Stephen Strasburg is pitching tonight (at 4:35pm ET, versus Brian Bannister and Kansas City). It goes without saying that every American boy should watch that game while holding his father’s hand. But there are other baseball games, too, and one of them — Minnesota at Milwaukee — is deserving of the baseball nerd’s attention.
For this edition of One Night Only, I contacted certain members of the nerdosphere who possess intimate knowledge of the teams participating in tonight’s game. I also contacted my friend Dan Lurie, who, despite not being a member of the nerdosphere proper, is a bang-up gentleman and Minnesota native.
Of each contributor I requested two or three bullet points in response to the following prompt:
Knowing your team the way you do, what’s something a general audience should know ahead of this contest?
Their responses (in the relevant sections below) are almost entirely verbatim, copied right from my email account to these electronic pages. Thus, if the syntax differs from one section to the other, well, you’re invited to deal with it.
Brewers: Manny Parra (6)
48.1 IP, 9.31 K/9, 4.10 BB/9, .362 BABIP, 49.3% GB, 10.6% HR/FB, 3.81 xFIP
From Larry Granillo, Owner-Operator of Wezen Ball
• There’s little doubt that the Brewers’ terrible pitching has done the most damage to the team’s chances this season. A close second, however, is the terrible defense. The only positions to have a positive UZR among the regulars are Carlos Gomez in CF (UZR of 0.6 in 338 innings) and Alcides Escobar at SS (1.9 in 518 innings). Jim Edmonds has a 1.3 UZR in 264 innings across all three outfield positions.
• Despite that porous defense, and despite Fielder’s career -6.4 UZR/150 at first base, the Brewers have started someone other than Prince at first only once in the last 260 or so games, and that was only last week. Also, since Prince announced his vegetarianism before the start of the 2008 season, he has hit 93 home runs, driven in 270 runs, and put up a .930 OPS. If he’s still on that diet, it hasn’t exactly sapped his strength.
• The Brewers have not won a game in which the Chorizo won the sausage race… Ok, I made that one up. But the Brewers do have an NL worst 11-19 record at home. The only team with a worse home record in baseball is the Orioles. That’s not exactly the company you want to keep
From Jack Moore, Math Snob and Owner-Operator of Disciples of Uecker
• Parra’s [been] awesome [in his] last three starts, as we talked about in the pod. [The pod, that is, which I am almostly defintely editing as you read these words. Promise! – Cistulli]
• Jonathan Lucroy is a relatively exciting prospect, as he’s a solid defensive catcher, and a good contact hitter who should be a solid, above-average ML catcher.
• For all the talk about Jim Edmonds being a poor fielder, he’s hitting extremely well this year at age 39 and coming off a year away from baseball. This is the second time the Brewers have come up big on a guy who was out of baseball, after Gabe Kapler in 2008.
• John Axford is awesome and has a fantastic mustache and a 94-97 MPH fastball.
From Bryz, Owner-Operator of Off the Mark
• If you are communicating online or via text about Francisco Liriano during the game, you must call him FranKKKKie (one K for every strikeout he has recorded. If he has none, then default to Liriano). Bonus points if you do this verbally and/or can include backwards Ks.
• Prince Fielder may be a vegetarian now, but Delmon Young has been far more successful in losing weight.
• Insiders claim that Carl Pavano and John Axford have a $500 wager on who will have the better mustache by the end of the season.
From My G, Dan Lurie, Front Man of The Grapefruit League
• There’s the coming-of-age story of Delmon Young who is cooking right now (maybe because he can finally be confident that he’ll be in the lineup almost every day). Dude has been notching some clutch hits lately and seems to have cut down a bit on his wild free-swinging. He’s also much more svelte, as we’ve discussed during past viewings. [This is true. We’ve talked about this. Dan Lurie is absolutely not lying. – Cistulli]
• As for prospects, Danny Valencia has been up for a couple weeks and started 3B again Tuesday night, after Gardy got bold the past few days and had Cuddyer starting over there.
• Also, please note this ridiculous Punto t-shirt.
A Tweet from Dayn Perry
In the event that you haven’t seen the face part of John Axford yet, this tweet from Dayn Perry will give you an idea of what to expect:
John Axford looks like he should be in a Victorian stage play tying a chaste maiden to the railroad tracks.
If I Had My Druthers
• Manny Parra would throw off the burdensome yoke of Fortune. I mean, it’s a seriously heavy yoke that probably hurts him alot.