Some things to read while confiscating a fake ID.
Bad competition or not, the Brewers are hot right now.
While it certainly helps to have played most of these games against the Astros and Cubs, the Brewers have won 11 out of 12 games for the first time since August of 2003 to improve to 65-50. This weekend's sweep in Houston was also the first in franchise history.
The Brewers completed the sweep without Corey Hart, who sat out after being hit on the hand by a pitch Saturday. X-rays came back negative and Hart is day-to-day, just like the rest of us. He's spending the off day today with his family in Arizona and will rejoin the team early Tuesday. Hart's HBP, by the way, was the 700th in Minute Maid Park history.
Casey McGehee limped off the field following Saturday's win and was out of the lineup yesterday, but told Adam McCalvy he's not injured. McGehee, by the way, is our Brewer of the Week for the first time.
The Brewers didn't need John Axford yesterday but he's still on pace to pitch in 76 games this season, which would be tied for the fifth most in franchise history. The Brewers, however, say they're not worried about his workload. Todd Coffey (78 games in 2009) was the last Brewer to pitch more than Axford. His ERA jumped from 2.90 to 4.76 the following season.
Other notes from the field:
- Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay (!) and Yuniesky Betancourt (!!) batted 4th-6th and powered the Brewer offense yesterday, going a combined 9-for-14. The rest of the team went 2-for-22.
- Prince Fielder, Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Mr. Slice, a giant piece of pizza, threw out yesterday's first pitch.
- Fielder and Jonathan Lucroy both homered on Saturday and rounded the bases in 24.19 and 22.37 seconds, respectively. Carlos Lee (26.22) easily topped them both. Corey Hart's trot on Friday took 20.87 seconds.
- Craig Counsell snapped his long hitless streak on Friday. Brewers in 11 has a look at the long term ramifications.
Following an off day today the Brewers will open a series against the Cardinals tomorrow. Adam McCalvy has a seres preview and Spencer Fordin of MLB.com has the game preview, while Brewers in 11 has a tale of the tape for this series and the stretch run. Here's what Danny Knobler of CBS Sports had to say about the rivalry:
The Cardinals see the Brewers as kids who don't take the game seriously and don't know how to win. The Brewers see the Cardinals as bullies who don't like to have fun.
It's a rivalry, and for now, it's the best we're going to get.
At least this week's series shouldn't be boring. Sam Hendrickson of The Hardball Times rated last Tuesday's Brewers-Cardinals game as the third most exciting of the week, giving it one star.
Ryan Braun went 0-for-5 yesterday, the first time all season he's received five at bats and hasn't picked up a hit. Baseball In-Depth is listing him as the favorite to win the NL MVP.
Prince Fielder will also likely get some MVP consideration, but is his value overstated? Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has an extended look at replacement level across positions, and makes the case that the number of elite hitting first basemen in baseball makes Fielder less valuable than, for example, Rays infielder Ben Zobrist.
Fielder had a big weekend against the Astros and David Pinto of Baseball Analytics confirms what you may have suspected: The Astros threw him too many pitches up and over the middle of the plate.
In the minors:
- On Friday the Brewers agreed to terms with second round pick Jorge Lopez (a pitcher) and fifth round pick Michael Reed (an outfielder) (FanShot). The team hasn't announced where either player will be assigned but I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them make their pro debut until 2012.
- The AZL Brewers lost again last night to fall to 8-28, easily the worst record in the 13-team Arizona League. They're also so shorthanded they had to use a pitcher as their starting left fielder on Saturday.
- Another AZL outfielder, 2011 50th round pick Matthew Franco, is on Twitter.
- The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin 1B/OF Jason Rogers.
- Jeremy Miedzinski of FakeTeams has a scouting report on Brevard County second baseman Scooter Gennett, who he compared to David Eckstein.
- Baseball America has a story on Brevard County pitcher Tyler Thornburg, but it's subscriber-only.
In power rankings: The JS has the Brewers fourth, up one spot.
Astros: Placed pitcher Enerio Del Rosario on the DL with a shoulder strain and designated outfielder Luis Durango for assignment.
Braves: Placed pitcher Jair Jurrjens on the DL with a knee strain.
Marlins: Acquired infielder Alfredo Amezaga from the Rockies for a minor leaguer and designated infielder Joe Thurston for assignment.
Mets: Infielder Daniel Murphy will be placed on the DL with a knee injury.
Orioles: Placed pitcher Zack Britton on the DL with a shoulder strain and designated pitcher Brandon Erbe for assignment.
Padres: Placed pitcher Chris Denorfia on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Phillies: Designated pitcher Scott Mathieson for assignment.
Rays: Placed pitcher Alex Cobb on the DL with discomfort in his hand.
Reds: Placed outfielder Chris Heisey on the DL with an oblique strain.
Rockies: Placed outfielder Ryan Spillborghs on the DL with plantar fasciitis.
White Sox: Designated pitcher Brian Bruney for assignment.
You already know about Del Rosario and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central, which has the added benefit of being much less typo-riddled than most of my recent work.
Meanwhile, this weekend's scariest moment came in Denver, where Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio had to be carted off on a stretcher after taking a line drive to the head Friday night. Nicasio underwent surgery to repair a broken vertebrae in his neck and is out indefinitely.
Today in former Brewers:
- The torch has passed from one former Brewer to another. Now that Matt Stairs is retired, Wes Helms is the active career leader in pinch hits (89).
- Brett Lawrie hit his first career home run on Sunday.
- Sergio Mitre is one of several players nominated for the "Livan Hernandez" nickname at NotGraphs.
- Bernie's Crew named Sean Berry the worst position player in Brewer history.
If you went to bed early last night then you missed one of the slowest baseball games in recent memory: The Red Sox and Yankees managed to drag all the fun out of a 3-2, 10 inning game by needing 4 hours and 15 minutes to play it. For comparison purposes, here's the box score from a 14 inning game between the Giants and Padres earlier this season that was played in 3:56.
If I actually maintained a "Wrigley Field is a dump" file, this would go in it: An Aroldis Chapman fastball busted through the protective netting behind home plate Friday night. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Speaking of embarrassing ballpark moments, here's video of two men fighting over a foul ball that landed in a trash can during an A's/Rays game. (h/t Hardball Talk)
Today in baseball economics: The Dodgers are averaging over 36,700 fans per game this season, which doesn't sound bad until you compare it to last season's 43,979, the second best in the NL. The LA Times says the attendance drop is going to cost the team $27 million this season, which is nearly 10% of their total revenue. (h/t Baseball Musings)
How did we ever get by without Twitter? Halos Heaven has a look at how it allowed us all to watch in real time as Adrian Beltre reinjured his hamstring.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to giving sock-related advice.