Some things to read while making breakfast again.
The Milwaukee Brewers got big nights from a pair of second basemen on Thursday, as Rickie Weeks and Scooter Gennett combined for four hits and a pair of home runs in a 7-4 win over the Rockies. Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball has the recap, if you missed it. The Brewers are 49-32 at the mathematical halfway point of the 2014 season, which is two games better than they’ve ever been at this point.
The big nights from Weeks and Gennett casts a bigger spotlight onto a platoon situation that has already been drawing a fair amount of attention lately. Gennett was limited to bench duty on Thursday despite hitting a grand slam in Wednesday’s game, but said all the right things about sitting against a left-handed starting pitcher. Meanwhile, Adam McCalvy talked to Weeks about his limited role in the hours before he went out and hit the 26th leadoff home run of his career.
Each passing day makes it a little clearer that the Brewers are destined to spend a fair portion of this season in the national picture. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says, “It’s been an encouraging show of staying power for a team with a relatively low national profile.”
Other notes from the field:
- Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario left Thursday’s game in the seventh inning with lower back tightness and is day-to-day.
- Rockies third baseman Ryan Wheeler’s grand slam in the fourth inning was the third the Brewers have allowed this season and the 180th in franchise history. Surprisingly, the Brewers are 2-1 in games where they’ve allowed a slam this season.
- Jonathan Lucroy had a hit on Thursday and has reached base safely in 42 consecutive starts, a streak that started on May 9.
- Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for career save No. 330, tying him with John Wetteland for 12th on the all-time list (h/t @MikeVassallo13).
- The Brewers tumblr feed has a gif of Jean Segura making a great leaping catch.
- Thursday’s game was three hours and 50 minutes long, which makes it the second-longest nine-inning game the Brewers have played this season. The Brewers and Rockies needed 3:59 to complete their 13-10 game last Friday.
- The Italian won the Sausage Race.
The Brewers won 49 of their first 81 games and no one will take that away from them, though I guess you could ask questions about whether or not they’ve “earned” it. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs used expected run differentials to show that the Brewers projected to go 42-38 in their first 80 games, but those numbers are likely colored a bit by a handful of late-game bullpen meltdowns.
Despite a run differential that would imply otherwise, the Brewers still have the National League’s best record, and their contender status will likely make them a major topic of trade rumors over the coming month. Earlier this week, I mentioned that they had a scout in attendance to watch Rays starter David Price, but Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker notes that acquiring the former Cy Young winner would likely gut an already-thin farm system.
The Brewers lost a bit of depth on Thursday when the Padres claimed infielder Irving Falu off waivers. The Brewers were likely trying to outright Falu, who was already with Triple-A Nashville, off the 40-man roster to free up a spot. Falu appeared in 11 games with the Brewers and went 0-for-10 with a walk and a sac fly in 12 plate appearances.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-4 on Thursday, with one of the two wins coming from Huntsville, where Drew Gagnon allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings in the Stars’ 4-1 win over Montgomery. You can read more about all of the day’s action in today’s edition of Minor League Notes at Brew Crew Ball.
- 2009 second-round pick Max Walla, who has never advanced past low-A in five seasons as a position player, made his debut as a pitcher and worked a perfect inning for the AZL Brewers on Thursday (h/t @SessileFielder).
Of course, you’ll only be hungry at Miller Park if this video doesn’t make you lose your appetite. During a recent visit to the MLB Fan Cave, several members of the Brewers bullpen butchered a medley of Will Smith songs. Kudos to Will Smith (the reliever) for being a good sport and playing along with a collection of jokes he’s likely heard before.
Elsewhere in Milwaukee, Caitlin Moyer has a great collection of photos showing three Brewers players, manager Ron Roenicke and bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel joining a group of 250 volunteers who helped build a new playground at Our Next Generation during the day on Thursday. This is the second time the Brewers Community Foundation has teamed with KaBOOM! to build a playground facility.
If you’d like more Brewers coverage today but you’re sick of reading, I have a pair of options for you:
- First, I’ll be making my weekly appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire. Follow the @BrewFrostyMug Twitter feed for updates on when that segment will air.
- Then, I’ll also be making my weekly appearance on The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau at 5:30 p.m. Follow that link to listen in live.
Mariners: First baseman/outfielder Xavier Nady has opted out of his minor league deal and is now a free agent.
Orioles: Are expected to place pitcher Bud Norris on the DL with a groin strain.
White Sox: Designated reliever Scott Downs for assignment.
Let’s go around the NL Central:
- It’s possible the game of the night was played in Los Angeles, where the Cardinals and Dodgers went into the eighth inning scoreless before infielder Justin Turner’s pinch-hit single drove in the only run in a 1-0 Dodgers win. Adam Wainwright pitched a complete game, allowed the run and took the loss.
- The Reds are two games over .500 for the first time this season after a 3-1 win over the Giants. Mike Leake allowed a run on four hits over eight innings, striking out 12.
- The Pirates are also over .500 after a 5-2 win over the Mets. Gregory Polanco drove in four of Pittsburgh’s five runs.
- The Cubs won too, beating the Nationals 5-3 at Wrigley Field. Chicago outfielder Junior Lake left the game early after crashing into a door in the outfield fence, but reportedly does not have a concussion.
Here are today’s updated standings and probables:
|Brewers||49||32||—||vs Rockies, 7:10 p.m.||Kyle Lohse vs Tyler Matzek|
|Cardinals||43||37||5.5||@ Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.||Carlos Martinez vs Hyun-jin Ryu|
|Reds||40||38||7.5||@ Giants, 9:15 p.m.||Johnny Cueto vs Madison Bumgarner|
|Pirates||40||39||8||vs Mets, 6:05 p.m.||Brandon Cumpton vs Jacob deGrom|
|Cubs||33||44||14||vs Nationals, 3:05 p.m.||Jason Hammel vs Tanner Roark|
Today in former Brewers:
- Jose Veras is back in the big leagues with the Astros, having been called up on Thursday. He was released by the Cubs earlier this season.
- Casey McGehee entered last night’s game for the Marlins riding a 16-game hitting streak in road contests. He went 1-for-5 with a walk in their 14-inning loss to the Phillies, so he’s at 17 games now.
- The Indians will honor longtime broadcaster and former Pilots and Brewers first baseman Mike Hegan, who passed away over the winter, in a pregame ceremony on July 7.
Meanwhile, a little bit of Brewers history is facing the wrecking ball in Chandler, Ariz. Compadre Stadium, the Brewers’ spring training home from 1986-98, was approved for demolition last night to make way for a housing development. The Brewers were the ballpark’s only tenant, and it’s been vacant for 16 years now.
We are roughly halfway through the first season of baseball’s instant replay policy, and an interesting trend is developing with the system. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk spotted a link showing that ejections are actually up in replay’s first year, despite a system designed to reduce arguments.
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 2007 Brewer Johnny Estrada, who turns 38 (Today In Brewer History).
- 2010 Brewer Jim Edmonds, who turns 44.
Today is also the 24th anniversary of the Brewers beating the Yankees 5-4 in a 1990 game that featured designated hitter Dave Parker’s 2,500th hit. Follow the link for that event’s entry in Today In Brewer History at Brew Crew Ball.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hit something with a shovel.
Don’t forget to follow Kyle on Twitter @BrewFrostyMug, and check out and “like” the Mug’s Facebook page. The Frosty Mug runs mornings Monday-Friday and is brought to you by Legends of the Field, a sports memorabilia company you can trust.