This was not a great week for Milwaukee Brewer baseball. They lost the first five games of the week before salvaging the last two of four against the Cincinnati Reds. The first three losses occurred while the San Diego Padres were sweeping up the Brewers. Milwaukee bats went silent for the first two games out west, and when the bats finally woke up and took a late lead in game three, Jeremy Jeffress served up a dinger that turned things the Padres’ way.
The Brewers allowed lots of triples over the past few weeks, walked lots of guys, hit lots of guys, misplayed more than their fair share of plays in the field, and generally looked awful. Fortunately, the Cubs didn’t get hot and the week ends with Milwaukee just a half game out of first. Pending tonight’s results, the Cardinals have climbed back to within one or two games of first.
TOP HITTING STORY: Let’s do a little comparison on this past week’s results:
Player A: 25 plate appearances; .318/.400/.636; OPS 1.036; One double and two homers, eight runs scored with five RBI; three walks and six Ks. Oh, and he stole a base.
Player B: 23 plate appearances; .095/.174/.238; OPS .412; a homer; one run scored, two RBI; two walks and TEN strikeouts; let me check...nope, no stolen bases.
So, which one of these two would you prefer to have been in your lineup? There’s some apples to oranges stuff going on here, of course. One of these players was at AAA. It was just the wrong one.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Adrian Houser has forced himself into the Brewer’s rotation. His two games worth of work this week totaled 4.1 innings with one hit and no walks allowed while striking out five. He has shown good command of all four of his pitches and kept the opposition hitters off balance for the most part. Honestly, I wish he could stay in the pen, BUT —
Honorable Mention: Milwaukee’s starting rotation was able to tally only 33 innings in their seven starts. Not even five innings a start. That’s probably a good thing, though. They gave up 45 hits and walked 18. Thanks to the Reds’ Derek Dietrich, they also hit five batters. Holy Hippie! A fine WHIP (and I’ve included the five hit batsmen, as they are baserunners too) of 2.061 and a cumulative ERA of 7.91. Aaron Wilkerson should probably be getting a start over one of these guys, rather than pitching in the pen.
IMHO: 2-5 weeks tend to make you doubt your team, but remember that the Astros just broke a seven-game losing streak today. This stuff happens.
That said, as bad as the starting pitching has been, it frustrates me that Jimmy Nelson has to be kept up with the team in the bullpen. I don’t anticipate a big turn-around from the rotation, so the WHOLE bullpen will be needed. You can’t keep a pitcher down there who can only pitch in games where you are getting blown out. Houser will help the rotation. Maybe Zach Davies will re-discover his pitch location, but he has struggled mightily his last two times out and maybe could use a break. Unfortunately, the Crew really can’t afford to give him one.
Nelson needs to get regular work in AAA to build himself back into being a major league pitcher. He is not one now. I know refused the assignment, but it sure seems like it would make more sense to him than just doing side sessions in the pen and hoping the Brewers fall behind by eight runs or so.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Kyle gave us a mid-week post on the Super 2 status of Player A...er, Keston Hiura. It seems he will in all likelihood now be past the cut-off for early arbitration, removing a sad but perhaps valid reason that he has been playing in San Antonio and other points west for the past several weeks. BrewCrewJosh has an opinion on this:
Everyday Hiura remains in the minors, Mark A. and David Stearns are sending a clear message -- winning a championship is not their top priority
If they care about contending he needs to recalled and made the everyday starter immediately.
I’m not in that camp; the Brewers have shown over and over again these past three seasons that winning is the main focus of the team. However, the management group has now shown a loyalty to non-productive players that seems to extend past reasonable limits. Travis Shaw, today’s homer notwithstanding, shouldn’t be a part of a contending team’s regular lineup. I understand that there is a history of success for Travis, but until he demonstrates at AAA that he can be counted on to at least OPS .700 (and probably .800), he shouldn’t be on the team. He has an option. Jesus Aguilar doesn’t. There is a painless (for us, not for Travis) way to work out the roster crunch of bringing up Hiura. The time is now.
After an off day Monday the Seattle Mariners, along with BCB fave Domingo Santana, will arrive at Miller Park for a three game set. Then the Pirates come to town for three over next weekend to finish off June. A winning week would be most welcome. A good start on Wednesday for Adrian Houser would also be appreciated, as I will be there and the last two games I attended were started by Jimmy Nelson. They weren’t very much fun.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference