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The Brewers' loss paired with a Cardinals win Sunday means Milwaukee is back to 4.5 games ahead in the NL Central. They'll get an opportunity to expand that lead this week as they head to St. Louis for a three-game series, and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has the preview
of tonight's Yovani Gallardo/Michael Wacha matchup.
The pitching matchups for the rest of the series are also set: Kyle Lohse will take on Lance Lynn tomorrow and Matt Garza will pitch against Shelby Miller on Wednesday afternoon (h/t @AndrewGruman
We'll also likely get to see a couple of new members of the Cardinals this week: After yesterday's game, they optioned second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Shane Robinson to the minors
and called up outfielder Randal Grichuk and infielder Greg Garcia. Grichuk and Garcia combined to hit eight home runs and collect 31 RBIs in Triple-A Memphis' first 23 games.
It's probably important to not put too much emphasis on any single series, but this week offers the Brewers another opportunity to prove they're a legitimate threat to win the NL Central. Bob Nightengale of USA Today
says it's a fact that the Cardinals are still the best team in the division.
As mentioned above, former Cardinal Kyle Lohse will start tomorrow night's game. If you watch the game, don't expect Lohse to spend much time pitching inside: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs
notes that he and Marco Estrada are among the MLB pitchers least likely to work inside against right-handed batters.
Hopefully, we'll also get to see Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez pitch in St. Louis this week. Nick Ashbourne of Beyond the Box Score
has a look at how K-Rod has reinvented himself in his age-32 season.
Rookie reliever Wei-Chung Wang got to make his third MLB appearance in the ninth inning yesterday with the Brewers trailing 4-0, and he recorded his first MLB strikeout, retiring Cubs catcher John Baker (h/t @MikeVassallo13
). At times, having Wang on the roster makes it feel like the Brewers are playing a man short, but other teams have had some success despite the disadvantage: Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball
notes that 10 teams since 2002 have made the playoffs with a Rule 5 pick on the roster.
The Brewers have been able to handle a short bullpen to this point partially because their starting pitchers have routinely worked deep into games. Before yesterday's game, @jasoncollette noted
that Brewers relievers had thrown just 1,094 pitches (about 46 per game) this season, the fifth-lowest total in all of baseball (h/t @npetrashek
Lyle Overbay had one of the Brewers' three hits yesterday, and has raised his batting line to .273/.400/.424 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging) over his 15 appearances this season. The two members of the first-base platoon have each provided some contributions offensively, but the real surprise has been their defense, and Joe DiGiovanni of MLB.com
has a story on it.
Over the weekend, Major League Baseball released the 2014 All Star ballots, and Adam McCalvy has a story
on Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun and the other Brewers looking for your vote. JP of Brew Crew Ball
is also making the case for Jonathan Lucroy to receive consideration.
If Braun does get an at bat in the All Star Game, don't be surprised if he swings at the first pitch. Alec Dopp of Gammons Daily
notes that Braun has been great when making contact with the first pitch this season, but struggles after an 0-1 count.
Logan Schafer won't be a 2014 All Star, but he is close to rejoining the team: He's scheduled to open a rehab assignment with High-A Brevard County today and is eligible to return to the Brewers on Saturday if all goes well (h/t @AdamMcCalvy
Elsewhere in the minors:
- The affiliates went 1-3 yesterday, with the lone win coming from Nashville, where Jimmy Nelson pitched seven innings and allowed two runs in the Sounds' 8-5 win over Oklahoma. Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects has short recaps from all of yesterday's action.
- Yesterday's loss was the fifth consecutive for Brevard County, which is now now 2-8 in its last 10 games. Wisconsin has also lost four straight and eight of its last 10.
- Getting back to the positive, Nashville pitcher Mike Fiers is off to another strong start in Triple-A. John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a look at him as part of a story on soft-tossing right-handers, and says, "His margin for error is thin and always will be, but he is an admirable exemplar of the craft of pitching."
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has stories on Huntsville pitcher Brent Suter and Wisconsin pitcher Taylor Williams.
- Nicholas Ian Allen of Grading on the Curve also listed Suter and Huntsville third baseman Jason Rogers among the Southern League's hottest players.
- Patrick Magee of the Biloxi Sun Herald has a story on Huntsville pitcher David Goforth's transition from starting to closing in the minors (h/t @Mass_Haas).
- Mike Woods of the Appleton Post Crescent has a profile of 19-year-old Wisconsin first baseman David Denson.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has interviews with Sounds relievers Brad Mills and Rob Wooten and pitching coach Fred Dabney.
- Adam McCalvy notes that the Brewers have had just six Tommy John surgeries in the organization over the last three seasons, and all of the pitchers involved have been minor leaguers. That's the third-lowest mark in all of baseball.
Today in power rankings:
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Talking Cheeseheads with Ben Larson this afternoon
. You can listen in on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau or Sports Talk 1090 WAQE in Rice Lake to hear the segment live, or follow the link above to listen to the archived audio later.
: Designated P Michael Roth for assignment and announced that infielder Chad Tracy has retired
: Placed reliever Matt Albers on the DL with shoulder tendonitis.
: Signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal.
: Placed reliever Jose Veras on the DL with an oblique strain.
: Signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal.
: Placed outfielder Bryce Harper on the DL with a thumb strain.
: Placed first baseman Chris Davis on the DL with an oblique strain and released first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce
: Designated infielder/outfielder Alex Castellanos for assignment.
: Placed catcher Russell Martin (hamstring strain) and reliever Jason Grilli (oblique strain) on the DL.
: Placed third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff on the DL with a herniated disc in his back.
: Placed catcher Devin Mesoraco (oblique strain) on the DL.
: Placed pitcher Anibal Sanchez on the DL with a lacerated middle finger.
: Claimed reliever Hector Noesi off waivers from the Rangers and placed third baseman Conor Gillaspie on the DL
with a bruised hand.
Let's go around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals took two of three from the Pirates over the weekend, including a 7-0 shutout win yesterday. Adam Wainwright pitched eight scoreless innings for the victory and Jhonny Peralta hit a pair of home runs.
- The Reds got swept by the Braves this weekend, finishing off the series with a 1-0, 10-inning loss yesterday. Johnny Cueto pitched eight shutout innings and struck out 11 batters but received a no-decision.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, took two of three from the Cubs but missed an opportunity for a sweep in a 4-0 shutout loss yesterday.
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
||@ Cardinals, 7:15 pm
||Yovani Gallardo vs Michael Wacha
||vs Brewers, 7:15 pm
||Michael Wacha vs Yovani Gallardo
||vs Cubs, 6:10 pm
||Alfredo Simon vs Jeff Samardzija
||@ Reds, 6:10 pm
||Jeff Samardzija vs Alfredo Simon
Today in former Brewers: Mariners blog Lookout Landing posted a Sporcle quiz
on Friday asking you to name the players responsible for the longest hitting streaks in their franchise's history, and the one former Brewer on the list may surprise you.
That quiz got me thinking, so I made a similar one about the Brewers last night
. The Brewers have had 37 hitting streaks of 16 games or longer in franchise history, but five players have collected 1,000 or more hits as a Brewer without doing it.
The Brewers organization has a great relationship with many members of the 1982 World Series team, and several of them were in attendance over the weekend as they unveiled Bob Uecker's new statue. I've often wondered if sentiment like this lurks under the surface, though: Mike Puma of the New York Post has a story
on hard feelings stemming from a comment Mets executive Paul DePodesta made about being sick of hearing about the 1986 championship team (h/t BBTF
We don't have any Brewers birthdays today, but we do have a pair of anniversaries: Today is the 53rd anniversary of 40-year-old Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn throwing a no-hitter against the Giants
in 1961, and the 24th anniversary of Robin Yount hitting career home run No. 209
in 1990, moving him past Gorman Thomas and into first place on the Brewers' all-time list. Follow those links for the events' respective entries in Today In Brewer History.