Some things to read while finding a better place for your pocketknives. (h/t @dwalsh76)
The Brewers made it two in a row by winning their third game in ten opportunities against the Reds last night, and did so while using LaTroy Hawkins in place of Kameron Loe in the eighth inning. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says Ron Roenicke's bullpen usage is improving, but still isn't convinced that he gets it.
John Axford allowed a solo home run but still recorded his 23rd save of the season last night, and his 20th in as many opportunities. He's only the fourth Brewer pitcher ever to go 20-for-20. Last night's home run also snapped a streak of 39 consecutive outings for Axford without allowing a home run, which is the 13th longest streak in franchise history. The streak began after Ramon Hernandez's home run on Opening Day, and ended on his solo shot last night.
Other notes from the field:
- Rickie Weeks, Chris Narveson and Ramon Hernandez are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart went 1-for-3 and scored a run in his major league debut.
- The Brewers wore the retro uniforms for the second consecutive day.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- 34,102 paid to see last night's game, meaning the attendance has been in the 34's twice in four games on this homestand. Before this week attendance hadn't been that low since the homestand against the Mets and Cardinals in early June.
- The Hot Dog won the Sausage Race.
- Jeff Cirillo was on hand last night doing some analysis for FS Wisconsin. Bill Schroeder leaves on vacation today and Cirillo will be filling in for him.
The two teams play the second game in their four game series tonight, and Cash Kruth of MLB.com has the preview. Zack Greinke will be on the mound for the Brewers, and Miller Park Drunk says it's time for him to wake up.
Greinke, meanwhile, is still making $13.5 million this season. He (15.8%), Prince Fielder (18.1%) and Randy Wolf (11.1%) made B-Ref's list of baseball's 100 highest paid players by percentage of their team's payroll.
It's frequently overlooked, but the ability of a catcher to position himself well and frame pitches for the umpire plays an important role in getting strike calls. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a couple of examples from last night where the way Jonathan Lucroy handled a pitch might have impacted the way it was called.
At Grantland, Rany Jazayerli has an interesting extended post on the Brewers, the relative rarity of a team remaining in contention with poor defense, and the possibility that offense is becoming an undervalued commodity. He says the Brewers "might be the worst defensive infield for a contending club in major league history" and "it will be a mild upset if the Brewers aren't the worst team in the majors come 2013." (FanShot) Over at Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball, Supertramp has a nice rebuttal.
Ryan Braun sat out once again last night, and he's still questionable for the All Star Game on Tuesday. Ron Roenicke dispelled the notion, though, that Braun will sit out on Tuesday if he doesn't play this weekend, implying that he'd like Braun to get a couple of at bats if he's healthy enough to do so.
Meanwhile, this logic is making my head hurt: Doug Melvin stopped by last night's FS Wisconsin broadcast and mentioned that if Braun plays in the All Star Game, the Brewers can no longer backdate a potential DL trip. Unless Braun could play in the ASG at less than 100% (which would be horrifically dumb), I'm not sure why one even spends time thinking about that.
Justin Bopp of Beyond the Box Score, by the way, has a look at the NL's ASG lineup by the numbers.
In the minors:
- It took 24 appearances, but Tyler Thornburg finally picked up his first professional loss last night. Thornburg still has a 2.81 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 16 innings for Brevard County, and Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker is starting to get excited about him.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America is still predicting Thornburg will end up in the bullpen.
- Meanwhile, Eric Arnett is still pitching in Helena. Greg Rachac of MiLB.com has a look at his return to rookie ball.
- The Brewers made some roster moves yesterday, moving reliever Santo Manzanillo up to Huntsville and first baseman/outfielder Chris Dennis up to Brevard County.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights of Wisconsin's 11-5 win over Kane County.
- Mitch Stetter and Mark Rogers made rehab appearances last night for Arizona.
- 2011 eleventh round pick Tommy Toledo, a reliever from Florida, has reportedly signed. (h/t @SessileFielder)
While the poutine and racing sausage kabobs were the most talked-about new food items at Miller Park before the season, the pork parfait has become the leading topic of conversation lately. Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine tried one this week and offers his review.
Cardinals: Designated pitcher Bryan Augenstein for assignment.
Padres: Placed catcher Nick Hundley on the DL. He's expected to undergo elbow surgery.
Rays: Placed pitcher Wade Davis on the DL with a forearm strain.
Arizona did the Brewers a favor last night, beating the Cardinals 4-1 to bring the Crew back into a first place tie in the Central. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's silky smooth edition of Around the NL Central.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals may be close to having contract news to announce: They're rumored to be nearing agreement on a four year extension for pitcher Jaime Garcia that would keep him in St. Louis through 2015.
Our "things could always be worse" note for today involves the Astros once again. They've trimmed $36 million from their payroll over the last three years.
Today in former Brewers:
- Jason Kendall's comeback attempt will have to wait at least another year: He's going to need surgery to repair his rotator cuff and will miss the rest of 2011.
- The JS has video of Dan Plesac's All Star memories.
On Saturday the Brewers and most other major league teams will wear replica Negro League uniforms as part of a celebration of that segment of baseball history. The Royals, however, have decided not to purchase uniforms despite the fact that Kansas City is the home of the Negro League Museum.
The Common Man of The Platoon Advantage is doing a great job this week with his look at the state of major league umpiring. Today he notes that Joe West and his crew already have 17 ejections in 2011, which is 42% more than any other crew.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to write more questions.