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Thursday's Frosty Mug: Too high, too tight

We're talking about a bench-clearing incident and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.

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Some things to read on the best day ever.

The Brewers snapped a five-game losing streak and avoided a winless homestand by beating the Pirates 9-3 at Miller Park last night. Hangwith'em Rach has the recap, if you missed it.

Unfortunately, the lasting memory from last night's game may be an ugly moment in the fifth inning. Andrew McCutchen homered and took a long time rounding the bases (27.55 seconds), although it looked like he was simply struggling to see the ball off the bat. Wily Peralta hit the next batter, Justin Morneau, with a fastball in the shoulder. You can see the video here. Both benches and bullpens emptied.

Peralta, of course, says he wasn't trying to hit Morneau, and I hope he's right. Morneau has a well-documented history with concussions, so going up and in on him on purpose could have had a disastrous result. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk says Peralta was "clearly" attempting to hit Morneau, although unless he was inside Peralta's head I'm not sure how he could be certain of that.

Despite the challenge of determining intent, however, there's a chance Peralta will be suspended for this and that's probably fair. I think it's safe to say none of this would have been a major issue if Peralta had hit Morneau below the waist instead of near his head.

Meanwhile, the Brewers got a big offensive night from Aramis Ramirez last night. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, scoring three times. It was his first three-run game since doing it as a Cub in 2011, and he's now just one run away from 1000 for his career (h/t @MikeVassallo13).

Other notes from the field:

Let's wrap up the Pirates series with a look at this week's home runs, with help from Hit Tracker and Larry Granillo of Wezen-ball:

Day Player Distance Trot time
Monday No home runs
Tuesday No home runs
Wednesday Khris Davis 413 feet 21.77 seconds

The Brewers are off today before opening a series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday. Kyle Lohse will take on Chris Rusin in the opener, and Paul Casella has the preview.

Don't expect the Cubs to steal a lot of bases on Friday. They rank eleventh among NL teams with 58 steals on the season, and Max Weinstein of FanGraphs notes that Kyle Lohse and Jonathan Lucroy are one of the best batteries in baseball when it comes to preventing steals. Lucroy and Yovani Gallardo are one of the worst combinations.

Looking ahead a day, Johnny Hellweg will make his first September start for the Brewers on Saturday. The Brewers aren't shying away from saying that there's a lot on the line for Hellweg in the season's final month, with Ron Roenicke acknowledging that a hot stretch could put him into the rotation plans for 2014.

It's also a big month for the various Brewers vying for playing time at first base. The position is shaping up to be one of this winter's biggest question marks.

The Brewers will take 29 players along to Chicago this weekend, but it appears Tom Gorzelanny will not be one of them. He met with Dr. William Raasch on Wednesday to get his ailing shoulder looked at, and will have more tests done today (h/t @AndrewGruman).

Brandon Kintzler will be along on the trip, although it's possible the Brewers will look to limit his workload. Adam McCalvy talked to Kintzler about how he's handling a career-high 59 appearances this season. Jim Owczarski of also talked to Kintzler about his long road to the big leagues, comparing it to the current travails of former Brewer minor leaguers Seth Lintz and Evan Anundsen.

This weekend's road trip will be Michael Blazek's first as a Brewer. John Sickels of Minor League Ball looked back at the trade that brought him to Milwaukee and predicts Blazek's upside will top out at "middle reliever." Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs also looked back at the deal and said it was interesting, but probably won't matter.

Jimmy Nelson will also be on the bus, although his role is still pretty limited. Adam McCalvy talked to Nelson about adjusting to life in the bullpen in his first stint in the majors.

Jeff Bianchi played shortstop last night in place of Jean Segura, who was given the night off. notes that Segura is hitting .390/.468/.537 this season on pitches clocked above 95 mph, which puts him among the best fastball hitters in baseball.

The Brewers return home a week from tomorrow to take on the Reds, Cubs and Cardinals at Miller Park. Andrew Gruman reflects on the passage of time in our Tweet of the Day:

In the minors:

  • The full-season affiliates have wrapped up their 2013 campaigns, but the regular season continues for a few more days in Helena. 2013 third round pick Barrett Astin pitched four hitless innings in the Brewers' 6-5 win over Billings. You can read more about that game in today's Minor League Notes.
  • Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker has a look back at Mark Rogers' Brewer career, and says the first round pick in the 2004 draft was not a bust.

They still have ten home games to improve on this total, but the Brewers recently announced that they've reached over $5 million in ticket sales for this season's 50/50 raffles at Miller Park. That means over $2.5 million for the Brewers Community Foundation.

If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, my weekly appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 WSCO in Appleton has been archived for your listening pleasure. This week we spent half an hour talking September callups and more.

Around baseball:

Astros: Acquired catcher Matt Pagnozzi from the Braves for cash.
Athletics: Designated reliever Hideki Okajima for assignment.
Blue Jays: Designated first baseman Mauro Gomez for assignment.
Cubs: Claimed reliever Daniel Bard off waivers from the Red Sox and designated outfielder Cole Gillespie, outfielder Dave Sappelt and pitcher Michael Bowman for assignment.
Giants: Designated infielder/outfielder Kensuke Tanaka for assignment.
Marlins: Designated first baseman/outfielder Jordan Brown for assignment.
Padres: Signed outfielder Will Venable to a two-year, $8.5 million contract extension.
Royals: Designated third baseman/outfielder Edinson Rincon for assignment.

Let's go around the NL Central:

  • The game of the night last night was played in Cincinnati, where Matt Adams homered twice in extra innings as the Cardinals beat the Reds 5-4 in 16. The two teams combined to use 14 relief pitchers for 20.1 innings. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk has a look at how the Reds may have bunted their way out of a win.
  • The Cubs rode a four-run seventh inning to a 9-7 win over the Marlins at Wrigley Field. Donnie Murphy was one of four Cubs to homer in the game.
  • The Brewers, of course, beat the Pirates.

You can read more about those games and all of yesterday's action in the Thursday edition of Around the Bases at

Here are today's updated standings and probables:

Team W L GB Today Time Matchup
Pirates 81 58 -- OFF
Cardinals 80 59 1 @ CIN 6:10p Lance Lynn v Tony Cingrani
Reds 78 62 3.5 v STL 6:10p
Brewers 60 79 21 OFF
Cubs 59 80 22 OFF

Now that the Brewers are done facing Pittsburgh this season, it's a little easier to climb on this bandwagon: Enrique Bakemeyer of The Brewers Bar is one of several fans rooting on the Pirates down the stretch.

Today in former Brewers:

If you've been to any of this week's games at Miller Park, you may have noticed you have more room than usual to stretch out. For some of us that's a good thing. Marc Normandin of Over the Monster has an example of the kind of fans that need an entire section to themselves.

It's unlikely the Brewers will be involved in any of these games, but I guess you should mark your calendar just in case: Major League Baseball released the 2013 postseason schedule yesterday.

Today In Brewer History was off this morning, but today is 1991 Brewer Candy Maldonado's 53 birthday and Plunk Everyone notes that his 41 career HBP are the third most ever for a player born on September 5.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I shouldn't be talking.

Drink up.