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Friday's Frosty Mug: On to Los Angeles

The Brewers' first west coast trip of 2013 continues tonight with a series opener in LA, and we're talking about that and more in today's (mostly) daily news roundup.

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Denis Poroy

Some things to read while cleaning your plate. (h/t

After a day off on the west coast Thursday the Brewers return to action tonight when Hiram Burgos takes on the Dodgers at 9:10. Doug Miller has the preview. Dodger Sims crunched the numbers and gave the Brewers a 37% chance of winning.

Of course, before we can fully focus on the future we must resolve the issues in our past. Wednesday night's game saw a nine game winning streak end in bizarre fashion as Martin Maldonado was called out for batter interference on the game's final out despite still having a foot firmly planted in the batter's box. Ron Roenicke says the umpires blew the call. The Book of Gorman has a reminder that the entire Padres series was overrun with dubious umpiring.

As you might expect after three games at Petco Park, it won't take long to recap this week's home runs with help from Hit Tracker and Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus:

Day Hitter Distance Trot Time
Monday Ryan Braun 402 feet 21.44 seconds
Monday Yuniesky Betancourt 389 feet 24.74 seconds
Tuesday No home runs
Wednesday No home runs

Speaking of Yuni, he's drawn some attention by hitting .279/.303/.492 with 15 RBI in his first 19 games back as a Brewer, but before you get too excited about his performance you should read this: Jess Lemont of The Brewers Bar notes that Yuni's swing rates, especially at pitches outside the zone, are as bad or worse than they've ever been.

Thankfully, Yuni's hot streak has helped bridge the gap while Aramis Ramirez has been out. Ramirez could be healthy enough to rejoin the team soon, and Ron Roenicke told reporters he "doesn't really want to go on a rehab assignment."

Yovani Gallardo had a pretty solid outing for six innings against the Padres on Tuesday before the wheels came off in the seventh as he allowed three consecutive walks. Nathan Petrashek of Cream City Cables has a look at Gallardo's final batters faced in the contest.

While Gallardo struggles to go deep into games, though, the Brewer bullpen has been surprisingly good at bailing him and other Brewers out of jams lately. Jim Owczarski of has a look at the relievers' recent hot streak.

John Axford has been one of the Brewer relievers pitching well lately, and Ron Roenicke told reporters he could return to the closer role soon. If the Brewers had needed a closer on Wednesday I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been Axford after Jim Henderson threw nearly 30 pitches the night before.

When the team plays well, it makes everyone involved look better. That's pretty clearly reflected in the results of this week's BCB Tracking Poll, where Doug Melvin, Ron Roenicke, Rick Kranitz and Johnny Narron all saw their approval ratings climb significantly.

In the minors:

In power rankings:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I've got some options for you:

Around baseball:

Blue Jays: Placed DH Adam Lind on paternity leave.
Marlins: Claimed pitcher Duane Below off waivers from the Tigers.
Nationals: Exercised general manager Mike Rizzo's contract option for 2014.
Rockies: Placed first baseman Todd Helton on the DL with a left forearm strain.
Tigers: Designated pitcher Duane Below for assignment.

Here's today's look around the Central:

  • The Pirates climbed into sole possession of second place with a 6-4 win over the Phillies. Their 14 hits last night raised their team batting average for the season from .230 to .237.
  • The Reds managed just one hit (a Joey Votto home run) in their 8-1 loss to the Nationals.
  • Luis Valbuena homered in the ninth to give the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Marlins in a battle of teams that are already closing in on mathematical elimination.
  • The Cardinals and Brewers were off Thursday.

Here are today's updated standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 13 8 -- v PIT 7:15 pm Lance Lynn v. Jonathan Sanchez
Pirates 13 9 .5 @ STL 7:15 pm
Reds 13 10 1 @ WSN 6:05 pm Homer Bailey v. Jordan Zimmermann
Brewers 11 9 1.5 @ LAD 9:10 pm Hiram Burgos v. Josh Beckett
Cubs 7 14 6 @ MIA 6:10 pm Scott Feldman v. Wade LeBlanc

In former Brewers: Connor Moylan of Royals Review says Lorenzo Cain has been the Royals' best hitter.

I'm not usually one to pay much attention to the NBA, but I will note that since Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's famed Comic Sans rant we're all a little more sensitive to the topic of font selection. If you needed another reminder of how something great can quickly become terrible in an awful font, Bless You Boys has remade several National League logos.

Meanwhile, easily the coolest thing I've seen today is this gif of all five of Yu Darvish's pitches being thrown at the same time.

Today in baseball economics: A local pizza chain in Cincinnati promised to give out free small pizzas every time Reds pitchers struck out eleven in a game, but apparently didn't anticipate it happening four times in five days.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 37th anniversary of a 1976 game where the Brewers beat the Angels 1-0 despite only collecting two hits. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the third anniversary of the Brewers' 17-3 win over the Pirates in 2010, their 22nd consecutive victory over Pittsburgh.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm waddling on.

Drink up.