Some things to read while enjoying life on the road.
The Brewer bullpen and defense made it into a bit of an adventure, but the Crew picked up a 7-5 win over the Cubs last night behind a solid first outing from Shaun Marcum. Despite being limited to 90 pitches Marcum worked six innings last night and allowed three runs on five hits while walking none and striking out six. The outing would've looked even better if a lost fly ball hadn't led to the third run. Nicole has our recap from last night, if you missed it. Marcum now has 21 quality starts as a Brewer, one more than Zack Greinke.
Despite a strong performance from Marcum, however, the Brewers still needed five relievers to record the game's final nine outs last night. Manny Parra (faced two batters) and Tim Dillard (faced one batter) both worked in the ninth inning before John Axford was called upon to record the save. The Brewer bullpen has allowed 13 runs (12 earned) in 14.1 innings of work this season, and is allowing nearly two baserunners per inning (1.884 WHIP).
Other notes from the field:
- Rickie Weeks' home run was traveling 113.6 mph coming off his bat last night. That's the second fastest observed speed in the majors this season, behind Bryan LaHair's 460 foot blast off Shaun Marcum. That ball was clocked traveling 113.7 mph.
- Weeks circled the bases in 23.9 seconds following his homer, which narrowly cleared the foul pole.
- Darwin Barney's first inning homer last night was the Cubs' first of the season. They were the last major league team that hadn't hit one.
- Marcum has allowed a home run in each of his last eight appearances, including the postseason.
- David DeJesus' single off Marcum last night was his first hit in 19 matchups between the two.
- Jonathan Lucroy was hit by a pitch last night and was the first NL player to be hit twice in 2012. Plunk Everyone has more.
- Mat Gamel, Geovany Soto and Shawn Camp are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- Adam McCalvy talked to Aramis Ramirez about returning to Wrigley Field as a visiting player for the first time.
- Darren Rovell has a picture of a largely-empty Wrigley Field at first pitch. (h/t @mitchstetter) It did fill up a bit later, and 38,136 fans paid to see the game.
- Bob Uecker attended his son Steve's funeral yesterday but still called the game and will not miss any days on the road trip.
- Looking back a day, Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus reports that Corey Hart and Ryan Braun circled the bases in 21.31 and 21.36 seconds Sunday, respectively.
The two teams continue the series tonight, with Chris Narveson facing Paul Maholm at 7:05. Cash Kruth of MLB.com has the preview. It's another cold, windy day in Chicago today and The Weather Channel says the gametime temp should be around 46 before falling into the mid 30's overnight.
The Brewer bullpen will likely be shorthanded tonight: John Axford threw 26 pitches last night after throwing 27 on Sunday, so he's unlikely to be available. Tim Dillard has also appeared in back-to-back games, but only threw seven pitches last night.
It might also be time for a day off for Corey Hart. Ron Roenicke lifted Hart from the game as part of a double switch last night and told Adam McCalvy he's keeping close tabs on Hart's condition following his knee surgery this spring. Hart went 1-for-3 with a walk last night and still leads the National League in home runs (3), slugging (1.250) and OPS (1.783).
Ryan Braun was on base three times last night, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in his first road game of 2012. Dale Sveum told Adam McCalvy he's expecting a big season from Braun in 2012. Braun is also one of 15 Jewish baseball players depicted on pieces of Matzah at Jockular.
Cesar Izturis got his first official at bat as a Brewer last night, lining out to end the top of the ninth inning. Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a user's guide for Izturis and Travis Ishikawa.
Shaun Marcum's solid start last night has to be considered a positive sign, but at least one national pundit still isn't convinced of the strength of the Brewer rotation. Steve Berthiaume of ESPN says the Brewer rotation does not belong among baseball's best. You may recall Berthiaume was the analyst that picked the Astros to win the NL Central last season.
Looking further ahead, Mike Vassallo has the matchups for this weekend's series against the Braves:
|Friday||Randy Wolf||Jair Jurrjens|
|Saturday||Shaun Marcum||Mike Minor|
|Sunday||Chris Narveson||Brandon Beachy|
The Braves, by the way, lost last night to fall to 0-4 for the first time since 1988. They went 54-106 that season.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-2 last night, with Mike Walker hitting a three run homer in the ninth to propel Brevard County to a 5-4 win over Lakeland. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- @Mass_Haas reports that pitcher Michael Bowman has decided to retire. Bowman, who is 24, had spent the last two seasons as a starter with Huntsville.
- Reinforcing stereotypes about the south, The Tennessean has a story on Greer Stadium in Nashville as it "gussies up" for Friday's home opener.
- Wisconsin outfielder Chadwin Stang is now on Twitter.
During early season home games, Twitter seems to light up with questions about various players' walkup music. Thankfully, Caitlin Moyer has compiled a list of the songs players are using this season.
Last night was the first of six times this spring where the Brewers and Bucks are broadcast simultaneously by FS Wisconsin. In previous years the Brewer games would have been bumped to WMLW, but this year the Bucks are being moved instead to FS Wisconsin's new alternate feed. Kudos to FSWI for finding a way to keep the Brewers telecasts available to a statewide audience.
In power rankings:
- ESPN has the Brewers 12th, up one spot.
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune moved them down four spots to 21.
Athletics: Designated first baseman Brandon Allen for assignment.
Indians: Signed catcher Carlos Santana to a five year contract extension with a club option for 2017.
Rangers: Signed second baseman Ian Kinsler to a five year, $75 million contract extension with a club option for 2018.
Elsewhere in the division, the Astros got a home run from recent waiver claim Justin Maxwell and beat the Braves 8-3 to improve to 3-1, the first time they've been two games above .500 since 2008. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.
In former Brewers: Rule 5 picks Erik Komatsu and Lucas Luetge made R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus' list of 12 virtual unknowns on major league rosters this season.
Today in baseball economics: Padres owner John Moores intends to put the team up for sale again, and may come out hundreds of millions ahead after his previous effort to sell the team fell through.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the first anniversary of a Casey McGehee pinch hit, go-ahead home run against the Cubs in 2011. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 4000 days since Geoff Jenkins' three homer game against the Expos in 2001.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to carve this into a tablet.