Some things to read while going from point A to point B.
The Brewers narrowly avoided a four game sweep at the hands of the Phillies yesterday, and the significance of the win wasn't lost on Ron Roenicke:
"I don't want to go to where we think it is a must-win game," he said. "But it was huge. It's a big game to win."
Roenicke told reporters the players know the significance of postseason seeding, so they're likely aware of the fact that yesterday's win kept them half a game ahead of the Diamondbacks in the race for the NL's second best record.
A late rally saved a pretty fascinating performance for Yovani Gallardo, who tied a career high with 12 strikeouts but also allowed multiple home runs for the third straight start for the first time in his career. It was his third ten strikeout game of 2011, but his first 12 K game since August of 2010. Gallardo's 3.66 ERA is the lowest ever for a Brewer starting pitcher averaging over 1.2 home runs per nine innings.
All told, Brewer pitchers struck out 14 batters yesterday. Outfielder Raul Ibanez got it four times.
Rickie Weeks appeared in a game on Saturday and started yesterday for the first time since going on the DL in July. He made three plate appearances over two days and drew two walks and an HBP. The Brewer record for most consecutive games with a plate appearance but no official at bat is 3, set most recently by Trent Durrington in 2005. Weeks is expected to slowly regain more playing time over the coming days.
Once Weeks is back to 100%, the Brewers will have an interesting decision to make. Ron Roenicke said Jerry Hairston Jr will see some playing time at shortstop, but doesn't seem inclined to bump Yuniesky Betancourt from the lineup entirely. Yuni had one hit in each of this weekend's four games.
Other notes from the field:
- Rickie Weeks' HBP yesterday was the 94th of his career. Plunk Everyone, as you might expect, has much more.
- Nyjer Morgan, Yovani Gallardo and John Axford are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 42,967 fans paid to see yesterday's game.
- Casey McGehee's RBI groundout Saturday ended Cliff Lee's streak of 32.2 innings without allowing an earned run.
- The Polish, Chorizo and Italian won Sunday, Saturday and Friday's Sausage Races, respectively.
- Friday's race took a sudden turn when Phillies second baseman Pete Orr emerged from the dugout without looking both ways.
- The new magic number is 10.
The Brewers' struggles over the last few days have sparked discussion about their ability to hit elite pitchers and what may mean for their prospective playoff chances. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at their performance against top pitchers this season and makes a case that their struggles now are not indicative of a larger problem.
The Brewers have another pair of off days this week, as they have open dates on the schedule today and Thursday to wrap around a two game series with the Rockies that starts tomorrow. Zack Greinke will get the start tomorrow, and Cash Kruth of MLB.com has the preview. The off days are allowing the Brewers to move Chris Narveson back into the bullpen.
While Narveson skips a turn in the rotation he'll go back to being the only lefthanded pitcher in the Brewer bullpen. Christina Kahrl of ESPN notes that the Brewers have used bullpen lefties less than any other team in the majors this season.
Narveson wasn't this weekend's only addition to the bullpen: Michael Fiers was also called up and, after pitching a simulated game to Rickie Weeks on Saturday, added to the active roster (FanShot). The Brewers' 40 man roster is now full.
Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 yesterday but his lone hit was a big one, driving in the eventual winning run in the seventh. Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs notes that Braun's isolated power has gone up .062 this season, the eighth largest jump in all of baseball. Baseball Analytics says he's baseball's second best hitter on pitchers in the strike zone.
Since hitting for the cycle, George Kottaras is 0-for his last eight. Winning your first Brewer of the Week will only carry you so far, George. Joshua Parrott of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser has a profile of Geo's counterpart, Jonathan Lucroy.
Taylor Green went 0-for-3 while logging innings at both second and third base yesterday. Todd Rosiak has a story on his first few weeks in the big leagues.
There aren't many prospects in all of baseball who have had their stock fall further than Green's former teammate, Mat Gamel. Nashville manager Don Money publicly lit into Gamel again this weekend (FanShot). Here's one of several quotes:
"If he can get his head right, and that's the thing," Money said. "He's hard-headed. He doesn't carry himself well. You have to carry yourself like a professional, and he doesn't do it and I've said it to him."
In the minors:
- Brewerfan.net has a look at the minor leaguers who will need to be added to the 40 man roster to avoid being eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter. Caleb Gindl is the most notable name.
- Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew has a look at the best tools in the organization.
- Huntsville infielder Sergio Miranda will be representing Puerto Rico in the Baseball World Cup in Panama. He hit .270/.332/.326 in 109 AA games this season.
The weekend's Phillies series opened on Thursday night opposite the Packers' regular season opener. Barry Adams of Madison.com was at Miller Park and talked to fans about their divided loyalties.
Astros: Claimed pitcher Lance Pendleton off waivers from the Yankees.
Cardinals: Signed pitcher Chris Carpenter to a two year, $21 million contract extension.
Pirates: Signed general manager Neal Huntington to a three year contract extension with an option for 2015.
Rays: Deisngated pitcher Mike Ekstrom for assignment.
Rockies: Designated catcher Matt Pagnozzi for assignment.
Yankees: Designated pitcher Steve Garrison for assignment.
Garrison was a Brewer farmhand from 2005-07, and was sent to San Diego in the Scott Linebrink trade. He made his major league debut this season on July 25.
Also, you already know about Carpenter, Huntington and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
In former Brewers:
- Mike Cameron has been much better (hitting .239/.333/.423) since joining the Marlins, but he'll be 39 in January and is discussing the possibility of retiring this winter.
- Francisco Cordero recorded career save #322 on Friday, and is now the all time leader among Dominican-born pitchers.
- Four former Milwaukee Braves made For Baseball Junkies' 1950's NL All Decade Team.
If you thought barbecue season was over after Labor Day, think again: Giants reliever Jeremy Affleldt is done for the season after slicing open his hand while using a knife to attempt to separate two frozen hamburger patties.
If you were in front of a TV last night you might have been watching the Mets and Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball for no apparent reason. The game's biggest storyline was hats the Mets weren't allowed to wear, which generated much more attention than you'd expect for a contest between two non-contending teams.
The Cubs are also the topic of today's economics note: They're lowering bleacher prices for 2012.
Yovani Gallardo allowed his 25th and 26th home runs yesterday, but maybe he'll feel better knowing that Bronson Arroyo of the Reds (scheduled to start against the Brewers on Friday) has already allowed 40.
Here's another reminder that it could always be worse: The Astros lost their 97th game yesterday, and need to win out to avoid setting a new franchise record. This is their fourth 97 loss season, but their first since 1991.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to warn the masses.