Some things to read while coasting.
The Brewer road woes continued over the weekend as they won just one of three games against baseball's worst team, the Astros. The win came yesterday and Noah has the recap, if you missed it. The win snapped an eleven game road losing streak.
If you missed yesterday's series finale you might not have seen one of the Brewers' best defensive plays of 2012, as Rickie Weeks completed a behind-the-back flip to Jean Segura to start a 4-6-3 double play in the eighth inning. We've got video of the play here, and BrewGIFs has it in gif form if you'd prefer that. Ron Roenicke told reporters he's been impressed with Segura's defense. The Brewers' new shortstop also had back-to-back multi-hit games this weekend and narrowly missed his first home run yesterday.
Segura also, however, blew a squeeze bunt attempt in this weekend's series. Jack Moore of Disciples Of Uecker used that moment as a starting point for an argument that bunts are not the problem with the 2012 team. I'll agree that bunting is not *the* problem with this team (that title is reserved for the bullpen), but I strongly disagree that they're not *a* problem.
Speaking of the bullpen, roles for the Brewer relievers remain in a state of flux. Ron Roenicke told reporters he's planning on trying to use his best relievers in his highest-leverage situations instead of saving them for the ninth inning.
Other notes from the field:
- Norichika Aoki had two singles yesterday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He's tied with A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox for the longest active streak in baseball.
- Yovani Gallardo has now won ten straight starts against Houston.
- Gallardo was sent back out for the eighth and recorded two outs despite having thrown 106 pitches in the first seven innings. He finished with 114 pitches overall.
- Rickie Weeks went 0-for-4 yesterday after being moved up to the #2 spot in the batting order.
- Kameron Loe, who recorded his first save of the season yesterday, is the first American-born Brewer to record a save since he did it once last season.
- Mike Vassallo has a picture of Adam McCalvy using yesterday's giveaway item in Houston, a retro logo Astros umbrella.
- Saturday's game was the Astros' first extra inning win and Friday was their first walkoff win of the season.
- Manny Parra pitched a scoreless inning Saturday night in his first appearance since July 24.
- Rickie Weeks tied a franchise record with three doubles Friday night. He's the 28th player to do it and the first since Prince Fielder in April of 2011.
The Brewers continue their road trip tonight as they open a series in Colorado at 7:40. Chelsea Janes has the MLB.com preview, and noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs gave tonight's Mike Fiers/Jeff Francis matchup a four out of ten on his NERD scale.
Fiers, by the way, is our Brewer of the Week. He's only the second player to win that award three times this season (joining Ryan Braun), and he's the first pitcher. Fiers is also one of three young pitchers the Brewers are considering shutting down early to avoid potential future injury risks.
Mark Rogers is another of the young pitchers the Brewers are concerned about, but he's taking a break for another reason this week. After having the best start of his young career on Friday night he left the team to attend the birth of his child. He's expected to be back in time to start on Wednesday.
Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 yesterday but is still hitting .351/.389/.590 since July 1. Glenn DuPaul of Beyond the Box Score says Ramirez is quietly having a good 2012 campaign.
Following the season the Brewers are going to have an interesting choice to make regarding Corey Hart, whose contract expires after 2013. Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine, however, seems optimistic about the Brewers' chances of keeping him around:
Corey Hart will be next— Howie Magner (@howiemag) August 12, 2012
#Brewers player on contract carousel, but feel like he's a guy who'll take less to stay here.
Elsewhere in tough decisions, the Brewers are going to have to make another regarding Shaun Marcum after the season. The Appleton Post Crescent has a headline saying Marcum doubts he will be back, but I think that's a somewhat stretched interpretation of this quote:
"The experience has been great," Marcum said of his time with the Brewers. "Last year is what you play for, a chance to get to the World Series. I'd love to return but I don't write the checks and I don't make the offers, so it's going to be up to them."
To me that seems more like Marcum leaving the door open but acknowledging that it's not his decision. It's also worth noting that he needs to prove he's healthy to prevent all of this from becoming a moot point. Marcum pitched three innings in a rehab assignment for Wisconsin Friday night and is expected to start for them again on Wednesday in Beloit.
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-4 yesterday with the lone win coming from Brevard County, where Taylor Jungmann allowed two runs and struck out eight over 7.2 innings in the Manatees' 3-2 win over Tampa. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 9-4 loss to Clinton.
- Project Prospect has posted a midseason list of baseball's top 50 prospects and has Tyler Thornburg as the Brewers' only representative at #48.
- Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs notes that 2012 first round pick Victor Roache is a former Cape Cod League Most Outstanding Prospect, and has a look at how other recipients of that award have fared.
- Roache, by the way, has been cleared by doctors to start swinging a bat.
- Wisconsin reliever Stosh Wawrzasek has pitched 21.1 consecutive scoreless innings, and MLB Depth Charts named him their "Under the Radar" NL Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Week.
- Helena first baseman Adam Giacalone has also been on fire lately and MLBDC listed him as an honorable mention in their "Under the Radar" position player award.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with Brewer special assistant to the GM Dick Groch and Sounds catcher Humberto Quintero.
- Matt Williams of the Salem News has a profile of Wisconsin reliever Stephen Peterson. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
While the Brewers were in Houston this weekend Miller Park hosted the largest movie premiere in history. 28,442 people attended the debut of "Honor Flight," a documentary about four World War II veterans flown to see the memorial in Washington.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet Podcast is up. This week's topics include Jean Segura, Shaun Marcum, center field and more.
Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to Mike2K33, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:
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Athletics: Placed infielder Eric Sogard on the DL with a back strain.
Blue Jays: Claimed pitcher Juan Abreu off waivers from the Astros and designated pitcher Scott Richmond for assignment.
Diamondbacks: Placed infielder Willie Bloomquist (back) and pitcher Josh Collmenter (ulcers) on the DL and designated pitcher Mike Zagurski for assignment.
Indians: Released infielder Jose Lopez.
Mets: Designated pitcher Garrett Olson for assignment.
Padres: Placed reliever Huston Street on the DL with a calf strain and signed 1B/OF Mark Kotsay to a one year, $1.3 million contract extension.
Rangers: Placed catcher Mike Napoli on the DL with a quad strain and designated infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment.
White Sox: Placed first baseman Paul Konerko on the DL with a concussion.
Yankees: Placed pitcher CC Sabathia on the DL with elbow soreness and signed pitcher Derek Lowe.
Meanwhile, this weekend's most interesting transaction might have been this one: The Diamondbacks signed high school pitcher Felipe Perez, who had been committed to attend UCLA, for $400,000. Perez had gone undrafted because of his college commitment, and as such was technically a free agent.
- Seth McClung has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is the latest to pen a story on Ben Sheets' unlikely major league resurgence.
Yesterday's game was the Brewers' last in Houston this season and the last non-interleague game they'll ever play at Minute Maid Park. It might also be the last time they'll see Tal's Hill, as the team is discussing removing the notable landmark.
The Astros are also the subject of today's baseball economics note: After this season they're switching over to their own regional broadcast network, and some outlying Astros fans are already concerned they won't be able to watch the games.
I saw a lot of stuff this morning but this is easily my favorite: Some guy in a DeLorean hovercraft was spotted in McCovey Cove outside a Giants game over the weekend. Perhaps more impressively, he built the vehicle with a $5600 Kickstarter grant.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 25th anniversary of a 1987 game where the Brewers struck out 15 Orioles but lost 5-4 anyway. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times points out that it's also the anniversary of these moments:
- Warren Spahn's 2382nd career strikeout in 1963, making him the most prolific left-handed pitcher of all time. He's still seventh on that list.
- Paul Molitor's first career walkoff home run in 1991.
Today is also 2009 Brewer and current Nashville Sound Corey Patterson's 33rd birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 31 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a player born on August 13.
Now, if you'll excuse me, someone stole my briefcase.