Things I learned this week: The Rockies can hit, and the Mets can’t. Well, perhaps this is a small sample size conclusion, but that’s the only sample that I have. Two thrashings mid-week at the hands of the Rox left the Brewers outscored 32-29 for the week but with a 5-2 record. The Crew’s 20-16 overall record will leave them in third place behind the Cards and Cubs, but just 1.5 games back of the Cubs or 2 back of the Cards depending on the outcome of tonight’s game between the other legs of the three-legged stool that is the race for the top spot in the NL Central.
Players came and went so fast this week that it was hard to keep track. For goodness sake, Milwaukee played today’s game with Burch Smith in the bullpen. For future reference, however, it is nice to note that Jimmy Nelson worked 3.1 innings today for the San Antonio Missions. Not exceptionally effective innings, but nonetheless starting pitching help could very well be only a month away. That eventuality that could bump an effective arm into the bullpen. And congratulations to Jimmy and his wife on the safe birth of their twins. That is better news than anything else that happened this week.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Zach Davies won 40% of the Brewers’ total victories on the week, and did it in ace-ish fashion. I know, I know - pitcher wins don’t mean a thing. Except when they do. In 13 innings over his two starts, the Bat Boy allowed 9 hits, 3 runs, 2 of them earned, while walking 4 and striking out 7. He worked into the eighth inning today, after Saturday’s 18 inning marathon that went through the bullpen like Giannis Antetokounmpo through the paint. That allowed Matt Albers* to only have to work 1⁄3 of an inning and Josh Hader to have the opportunity to go through the heart of the Mets’ order like Giannis...well, you know.
That’s a WHIP of 1.0 and an ERA of 1.38. He is now the NL leader in ERA. Which also might not be a perfect stat, but if you are the best in the NL, it does have meaning.
*Honorable Mention: Voila! Foreshadowing takes us to Matt Albers, who pitched in three games on the week, working 3 innings of hitless and walkless baseball with 7 strikeouts. If you’ve been following along this year, you know that the Brewers have had, um, a few issues with the pen. A healthy season from Albers would be huge. I am resisting any urge to go further with any allusions from that sentence.
TOP HITTING STORY: Ryan Braun had a good week on Saturday, with six hits including a walk-off single to reward the fans that stayed at the game for all 18 innings (and those of us that watched the whole thing from the comfort of our easy chairs), and his whole week came in at a .462/.481/.769 slash, for an OPS of 1.250. The Deputy drove across six and scored thrice, with two homers on the homestand (so far).
Honorable Mention: Jesus Aguilar has had better weeks. But jeesh, this one may be the most welcome of his time with the Brewers. Zeus had his first three homers of the season and drove across seven runs, and his four walks took his slash of .375/.500/1.000. That’s a 1.500 OPS. Yay! It looks like Aguilar and Eric Thames will split time at first for now. Between them they should exceed 40 homers on the season. Another yay!
IMHO: It’s possible that facing the Mets helped make the Milwaukee Nine’s bullpen look better than it will when good offensive teams face them, but on the other hand things might be coming together a bit. Jeremy Jeffress is seemingly finding his velocity, his curve, and his mojo. Corbin Burnes had 1 1⁄2 good outings from the pen. Matt Albers, as noted above, has velocity and location back. Alex Claudio can be maddeningly effective. Josh Hader is going to strike out two per nine again. Junior Guerra is very tough as a reliever (and my condolences on the passing of Juni G’s father). If Jimmy Nelson does make it back (or even if he doesn’t), Freddy Peralta may end up back in the bullpen mix. I have hope.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Keston Hiura’s slash: .327/.367/.752; OPS of 1.119. Not for the week. For his season at AAA. He also has 10 homers and 11 doubles. Is it possible that his production could be of use on the big league squad? There are some holes in the lineup. Yeah, yeah, the issues really are pitching related. But man, he seems like the real deal to me. cmow has noted some historical perspective:
In 2007, Brewers called Braun up after 34 games. He was crushing AAA to the tune of 1.119 OPS
In 2019, after 28 games in AAA, Keston Hiura has a 1.119 OPS.
Yup. It is time.
Three more games at home, this time with the Nats. Then it’s off to Wrigley to close the gap on the Cubbies. I watched two wins last week at Miller Park, including a homer from Zeus. I get to see another game Tuesday. If they win again I’ll offer my services as a good luck charm to the Brewers. Have a great week!
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference