We have lots of Brewer news to discuss, but all of it pales in comparison to this morning’s breaking news: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid has passed away. He was just 53 years old.
Seid had been the Brewers’ director of amateur scouting since 2008, and before, that he spent 11 years in the organization as a scout and crosschecker. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and the team during this difficult time.
Obviously, we’ll hear much more about Seid in the coming days, but Haudricourt had a nice tribute to him in our Tweet of the Day:
No one spoke with more enthusiasm and passion about the talent in #Brewers farm system than Bruce Seid. He was so dedicated to organization.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) September 3, 2014
Turning back to the field, the Milwaukee Brewers will enter play Wednesday with the National League’s fifth-best record, but fans who have watched the last week of games may have a hard time believing any team is worse. Their 7-1 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday was their seventh in a row, and Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball has a recap if you missed it.
Yovani Gallardo gave up all seven Cubs runs (five earned) on Tuesday night, allowing eight hits and two walks and pitching just five innings. He did have this silver lining, however: His four strikeouts moved him into a tie with Ben Sheets for first place on the Brewers’ all-time list. Gallardo reached that mark in 210 career appearances (207 starts), while Sheets needed 221 starts to get there.
This is the 45th time in franchise history the Brewers have lost seven consecutive games, the second time this season and the fourth in four years under Ron Roenicke. The bright side may be this: In each of the three previous occurrences under Roenicke, they won the eighth game.
In the meantime, however, the Brewers do seem to realize the urgency of their current situation. This Aramis Ramirez quote sums things up nicely:
#Brewers Aramis Ramirez: “We’re not hitting, not pitching, not playing good defense. We picked wrong time to do it. We’ve got to get going.”
— Tom (@Haudricourt) September 3, 2014
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers held a rare team meeting before Tuesday’s game (h/t @Haudricourt).
- Tuesday’s game featured the MLB debuts of first basemen Jason Rogers (a pinch-hit double in the seventh) and Matt Clark (flew out in the ninth), and the Brewers debut of infielder Hector Gomez (0-for-2 with two strikeouts in his first MLB appearance since 2011).
- Khris Davis’ double Tuesday night was his 35th of the season. He’s tied for sixth in the National League with 58 extra–base hits (h/t @joe_block).
- Ron Roenicke successfully challenged a safe call at first base on what would have been an infield single from Cubs first baseman Chris Valaika in the fourth inning. The call was overturned, preserving a nice defensive play for Elian Herrera. Herrera had already made two errors in the game at that point.
- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro left Tuesday’s game in the first inning after spraining his ankle sliding into home plate, but initial tests ruled out a fracture.
- With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 21-15 in their last 36 games, the NL Central’s best record over that span (h/t Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
- David Schoenfield of ESPN listed the Brewers among his five things we learned on Tuesday, saying they “can’t be feeling good” about their chance to bounce back at this point.
The series wraps up tonight at 7:05 p.m. with Matt Garza taking on Kyle Hendricks. This will be Garza’s first game action since August 3.
The Brewers played Tuesday’s game without center fielder Carlos Gomez, and he may be out for a while: An MRI on his sore wrist showed a significant sprain but no structural damage, and Gomez will be shut down completely for a week to allow the injury to heal before he can resume baseball activities. It’s likely going to be more than a week, though, before Gomez can take his usual hard swings without pain.
I’ve already mentioned the fact that Jason Rogers, Matt Clark and Hector Gomez all appeared in last night’s game, with Rogers and Clark making their MLB debuts. That trio was called up on Tuesday and added to the expanded roster. Michael Trzinski of Reviewing the Brew has more on Clark, who played more than 800 professional games before reaching the majors for the first time. To clear a pair of spots for Gomez and Clark on the 40-man roster, the Brewers designated outfielder Caleb Gindl for assignment and released pitcher Hiram Burgos.
Gindl appeared in 65 games for the Brewers over the last two seasons, including eight this year, and has a .232 career batting average with a .335 on-base percentage and .404 slugging over 178 plate appearances. He recently turned 26 and was the Brewers’ fifth-round pick in the 2007 draft. Unless he’s returned to the 40-man roster after the season, he’ll become a minor league free agent.
Burgos was the Brewers’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2012, when he posted a 1.95 ERA across three levels and pitched his way into the conversation for a roster spot the next season. He made six starts for the Brewers in 2013 but struggled, and has been limited by shoulder injuries in the season and a half since. He recently turned 27 and was the Brewers’ sixth-round pick in the 2009 draft.
With Rogers, Clark and Gomez active, the Brewers are up to 34 players on their expanded roster, so we likely will not hear general manager Doug Melvin’s annual complaint about having to compete with teams with larger rosters in September. Mike Petriello of FanGraphs remembers when Melvin complained about it in 2009, however, and used that quote as part of his argument for a rule change (h/t BBTF).
Reliever Jonathan Broxton is one of the nine players the Brewers have added to their roster without having to make a corresponding move to clear a spot, but he has yet to appear in a game since joining the team on Monday. Ben Tannenbaum of The Brewers Bar is the latest to look at how Broxton fits in with this team in the short and long term.
The Brewers scored just one run Tuesday and have scored just 14 in their last seven games, with a handful of those coming long after the game had been decided on Sunday. Phil Rogers of MLB.com talked to Doug Melvin about the challenge of getting his struggling team restarted.
That single run Tuesday came on an RBI-single from Ryan Braun, who also walked in the game but helped erase what could have been a big inning when he was caught stealing. Daniel Kramer of MLB.com is the latest to write about Braun’s thumb injury, which continues to bother him.
Jonathan Lucroy had a hit on Tuesday for the fifth consecutive game, and his batting average continues to lurk just below .300. Grant Brisbee of SB Nation listed Lucroy among his top candidates to be the National League’s Most Valuable Player, but eventually settled on picking Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers to win the award.
After tonight’s game, the Brewers return home to play a four-game series with the Cardinals, who have scratched recent acquisition Justin Masterson from his scheduled start in the opener on Thursday. On Tuesday, they announced he’ll be replaced by Michael Wacha, who is returning to the majors after nearly three months on the disabled list due to a stress reaction in his shoulder. Wacha threw just 34 pitches in his last rehab appearance, so he’s not fully stretched out at this point.
In the minors:
- Congratulations are due out this morning to Helena pitcher Zach Hirsch, who was recently named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week. Hirsch pitched six scoreless innings and recorded 11 strikeouts in a game on Thursday.
- Congratulations are also due out to Brevard County utilityman Nathan Orf on being named to the Florida State League’s Postseason All Star Team. A former undrafted free agent, Orf appeared in 123 games for the Manatees and hit .288 with a .388 on-base percentage and .386 slugging while splitting time between second base and the outfield.
- Most minor leagues have wrapped up their regular seasons, but the Helena Brewers have a few games left and lost 3-1 to Missoula on Tuesday. Zach Hirsch was the starting pitcher for the H-Brewers and allowed two runs on six hits over five innings.
- The playoffs open in the Midwest League tonight, with Wisconsin hosting Kane County in the first contest in their three-game series.
Closer to home, the Brewers return to Miller Park on Thursday, and it’s easy to forget at times that their home ballpark is in its 14th season. Our own Matt Hrodey has a look at how the stadium district uses a partially publicly funded “Segregated Reserve Fund” to make repairs and upgrades to the facility.
Angels: Designated outfielder J.B. Shuck and reliever Michael Kohn for assignment.
Astros: Designated pitchers Paul Clemens and David Martinez for assignment.
Blue Jays: Designated outfielder Darin Mastroianni and first baseman Matt Hague for assignment and released pitcher Neil Wagner.
Padres: Designated pitcher Troy Patton and infielder Chris Nelson for assignment.
Pirates: Designated infielder/outfielder Michael Martinez for assignment.
Yankees: Designated outfielder Zoilo Almonte for assignment and released pitcher Matt Daley.
Let’s go around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals expanded their divisional lead with a 6-4 win over the Pirates. Outfielders Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos combined for five of St. Louis’ seven hits in the game.
- The Reds scored four runs in the eighth inning but it wasn’t enough as they lost 5-4 to the Orioles in Baltimore. Mat Latos gave up five runs in the first two innings and created a deficit Cincinnati couldn’t come back from.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, lost 7-1 to the Cubs.
Here are today’s standings and probables:
|Cardinals||75||63||—||vs Pirates, 12:45 p.m.||Shelby Miller vs Edinson Volquez|
|Brewers||73||65||2||@ Cubs, 7:05 p.m.||Matt Garza vs Kyle Hendricks|
|Pirates||71||67||4||@ Cardinals, 12:45 p.m.||Edinson Volquez vs Shelby Miller|
|Reds||66||72||9||@ Orioles, 6:05 p.m.||Dylan Axelrod vs Miguel Gonzalez|
|Cubs||63||76||12.5||vs Brewers, 7:05 p.m.||Kyle Hendricks vs Matt Garza|
Meanwhile in the Wild Card race, the Giants trailed 7-1 at one point on Tuesday but came all the way back to beat the Rockies 12-7. The Brewers, Braves, Pirates and Marlins all lost, so the standings remain roughly unchanged:
|Giants||76||63||+2.5||@ Rockies, 2:10 p.m.||Ryan Vogelsong vs Christian Bergman|
|Brewers||73||65||—||@ Cubs, 7:05 p.m.||Matt Garza vs Kyle Hendricks|
|Braves||72||67||1.5||vs Phillies, 11:10 a.m.||Ervin Santana vs David Buchanan|
|Pirates||71||67||2||@ Cardinals, 12:45 p.m.||Edinson Volquez vs Shelby Miller|
|Marlins||67||70||5.5||vs Mets, 6:10 p.m.||Tom Koehler vs Jacob deGrom|
As of this writing, Baseball Prospectus gives the Brewers a 56.4 percent chance of making the postseason. That’s down about three points from yesterday.
Of course, things could always be worse. With their loss last night, the Rangers became the first team to be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. The Astros and Rockies could both be eliminated today.
Today in former Brewers: Matt Bove of Yankees blog It’s About The Money has a post appreciating the work of Chris Capuano, who has a 4.01 ERA and significantly better peripheral numbers since the Yankees acquired him for cash on July 24.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers catcher Paul Eshleman, who turns 24.
- 2012 Brewer Juan Perez, who turns 36.
- 1998-02 Brewer Chad Fox, who turns 44.
- 1998-99 Brewer Eric Plunk, who turns 51.
- La Crosse, Wis., native Ed Konetchy, who would have turned 129. Konetchy played 15 MLB seasons between 1907-21 as a member of the Cardinals and five other teams.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find the leash.
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