Monday: Coming back home
We're talking about the Brewers' first losing road trip of 2014 and more in today's baseball roundup.
Some things to read while being disappointed.
The Milwaukee Brewers are back home this morning after a rough weekend in which they scored just 10 runs while losing three of four games to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds clinched a series win with a 4-3, 10-inning walkoff win Sunday, and Jordan Mader of Brew Crew Ball has the recap if you missed it. This was the first time the Brewers have lost a road series in 2014.
Mark your calendar to meet Brewers All Star and Gold Glove winner Carlos Gomez at Legends of the Field's Greenfield location on Saturday, May 10, from 11-11:45 a.m. Click here for more information on this and other upcoming events.
The Brewers' offensive struggles this weekend can be partially attributed to Aramis Ramirez, who went 1-for-15 with a solo home run in the series and is now 1 for his last 41 overall. The recent slump has lowered his OPS (on-base plus slugging) for the season by 200 points, but Ron Roenicke told reporters he still has faith in his cleanup hitter. Before the home run, he was riding a career record-tying 0-for-28 streak (h/t @AndrewGruman).
Of course, Ryan Braun's absence doesn't help either. After playing shorthanded for a week while waiting for his strained oblique to heal, on Saturday, the Brewers finally relented and placed Braun on the disabled list retroactive to April 27. He'll be eligible to return for next week's Pirates series, but David Schoenfield of ESPN.com notes that the average recovery time for an oblique strain is closer to four weeks.
Logan Schafer was activated from the DL to take Braun's roster spot, but he wasn't the only outfielder to rejoin the team this weekend: The Brewers also recalled Caleb Gindl from Nashville on Friday to take the spot vacated by reliever Jim Henderson, who was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Gindl has started each of the last three games in right field and is 1-for-9 with a walk.
Starting pitcher Kyle Logse received a no-decision Sunday despite providing a quality start, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits. The Brewers continue to lead all of baseball with 25 quality starts in 32 games this season (h/t @MikeVassallo13).
Other notes from the field:
The Brewers will get a chance to bounce back at home when they open a three-game series with the NL-worst Diamondbacks at 7:10 p.m. Matt Garza will take on Mike Bolsinger in the opener, and Alyson Footer has the MLB.com preview. The D-Backs are just 3-15 at home this season, but hold a respectable 8-8 road record.
- The Brewers have played six extra-inning games in their first 32 contests, the second-most in all of baseball. Only the Dodgers (eight) have played in more.
- The game-tying home run Brandon Kintzler allowed in the eighth inning Sunday was just the 10th homer he's given up in 110 MLB appearances (h/t @JaymesL).
- The Brewers had what could have been the go-ahead run on base in the 10th inning when Khris Davis hit a leadoff double, but Jeff Bianchi popped up an attempt to bunt him over (h/t @Todd_Rosiak).
- Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup with knee soreness. We later learned that Bruce will need surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus and will be out for three to four weeks.
- Lance McAlister of 700 WLW in Cincinnati said Sunday's win was the biggest of the season for the Reds.
- Aramis Ramirez's solo home run off Johnny Cueto on Saturday was his fifth off the Reds' hurler. No other player has taken Cueto deep more than four times (h/t @MikeVassallo13).
- Looking back another day, the Brewers won 2-0 on Friday night behind eight shutout innings and a two-run double by Wily Peralta. He was the first MLB pitcher to pitch eight or more scoreless and drive in all of his team's runs since Tim Hudson did it in 2011 (h/t @joe_block).
On paper, this is a series the Brewers should be able to win easily, but they're not taking it for granted. Jonathan Lucroy told Alyson Footer about his team's thoughts to that effect.
Looking further ahead, the Brewers have an off day on Thursday before opening a rare home series with the New York Yankees on Friday. If you're planning on attending the opening game in that series, don't plan on seeing Carlos Gomez: His appeal of his three-game suspension will be heard that day, and if he's still suspended, he'll begin serving his time immediately thereafter.
If the Brewers are forced to play without Gomez this weekend, they'll likely feature a starting lineup of Khris Davis in left field, Logan Schafer in center and Caleb Gindl in right. They've also played Elian Herrera and Mark Reynolds (who had never started a game there) in right field since Braun's injury. Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar says the team's recent roster moves show a lack of depth within the organization.
