Tuesday- Like a bad penny

Some things to read while writing a big check. Things continued to spiral down for the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, as they suffered their 12th defeat in 13 games, losing 6-4 to the Miami Marlins. Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball has a recap, if you missed it. The Brewers fell behind early Monday night, as Yovani Gallardo gave up all six Miami runs in the first three innings before being lifted in the fourth. This was only the third time in 29 starts this season that Gallardo has failed to complete five innings. It was an awkward time for…

Some things to read while writing a big check.

Things continued to spiral down for the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, as they suffered their 12th defeat in 13 games, losing 6-4 to the Miami Marlins. Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball has a recap, if you missed it.

The Brewers fell behind early Monday night, as Yovani Gallardo gave up all six Miami runs in the first three innings before being lifted in the fourth. This was only the third time in 29 starts this season that Gallardo has failed to complete five innings. It was an awkward time for a milestone, but Gallardo also recorded career strikeout No. 1,207 in the game, passing Ben Sheets for sole possession of first place on the Brewers’ all-time list.

Despite a rough night on Monday, Gallardo still has a 3.61 ERA on the season and has had an ERA under 4 in 174 innings or more in five of the last six years. His five-year, $30 million contract could expire after this season if the Brewers opt to not exercise his $13 million club option for 2015, and the team is reportedly “on the fence” regarding that decision.

The Brewers were able to stay in Monday’s game largely due to the efforts of Marco Estrada, who entered in relief of Gallardo and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four without walking a batter. Estrada has pitched 27 1/3 innings in relief in the Brewers’ last 34 games with a 3.29 ERA, and Adam McCalvy of MLB.com has a look at his recent strong work. Dating back to his time in the rotation, the Brewers are 1-16 in Estrada’s last 17 appearances.

Mark your calendar today to meet Wily Peralta and Cecil Cooper at Legends of the Field’s Delafield location on Saturday, Sept. 13. Click here for more information on this and other upcoming events.
 
Other notes from the field:

  • Yovani Gallardo had never allowed a home run to the Marlins before giving up three Monday night (h/t @alecdopp)
  • One of those homers was a 462-foot blast for Marcell Ozuna, the longest hit at Miller Park this season by nearly 20 feet.
  • Giancarlo Stanton’s home run was his 37th of the season and the 154th of his career, tying him with Dan Uggla for the Marlins franchise record (h/t Baseball Musings).
  • Brewers starting pitchers have a combined 6.95 ERA in their last 13 games (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). In a related note, the Brewers have trailed by two or more runs in the first four innings of 11 of their last 13 games (h/t @AndrewGruman).
  • Marlins starter Brad Penny pitched six innings and allowed two runs Monday night in his first quality start since September of 2011 (h/t @AndrewGruman). It was enough to draw the attention of You Can’t Predict Baseball.
  • Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee had a hit, drove in a run and drew a walk in his first appearance in Milwaukee in over two years. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talked to him about returning to the place where his MLB career began.
  • The Brewers’ two runs in the eighth inning were only the third time this season a team has scored multiple runs against Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos (h/t @joe_block).
  • The Brewers tumblr has a gif of Khris Davis making a great diving catch in left field.
  • Monday was the Brewers’ annual Social Media Night, and Carlos Gomez took a selfie with the crowd in attendance.

The series continues at 7:10 p.m. tonight when Matt Garza takes on Tom Koehler. Joe Morgan has the MLB.com preview.

Despite having lost 12 of their last 13 games and being 23-37 since July 1, the Brewers still enter play today just 1 1/2 games back of the National League’s final playoff spot and could feasibly play in October if they can turn things around for the season’s final weeks. Phil Watson of Dairyland Express is the latest to ask if this team can right the ship in time.

Mark Reynolds summed up this month’s frustrations and hope in this two-part tweet:


If the Brewers can’t right the ship, we’re likely to spend a fair portion of the offseason wondering who to blame for their calamitous dropoff. Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker says Ron Roenicke deserves to be held accountable for “unacceptable team play.” As of this writing 78 percent of voters in this Reviewing the Brew poll say Roenicke should be dismissed.

If you’re inclined to believe the Brewers will turn this around or you’d just like to hedge your bets, then you might like to know that the team has opened a lottery for the right to purchase single-game postseason tickets. You have until midnight on Sunday, Sept. 21, to sign up for what’s likely to be a limited inventory of available seats.

Of course, demand for potential playoff tickets has likely been dampened by the Brewers’ recent skid. Adam Wieser of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the possibility that their recent nine-game losing streak was the worst nine-game stretch in franchise history. By run differential, at least, you may be surprised to learn it wasn’t.

Looking further ahead, the Brewers also released their 2015 schedule for the first time on Monday. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Opening Day is late in 2015, with the Brewers hosting the Rockies on April 6. As a result the season also runs a little later than usual, with the Brewers wrapping up the campaign at home against the Cubs on October 4.
  • The NL Central and AL Central will meet in interleague play this year, with the Brewers hosting the White Sox, Twins, Indians and Royals and hitting the road to face the Tigers, Indians and Royals. The trip to Detroit will be just the Brewers’ fourth visit to Comerica Park.
  • The Brewers’ longest homestands are 10 games from May 4-13 and 11 games from July 30-August 9. They have 10-game road trips in May and September. In fact, September features two 10-game road trips, the second of which ends in San Diego before the Brewers finish the season with that three-game set against the Cubs. In all, Milwaukee plays 20 of its last 34 games on the road.

