The rampant optimism of last week was replaced by pervasive disillusion this week, as the Milwaukee Nine dropped six of seven games, and saw their 5½ game lead over the Cubs fall to just one measly game. The Brewers were bad, Pennsylvania teams were good, and the NL Central standings now look like something from the first week of the season, except for the Reds, who are still bad.
The Brewers were outscored 34-21 in their seven games, and their lone win became an angst-ridden affair when the Crew blew an 8-1 lead in the seventh and needed a ninth inning RBI single from Domingo Santana to squeak out a 9-8 win. That’s only 3 runs scored per game, which isn’t good - especially when 9 of the runs came in one game. But eight of the regular rotation players hit over .300 on the week...just mostly with nobody in scoring position.
TOP HITTING STORY: Milwaukee has played some good baseball this season without Ryan Braun in the line-up, but not so much this week. Of course, they didn’t play particularly well with him in there early in the week, either. But they wouldn’t have won any games if he hadn’t returned to the field Saturday, and for the week he had an OPS of 1.099, slashing .375/.444/.625.
Honorable Mention: Travis Shaw had another steady week, but I’ll go with Maverick Phillips here. He only hit .231, but all 3 of his hits (in 13 at-bats) were for extra bases, with a double and 2 homers. He’s showing signs of not being over-matched, and with Keon Broxton back in Colorado Springs trying to find his stroke, he will have ample opportunity to show his stuff.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Oh my. The bullpen was not good this week. In 21.1 innings they allowed 35 hits and walked 8 for a WHIP of 2.02. All 20 runs were earned, so the ERA was, er, 8.44. Yeah, the hitting was bad with RISP, but this is really, really bad. Michael Blazek didn’t give up any runs! But he only pitched once, as Rob Scahill, Tyler Webb and Oliver Drake were paraded out there repeatedly.
Honorable Mention: Zach Davies had a nice start - seven shutout innings, although he pitched in trouble for most of the game. The Brewers lost a 2-1 lea in the ninth on a blown save for Corey Knebel, and lost the game in the tenth.
IMHO: This is the time of the season when we are used to watching for any and all of the deals and trades, especially for Milwaukee. But this season is different as the Brewers’ better-than-expected play has made deciding what to do at the trade deadline difficult for GM David Stearns and owner Mark Attanasio. There is even reported “difference of opinion” between the two over how aggressively the Brewers should be pursuing players this season, using some of their prospect capital to improve the pitching staff.
This past week complicates matters. It would behoove the team to stick more to the long term rather than short. But the long term can mean that a pitcher like Sonny Gray could improve the rotation for several seasons. But a pitcher like Justin Verlander would not, nor would he make the team appreciably better this season.
I don’t think Stearns will be railroaded into any deals that he thinks are bad for the long-term future of the franchise. No deal guarantees success - you don’t always get C.C. Sabathia.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Speaking of Gray and Verlander, icelandreliant got it right in his comment on the Verlander rumors:
All of this is stressing me out
I could understand Sonny Gray or someone similar for the future as much as this year, but I just am not excited about older expensive pitchers for whom we give up prospects and then said pitchers get hurt a few months later or something.
Posted by icelandreliant on Jul 20, 2017 | 4:43 pm
A tough week ahead. After today’s series finale in Philly, the Brewers get a day off (whew) and then head to DC, where the Nationals are playing well and Bryce Harper is being Ruthian (not to be confused with Latin Babe Ruthian). Then home for a much anticipated weekend series at Miller Park with the Cubs. Next week’s Sundries might have an even more somber tone.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference