Some things to read while picking your head back up.
While most of Wisconsin watched the Green Bay Packers lose their season-opener Thursday night, the Milwaukee Brewers were also in action, and also losing. Their 3-2 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals was their ninth consecutive loss, and Adam McCalvy of MLB.com has a recap, if you missed it.
The Brewers had their opportunities against Michael Wacha and six Cardinals relievers, but left 11 men on base over nine innings. Wacha pitched just three innings in the game in his first start after nearly three months on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his shoulder.
Other notes from the field:
- Ryan Braun was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day on Thursday, and his wife Larisa gave birth to the couple’s first child, a girl they named Celine Elysse. Braun is expected to rejoin the team on Friday.
- Matt Clark picked up his first major league hit, a single, in the seventh inning. After the game, he took to Twitter to document the occasion.
- Jonathan Lucroy had two hits on Thursday and now has 135 as a catcher this season. That’s a new francise record (h/t @joe_block).
- Xavier Scruggs started at first base for the Cardinals and went 0-for-3 in his MLB debut.
- Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his Brewers debut.
- Carlos Gomez still can’t swing a bat due to his sprained wrist, but entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh and broke up a double play (h/t @AdamMcCalvy).
- David Schoenfield of ESPN listed three items from this game among five things baseball fans learned on Thursday.
- The Polish won the Sausage Race.
Ryan Braun will likely be back in the lineup today, and the Brewers could certainly use his help. David Schoenfield of ESPN, though, has a look at why his thumb injury may be keeping him from hitting fastballs.
It’s been a challenging 10 days to be a Brewers fan, but at least one of us has a reminder that all is not lost: Jordan Mader of Brew Crew Ball notes that the Brewers slumped at a similar time in 2008 but still rebounded to make the postseason.
If the Brewers are going to repeat their success from 2008, though, the turnaround likely needs to begin soon. As things stand right now, their slump becomes a bigger story by the day, and Raleigh McCool of MLB Daily Dish asks if we should have seen it coming.
Jonathan Lucroy had two hits on Thursday, including his MLB-leading 47th double. Beisbol’s Org is the latest site to list him among its candidates for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Rickie Weeks homered while pinch-hitting for Scooter Gennett on Thursday, and it was the 999th hit of his MLB career. Weeks is not getting enough playing time this season to vest his contract option for 2015, though, and Ryan P. Morrison of Beyond the Box Score notes that he’s among the majority of players with vesting options this season who won’t reach the marks needed to get the extra contract year. Matt Garza has also fallen behind the playing time pace he would need to add 2018 to his deal.
Here’s a statistic to drive home how much the Brewers have been struggling lately: Closer Francisco Rodriguez hasn’t pitched in a game in September and has made just one appearance since recording his 39th save on Aug. 24. Looking further back, though, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs notes that a pitch he threw against Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Aug. 11 was the sixth-wildest in all of baseball in the month.
In the minors:
- Wisconsin’s season ended with a rough loss on Thursday, as they took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning but lost 4-3 to Kane County in 13 innings. Kane County swept their best-of-three playoff series. Chris Mehring has a recap of the game.
- The news was not much better for Huntsville, as the Stars lost 4-3 to Chattanooga. Hector Gimenez had a double and a home run in the losing effort, and the Stars now trail 1-0 in their best-of-five series.
- The lone win in the organization on Thursday came from Helena, where the H-Brewers wrapped up their regular season with a 5-2 win. Six different Brewers had multiple hits in the game. Helena finished Pioneer League play with a 27-49 record.
If you’re heading out to Miller Park this weekend, you might be interested in knowing that the Double Clutch stand on the Loge Level is serving “St. Louis Grilled Pork Steak” for the weekend. Also, Caitlin Moyer has a review of the new “Gooey Butter Cake Concrete Mixer” at the AJ Bombers stand on the field level.
Elsewhere at Miller Park, the Brewers installed their first self-vending beer station at the ballpark during their recent road trip and unveiled it on Thursday. It’s located on the third-base side of the field level, and David Brown of Big League Stew has the details on how it works.
Today in power rankings: Nats Insider has the Brewers 11th, down four spots from last week.
Let’s go around the NL Central:
- The Reds came all the way back from a 6-0 deficit but lost 9-7 to the Orioles anyway. Devin Mesoraco had four hits, including a double and his 21st home run, in the loss.
- The Cardinals, as you likely know, beat the Brewers 3-2 to gain another game in the standings.
- The Pirates and Cubs were off on Thursday.
|Cardinals||77||63||—||@ Brewers, 7:10 p.m.||John Lackey vs Mike Fiera|
|Brewers||73||67||4||vs Cardinals, 7:10 p.m.||Mike Fiers vs John Lackey|
|Pirates||71||68||5.5||@ Cubs, 1:20 p.m.||Vance Worley vs Tsuyoshi Wada|
|Reds||66||74||11||vs Mets, 6:10 p.m.||Alfredo Simon vs Bartolo Colon|
|Cubs||64||76||13||vs Pirates, 1:20 p.m.||Tsuyoshi Wada vs Mike Fiers|
The Brewers were the only major wild card candidate to play on Thursday, but their loss dropped them into a tie for the final spot:
|Giants||76||64||+3||@ Tigers, 6:08 p.m.||Jake Peavy vs Rick Porcello|
|Brewers||73||67||—||vs Cardinals, 7:10 p.m.||Mike Fiers vs John Lackey|
|Braves||73||67||—||@ Marlins, 6:10 p.m.||Aaron Harang vs Jarred Cosart|
|Pirates||71||68||1.5||@ Cubs, 1:20 p.m.||Vance Worley vs Tsuyoshi Wada|
|Marlins||67||71||5||vs Braves, 6:10 p.m.||Jarred Cosart vs Aaron Harang|
It’s time for today’s daily reminder that things could be worse: Grant Brisbee of SB Nation selected the Rockies as baseball’s most hopeless franchise.
Today in former Brewers: Zack Greinke raised some eyebrows on Thursday with a quote saying that “I don’t want to name names, but there were guys I played with that were so stupid that they’re really good, because their mind never gets in the way.”
- AZL Brewers pitcher Gian Rizzo, who turns 21.
- 2000-01 Brewer Jimmy Haynes, who turns 42.
- 1996 Brewer Mike Potts, who turns 44.
- 1995 Brewer Ron Rightnowar, who turns 50.
- 1991 Brewer Candy Maldonado, who turns 54.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to learn more Spanish.
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