Friday: On to Boston
We'll get you ready for the first road game of 2014 and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.
Some things to read while getting pinned down.
The Milwaukee Brewers were off yesterday but are in Boston this morning, and they'll face the Red Sox in their first interleague game of the season at 1:05 p.m. Central time. Marco Estrada will take on Jake Peavy following the ceremony to hand out Boston's 2013 World Series rings.
Estrada, for what it's worth, was very good away from home last season. @MikeVassallo13 notes that his 2.09 ERA was the best in the National League among pitchers who made at least 12 road starts.
Hopefully, Marco got a good night's sleep last night before today's day game. Slightly before 10 p.m. Central time Thursday, Kyle Lohse posted a picture of himself out for dinner in Boston with Estrada, Jonathan Lucroy and several other Brewers.
Marco Estrada may have had the most unlikely career of the five Brewers in the initial starting rotation. Adam McCalvy has a story on the road he's taken to this point, which includes being claimed off waivers and going to camp without a big league invite in 2011.
Estrada has a tough act to follow after Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza all pitched quality starts during the Braves series. @MikeVassallo13 notes that opposing batters are hitting just .153 against Brewers starters this season.
Meanwhile, the Brewers' lineup has been released and will feature Ryan Braun at DH for the Fenway opener. Unfortunately it sounds like it's more than just a "day of rest" situation: @AdamMcCalvy reports that Braun's thumb issues have turned and caused the digit to go numb, leading to issues gripping the ball. He's still not considering surgery at this point, but it has to be a looming possibility.
It's probably safe to assume Braun will not receive a positive, friendly reception at Fenway Park tonight, but one longtime Milwaukee resident did her best to make it happen: Trenni Kusnierek, now of Comcast Sportsnet Northeast, took to the air yesterday to defend Brewers fans who cheered Braun at Miller Park. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
However, booing Braun will probably take second stage to cheering on the 2013 World Series champions as they receive their rings. @Joe_block has a picture of the special hats the Red Sox will wear today for the occasion.
It's too early to panic, of course, but this weekend and this road trip could go a long way to set the tone for the 2014 season. Diamondbacks blog AZ Snakepit has a look at recent teams that have started 1-5, including the 2013 Brewers.
Of course, a fair number of us are still talking about the opening series against the Braves. Here's the last batch of notes from those games:
The opening series was one to forget for Khris Davis, who is off to an 0-for-8 start with four strikeouts. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has been driving the Davis bandwagon for quite some time now, but has a look at what could happen if the left fielder continues to struggle.
Even in a rough week, Davis the hitter might be better than Carlos Gomez the rapper. Big League Stew has video of the Gold Glove-winning center fielder showing off his musical abilities on MLB Network's Intentional Talk this week.
In the minors:
Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers are about a month away from their scheduled stop on Derek Jeter's farewell tour. The Yankees will be in town May 9-11, and @NPetrashek has a picture of the T-shirt they're bringing along.
- The affiliates went 1-2 with a rainout on Minor League Opening Day yesterday, and the lone win came from Brevard County, where the Manatees got an RBI double from outfielder Tyrone Taylor. It was enough for a 1-0 win over Daytona. The Brewerfan.net Link Report has much more on the day's action.
- Wisconsin couldn't hold a 2-1 lead in a 8-3 loss to Peoria on a cold night in Appleton. Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects has a photo gallery from the game.
- Outfielder Michael Ratterree picked up his first Midwest League hit last night, and it was a triple. Tim Froberg of the Appleton Post Crescent has more on the 2013 Pioneer League MVP.
- Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos has a look at six Brewers minor leaguers that could contribute to the big league team in 2014.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at the gold jerseys Wisconsin will wear for Brewers Sundays this season and the 1995 throwback jerseys they'll don to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their move to Fox Cities Stadium.
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, I have a couple of options for you:
: Signed second baseman Jason Kipnis to a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension with a club option for 2020.
: Placed outfielder Chris Young on the DL with a quad strain.
: Placed infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez on the paternity list.
: Claimed pitcher Mike Belfiore off waivers from the Orioles.
Meanwhile, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will not have to go on the DL but did have to leave a game early this week after swallowing his chewing tobacco. Fortunately, his symptoms were limited to dizziness and dehydration.
In a related note: Stuart Wallace of Beyond the Box Score made an interesting connection between ligament tears for pitchers and tobacco usage. I don't think I've seen this argument made before, but it makes sense.
It's time for a quick look around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals waited out a long rain delay and wrapped up a series win in Cincinnati by beating the Reds, 7-6, yesterday. Matt Adams had three hits, including a pair of doubles. But he was also involved in this incident where he pushed away a fan that caught a foul ball he was chasing.
- The Cubs avoided a season-opening sweep with a 3-2 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base in the game, scoring two of Chicago's three runs.
If the results of this week hold, the NL Central could be baseball's best pitching division. The five teams have a combined 1.20 ERA over 112.2 innings. (h/t @TunesSTL via @jstein1981)
Here are today's standings and probables:
||@ Pirates, 6:05 pm
||Shelby Miller vs Gerrit Cole
||vs Cardinals, 6:05 pm
||Gerrit Cole vs Shelby Miller
||vs Phillies, 1:20 pm
||Travis Wood vs Roberto Hernandez
||@ Mets, 6:10 pm
||Mike Leake vs Jenrry Mejia
||@ Red Sox, 1:05 pm
||Marco Estrada vs Jake Peavy
Today in former Brewers:
- Casey McGehee is off to a hot start with the Marlins, going 6-for-13 with four extra-base hits as they've won three of their first four games. Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post has a look at the ways he's contributed to his new team.
- One of McGehee's extra-base hits was a triple yesterday, and it drew the attention of You Can't Predict Baseball. He had one triple in 114 MLB games in 2012 and four in three seasons as a Brewer between 2009-11.
- College Baseball Central talked to Kyle Peterson about the growth of the college game over the last couple of decades.
It's also a busy day in baseball economics:
- Several sources have confirmed the Cubs are considering selling minority shares of the franchise to help finance renovations at Wrigley Field.
- The Dodgers' new regional sports network remains unavailable to a large portion of their fans as Time Warner Cable, which operates the network, has been unable to reach a deal with DirecTV to carry it. Yesterday, news broke that the two sides are no longer negotiating.
- The "Fan Cost Index" is a statistic frequently used to compare the costs incurred when attending games at ballparks across baseball, but Joe Delessio of Sports On Earth has a look at how that metric can overstate the real cost of getting into the park.
- The White Sox and Twins played for three hours and 42 minutes yesterday despite cold, rainy, windy conditions in Chicago, and the White Sox are offering fans who had a ticket for the game, used or unused, a free ticket to any other April home game.
So far, Ryan Braun's move to right field has gone somewhat seamlessly for the Brewers, but does the move fly in the face of MLB trends? Ryan P. Morrison of Beyond the Box Score
has a look at an increasing emphasis on treating right field as a "skill" position, where defense is more highly valued.
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index
, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to: