By and large, a 2-3 week won’t be devastating to your season. Except when it’s more or less an elimination week in and of itself. The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t quite get over the hump that is the Los Angeles Dodgers, and so now have to suddenly make plans for a couple of weeks off that they were hoping to avoid.
That’s true for Brewer fans, too, although we have other stuff to take up our time. Really, you do! You might have to think about it and make a list, but those things are out there! If you can’t come up with anything, ask your spouse or significant other. I’m sure they’ll be able to help.
TOP HITTING STORY: I think I’ll go about this a little differently. Milwaukee had trouble stringing together hits all week, except for that glorious first inning Friday night that effectively sent the series to a game seven. Four straight two-out hits (doubles from Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas, singles from Erik Kratz and Orlando Arcia) put four runs on the board, erasing a 1-0 Dodger lead, and paving the way to a (relatively speaking) easy 7-2 win.
Honorable Mention: Otherwise, the Brewers couldn’t get hits with runners in scoring position very often, let alone multiple times in an inning. The only other inning they had with more than one run all week was the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 4-0 win, when Arcia hit a two-run homer off of Walker Buehler (who is really good, by the way). In their three losses they scored a total of four runs. Credit to the whole Dodger staff, but the Boston Red Sox are a more balanced attack that can string together hits and go deep; they handled a very good Houston pitching staff to get to their matchup with the Dodgers against the defending world champ Astros.
TOP PITCHING STORY: It baffled me to see the amount of attention given to Josh Hader by the national media all through the postseason. Josh did great, and did it in about the same amount of usage as he had in the regular campaign, but the fact is that he was just a cog (a major cog, granted) in the whole bullpen wheel. By the way, for the postseason, Josh and Corey Knebel combined to work 20 innings, allowing 7 hits, one run, walking 4, and striking out 30. Oh my.
Honorable Mention: If you want something besides poor run production to dwell on for the NLCS loss, Jeremy Jeffress is probably your target. JJ appeared in 5 of the 7 games, going 4.2 innings with 10 hits allowed, 4 earned runs given up, 3 walks, 2 homers allowed, and a 2.79 WHIP. Giving up nearly 3 baserunners per inning is not a good formula for success. Reasons could include health and overuse (and some bad luck), but manager Craig Counsell said that the Brewers needed JJ to pitch well if they were going to beat the Dodgers. It didn’t happen.
IMHO: Now, though, we have time to think about all of the mysteries of how to make this team one game better next season without having to worry about those pesky games that cause so much angst. What will the starting rotation (and, as a derivative, the bullpen) look like next season? Which members of the 40 man roster won’t be back? Does Wade Miley figure in their plans? What will Jimmy Nelson look like on the mound? Does Brandon Woodruff’s performance as a reliever mean he will be counted on as a dominant force out there, or will he be back in the rotation? Can Moustakas and the Brewers reach a mutual agreement for a couple of seasons, or does Travis Shaw move back to third and Keston Hiura make the jump to the bigs at some point next season? Was the Orlando Arcia that played the last month of the season and the post season the real Lando? Will he work hard this off season and report in “the best shape of his life”? Is there a future with Milwaukee for Domingo Santana? Erik Kratz? Eric Thames? (Did I forget any Eric(k)s?)
And none of this even looks at trades, free agents, and minor leaguers outside of Hiura. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will discuss all of these subjects (and wait...there’s more!) for the next several months.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Can’t leave a summary of this past week without a note about Manny Machado. The one thing about the whole incident that amazes me is the apologists that can look at the incident at first base where he kicked Jesus Aguilar in the ankle intentionally, and say that Zeus was intentionally TRYING TO GET KICKED to instigate something. Blaming the victim is so in vogue.
Christian Yelich called Machado out, calling the situation a “dirty play by a dirty player”. That it was, and the silly (reported) $10,000 fine (that will be reduced on appeal) PR move by MLB was just not a sufficient punishment. I mean, if Machado will do that to “an old friend” like Aguilar, what would he do to someone he DOESN’T like? And then there were the two illegal slides in the previous game. The $10,000 is a drop in the bucket for Machado, especially considering the mega millions that he will get on his new contract this off season.
Kudos to the Brewers for not retaliating, by the way. They left that to the Milwaukee fans, who lustily booed the ex-Oriole every time up.
aka Mich wished a penalty on Machado that kicked off a nice long string of similar inconveniences that could ruin his day and several days to come. Read it in the above linked article if you haven’t done so.
I hope Machado
gets stuck at an unreasonably long traffic light today
So, thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers, David Stearns (my executive of the year), Craig Counsell (my manager of the year - and the architect of one of the great strategies of late and postseason baseball history), my MVP (Christian Yelich, thanks, Yeli!), and many other kudos that I can’t think of right now.
The 2019 Milwaukee Brewers will be different from this version. Will they be better? Perhaps not. It will be hard to be as entertaining.
Looking forward to talking with all of you about these (and many other!) scintillating topics over the next 3 or 4 months, until the quest for the 2019 Cactus Cup commences.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference