CHICAGO -- The Brewers are proving this season that you don't have to blow away hitters to strike them out at a record rate.Including 15 more in Monday's wild 15-4 win over the Cubs, Milwaukee pitchers have a Major League-leading 1,104 strikeouts, even though they are tied for baseball's fewest games played. At their current pace, the Brewers would finish the season with 1,408 strikeouts, a franchise record by far -- the 2010 Brewers struck out 1,258 -- and more than a record set by Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and the Cubs, who struck out 1,404 opposing batters in 2003. "It's always good, but it's not like strikeouts are the key thing you try to do," said Yovani Gallardo, who is on track for his fourth consecutive 200-strikeout season. "It just shows you the kind of talent we have here, that we are able to get the strikeout when we need to. The guys we have here have command of three or four pitches, and we throw strikes. That's why we have those strikeouts." Brewers pitchers have combined to reach double-digit whiffs in seven straight games since Aug. 19, when Randy Wolf was knocked around by the Phillies in his final start. That's the longest streak in Major League history since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "I know we've got some big strikeout numbers," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Every day, I look up there and I'll glance around the ballpark and see those blue K's up there and I'm like, 'Man, that's a lot.' ... It's amazing when you look up there every night, and you think it would be because we're throwing 95-98 [mph]." But John Axford, Mark Rogers and occasionally Francisco Rodriguez aside, they are not. Mike Fiers, for example, has 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings with a fastball averaging 88 mph.
Roenicke seeking more from Gomez with the bat
CHICAGO -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the jury is still out on whether Carlos Gomez can be the team's everyday center fielder next season.The club has increased Gomez's playing time since Corey Hart moved to first base and Norichika Aoki began starting regularly in right field. No one questioned Gomez's superior defense, but club officials were curious to see whether he could consistently produce at the plate, something Gomez struggled to do as a younger player with the Mets and Twins. "The at-bats, he'll have a real good game, and then all of a sudden, the next day it will be just so-so," Roenicke said. "We're wanting him to string together a lot of them. "Defensively, I know he dropped the one ball [in Tuesday's loss to the Pirates], but we know he's going to play good all the time. Baserunning, he's really good stealing bases. But the offensive part is the part we've always wanted him to be more consistent, and that's what we still would like to see, a little more consistency." Gomez had one of those good moments on Sunday, when he hit a first-pitch curveball from Pirates starter Erik Bedard for a three-run home run. But in his next at-bat, he hit a first-pitch popout to center field. "If you're going to swing at that first pitch, you need to square it up a lot," Roenicke said. "'Gomey' can do those things, which is what excites you about what he could go if he gets consistent." Entering Monday's game against the Cubs, Gomez was hitting .233 in his starts with a .282 on-base percentage. Roenicke noted that Gomez is still only 26. "You can learn a lot after 26 years old," Roenicke said. "I don't know what's going to happen with him. We all like him. Regardless of whether he's starting for us or platooning, we like him a lot."
Club will wait to make September callups
CHICAGO -- With perhaps one pitching exception, the Brewers plan to wait until after Triple-A Nashville's season finale on Labor Day to make their September callups.The exception would probably be a bullpen arm, manager Ron Roenicke said. Discussions among Roenicke, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash began before the Brewers left for this road trip and will continue this week in Chicago, where Melvin and Ash joined the traveling party on Monday. The aim of callups will be different in Roencike's second season. They were very limited last year, with the Brewers running away with the National League Central. "Last year was strictly to help us win," Roenicke said. "We didn't want to have a lot of guys up there, just because we liked the atmosphere and how it was going. This year, some of it may be to reward somebody, some of it may be to see a guy, to see if he's in the plans for next year, and with the pitching, we'll need a couple of starters." The starters would join the rotation later in September if incumbents like Mark Rogers, Mike Fiers or Marco Estrada reach innings limits.
Agent Lou Nero of Octagon Baseball reported via Twitter on Monday that Brewers prospect Khris Davis has been invited to the Arizona Fall League. Davis, 25, has shot up the organizational ladder this season, batting .339 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in his first 76 games at three Minor League affiliates. Ash spent last week visiting Double-A Huntsville, where first baseman Hunter Morris is finishing a tremendous season that will probably net him organizational player of the year honors, and Triple-A Nashville. At Nashville, outfielder Caleb Gindl on Monday was named the Pacific Coast League's player of the week after going 16-for-30 with 10 RBIs in seven games. Eight of his 16 hits went for extra bases. Right-hander Tim Dillard, who made 34 appearances in the Majors this season, was demoted from Nashville to Huntsville on Monday to make room for Mike McClendon's arrival. The Brewers outrighted McClendon to the Minors on Friday and he was active beginning Monday night.