Hmmm. What lessons can be learned from the last week before the All-Star game? Mainly, that the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t very good at it. Last season they lost their final six games, including the last five to the Pittsburgh Pirates. This year the went 2-5 (I guess that’s an improvement) against the Cincinnati Reds and the Buccos. But in this division, I just don’t know. Here are your standings:
- Chicago Cubs 47-43 -
- Milwaukee Brewers 47-44 .5
- St. Louis Cardinals 44-44 2.0
- Pittsburgh Pirates 44-45 2.5
- Cincinnati Red 41-46 4.5
So who is out of the race? Nobody.
Plus, the Brewers barely avoided serious injury to their two starting middle infielders as Keston Hiura and Orlando Arcia smashed into each other going after a grounder in the bottom of the eighth of Saturday’s game, which the Crew was getting drubbed in. Both actually survived, and even played today. And their win Friday over the Pirates saw them blow a 6-1 ninth inning lead, only to win in the tenth.
Oh — and Mauricio Dubon was called up when it looked like Arcia could be out for a while and made his big league debut Sunday. I figure he’s back down for a reliever before Friday, but it was nice to see him up. Who knows? Perhaps Tyler Saladino will go down instead.
And five Brewers (Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal, Josh Hader, and Brandon Woodruff) are headed to Cleveland for the game Tuesday night. Hader won’t play, but it looks like the rest will be available for the game. Yelich, however, has pulled out of the Home Run Derby due to back issues.
TOP HITTING STORY: So. Are we getting a second half from Jesus Aguilar that will equal his first half in 2018? One can only hope. Zeus had a slash of .462/.533/1.231, which produced an exemplary OPS of 1.764. That included a double and three homers (two today), and man oh man Zeus could really help an offense that is struggling of late.
Honorable Mention: The man with the bad back, Christian Yelich seems to be slumping. How does he have a final week, then, that reads .353/.500/.765; OPS 1.265? Christian had a double and two homers on the week, and drew five walks. So lets get in a few innings on Tuesday and then R-E-L-A-X until Friday.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Speaking of guys who could really help the team with a bounce-back second half, Corbin Burnes has shown occasional flashes of last season’s effectiveness, but his overall numbers for the first half of ‘19 are, well, atrocious. BUT, this week he had four appearances with no earned runs allowed (there was an unearned one, but what of that?). Burnesy didn’t walk anyone, and he struck out seven. His slider was very effective.
(Dis)honorable Mention: Last season, the Brewers used the bullpen shuttle from the Springs to great advantage. In ‘19, not so much. Deolis Guerra and Burch Smith each got a chance to work. They combined for 2.2 innings and allowed 10 hits and 9 runs — all earned. Just one walk (guys hit the ball before they could be walked, more or less) and a couple of strikeouts. That’s a WHIP of 4.124. I’ve heard that if you give up in excess of four baserunners an inning you usually give up runs. Yup, an ERA of 30.37. Are we surprised that both are now gone? Did we really complain about Taylor Williams and Jacob Barnes?
IMHO: I think I’ll talk about something other than baseball. Congrats to the USWNT for their second consecutive World Cup win, and fourth over all. Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands was their best performance in the tournament, keeping a dangerous Dutch side largely at bay and keeping constant pressure on Sari van Veenendahl. Van Veenendahl was outstanding in goal for the whole tournament, and kept the U.S. ladies off the scoreboard for 60 minutes.
A penalty kick goal by Megan Rapinoe put the team on the edge of the championship, and nine minutes later former Wisconsin Badger star Rose Lavelle scored a beautiful goal on a solo foray down the middle of the pitch to put the champs up 2-0. They closed it out, and while the rest of the world IS catching up, they haven’t quite caught up to the U.S. squad.
It’s always nice to see people that you admire attain success through hard work and excellent play. This doesn’t happen by accident. Looking forward to the Olympics.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Streaks make you think. Both good and bad streaks. Right now, the Brewers are in the middle of a bad one, and bobadgers ruminated on what might happen if this continues after the All Star break.
I’m starting to wonder if the Brewers should do a mini-rebuild.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens right after the All-Star break. If the Brewers lose 7 of 10, maybe they should think about selling off Grandal & Moose. They’re both FA’s at the end of the year anyway. Get whatever you can for them. They would be sought after by contenders.
It wouldn’t mean they’re giving up a potential run in 2020. They would absolutely need a bounce back from Shaw and a couple FA signings to help.
Keep Yelich/Hiura/young pitching and see if you can build around them. I still think Burnes is going to break out. Just too bad it wasn’t this year.
At first, I agreed with this stance. After further thought, I kind of still do. With a caveat that somebody else will need to have sprinted out ahead. If the end of July approaches with Milwaukee five games under .500 and seven games out or more, it is entirely possible that somebody will value an All Star catcher or infielder enough to ship out some good prospects. I wonder if Yaz’s new-found ability to hit from the right side, not to mention lead off, will increase his free agent value. And Moose; man, he must get some action with his infield versatility now a thing. They will benefit from their season in Milwaukee. Let’s hope that the Brewers do too.
I don’t think it will happen, though. The NL Central looks like a fight down to the end at this point, and you can’t pass up a chance at the post season. The Crew is just a half-game behind the Cubs, after all. However, it will be hard for a Central team to get a Wild Card spot, at least the way things are going.
How the roster is constructed next season will be interesting.
Enjoy the break, folks. I’m kind of happy that Yeli isn’t participating in the Derby; I can take a break from the game for a few days. I hope the rest of the team does, too. Real games resume with a three-game series against the Giants next Friday.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference