I sat down to write about the Brewers 0-7 week 9, and when I looked at the week it turns out they went 3-4! How is this possible? How can this team still lead the Cubs by a game and the Cardinals by 1½ games? Turns out, the Brewers were pretty darn close to going 6-1. That is what is so excruciating about three of the losses...the games were SO winnable.
Many things happened that will make this week memorable, even though we will perhaps try and forget it as soon as possible. Domingo Santana and Travis Shaw had grand slams. The Brewers scored two runs to tie a game late on an infield pop-up. Jimmy Nelson outdueled Clayton Kershaw in a game where Kershaw was absolutely dominant. The Brewers struck out 26 times in a game, and the Dodgers added 16 to set a National League record. And of course, the Brewers blew ninth inning leads in the last two against the Dodgers.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Brewer starting pitchers had their best week of the season, and one of the best in franchise history. (I’m not looking that up...you’ll have to trust me.) In seven starts they worked 42.2 innings (that’s over six innings per start - already a great week!). Their record was 3-1, and their line was 42.2 innings, 35 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 12 walks, and 39 strikeouts. They DID NOT ALLOW A HOMERUN! Their ERA was 1.69, and they came in with a 1.10 WHIP. How, you might ask did they only win three of the seven games? Well...
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The bullpen was bad. Not horrible, but bad. And bad in crucial spots. They made 24 appearances and worked 24.2 innings, gave up 24 hits, 19 runs (18 earned), walked 12, and fanned 22. They allowed 5 homeruns. They actually had two saves! That’s a 6.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.46. Perhaps the most telling fact about the pen is that every single one of the eight that pitched gave up at least one run. Nobody had a clean week. An oddity that I noticed...Neftali Feliz worked three innings and only allowed one hit - good, good! - but that hit was a game losing homer (natch); the weird thing was that he didn’t strike out one batter. I mean, in this era when strikeouts are a dime a dozen, and you throw 98 mph fastballs, how could you NOT have a K?
TOP HITTING STORY: As mentioned, Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana each had a grannie this week. Shaw ended up with a line of .357/.438/ .571 for an OPS of 1.009. Travis had the one homer and 3 doubles, driving in six. Santana came in at .308/.379/.731 , OPS of 1.110, with 2 doubles and 3 homers, driving in 7. They both struck out eight times, which only tied them for fifth on the club for the week because...
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The Brewers struck out 94 times in 7 games. Brewer pitchers struck out 61 in those 7 games...8.7 per game; not bad! I know a strike out is often just considered another out, but when about 40% of your at bats end in strikeouts you don’t give the opposition an opportunity to, oh, I don’t know, drop a pop up or something. I offer no solutions. Only incredulity.
IMHO: Are tough losses like the last two harder on the fans or the players? I’m pretty sure that Carlos Torres feels badly after yesterday’s game, and Corey Knebel probably wanted to get out on the mound yesterday and make up for giving up the homer that spoiled Jimmy Nelson’s start Friday night, but by and large the players get to go back out and play right away this afternoon. They by and large put in a good day’s work yesterday, so they can live with themselves. Perhaps the hitters were a bit embarrassed by the 26 strikeouts Friday night, but maybe not. While Kershaw was retiring 20 straight the hitters looked like me as a ten year old little leaguer batting against the rather large 12 year olds...I had no chance. Neither did the Brewers. Kershaw’s reaction when Santana connected for his seventh inning homer was classic. He couldn’t believe it...me neither, for that matter.
Shake it off, boys! Win one today - since it’s my first game at Miller Park this year.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Recency bias: many were rather upset after Saturday’s game (including yours truly, and I didn’t even watch the game!) and were listing moves needed to right the ship right now. I thought stigmo helped put things in perspective nicely:
While I'm as angry as anybody about the bullpen meltdowns the last week and a half
Playing to win now, not in five years through the 90s is why the 2002 Brewers won 56 games.
This week is crap. But I’m more positive on the direction of the franchise than I was two months ago. By a lot.
Posted by stigmo on Jun 3, 2017 | 11:41 PM
Another week without an off day for the Brewers. The bullpen wasn’t over-worked last week, so I don’t anticipate any changes because of fatigue...but maybe performance might prompt a move. Michael Blazek has been throwing well in AAA, although he is no longer on the 40 man roster. And Matt Garza has a chest contusion after his collision at first base yesterday, so an emergency starter might be needed - that decision can wait, of course.
The Brewers finish up with the Dodgers today, and then continue with this part of the schedule that sees them facing the NL West with four at Miller Park against the Giants and three in Arizona against the D-Backs. Or Slytherin, as they deserve to be called.