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Sunday Sundries: Milwaukee Brewers Week 8 In Review

Week 7 was more fun...

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers
Chase the Ace
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Brewers followed up a 5-1 week seven with a 1-5 week eight. Ouch. They didn’t pitch particularly well (there is a major exception to that), and didn’t hit well at all. They were outscored 34-21 for the week, slashing .210/.277/.328 as a team for an OPS of .605. Team slumps happen, so meh. The pitching line of an ERA of 4.91, WHIP of 1.30 isn’t particularly horrible, but they allowed 13 homers while hitting only 5. Heck, they only had 8 doubles at the plate. These are not the numbers of success, Brewers!

And yet...they end the week where they started. First place in the NL Central, but with a reduced lead of a half game over the now second-place Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers will not win with pitching, yesterday’s game notwithstanding. If they need to rely on their starters getting into the eighth with a no-hitter, the remainder of the season will be a bit of a trial. We knew that, but last week really underscored the state of this Brewer team.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

TOP HITTING STORY: In a week of so little hitting, let’s go with a guy that was clutch. Jett Bandy only put up .235/.278/.471 numbers for an OPS of .749, but on Friday night his seventh inning homer brought the Brewers back into a 1-1 tie, and broke a string of 18 scoreless innings for the Crew. Jett followed that up on Saturday with a huge bases clearing double off of Zack Greinke, giving the Brewers a 3-0 lead that they wouldn’t surrender. Ryan Braun is on the DL (again), Eric Thames is struggling at the plate and battling leg issues, and Travis Shaw struck out 9 times this week, including a Golden Sombrero 4 on Tuesday. Somebody has to drive in runs to win. Of course, somebody has to get on base first.

Honorable Mention: Jesus Aguilar still put up Jesus-like numbers in his limited time. Only nine at bats, but three hits including a double and homer. Aguilar has produced everything that the Brewers could have hoped for this season.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers
Chase gets a double exposure!
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

TOP PITCHING STORY: Chase Anderson had a bad start this week. And a very good one. His over-all line of 4.91 ERA and 1.27 WHIP is pretty much what the team put up. He gave up 3 homers and walked 6 in his 11 innings. Not so hot. But oh, that second start. Facing Arizona ace Zack Greinke, who retired the first nine he faced with a mixture of junk (Greinke never topped 92 mph on a pitch that I could tell, even with the speedier radar gun), but Anderson more than matched him. He walked the first two he faced (shudder) but showed what his stuff was on this day by fanning Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb, on his way to retiring ten straight. In his seven plus innings he gave up just a groundball single up the middle, with the three walks and eleven strikeouts. It was a start that the Brewers sorely, desperately needed. Chase consistently hit 95-96 mph on his fastball, even at the end.

Honorable Mention: You know what? Nobody else distinguished themselves. I’m penalizing the team by giving nobody else a mention (even though it was the hitting that was mostly at fault). I hope this negative strategy will impel and inspire the team to great heights in the coming week.

IMHO: I’m going totally observational here. It looked like the Brewers reverted back into an old Brewer habit this week - taking strikes and swinging at balls. Maybe that’s what a slump is. But rather than looking for a certain pitch in the zone to drive, it seemed like too often they were taking the first pitch no matter what, and ended up watching a fastball right down the middle for strike one. Then they swung at a slider off the plate for strike two. Down 0-2 in the count is not a good plan for successful batsmanship, my friends!

How does one correct that? Fortunately, that’s Darnell Coles’ department. But aggressiveness on pitches in the zone would be a good place to start.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Having put Weathergate at Wrigley behind them, the Brewers managed to play all of their games this week despite consistent rain. They even got to play yesterday with the roof open!

Again, a shift in approach here. This week we have been running a “Why I’m A Fan of the Brewers” theme, both in the main content and the Fanposts section. Kyle Lesniewski and I wrote our stories, and Fanposts has entries from icelandreliant and diehardbrewer. The stories are fun, and parts of all of them make you nod in agreement, and much of the rest brings a smile. Give ‘em a read, and contribute your slant on the subject. I look forward to reading them!

The Brewers conclude their four game set at Miller Park today against the Diamondbacks, then head out to New York for four against the Mets. Back to Miller Park for a weekend set against the Dodgers...which will include a Sunday afternoon game that will be my first attended this year. Right now, the forecast is for sunny to partly cloudy and 65. I’ll take it!

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference