After coming within a whisker of a 6-1 week, the Milwaukee Brewers finish the first half (+) in the Bronx today, going after win number 50. The 5-2 week increased the Crew’s first place margin from 3 games to 4½, and most of the Brewers will get a nice mini-vacation before working to defend their first half championship once play resumes next Friday.
Milwaukee was on the offensive last week, scoring 44 times in their seven games, and 6.3 runs per game will win a high percentage of the time. They gave up 25, and a run average allowed of 3.6 is also good enough. As a team, they slashed .275/.345/.466 for an OPS of .811 - those are good numbers, but not overwhelming. They were efficient in scoring and put their hits together in bunches to produce several big innings. The Brewers were at the plate in 60 innings; in six of those innings, they scored 28 of their runs. That’s 62% of their runs in 10% of their innings. I have no idea what the average is for a baseball team, but I’m guessing that’s high.
TOP HITTING STORY: Domingo Santana hit second, third, and fifth this week, and where he hits seems to have no effect on his production. His three doubles and homer, eight runs scored and seven driven in, and slash of .480/.548/.720 are big reasons for Milwaukee’s strong offensive production this week. An OPS of 1.268 will work. I don’t do top fielding stories, but Domingo’s misadventures in right in the second inning of Friday’s game would probably be the lead there, too. Seven errors in two games in New York is discouraging.
Honorable Mention: While Santana spread his production over the whole week, Jesus Aguilar contributed a lot of his on Friday night (to help overcome the fielding deficiencies). Seven of his nine RBI on the week came in that game, and both of his home runs. The grand slam to break the 4-4 tie in the seventh inning is a big highlight for the whole season. Here’s hoping he has several more big dingers in half number two.
TOP PITCHING STORY: If Chase Anderson were healthy, would a line of 12.1 innings pitched in two starts, a 1.46 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP, only two walks with 13 strikeouts, and a record of 1-0 (and a blown save from 2-0) have been acceptable? You betcha. But that’s the line Brent Suter put up in his stead. This is so much better than expected that you have to start believing that maybe this team does have some magic (of course, magic can go “poof” and disappear in a heartbeat). Anyways, what a fantastic performance for Suter.
Honorable Mention: Michael Blazek wasn’t happy when he wasn’t on the team breaking spring training. And I’m sure he wasn’t happy when he was removed from the 40 man roster. But he pitched his way back onto both in Colorado Springs - not an easy task - and rejoined the Brewers this week. He worked four innings in his two appearances, giving up just two hits, no walks, and fanning 3. His fastball location looked good, and his slider has been filthy. He looks like he did two years ago, and a effective Blazek in the pen may help mitigate the need to give up assets for another arm.
IMHO: I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what the Brewers would do with their rotation if they acquired Jose Quintana or Sonny Gray. When Anderson comes back next month, they could have one of those two along with Jimmy Nelson, Anderson, Matt Garza, Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, and Suter. That’s seven guys...something would have to give. Juni G has arguably been the worst of that bunch lately, and you’d hate to give up on him as dominant as he can be. The easy answer is that the trading partner takes Garza and his expiring contract (with some $$ from the Brewers), but Matt has actually been decent. Suter could go to the pen, but man...he has been very effective in his two starts. It would be an interesting situation, and it is always said that you can’t have too many starting pitchers.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Wily Peralta went out on his rehab to Colorado Springs this week, and the results have not been scintillating. He has two appearances and has worked 2.1 innings with a gaudy ERA of 19.29. His WHIP is 3.43. I know that rehab assignments don’t necessarily mean the player is doing anything other than getting back into shape, but my goodness...it would be difficult to tell somebody currently in the pen that Wily is taking their spot.
The Ghost of Logan Shafer pointed out how the pen has done in Wily’s absence (with only a little cherry picking for the stats):
CURRENT (no Espino, Lopez) BULLPEN'S NUMBERS since WILY last pitched
This situation is becoming difficult for the Brewers to manage. It is entirely possible that Milwaukee will have to DFA Wily.
The series in New York against the Yankees concludes today, and then we get the All Star break. Play resumes Friday with the Phillies coming to Miller Park, so no matter what the Brewers will still be in first for next week’s Sundries. It would be nice to again increase the margin.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference