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Sunday Sundries: Milwaukee Brewers Week 1 In Review

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In which we enjoy the vicissitudes of small sample sizes

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres
Well, THAT will be hard to top.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Starting the season on a Thursday rather than a Monday gives you a much better shot at an undefeated first week. Even so, the Brewers haven’t won their first three games since 2006. I guess we should just go ahead and wallow in the success.

Milwaukee owns the best record in baseball, as none of the other three undefeated teams have more than two wins. The Crew is alone in first in the NL Central, a game up on the Pirates and Cubs, with the Reds and Cards winless at 0-2 and 2 12 games back. May it ever be so.

Milwaukee won a game where they didn’t hit (but pitched pretty darn well), a game where they pitched and defended dubiously (but hit when it counted), and a game where they gave a pretty solid all-around effort. They won three games while only hitting one home run. Of course, the one home run was a game-winner, so they got that goin’ for them. On the other hand, they have nine doubles, so at that pace they’ll hit 486 two-baggers. Led by Lorenzo Cain and Travis Shaw at 162 doubles apiece. See? Small sample sizes are fun!

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres
I had my choice of Cain getting a double
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

TOP HITTING STORY: The Brewers’ position player group (PPG?) is so good that there’s no room for a guy with a 3.000 OPS. Maybe that is because Ji-Man Choi is so big...or his OPS is so big. But I digress; Lorenzo Cain leads off our top hitters.

LoCain has scored three times, has those three doubles, has three RBI, and has stolen three bases. You all know what those project out to. He also is hitting .571 (he has more than three hits), with an OBP of .600, and is slugging .786. That’s an OPS of 1.386. He also looks like he’s really having fun out there (well, duh). His hit-it-where-it’s-pitched (and where they ain’t) approach is novel for the Crew. Perhaps Manny Pina should adopt that part of Cain’s game, as he has stung the ball several times but has just one rather bloopish hit to show for it. Of course, it came in Friday’s five run ninth inning rally, so I’ll give him a pass.

Honorable Mention: Christian Yelich is lagging behind his fellow nouveau outfielder. He is also lacking a viable nickname. We are taking nominations. Yelich is slashing only .500/.533/.571, OPS 1.105. He HAS scored four runs. You can do your own projection for that, my math is too fuzzy. And oh, he also has three RBI.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...it’s way too soon to say that Milwaukee’s offseason outfield additions are a success. But better to start really, really hot than just normally hot, or crummy.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Hader-Ade!
Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

TOP PITCHING STORY: This was a tough one. I’m giving the nod to Josh Hader because he pitched in two games, so has a higher number-of-winning-games-pitched-in total than my second choice. Plus, I was (and remain) more nervous about Hader than just about any other pitcher, because he has such huge promise. He has controlled his slider, and generally located his fastball well. In three innings he’s allowed a hit and a walk (WHIP 0.67), no runs, with seven strikeouts. Yum.

Honorable Mention: How unfair. Chase Anderson goes six one hit innings with no runs allowed in his first start and I rate him second best. Plus, he gave us one of the funniest (and scariest) slides we are likely to see this season, and earned another nickname in the process (Face Planeterson). And he was pitching with the flu. I wonder how good he’ll be when he’s stretched out and healthy? (Credit for the nickname goes to BCB member AlMaFi.)

IMHO: Goodness. I haven’t even thought about opinions so far...I’ve just been enjoying myself. So I’ll just complain about something that has irked me: having to pay attention to how many mound visits have taken place, and hearing BA and Rock discuss it. This is going to get more than irksome as the season goes by. (It also irks me to not have BA and Rock on a broadcast, but if that’s the price of contention I will gladly pay it.)

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: As of this writing, I have 2376 comments to choose from since the start of the season. Nicely done, folks! Please feel free to continue to make this difficult!

In response to a comment gently ridiculing recent criticism of the Lorenzo Cain signing, HamHockHawker reminded us that a couple of losses are all that stand between us and some Chicken Littleing:

Oh don’t worry

Hot-take pessimism is vewwy vewwy patient. They’ll be back the first time he strikes out with the bases loaded.

Posted by HamHockHawker on Apr 1, 2018 | 7:43 AM

Oh yeah, Lorenzo hasn’t struck out yet this year.

So now the real season begins. Three series against the Cards (two) and Cubs (one, for the math-impaired). Be nice to start the season 13-0 and put some early distance between us and the competition.

Enjoy the “ups” while you can, folks! And enjoy the home opener if you are going, and the “real fan” home opener on Tuesday. I’ll see you there for that one.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference