The Brewers fight to stay atop the National League Central took another blow in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Cubs to open a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
The Brewers will likely finish today a game back of the NL Central lead following their sixth consecutive loss.
Win: Jacob Turner (5-8)
Loss: Jimmy Nelson (2-6)
Save: Hector Rondon (23)
HR: Khris Davis (21), Gerardo Parra (8), Welington Castillo (11), Luis Valbuena (16)
The Brewers are, technically, 0.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals following a loss to the Cubs Sunday afternoon. With the Cardinals leading the Pirates 5-4 at the time of this writing, it seems likely Milwaukee will be going into tomorrow a full game behind in the race for a division title.
It has been nearly five months, or over 21 weeks, or exactly 150 days since the Brewers had last been not in first place. On April 4, they were a game back. The next day, they jumped in a tie for the divisional lead. Since then, they haven't looked back.
But six game losing streaks will do this kind of thing. After a miserable west coast swing, the Brewers are right back to losing in the good old midwest.
Of course, the season isn't even close to over. A one game deficit is nothing and the Brewers are still an excellent ballclub. It just so happens that they are an excellent ballclub going through a bit of a rough patch. Even guys like Kyle Lohse haven't played well during this stint. But with Jonathan Broxton here to aid the bullpen and Matt Garza due back soon, the Brewers could just as easily jump back out to another multi-game lead as they could fall further back from the Cardinals.
If the Brewers are to reclaim first place anytime soon, they'll need their offense to get back on track first and foremost. They managed just two runs on seven hits today, with both runs coming via back-to-back home runs by Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra in the seventh.
Up to that point, the Brewers had been trailing 3-0. An early Welington Castillo RBI single gave the Cubs the lead while a two-run home run by Castillo in the fourth expanded it. After the seventh, the Brewers cut the lead to 3-2, but Luis Valbuena homered in the eighth for an insurance run.
Jimmy Nelson managed a quality start despite allowing nine hits and a walk while striking out four. The offense was led by Gerardo Parra, who had a pair of singles to go with his home run.
The Brewers get two more against the Cubs before moving on to a series against the Cardinals. They need to cure what ails them quick.
The Brewers' September callups included one new player and a quartet of returning ones, including a starting pitcher for Monday's series opener against the Cubs.
Recently acquired right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton joined the Brewers Monday at Wrigley Field as the team began a three-game series against the Cubs.
Carlos Gomez was not in the Brewers' lineup for Monday's series opener at Wrigley Field after leaving Sunday's game against the Giants with what still appears to be a left wrist injury.
Gomez left Sunday's game early due to the injury and is out of the starting lineup Monday.
|MILWAUKEE BREWERS||CHICAGO CUBS|
|Scooter Gennett - 2B||Chris Coghlan - LF|
|Jonathan Lucroy - C||Javier Baez - 2B|
|Ryan Braun - RF||Starlin Castro - SS|
|Aramis Ramirez - 3B||Luis Valbuena - 3B|
|Khris Davis - LF||Jorge Soler - RF|
|Gerardo Parra - CF||Welington Castillo - C|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Arismendy Alcantara - CF|
|Jean Segura - SS||Chris Valaika - 1B|
|Jimmy Nelson - RHP||Jacob Turner - RHP|
Carlos Gomez is out of the lineup on Monday for the Brewers, less than 24 hours after leaving Sunday's game against the Giants with left wrist soreness. It's possible that Gomez may miss a few days and could receive a precautionary MRI.
The injury comes at a bad time for the Brewers. The team is still in first place in the NL Central, but has fallen to a tie with the Cardinals. Milwaukee is also on a five-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Gomez has been one of the Brewers best hitters this season and the team's offense has been struggling.
Of course, a couple of rest days might be good for Gomez moving forward. He hit just .238/.319/.448 through August and has just seven hits in his last nine games.
Gerardo Parra will play center field while Gomez is out, however long that may be.
Today's lessons include a very rough weekend, a surprise trade, and September callups.
This Weekend's Results
I don't think any of us really want to relive the weekend, so here's the basics of what happened. The Brewers got clobbered on Friday & Sunday, and almost got no-hit on Saturday. It was enough to allow the Cardinals to catch up and tie the Brewers for first place. As a Brewers fan, it was about as bad of a weekend as it could have been.
The Brewers acquired Jonathan Broxton.
The one bright spot of the weekend was this shocking move on Sunday. With the Brewers seeking bullpen help, they put in a claim on Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton, were awarded the claim, and worked out a trade with the Reds to bring Broxton to Milwaukee. We don't know the full details of the trade yet, as the Brewers traded two PTBNLs in the deal. Broxton's contract runs through next season, so this move will also affect the 2015 team. This will definitely bolster a struggling Brewers bullpen, and hopefully help get them to the postseason.
The first wave of September callups were made.
Prior to today's game against the Cubs, the Brewers made their first wave of September callups. Adam McCalvy has details in his Brew Beat blog, but here are the five "additions":
Jimmy Nelson - No surprise here, his "demotion" to Brevard County was basically in name only. In reality, the callup here was Alfredo Figaro, who was added prior to Saturday's game.
Matt Garza - He was activated from the 15-day DL, and is expected to start on Wednesday.
Wei-Chung Wang - Also activated from the 15-day DL.
Logan Schafer - With Carlos Gomez probably out for today's game, the Brewers needed to get Schafer here to bolster the outfield bench.
Matt Pagnozzi - This is the one more surprising move of the bunch. With only two catchers on the 40-man roster, the Brewers decided to add Pagnozzi for emergencies over the last month. Jeff Bianchi was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a space on the 40-man roster. (It's unclear whether or not Pagnozzi will be postseason eligible, it depends on if he was added to the 40-man roster on Sunday or Monday. This would only come up in an emergency situation where either Jonathan Lucroy or Martin Maldonado went down with an injury.)
That's it for callups for now. A few other players didn't get callups, which includes pitcher Rob Wooten. However, Nashville has one more game in its season today, and it is possible we will see a few more callups following that game.
More from BCB
- On Friday, Jordan compared the pitches of Jimmy Nelson to that of an old Brewer fan favorite, Ben Sheets.
- While it's tempting to think that the Brewers decline is about to happen, Noah has a reminder that this team isn't doomed after 2014.
- Carlos Gomez left Sunday's game with left wrist soreness. X-rays were negative, but the Brewers may send him back to Milwaukee for more tests. He will be out today at least.
- The Brewer Nation blog had the opportunity to talk to Jonathan Broxton's agent for a few minutes, and has a few details from the conversation on the blog.
Minor League Update
Fri: Nashville 7, Round Rock 4
Sat: Nashville 5, Round Rock 2
Sat: Round Rock 3, Nashville 1
Sun: Round Rock 3, Nashville 2
|Nashville @ Round Rock|
Fri: Mississippi 5, Huntsville 0
Sun: Mississippi 6, Huntsville 2
Sun: Huntsville 6, Mississippi 2
|Mississippi @ Huntsville|
|Brevard County Manatees||A+||73-62||
Sat: Brevard County 2, Dunedin 0
Sat: Brevard County 1, Dunedin 0
Sun: Dunedin 7, Brevard County 3
|END OF SEASON|
|Wisconsin Timber Rattlers||A||72-66||
Fri: Burlington 4, Wisconsin 2
Sat: Beloit 6, Wisconsin 2
Sun: Wisconsin 13, Beloit 2
|Wisconsin @ Beloit|
Fri: Helena 5, Great Falls 3
Sat: Great Falls 5, Helena 2
Sat: Helena 7, Great Falls 5
Sun: Great Falls 6, Helena 2
|Missoula @ Helena|
- Nashville Sounds - Eliminated from contention with Saturday's loss, last game of season today.
- Huntsville Stars - Clinched playoff spot. Playoffs begin on September 4.
- Brevard County Manatees - Eliminated from contention last week, season has ended.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattlers - Clinched a playoff spot with Sunday's win. Playoffs begin on September 3.
- Helena Brewers - Eliminated from contention last week, final game of season September 4.
News & Notes
- Nathan Orf's day on Sunday was a memorable one. He played all nine positions for Brevard County, and then got the news that he was being called up to Huntsville for their postseason roster.
- Reviewing the Brew's series on the best farm teams in franchise history continued with the 1989 Stockton Ports.
- Cubs @ Cardinals
Friday: Cubs 7, Cardinals 2
Saturday: Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
Saturday: Cardinals 13, Cubs 2
Sunday: Cardinals 9, Cubs 6
- Reds @ Pirates
Friday: Pirates 2, Reds 1
Saturday: Pirates 3, Reds 2
Sunday: Reds 3, Pirates 2
Today's Division Games
- Pirates (Gerrit Cole) @ Cardinals (Lance Lynn) - 1:15 pm
- Reds have the day off.
The Brewers start a three-game series in Chicago with an afternoon matinee game. Jimmy Nelson faces Jacob Turner in the first game of the series. First pitch is at 1:20 pm, and Caitlin Swieca of MLB.com has the preview.
For those of you who play Prognostikeggers, I won't have this week's update up until this afternoon. However, you can make your predictions for this week with the below links (so you can get your predictions in for the early game).
Rarely do players have the opportunity to play all nine positions in one game, but that's exactly what Nathan Orf did at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday.
Here's a neat story from the Brewers' farm system: Nathan Orf, who was named an FSL postseason All Star recently, played all nine positions for the Brevard County Manatees in their final game of the season.
Orf found out he would be accomplishing the feat just an hour and a half before game time. In front on 903 people, he started the first inning at catcher, then moved to first base. From there, he went to second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field. He finished his night on the mound, where he threw to one batter and earned a groundout.
In the linked MiLB.com article above, Orf talked about pitching:
"I had no clue what I was doing up there," Orf admitted. "I was trying to throw strikes and throw them somewhat down in the zone. I was just hoping they didn't hit a home run. Hoppy [third baseman Greg Hopkins] made a great play, and it was a great way to end the game and the season."
Even after playing all nine positiions, Orf's day wasn't over: He then coached first base in the bottom of the ninth. At the plate, he finished his season with an 0-2 performance, though Orf did draw a walk.
Orf is in his second professional season after being signed by Milwaukee as an undrafted free agent out of Baylor in 2013. Though he has been old for the levels he is playing at (Orf is already 24), he's been a pleasant surprise thus far: In 165 career games heading into Sunday, Orf has hit .295/.403/.394 with 10 stolen bases.
If he can continue to get on base well, Orf's versatility will be a huge asset as he looks to move up through the Brewers' minors. Sunday was the first time he has played shortstop or catcher professionally, while he had played fewer than 10 games in each of left field, center field and third base. Orf says his favorite position is second base.
The last minor leaguer to play all nine positions in one game was Justin Toole, who did so for the Indians A-Ball team in 2012. Only five major leaguers have managed the feat, with the last two coming in 2000 as Shane Halter of the Tigers and Scott Sheldon of the Rangers played all nine in separate games late that season.
Orf was promoted to Double-A Huntsville following the game as the Stars head to the postseason.
Having fallen back into a first-place tie with St. Louis thanks to a 1-5 start to their current road trip, the Brewers will look to end the trip on a positive note with a three-game set at Wrigley Field starting Monday.
After experiencing an alarming "pop" in his left wrist during a Sunday strikeout, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez needs further tests to determine whether he will miss time for a struggling team trying to hold on to first place in its division.