Some things to read while fighting plaque.
Zack Greinke had another really good day on the mound yesterday, allowing just one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over 7.2 innings. He drew more attention, though, by becoming just the second Brewer pitcher ever to steal a base. Here are some notes on the accomplishment:
- Randy Wolf, who did it last year, is the only other Brewer pitcher with a stolen base.
- Greinke, Cliff Lee and Ted Lilly are the only major league pitchers with steals this season.
- Greinke is now one of 28 players in franchise history to go exactly 1-for-1 stealing.
The Brewers, by the way, are 67-37 since Greinke came off the DL in May. Only Boston (68-35) has been better over that timeframe.
Meanwhile, the best Brewer performance this weekend might have belonged to Corey Hart, who reached base in ten straight plate appearances at one point. Hart went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and home run Saturday night, becoming the 31st major leaguer ever to get to that point in three at bats. Hart now has a hit in eleven straight games. He rounded the bases in 22.46 seconds after his home run Saturday, while Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder trotted in 22.22 and 21.22 seconds.
Fielder's home run, by the way, traveled an estimated 443 feet.
John Axford also had a busy weekend: He saved all three games in the series and is now just the second Brewer ever to record 40 in a season. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar noted that Axford is now tied with Derrick Turnbow for fifth on the Brewer all time list, and 14 behind Mike Fetters and Bob Wickman for third place. He also joins Eric Gagne as the only Canadian pitchers with 40 saves in a season.
Yesterday's save was Axford's 37th in a row, and that streak is really starting to become historically significant. It's the eighth longest in NL history and the 12th longest in MLB history, passing Randy Myers' streak from 1997-98. Axford allowed a home run yesterday for just the fourth time this season.
Other notes from the field:
- By sweeping this weekend's series the Brewers reduced the Cubs' elimination number to five. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
- Zack Greinke, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 yesterday, snapping a 16 game hitting streak.
- Cubs manager Mike Quade was ejected yesterday for the sixth time in 2011.
- George Kottaras trotted in 20.46 seconds following his home run Friday.
- Big League Stew has all the coverage you'd ever want of a Cubs fan reaching over the rail for a foul ball on the field level Friday, falling onto the field and losing a chunk of hair.
- The Brat, Polish and Italian (in that order) won this weekend's Sausage Races.
We haven't even hit September yet and the Brewers already have 50 home wins. That's just four away from tying the franchise record. The JS notes that there have only been five teams in major league history to win 60 or more home games in a single season: The Brewers would need a 10-5 finish to join them.
This team could also make history in another way: Right now they have six more home wins (50) than the Astros have total wins (44). There have only been 17 teams in the last 49 years to win more often at home than another team wins overall.
The Brewers get another day off today before welcoming the Cardinals to town tomorrow. Tom Singer of MLB.com has the preview, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports listed the series among his three to watch this week. Brewers in 11 has a series preview concept I wish I'd thought of.
Those of you that believe in some kind of curse regarding things like this may want to make alternate plans for Thursday afternoon: The Cardinals are planning on pitching rookie Brandon Dickson, in what will be his first major league start. Edwin Jackson and Jake Westbrook will start the other two games.
If you've lost track, the Brewers are now 2-0 with Taylor Green on the roster. He was called up following Friday's game and has been on the bench (but has not been used) the last couple of days (FanShot). Green's agent called his callup "one of the more special days in my career."
Ryan Braun had two hits yesterday and has multiple hits in four of his last five games to push his batting average to .334, the highest it's been since the first week in May. He's our reigning Brewer of the Week, and probably has a solid chance to repeat. Braun, Prince Fielder and John Axford are three of the five candidates on Brew Town Blog's NL Central MVP ballot.
David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics has an interesting look at one factor in Braun's impressive season: He has heat maps showing Braun swinging significantly less often at fastballs up and in.
Prince Fielder went 0-for-4 and failed to draw a walk yesterday, but has still drawn 18 in 26 games in August. The JS notes that Fielder is easily the major league leader in intentional free passes this season. Someone has started a Facebook group calling for him to remain in Milwaukee.
Of course, Fielder and Braun aren't the only players on the field: Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin looks at some of the Brewers having more overlooked seasons.
Yuniesky Betancourt is one of the players I wish we could overlook. He went 0-for-3 yesterday to finish off an 0-for-11 weekend, and he's now 4-for his last 55. Ron Roenicke says Yuni is still contributing to this team, though.
It's possible the Brewers have been trying to acquire another shortstop lately: Doug Melvin told reporters he's been awarded two claims on trade waivers this August but was unable to work out a deal. In at least one case the other team has pulled the player back off waivers without even negotiating.
Lately it's newsworthy of the Brewers lose at all, much less two in a row: In-Between Hops notes that the Crew has gone 31 games without losing back-to-back contests, the second longest streak in franchise history. The longest streak was 34 games, set earlier this year.
Another day, another note on the suddenly spread out race in the NL Central: Today Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times has a look at the last month.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-4 yesterday, but Wisconsin picked up an 11-1 win over Cedar Rapids to get back to .500 on the season at 66-66. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Tonight's Wisconsin game, which is likely to feature another rehab appearance for Carlos Gomez, can be seen on Time Warner Cable Sports 32.
- Tyler Thornburg had a great start on Thursday and MiLB.com has a video interview from afterwards.
- Running of the Sausages has interviews with Huntsville reliever Rob Wooten, Nashville second baseman Eric Farris and 2012 draft pick Chris McFarland.
- Tom Haudricourt says Tim Dillard was returned to Nashville to get him more consistent work. He'll be eligible to return to the Brewers once the Sounds' season is over.
- Taylor Jungmann visited Miller Park over the weekend, and Jed Bradley is expected to make an appearance this week as well.
- Felipe Lopez accepted his outright assignment and is expected to join Nashville today.
- Wisconsin catcher Rafael Neda and first baseman Nick Ramirez are on Twitter.
Sometime during the Cardinals series this week the Brewers will likely sell their 3 millionth ticket for 2011. Given this season's slow start that's a really notable accomplishment.
Today in power rankings: Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has the Brewers steady at #4.
Elsewhere in rankings: Reviewing The Brew is working on a list of the five greatest mustaches in Brewer history. Bernie Brewer checks in at #5.
Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Wil Ledezma for assignment and placed outfielder Colby Rasmus on the DL with a wrist injury.
Giants: Designated pitcher Clayton Tanner for assignment and placed outfielder Nate Schierholtz on the DL with a broken foot.
Indians: Placed pitcher Josh Tomlin (elbow soreness) and outfielder Michael Brantley (wrist) on the DL.
Mets: Placed infielder Scott Hairston on the DL with an oblique strain.
White Sox: Placed outfielder Carlos Quentin on the DL with a sore shoulder.
Every now and then we have a conversation about this on the site, so it seemed relevant enough for inclusion today. You'll very rarely hear me refer to the Brewers as "we," because I think it sounds a little weird for someone who has no affiliation with the organization to talk about them that way. Tim Thompson of the Janesville Gazette, however, has an opposing view.
The Brewers enter play today in a relatively interesting position. They're five games back of the Phillies (eight in the loss column), but they do have this going for them: The Phillies have to play 33 games in the next 31 days to close out their schedule. It's reasonable to believe they won't maintain their present pace through a stretch like that, which means there's a chance homefield advantage could come back into play.
In former Brewers:
- Chris Capuano had a career night on Friday, pitching a complete game shutout for the Mets while allowing just two hits and striking out 13. By game score it was the best start in the majors this season.
- Athletics Nation has an interview with catcher Ray Fosse.
- Jeff D'Amico is one of just 20 major leaguers to have a season where his only hit was a triple.
- Baseball Past and Present remembers the first major league win of longtime Milwaukee Brave Joey Jay, who was the major leagues' first former little leaguer.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some mocking to do.