An odd couple of weeks. I decided that three games wasn’t enough of a sample size to put together a Sunday Sundries last week, especially when those three were rather depressing. So I delayed it for a week, and in this past week I have been travelling with my wife to celebrate my Eddie Mathews (41st) wedding anniversary, which meant that I haven’t watched games or known what happened until well after the fact from Wednesday on. This seems to work very well for the Brewers, but I’m heading home tomorrow so too bad for them. BTW, this is how my brother always (almost) “watches” the Brewers; he gets the scores after it’s over because it’s too stressful to actually watch the games. It does do away with a lot of angst.
Anyways, the Brewers went 4-1 while I wasn’t keeping tabs on them. After several weeks of poor play leading up to this week, I guess I’ll just say thanks.
A 6-4 record over ten days leaves the Brewers two games back of the Cubs but back in second place in the NL Central, ahead of the Cards who usurped that second spot for a few days. Of course, Brandon Woodruff leaving Sunday’s game with an abdominal strain ain’t good news. I will hope for a 10 day IL stint and then back to form (he wasn’t sharp Sunday anyways, apparently).
TOP HITTING STORY: Is Keston Hiura ready for Major League Baseball? Hmm, let’s see...over ten games Hiura slashed .487/.523/.927 for an OPS of 1.450. In 44 plate appearances he had 8 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 homer. Keston scored nine times and drove in twelve. He even stole three bases in four attempts. He was also a key part of an offense that, as the ten days went on, discovered how to score runs late - especially in winning three of four in Phoenix from the D-Backs. Oh yeah, his season OPS is at exactly 1.000. Acceptable.
Honorable Mention: And Hiura’s ten games barely edged out everybody’s MVP, Christian Yelich, who posted a post-All Star game line that would usually take the top spot. Yeli re-discovered his home run stroke by hitting 4 in 41 plate appearances, and he slashed .405/.463/.838, OPS 1.301. Yawn — not too much above his season’s averages. Yelich scored ten, drove in nine. He also had four steal attempts and was safe all four times, leaving him still leading the league in both homers and steals as we pass the 100 games played marked. Oh my.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Earlier this year I was calling for Freddy Peralta to be sent to the ‘pen and into high leverage spots. He was so inconsistent at starting that the Brewers finally had no choice but to send him there, and the rest of the pen was more or less so bad that he was forced into high leverage situations. Voila! He’s pretty darn good at it. Fastball Freddy went in four of the ten games, working 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. Excellent! He walked six, which is not so hot, but struck out ten, which is. Hot, that is. He picked up Sunday’s win and had a zero ERA (natch). His WHIP was 1.13. He will be the Brewers’ right handed Josh Hader.
Honorable Mention: Zach Davies has bounced back from a poor stretch, and in two post-All Star starts he went 13 innings, allowing just 7 hits while walking 5 and striking out 5. He won the only decision he was involved in. He worked to a 0.92 WHIP and a 0.69 ERA. When Baby Pitcher has his command, he could just be the most frustrating pitcher that major leaguers have to face.
IMHO: Lots of discussion lately on what the Brewers will do with the trade deadline approaching. The last ten days give hope that the Brewers could make the playoffs, either as the Central champs or a Wild Card. But are they good enough to compete in the post season? Ah, there’s the rub. My guess is that Milwaukee GM David Stearns is going to try and strengthen the team with a bullpen acquisition, but nothing else. And that Moose and Grandal will be with the team through this season (I could see Moustakas back next year and thereafter, but I don’t think we’ll see Grandal in a Brewer uni in 2020 or beyond).
Unless Big Woo is out for an extended period, which is certainly possible. Then, get what you can for Grandal and Moose.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: I apologize. I’m usually scouting for these as the week (plus, in this case) progresses, but wasn’t able to this period. So let’s see what a quick scan of the week’s erudition brings us...
Gio Gonzalez returned to the rotation from a couple of months of being old (that’s why I can’t pitch any more — I have a permanently tired arm), and his triumphant return meant that Adrian Houser was moved back to the pen, where he has been a much more effective hurler than as a starter. Spaul149 caught the mood of BCB afficianados dead on:
Houser to the pen might actually be more important than Gio to rotation
Yup. But of course, Houser might now need to return to the rotation with Woody on the proverbial shelf. Sigh.
A six game week against the NL Central, with three against the Reds and three against the Cubs, all at Miller Park. So here we go; I’ll be back to watching every game and if they don’t go well, I’ll have to admit to the wisdom of my older brother. I hate when that happens.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference