Some things to read while unplugging.
The Prince Fielder Farewell Tour took a brief detour through uncharted territory last night as he hit three homers in a game for the first time in his career, driving home five of the six Brewer runs in a 6-4 win over the Pirates. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said he "swings with bad intentions." Fielder made the Brewers the first team with three three-homer players in the same season since 2001, when the Brewers also did it.
The sixth run, however, might have been last night's single most impressive feat: Rickie Weeks hit a home run to right that hit about two thirds of the way up the windows on the NYCE Stadium Club in left field, where I don't think I've ever seen a ball hit in a game (video). Hit Tracker says that ball only traveled 443 feet, but I'm calling BS...if that was only 443 feet, then a 500 foot home run to left would clear Bernie's Terrace. The original estimate was 470 feet.
In the next plate appearance following his long homer, Weeks was hit by a pitch. He's now tied for the Brewers' all time lead in that category with 95.
Corey Hart cost the Brewers a shot at more history in the bottom of the eighth. With Ryan Braun (chasing the batting title) at the plate and Prince Fielder (looking to become the first Brewer ever to hit four homers in a game) on deck, he was picked off first to end the inning. Drew Olson compared it to Rick Manning's 1987 walkoff hit to end Paul Molitor's hitting streak.
Braun, by the way, is still chasing Jose Reyes. He went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks to improve to .335, while Jose Reyes hit a pair of home runs for the Mets and climbed to .336. In-Between Hops has a chart showing what needs to happen today for #8 to win the Brewers' first batting title.
Other notes from the field:
- Nyjer Morgan was supposed to be out for a couple of days after fouling a ball off his shin, but made a pinch hit appearance in the ninth.
- Prince Fielder played in his 161st game last night, and is expected to go again today to finish the season with 162 appearances.
- Fielder, Jared Hughes and Alex Presley are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 41,864 fans paid to see last night's game, pushing the Brewers over 3,000,000 in attendance for the season.
- The Chorizo won the Sausage Race.
For a brief moment in time last night it looked like the Brewers were about to clinch the #2 seed in the playoffs and have a meaningless game today. Unfortunately, the Dodgers allowed the Diamondbacks to score six runs with two outs in the bottom of the tenth (capped by a Ryan Roberts grand slam) en route to a 7-6 victory. The game would have been over if Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth hadn't failed to cover first on a routine groundout with two outs. As such, the Brewers still need a win or an Arizona loss today to secure home field advantage in the NLDS. You already know this and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the Pennant Chase. The JS has a look at the Brewers' four potential playoff scenarios entering play tonight.
So now we're back to this: The regular season ends tonight, and the Brewers still have a lot to play for. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has the preview.
Prince Fielder's performance last night might vault him back into the conversation for NL MVP. Peace and Glove has a look at the race for Most Valuable Brewer.
John Axford recorded his franchise record 46th save with a perfect ninth last night, needing just seven pitches. Refused's "New Noise" seems to be working out pretty well for him, but Eric Augenbraun of NotGraphs would like to suggest he start walking out to The Miles Davis Quintet's "Round Midnight."
It was rumored yesterday, but today it's official: Yovani Gallardo will start game one of the NLDS on Saturday regardless of the location or opponent (FanPost). Zack Greinke could start game two if he pitches a short outing today, but would be bumped back to game three if he goes longer. Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs has a preview of the postseason rotation. This week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan has a player-by-player look at the playoff roster.
Jerry Hairston Jr. started in center field last night and moved to third base, going 0-for-5. Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew has a look at how the Brewers should and likely will use him in the playoffs.
Last night's win gave the Brewers 95 on the season, tying the franchise record. Josh Wussow wants to know if this team is better than their 1982 counterpart. If nothing else, this year's team has given us a ton of great memories. The JS talked to various players about their favorite 2011 moments. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a look at some of the adversity they've overcome to reach this point.
The 2011 Brewers would look even better if not for some slips early in the season. Cory Provus has a look back at some lost opportunities and a reminder that every game counts. If, for example, the Brewers had won the game where Shaun Marcum hit a grand slam on July 4, they'd hold the tiebreaker over Arizona and the #2 seed in the playoffs would be sewn up.
In the minors:
- First round pick Jed Bradley won't be making his pro debut in the AFL after all: He's been scratched with a groin strain and will be replaced by Tyler Thornburg.
- Baseball America ranked Thornburg as the Midwest League's 18th best prospect this season.
- Bradley, by the way, is on Twitter.
- Nashville pitching coach Chris Bosio will return in that role in 2012.
- Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson has reports from Monday and Tuesday's instructional league games.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball is answering reader questions this morning. I've already asked one about Zelous Wheeler.
Looking for a place to watch this weekend's Brewer games? The Timber Rattlers are hosting game watching parties at Fox Cities Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
The playoff matchups in the NL still aren't finalized, but Brian Anderson will be the lead broadcaster for one of the two series and the NLCS. Anderson is filling the primary role in place of longtime TBS broadcaster Ernie Johnson, who is tending to a family situation.
Athletics: Acquired first baseman Kila Ka'aihue from the Royals for a minor league pitcher.
Mets: Added a year to manager Terry Collins' contract. His deal now runs through 2013.
Twins: Claimed reliever Esmerling Vasquez off waivers from the Diamondbacks.
The Cardinals have crept back into a tie for the NL Wild Card, and could clinch today with a win and a Braves loss. They'll have to do it without outfielder Matt Holliday, though, as he's still battling soreness in his right hand. You know this and much more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
When we discuss potential options at shortstop for this winter, Jimmy Rollins' name comes up relatively frequently. Rollins is 33 and seeking a five year deal, though, so it's possible that'll dampen the enthusiasm for his services.
Meanwhile, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says the team is open to signing a major free agent this winter.
Today in former Brewers: Todd Coffey walked in from the bullpen last night for Washington, and promptly allowed a run.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History remembers a magical day in 2008, when the Brewers clinched the NL Wild Card on the season's final day. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times points out that it's also the anniversary of the final major league games for former Brewers Kevin Seitzer (1997), Dan Plesac (2003) and Geoff Jenkins (2008).
Meanwhile, there probably won't be a lot of coverage of today's game in Miami, where the Marlins are playing their final game at Sun Life Stadium. Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus spotted the card from the commissioner's office.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my backup deodorant.