Thursday- Regrouping against the Reds

Some things to read in silence. The Milwaukee Brewers’ hopes of a series sweep in St. Louis were quickly dashed yesterday, but they still won the series against the Cardinals despite a 9-3 loss in the finale. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has the recap, if you missed it. Things went from bad to worse early in yesterday’s game when Matt Garza had to leave in the bottom of the fourth inning with a bruised right thumb. He injured himself on his broken-bat groundout in the top of the frame, but told @AdamMcCalvy he’ll be ready to go again…

Some things to read in silence.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ hopes of a series sweep in St. Louis were quickly dashed yesterday, but they still won the series against the Cardinals despite a 9-3 loss in the finale. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has the recap, if you missed it.

Things went from bad to worse early in yesterday’s game when Matt Garza had to leave in the bottom of the fourth inning with a bruised right thumb. He injured himself on his broken-bat groundout in the top of the frame, but told @AdamMcCalvy he’ll be ready to go again when his turn comes up in the rotation on Monday night. Garza’s early departure forced the Brewers to turn a 4-3 game over to infrequently used rookie Wei-Chung Wang, who gave up four runs on six hits and two walks over three innings.

Wang was not, however, the most unlikely player to pitch in yesterday’s game. Catcher Martin Maldonado pitched a scoreless eighth inning, working around a hit and becoming the first Brewers position player to pitch in a game in Ron Roenicke’s four years with the team. The radar gun captured him throwing in the 80-82 range (h/t @Haudricourt).

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.
 
Yesterday’s struggle to fill innings led to some postgame angst, and for the first time, it appears Wang’s ability to stick with this team for a full season is in serious question. The Brewers need to either keep Wang, who was selected in this winter’s Rule 5 Draft, on the 25-man roster or offer him back to the Pirates, and while they like his arm, their inability to use him in close games has led to an unsustainable workload for the other six bullpen members. Before yesterday’s game, Fred Hofstetter of Brew Crew Ball said it’s time to get Wang more involved.

All told, to me, this seems like an odd time to make a move. With Francisco Rodriguez, Jim Henderson, Tyler Thornburg, Will Smith and Brandon Kintzler all getting a day off yesterday, and Zach Duke only throwing one inning, it seems likely the Brewers will have six relievers available tonight. The short bullpen may cause a long-term issue, but I’m not sure what good adding a “fresh arm” will do in the short term.

If the Brewers do opt to make a move, though, then yesterday would have been the last Wei-Chung Wang Wednesday. Wang Chung would be disappointed. Wang also has a new Twitter account.

Other notes from the field:

  • Jean Segura was inserted into yesterday’s game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, played an inning in the field and doubled in the top of the ninth. He’s expected to be ready to return to the lineup tonight.
  • Mark Reynolds went 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run yesterday, and played an inning in right field for the first time since his rookie season in 2007.
  • Reynolds’ homer was the 208th of his career, tying him with former Brewer Devon White for 289th on baseball’s all time list. He’s also tied for 114th with 1,307 strikeouts (h/t @HighHeatStats).
  • Lyle Overbay went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, snapping his eight-game hitting streak. @joe_block has a picture of the defensive shift the Cardinals used against him.
  • Allen Craig’s home run off Wang in the sixth inning was initially ruled to be in play, but umpires reviewed and reversed the call.
  • The Cardinals hit two home runs yesterday and have at least one in each of their six games against the Brewers. They’ve homered in just seven of their other 23 games (h/t @LangoschMLB).

After yesterday’s game, the Brewers boarded a plane for Cincinnati, where they’ll open a four-game series with the Reds tonight. Marco Estrada will take on Homer Bailey at 6:10 p.m., and Adam McCalvy has the MLB.com preview.

Although Aramis Ramirez and Jean Segura could return to the lineup tonight, Ryan Braun remains day-to-day with his oblique strain. When he’s been able to play, though, Braun’s bat has been back to its previous levels. He’s hitting .318/.361/.591 (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging) in 88 plate appearances this season, and Cory DiBenedetto of Gammons Daily has a look at his early resurgence. Will Carroll has more on Braun in our Tweet of the Day:


Despite losing yesterday, the Brewers will enter the month of May with baseball’s best record at 20-8. Jordan Mader of Brew Crew Ball has a look at why that’s important, and Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker wrote about how it impacts full-season projections. Yesterday was also a huge day for national writers examining the Crew’s early performance:

The Brewers won on Tuesday behind a quality start from Kyle Lohse, who settled down after a first=inning home run and gave the team six solid innings. Lohse has a 3.24 ERA over 38 starts as a Brewer, and Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker is the latest to look back at the decision to sign him as a free agent before the 2013 season.