Pitching on four days of rest for the first time this season, Will Smith worked a scoreless inning in relief Sunday and stranded a pair of baserunners. Smith has a 0.68 ERA and has stranded 11 of 12 inherited baserunners in 16 appearances this season (h/t @MikeVassallo13), and his deceptiveness against lefties is pretty apparent here: Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a gif of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward swinging at a pitch over 3.5 feet from the center of the strike zone on Opening Day. Sullivan rates it as the second-worst swing of the season's first month.
Rickie Weeks made just one plate appearance over four games in the Reds series (a pinch-hit single on Thursday), while reliever Wei-Chung Wang didn't pitch in the series at all. Neither player is contributing much to the Brewers at this point, and Ryan Topp of Disciplies of Uecker asks which player the team should let go first.
In the minors:
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. Listen in live later today on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau or Sports Talk 1090 in Rice Lake or check out Cheeseheadtalk.com later for the archived audio.
Angels: Placed third baseman David Freese on the DL with a bruised finger.
Astros: Designated reliever Raul Valdes for assignment.
Athletics: Claimed outfielder Nick Buss off waivers from the Dodgers.
Blue Jays: Placed pitcher Brandon Morrow on the DL with an index finger strain.
Cubs: Placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Dodgers: Placed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu on the DL with left shoulder inflammation.
Giants: Placed pitcher Matt Cain on the DL with a cut on his index finger.
Indians: Placed catcher Yan Gomes on the paternity list and designated infielder Elliot Johnson for assignment.
Padres: Signed Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Placed pitcher Stolmy Pimentel on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Rays: Designated reliever Heath Bell for assignment.
Rockies: Placed catcher Wilin Rosario on the DL with a viral infection.
Royals: Placed pitcher Bruce Chen on the DL with a back injury.
Tigers: Signed reliever Joel Hanrahan to a one-year, $1 million contract with incentives.
Twins: Placed pitcher Mike Pelfrey on the DL with a groin strain and outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 7-day DL with a concussion.
White Sox: Claimed outfielder Moises Sierra off waivers from the Blue Jays and placed outfielder Adam Eaton on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Let's go around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals scored two in the top of the ninth to avoid getting swept by the Cubs in Chicago, stealing a 5-4 win at Wrigley Field last night. Yadier Molina's two-run single was the difference.
- The Pirates took two of three from the Blue Jays this weekend but couldn't complete the sweep, losing 7-2 Sunday. Outfielder Josh Harrison had a pair of triples in defeat.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, lost 4-3 to the Reds in 10 innings.
The Cardinals are back at .500 today but were 15-16 after losing to the Cubs on Saturday, falling below .500 after May 1 for the first since since Oct. 1, 2007 (h/t @jonmorosi).
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
||vs Diamondbacks, 7:10 pm
||Matt Garza vs Mike Bolsinger
||@ Braves, 6:10 pm
||Shelby Miller vs Aaron Harang
||vs White Sox, 7:05 pm
||Jeff Samardzija vs Jose Quintana
||vs Pirates, 6:05 pm
||Jeff Locke vs TBA
The Pirates, meanwhile, are still seven games under .500 despite winning their series with the Blue Jays, and at least one national writer is ready to throw in the towel on their 2014 season. Steven Goldman of SB Nation wrote on Saturday that Pittsburgh is already done (and so are the Indians).
The Pirates remain tied with the Cubs for fourth place in the NL Central, although it feels like there's even less hope in Chicago. Over the weekend, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged some recent comments from former Cub Matt Garza about wanting to get out of Chicago, saying, "Until we're winning and we prove we're an organization that he would want to play for … I don't think we can comment on it."
Today in former Brewers:
- George Kottaras was called up to the Indians this weekend and hit home runs in each of his first two at bats.
- Kottaras now has as many home runs in 2014 as Prince Fielder. Tim Brown of Yahoo is the latest to run a story on Fielder's struggles in his first season in Texas. A day later, Fielder had his first three-hit game of the season in a win over the Angels on Sunday.
- Jonah Keri of Grantland has a look at Ned Yost's bullpen decisions as manager of the Royals and asks if they're actually worse than most.
- Chris Capuano hit a batter with a pitch on Saturday for the first time in nearly two years, and Plunk Everyone has more on the accomplishment.
- Three former Brewers and one current Brewer appear on AZ Snakepit's Sporcle quiz asking you to name the Diamondbacks' career leaders in games played by the first letter of their last names.