And we can build this thing together Stand this stormy weather Nothing’s gonna stop us now
Oh my goodness. It’s hard to not just talk about Sunday’s game; a great come-from-behind, snatch-it-back, exhiliarating win over the Cardinals to take the series in St. Louis two out of three. If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you either saw it live or have watched replays (plural). So we’ll just get on with our weekly review.
Anyhoo, the Brewers won six of seven, first sweeping four in Miami from the lowly Marlins, then losing game one of three with the highly Cards. Then, Milwaukee fell behind 2-0 Saturday night before riding dingers from Moose and Yaz (Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal) to a 5-2 win. Finally, Sunday’s comeback from two deficits, then some serious nail biting at the end, win. The Crew temporarily caught the Cubs for the final Wild Card Spot before the Pirates apparently ran out random fans to pitch the three game set at Wrigley; the Cubs had 47 runs in the three games. They have no runs left, and lots of tough games. That includes seven of their final ten against the Cards. The Cardinals have all of their games against contending, winning teams. This could be interesting. Or disappointing. All told, despite the 10-0 loss on Friday, the Brewers outscored the Fish and the Fowl 34-31, continuing to confound Pythagoras and his expected record. He expects the Cubs to be 13 games ahead of the Crew. Ha!!
No matter what, Milwaukee has so far responded well to the season ending injury to Christian Yelich. Kids, don’t foul balls off of your kneecap. The Yeli Show will continue next season, unless he’s as fast at healing as he is at running and is back for the World Series. Is that too big of an assumption?
TOP PITCHING STORY: Jordan Lyles has been rather valuable since David Stearns acquired him for Double-A pitcher Cody Ponce. At this point, it looks like another steal of a deal. Of course, that may change if Cody ever makes the majors. Lyles won one of his two starts this week (with a no decision in the other), and it was against Cards’ ace Jack Flaherty on Saturday night to stop the Crew’s one game skid. His six inning start is shocking given Craig Counsell’s tendency to let his starters go until the first foul ball. Where would this team be without his performance since August 1st? Probably about five games back of the Cubs.
Honorary Mention: Boy, you’d think that a 6-1 week would have some stellar pitching performances. Not really. I mean, they were solid, they had to be. But I guess Josh Hader had four saves in four opps, and fanned eight in 3.1 innings. But the two run homer he gave up Sunday could have been a disaster. Drew Pomeranz had a save and no runs allowed in 2.2 innings. So the power lefty relievers were good enough. I guess I’d give the nod to the four man group (Ray Black, Pomeranz, Freddy Peralta, and Hader) that worked the final five innings of the 3-2 win in the series finale over the Marlins, allowing no base runners while striking out ten.
TOP HITTING STORY: We know that different players are going to have to pick up the slack for the AWOL Yeli (I guess it’s actually AWL), and Trent Grisham did his part this week. He played in all seven games, scored five times and drove in three - mostly from the leadoff position - with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. Grish added three walks, was hit by a pitch, and had an on base percentage of .483, slugging percentage of .680, and an OPS of 1.163. Our leadoff hitter for next season looks to be set. LoCain can concentrate on being healthy, playing good ‘D’, and contributing a bit more at the plate than so far this season.
Grisham looks like he’s 33 instead of 22.
Honorable Mention: Mike Moustakas returned from his banged-up left wrist/hand the day after Yelich went down, and immediately smacked two homers, including the game-winner with two down in the top of the ninth. (Gosh, I guess we had TWO two-out game winning, ninth inning homers this week. Imagine that: September Brewers are the best Brewers.) Moose’s OPS of 1.242 was even better than Grisham’s, but
Extra Special Honorable Mention: Starting pitchers Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, and Gio Gonzalez combined for an OPS of 2.250!!! They went four for four with a double, scored twice, and drove in two. That is metaphysically absurd. And I gotta say, Gio Gonzalez is a terrible hitter. Maybe they’re trying to get longer starts because they hit so well.
IMHO: If the Brewers had gone 1-6 this week, I’d be talking about next year’s roster right now. But they didn’t, and I figure I’ll cast my (non-existent) Manager of the Year vote for Craig Counsell right now. I’ve already mentioned Milwaukee’s out-performing their expected wins by eight; they’ve been out-scored by 30 runs this year but are 11 games over .500. The starting pitching has been a mess. The bullpen lost two of the best relievers in baseball over the course of the season; Corey Knebel to TJ surgery before things even got going, and Jeremy Jeffress first to a weak arm, and then to weak results. You could argue that Jeffress has hurt the team more than Knebel’s loss.
Jesus Aguilar never got on track, and was traded. Travis Shaw was so far off the tracks that trading him was impossible. Christian Yelich carried the team all year, but has been lost for the final three weeks and the post-season. Orlando Arcia is starting to look like just a poor major league hitter. Lorenzo Cain has played with a bum knee most of the year. He also had a thumb injury that hindered him and led to cryotherapy.
Yeah, the Yankees have had more injuries. But they just restock the team and go. The Astros, too, have played through tough times. But not on the mound. Plus, they’re in the AL. Counsell should have won last year. Let’s hope he gets recognized this season.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: It was quickly announced that Yelich would be out 6-8 weeks because he didn’t need surgery. SANDYTOLAN counted the days:
Six weeks from today is October 23
Which is the evening for Game 2 of the World Series.
Just thought I’d flag the date.
So maybe if he’s a fast healer...David Stearns quickly dashed our hopes, though, saying it would be 8-10 weeks. Still...
And oh! Congrats to Orlando Arcia and his fiance on the birth of twin girls. Lando’s life will never be the same.
Last home stand of the regular season starts Monday night, folks. Last chance until the play-offs to catch ‘em live! Four with the Padres, three over the weekend with the Pirates. One would hope that the Bucs remain dormant. And it’s a chance to spread some love around for Manny Machado.
I wouldn’t have minded a day off to savor Sunday’s win, but on to the next. Go Brewers!
Statistics courtesy of fangraphs and MLB