Some things to read while wearing your new hat.
Today’s good news is this: The Milwaukee Brewers won on Friday to snap a nine-game losing streak. The bad news, on the other hand, is that they haven’t won since and showed very little life in Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has a recap and an accompanying rant on effort, if you missed it.
Noah wasn’t the only person upset by the Brewers’ apparent lack of effort on Sunday, as the team held a rare players-only meeting after the game. Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Kyle Lohse, Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks were among the team leaders who spoke up in the meeting in an effort to get the team back on the right track. For what it’s worth, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wants to know why the veterans waited so long to do this.
That meeting followed another day of lackadaisical defense which even Bob Uecker came down on. Check it out in our Tweet of the Day:
At this point Ueck is going Major League. RT @Jcollins205: Uecker: “Here’s a pop fly. This one is playable. Well, it should have been.”
— Jaymes Langrehr (@JaymesL) September 7, 2014
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:
- Jonathan Lucroy started at first base on Sunday, a rare assignment for him when the Brewers face a right-handed pitcher, and went 0-for-4.
- Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s fourth-inning single on Sunday was the 1,500th hit of his career.
- The Brewers used 20 players in Sunday’s nine-inning game for just the 30th time in franchise history. The franchise record for a nine-inning game is 22, which they just tied on Thursday.
- One of those players was Will Smith, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning in his MLB-leading 71st appearance (h/t @Haudricourt). Smith is now tied for the 22nd-most appearances in a season in franchise history, with three weeks to play.
- Wei-Chung Wang struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth inning in his first MLB appearance since July 10 (h/t @AdamMcCalvy).
- Rickie Weeks recorded the 1,000th hit of his career in the ninth inning on Saturday, making him just the 12th Brewer to reach that mark.
- Lyle Overbay was hit by a pitch on Saturday for the first time since 2011. Plunk Everyone has more on the accomplishment.
- Saturday’s game was a “Pink Out” at Miller Park to raise awareness about breast cancer.
- Both benches cleared after Friday’s win ended with an exchange between Francisco Rodriguez and Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski, but the incident appeared to stem from a misunderstanding.
- Mike Oz of Big League Stew has video of fans who came to Friday’s game in full throwback uniforms.
- The Chorizo won Friday’s Sausage Race and the Hot Dog won on Sunday, but I haven’t been able to find out who won on Saturday.
- The Brewers debuted a uniform patch on Friday to honor the memory of longtime amateur scouting director Bruce Seid, who passed away unexpectedly last week.
The Brewers used 20 players on Sunday but Mark Reynolds was not one of them, so this statistical quirk remains intact: @BrewCrewBall notes that Reynolds has fewer strikeouts (119) than games played (120) this season for the first time in his career. He’s striking out about once every 3.5 plate appearances in 2014, as compared to a 3.1 mark for his career.
In the minors:
- The Huntsville Stars are the last Brewers affiliate active in postseason play, and they extended their season for at least one more day by beating Chattanooga 4-0 on Sunday to force a fifth game in their best-of-five Southern League playoff series. Tyler Wagner and David Goforth combined to hold the Lookouts to just three hits.
- Meanwhile, we’re less than a month removed from Opening Day in the Arizona Fall League. We’ve previously reported that pitcher Ariel Pena has been removed from the Glendale Desert Dogs’ roster, and over the weekend, we learned he’s been replaced by lefty Mike Strong. Strong was a 10th-round pick in the 2011 draft and appeared in 31 games (six starts) for Brevard County and Huntsville this season, posting a 2.37 ERA and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
- Congratulations are also due out this morning to Nashville pitcher Taylor Jungmann and recent Brewers call-up Jason Rogers, who were the Brewers’ minor league Pitcher and Player of the Month for August.
- Michael Trzinski of Reviewing the Brew says the 2009 Brevard County Manatees were the ninth-best minor league team in Brewers history. Many of the top performers from that team are still Brewers: Mike Fiers, Logan Schafer, Martin Maldonado and Jim Henderson all saw time in the Florida State League that season, as did John Axford.
