It feels like the Brewers are a .500 team right now. *Checks week’s results — yup, 3-3.* Wait, didn’t I say that last week? *Checks week 22 Sundries — yup, my memory is fine.* I also said that the six games against the Cards and Cubs were crucial this week, and that the Brewers would need to win five of six to position themselves for a September push. That didn’t happen.
In fact, things looked desperate after a 1-3 start to the week, but the Brewers took the final two against the Cubs, both of them shutouts, so they seem to still have a pulse. *Checks Crew’s pulse — yep, but it’s faint.* So it would behoove them to make some hay this week, as difficult as that might seem with two against the runaway freight train Astros and then four (also at Miller Park) against the suddenly punchless Cubs. The Milwaukee Nine is three behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card, with the Phillies wedged in between them a half game up on the Brewers. I don’t know, maybe they shouldn’t award a second wild card this year. Oh yeah, St. Louis leads Milwaukee by six in the NL Central. Impossible to catch them, you say? Yeah, I’d agree.
Anyways, the Brewers outscored Chicago 6-0 in the two wins over the weekend, and were outscored 26-10 in the first four.
TOP PITCHING STORY: Junior Guerra pitched in four of the six games this week, going five innings and allowing just one hit and no walks, no runs, and notching a win. That’s a BAA of .067 and a WHIP of .020. You want to know something? Juni G’s WHIP for the season is 1.08, and opponents are hitting just .180 against him. Those are some solid numbers.
Honorable Mention: Josh Hader looks back to being really good, and the increased use of his slider might just be why. In any case, he saved the first two wins of the week and would have saved Sunday’s game if Christian Yelich hadn’t hit that pesky three run bomb with two out in the ninth. His BAA was also .067, and his WHIP was 0.21. Josh’s WHIP for the season? 0.82, with a BAA of .155. That’s solid, too. In fact, it’s really, really good.
TOP HITTING STORY: What Travis Shaw couldn’t do, Ben Gamel could — go down to San Antonio and get hot at the plate. He only played the two games after he came up (Saturday and Sunday), but went 5 for 9 with a double and a couple of runs scored. He’ll probably continue to get plenty of PT, too, what with the old man outfielders injured (that’d be Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain).
Speaking of old men, our house is adjacent to the playground for a church/day care center, and there are often lots of kids playing when I’m out back with the dogs. I was back there this week with the puppy, cleaning up the dog refuse, and a couple of the kids started screeching “Hi Puppy!” at him. They wouldn’t stop until we went over, wagging his tail, because he likes everyone. They kept yelling, and after a minute he kind of slunk away. Then they turned their attention to me, and started screeching “Hi old man!” As the puppy had learned, ignoring them wouldn’t work — believe me, I tried. You’d think whoever was monitoring these urchins would have had some sympathy for me, but no. I actually had to acknowledge them. I didn’t yell “Hi, little brats!” I just smiled and waved. Aren’t you proud of me? If they are out there again sometime, I’m gonna start yelling at clouds. That’ll learn ‘em. But I digress...
Honorable Mention: Christian Yelich continues to slump. But he somehow slumped to a .300/.462/.500 slash, OPS .962, with a double, four runs scored, and the three ribbies that came around on the aforementioned 443 foot blast that put away Sunday’s game. Six more walks. The last major goal that he could reach would be the team single season homer record (50, by Prince Fielder), but that seems a reach at this point. Maybe.
IMHO: If Jimmy Nelson is all the way back, as he thinks, and Brent Suter is as recovered from Tommy John surgery as it seems, the Brewers could have the makings of a pretty good rotation next year. Adrian Houser has looked solid, Zach Davies has occasionally looked OK — that’s a start, right?
And if Corey Knebel comes back at some point to go with Hader and Guerra, and Ray Black can harness his stuff, that’s a start on a bullpen. Who knows, Freddy Peralta might take a step up, and Corbin Burnes might rediscover his 2018 self...it isn’t hopeless. I sure wouldn’t mind having Drew Pomeranz back, too.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Nelson and Suter are September call-ups, along with Peralta and Jake Faria in the bullpen. First baseman Tyler Austin and catcher David Freitas came up, too, and they both played Sunday. Austin even scored on Yelich’s dinger. Troy Stokes and Aaron Wilkerson were DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster, along with fan favorite Jeremy Jeffress. JJ could never get it going this season, starting with arm fatigue in spring training, and David Stearns decided that since Jeremy was on the IL, and since the Brewers weren’t going to pick up his option for 2020, they would use that spot to add Nelson (or Suter).
menchkins thinks that the Brewers might offer him a deal for next year, but his wishes for success to JJ are echoed by all Milwaukee fans:
Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them pick him up again next season.
If not, best of luck wherever you land JJ!
I have no concept.
I don’t think he’ll be back.
So the Astros will start Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke Monday and Tuesday. At least the Crew will miss Justin Verlander, who had a one walk, fourteen strikeout no-hitter on Sunday. That’s his third, folks. Man, the Astros are good.
And it’s Back To School week! Drive carefully.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB