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Friday's Frosty Mug

The last time the Brewers visited San Francisco Brett Carroll was still on the roster.
The last time the Brewers visited San Francisco Brett Carroll was still on the roster.

Some things to read while making yourself comfortable.

After the Padres series I think we all needed an off day, and it sounds like many of the Brewers took advantage of a break in San Francisco in the middle of their ten day road trip. While Mike Vassallo, Tim Dillard and Randy Wolf visited Skywalker Ranch, John Axford and some others spent the day touring Alcatraz. Kameron Loe also has a picture of an impromptu baseball game in the abandoned prison yard.

Adam McCalvy, meanwhile, spent yesterday working on a great story about the Brewers' response to a difficult week. The Brewers seem to recognize the challenge going forward and aren't shying away from it.

The Crew will be back in action tonight at 9:15 when Zack Greinke takes on Tim Lincecum in the first of a three game set. Carson Cistulli gave tonight's contest a 7 out of 10 on his NERD scale and listed it among the day's best games. SB Nation Bay Area has a preview of the series, and we'll have ours around noon.

The Brewers won't be seeing the Giants at full strength this week as they try to get by without their best hitter. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval broke the hamate bone in his left hand and will be out roughly six weeks after surgery to remove it. Julian Levine of Beyond the Box Score painted a bleak picture of the Giants' offense without Sandoval.

As expected, the Brewers called up Brooks Conrad from Nashville yesterday to fill Mat Gamel's place on the roster. They'll have to make a corresponding move to make room for him today, but putting Gamel on the 60-day DL seems like a no-brainer. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution says Conrad is "about as good a dude as you could meet." Meanwhile, you can add Eric Karabell of ESPN to the list of people calling for Taylor Green.

Hopefully yesterday's off day gave the Brewers an opportunity to rest up before a strong finish to the road trip. Scott Miller of CBS says the Brewers are convinced their luck will turn around, and also got a quote from Randy Wolf about the lack of ice cream in the clubhouse.

The 2012 Brewers may not have ice cream in the clubhouse, but they do have some greatly improved defense at shortstop. Kevan Feyzi of has a look at how Alex Gonzalez has shored up the position.

I'm not sure I actually want to look back at Wednesday, but I guess we'll have to at some point. Gaslamp Ball rated the series-ending shutout victory as the best Padres game of 2012.

After getting shut out on back-to-back days by the Padres, scoring three runs tonight might feel like an offensive explosion for the Brewers. Nonetheless, Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker says the Brewers are 3-7 when scoring between three and five runs in a game this season, and it's the most significant difference between the 2011 and 2012 teams.

The Brewers' recent struggles are apparent in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. Ron Roenicke's approval rating dropped 12% this week to 62%.

Down on the farm, the Brewers have an interesting decision to make this winter: Their player development contract with AAA Nashville is up following the season and the team could look to change affiliates before 2013. Josh Leventhal of Baseball America says a move is unlikely.

Elsewhere in the minors:

In power rankings:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on AM 1570 The Score in Appleton at 3 pm. I'll be live in studio taking your questions, so tweet them to @JH1570 or call in to share your thoughts on this team.

Congratulations are due out this morning to MadTownTim, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 game. Today's first game starts at 1:20, so you've still got a few hours to make your picks for today.

Around baseball:

Angels: Acquired reliever Ernesto Frieri from the Padres for infielder Alexi Amarista and a minor league pitcher.
Dodgers: Signed outfielder Bobby Abreu and designated pitcher Mike MacDougal for assignment.
Nationals: Placed first baseman Adam LaRoche on the DL with an oblique strain.
Royals: Placed infielder Yuniesky Betancourt on the DL with an ankle injury.
Yankees: Reliever Mariano Rivera is likely out for the season with a torn ACL and third baseman Eric Chavez is on the seven-day DL with a concussion.

While the Brewers were off yesterday, the Reds came from behind in the ninth inning to beat the Cubs 4-3. Carlos Marmol blew the save for the Cubs, and Dale Sveum told reporters after the game that he's already considering a change in the closer role. You know about that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

Around baseball this morning Mariano Rivera is still the top story as the all-time saves leader's career may have ended when he tore his ACL shagging fly balls before yesterday's game. Amid all the coverage of that was something I didn't know: When Yovani Gallardo pitched in a game four months and 24 days after his ACL surgery in 2008 it was the fastest comeback ever from that injury.

Today in baseball economics: Some of the rules about getaway-day night games have been relaxed in the new collective bargaining agreement, so it's likely we won't see as many weekday day games in future seasons. The Astros are only playing two such games in 2012.

Today in former Brewers: Jenifer Langosch of talked to Erik Komatsu about life in limbo after being designated for assignment by the Cardinals.

This morning's edition of Today in Brewer History marks the first anniversary of Zack Greinke's Brewer debut. Today is also 2004 Brewer Ben Grieve's 36th birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 45 career HBP are second all time among players born in May 4.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to write another one.

Drink up.