Greetings from sunny Arizona, where I’m going through tons of sunscreen and not getting nearly the Brewer fix that I need - family obligations and all that. I spent part of yesterday afternoon going through the beautiful Tucson Botanical Gardens, lagging behind my wife, sister, and brother-in-law as I followed on Gameday. The highs and lows of following that way are not nearly as bad as watching, I’m sure. Must have been a hung slider to Bellinger, right?
In any case, 3-4 isn’t so bad. Starting pitching remains a huge question, and Corbin Burnes has been so bad that he’s now getting a first-hand experience at the new Brewers’ AAA affiliate in San Antonio. But three of the four losses were charged to the bullpen. Josh Hader is going to have weeks like this, but there isn’t currently enough depth behind him. Good to see Jeffress back; I didn’t get to watch him so can’t make judgments on his effectiveness.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Hader gets the top spot, but not in a good way. OK, he struck out nine in three innings. He only walked two and allowed merely three hits. I’ve seen worse. But all three were homers, and all five baserunners scored, and he took two of the four losses. He will be fine, but they can’t lose games they have a chance to win with Josh in there, because there just aren’t any other options at the back end right now.
Honorable Mention: Chase Anderson needs to be in the rotation. Again, what other options are there? He pitched in two games last week, getting one start, and finished with 6.1 innings, 2 hits allowed, and no runs - a 0.63 WHIP. He was the winner in the lone victory against LA, and this time being a winner was big.
TOP HITTING STORY: Hmm...let me see...how about Yeli? Yeah, that’s the ticket. That is an other-worldly week at Miller Park for the MVP: in 30 plate appearances he slashed .417/.533/1.417 for an OPS of 1.950. EIGHT homers. Yikes. Scored nine times. Drove in sixteen. I mean, come on. He was only walked six times, so I question the managerial decision making of the Cards’ Mike Shildt and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts. Roberts knows he has somebody just as hot in Bellinger, so I guess he gets a pass.
Honorable Mention: A tale of two seasons: can Jesus Aguilar lose his job to Eric Thames, after taking it last season? This past week, as we hope for Zeus to break out of his season-long slump, he had 22 plate appearances that produced just two singles and a walk, scoring once and driving in nary a run. He fanned eight times. His OPS? .232. Aren’t there pitchers that could play first?
Well, there’s Thames. I know it’s April still, so his numbers must be taken with a grain of salt, but he still OPS’d 1.378 and had two dingers in thirteen plate appearances, scoring three times and driving in four. Hope he continues hot into May!
IMHO: The Brewers outscored the Cardinals and Dodgers 35-30, but won only three of seven games this week. That happens, but the close wins of the first few weeks are being replaced by close losses. The pitching staff as constructed may not be good enough to win, even with an other-worldly Christian Yelich on the roster. I know that baseball has the same motto as our favorite hitch-hiker (“Don’t Panic!”). But I’m getting a little nervous. I wonder if there are options available to upgrade the ‘pen...
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: I know that Rick Auerbach invites you to 1972 is considered a bit of a contrarion, but his position on Chase Anderson has been unwavering: he should be in the rotation, and should have been to start the season. It may still be proven to be an incorrect position, but it isn’t just based on fantasy: Anderson was OK last season, and looks to have picked up the couple of MPH on his fastball that deserted him in 2018. He wasn’t horrible, as some maintain.
You should go look up Chase Anderson’s game logs from last year. No reason at all to disparage him.
What were you afraid of? His 1.19 WHIP? Or, maybe his ERA+ of 106? His 18 starts with 2 runs or less allowed?
Well, Counsell yanked him from the rotation in September and deemed him unworthy of the postseason,
so he MUST be bad!! Because he dared to give up a bunch of solo homers. How DARE he!!
And then he had a bad spring because he was (unwisely) messing around with a new delivery.
So, it’s off to the bullpen for mopup work, to allow Burnes and Peralta the opportunity to trip all over themselves.
Chase has his flaws, but they are considerably smaller than The Kids. Here’s hoping that Burnes can find it with the Missions. Maybe groom him for the pen?
So, to the road - three more with the Cards, then off to New York to face some good pitching from the Mets after the first off-day in a couple of weeks on Thursday. The Brewers have fallen into third, tied with the Cards and a game back of Pittsburgh. This has been a very tough stretch to start the season. Perhaps the numbers for the pitching staff will stabilize as the Crew proceeds and faces teams-not-the-Dodgers-or Cards. Let’s hope so! Have a wonderful week.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference