Let’s see. If the Brewers only lose one game a week, they’ll have a record of about (checks calculator)...127-35. Yup. That’ll do.
So THAT ain’t happenin’, but this has been a rather encouraging start. Sure, the Cubs battered Brewers’ pitching for two days, but they only managed to win one of them, and Milwaukee came back to win a more reasonable facsimile of a game today. The three games finished with a total score of 26-25 Cubs, and the three game sweep of the Reds were all one-runs games, so the Crew isn’t overwhelming anybody. But they ARE whelming them, and an 8-2 start beats the alternative. Just ask the Cubs.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Bet you were expecting somebody else! But as much as I love the performance of another pitcher, the outing Wednesday by Freddy Peralta may have been the most encouraging performance of the week. Fastball Freddy had trouble finding the plate in his first start and only lasted three innings while allowing nine baserunners in the week one loss to the Cardinals. In the final game of the series in Cincinnati on Wednesday afternoon Peralta worked eight innings of two hit, no walk ball and fanned eleven of the revamped Reds’ line-up. The Brewers had their worst offensive game of the young season but won 1-0, and this gives hope for the Three Youngsters (plus one) in the rotation.
Honorable Mention: Oh yeah. Josh Hader is a good relief pitcher. He saved half of the Menomomee Valley Nine’s wins this week, and saved his best for last. Craig Counsell didn’t have to use him in the first two games of the series, giving Hader three full days off. What do you do then? Throw him the last 2 2⁄3 innings of the rubber match of a three game set, and watch him retire eight in a row to lock down the 4-2 win. For the week Josh had 3 saves, worked 4 2⁄3 innings while allowing a hit, a walk, and fanning (only) five. But the slider is coming around, and (as we saw last season), games against the Cubs are important. So not having Josh for at least the first two games of the series is a reasonable price to pay for taking 2 of 3 from Chicago’s Senior Circuit entry.
Haderade is alive and well, and tasty.
TOP HITTING STORY: Remember when we were wondering if Orlando Arcia would even last the first month as the Brewers’ shortstop? Yeah, we can be idiots. Lando slashed .368/.478/.684 for and OPS of 1.162, contributing two huge home runs, scoring 5 times, and driving in 5. He even drew 4 walks on the week! If the young shortstop can continue his right field approach and his great defense, that sort of production out of the eight spot makes this lineup that much more deep. Oh, and Arcia’s two homers averaged 355’; that’s an economical use of distance.
Honorable Mention: Another player that Milwaukee fans were a little impatient with was new catcher Yasmani Grandal. The free agent signee started slowly but drilled his first homer this week, added a double, and slashed .533/.562/.867, OPS 1.420. Yaz scored five times but his only ribbie was the homer. It was nice to see the dinger come as a righty; we know that the left side is his strong side. Be nice when the power arrives from that batters box.
IMHO: The concern remains to be the bullpen. The lone loss of the week saw the Crew tally eight, but they still lost by six as the pen allowed seven runs. We are all hoping that the return of Jeremy Jeffress will give the relief corps a boost, providing not just effective relief work, but added depth. But there is no guarantee that JJ will be up to last year’s level (an admittedly stratospheric height), and I’m not confident in the rest of the pen outside of Hader. I find it hard to believe that the Brewers’ brain trust would think differently (and I’m not surprised that they would never express that), but hopefully they are keeping their eyes and ears open.
It doesn’t have to be Craig Kimbrel (but jeesh, it’s only money...I wonder how much we could raise with a gofundme?), but Will Smith has three saves for the going nowhere Giants. For instance.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: It’s nice that Grandal is coming around, but I still see a huge upside in the defense of Manny Pina. One astute commentor was happy to see Pineapple behind the dish for Wednesday’s start by Peralta:
Glad to see Pina catching Fast Freddy today.
Man, that guy has some good observations. Notice how much better the staff did today, too?
The Crew is off to the West Coast, and we get to watch Mike Trout and Christian Yelich IN THE SAME GAMES! Those will happen tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Carrying over the tradition of not playing on Thursdays from last season, Milwaukee moves to Dodger Stadium for games with the scary-good LA offense. Enjoy your week, folks!
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference