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Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Milwaukee Brewers

We exchanged a Q&A with the folks over at Brew Crew Ball over the weekend, so you can find our answer here. Enjoy!

DRB: Do you guys miss Escobar's defense at SS? What are the feeling around the Grienke trade so far?

BCB: Defense aside, at the moment even Alcides Escobar's bat would be an improvement over Yuniesky Betancourt. Every aspect of Betancourt's game has been poor this season and it's hard to believe the Brewers will continue to stick with him much longer while they remain in contention. I have a running bet with one of my contributors that he'll be DFA'd by July 15. Once he's gone, I'll be surprised if he ever surfaces in the majors again.

With that said, I think most of my readers would make the Greinke trade again given the opportunity. Greinke's numbers to date haven't been what many of us were hoping for, but he's still a potentially elite pitcher and his acquisition shored up the team's largest weakness.

DRB: Do you expect the Brewers to make a run at Prince Fielder at all? And if not, given the Brewers are in strong contention, does likely losing Fielder for comp picks lessen the sting any?

BCB: I think the Brewers will make Fielder an offer this winter but I think they'd be as surprised as anyone if he accepts it. The team can probably afford to offer him something in the neighborhood of 5/$100 million with vesting or club options, but the consensus seems to be that he'll make more elsewhere. And we've all more or less understood that this day was coming for years now, so there hasn't really been much hostility towards Fielder for going this route. 

Getting the comp picks for Fielder this winter will be nice but they're really small consolation. In the meantime the Brewers will probably look for a veteran to compete with Mat Gamel for the job at first next spring. 

DRB: Is there any under-the-radar Brewer that we should want for this series?

BCB: I'm not sure the Brewers really have any "under-the-radar" contributors at this point. When you look at the roster you more or less see what you get: Most of the team's offensive contributions come from its stars (Weeks, Braun and Fielder), the rotation has been solid but relatively well-publicized, and the bullpen remains a work in progress but is relatively solid at the back end with LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe and John Axford

DRB: So what pitcher are we going to be facing Wednesday? It's listed at TBA as far as I can tell.

BCB: Shaun Marcum's spot in the rotation is due up on Wednesday, but he left Friday's start early with a hip flexor strain and the team doesn't appear to have made a decision on what to do if he can't pitch. X-rays showed no signs of trouble, so it's possible he'll be good to go. If he can't make it then Marco Estrada will probably take the hill: He pitched four innings in relief of Marcum on Friday and was the fifth starter while Zack Greinke was on the shelf in April. Mark DiFelice is probably the other starting option on the current roster, but he pitched in relief on Sunday and likely wouldn't be able to pitch five innings. Amaury Rivas is the only pitcher in the minors that could be considered for a callup.

DRB: Talk us through the nuances of the sausage race. Who should we root for?

BCB: The Sausage Race is, in my admittedly biased opinion, a strong candidate for the best between-innings promotion in all of baseball. It started off as a throwaway video screen interlude but has gone on to become one of the most recognizable events in a game at Miller Park. I'm a big fan of the Chorizo personally, but as long as you're not rooting for the Hot Dog I think we can still be friends.