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Some things to read while covering the hard-hitting stories. The Milwaukee Brewers’ 1-0 start to their West Coast road trip is nothing but a distant memory now after the Crew lost their fifth consecutive game on Sunday, a 15-5 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has […]

Some things to read while covering the hard-hitting stories.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ 1-0 start to their West Coast road trip is nothing but a distant memory now after the Crew lost their fifth consecutive game on Sunday, a 15-5 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has a recap, if you missed it.

The Brewers held a brief 1-0 lead in the first inning on Sunday, but things unraveled quickly, as the Giants tied the game in the second, scored three runs in the third, and scored in the fifth and sixth against Kyle Lohse, who allowed seven or more earned runs in a game for the third time this season. Four Brewers relievers combined to allow eight more runs while recording just seven outs.

Adding injury to insult, Carlos Gomez left Sunday’s game in the third inning after feeling something pop in his wrist during an at bat. Gomez is not expected to be in the lineup today and will be re-evaluated to determine the severity of the injury.

With Gomez out, Gerardo Parra appeared in center field for the first time as a Brewer on Sunday. It seems likely he’ll be back out there today.

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:

  • Sunday’s game was the 14th time in franchise history the Brewers have allowed 10 or more extra-base hits in a game. They also tied a franchise record by allowing three triples. Pablo Sandoval had one of them, which attracted the attention of You Can’t Predict Baseball.
  • Rickie Weeks had two hits on Sunday and now has 998 for his career. He’s now moved past Prince Fielder into 12th place on the Brewers’ all-time list.
  • Sunday’s loss may have been the most embarrassing, but Saturday’s loss featured Giants pitcher Jake Peavy carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
  • Once the Brewers finally broke through on Saturday, though, Jonathan Lucroy hit his MLB-leading 46th double. He needs seven more to tie Lyle Overbay’s single-season franchise record.
  • Giants catcher Buster Posey had five hits on Friday, becoming the first player to do that against the Brewers since Neil Walker did it for the Pirates in 2010.
  • Darryl Hamilton called this weekend’s games on the radio in place of Bob Uecker in what appears to be his final WTMJ assignment of the season. He took to Twitter to thank the fans for their support in his fill-in role.

The road-weary Brewers won’t get any rest today, as they open a three-game series with the Cubs at 1:20 p.m. with Jimmy Nelson on the mound against Jacob Turner. Caitlin Sweica has the MLB.com preview.

Unless the Brewers intend to stick with a six-man rotation, today’s game could be Nelson’s last start for a while. Jordan Mader of Brew Crew Ball has a look at his repertoire and compared it to another onetime top Brewers prospect from the south: Ben Sheets.

A new teammate will be waiting for the Brewers when they get to Wrigley Field today: The team acquired veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Reds on Sunday for a pair of players to be named later, and he’s expected to be activated today as active rosters expand for September. Broxton is one of the largest men in the big leagues (his listed weight is 295 pounds), and he’s appeared in 531 MLB games, including 51 with the Reds this season. He has a 1.86 ERA and seven saves for Cincinnati in 2014.

Broxton is a two-time All Star and he’s not your typical late-season rental, as he’s under contract for 2015 ($9 million) and has a mutual option for 2016 (with a buyout that increased to $2 million when he was traded). The Reds did not send any money along as part of the transaction, so the Brewers are on the hook for both of those figures and the roughly $1.2 million he’s making for the remainder of 2014.

Meanwhile, the players going from the Brewers organization to the Reds are expected to be announced soon (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). The Reds told reporters they’ve already selected one player and have a list to choose from for the second (h/t @m_sheldon). It’s possible both teams were waiting for the minor league season to end before having to make any additional roster moves.

Here’s more on the deal from around the web:

  • Adam Rygg of The Brewer Nation has a brief interview with Broxton’s agent, BB Abbott.
  • Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters Broxton “may be the best I’ve ever had in the bullpen as far as being a professional” (h/t @AdamMcCalvy).
  • Zach Duke was a teammate of Broxton’s last season in Cincinnati and told @AdamMcCalvy, “Everything about him is big.”

So Broxton gives the Brewers one more player under contract for 2015 and a possible alternative option to close games if Francisco Rodriguez leaves via free agency. Before the trade, Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball said that the Brewers are “not entirely totally doomed” for next season.

Of course, Broxton won’t be the only player added to the Brewers roster today. Triple-A Nashville will wrap up its regular season this afternoon, and the Brewers have already raided their roster for the first round of reinforcements for the major league season’s final month. Players joining or rejoining the team today include: 

  • Jimmy Nelson, who was sent down temporarily over the weekend to allow the team to add an extra bullpen arm.
  • Logan Schafer, who struggled at the plate in 53 games with the Brewers earlier this season but returned to Nashville and hit .273 with a .355 on-base percentage and .460 slugging in 185 plate appearances.
  • Alfredo Figaro, who was recalled early and was with the team this weekend as an extra bullpen arm. 
  • Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang, who will both be activated off the disabled list.
  • Catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who will likely serve as an emergency backup. The veteran journeyman will be in the majors for the first time since appearing in nine games for the Astros last season, and hit .215 in 71 appearances for Nashville.
So the Brewers will have 30 players crammed into one of baseball’s smallest visiting clubhouses at Wrigley Field today, but things could get even more crowded tomorrow: @Haudricourt reports that the team expects to call up more players after Nashville’s game today.

