The Brewers winning their last two games, with their solid closer looking very ordinary over his last three outings (blowing three saves, but getting two wins due to huge tenth inning homers) was a nice end to a promising season. I don’t know that we are promised much more than five extra wins next year, but I always say promise a little and deliver a lot.
TOP HITTING STORY: Jonathon Villar slumped down the stretch. He ran out of gas. He played way more games than he was used to (thanks, Rock). But you know what? I have a sneaking suspicion that he played every dang day growing up, and there wasn’t enough baseball in the world for JV. So for his last week of the season, he slashed .417/.481/.917; OPS’d 1.400. He had three doubles and three homers for the week, and drove in seven.
Villar’s big week took him to the cusp of baseball semi-immortality (the 20 homer, 60 steal club - President, Ricky Henderson), but he couldn’t get that last homer in Coors Field. He was a big factor in the Brewers final two wins, and was THE factor in their win in Texas. Looking forward to next year!
Honorable Mention: Chris Carter wasn’t quite as hot as Villar, but his week did etch his name permanently in the baseball record books. He will forever be known as the NL co-leader in home runs for 2016 (41, tied with Nolan Arenado of Colorado). His slash on the week was .272/.385/.727, an OPS of 1.11 - if only he could do that for a full season. And his three homers were just enough. The Big Sleep delivered.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Nobody flew under the radar more than Rob Scahill, the mid-season acquisition from the Pittsburgh organization. Over the last week he worked in half of the Brewers’ games, going four scoreless innings with three hits allowed and no walks. A 0.75 WHIP is just fine, thanks, and he sets himself up for a serious look as a seventh inning guy next season.
Honorable Mention: Wily Peralta almost miraculously redeemed his season. His one start this week was six innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits while walking none. His season ERA ended up at 4.86. Hoodathunk?
IMHO: I alluded to it earlier, but I’m trying to temper my expectations for next year. It is entirely possible that this team over achieved in the first year of the rebuild, and could actually have a worse record next year. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it surely isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
My expectation is for about 78 wins. I enjoyed this season so much that I don’t want to be disappointed if they don’t contend next year. Again, that realm of possibility thing - they could end up contending - but that will be an unexpected pleasure.
What I really want to see is Lewis Brinson, Corey Ray, and Isan Diaz (yes, Isan Diaz) performing so well that the Brewers are forced to make room for them. By sending a few more veterans off for even MORE prospects.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Conversation during the last Game Thread meandered (as usual), but brewcrewbetty finished things off with one near and dear to my heart:
My sister and I went to Friday's at Miller Park to see the last game of the season
I’ve been there for corporate events in the winter and find an empty Miller Park eerie. But we sat at the bar next to a little old lady rather bizarrely dressed in a fancy suit who struck up a conversation with us when she overheard my sister say, ’Yuck, the Cards are winning." The old lady said "I HATE those damned Cardinals."
A true Brewer fan.
She told us she was 16 when the MIlwaukee Braves won the WS and had a huge crush on Eddie Matthews.
Milwaukee is a wonderful place, despite all of it’s faults. Just like BCB members!