The Brewers 3-4 record leaves them at 26-31 for the season. Considering what my expectations were prior to the season, they are probably a little better than I would have predicted. This week turned out pretty much where I thought it would, but leaves me vaguely disappointed. Probably losing two of three to the Cards has that effect.
The week saw three new relievers join the bullpen: Will Smith returned, the Brewers claimed Neil Ramirez from the Cubs, and they called up Jacob Barnes. Domingo Santana returned from the DL. The 25 man roster remains in a state of flux. Gone are Colin Walsh, DFA'd and re-claimed by the Oakland Athletics; David Goforth, continuing his shuttle back and forth between the big club and Colorado Springs; and Michael Blazek, on the disabled list with reportedly minor elbow issues. Keon Broxton went back to the Springs with Sunday healthy.
BEST PITCHING STORY
Best might not be the 'best' word here. The Brewers were 3-2 when Wily Peralta didn't start. They were 0-2 when he did, losing to St. Louis 10-3 and Philadelphia 8-1. Not a lot of run support, but it didn't matter much.
Wily worked 9.1 innings, allowing 16 hits and 4 walks. That's a WHIP of 2.14, for those keeping score at home. He only struck out 4, and the opponents hit .400 against him. Absolutely total disaster was averted by only allowing one homerun. I'm not seeing the improvement that the Brewers have been hoping for. He still cannot locate pitches, whether they are fastballs or sliders. Against the Cards, the first four players had hits and it was 2-0 before the fans even had a chance to get a second beer. Against the Phils, he gave up an unearned run - when his pick-off attempt in the first inning was so bad that Chris Carter couldn't even try and catch it, allowing Odubel Herrera to move all the way to third. I could go on...and on...and on...but you get the gist. I wonder if the players have the same feeling of hopelessness starting games when Wily pitches that I do.
Honorable Mention: Congrats to Jacob Barnes. The 26-year-old made his major league debut, appearing twice while allowing one hit with two strikeouts in two innings of work. He has a nice fastball and has shown a sharp slider. He kind of reminds me of Jim Henderson.
BEST HITTING STORY
Jonathan Lucroy continues to work on his trade value. He hit .500 for the week with a double, a triple, and a homer. His defensive work has been very good, too, although he hasn't been able to coax any more out of Peralta than Martin Maldonado. The Brewers won't be very good if he does actually get dealt.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Villar is playing with a great deal of confidence right now. He hit .308 for the week and slugged .654, hitting 3 homers. His defense was fine. Given good health, he could put up one of the best offensive season for a shortstop since, oh, I don't know, maybe Robin Yount. A great find by David Stearns.
The bullpen is shaping up to be a strength for the rest of this season. When Corey Knebel returns, probably in a week or so, and Michael Blazek returns from the DL - probably in about two weeks - there won't be any mop-up arms out there. All bullpen members will be expected to do well, and will be used in situations where what they do matters. As the team gets closer to the trade deadline, it is possible that somebody will be dealt out of the pen. Will Smith comes to mind first, with his lights-out lefty stuff. I guess that's OK...but it would be fun to continue to compete in the second half with a really strong group.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Kyle told us about the untimely deaths of two Brewer draft picks from last year. Junbug11 gave us a thoughtful insight:
It’s kind of a difficult thing to talk about for a lot of people, and I know some think it’s insensitive to bring up, but it sounds like Charlie Donovan was dealing with depression and took his own life. Talking about mental health problems is taboo for some people, but situations like this remind you of how just about anyone can suffer from these types of things. Even if you’re a star athlete, you can still have problems with depression.