The Milwaukee Brewers said all along that having lots of good outfielders wasn’t a bad thing, and they didn’t flip any of the excess major league level outfielders for perceived needed pitching in the off season. Then this week happened. As the week wore on, Lorenzo Cain was on the disabled list, Christian Yelich left a game with lower back tightness, and Ryan Braun left a game with back tightness of his own, the Brewers were fielding an outfield of Keon Broxton, Hernan Perez, and Eric Thames. Domingo Santana is currently searching for his bat at AAA Colorado Springs.
Thames has had his misadventures in the field - well, he’s been bad - and it got to the point yesterday that Eric Sogard was in the outfield. Of course, yesterday’s game also finished with Erik Kratz on the mound in a 12-3 blow-out loss where everything came to a head at once in a memorable (?) eighth inning meltdown that saw the Cincinnati Reds first eight batters of the inning get on base and score. It was culminated by a pinch hit grand slam home run by Reds’ relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen. And that was Lorenzen’s second home run in two days against the Crew.
Yet the week ended 3-3 and with the Crew still in first at the halfway point of the season (mathematical halfway point, anyways). They lead the Cubs by 1.5 games, with the Cards trailing by 5.5 in third. Unlike the last two 3-3 weeks, the Brewers were outscored for the week - at 32-28. Is that progress? I’m not sure.
TOP HITTING STORY: Keon Broxton came up to the club when Cain went on the DL, and he came up as Hot Keon. His defense was excellent, and he had a two homer game. His line for the week, in 15 plate appearances, was .308/.400/.769, OPS of 1.169, with the two homers, a stolen base, four runs scored, four RBI, a couple of walks, and some great exuberance.
Honorable Mention: It is a very honorable for Jesus Aguilar. He is putting together an eye-opening season, and this week he temporarily tied for the league lead in homers (19) before falling back in the last few days. For the week he had three home runs, scored and drove in 4, and in his 22 plate appearances slashed .400/.455/.900 - OPS 1.355.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Jeremy Jeffress had a few hiccups last week, but this week he was back to being lights out. He relieved in three games, going 2.2 innings and allowing just one hit and no walks, fanning five while holding the opposition scoreless. JJ is a fierce competitor, and with an array of four pitches is an unusual reliever compared to the usual power pitching, two pitch guys you usually see. And it isn’t like Jeffress can’t be a power pitcher - his fastball sits in the 94-97 range.
(dis)Honorable Mention: It might not have been fair, but Mike Zagurski’s debut for the Brewers resulted in an infinite ERA. He looked to have struck out his first hitter (Joey Votto) but didn’t get the call from the ump (see, whining can have it’s rewards!), and the next hitter’s (old pal Scooter Gennett) routine flyball to left was misplayed into a double by Thames. But his final line of four batters faced, two walks, two hits, and four earned runs was part of a disastrous inning that doomed the Crew to a loss. Actually, though, Zagurski looked to be throwing the ball pretty well.
(Freddy Peralta was awesome, too, but I’m confident that his no-hitter today will get him on the list next week. Is that a bannable sentence?)
IMHO: More talk about the Brewers adding this or that hitter or this or that pitcher this week. David Stearns noted that Milwaukee isn’t interested in adding just pitching depth as the trade deadline approaches. They have enough depth, as explained by Kyle here. As Kyle points out, the only two known difference makers on the mound are the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard - and they would be difference makers!
I’d argue that at this point any position deal would be in the same situation. It doesn’t make any sense to add more at or slightly above average infielders, they have enough of those. But they can’t do both; even the Brewers’ farm isn’t that deep.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Broxton’s big game Friday night had most of us giddy, gregmag no less than the rest of us:
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen
a more complete game by a position player than Keon just played.
2 home runs
4 rbi, including the gwrbi
Busted rundown (of his own making, but still)
Outstanding catch in left center
World class catch in right center
I mean . . . that’s just absurd.
As gregmag himself later points out, it was only one steal, but that mad dash for home to put Milwaukee up 3-1 sorta counts. It was an awesome game for Keon, highlighted by it’s unexpectedness and suddenness.
The Brewers will get off of the 3-3 treadmill this week, as they have seven scheduled - unless they get rained out today in Cincy (never fear, looks like little chance of rain). Then it’s home for a July 4th series with the Twins and a showdown with the surprising - and very good - Atlanta Braves. (Whom I’ve never forgiven for leaving a certain 13 year old heartbroken by moving out of Milwaukee).
Have a safe and wonderful 4th, everyone.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference