Some things to read while culling the herd.
The Milwaukee Brewers were off on Thursday but will continue their West Coast swing tonight at 9:15 p.m. when they open a series at AT&T Park with the San Francisco Giants. Wily Peralta will take on Ryan Vogelsong in the first of three games, and Michael Lananna has the MLB.com preview.
If you stay up to watch tonight’s game, keep an eye on Peralta’s velocity numbers. @Alecdopp notes that Peralta’s fastball has been averaging almost 96 miles per hour in August, the second-fastest mark in all of baseball among starting pitchers. Peralta has four quality starts and one disaster outing in five appearances this month.
Ryan Braun is likely to be in the lineup for the Brewers tonight, but his ongoing challenges with his sore thumb make it hard to predict his performance on a day-to-day level. Stuart Wallace of Beyond the Box Score has one of the more thorough and insightful looks I’ve seen regarding the injury in play and its impact on Braun’s ability to catch up to fastballs.
Jean Segura is also a solid bet to be back in the lineup tonight, although Elian Herrera has been taking some of his playing time lately. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com has details on a mechanical change the Brewers are asking Segura to consider in an effort to be more consistent at the plate in the future.
Speaking of Herrera, Alec Dopp has an interesting (if small sample-sized) note on him in our Tweet of the Day:
Elian Herrera hitting .347/.373/.429 as a infielder this season (51 PA) and .238/.246/.302 as an outfielder (66 PA). Huh.
— Alec Dopp (@AlecDopp) August 28, 2014
Aramis Ramirez’s hot month of August (he’s batting .400 through 23 games) has been well-documented, but here’s something that snuck up on me: His .304 average for the season gives him an outside shot to win the National League batting title. He’s currently fifth among qualified candidates, and David Schoenfield of ESPN has a look at the lackluster group ahead of him. Scooter Gennett has a slightly better average at .307 but falls short of the plate appearances required to qualify.
While Ramirez is heating up, Francisco Rodriguez is going through a rough patch. Wednesday’s blown save was only K-Rod’s fifth of the season, but he’s allowed three home runs in his last four appearances, and Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker has a look at his increased tendency to give up the long ball.
Jimmy Nelson isn’t expected to face the Giants this weekend, and his short-term future is in limbo at this point. His turn in the rotation should come up on Monday, but that depends on how the Brewers decide to proceed with Matt Garza’s return from the disabled list. Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story on Nelson getting his first sustained opportunity in the big leagues during a pennant race.
Meanwhile, a day later, many of us are still talking about Ron Roenicke’s complaints about home plate umpire Mark Ripperger’s strike zone in Wednesday’s loss. Jim Gardner of the Angels blog Halos Heaven says Roenicke was ejected for being right. Meanwhile, David Schoenfield of ESPN notes that Brewers pitchers get more called strikes than most teams, so maybe Roenicke shouldn’t complain.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 3-4 on Wednesday with a big win coming from Wisconsin, where third baseman Taylor Brennan’s grand slam was the difference in a 9-5 win over Burlington. You can read all about the day’s action in the Brewerfan.net Link Report.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has highlights, postgame audio and more from Wisconsin’s win, which left them 2 1/2 games up on a pair of teams for the Midwest League Western Division’s final playoff spot with four games to play.
- Meanwhile, the toughest loss of the day came in the desert. The AZL Brewers needed a win to clinch a playoff spot on the regular season’s final day and got no-hit by the AZL Dodgers in a 10-0 loss (h/t @Mass_Haas).
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has an interview with Sounds outfielder Logan Schafer.
- The Huntsville Stars are expected to move to Biloxi, Miss., in 2015, but that move may be on hold temporarily as slow work on the team’s new ballpark may delay its opening until August. Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times reports the Stars could open the 2015 season in Huntsville and play there until their new facility is completed (h/t @Mass_Haas).
Today in power rankings: Tim Brown of Yahoo has the Brewers as baseball’s eighth-best team, down a spot from last week.
Diamondbacks: Claimed outfielder Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Mets: Placed second baseman Daniel Murphy (calf strain) and pitcher Vic Black (herniated disc in his neck) on the DL.
Royals: Claimed infielder Jayson Nix off waivers from the Pirates.
Yankees: Acquired pitcher Josh Outman from the Indians for a player to be named later or cash.
Around the NL Central:
- The Reds stole six bases in a game for the first time in almost a decade while beating the Cubs 7-2 on Thursday. Shortstop Zack Cozart had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice.
- The Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates were all off on Thursday.
|Brewers||73||60||—||@ Giants, 9:15 p.m.||Wily Peralta vs Ryan Vogelsong|
|Cardinals||71||61||1.5||vs Cubs, 7:15 p.m.||Shelby Miller vs Kyle Hendricks|
|Pirates||69||64||4||vs Reds, 6:05 p.m.||Edinson Volquez vs Mike Leake|
|Reds||65||69||8.5||@ Pirates, 6:05 p.m.||Mike Leake vs Edinson Volquez|
|Cubs||59||74||14||@ Cardinals, 7:15 p.m.||Kyle Hendricks vs Shelby Miller|
As of this writing, Baseball Prospectus gives the Brewers a 52.4 percent chance to win the NL Central and an 82.6 percent shot to make the playoffs. The latter number is down 2.2 points in the last 24 hours and 7.7 points in the last week.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s rapid recovery will be a factor in the race. Molina is the latest Cardinal to recover more quickly than expected from a serious injury, rehabbing a thumb injury that was supposed to keep him out for 8-12 weeks in just seven weeks. He’s expected to return against the Cubs tonight.
Today in former Brewers: Corey Brock of MLB.com talked to several MLB catchers (including Jonathan Lucroy) about working with legendary closer Trevor Hoffman.
- Huntsville Stars pitcher Brent Suter, who turns 25.
- 2000-01 Brewer Henry Blanco, who turns 43.
- Seattle Pilots manager Joe Schultz, who would have turned 96 (Today In Brewer History).
Today is also the 17th anniversary of the Brewers’ first-ever meeting with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997 and the 35th anniversary of the Brewers using three position players to pitch in an 18-8 loss to the Royals 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, it’s time for dessert.
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