So. this week the Brewers' starting pitching looked better, excepting Wily Peralta. The mid-week stretch of allowing 2,3,3,and 0 runs resulted in 2 wins. This was because the Brewer bats decided that would be a good stretch to stop hitting. They did plate 10 in the first of those games, but then scored 2, 0, and 1 in the last three. Probably lucky to win one of those three, actually. After an off day Monday, the Crew welcomes the Cubs for three to Miller Park, and then travel to New York City (home of effete salsa lovers) for three at Citi Field. My guess is the bats slumber for another week. I hope I'm not looking at a 16-28 record when I sit down next Sunday night.
BEST PITCHING STORY
Junior Guerra is doing exactly what was needed when he was summoned from the Springs. This week he won his two starts, going six innings in both, posting a 3.00 ERA, and finishing with a WHIP of 0.83. He struck out 10, but his ability to get outs pitching to contact is more impressive.
More importantly, he allows the pen to not have to get into games in the early innings. They need to be able to hold the leads they do get, and if the pen is in early four out of every five games, that won't happen. Encouraging starts from Zach Davies and Chase Anderson give us hope...although in all likelihood it won't so much next week.
Honorable Mention: Speaking of the bullpen, Jeremy Jeffress is quietly ten for ten in save opportunities. When Will Smith went down, the back end of the pen was suddenly a big question mark. Question answered. Jeffress saved two more this week, working three innings without allowing a run, with a hit and a walk allowed. He fanned two.
TOP HITTING STORY
Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been everything that the Brewers hoped he would be. That's a good thing, because Rymer Liriano was lost this spring to injury, Keon Broxton was bad to start the season in center (but has found his stroke after being sent down), and Ramon Flores remains below average. Significantly. Alex Presley has been good, too, but not as consistently good as Kirk.
Nieuwenhuis OPS'd 1.012 over the last seven days, with a .545 on base percentage aided by 7 walks drawn. His defense in center has been solid if not spectacular. With opportunity can come success.
Honorable Mention: Domingo Santana's power production has been hurt by his shoulder injury, and his strikeouts are up. But he got on base at a .550 clip this past week. That's returning what value you can. My calls for him to go on the DL appear to have been the demented ramblings of an old man.
Can I talk about Jonathan Villar two weeks in a row? I've seen his baserunning adventures compared to Carlos Gomez, but I've already seen more questionable moves on the bases from Villar so far this season...heck, maybe this past week...than Gogo would have had in a full season. He seems to have a propensity for errors in key moments, too, and usually on very routine plays. It was extremely frustrating to see him boot a routine ground ball leading off the ninth of that 1-0 win over the Padres. Jeffress gave him another chance, and he made that one for a big double play, but it has to be driving Counsell nuts.
He's going to start until September. It would be great if he was going so well that he forces his way into the third base or second base equation, but these mistakes will be much more intolerable as the team grows into a contender.
POST OF THE WEEK
Tim Dillard hit a homer and won the game pitching this week. Huzzah! This of course engendered much conversation; youngmanblues caught the essence of all that is Tim Dillard:
if Dillard is not a future broadcaster for the Brewers,
it would represent an organizational blunder not seen since the likes of Paul Molitor and Sal Bando….