Closer to home, members of the Brewers and Green Bay Packers had plenty to commiserate about when they met in a pingpong tournament Sunday night as part of a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital. Mark Kass of Milwaukee Business Journal has a slideshow from the event, which featured Randall Cobb beating Will Smith in the finals.
As the regular season draws to a close, it’s time for one of my favorite projects of the year: Tom Tango’s Fan Scouting Report. Follow that link to rate the defensive performances of the 2014 Brewers (and any other team you watch regularly) and be a part of the final result. With a handful of votes in, Gerardo Parra rates as the Brewers’ best defender, with Rickie Weeks and Khris Davis bringing up the rear.
Today in power rankings:
- Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times has the Brewers 12th, down five spots from last week.
- Beisbol’s Org also has the Brewers as baseball’s 12th-best team this week.
- Tom Haudricourt has the Brewers fifth in the National League, down one spot from a week ago.
If you’d like more Brewers coverage today but you’re sick of reading, I’ll be making my weekly appearance on The Talking Cheeseheads with Ben Larson this afternoon. Listen in live on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau or Sports Talk AM 1090 WAQE in Rice Lake, or follow the above link later for the archived audio.
Angels: Exercised general manager Jerry DiPoto’s club option for 2015.
Blue Jays: Outfielder Melky Cabrera is out for the season with a hand injury.
Indians: Acquired outfielder J.B. Shuck from the Angels for cash.
Rangers: Announced the resignation of manager Ron Washington.
Royals: Released pitcher Bruce Chen.
Let’s go around the NL Central:
- The Pirates completed a sweep of the Cubs with a 10-4 victory on Sunday. Four different Pittsburgh players homered in the game, including pitcher Gerrit Cole.
- The Reds lost their series with the Mets over the weekend and dropped a 4-3 game on Sunday. Mat Latos pitched a quality start in the loss.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, lost three of four to the Cardinals over the weekend and were defeated 9-1 on Sunday.
|Cardinals||79||64||—||@ Reds, 6:10 p.m.||Shelby Miller vs Dylan Axelrod|
|Pirates||74||68||4.5||@ Phillies, 6:05 p.m.||Jeff Locke vs Kyle Kendrick|
|Brewers||74||69||5||vs Marlins, 7:10 p.m.||Yovani Gallardo vs Brad Penny|
|Reds||67||76||12||vs Cardinals, 6:10 p.m.||Dylan Axelrod vs Shelby Miller|
|Cubs||64||79||15||@ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m.||Jacob Turner vs Marcus Stroman|
By passing the Brewers, the Pirates have also climbed into sole possession of the National League’s final Wild Card spot:
|Pirates||74||68||—||@ Phillies, 6:05 p.m.||Jeff Locke vs Kyle Kendrick|
|Brewers||74||69||.5||vs Marlins, 7:10 p.m.||Yovani Gallardo vs Brad Penny|
|Braves||74||69||.5||@ Nationals, 6:05 p.m.||Mike Minor vs Doug Fister|
|Marlins||69||72||4.5||@ Brewers, 7:10 p.m.||Brad Penny vs Yovani Gallardo|
Today is the first time the Brewers have been outside of the playoff picture since April 4, when they were 2-2 (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). Baseball Prospectus gives them a 29.4 percent chance to reach the postseason, a calamitous dropoff from a mark that was better than 90 percent not that long ago.
The Cardinals have run out to a big lead by going 8-1 in their last nine games, and David Schoenfield of ESPN says it’s time to start fearing them despite a season that “hasn’t been that great” until recently.
Today in former Brewers: Gabe Kapler and onetime Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux are among 12 candidates to be the next manager of the Rangers in this Lone Star Ball poll. As of this writing, Maddux is leading the voting.
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday today to:
Today is also the 31st anniversary of pitcher Kevin Kobel becoming the first Brewers pitcher ever to debut before his 20th birthday in a loss to the Yankees in 1973. 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 wink again.
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