Some things to read while making contingency plans ...
Mercifully, the Brewers are finished with the AL East portion of their schedule after bowing meekly to the Yankees, 5-0, in the Bronx yesterday afternoon. Yankee starter CC Sabathia abused his former club in a big way, working 7.2 innings and fanning 13 overmatched Brewer hitters en route to his 11th victory of the year.
The grisly numbers show that, in nine games against the class of the best division in baseball (BoSox, Rays, and Yanks), the Crew went 2-7 and was outscored, in total, 61-27. I have nothing to add (other than: blech), but over at The Bucky Channel, Winks says that Brewer fans need a dose of perspective in this marathon season.
For a couple innings yesterday, it looked like starter Randy Wolf was going to turn in the third short start by a Brewers pitcher in as many days. But after a 30-plus pitch first inning, Wolf bailed out a bullpen that had to cover nine innings in the previous two games by throwing six more innings. At The Brewers Bar, Jaymes Langrehr writes that Wolf settled in once he found a consistent release point.
A couple other notes from the field:
- At ESPN NewYork, Ian Begley says that Sabathia got a case of the butterflies before facing his former mates for the first time.
- Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a first-inning single, and finished the day 3-for-3 with a walk.
- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira clubbed the 300th homer of his career in the third inning.
- At FanGraphs, Sabathia, Braun, and Robinson Cano are leading the Stars of the Game voting.
One final note from New York before we put the Big Apple in the rearview mirror: earlier this week, the folks at It's About the Money were nice enough to answer KL's questions in our Yankees series preview. Today, Hippeaux at IATM takes a look at Braun's long-term contract with the Brewers and says that playing most (if not all) of his career in MLB's smallest market won't have an adverse effect on Braun's brand.
The local nine returns to the Midwest tonight to begin the final interleague series of the season: a three-game set with the Twins at Target Field. The Crew will be joined in Minneapolis by reliever Takashi Saito, who's ready to take his spot in the 'pen after successfully completing his rehab stint in the minors. Saito's addition brings the 'pen back to something-near full strength -- provided, of course, that Zach Braddock doesn't have to serve another minor-league detention in the near future. It sure sounds like Braddock got the message, anyway, when he told Tom Haudricourt that he "needed to get out of my own element and get into the team element" and has to focus on being a better teammate.
Manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that the team will likely move a position player to make room on the active roster for Saito, and Roenicke called that decision "difficult." But it really shouldn't be, says Jaymes at The Brewers Bar: it's time for Mark Kotsay to go. At Disciples of Uecker, Jack Moore agrees that Kotsay should be sent packing, and also notes that the Crew should probably summon Taylor Green to take Casey McGehee's spot at third base. While he was on the subject, Jack also reminded everyone that Mat Gamel isn't an option at the hot corner.
Meanwhile, the Twins continue to deal with the injury issues that have plagued them all season. Injured outfielder Jason Kubel began a rehab assignment at Single A Fort Myers, and there was some hope that he'd be able to return to Minnesota's lineup in a few days. But those plans were derailed, albeit briefly, when Kubel re-injured his foot trying to catch a fly ball yesterday.
At MLB.com, Joey Nowak has a preview of tonight's Gallardo vs. Liriano matchup. I think we'll have our own series preview later this afternoon. If we don't, you know the drill: blame Noah. And while you're waiting, make sure to get your predictions in for the latest edition of Prognostikeggers.
Fan voting for the All-Star Game came to an end yesterday, and now we wait until Sunday to see if any other Brewers will be joining Braun in the Senior Circuit's starting lineup. Regardless of whether he's a starter, though, first baseman Prince Fielder will be involved in a portion of the festivities, as he was named the captain of the NL team in the upcoming home run derby (FanShot).
We've only got one filing today in the "Isn't Zack Greinke having a weird season?" department: with Greinker sporting an ERA that's three runs higher than his xFIP, Eric Seidman takes a look at the pitchers who had the largest disparities between those two numbers over a full season.
Down on the Farm:
- The affiliates went 2-4 on the night, with Huntsville splitting a double header and the T-Rats clipping Cedar Rapids. As per usual: morinek0's got all that and more for you in today's Minor League Notes.
- Third-round pick Nick Ramirez made his organizational debut at first base for Helena last night and hit third in the lineup (h/t @SessileFielder). He was 2-5 with two runs driven in.
- Eric Arnett had a rough night, thought it wasn't all his fault: Billings tagged the right-hander for six runs and seven hits in just four innings, but only one of the runs was earned.
Around the Show:
Cardinals: purchased the contract of AAA pitcher Brandon Dickson.
Orioles: optioned pitcher Brian Matusz to AAA Norfolk moments after a disastrous start against the Cardinals.
Red Sox: designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment.
Rockies: acquired second baseman Mark Ellis and cash from the A's for minor-league pitcher Bruce Billings and a player to be named later.
Thanks to Matusz's latest meltdown, the Cardinals and Crew are once again tied atop the division, and every other Central team that played yesterday gained a game on Milwaukee as well. You already know that, of course, if you're a faithful reader of Around the NL Central, which also gives you 120% of your daily requirements for bran.
Today in former Brewers:
- The end of Mike Cameron's tenure in Boston has many speculating that this is the end of the road for the veteran outfielder. Dave Cameron isn't so sure we should jump to that conclusion.
- Royals farmhand Jake Odorizzi took the loss yesterday for his Advanced A Wilmington club, but he was rewarded for his strong performance this season with a promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas. (h/t @SessileFielder)
Today in baseball economics:
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt might (and probably will) lose control of his club in the next few months, but he's not going down without a fight: Craig Calcaterra notes that McCourt's legal team has noticed up depositions for Commissioner Bug Selig (even though McCourt's lawyers got Selig's first name wrong on the depo notices) and six other baseball executives in connection with the bankruptcy proceedings pending in California federal court.
That's all I've got for you today, friends -- unless you'd like to see what a Marvel/Pixar crossover might look like.