Some things to read while FCS opponents shudder in fear.
Good morning, baseball fans, and welcome to the first Frosty Mug covering your 2011 NL Central Champion Milwaukee Brewers. If you haven't yet (or haven't recently), go back and check out JP's coverage of Friday night's events and festivities. He was up through the night (and a site outage) collecting a massive collage of celebration.
Of course, we weren't the only ones celebrating. For more festivities check out @Not_Tony_Plush, Hangwith'em Rach, Disciples of Uecker, and Brewers Mix. Adam McCalvy has a roundup of the MLB.com coverage.
The Brewers clinched a little more history on Saturday, as John Axford set a new franchise record with his 45th save. He's moved into the top five on the Brewer all time list with 70 for his career, and his 42 consecutive conversions are the third longest streak in NL history.
And the history didn't stop there: By completing the sweep yesterday the Brewers picked up their 55th home win of the season, setting a new franchise record.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers went undefeated on home Sundays this season.
- Marlins infielder Emilio Bonifacio's leadoff home run yesterday was his first long ball ever as a right handed hitter.
- Chris Narveson, Jerry Hairston Jr and George Kottaras are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Former Brewer and Racine native Vinny Rottino started in left field for the Marlins yesterday and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks.
- Prince Fielder stole a base Saturday, his first of the season. He's expected to play all three games this week to finish with 162 appearances.
- The Hot Dog won yesterday's Sausage Race, with the Chorizo picking up victories Friday and Saturday.
- Marlins manager Jack McKeon is picking the Brewers to reach the World Series.
The Brewers open their final series of the regular season tonight, with the Pirates coming to town and the Crew needing just one win to tie the franchise record with 95. Adam Berry of MLB.com has the preview.
If nothing else, the Brewers will pass one more milestone this week: 43,347 fans paid to see yesterday's game and pushed the season total to 2.946 million. The three millionth fan into Miller Park this season should come on Tuesday.
Looking ahead, the Brewers will hold a rally Thursday afternoon on the Summerfest grounds to celebrate their postseason appearance. Follow that link for more information.
Jonathan Lucroy sat out yesterday's game, with George Kottaras going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI in his place. Ron Roenicke said it was "just a rest day" for Lucroy. MGL of The Book Blog has a look at how Lucroy and other catchers credited with good framing skills impact the game.
The Brewers have some interesting decisions to make this week regarding the playoff rotation. Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to start on Wednesday and Ron Roenicke says he will do that as long as playoff positioning is still at stake. If he starts, though, Gallardo wouldn't be available again until game three of the NLDS. Gallardo, by the way, tied Ryan Braun in the voting and as such is a Co-Brewer of the Week.
Regardless of how things shake out this week, I think the decision to start Zack Greinke in game one of the NLDS is a pretty easy one. Ben Duronio of ESPN.com says Greinke could be October's secret weapon.
Jerry Hairston Jr made another start at third base yesterday and went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak that he's considering spreading around the playing time at third this week and in the playoffs. Hairston has Tom Haudricourt's vote.
The decision to use Jerry Hairston at third leaves Taylor Green's short term future somewhat uncertain. Either he or Josh Wilson will likely be left off the NLDS roster, and Ron Roenicke said the decision will come down to which opponent they're facing.
Barring something unforeseen, Randy Wolf will make his final regular season start tomorrow. The Brewers Blurb has a look at him as the likely fourth member of the playoff rotation.
Francisco Rodriguez had a pretty good weekend, picking up the win on Friday and pitching a scoreless eighth on Saturday. The Janesville Gazette's Peace and Glove blog praised his work as the Brewers' "8th inning closer." Tom Haudricourt credited the bullpen with powering the playoff surge.
Ryan Braun strengthened his case for MVP this weekend, going 5-for-10 with four extra base hits (including a rather important home run and 23.14 second trot you might have seen). Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says Braun is not the MVP, but Prince Fielder says he is. That's what you get for being objective, Jaymes. Cory Provus, meanwhile, makes the case for Fielder.
