "wins" statistic: Saturday night's victory improved Greinke to 6-1 on the season, and the former Cy Young Award winner who has at times been one of baseball's most dominant pitchers is now 66-68 for his career.
Chris Narveson had a nice bounceback start on Friday, pitching eight scoreless innings after posting a 10.66 ERA over his previous three starts. At Baseball Nation, Carson Cistulli notes that Narveson was effective despite the fact that half of his pitches were thrown under 80 mph.
Narveson also drove in a run on Friday with a squeeze bunt. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at the results of the Brewers' increased bunting tendencies this season.
Ryan Braun was overshadowed a bit by Prince Fielder this weekend but he also had hits in all three games, including a homer on Friday. Tommy Rancel selected Braun tenth in FanGraphs' Franchise Player Draft. Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs has tweaked his position player NERD ratings, and Braun is now tied for first place. He's also among baseball's "least underrated" players. Eric Karabell of ESPN says Braun will still be the face of the franchise in 2016.
Moving forward, the Brewers open a four game set at Wrigley Field tonight. Cory Provus says this is a cool week, as the Brewers visit both Wrigley Field and Fenway Park in a seven game stretch. Joe Distelheim of The Hardball Times says this Cubs team has a chance to be the worst ever. Louie Horvath of MLB.com has a preview of today's game, and we'll have our series preview this afternoon. I also answered some questions for View From The Bleachers, and they're scheduled to post at 2 today.
I'm not sure I agree with the result, but the science seems sound: Steve Slowinski of FanGraphs used Google to decide that Cubs-Brewers (third) and Reds-Brewers (fifth) are among the top five rivalries in the NL Central, while Brewers-Cardinals is not.
There's an outside chance we could see Mat Gamel's 2011 Brewer debut in Chicago: Adam McCalvy is reporting the Brewers are considering adding him to the roster this week to have an extra bat for interleague play, which opens on Friday.
If we don't see Mark DiFelice as a Brewer this week, there's a chance we won't see him again. The Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting that DiFelice has an informal agreement with Gord Ash that allows him to request his release if he's not on the major league roster by Wednesday. (h/t @SessileFielder)
Meanwhile, Takashi Saito was scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Wisconsin yesterday but was scratched due to shoulder stiffness. Todd Rosiak of the JS is reporting that he still could pitch for Nashville on Tuesday.
In the minors:
- Brewersprospects.com has updated their ranking of the Brewers' top ten prospects, and has Erik Komatsu #1.
- The affiliates went 2-2 yesterday and Khris Davis went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a home run in Brevard County's 6-4 win over Lakeland. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from yesterday's Wisconsin win.
- Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have signed LHP Alan Williams to a minor league deal. Williams, who is 21, was drafted in the late rounds by the Marlins in both 2008 and 2009 but did not sign. He was pitching for the Washington WildThings of the Frontier League this season.
- Nashville reliever Rob Wooten is now on Twitter. I've added him to the list.
And in draft notes:
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a largely positive review of the Brewers' first eleven selections.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com listed Taylor Jungmann among pitchers who could reach the big leagues quickly.
- He'll have to sign first, though. Doug Melvin says he doesn't expect either of the organization's first round picks to sign quickly. Jungmann still isn't talking about it.
- @SessileFielder reports the Brewers have signed 31st round pick RHP Sean Albury.
- @Mass_Haas, meanwhile, reports that 28th round pick C BreShon Kimbell is "definitely" going to pass on signing and go to college.
- The Brewers have reportedly signed Rhode Island pitcher Stephen Peterson, an undrafted free agent.
In power rankings: Craig Calcaterra has the Brewers third, up four spots.
Braves: Placed outfielder Martin Prado on the DL with a staph infection.
Cardinals: Placed outfielder Allen Craig on the DL with a knee contusion.
Cubs: Designated outfielder Brad Snyder for assignment.
Giants: Placed infielder Freddy Sanchez on the DL with a dislocated shoulder and signed Bill Hall.
Nationals: Placed pitcher Cole Kimball on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Padres: Designated pitcher Aaron Poreda for assignment and placed pitcher Aaron Harang on the DL with a foot injury.
Pirates: Acquired catcher Mike McKenry from the Red Sox for a PTBNL or cash, designated catcher Wyatt Toregas for assignment and placed pitcher Evan Meek on the DL with a shoulder injury.
Rangers: Placed catcher Mike Napoli on the DL with an oblique strain.
Rays: Designated infielder Felip Lopez for assignment.
Royals: Designated pitcher Kevin Pucetas for assignment.
Yankees: Placed pitcher Bartolo Colon on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Around baseball this morning the big story is a proposed MLB realignment plan which would move one NL team (likely the Astros) to the AL to create two fifteen team leagues, abolish the divisions and go with five playoff spots from each league. I don't like the idea at all, but In-Between Hops notes that a Brewer move back to the AL could change their position in the Prince Fielder Contract Sweepstakes.
Meanwhile, Reds manager Dusty Baker seems to be in favor of the idea. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central. As an added bonus, today it's available at 50% of yesterday's price.
Today in former Brewers:
- The legend of Carlos Corporan is over. Corporan had a hit in his only major league at bat as a Brewer in 2009 and singled again in a pinch hit appearance for the Astros on Friday, but ruined his career 1.000 batting average by going a combined 1-for-8 on Saturday and Sunday.
- Steve Woodard made Jeff Sullivan's list of the best major league debuts in history with his 1997 outing against Roger Clemens and the Blue Jays.
- As part of their season-long 50th anniversary celebration, the Angels are bringing back one former player each day to throw out the first pitch. Friday's honoree was Bob McClure.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still looking for my tickets.