Some things to read while waiting for another lefthanded pitcher.
The Brewers head into St. Louis tonight following a quiet off day Monday. The off day was a rare break for Jean Segura, who played against the Cubs on Sunday and has appeared in 137 of the Brewers' 142 games this season. Adam McCalvy talked to Segura about dealing with fatigue down the stretch and the appeal of going to play winter ball again in a few months anyway.
Tonight will also be the first trip back to St. Louis for former Cardinal Michael Blazek, recently acquired by the Brewers in the John Axford deal. Andrew Gruman of FS Wisconsin talked to Blazek about his efforts to make an impression in his first month in Milwaukee.
Yovani Gallardo won't face the Cardinals this week but will make three or four more starts this season, giving him a chance to pass another milestone: The JS notes that he needs 20 more strikeouts to pass Teddy Higuera for second place on the Brewer all-time list.
If this season lasted another 8-12 months, the Brewers might have a chance to make it all the way to the top. They've climbed up another spot on Jonah Keri of Grantland's power rankings, and now sit at #25. They passed the Twins this week.
Speaking of months, yesterday I asked who you'd like to see in your 2014 Brewers calendar. So far the only place we've reached agreement is on the fact that we're probably spending more time debating this than the calendar's designers did.
In the minors:
- The Helena Brewers got their playoff campaign off to a good start yesterday, as Pioneer League MVP Michael Ratterree was one of three players to homer in their 16-5 win over Great Falls. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Their best-of-three playoff series continues in Helena tonight, with another game scheduled for tomorrow if necessary.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs has a brief discussion of Taylor Jungmann's professional career as part of his look at the players on the Arizona Fall League's Surprise Saguaros.
Meanwhile, closer to the majors, all eyes continue to be on Ryan Braun. Big League Stew caught wind of him helping out on a Habitat for Humanity project out in California.
If you have a moment this morning (or anytime this week, really), take the time to vote in the 2013 Fans Scouting Report to assess the Brewers' defensive abilities. I was the fourth Brewer fan to submit a ballot a couple of hours ago, and hopefully many more will follow.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton at 3 today. I'll be in studio for half an hour or so taking your questions, so listen in and join the conversation.
Red Sox: Announced plans to exercise pitcher Jon Lester's $13 million club option for 2014.
Let's go around the NL Central:
- The Pirates are back within a game of first place after a 1-0 win over the Rangers in Texas. Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez had back-to-back doubles in the seventh to plate the game's only run as Gerrit Cole outdueled Yu Darvish.
- The Cubs got a pair of solo home runs and it was enough to power them to a 2-0 victory over the Reds. Travis Wood pitched seven shutout innings for the win.
- The Cardinals and Brewers were off Monday.
You can read more about those games and all of last night's action in the Tuesday edition of Around the Bases at SBNation.com.
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
|Cardinals||83||60||--||v MIL||7:15p||Shelby Miller v Wily Peralta|
|Pirates||82||61||1||@ TEX||7:05p||Francisco Liriano v Martin Perez|
|Reds||82||63||2||v CHC||6:10p||Tony Cingrani v Edwin Jackson|
If you're handicapping the last few weeks of the NL Central race, you may want to lean heavily towards the Cardinals. They come into tonight with a one game lead, and Tom Haudricourt notes that the schedule is on their side on our Tweet of the Day:
St. Louis has 12 of remaining 19 games at home. Sixteen games vs. teams with losing records, including 6 vs. #Brewers. None vs. Pit or Cin.— Tom (@Haudricourt) September 9, 2013
Meanwhile, Cincinnati's loss last night means the Brewer playoff hopes survive for another day. Their elimination number remains at 1, so they need nothing but wins and Reds losses (and some help) the rest of the way.
Today in former Brewers:
- He's only a few years removed from getting fired in the middle of a pennant chase by the Brewers, but Ned Yost is up to his old tricks with the Royals. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk chronicled how he singlehandedly sunk the Royals' chances of winning in the ninth inning last night. If Calcaterra's take wasn't ebough for you, David Schoenfield of ESPN and Rany Jazayerli weighed in too.
- Neil Weinberg of Beyond the Box Score is the latest to write about how Zack Greinke is helping his own cause with the bat this season.
- Former Brewers executive Edmund Fitzgerald, one of the men responsible for bringing baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves' departure in 1965, died a few weeks ago. He was 87.
Today In Brewer History was off this morning, but we do have two bits of history: nullacct has a look at Charlie Moore as the face of the 1983 Brewers, and Chris Jensen of Baseball: State by State has a profile of Kid Nichols as Wisconsin's best September-born player.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a headache.