While the Brewers are believed to be discussing calling up a reliever from within the organization, one pitcher that could likely help this team remains as a free agent: Former Boston and Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan is getting close to signing, and the Brewers were one of more than a dozen teams to scout him at a recent showcase. Milwaukee is not, however, among the five teams believed to be “seriously interested.”

In the minors:

  • The affiliates went 5-1 yesterday, and Nashville swept a doubleheader against New Orleans behind solid starts from Mike Fiers and Alfredo Figaro. The two pitchers combined for 11 scoreless innings. Marcus Young of Miller Park Prospects has short recaps from all of yesterday’s action.
  • Yesterday’s lone loss came from Wisconsin, as the Timber Rattlers split a doubleheader with Burlington. Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has the recap and highlights from a 7-6, 10-inning walkoff win in game No. 1 and a 5-1 loss in game No. 2.
  • Brad Krause of Miller Park Prospects also has a photo gallery from that doubleheader.
  • Timber Rattlers catcher Clint Coulter was hit by a pitch in the first game yesterday (h/t @CMehring) and doubled in the second game, extending his on-base streak to 22 games.
  • Wisconsin plays another doubleheader with Burlington at 12:05 p.m. today, and I’ll be in attendance covering it for Brew Crew Ball.
  • Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with rehabbing outfielder Logan Schafer.
  • The Huntsville Stars will have a new name when they move to Biloxi next season, and a contest to select their new identity is underway.
Back in Milwaukee, break out your calendar this morning and make a small adjustment to the month of June: The Brewers’ June 2 home game against the Twins has been moved from a 7:10 p.m. to a 6:20 p.m. start. No reason was given for the change.

The Racing Sausages will almost certainly still run in that game, although their future is a little murkier than it used to be. David Paulsen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that the Klement’s Sausage Co., which sponsors the daily race, is expected to be sold soon. Paulsen says a new owner, however, is unlikely to end the races.

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day around baseball:

Rockies: Placed pitcher Tyler Chatwood on the DL with an elbow strain.
 
Let’s go around the NL Central:

  • The Cubs collected 13 hits and six walks en route to a 9-4 win over the Reds in Cincinnati yesterday. Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo was on base five times, hitting a first-inning home run and drawing four walks.
  • The Pirates and Orioles were postponed by rain for the second consecutive day and will play a doubleheader today.
  • The Cardinals, as you’ve probably heard, beat the Brewers 9-3 to avoid a sweep in St. Louis.
Here are today’s updated standings and probables:

Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Brewers  20  —  @ Reds, 6:10 pm  Marco Estrada vs Homer Bailey 
Cardinals  15  14  5.5  OFF   
Reds  12  15  7.5  vs Brewers, 6:10 pm  Homer Bailey vs Marco Estrada 
Pirates  10  16  @ Orioles, 3:05 pm (two games) Charlie Morton vs Bud Norris (Game 1)
Brandon Cumpton vs Chris Tillman (Game 2)
Cubs  17  10  OFF   

Today in former Brewers:

Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to:

Plunk Everyone notes that O’Brien’s 60 career HBP are the most ever for a position player born on May 1, and Gennett (who has been hit once) is the current active leader.

Today is also the 41st anniversary of Jim Colborn setting a franchise record by pitching nine innings in relief in a game against the A’s in 1973, the 39th anniversary of Hank Aaron going 4-for-4 in a 17-3 Brewers win over the Tigers in 1975, and the 23rd anniversary of the Brewers beating the White Sox 10-9 in a 19-inning game in 1991. Follow the links for those events’ respective entries in Today In Brewer History at Brew Crew Ball.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to adjust my calendar.

Drink up.

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 memorablila company you can trust.

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Former BrewCrewBall editor Kyle Lobner has produced the Frosty Mug each weekday since March 2008. That’s nearly 1500 Mugs across six years, a tenure that saw the project grow from a small daily diversion to an all-encompassing look at the Brewers universe. He brought the Mug to Milwaukee Magazine prior to the 2014 Brewers season. When Kyle's not writing about the Brewers or talking about them on the radio, you’ll often find the Appleton resident at the ballpark with his wife, Laura, or out for a walk with his dachshund, Gorman.