When the Brewers left on their ten game road trip, Brewers fans were just hoping for a winning record, but perhaps expecting a losing one. After all, Milwaukee was facing two second place teams and a first place team in their Rockies, D’Backs, and Twins tour. But a 5-1 week (with the only loss to old pal Zack Greinke, 2-1) has put the Brewers 1 1⁄2 games up on Pittsburgh, with the most road wins - and most wins - in the National League.
TOP HITTING STORY: Christian Yelich doesn’t get this just for his game winning home run Saturday night (although that didn’t hurt); he slashed .375/.400/.708 with an OPS of 1.108, contributing two doubles and two homers. He scored 5 times and drove in seven. So far, so good! Does David Stearns know what he’s doing, or what?
Honorable Mention: Orlando Arcia still is sub-optimum at the plate, but he’s had his moments. However, the middle infield combination of Tyler Saladino and Jonathan Villar gave us hope that the middle infield might contribute this season. They combined for a slash of .438/.441/.812, OPSing 1.252. Three doubles, three homers, TEN runs scored, and SEVEN driven in. No wonder the team averaged six runs a game.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Do you know how dominant the Brewers were this week? They won five games and had zero saves. Their five wins were by a total of 21 runs, their one loss by that one run, and they outscored the opposition 36-16. Josh Hader didn’t have a save, but he had another two good outings, and got the win in last night’s 5-4 comeback. Haderade provided 4 1⁄3 innings of two hit ball, with another 8 strikeouts...under 18 per 9; he’s slipping. His WHIP was 0.69...in other words, the usual; this is two months of some of the most dominant pitching in Brewers (if not MLB) history.
Honorable Mention: Jhoulys Chacin didn’t get one of the other four wins; the other four starters did, but Chacin pitched a gem. In seven innings he allowed just two hits and an earned run, walking two and striking out seven. 0.57 WHIP, 1.29 ERA. Does David Stearns know what he’s doing, or what?
IMHO: Freddy Peralta probably has punched his ticket back to AAA with his start Saturday, with Chase Anderson coming back Monday and Zach Davies making a (very successful) rehab start for the T-Rats last night (4 2⁄3 innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, NINE strikeouts). That’s fine. Peralta has shown that he can be successful as a major league starter, and has shown that his control isn’t quite there yet for a contending team. With good options available, the Brewers can afford to let Freddy develop, and not force their hand in the (hopefully) long career of Peralta.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Catcher/outfielder and former top prospect Blake Swihart hasn’t panned out for the Red Sox, and can’t get regular playing time at either position. His agent has requested a trade, and the Milwaukee Brewers were mentioned as a possible destination. Brad Ford discussed his possible value here, and he made some very good points about the greater upside Swihart provides over current back-up Jett Bandy. But Duhawk Steve pointed out the obvious:
Why do we think Blake Swihart is good?
He has been worse than Bandy, projected to be worse than Bandy, was bad in AAA last year, and has less upside than Jacob Nottingham. Pass.
My 5 predictions for 2018 can be found here
Another point: there have been rumblings that the Boston pitching staff doesn’t like pitching to Swihart, but then again, they don’t like pitching to batters, either, so perhaps we can take that with a grain of salt.
If the Brewers can complete the sweep against the Twins today, their road trip will conclude at a fantastic 8-2. Even 7-3 will be most excellent, although recency bias will have us all depressed. Milwaukee comes home to Miller Park Monday to start a home stand, welcoming in the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets (MORE ‘Your State’s Name Here” teams, although the Mets don’t really qualify, I guess).
If the Brewers don’t outscore the opposition by twenty runs this week, DON’T PANIC!