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Monday's Frosty Mug: Backing into a series win

The Brewers are series winners for the first time since April, and we're talking about that and more in today's daily news roundup.

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Some things to read while nothing is wrong.

The Brewers fell just short in their effort to sweep the Phillies yesterday, but the fact that they took two out of three in a road series is pretty impressive all by itself. The final score was 7-5 yesterday, and Jordan has the recap.

Yesterday's game was basically over early when Mike Fiers allowed seven runs on seven hits while pitching just 1.2 innings. After the game he described his outing as a "gutless performance," and the Brewers are likely to discuss removing him from the rotation today.

The Brewers were able to get back into yesterday's game, however, because of 6.1 combined scoreless innings from their bullpen. Alfredo Figaro had 3.1 of those innings and needed just 28 pitches to record ten outs. Figaro has now pitched 3.1 innings in relief twice this season, a feat no Brewer accomplished once last year.

Other notes from the field:

  • Jonathan Lucroy had what would have been an eighth inning grand slam reduced to a triple after a relay review yesterday. After the game both Lucroy and Ron Roenicke said the umpires got it right.
  • Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and a triple yesterday, had six hits (including three home runs) in eleven at bats this weekend and now leads the National League with 16 homers.

The Brewers returned home last night and open an interleague series with the Oakland Athletics tonight. Marco Estrada takes on Tommy Milone at 7:10, and Andrew Simon has the preview. Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin notes that the A's come to town as winners of 14 of their last 16 games.

One of the fascinating things about baseball is the fact that you can be red hot and still look completely silly at times. Jonathan Lucroy went 8-for-13 with five extra base hits over the weekend, but also made Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs' list of the week's worst swings by striking out on a pitch 34.4 inches away from the center of the strike zone.

Over three days in Philadelphia Lucroy raised his slugging percentage from .333 to .428. Colin Bennett of Reviewing the Brew wonders what we can expect from Lucroy going forward.

Jean Segura went 2-for-10 this weekend (getting a rare day off yesterday), but still enters play today as the NL leader with 75 hits and a .350 batting average. He's our reigning Brewer of the Week again, and the Brewers named him their Player of the Month for May. Michael Gonzalez was the team's pitcher of the month.

Carlos Gomez got a day off on Saturday but bounced back on Sunday by getting on base three times. Adam Wieser of Disciples of Uecker skipped the 30-30 step and suggested that Gomez (who currently has ten home runs and eleven stolen bases) could go 40-40 this season.

Meanwhile, we can't enjoy the present without a glance at the past: Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has a look at some numbers that led to May being the worst month in franchise history.

Looking ahead to the future, if the Brewers can't turn things around in a hurry then they're likely to be sellers at or before the trade deadline. The rumor mill has already started to swirl on Aramis Ramirez, who told Jon Morosi of Fox Sports he knows the possibility to be dealt is out there. Morosi speculates that the Dodgers, Angels, Indians and Reds could be interested.

It's unlikely Yuniesky Betancourt will draw much attention on the trade market. His 0-for-4 performance yesterday dropped his batting line to .173/.211/.212 in his last 28 games. Earlier in the weekend he talked to Adam McCalvy about falling back into his free-swinging habits.

On the flip side of the coin, Logan Schafer is 7-for his last 11 with four extra base hits. He talked to Adam McCalvy about adjusting to life coming off the bench. McCalvy also spotted him taking ground balls at first base before yesterday's game, but said he'd only play there in a "super emergency."

In the minors:

Back in Milwaukee, John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have a food suggestion for this week's A's series. They tried all three flavors of the Food Network Mac & Cheese served on the loge level and gave them a four out of five.

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed reliever Edgar Gonzalez on the DL with shoulder soreness.
Blue Jays: Placed pitcher Brandon Morrow on the DL with forearm soreness.
Cubs: Designated pitcher Alex Burnett for assignment and placed pitcher Rafael Dolis on the DL with a forearm strain.
Diamondbacks: Placed third baseman Eric Chavez (oblique strain) and pitcher Brandon McCarthy (shoulder soreness) on the DL.
Dodgers: Placed catcher A.J. Ellis on the DL with an oblique strain.
Mariners: Placed first baseman Justin Smoak (oblique strain) on the DL and designated third baseman Vinnie Catricala for assignment.
Marlins: Designated pitcher Wade LeBlanc and outfielder Jordan Brown for assignment.
Nationals: Placed outfielder Bryce Harper on the DL with bursitis in his left knee.
Orioles: Signed pitcher Jon Rauch to a minor league deal.
Padres: Placed closer Huston Street on the DL with a calf strain.
Phillies: Released reliever Chad Durbin.
Rockies: Placed reliever Rafael Betancourt on the DL with a groin strain.
Tigers: Acquired outfielder Francisco Martinez from the Mariners for a PTBNL or cash and designated outfielder Quentin Barry for assignment.
White Sox: Designated infielder Tyler Greene for assignment and placed outfielder Dewayne Wise on the DL with a hamstring injury.

Let's go around the NL Central:

  • The Cardinals took two of three in San Francisco this weekend but the loss came yesterday, when Brandon Belt's two run single in the seventh powered the Giants to a 4-2 win.
  • The Reds kept pace by taking two of three from the Pirates, but Pittsburgh was able to salvage the final game with a 5-4, eleven inning win yesterday. Travis Snider was the hero with a walkoff single.
  • The Cubs lost two of three to the Diamondbacks, including an 8-4 decision yesterday. Patrick Corbin picked up the win to improve to 9-0, while Edwin Jackson lost and is now 1-8.
  • The Brewers, of course, dropped their chance for a sweep of the Phillies yesterday.

Here are today's standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Cardinals 37 19 -- v ARI 7:15p Lance Lynn v Trevor Cahill
Reds 35 22 2.5 v COL 6:10p Bronson Arroyo v Tyler Chatwood
Pirates 35 22 2.5 @ ATL 6:10p A.J. Burnett v Kris Medlen
Cubs 23 32 13.5 OFF
Brewers 21 34 15.5 v OAK 7:10p Marco Estrada v Tommy Milone

The Cardinals, Reds and Pirates, by the way, had baseball's three best records in May.

Today in former Brewers: As part of his new "Brewsletter" feature, Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker has an extended look at the intangible issues that may have made it easier for the Brewers to ship Brett Lawrie out in the Shaun Marcum trade.

Yesterday's loss to the Phillies was the Brewers' 55th game, meaning their season is about 34% over. Over the weekend High Heat Stats marked the passing of a third of the 2013 regular season.

Sunday's weirdest moment around baseball came on national television, as the Yankees and Red Sox emerged from a rain delay and played for just four minutes before a thunderstorm resumed and the game was washed out. Baseball Think Factory has video of players' reaction in both dugouts following a massive clap of thunder.

Over the years we've heard a lot about the MLB Fan Cave, and to be honest I tune a lot of it out because it's somewhat incessant. I will say this, though: Rev Halofan of Halos Heaven's account of his visit makes it seem much cooler than I'd imagined.

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 28th anniversary of the Brewers selecting B.J. Surhoff with the first overall pick in the 1985 draft. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 1000 days since Trevor Hoffman recorded his 600th save.

Finally, a quick programming note: I'm on a quick mini-vacation with my wife for our anniversary this week, so the Mug will be off tomorrow. I stayed up late last night and got up early this morning to finish this one, but I feel like spending my whole vacation doing that would kind of defeat the purpose of leaving the house at all. So I'll be back on Wednesday.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find something that works.

Drink up.