Some things to read while looking for a morning snack.
Maybe day #27 of spring training is the day the Brewers snap a losing streak. They lost their fourth consecutive game on Wednesday, and it was not close as Matt Garza's poor outing put the Brewers in a 10-0 hole early and they coasted to a 12-2 loss to the Angels. JP has the recap, if you missed it.
Garza allowed all ten of those runs (although only six were earned) on nine hits while recording just five outs. He's not concerned about the results, though, as he told Adam McCalvy in our Tweet of the Day:
Is Matt Garza concerned about his ugly spring statistics? "No. You get new ones when the bell dings so I’m not too worried about these."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 12, 2014
I wrote about this in two parts on Twitter this morning, but I think the Brewers may have made a mistake by having Garza pitch against the Angels yesterday. Kyle Lohse was also available, but the team opted to have him pitch a minor league intrasquad game to stay on schedule. Garza has basically admitted he's non-competitive and not worried about it this spring. If he had pitched the minor league game and gotten rocked, we may never have even heard about it. Instead, his performance is becoming an increasingly large question mark. Craig Goldstein of SBNation.com wonders if Garza has reached the tipping point.
Meanwhile, the Brewers continued to trim their roster yesterday, optioning Johnny Hellweg to Nashville before the game and outrighting reliever Jose De La Torre off the 40-man roster moments after he recorded the final out in the loss. Even after those moves the Brewers still have 20 pitchers in camp.
Other notes from the field:
- Rickie Weeks left yesterday's game early after feeling a pop in his hamstring, but early reports suggest it was just scar tissue breaking loose and he's expected to be ok.
- Zach Duke struck out the side while pitching a perfect fifth inning yesterday.
- Tom Haudricourt has a story on the impression outfielder Mitch Haniger made in his first major league camp.
- Old Time Family Baseball wonders what unofficial mascots other teams could adopt following the Brewers' success with Hank.
The Brewers are on the road again today in Peoria, where they'll take on the Padres at 3:05 Central time. Marco Estrada is scheduled to pitch against Josh Johnson.
Francisco Rodriguez is also expected to make his Cactus League debut today, although the outing almost had to be delayed when he stepped on a cactus. You can't make this stuff up.
Tom Gorzelanny, however, will not pitch today and is still not throwing off a mound. He threw off flat ground at 150 feet on Wednesday but his rehab trajectory almost certainly means he'll open the season on the DL.
Elsewhere in players coming back from injury: Aramis Ramirez got three at bats in a game for the first time this spring yesterday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. Steve Garczynski of Disciples of Uecker has a preview of Ramirez and the Brewers at third base.
Donovan Hand pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief yesterday and is one of roughly 19 pitchers with a chance to make the team's 12-man pitching staff. The Moulton (Alabama) Advertiser has a story on their local product in the Brewers organization.
Ryan Braun got his second consecutive day off yesterday, but that doesn't mean we stopped talking about him. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk noticed a study that said Braun is known by 25% of US consumers, making him a possible ongoing candidate for endorsement deals. Meanwhile, Mike Bates of NotGraphs had some fun with Braun's comments from the other day where he referred to himself as an artist.
The Brewers are now 6-9 on the spring but at least one writer's optimism regarding this team is improving: David S. Grant of Reviewing the Brew upgraded his "best case scenario" for the 2014 team from 92 to 96 wins.
In the minors:
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers open their home season three weeks from today, but most of northeastern Wisconsin remains buried under a blanket of snow. Yesterday the T-Rats posted a picture on Twitter of a crew using snowblowers to clear the infield.
- Elsewhere in stadiums, the Huntsville Stars are entering their final season before their move to Biloxi and at least one local official says they've violated their lease by failing to properly maintain Joe Davis Stadium before their departure. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
- Assuming the snow melts in time, Wisconsin's home opener on April 3 will be televised. Yesterday the Timber Rattlers announced plans to broadcast nearly 40 home games this season.
Back in Milwaukee, work continues to prepare for early season promotions at Miller Park. Yesterday the Brewers unveiled the Kyle Lohse bobblehead they'll be giving away on May 11. This is Lohse's first bobblehead in his 14 year MLB career.
Today in former Brewers:
- Livan Hernandez plans to officially announce his retirement today. He hasn't pitched in the majors since finishing the 2012 season with the Brewers.
- The Mariners have hired Roy Howell as their new manager for AAA Tacoma.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has Kurt Bevacqua and Rollie Fingers featured in his collection of San Diego Padres cards.
Here's today's most interesting spring training story: Rockies manager Walt Weiss isn't happy about the possibility that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally hit by a pitch in their game with the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Complicating matters is the fact that these two NL West rivals share a spring training facility.
Today's sabermetric note comes from The Hardball Times, where Max Weinstein has a look at how pitch location impacts caught stealing percentages. It confirms what you may have already suspected: A strike up in the zone is not an ideal pitch to run on.
This is relevant to nothing but it's the coolest thing I've seen today: The Midwest League Lansing Lugnuts are proposing to build a housing development in the outfield in conjunction with efforts to renovate the ballpark. If the Timber Rattlers did something like this I might be the first one to move in.
Finally, with help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2014 spring training invitee Jason Rogers, who turns 26.
- 2002 Brewer Jorge Fabregas, who turns 44. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
Today is also the 61st anniversary of the Boston Braves announcing their plans to move to Milwaukee in 1953. We covered that event in Today In Brewer History two years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, someone is watching.