Here's today's remaining Prince Fielder free agency note:
Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times makes the case for the Dodgers to consider less expensive options.
Elsewhere in awards: Nyjer Morgan was named the Brewers' High Energy Player of the Year and presented two trophies Friday: one for him and one for Tony Plush.
Ron Roenicke is among relatively rare company as a rookie manager taking his team to the playoffs. Bob Nightengale of USA Today is still predicting Kirk Gibson will beat him out for Manager of the Year, though. Unless Joe Maddon and the Rays make the playoffs, by the way, Roenicke will be the only Mike Scioscia disciple competing for a World Series.
Meanwhile, expect a contract extension for Doug Melvin to be announced shortly after the season: He only has one year left remaining on his deal but says he won't allow it to become a distraction.
Zach Braddock would likely be a key lefty in the Brewer bullpen if he was with the team, but unfortunately there's no news to report there. Adam McCalvy says he has "absolutely no idea" regarding Braddock's future.
In the minors:
- Adam McCalvy talked to Doug Melvin about last week's minor league coaching shakeup, and Melvin said he replaced Money as Nashville manager to "accomodate a request" from Money, who was sick of the travel.
- Minor League Baseball Prospects finished their league top prospect lists: Wily Peralta, Caleb Gindl and Dan Meadows made the PCL Top 40, Peralta was the only Brewer to make the Southern League list, and Nick Bucci and Scooter Gennett made the Florida State League top 40. No Brewers made the Midwest League list.
- Wisconsin has been nominated for a MILBy for their "Scooter vs the Snowman" bobblehead from Opening Day. Follow that link to vote for them.
In power rankings:
- Call to the Pen has the Brewers fourth among likely playoff teams.
- Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has the Brewers sixth.
Braves: Designated outfielder Matt Young for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Acquired pitcher Mike Zagurski from the Phillies for a PTBNL and designated pitcher Esmerling Vasquez for assignment.
Reds: Signed general manager Walt Jocketty to a three year contract extension.
The Cardinals may have been eliminated from contention in the NL Central but their playoff chances remain relatively strong: Their win coupled with a Braves loss yesterday have them a game back of the Wild Card with three to play and prompted them to start selling postseason tickets. You know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Pennant Chase.
Today in former Brewers: John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look at several 2011 draft picks that are sons of former major leaguers, including Dante Bichette, Dion James, Charlie O'Brien and Kevin Seitzer's offspring.
This might be one of the more fascinating things I read today: The Marlins were reportedly aware of the fact that closer Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) was playing under an assumed name, which hamstrung their efforts to trade him at the deadline this year.
I'm not sure what's worse, that story or this one: Twins outfielder Denard Span rear-ended teammate Danny Valencia with his car while driving to the airport Thursday. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt so I don't feel bad about cracking up when I read this paragraph:
Valencia was riding as the passenger in his Range Rover Sport, with his fiancee driving. Span was following them in his Range Rover. The accident happened after they turned from Interstate 35 onto Hwy. 62.
There's nothing worse than Range Rover-on-Range Rover violence.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers Doug Jones' 25th consecutive save in 1997. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 16th anniversary of Paul Molitor's 500th double. 405 of them came as a Brewer.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Pirates finished their home season yesterday with a total of over 1.94 million tickets sold, fourth highest in franchise history. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
- The Dodgers, meanwhile, sold 2.935 million tickets this season, down over 627,000 from last year and leaving them under three million for just the second time since 1995.
I doubt any of the celebrating Brewers made their way to the Splash Zone at Miller Park Friday night, but the Diamondbacks went swimming in the Chase Field pool following their division-clinching win this weekend.
Here's a cool statistical quirk: Saturday's Astros-Rockies game was the 200,000th in MLB history.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm having feelings of inadequacy regarding my fan.