By Pythagorean W-L, the Milwaukee Brewers are the ninth best team in baseball, with an expected record of 33-26. (This is computed using their run differential and their strength of schedule). They are the luckiest team in the National League, with four more wins than should be expected. This, of course, may just be silly - it’s entirely possible that they have four more wins than expected because they have a really good bullpen. But I’ll take the best record in the NL however it is arrived at.
This past 4-2 week didn’t help the Pyth standings much; the Crew went 4-2 while scoring 28 runs and allowing 26. They played one of the six games against the NY Mets, and two of them against the Chicago White Sox, so their strength of schedule wasn’t helped (three against the St. Louis Cardinals were a plus).
TOP PITCHING STORY: The starting pitching staff is getting hit by injuries (but believe me, it could be much, much worse - look at the LA Dodgers), with Chase Anderson still performing below his levels from the past two seasons, possibly due to lingering illness effects, Zach Davies back on the DL, and Jimmy Nelson out all season with shoulder surgery. Even Wade Miley can’t stay healthy. It’s a good thing Junior Guerra has returned to his 2016 performance levels; his one start this week was a six inning, no runs, four hit, no walks, seven strikeouts gem. The interesting thing is that Juni G is doing it in a very different way than in 2016. He is mostly relying on a 94-95 mph fastball, with his previously signature pitch - the split finger fastball - being used sparingly. In 2016 Guerra threw the fastball about 62% of the time; in ‘18 that’s up to 72% of the time. The splitter is down to 15% from 23%, and his slider is down a bit as well.
Guerra’s career has all been about adapting and adjusting and never quitting. Here’s to continued success.
Honorable Mention: Welcome back Jacob Barnes! After a stint at AAA to get his mechanics back in order, Barnes came back up and this week worked three shutout innings in three appearances, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out three. None of his appearances were in high leverage situations, but it would seem that he is ready to go back into those games, too. Can’t have too many pitchers who throw 96+, now can you?
TOP HITTING STORY: Is it possible? Is Jonathan Villar back to his 2016 form? Is he the Juni G of the position players? Kinda - Craig Counsell is more or less platooning him, allowing him to hit left handed most of the time. But a week at .375/.412/.875, OPS of 1.287 is solid no matter how you’re hitting, and his two doubles and two homers, with six runs batted in, were huge in contributing to the winning week. And he hit a huge three run homer right handed! Against the Cardinals! How about that one, folks?
Honorable Mention: I passed on Erik Kratz last week, but no more! Once again, Brewers’ GM David Stearns has seemingly pushed the right buttons in adding an obscure player to replace a disappointing back-up, this time at catcher. Kratz replaced the anemic bat of Jett Bandy, and has two homers in his first two weeks, with one this week to go with a batting line of .571/.625/1.000 - 1.625 OPS in two starts. Manny Pina won’t have to catch every game after all! Yankee fans must be tearing their hair out...well, maybe not.
IMHO: Not much is bothering me this week. Well, Anthony Rizzo’s slide bothered me, but that might just be a little bit of anti-Cub bias. So how about this? It has been 45 years now that the two major leagues have been playing two different games - the AL has the DH, the NL doesn’t. Perhaps MLB likes the periodic discussions this generates (I plead guilty here), and the only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about. And I like the NL game better than the AL game. BUT...there is no way that the Players’ Association will ever back down on a rule that gives aging veterans a little longer to earn a salary. So I’ll go with adding the DH to the NL, perhaps at the 50th anniversary of the rule. That’s about right for the glacial pace of change in MLB. Maybe add a 26th player to the roster while they’re at it.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: The Draft is Coming! The Draft is Coming! The amateur player draft begins this coming Monday night (and yes, I am nerd enough to actually watch that), and our own Brad Ford has given us several articles and all the information we need to have our favorites going into the event (Seth Beer for me, ‘cause why not?).
brew_crew22 should be in charge of the Brewers’ draft:
In my opinion
I think they should take the best player
Uncle Father Oscar made it even clearer for Brewers’ management:
So many teams don’t get this
They take bad players. I only want good players.
They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.
With knowledgeable fans like this, is it any wonder that I spend so much time perusing Brew Crew Ball?
A light schedule this week, with just five games. The first three are in AL Parks and will use that designated hitter thing (see what I did there?), with one more on Chicago’s south side against the White Sox and two in Cleveland against the first place Indians. Two more (out of three total) follow in Philly against the Phillies, so that strength of schedule thing will take an up-tick this week. Have a good one!