Your Milwaukee Brewers caught up to the Chicago Cubs with their 7-0 win on Friday. But over a rain-drenched weekend they could only amass 2 runs in 24 innings, dropping both games (the Saturday game in an interminable 15 innings) and falling two games back in the NL Central race. A three-game sweep of the injury riddled Nationals was followed by dropping two of three to said Cubbies, for a 4-2 week.
The Crew still leads the Wild Card (I feel comfortable looking at that with 25% of the season in the books) by 1.5 games, with four teams tied for the second spot (St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and San Diego).
The Brewers’ offense produced 27 runs on the week, while the pitching staff continued their resurgence with an excellent week: in 58.1 innings they allowed only 12 runs, 11 earned, giving them a 1.70 ERA on the week. The WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) was a more than solid 1.097. They allowed but 4 homers.
But the hitting line, despite the total runs scored, was weak, mainly because the power bats were quiet by Brewer standards (just 5 home runs on the week). Their slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage) was .238/.355/.335, for an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .690. 4-2 with that hitting line is fine, but it’s tough to seemingly waste pitching that solid.
TOP HITTING STORY: This isn’t just results oriented, although Orlando Arcia’s results were as good as anybody’s this week. Lando had a .381/.458/.476 line for an OPS of .935, with two doubles. It’s the approach at the plate. Somehow, some way, the light seems to have gone on. He isn’t stepping in the bucket (or he is minimizing it); he has cut down on his swing - especially with two strikes. He drew 3 walks and only fanned 4 times (wow; Christian Yelich struck out 7 times last week!). With his range in the various spots he occupies during the multiple shifts the Brewers run, he is truly cementing a long-term spot in the Milwaukee infield. Hope this continues.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Two major contributors from last season, Lorenzo Cain and Travis Shaw, have been struggling this season (as noted midway through Kyle's Mailbag article), and for this week they combined for a slash of .150/.244/.175. That’s an OPS of .419; not good. I will note that Cain’s two out, seventh inning, bases clearing double broke open a nil game in the seventh on Tuesday to lead Milwaukee to win #2 on the week, so there’s that. Even so, the numbers are so bad for The Mayor that there are calls for the elevation of top prospect Keston Hiura among the Brewer faithful. It looks like the organization will give Travis a little longer to figure things out, but...
TOP PITCHING STORY: Lots to choose from, as you might expect. We’ll spotlight two relievers, for different reasons: Junior Guerra has been solid out of the pen all season, and is capable of effective multiple inning outings - an important facet of today’s short-start pitching plan for Milwaukee. Well, it might not be the plan, but it’s a reality. Juni G worked 3.1 innings in 3 appearances this week, allowing just a walk with no hits while fanning 5. His split change is still unpredictable, but just it’s existence keeps hitters off balance. And pitching from the bullpen allows Guerra to let it all hang out, and he’s regularly touching 95-96 on his fastball. Not all the time, but often enough. Notched a save, too.
Honorable Mention: At this point in his career, it seems that Corbin Burnes should pitch in relief. After a horrible start to the season in the rotation, Burnesy got a brief re-acclimation break in the bullpen with the AAA San Antonio Missions, and has been getting stronger out of the pen as the season progresses. He also had 3 appearances, going 2.2 innings with a hit and a walk allowed, but no runs - while getting 6 of his 8 outs via the ‘K’. Craig Counsell is starting to feel comfortable using some pitchers not named Hader to close out games.
IMHO: Miller Park has spoiled me. Watching two straight games played in nearly constant drizzle (if it wasn’t out-right raining) was miserable. And I wasn’t even on the field or in the stands! But you know what? It ain’t gonna change; Wrigley will remain open to the elements, which can include gale force winds even when it’s sunny and warm. And that wind can come from different directions, meaning Wrigley can be different parks on different days. To succeed this year the Crew will need to find a way to play through the vagaries of Wrigley. Nice to hear there’s a nice new visitors’ clubhouse though!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: It appears that Madison Bumgarner wants some extra reward for a possible mid-season trade to a contender, as he has named only potentially contending teams on his eight team no-trade list. Of course, being on a no-trade list means that you can demand a little extra from a team to join them for a pennant chase. Or maybe MadBum just would prefer to stay with the Giants...you never know. nullact was first in saying that he is more than welcome to remain with the Giants, or go somewhere else. I don’t think it’s this demand that feeds this opinion, it’s that he is deemed of little use to the Brewers for a variety of reasons.
shut them all down
My fondest memory of him is watching Schoop take him deep. Its absolutely a fit thing.
You took the word right from my mouth
Came here to say this
So the Crew is off to Philadelphia, for another match with a first-place team for four games. Then it’s on to Atlanta for three with the Braves to end the ten game road trip. The Phillies will test that hot pitching staff. Enjoy the beautiful weather here - sure will be welcome!