The Brewers narrowly avoided what would have been an ugly sweep in St. Louis yesterday afternoon, and did so with one of the more incredible game-ending double plays you'll see all year. Head over to The Official Site for video of John Axford, Alex Gonzalez and Jonathan Lucroy's 2-6-2 "strike him out, throw him...no wait, throw HIM out" double play. By the way, the Brewers won the game 3-2 and Noah has the recap.
That bizarre ending closed out John Axford's 48th consecutive save. He's now in sole possession of the fourth longest streak in major league history, and three saves away from tying Jose Valverde for the third longest.
Zack Greinke picked up the win yesterday despite having an unusual outing, striking out just two and walking four in six innings. Noah has more on the performance in the Stat of the Day.
Aramis Ramirez went 1-for-4 yesterday to extend his hitting streak to seven games, tying him with Carlos Gomez for the longest streak by a Brewer this season. Across baseball, he's the 62nd player to put together a streak that long in 2012.
Other notes from the field:
- Travis Ishikawa started at first base for Mat Gamel yesterday, as his shoulder is still sore from his home plate collision nearly a week ago. TheJay noted that Ishikawa is one of a relatively low number of players in franchise history to play first base and bat eighth four or more times.
- Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Jonathan Lucroy are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- Noah has a look at the day's turning points.
- The LA Kings (in town to play the St. Louis Blues in the NHL playoffs) were in attendance yesterday and got a visit from Bob Uecker.
- Looking back a couple of days, the Brewers collected the 1900th HBP in franchise history Friday. Plunk Everyone has more on the accomplishment.
The Brewers made a transaction over the weekend, sending Mike McClendon back to Nashville and calling up veteran Vinnie Chulk to take his place (FanShot). Chulk is 33 and has pitched parts of seven seasons in the majors, but none since 2009. He had posted a 3.16 ERA for Nashville in seven appearances this season. Nate Latsch of MLB.com talked to him about his long road back to the majors. Chulk will wear #54 as a Brewer. Chris Narveson, who will undergo surgery on Tuesday, was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.
The weekend's biggest news from St. Louis happened away from the field, where heavy winds following Saturday's game caused a large tent outside a bar near the ballpark to collapse and blow away. One man was killed and many others were treated for injuries from the incident.
The Brewers continue their long road trip tonight in San Diego, where they'll open a three game set with the Padres at 9:05. Tyler Emerick has the MLB.com preview, and I'm hoping to run our series preview sometime this afternoon.
Yesterday's one run win improved the Brewers to 10-12 on the season, but they've still been outscored by 25 runs in 2012. For comparison purposes the Royals are 6-15, lost 12 consecutive games at one point and have still only been outscored by 19 runs.
Alex Gonzalez had a rough day at the plate yesterday, going 0-for-4. Even after missing a few games on the paternity list he's still on pace for 540 plate appearances, though, which would be enough to vest the option in his contract for 2013.
Gonzalez, by the way, had the third slowest home run trot in all of baseball on Saturday at 24.13 seconds. Larry Granillo notes that Gonzalez has been the slowest Brewer trotter this season at 23.94 seconds, but is only a fraction of a second slower than Rickie Weeks (23.77).
While the Brewers and Cardinals remain two of the top contenders to win the NL Central in 2012, Ken Rosenthal paints a gloomy picture for their future and wonders if either (relatively small market) team will be able to compete with the Cubs in the long run.
Ryan Braun didn't have his best weekend in St. Louis, going 2-for-11 with a pair of singles and four strikeouts. He did, however, win our Brewer of the Week voting. I'm sure that's small consolation.
Braun also enters play tonight with 99 stolen bases. His next steal will make him just the fourth Brewer ever with 100 homers and 100 steals in a career, joining Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Rickie Weeks.
We've got good news this morning regarding the health of reliever Brandon Kintzler: Doug Melvin told Todd Rosiak that Kintzler is expected to report to Brevard County for a rehab assignment this week.
In the minors:
- Today's Brewer minor league action is already in progress, as Brevard County's first pitch was scheduled for 9:30 this morning. Wisconsin also plays at 12:05. There's more on both games in the Brewerfan.net Link Report.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 5-2 win over Bowling Green yesterday.
- MiLB.com has video from Wisconsin outfielder Max Walla's homer at Miller Park on Friday (h/t @SessileFielder), and Cream City Cables has an interview with him.
- Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com has a story on Drew Gagnon, who pitched eight shutout innings at Miller Park Friday.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with Taylor Green and Sounds pitcher Amaury Rivas.
- The Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of Wisconsin pitcher Mark Williams.
- This conversation between Mitch Stetter and Huntsville Media Relations Director Jill Cacic would seem to imply that the video board at Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville doesn't work.
In power rankings: Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star has the Brewers 21st, down eight spots.
If you'd like more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, my Friday appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull has been archived in two parts. Here are some of the topics we discussed this week:
- Ryan Braun and the possibility he's pressing.
- Corey Hart and the leadoff spot.
- Carlos Gomez, Norichika Aoki and Nyjer Morgan and the challenge of finding the best way to use the three of them.
- The decision to move Yovani Gallardo ahead a day to start Friday.
- Alex Gonzalez, Cesar Izturis and the lack of organizational depth at the shortstop position.
- Ron Roenicke and the validity of criticism of a manager on a winning team.
Angels: Released outfielder Bobby Abreu.
Astros: Placed pitcher Kyle Weiland on the DL with shoulder bursitis.
Athletics: Signed third baseman Brandon Inge.
Cubs: Placed catcher Steve Clevenger on the DL with an oblique strain.
Indians: Placed pitcher Rafael Perez on the DL with a lat strain.
Nationals: Placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder), reliever Brad Lidge (abdominal strain) and infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa (oblique) on the DL.
Padres: Placed outfielder Jeremy Hermida on the DL with a hip flexor strain.
Rockies: Placed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie on the DL after he landed on his shoulder in a bicycle accident.
White Sox: Placed reliever Jesse Crain on the DL with an oblique strain.
Today in former Brewers: Lorenzo Cain got some bad news over the weekend: He has a grade 3 hip flexor strain and will be out a month or more.
If you watched Saturday's national telecast featuring Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, you got a chance to witness one of the more unlikely things a Hall of Fame broadcaster will ever say on the air. McCarver blamed "climactic change" for the increase in home runs across baseball over the years, claiming that the air is thinner now so the ball travels better.
If you think baseball is slow and boring, the Royals gave your argument some ammunition yesterday. Starting pitcher Bruce Chen walked Twins leadoff batter Denard Span in the first inning yesterday, then made ten pickoff attempts in a single at bat.
Speaking of annoying things at the ballpark, Twinkie Town has a profile of the guy who starts the wave.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Milwaukee native and 12-year major leaguer Chet Laabs. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 19th anniversary of Graeme Lloyd becoming the first Australian pitcher ever to win a major league game. Today is also former Brewer manager Phil Garner's 63rd birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 34 career HBP are the most ever for a player born on April 30.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to change pants.