The Brewers were off yesterday in Houston before opening their first-ever interleague series with the Astros tonight. Alfredo Figaro will take on Jordan Lyles at 7:10, and we'll have our series preview later today.
The Astros are getting one injured player back for tonight's game: center fielder Justin Maxwell was activated off the DL following last night's loss to the White Sox after missing most of two months with an injured hand. He only had a .679 OPS when he went on the DL this year, but posted a .764 mark in over 120 games for Houston a year ago.
Meanwhile, yesterday's off day gave many of us a chance to look ahead to next month's trade deadline:
- Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times says the Brewers need to start making moves.
- The Wisconsin Sports Blog has some suggestions.
- Trade possibilities were also the primary topic of Adam McCalvy's MLB.com inbox.
- MLive.com suggests the Tigers could consider John Axford in an effort to help resolve their closer woes.
It's probably safe to assume these guys aren't going anywhere at the deadline: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs listed Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura among baseball's biggest overachievers to this point this season.
In amidst a boatload of uncertainty, two Brewer relievers may have found themselves long term roles with this team. Max Weinstein of Beyond the Box Score attempted to quantify "clutch" relievers and found that Brandon Kintzler is one of the game's best in high leverage situations in 2013, while Jim Henderson is one of the elite in low leverage innings.
Elsewhere in certainties, I'm loving Fred's new series on confirmation bias. This week we're looking at pitching to Giancarlo Stanton, giving up cheap home runs in Cincinnati and Bill Schroeder's reaction to small ball.
In the minors:
- On the field, Brevard County picked up a walkoff win last night and they remain in the hunt for a Florida State League playoff spot. They're now just half a game back of first place Dunedin and half a game ahead of Clearwater.
- Nick Ramirez had a hit for the Manatees last night and is batting .240/.311/.483 with 14 home runs in the first half. He's Brevard County's representative on Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo's list of first half minor league MVPs.
- Off the field, three more players inked their first professional contracts yesterday: 23rd round outfielder Eric Williams and 31st round pitcher Tanner Poppe are now in the fold, and so is undrafted free agent pitcher Chris Matulis. We added Williams and Poppe to the draft signings thread.
- In all cases these are signings we'd already heard about, but the Brewers finally officially announced the signings of each of their top five draft picks yesterday. Second round picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus and fifth round pick Josh Uhen will start their pro careers in Arizona, while third round pick Barrett Astin and fourth rounder Taylor Williams will report to Helena.
- Neuhaus, by the way, is celebrating his 18th birthday today.
- Meanwhile, the top Brewer rookies will have one of 2012's top picks as a teammate. The organization moved 2012 first round pick Clint Coulter from Wisconsin back down to Helena yesterday. Coulter is still only 19 and hit .207/.299/.345 in 33 appearances for the Timber Rattlers.
- Speaking of Wisconsin, Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball was in attendance for a recent Timber Rattlers game and shared some brief thoughts on several players.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Sounds manager Mike Guerrero.
If you haven't yet, please take a moment today to vote in this week's BCB Tracking Poll. It will remain open through the day today and results will be posted tomorrow.
Let's go around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals opened a series at home with a 5-2 win over the Cubs last night following a two-hour rain delay. Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a play at the plate.
- The Reds kept pace with a 4-1 win over the Pirates. Mike Leake held Pittsburgh to a run on six hits over seven innings for his seventh win.
- The Brewers, of course, were off Monday.
Here are today's standings and probables:
|Adam Wainwright v Jeff Samardzija
|Mat Latos v Charlie Morton
|Alfredo Figaro v Jordan Lyles
Today in former Brewers: Yesterday I mentioned that Travis Ishikawa had opted out of his minor league contract with the Orioles, but they've elected to add him to the major league roster instead of releasing him.
Juan Pierre is not a member of an NL Central team or a former Brewer, so we'll just drop this here because it's too awesome to not link: Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball is making him the subject of a children's book.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 37th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 750th home run, the deciding run in a 3-2 Brewer win over the A's in 1976. Today also would have been Waterford, Wisconsin native Charlie Ganzel's 151st birthday, and Plunk Everyone notes that his 18 career HBP are the fourth most ever for a player born on June 18.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find a mechanic.