Some things to read while painting the grass.
The Brewers failed to complete the sweep in St. Louis last night, and they did so without Ryan Braun. Braun was given the day off to rest his nagging calf/hamstring and downplayed the issue, even though the timing was a bit curious.
Even with Braun out of the lineup the Brewers managed to score two runs in the first inning last night (and none the rest of the game), marking the seventh time in eight games they've scored in their first opportunity. 86 of the Brewers' 524 runs this season (16%) have come in the first inning, easily the most in the NL.
Prince Fielder drove in one of those first inning runs. David Schoenfield of ESPN reports that Fielder has driven in 18.4% of the runners on base when he's come to the plate this season, which is the 23rd highest percentage in all of baseball and above most cleanup hitters.
Other notes from the field:
- Mark Kotsay started in left and batted third in place of Ryan Braun last night, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
- Nyjer Morgan and Cardinals
hotheadpitcher Chris Carpenter exchanged words during the seventh and eighth innings, leading to umpires stepping in to diffuse the situation.
- Albert Pujols, Carpenter and Kotsay are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
The Brewers are home from St. Louis and return to action at Miller Park tonight, hosting the Pirates in game one of a three game set. Zack Greinke has moved up a day in the rotation and will pitch tonight (FanShot). Jon Star of MLB.com has the preview. We're closing in on the Prognostikeggers playoffs, so make your predictions count.
Looking ahead another day, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports listed Marco Estrada's start on Saturday as one of his three things to watch this weekend. This start wouldn't have been necessary if the Brewer clubhouse had been stocked with Chris Narveson Safety Scissors.
Every series is a big one for the Brewers now, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune says this weekend's set is important for the Pirates too. He also reports that Nyjer Morgan refers to Pirates starter Jeff Karstens as "Jethro."
The Brewers didn't use Francisco Rodriguez last night but still got three scoreless relief innings from Kameron Loe, Frankie de la Cruz and Tim Dillard. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that the Brewer bullpen is the fourth best in all of baseball by WPA since K-Rod joined the team.
In the minors:
- Pitcher Wily Peralta has been promoted from Huntsville to Nashville to take Frankie de la Cruz's roster spot. Roto Hardball says Peralta is making a case to be considered the Brewers' best prospect.
- The affiliates went 0-6 last night, but don't blame Sean Halton: he went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in Huntsville's 6-5, 14 inning loss to Jackson. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 6-4 loss to Beloit.
- 21 year old pitcher Nick Bucci is having a pretty good season in the Florida State League, but it might end early: Toby Harrmann noted that Bucci has already thrown 134.1 innings this season, 13.2 more than he threw in 2010, and the Brewers will probably shut him down instead of letting him go too far beyond that.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have released catcher Sean McCraw. He was in his third season in the Brewer organization after coming over from the Mets, and had posted a .188/.271/.295 line in 49 games for Brevard County.
If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, you could check out my appearance on The Pulse Network from yesterday morning. Or, if you can wait a few hours, I'll be on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull at 4:30 today.
Cardinals: Signed reliever Arthur Rhodes.
Cubs: Dave Bush has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent.
Diamondbacks: Claimed shortstop Tommy Manzella off waivers from the Astros.
Pirates: Re-signed pitcher Mike Crotta to a minor league deal.
You already know about Rhodes, Manzella and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
It's probably still too early to be talking about stuff like this, but it's out there so I'll mention it: If all else continues to go as it has the Brewers will be the #2 seed in the National League playoffs, and will host game one of the NLDS on the same day as Wisconsin's home football game against Nebraska in October (FanShot).
Today in former Brewers:
- Adam Bernacchio of MLB Daily Dish has a look at the prospects the Brewers have traded away over the last several years and cites them as an example that not every promising minor leaguer works out.
Gaslamp Ball has a look at the preparations at Petco Park for the retirement of Trevor Hoffman's number, which will come on August 21.
Earlier this week I mentioned that nine Astros have made their major league debut this season. I thought that was a lot until I saw this: The Royals have eleven.
The Brewers and a couple dozen other MLB teams have until 11 pm Monday to work out deals with their unsigned first round draft picks, and today for the first time we have a story about a player that might not sign: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com is reporting that the Blue Jays and #21 overall pick Tyler Beede aren't going to come to terms. Jim Callis of Baseball America is skeptical.
Maybe Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley can add to this list: the B-Ref Blog says the Brewers have drafted and developed eight pitchers who won 30 games by the end of their age 24 seasons. Amazingly, the Diamondbacks have never had one.
Today in baseball economics: The Pirates were nationally relevant for about two months this season, and apparently they're planning on using that as an excuse to increase ticket prices for 2012.
If you'd like to eat like you're at the State Fair without actually attending the State Fair, today I learned that Progressive Field in Cleveland has deep fried peanut butter and jelly.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to fly over Howie's house again.