Some things to read while building a better robot.
The Brewer bats stayed up late last night, turning a 0-0 scoreless tie in the seventh into a 6-1 win over the Giants. morineko has the recap, if you missed it.
The Brewers stayed in last night's game into the late innings largely because of a solid outing from Marco Estrada, whose only baserunner allowed over five innings was a single through the middle that Rickie Weeks almost corralled. Estrada threw 76 pitches in his first start since June. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy) @howiemag has a reminder that last night was supposed to be a rehab start.
The Brewers also got a big night from Khris Davis, who singled to start the rally in the eighth and homered off Barry Zito in the ninth. A big day for Khris Davis means it was also a big day for Noah, as demonstrated in our Tweet of the Day:
Excuse me sir, I'm going door-to-door to spread the word. Do you have a moment to talk about the power of Khris Davis?— Noah Jarosh (@NoahJarosh) August 8, 2013
Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the tools Davis and fellow new Brewer Caleb Gindl bring to the table.
Of course, last night's win came at a cost: Rickie Weeks left the game in the eighth inning and is likely headed to the DL with a hamstring strain. If he does go on the shelf, he'll be the fourth Brewer to suffer the same injury this season. Scooter Gennett had been optioned to Nashville (h/t @AdamMcCalvy) before last night's game to make room on the roster for Marco Estrada, but will likely be recalled today to take Weeks' place.
My cable was out so I didn't get to see last night's game, but with two last place teams on the field it's hardly surprising it got ugly. This paragraph from McCovey Chronicles' recap sums it up nicely:
This series promised to be a real awful-off, and it hasn't disappointed. It was like the buildup to the Beat It video. Roving gangs walking through the streets, marauding, picking up members, heading for an ultimate showdown. Except pretend the gangs were awful. One guy is carrying an umbrella instead of a tire iron. Another guy is trying to light his bottle of Fanta on fire because he doesn't understand how Molotov cocktails work. Another guy is Jeff Francoeur. And they all meet in the middle and ... well, whatever it is that awful gangs do. Slip a lot and fall down, i guess.
Other notes from the field:
- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner allowed three earned runs last night for the first time in his last ten starts, and after the game he called out his teammates for poor defense behind him.
- Jeff Bianchi tied last night's game with an eighth inning infield single, and Joe Block noted on Twitter that his .313 batting average with runners in scoring position is the best of any Brewer.
- The Brewers have clinched a winning season against the Giants for the first time since 2008 (h/t @MikeVassallo13).
The Brewers can clinch a four game series win at 2:45 today when Donovan Hand takes on Tim Lincecum. Kevin Massoth has the MLB.com preview.
Looking ahead, the Brewers will head to Seattle following tonight's game and open a three-game set with the Mariners tomorrow. @MikeVassallo13 notes that tomorrow's game and six others the rest of the way will be bumped from WTMJ to WLWK in Milwaukee to make room for Packers coverage.
Looking further ahead, the starting rotation is about to get more reinforcements: Tom Gorzelanny threw a successful bullpen session on Wednesday and could rejoin the rotation this weekend, while Yovani Gallardo ran windsprints on his strained hamstring and reported no issues.
The Brewers' late rally last night meant they didn't need Jim Henderson, which is probably a good thing as he had just pitched multiple innings the night before. Ron Roenicke told reporters he doesn't plan on using Henderson to record four or more outs very often.
Jonathan Lucroy went 1-for-4 last night, but as usual his biggest contribution might have come behind the plate. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs rates Lucroy as baseball's fourth best pitch-framer this season, although he's behind some pretty unlikely names on that list.
The Brewers are bad this season and Doug Melvin is taking some heat for that, but Kristin Zenz of PocketDoppler.com has a reminder that an awful lot of Melvin's moves over the years have worked out. In a related note, Bryan Grosnick of Beyond the Box Score wonders if everyone was wrong about the Kyle Lohse signing.
Jean Segura went 1-for-3 with a walk last night and has a chance to be one of Melvin's lasting legacies. Tuesday was the first anniversary of his Brewer debut and Jordan took a look at his first year in the majors.
Carlos Gomez's contract extension is another feather in Melvin's camp at this point. Yesterday we started the conversation about the possibility he could be NL MVP.
Jean Francisco entered last night's game as part of a double switch and walked in his only plate appearance. He's hitting .240/.324/.481 in 51 games since joining the Brewers and the organization still isn't sure what they'll do with him in the long term.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 3-2 last night and Renaldo Jenkins, Ruben Ozuna and Michael Ratterree each had three hits in Helena's 11-5 win over Missoula. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has notes from Wisconsin's 3-1 loss to Peoria.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash.
You've probably already seen this, but here's a moment that will restore your faith in humanity: Arena Five tells a story about a "mystery man" who gave her young son a ball at Miller Park. John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have invited all parties involved to come back to another game at Miller Park.
Blue Jays: Designated pitcher Michael Schwimmer for assignment.
Indians: Placed pitcher Corey Kluber on the DL with a sprained finger and signed outfielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year, $4.85 million contract extension with a club option for 2016.
Mets: Placed reliever Bobby Parnell on the DL with a herniated disc in his neck.
Phillies: Designated outfielder Laynce Nix for assignment and signed second baseman Chase Utley to a two year, $27 million contract extension with multiple vesting options.
Rays: Placed outfielder Desmond Jennings on the DL with a broken finger.
Red Sox: Placed reliever Matt Thornton on the DL with an oblique strain.
Rockies: Placed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (finger sprain) and pitcher Tyler Chatwood (elbow inflammation) on the DL.
Tigers: Released reliever Jose Valverde.
Twins: Are expected to place catcher Ryan Doumit on the DL with a concussion.
Let's so around the NL Central:
- The Pirates rode a solid start from Charlie Morton and Andrew McCutchen's 16th home run to a 4-2 win over the Marlins. They've now won four straight to open up a three game divisional lead, their largest of the season.
- They were able to gain a game on the Cardinals, who lost 13-4 to the Dodgers at home. St. Louis starter Shelby Miller faced just one batter in the game before leaving with an apparent elbow injury.
- The Reds kept pace with a 6-5 win over the A's. Jay Bruce hit his 24th home run in the game.
- The Cubs beat the Phillies 5-2 behind a pair of home runs from Donnie Murphy, who now has gone deep three times in three games as a Cub.
- The Brewers, of course, came from behind to beat the Giants 6-1.
You can read more about all of last night's action in Beyond the Box Score's Smallest Sample Size.
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
|Pirates||69||44||--||v MIA||11:35a||Gerrit Cole v Jose Fernandez|
|Cardinals||66||47||3||v LAD||7:15p||Carlos Martinez v Hyun-Jin Ryu|
|Cubs||50||63||19||@ PHI||12:05p||Jeff Samardzija v Ethan Martin|
|Brewers||49||65||20.5||@ SFG||2:45p||Donovan Hand v Tim Lincecum|
Outfielder Thomas Neal made his debut for the Cubs this week, becoming the 49th player to appear in a game for them this season. To put that in context, the Brewers have battled injuries all year but have still used just 38 players.
There are some truly awful teams around baseball this season, but there are also some remarkably hot teams right now. Earlier this week I mentioned that the Royals are on a roll, so it's only fair that I also mention that the Tigers and Braves have won eleven and 13 straight, respectively.
Today in former Brewers: Bluebird Banter used George Kottaras as the inspiration to construct a team full of players who rarely put the ball in play.
Today's sabermetric note comes from Dave Studeman of The Hardball Times, who has a great confirmation of something you may have already expected: When a team is forced to throw a lot of pitches in the first inning it significantly lowers their chances of winning the game.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've found the ice cream man.