Your Milwaukee Brewers eschewed close games this week, well, at least for the first five. The last two, against the Atlanta Braves, ended up as one-run, ten-inning affairs, with the Braves winning Saturday night on a homer from Freddy Freeman off of Josh Hader. Today’s game came in as a 3-2 Crew win after a dinger from Ben Gamel in the top of the tenth.
On the week the Milwaukee Nine outscored the Phillies and Braves 40-31. Generally the pitching was fine, except for the even dozen scored by Atlanta on Friday. Even that loss went from 12-0 to 12-8 with a late rally.
4-3 weeks are OK. On the road makes it a little better. Against the top two teams in the NL East a little better still. And gaining either a half game or a game and a half on the Cubs (pending tonight’s game) make it better still. The Brewers have won 28 of their first 49 games, which extrapolates out to 92-93 wins. Not good enough; I picked 100 wins.
TOP HITTING STORY: BCB welcomes Keston Hiura to the Big Leagues. Keston didn’t set the league on fire, but there are the flashes. How about three multi-hit games in his first week? His first homer, which came today? Getting hit by a pitch twice? GRIT! His slash was a pedestrian .250/.346/.375, for a first week OPS of .721. And of the 18 outs he made, 8 came by strikeout, but I guarantee it will improve. He can’t miss the fastball at this rate for long.
Part of the plus to bringing up Hiura was moving Travis Shaw out of the lineup. Travis went on the IL with a wrist injury, but as we all know he has been struggling all season. The down time will hopefully help Travis mentally, and his approaching rehab stint with San Antonio will hopefully get him going at the plate. I am hopeful, apparently.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Braun has looked like Early 2010’s Deputy lately. He came in at .409/.545/.500 , OPS 1.045 on the week (admittedly this included four games at Citizens Bank Stadium in Philly, which more or less serves as a Little League park for Braunie). He also scored seven times and drove in another seven. Subtracting one for the single homer he hit, that’s 13 runs of the 41 scored by the Crew accounted for by Braun (32%!).
TOP PITCHING STORY: Brandon Woodruff is pitching like an ace! Two starts this week, and he worked 14 innings - with 8 of them coming today. And Woody could have kept going; he threw just 92 pitches in those 8 innings. He walked 5 in his first start of the week, but none today. Just 6 hits allowed and 11 strikeouts. 0.79 WHIP, 1.29 ERA. Effective pitching that goes deep into games is a real plus.
Honorable Mention: Do you know what 12-0, sixth inning deficits mean? This one meant that the ever-versatile Hernan Perez gets to make his fifth Major League appearance. The Latin Babe Ruth (yes, the title includes pitching, of course!) worked a scoreless inning with no hits, a walk, and a strikeout. More depth in the pen. But Rob Manfred doesn’t like how Hernan “slows down the game” because his pitches take so long to get to the plate. Of course, I kind of hope Hernan gets the rest of the season off from pitching. And actually, MLB will forbid position players from appearing on the mound soon.
IMHO: The Atlantic League is going to start testing Robot Umps on balls and strikes in about four weeks. There is some absurd consternation about this...including how it will make games about a half hour longer than they are now. For the life of me, I’m puzzled on that one. How? Will the fractions of a second between the pitch and the umpire’s relaying of the call add up to a a half hour? Are pitchers getting so many calls with the current system that hitters are going to start walking willy-nilly? There may be some hiccups, but it’s coming, folks! We can do this; we have the technology. Robot Umps are coming!!!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Saturday’s extra inning loss had several villains, but having Alex Claudio remain in the game to face the Braves’ most recent rookie phenom, Austin Riley, seemed the most puzzling. Jack Stern said it for all of us:
CC rarely makes glaring mistakes,
but letting Claudio pitch to Riley was bad managing.
Claudio allowed a game changing two run home run to Riley, and with a righty coming up it seemed logical to bring in a ready Jeremy Jeffress. But Craig wanted Claudio for Brian McCann, which Jeffress could have done equally effectively. To be fair, CC seemed just as PO’d as the rest of us with his decision. Or with Claudio’s performance. Or both.
Next week is a stay-cation in Milwaukee for the Brewers; they only play five games with Monday and Thursday off. Two against the Reds on Tuesday and Wednesday will be followed by a three game weekend return match-up with the Phillies. Five wins would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference