Thanks to the cooperation of the rest of the NL Central division, a 3-3 week for the Brewers resulted in the Chicago Cubs falling 1 1⁄2 games further behind the first base Milwaukee Nine this week, to two games back overall. The Cardinals stayed in third and lost another half game of ground, now 5 1⁄2 back. Just think how good things would look if Milwaukee were winning every close game. Is that so unreasonable?
Unlike earlier in the season, run differential is saying that the Brewers should be winning more games than they are. They outscored their opponents 27-20, but that’s because they are playing Cubsian baseball - an 11-3 blowout win provides the differential. They played five one-run games, going 2-3. Of course, one of their one-run wins was rather dramatic - the two-homer Jesus Aguilar 2-1 win on Friday night.
TOP HITTING STORY: Surprise! Jesus Aguilar is a decisive winner. His heroics Friday night were just a continuation of his fine week. Hey-Zeus slashed .429/.435/1.095 on the week for an OPS of 1.530. He had two doubles and four homers, scored five times and drove in ten. And he’s probably dwelling on that groundout to end the eighth inning with the bases loaded in Saturday’s one-run loss.
Honorable Mention: Manny Pina looks to be waking up from his sleepy start at the plate this season. He hit .316 for the week and had an OPS of 1.034 with two doubles, a home run, and his first major league triple. He is also continuing his excellent work behind the plate. It is unlikely that the good work put in by the pitching staff this season isn’t related to his handling of pitchers.
TOP PITCHING STORY: It’s entirely possible that Freddy Peralta could make a big difference in the second half of this season. He has already had a positive impact on the first half for sure. The 22 year old rookie got his third start of the season and worked six shutout innings, allowing two hits and no walks. Seven strikeouts round out a most excellent game; he’s now 2-0 in three starts this season. He goes again Tuesday night for his Miller Park debut against the KC Royals in an interleague matchup. I wonder if the Brewers could petition MLB to allow a DH in the short two-game set.
IMHO: I have been challenged by a reader on the title of this section. Someone has pointed out that I have no opinions that are humble; it’s a fair rap.
Anyways, we are at the time of the season where all kinds of speculation arises about which teams are buyers and which are sellers. Teams seem to be categorized as one or the other, which is silly. You can be stand-patters, too.
It’s entirely possible that the Brewers will fall into that category, and use their total system for any improvements that might be necessary. Milwaukee GM David Stearns will have an acceptable price established for anyone outside of the organization that he deems worthy of being added; if they can be had for at or below that cost he may pull the trigger. If other teams are willing to overpay for said players, oh well. It’s worked out so far.
The Brewers might be getting close to a forty man roster crunch with the development of the prospects, so it might be time to ease that burden and add a player that can help for the rest of this season. But it can probably wait.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: JP asked BCB readers (or browsers) to vote on what type of move Milwaukee might make at the trade deadline this season, and the results looked rather like a bell curve. 2% percent voted for no upgrades; 17% for small upgrades; 49% for medium upgrades; 26% for large upgrades; and 6% for all upgrades (which sounds rather difficult).
metalmilitia844 summarized the reasons why the votes tended towards the middle:
I’m torn between what the brewers should do
It sucks we’re in a strong division because in order to win it, I feel we definitely need to add an ace. Although I’m not sure that would be enough to over take the cubs. We also need upgrades on offense because we’re really dependent on 3 or 4 players to do something everyday to score runs. Should this be the year the brewers go for it? I just don’t think they’re better than the cubs or any of the top teams in the AL. I still think we’re way ahead of schedule on the rebuild and I’d like to keep our top prospects to see if they can contribute on the team for many years to come. I’d rather have years of potential playoff chances than throwing all our eggs in the basket for 1 or 2 years then have to start the rebuild process over again
So there you have it. Let’s trust the front office and their system. They haven’t looked overly foolish so far. (BTW, mm844 - at this point, the Cubs need to overtake the Brewers.)
The Brewers finish their homestand with one more against the Cards today, then get an off day Monday before the two games against the Royals. Then it’s off to Cincinnati for four against the resurgent Reds (who are beating up on the Cubs this week). And that takes us into July! Holy moly!
I’m going to the Wednesday match with the Royals and get to watch Brent Suter work his magic. And it relieves me of the obligation of watching another Facebook game. Yay!
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference