MILWAUKEE -- From former teammates to rivals who are competing for a spot in the World Series.
Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum and Cardinals lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski previously were with the Blue Jays.
Marcum, who will start Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Monday, sees a bright future for Rzepczynski in St. Louis.
"He's good. He's real good," Marcum said. "I was surprised that Toronto traded him. I saw him mostly as a starter in Toronto. He was in the bullpen a little bit last season."
The Blue Jays dealt Rzepczynski to St. Louis as part of the Colby Rasmus trade on July 27.
The lefty made 23 total starts in Toronto in 2009-10.
Out of the bullpen, in 28 appearances since joining the Cardinals, he struck out 28 while walking 11 in 22 2/3 innings.
Marcum was with Toronto from 2005-10, before he was sent to the Brewers last December.
"He's a guy who is going to command the strike zone," Marcum said of Rzepczynski. "He's got a really good, late, heavy sinker. He's got a really good slider, too. But that sinker, I know he learned that from Scott Downs last year, using that sinker to get quick outs.
"He's kind of taken that next step, and in my opinion, he's going to be one of the best left-handed relievers in the game."
Brewers stand pat with roster for NLCS
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers passed on an opportunity to tweak their postseason roster between rounds, opting instead to stick with an 11-man pitching staff and rookie Taylor Green in the final bench slot.Club officials met Saturday to discuss the merits of Green, a left-handed-hitting third baseman, vs. Josh Wilson, a right-handed hitter who can play all over the infield and outfield. St. Louis has two left-handed relievers in Mark Rzepczynski and Arthur Rhodes. Just like the National League Division Series, Wilson, pitcher Tim Dillard and catcher Martin Maldonado will travel with the Brewers and participate in batting practice as non-roster players. Major League rules allow for in-series substitutions in the event of injuries. "We just felt like it probably was going to come up more often that we would need the left-handed bat," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Today won't [because lefty Jaime Garcia started for the Cardinals and the Brewers stacked the lineup with righty bats], but normally we would have both [Carlos] Gomez and Casey [McGehee] on the bench, and we like both of them." For the second straight round, the opponent dictated that Wilson watch. Had the Braves won the NL Wild Card and not the Cardinals, the Brewers and Braves would have matched up in the NLDS, and Wilson would have made the cut as an answer to Atlanta's slew of left-handed relievers.
Likewise, had the Phillies defeated the Cardinals in Game 5 of the other NLDS on Friday, Wilson may have won the final roster spot because Philadelphia has two lefty starters.To prepare for that scenario, the Brewers sent Wilson to Maryvale Baseball Park in Arizona last week to get at-bats in instructional league games. Milwakee was already in Phoenix for Games 3 and 4 of the NLDS. The NL Championship Series roster looks like this: Pitchers: Starters -- in this order for the NLCS -- Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf; and relievers John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe, Marco Estrada and Chris Narveson. Catchers: Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras. Infielders: First baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, and Craig Counsell, Green, Jerry Hairston Jr. and McGehee. Outfielders: Left fielder Ryan Braun, center fielder Nyjer Morgan and right fielder Corey Hart; plus Gomez and Mark Kotsay.
MLB keeps Miller Park roof open for Game 1
MILWAUKEE -- Folks around town were marveling at the sun and warmth of the Indian summer Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. Major League Baseball essentially determined there was no reason to exclude that pleasant weather from the National League Championship Series opener.
In the postseason, MLB determines whether a retractable roof is open. Whether the one at Miller Park would be open Sunday was a question, since roofs stayed closed in Milwaukee and at Phoenix's Chase Field for all five games of the NL Division Series.
But MLB senior vice president of standards and on-field operations Joe Garagiola Jr. stood behind home plate and basked in the warmth. There was no way MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre nor Garagiola, who consults with Torre, wanted to deprive the fans of a chance to do the same. Temperature at first pitch was 76 degrees.
The question came because on Friday, yet another nice day in Milwaukee, MLB elected to keep the roof closed for Game 5 of the NLDS.
"What happened the other night was we had played the first four games of the series with the roof closed in both cities," Garagiola said. "So we felt for consistency sake, you don't want to suddenly change the whole atmosphere in Game 5.
"In fact, in that series, the second game in Arizona was a beautiful night, but Joe Torre, who was out there, said, 'You know what? We played the first two in Milwaukee with the roof closed, we played last night here with the roof closed, we're going to maintain the same conditions.' But obviously, this is a new series, so it's a different situation. The roof will be open.
"It would be a complete shame to close the roof."
Home teams make the decision on retractable roofs during the regular season. During the postseason, MLB makes the decision but does consult both teams.
When MLB consulted Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, he agreed that the roof should be open.
"It does seem like a beautiful day, and you have to take advantage of the weather," Mozeliak said.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is known for preferring the roof to be closed, but a lot of that is practical because of how sunlight can affect play at times.
"I think with the way the day is today and the start time, I don't think it will make that much difference," Roenicke said. "It's such a nice day today and not much wind, I don't think it's any different.
"[There will be some] shadows maybe the first couple of innings deep in left field -- there will be some sun there. But today it's going to be the sun coming through the panels from the south."
The issue is the unusual start time, just after 3 p.m. CT. But as far as Roenicke is concerned, it's a good problem to have.
"Until you get in the postseason, you don't have these weird start times," he said. "The game times that we usually play here -- [1 p.m., 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.] -- it's not an issue. When we have that roof partially closed so they don't have shadows between home plate and the pitcher, I think it plays great.
"So it's just postseason. And so hopefully we're in this for a long time in postseason, and maybe they can do something then."
The New York Post asked Brewers slugger Ryan Braun about free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes on Saturday, and Braun responded with an interesting idea: Milwaukee should go after him if it decides, as expected, to decline Yuniesky Betancourt's option.
"[Reyes] is dynamic, man -- he is one of the most exciting players in the game," Braun told the Post. "He plays with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion, and I enjoy watching him play. He's one of my favorite players to watch. Whenever their games are on, I love watching him, man. He always plays the game the right way. He always plays hard. He runs everything out."
Reyes edged Braun in the race for the National League batting title by bunting for a hit in the first inning of the season finale, then exiting the game. Braun then went 0-for-4 later in the day.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.