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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Cleveland Indians

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Another quick two-game set.

Houston Astros v Cleveland Indians
This guy might be a leading non-Mike Trout MVP candidate in the American League. Do you know who he is?
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Brewers were probably due for a clunker of a series, and it’s unfortunate it had to come against the worst team in baseball. But with an extra day off to pack up those memories from the weekend and burn them with fire, the Brewers hope to get back to their winning ways on the road for their return series against the team that leads the AL Central.

When the Brewers last saw Cleveland, they weren’t playing like a team expected to contend for another AL pennant, muddling their way through a .500 start. A little more than three weeks later, that’s still the case -- they come into this quick two-game set at The Stadium Formerly Known As The Jake at 30-28.

They’re still missing Andrew Miller in the bullpen, so we’ll once again be robbed of a potential Miller/Josh Hader middle-to-late inning duel. The middle relief still hasn’t been great for them, but luckily, the rotation has been keeping them in just about every game and third baseman Jose Ramirez is quietly having an MVP-caliber season.

We don’t hear a lot about the young up and coming stars in the AL on our side of Major League Baseball, but the 25-year-old Ramirez is now hitting .299/.397/.624 with 18 home runs and 18 doubles, has more walks than strikeouts, and is on pace for a 10-WAR season.

That start might be overshadowing Francisco Lindor’s white-hot .305/.379/.565, 14 home run, 20 double start. He’s legitimately in the conversation for best shortstop in baseball right now, both offensively and defensively.

The veteran bats have also started coming around in the last month or so as well -- Edwin Encarnacion may be 35 years old now, but he’s carrying an .834 OPS with 16 home runs and has driven in 40 runs hitting behind Lindor and Ramirez. Yonder Alonso has also now launch-angled his way to 11 home runs. Michael Brantley is also OPSing .918 with a .323/.369/.549 line.

Somehow, despite all of that, the team has continued to hover around .500. They seemed to be turning a corner about a week ago, winning six in a row to push themselves to 30-25. They went on to lose 3 of 4 to the Twins over this past weekend, giving up 29 runs in those 4 games.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Junior Guerra vs. Corey Kluber

Wednesday - 12:10 p.m. CDT
Chase Anderson vs. Carlos Carrasco

These are the same two pitchers the Brewers faced when Cleveland made their quick pit stop in Milwaukee last month.

The Brewers were the last team to beat the reigning AL Cy Young winner, managing to put together 3 runs on 2 home runs runs against the Klubot. They’re also the last team to draw a walk against him. For more context, Corey Kluber faced the Milwaukee Brewers on May 8th. It’s now June 5th. Kluber has gone 112 batters without walking anyone, has notched two 10-strikeout games in the four starts since his outing in Milwaukee, and hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts. In that time, he’s lowered his ERA to 2.02 and he now carries an 88/10 K/BB ratio in 84.2 innings.

Carrasco’s fortunes since his start in Milwaukee are a different story. After his 14-strikeout complete game against the Brewers, he’s struggled mightily, seeing his ERA rise from 3.61 to 4.50. He’s had an especially rough go of it in his last two outings, giving up a combined 11 earned runs in just 9.1 combined innings in those starts. The strikeout numbers are still good -- 73 in 76 innings, and he’s only walked 19. The difference is the hits he’s been allowing haven’t been as scattered and teams have been able to string more of them together -- something he was able to keep the Brewers from doing on May 9th.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference