When you play five games and outscore the opposition 28-19 you hope that the distribution of runs gets you more wins than losses. That didn’t happen this week for the Milwaukee Brewers, as they lost the first three of the week by a combined 12-4 score, then traveled to Philadelphia and received some unexpected hospitality in the City of Brotherly Love and outscored the Phillies 24-7 over two games. Two small sample sizes for us; we’ll take the second, thank you very much.
TOP PITCHING STORY: The starters and relievers didn’t have as much of a dichotomy in favor of the bullpen as usual. In fact, the starting rotation had a better WHIP for the week (1.16 to 1.30) for the first time I can remember this season (I did not look it up). That’s mainly because the bullpen walked eight in their 15.1 innings of work.
Unfortunately, the starters somehow had a 5.06 ERA on those just over one runners per inning, mainly because they tended to give up all of the baserunners in a single inning each game. As a staff, they only allowed five homers (three by starters, two by Matt Albers out of the pen on consecutive batters - with an assist on the second by Lorenzo Cain), so that wasn’t a major difference. And the defense was OK - they didn’t allow any unearned runs all week. For those concerned about over-using Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader, and Corey Knebel, they got the week off...a total of four appearances (two for JJ, one each for Haderade and Corey K), totaling 4 1⁄3 innings. Under-use of the ‘A’ bullpen happens when you are behind late or way ahead late.
TOP HITTING STORY: Milwaukee only drew eleven walks in their five games, and Travis Shaw had five of them. Travis had a weird week...he had only three hits, but one was a double and one a homer. He hit only .188 but his on-base percentage was .381, and he had a slugging percentage of .428. That OPS of .818 is just fine. Patience is a virtue.
Ryan Braun, on the other hand, came alive in Philadelphia, where he has long tormented the Phillies and their fans. For the week, he played four of the five games and slashed .357/.357/.929, OPSing 1.286. His two homeruns came in Friday night’s 12-4 win, and he had a single and triple in Saturday night’s game. If Braun stays hot, the offense will likely follow.
Honorable Mention: Christian Yelich is the best two-hole hitter the Crew has had in, well, forever (maybe that Yount guy was pretty good, too). .364/.364/.545, OPS of .909 will be just fine, and that was with five strikeouts in his 22 plate appearances. He had a double and a dinger, and scored five times.
IMHO: Nine days after the fact, Major League baseball has decided to reverse the scoring on a two RBI double by Brewer hurler Brent Suter, changing it into a two base error. This came at the request of the St. Louis Cardinals, which is no surprise - as the arbiters of all that is “right” in baseball, all they have to do is ask.
The problem is, this was certainly not the most egregious scoring error of the season - by a lot (the worst errors in officiating and scoring belong to Angel Hernandez). Can’t we go back and change Hernandez’ inept calls and give Josh Hader a couple more strikeouts?
Should there be some sort of a time limit for these changes? Can they go back to last season, or ten years ago, and change some errors to hits so we get a different batting champ? (Actually, something like the sacrifice fly really plays with stats - in 1908, the sac fly became a part of statistics, only to be booted out of existence in 1931 ((probably a result of the Great Depression)), reinstated in 1939, eliminated again in 1940 ((surely the Second World War)), and brought back in 1954 permanently ((influence by the Braves relocating to Milwaukee the previous season, no doubt)) - none of which applies to my topic, but hey!)
So I’m proposing a scoring change. T-Ball has it right. You get on base, it’s a hit. We need to take the human element out of officiating and scoring as much as we can. Robot umps at home plate, too, while we’re at it.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Hey, everybody - the MLB Draft was this week! The Brewers took prep shortstop Brice Turang (a future HOF-er, no doubt) with their first pick, and to make room for the infusion of young talent into the organization they moved last year’s top pick Keston Hiura to AA ball from high A. Naw - Hiura earned at least that with his potent bat and some semi-regular time in the field, where his troublesome arm seems to be holding up. Spaul149 summed up our fandom impatience with young talent in the Brewers’ organization:
I like this move the crew seems to err on the side of waiting too long at a level
When a guy is doing well promote him
In fact, both Turang and Hiura are sure-fire hall of famers.
Brewer bats get one more day in Philly, and then come back to Miller Park to try and solve the mystery that is the Chicago Cubs in a three game set. The Cubs have been playing very well of late and have closed within a half game of Milwaukee going into Sunday’s games. The north siders weren’t playing particularly well in April but taking seven of the eight games with the Crew kept them in things nicely. So now that they are going well, hows about a sweep, Brewers?
Then the Phillies come to Milwaukee for a weekend three game set, trying to get back to the form that had them at or near the top of the NL East standings for much of April and May.
As per usual, have a wonderful week!