Some things to read while heeding sound advice.
If you watched all of last night's game, then you're probably moving as slowly as I am this morning. The Brewers and Pirates needed four hours and 13 minutes to complete a 9-8 Pittsburgh win last night, the Brewers' longest nine inning game of the season. They finished just nine minutes short of the National League record, set in a Brewers-Cubs game at Wrigley Field in 2000.
Ryan Braun was held out of last night's starting lineup but still had a significant impact on the game: He doubled as a pinch hitter in the sixth and was hit by a pitch in the eighth. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker makes a strong argument that Braun is having the best offensive season in franchise history. David Schoenfield of ESPN named Braun and John Axford to his National League All Star team, but left off Prince Fielder. Braun was an easy choice for this week's El Super. He also rounded the bases in 21.42 seconds following his home run Sunday.
While Braun had a hit in his only official at bat last night to move to .334, Jose Reyes had three hits and climbed in front of him in the race for the NL batting title. Braun is now hitting .33393, while Reyes is at .33396. It doesn't get much closer than that.
Mark Kotsay started in place of Braun and went 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks to improve his batting line to .320/.360/.495 since July 1 (I'm as surprised as anyone) and raise his OPS over .700 for the first time all season. Todd Rosiak has some praise for Kotsay as a bat off the bench. I'm still worried he's going to end up starting at first base in 2012.
Meanwhile, Jerry Hairston Jr made another start at third base and reached base safely four times with a hit, two walks and a HBP. Casey McGehee is likely losing his grip on the starting job for the playoffs, but to his credit he said all the right things to Tom Haudricourt in this two part tweet:
"Do I want to play? That goes without saying. If I don't play, am I going to mope and pout and be pissed off? No. It's more important to win games than worry about who's playing."
Other notes from the field:
- Last night's win snapped the Brewers' 12 game winning streak at home against the Pirates.
- Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen was a late scratch from last night's game after being hit in the lower abdomen with a ball during BP. He expects to play tonight.
- Three different Brewers were hit by pitches last night. Prince Fielder was one of them, and leads all under-29 major leaguers with 78 in his career. Plunk Everyone, as you might expect, has more.
- Alex Presley, Shaun Marcum and Joel Hanrahan are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
The two teams continue the series tonight: Evan Drellich of MLB.com has the preview.
The Brewers made some news off the field yesterday by altering this week's pitching plans and offering a strong indication of the playoff rotation alignment: Yovani Gallardo was scheduled to start Wednesday but that slot is now listed as "TBA." Gallardo is now likely to start game one of the NLDS, followed by Zack Greinke in game two. Greinke, meanwhile, is likely to pitch a few innings Wednesday to get some work in along with most of the late inning relievers. The Pirates announced Jeff Locke will start for them. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
This weekend's playoff game times have yet to be announced but if you're working on plans, this is likely true: Colin Fly says Brewer home games will probably be slotted into earlier slots to save prime time games for larger markets.
If you're ready to start looking ahead, View From Bernie's Chalet has an NLDS roster prediction (Taylor Green in, Josh Wilson out) and Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times has a Brewer playoff preview.
Ron Roenicke had a tough night last night, but Mike Bauman of MLB.com says he's still a key part of the Brewers' success.
If you were at last night's game, you had plenty of time to check out the new signage: Jordan Schelling has a picture of one of several NL Central Championship signs around the ballpark.
Yuniesky Betancourt went 2-for-4 and drew a bases loaded walk last night (his second ever) en route to four RBI, but still cost the Brewers in a key situation with a first pitch pop out in the eighth. Adam Foster noted that Betancourt is seeing just 3.16 pitches per plate appearance this season, the lowest in all of baseball. He's a large part of the reason the Brewers as a team are last in baseball with 3.72 pitches per PA.
In the minors: Several Brewer farmhands are up for MILBY Awards. Michael Fiers is currently leading the voting for AAA's best pitcher, Taylor Green is nominated for AAA's best hitter and the Nashville triple play started by Logan Schafer is nominated for AAA's best play.
This has been on the horizon for a while, but now it's official: With advance tickets sold for tonight and tomorrow the Brewers have passed 3.068 million for this season, setting a new franchise record. The previous record was set in 2008.
This is the kind of news that would normally be a top story this time of year: The Brewers' lease for their facility in Maryvale is still scheduled to expire next season and the city of Phoenix appears resigned to losing the team to greener pastures elsewhere in the metro area.
If you're a season ticketholder, this name might sound familiar: Derrick Iseler was the man pictured on your tickets Friday night, and Caitlin Moyer talked to him about the experience.
In power rankings:
- ESPN has the Brewers third, up one spot.
- FanGraphs has the Brewers remaining at five.
- Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers fifth.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. The poll will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
Marlins: Signed infielder Omar Infante to a two year, $8 million contract extension.
White Sox: Released manager Ozzie Guillen from his contract, effective immediately.
Guillen is expected to become the new manager of the Marlins, and if he does the White Sox will receive two minor leaguers.
The likely NL playoff field took one step back in unison yesterday, as the Braves, Cardinals and Diamondbacks all joined the Brewers in their day of losing. You already know that and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Pennant Chase.
Meanwhile, the Angels were eliminated from postseason contention last night. Sully Baseball notes that it's only the second time since 1995 that no California teams will make the playoffs.
Today in baseball economics: The Yankees' AAA affiliate is without a place to play next season while their ballpark undergoes renovations. They attempted to relocate to Newark, New Jersey for a season but the Mets exercised their territorial rights to block the move.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers Jim Colborn's 13 shutout innings in a 1-0, 17 inning Brewer loss to the Orioles in 1974. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times points out that it's also the anniversary of the final major league games of longtime Brewers Paul Molitor (1998) and Jeromy Burnitz (2006).
Sometimes you see something and it just calls out to you: My new life goal is to win a Muppet in my likeness.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to refuel the jet.