Pagnozzi (and Broxton) had to be added to the 40-man roster, so the Brewers freed up a spot by moving Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day DL. Bianchi has been out with an elbow injury since July 12.

All of these additions likely won’t do much to shore up a Brewers lineup that has struggled recently. Tim Muma of The Brewers Mix has a list of three reasons he’d like to see Ron Roenicke shuffle the batting order.

Having David Price in the rotation wouldn’t help the team’s batting woes either, but it’s interesting to note they were close to acquiring him: Bill Baer of Hardball Talk spotted a link from Ken Rosenthal of Fox saying the Brewers attempted to get the former Cy Young winner from the Rays but were unwilling to give up Jimmy Nelson. Baer notes that Nelson and Price have pitched comparably since the move.

For now, at least, the Brewers appear to have opted not to call up first basemen Hunter Morris, Jason Rogers or Sean Halton. That likely means more playing time for Mark Reynolds, and Foster Honeck of the FanGraphs community listed him as one of baseball’s 10 most unusual hitters.

In the minors:

Closer to home, things are getting closer to normal at the Fridays restaurant inside Miller Park, which returned to its usual hours of operation over the weekend for the first time since a fire in the kitchen earlier this season. The restaurant continues to serve a limited menu, however.

In power rankings:

Around baseball:

Astros: Claimed pitcher Samuel Deduno off waivers from the Twins.
Athletics: Acquired first baseman/designated hitter Adam Dunn from the White Sox for a minor league pitcher.
Blue Jays: Acquired outfielder John Mayberry Jr. from the Phillies for a minor leaguer.
Diamondbacks: Released outfielder Xavier Paul.
Indians: Signed first baseman Russell Branyan to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Acquired second baseman Kelly Johnson and a minor leaguer from the Red Sox for infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan DeJesus Jr., and acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox for two minor league pitchers.
Phillies: Released pitcher Jason Marquis.
Rangers: Designated first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp for assignment, placed outfielder Jim Adduci on the seven-day DL with a concussion and released pitcher Phil Irwin.
Royals: Designated pitcher Bruce Chen for assignment.
Tigers: Designated pitcher Justin Miller for assignment.
Yankees: Acquired pitcher Chaz Roe from the Marlins for cash and designated pitcher Rich Hill for assignment.

Let’s go around the NL Central:

  • The Cardinals split four games with the Cubs over the weekend, including a come-from-behind 9-6 win on Sunday. The Cubs led 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth before allowing St. Louis to come all the way back.
  • The Pirates and Reds played three one-run games over the weekend and Pittsburgh won two, but lost the finale 3-2 on Sunday. Chris Heisey drove in all of Cincinnati’s runs with a pair of home runs.
  • The Brewers, as you likely know, were swept by the Giants and lost 15-5 on Sunday.
Here are today’s updated standings and probables:

Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Brewers  73  63  —  @ Cubs, 1:20 p.m.  Jimmy Nelson vs Jacob Turner 
Cardinals  73  63  —  vs Pirates, 1:15 p.m.  Lance Lynn vs Gerrit Cole 
Pirates  71  65  @ Cardinals, 1:15 p.m.  Gerrit Cole vs Lance Lynn 
Reds  66  71  7.5  OFF   
Cubs   61  76  12.5  vs Brewers, 1:20 p.m.  Jacob Turner vs Jimmy Nelson 

Baseball Prospectus gives the Brewers a 62.2 percent chance to make the playoffs this morning, down over 25 points in the last week. The Crew remains in control of their own destiny, though, as 22 of their remaining 26 games are against NL Central opponents (h/t @joe_block).
 
The Brewers aren’t the only contending team slumping right now. The Oakland Athletics have been baseball’s best team for much of the season but were swept by the Angels in a four-game series over the weekend, and manager Bob Melvin called his team “pathetic” in his postgame comments.
 
Meanwhile, new Cardinals pitcher John Lackey is already fitting right in with his new teammates. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com has a story on a confrontation between Lackey and Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro after an at bat where Castro shouted something Lackey assumed was directed at him.

Today in former Brewers:

Today’s baseball economics note comes from Phil Birnbaum, who has a study showing that MLB team payroll doesn’t correlate with wins as well as it used to.

One disappointing high-payroll team that may be skewing those numbers is the Texas Rangers. They’re an MLB-worst 53-83 entering play today and have tied an MLB record by having 59 players appear in a game this season. For comparison purposes, when/if Matt Pagnozzi debuts, he’ll be this season’s 36th Brewer.

Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday today to 1963-65 Milwaukee Brave Rico Carty, who turns 75 (Today In Brewer History).

Today is also the 27th anniversary of Teddy Higuera throwing a complete-game one-hitter in the Brewers’ 2-0 win over the Royals in 1987. Follow the link for that event’s entry in Today In Brewer History at Brew Crew Ball.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to get a different sandwich.

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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