Even after what amounted to a mildly disappointing four-game split against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Brewers head into another friendly stretch of their schedule with a 2.5-game lead in the NL Central, thanks to the Cubs losing again on Monday to extend their losing streak to five games.
After navigating their most recent rough patch against Cleveland, Philadelphia (x2), Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis with a record of 8-9, the Brewers will look to build on their 13-games-over-.500 mark over the next couple weeks with series against Kansas City, Cincinnati and Minnesota.
The Brewers took both games against the Royals in KC as part of their 8-game winning streak in April. A rough year was expected for the Royals, but they’ve been even worse than originally feared, coming into this series with a 24-54 record. They’re the worst offense in baseball, ranking dead last in runs scored and putting up a second-worst .366 team slugging percentage. Their .301 team OBP also ranks 27th. The pitching has been horrid as well, with a league-worst 5.27 team ERA and a 29th-ranked WHIP of 1.47 and BAA of .275. Overall, they have the second-worst winning percentage in all of baseball behind only Baltimore, but the two teams are tied in the loss column.
Tuesday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Jakob Junis vs. Freddy Peralta
Wednesday - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Danny Duffy vs. Brent Suter
Junis got off to a good start this year, with back-to-back 7 shutout inning starts to start the year. Since then, though, it’s been a struggle. He’s allowed 45 earned runs in 77.1 innings -- a 5.24 ERA -- while opponents have put up an .828 OPS against him. He’s also given up an MLB-leading 19 home runs, which is tough to do when you’re playing so many games in Kaufmann Stadium. He had back-to-back starts of giving up 6 earned runs this month, but steadied himself a bit in his last outing, allowing just 3 earned runs in 6 innings against the Rangers. Don’t let all of that cloud your perception of him too much, though -- the home runs only recently became an issue for him (outside of a start in April against the White Sox in which he gave up 5 in one start, but somehow only 6 runs total), and he’s still capable of posting some solid strikeout totals.
Duffy has been a bit inconsistent this year, but his 5.18 ERA is slightly inflated by a mid-May outing against Cleveland in which he got tagged for 9 earned runs in 3.1 innings. Still, a sampling of his inconsistency -- his last 4 starts have gone 5 IP and 4 ER, 7 IP and 0 ER, 6 IP and 6 ER, and 6 IP and 0 ER. With the Royals where they are in the standings and Duffy signed for three more years after this season, he likely would be getting more buzz in trade rumors if his performance this year wasn’t so varied. He’s owed more than $15 million per year for the next three years and has essentially been replacement level this season, depending on your metric of choice.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference