Morning Juice: Are the Brewers headed for another fall?

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together for some unsettling post-Labor Day performances by the Milwaukee Brewers, who are trying to top the angst distilling for the Chicago Cubs right now, but without the use of MRI tubes. Today's Roll Call starts at Miller Park, where the NL wild-card leaders dropped their fourth straight game with a series opener to the San Diego Padres, who in July were nearly demoted to the Mexican League.

Game of the Day: Padres 5, Brewers 2

Lagerheads: A collapse is something you do with an empty beer can by smashing it against your forehead. A collapse is blowing an 8 1/2-game lead over five weeks in late June and July. What the Brewers are doing now — starting September 0-4 and failing to put away wild-card pursuers or catch the first-place Cubs — that's nothing. Yet. But we're watching.

CC Money Factory: Brewers ownership is hinting that it will try to keep CC Sabathia, who could earn -—who knows? — $200 million in free agency this winter. Miller just finished a run of 22 sellouts, and is selling seats at 90-percent capacity, since Sabathia arrived. This would be putting the cart before the biggest horse ever if the Crew somehow misses the playoffs after mortgaging some of its future on CC.

Hey, didn't you used to be Shawn Estes?: What part of "try throwing it left-handed, you'll make a million bucks" didn't you understand, Little Johnny? The Brewers couldn't do anything with Estes, who's Steve Howe (lots of rebounds) without the cocaine addiction. And death. OK, maybe he's just Shawn Estes.

Flying Kouzmanoff Brother: Estes called Kevin Kouz "Mike Schmidt" for his Hall-of-Fame game in the field, which included this stab to rob JJ Hardy, whom I'll call "Cal Ripken."

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (hey, other people played, too):

Reds 8, Pirates 6: It comes down to this: Who wants last place more? Are you man enough, Tom Gorzelanny? You, Craig Hansen? T.J. Beam? Who wants to fail the most? Come on guys! Get out there and give me nothing!

Blue Jays 9, Twins 0: So, which opponents have kept the Jays, acclaimed giant-killers, from contending for the playoffs? They are 4-11 against the Rays and 1-6 against the Indians. Here's another killer: 4-5 against the Mariners. Turn those frowns upside-down and you've got some serious Canuck playoff hopes, eh? Instead, we've got Travis Snider (talk about a Hall-of-Fame name) and the Spoilers with their rendition of Layla.

Angels 7, Tigers 1: The Gambler folds. ... The Halos alchemical integer is six. ... Despite A.J. Pierzynski being nowhere near Comerica Park, some serious shenanigans went down when Angels batter Sean Rodriguez struck out on a 4-2 pitch. No, Doug Eddings was not umpiring, either.

Braves 2, Nationals 0: Take the Warshington ball club away from an opponent in a pennant race they turn into floppy discs, all wobbly like. ... Take me where my future's lyin', James ParrSt. Elmo's Fire!

Royals 5, Athletics 4 (10 inn.); Royals 9, Athletics 6: What remained of Hurricane Gustav washed out Wednesday's game, making for this here doubleheader, but the Storm of the Moment wasn't strong enough to keep these purveyors of baseball smut off the field forever.

Rays 7, Yankees 5: This Aybar Fella is playing third base awfully well for the Rays in the stead of Longoria. Too awfully well, if you ask me.

* * *

Photo of the Day: Mano-a-Mano

Akinori Iwamura, mild-mannered second baseman from the Tampa Bay Rays, lifts teammate Carlos Pena into the air Thursday night. Iwamura says he gets his strength from the Earth's yellow sun.

* * *

Fantasy Freaks

Ervin Santana (Angels) 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 8 K, Win

Aquilino Lopez (Tigers) 4 IP, 4 H, 5 K

David DeJesus (Royals) 6-9, 3 R

Snider (Jays) 3-3 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

Jesse Litsch (Jays) 9 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, Win

Dioner Navarro (Rays) 4-5, R

Scott Kazmir (Rays) 6 IP, H!, 5 BB, 7 K, Win

Parr (Naughty, Naughty) 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K, Win

Estes (Podz) 6 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, K, Win

* * *

Fantasy Flakes

Ken E. Rogers (Tigres) 2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, Loss

Darrell Rasner (Yanks) 1 1/3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K, Loss

Jason Hammel (Rays) 2/3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, BB, 2 K

* * *

Words of Mouth

"It seemed like it took forever." — Twins outfielder Denard Span, on his team's long and winding road trip

What to Read Next