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Sunday Sundries - Spring Training Finale

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A final look back at the race for the Cactus Cup

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers’ series sweep of the Chicago White Sox in two exhibitions at Miller Park this weekend left the Crew with an 17-16-1 record. This left them fourth in the Cactus Cup standings, just 2 games behind the champion LA Angels of California...wait, the California Angels of Anaheim...awwww, forget it. (BTW, the Angels won the cup by tying the Dodgers at 4 in the top of the 9th; when the Dodgers failed to score in the bottom half, the game was called a tie, giving the Angels a 12 game final margin over Seattle. A loss would have given the cup to the M’s.) (BTW - 2, it will be very hard for any of us BCB contributors to top Jaymes’ recap of Friday’s win over the Chi Sox. I’m hoping Jayme’s fine artwork becomes a staple of his recaps.)

TOP HITTING STORY: The hitters that the Brewers kept on their opening day roster combined for 640 at bats and 727 plate appearances this spring, giving us basically a one player full season’s worth of stats. That hypothetical player had a good year. He collected 187 hits, including 43 doubles, 4 triples, and 36 homers. He scored 117 times and drove in 111. He walked 67 times while striking out 163. He stole 18 bases in 28 attempts. His slash line was very good - .292/.349/.541; OPS was .890. He would probably have been an All Star!

Some interesting numbers from this spring: Hernan Perez walked once, which is once more than Manny Pina. Jonathan Villar and Keon Broxton combined to steal 3 bases in 11 attempts. That is a 21% success rate...I have no words. Ryan Braun slugged .707 in his limited action.

TOP PITCHING STORY: The pitchers that make up the Brewers’ starting rotation combined to start 24 games, but this being spring training and all that only amounts to 84.2 innings pitched. They allowed 76 hits and walked 26 for a WHIP of 1.20; their ERA was 4.25. They fanned 63, which is a bit low but OK. They gave up 14 homers, which is not OK.

The bullpen...ah, the bullpen. The pitchers that the Brewers kept (pending an addition before tomorrow) made 71 appearances, spanning 77.1 innings. Those are numbers you might see from a workhorse 7th or 8th inning reliever. But how he got that many appearances and innings is a mystery; he gave up 95 hits and walked 30 for a WHIP of 1.62. His 52 earned runs allowed brought in a 6.05 ERA. He struck out 75 (not bad) and allowed 9 homers; meh. Granted, two pitchers greatly skewed those totals (I’m lookin’ at you, Tommy Milone and Jacob Barnes...a combined WHIP of 2.26 and ERA of 10.56 kinda makes Tyler Cravy’s rant look justified). The possible addition of Jared Hughes (as reported by Kyle) certainly won’t improve those numbers - he allowed 16 hits and 4 walks in 9.1 innings for a WHIP of 2.14 and an ERA of 11.57. Maybe he’ll be this season’s Carlos Torres.

My quick takes on oddities in the stats of the starters: Wily Peralta’s WHIP in rather limited action was 0.947! Jimmy Nelson walked only 2 batters in 17.2 innings of work, and allowed only 12 hits - his WHIP was just 0.792. However, Zach Davies walked 7 in his 18 innings (3.5 per 9 vs. his number of 2.09 per 9 last season). Small sample size, I know.

My biggest concerns, though, comprise the last two starts by Junior Guerra. He ended the spring with only 9 strikeouts in his 17.1 innings, and finished up with 6 homers allowed. Kyle assures me that there is no cause for concern...but I’m concerned. Keeping my fingers crossed for Monday’s opener.

IMHO: We polled youz guyz and galz for your predictions for the season; there was a pretty good range of picks from abysmal to very good; I picked 81-81 while old friend Noah Jarosh sees a slight dip from last yea’rs squad with the Brewers coming in at 72 wins.

All in all, 76% of voters see the Brewers coming in with fewer than 81 wins. It would appear that we aren’t sold on contending this season...but on the other hand, you’re saying there’s a chance!

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: The Brewers’ finalized their rotation over the weekend, and Matt Garza was not in it - to the surprise of many. A ten day disabled list assignment leaves him off the opening roster (again), and Kyle was skeptical of the reasons given. Sandy Tolan’s response questioned just how that could work:

“So Kyle by "conveniently timed and seemingly out-of-nowhere"

are you suggesting that the Brewers cooked up Garza’s "injury" to buy time? I agree that the timing is odd, and I do recall WCW’s phantom injury of a few years ago, but by cooking this the Brewers would have to not only falsify an injury report, they would also have to get Garza’s buy-in and possibly even the fraudulent participation of their medical staff. That’s a lot of collusion. Not saying it’s impossible, but I’m trying to imagine how it would have gone down. I guess they could have come to Garza and said:

"Well we’ve decided we either have to release you or put you on the DL. Which do you want?"

Long pause, look of disbelief, checks his urge to start spitting out "this is bullshit" and other random swearing. Then… "well, last time out I did have a tinge in my…groin?"

"Yes, groin injury, we thought we noticed that, you’re on the 10-day DL."

Think something like that happened? It could explain how emotional he was. Being involved like that.

Still, I kind of think it didn’t happen that way.

Posted by SANDYTOLAN on March 31, 2017 “

Next week, the first of 40 or so weekly Sunday Sundries during the regular season. Speaking from experience, I’ll be polishing off the last one (except for post season!) in the blink of an eye.

Go Brewers!