Before the 2015 season, though, the Brewers are likely to have some cleanup work to do at their spring training facility. Todd Rosiak has pictures from the Brewers’ Cactus League home in Maryvale, which is under as much as 6 feet of water following recent torrential rains in Arizona.

It’s been a busy month for many of the Brewers’ September call-ups but we haven’t seen much of third catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who has appeared in just one game as a defensive replacement and did not bat. Michael Trzinski of Reviewing the Brew has a profile of one of the newest Brewers.

In the minors:

If you’re heading out to Miller Park for any games during the remainder of the Marlins series, then you might be interested in knowing that the Double Clutch stand on the Loge Level is serving a “Miami Cubano Sandwich” for this week’s home games.

Today in power rankings:

  • Jonah Keri of Grantland dropped the Brewers three spots this week, from 10th to 13th in all of baseball.
  • ESPN has the Brewers as baseball’s 15th-best team this week, down a whopping seven spots.

If you’d like more Brewers coverage today but you’re sick of reading, I’ll be appearing on The Big One with Marques Pfaff on 95.3 WSCO in Appleton at 2:40 p.m. today. I’ll be live in-studio for a couple of segments taking your calls, emails and tweets, so listen in and get your voice heard.
 
Around baseball:

Angels: Designated infielder Ryan Wheeler for assignment.
Cardinals: Designated outfielder Rafael Ortega and catcher Audry Perez for assignment.
Pirates: Released reliever Ernesto Frieri.

Let’s go around the NL Central:

  • The Cardinals stayed hot on Monday, beating the Reds 5-0. Shelby Miller and a pair of relievers held Cincinnati to just three hits.
  • The Pirates also gained a game on the Brewers, scoring four runs in the eighth inning to beat the Phillies 6-4. Outfielder Starling Marte had three hits for Pittsburgh, including a double and a home run.
  • The Cubs managed just three hits in an 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. 
Here are today’s updated standings and probables:

Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Cardinals  80  64  —  @ Reds, 6:10 p.m.  Michael Wacha vs Mike Leake 
Pirates  75  68  4.5  @ Phillies, 6:05 p.m.  Edinson Volquez vs David Buchanan 
Brewers  74  70  vs Marlins, 7:10 p.m.  Matt Garza vs Tom Koehler 
Reds  67  77  13  vs Cardinals, 6:10 p.m.  Mike Leake vs Michael Wacha 
Cubs  64  80  16  @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m.  Jake Arrieta vs Mark Buehrle 

The Pirates’ win on Monday combined with the Brewers and Braves’ losses allowed Pittsburgh to open up a larger lead in the race for the National League’s final Wild Card spot:

Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Giants  78  65  +3  vs Diamondbacks, 9:15 p.m.  Wade Miley vs Yusmeiro Petit 
Pirates  75  68  —  @ Phillies, 6:05 p.m.  Edinson Volquez vs David Buchanan 
Brewers  74  70  1.5  vs Marlins, 7:10 p.m.  Matt Garza vs Tom Koehler 
Braves  74  70  1.5  @ Nationals, 6:05 p.m.  Ervin Santana vs Jordan Zimmermann 
Marlins  70  72  4.5  @ Brewers, 7:10 p.m.  Tom Koehler vs Matt Garza 

As of this morning Baseball Prospectus gives the Brewers a 21.4 percent chance to make the playoffs. I likely don’t need to remind you that that number was up over 90 percent not that long ago. Our own Howie Magner captured the precipitous drop nicely in our Tweet of the Day:


Howie also notes that the Brewers need eight wins in their final 18 games to finish above .500.
 
The standings clearly show that the Cardinals are ahead of the Brewers by an increasingly large margin, but is St. Louis the better team? Jonathan Lucroy says they’re not, and Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball and Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos both have a look at that claim.
 
Today in former Brewers:

  • Lorenzo Cain was able to come around to score with an inside-the-park home run Monday night when two Tigers outfielders collided and were unable to locate the ball.
  • I counted three former Brewers among the correct answers in this Sporcle quiz asking you to name the top 10 catchers in a variety of statistical categories (h/t Lone Star Ball).

Looking ahead to the winter, one of the biggest stories of every recent hot stove season has been players coming over from Asia to potentially make in impact in Major League Baseball. Beisbol’s Org has a look at a player we’re all likely to learn more about in the coming months: Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang.

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

  • 2008-10 Brewer Todd Coffey, who turns 34. 
  • Gratiot, Wis., native Abner Dalrymple, who would have turned 157. Dalrymple played 12 MLB seasons between 1878-91 as a member of four teams, including the 1878 Milwaukee Grays and 1891 American Association Milwaukee Brewers.

Today is also the 10th anniversary of Scott Podsednik stealing his 55th base in 2004, setting a Brewers record, and the 35th anniversary of Gorman Thomas becoming the first Brewer ever to hit 40 home runs in a season in 1979. Follow the links for those events’ respective entries in Today In Brewer History at Brew Crew Ball.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to recording ducks.

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 memorabilia 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.