Some things to read while snagging a piece of cake.
We're just a couple of hours away from the Brewers and Cubs continuing their four game set at Wrigley Field today, and Mike Vassallo's posted lineup may surprise you a bit: Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy are all getting a day off for the Crew, and Norichika Aoki will bat leadoff in his first major league start. The first pitch today is scheduled for 1:20, and Quinn Roberts of MLB.com has the preview.
Yovani Gallardo takes the mound for the Brewers today, and Joe Block notes that he's been very good against the Cubs lately. He's averaged better than six innings per start over his last six starts against them, posting a 1.38 ERA. The Brewers probably need a long outing from him today to help rest a taxed bullpen.
It should be a little warmer and a little less windy today: The Weather Channel is predicting a high of 49 in Chicago with winds around 10 mph, down from 30 the last couple of nights.
Back on the field, the Brewers scored five runs in the first inning en route to a 7-4 win over the Cubs last night. We've got the recap, if you missed it. One of those early runs came when Carlos Gomez scored on an Aramis Ramirez ground ball despite the fact that the Cubs had the infield in. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has a look at how Gomez's speed changed the game.
Other notes from the field:
- Corey Hart went 1-for-2 with a walk yesterday and is the only Brewer to hit safely in all five games in 2012. He also had a hit in his last game in 2011, so the streak is at six games.
- Hart's walk was one of seven for the Brewers, matching their total from the first four games.
- Hart, Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez were all hit by pitches yesterday. Plunk Everyone has more on the topic.
- Rickie Weeks' diving defensive play was MLB.com's #2 play of the day. (h/t @RW23Collector)
- John Axford had the night off last night so Francisco Rodriguez recorded the save. It was his first since July 8, 2011 with the Mets.
- Rodriguez also posted a picture of himself before the game decked out in his winter gear. Brian Anderson caught a picture of Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper calling the game in earmuffs.
- Jonathan Lucroy and Alex Gonzalez rounded the bases in 19.7 and 22.8 seconds following their home runs, respectively.
- The Brewers' five run first inning was their largest inning of 2012 to date. The inning is tied for their largest opening frame since 2010, when they put up a ten spot on the Nationals.
- It was the fourth time the Brewers have scored five in the first against the Cubs, and the third time they've won the game.
- Alex Gonzalez, Chris Narveson and Carlos Gomez are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- We've got video highlights from last night's turning points and a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- 37,265 fans paid to see last night's game, but many of them stayed home instead.
Away from the field, yesterday's big news was Doug Melvin's announcement that the team has suspended talks regarding a possible extension for Zack Greinke (FanShot). The two sides could resume talks at any point, but no plans have been made to do so.
Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 last night and is now hitting .350/.391/.650 over the Crew's first five games. Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine says Braun's new normal might not be that different from his old one.
Today the Brewers begin their second trip through the rotation, hopefully with a better start from Yovani Gallardo. Brewers Mix has stats to watch for each member of the starting rotation. Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has a look at some changes between Shaun Marcum's delivery and release point between 2011 and now.
The Brewer bullpen had another minor adventure last night, as once again they entered the ninth with a four run lead but needed a closer to finish the contest. Ron Roenicke told reporters he's not worried about the pen. Ninth inning issues aside, they did allow just one hit over four innings last night.
John Axford got the night off last night, which might have given him some time to apply stickers. He's asking fans to send stickers to Miller Park to help decorate this season's bullpen bag, and giving the bag away at the end of the season to one lucky fan. Check out his Twitter feed for details.
The Brewers made a minor transaction this morning, welcoming back old friend Mitch Stetter on a minor league deal. Stetter left the organization as a minor league free agent this winter, but was released by the Rangers this spring. He'll report to extended spring training.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-3 last night, and Scooter Gennett had a three hit game in Huntsville's 8-7, 11 inning loss to Birmingham. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Sounds broadcaster Jeff Hem has his weekly interview with Nashville manager Mike Guerrero.
The team announced plans yesterday to host their first ever "Social Media in Sports Night" on Monday, May 7 against the Reds. Tickets for the event are $59 and include a ticket to watch the game from the ATI Club, a roundtable discussion with local sports personalities, a visit from Brewer players and a pre-game buffet. I'll be there, and hopefully I'll see some of you too.
Today in power rankings: View From Bernie's Chalet has the Brewers 14th.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It's open through the day and results will be posted tomorrow.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my appearance on last night's edition of The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska has been archived. I'll be stopping by to talk Brewers with him each Tuesday at 5:15 for the foreseeable future.
Indians: Catcher Carlos Santana's new contract will pay him $21 million over five years, plus a club option for 2017.
Marlins: Suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games following comments regarding Fidel Castro.
Pirates: Signed pitcher Rick VandenHurk to a minor league deal.
Reds: Signed second baseman Brandon Phillips to a six year, $72.5 million contract extension.
It's probably not a big deal, but the fact that Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup with hamstring issues on the day his extension was announced still feels ominous. We've got more on Phillips as well as updates on the condition of Lance Berkman (left last night's game with a calf strain) and Charlie Morton (rejoined the Pirates) in today's edition of Around the NL Central.
Today in former Brewers: Tom Singer of MLB.com has a story on Casey McGehee's importance to the Pirates.
Here's your daily reminder that April weather creates challenges for teams with roofless ballparks: The White Sox and Indians were snowed out yesterday, and it also snowed during a game in Detroit.
This might be the most interesting non-Brewer related thing I read today: The LAPD is going to have undercover officers at this week's Dodger home games posing as Pirates fans. It's really a very good idea.
I didn't notice it until someone mentioned it in the game thread, but MLB Network's new "Strike Zone" channel debuted last night. It will broadcast live on Tuesday and Friday nights with highlights and live look-ins at action around baseball.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History notes the anniversary of the Seattle Pilots inaugural (and only) home opener in 1969. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the anniversary of these three events:
- Warren Spahn's 328th career win in 1963, making him the winningest left-handed pitcher in MLB history.
- The Brewers' first win since moving from Seattle in 1970.
- Dan Plesac's major league debut in 1986.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back inside.