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OOTP 21 Brewers Season Sim: FTC

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The Brewers continue to play up (or down) to their level of competition, and changes may be on the way for the struggling pitching staff

San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

We may be without baseball on TV right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play the Brewers’ 50th anniversary season anyway. Thanks to Out of the Park Baseball 21 — the latest installment of the best baseball sim out there — we’ll be bringing you the “results” of the last week of Brewers games every week.

A strong start to May was able to drag the Brewers up from the bottom of the National League to the middle of the division, but plenty of work remains to be done. While the Cardinals appear to be running away with the NL Central, the strong showing the previous week at least has the Brewers within shouting distance of a wildcard spot.

While it’s a little early to be looking at standings, the wildcard race is a reason why early-season matchups against teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks can still carry some meaning, which adds stakes to this past weekend’s head-to-head showdown.

Friday, May 8th - Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 4

After jumping on former Brewers ace Junior Guerra for 2 runs in the first inning, the bullpen again failed Brandon Woodruff and the rest of the team in the late innings. Jacob Barnes allowed a game-tying home run to Ketel Marte to lead off the 8th inning, and Josh Hader gave up the 3 game-deciding runs in the top of the 9th as his control completely left him. Hader’s ERA jumps to 6.94 with the nightmare outing.

Saturday, May 9th - Diamondbacks 4, Brewers 1

Luke Weaver was the star of the night, holding the Brewers to 1 run over 7 innings and hitting a home run off of Brent Suter in the 5th inning. The Brewers’ only offense on the night was, once again, thanks to Christian Yelich, who homered off of Weaver in the bottom of the 6th.

Sunday, May 10th - Diamondbacks 4, Brewers 3

Despite Luis Urias’ best efforts, most of the goodwill the Brewers built up in the last week has seemed to slip away after being swept at home by Arizona. The rookie infielder hit 2 home runs, accounting for all of the Brewers’ offense. It wasn’t enough to overcome another shaky start by Adrian Houser, though — Houser gave up 2 home runs of his own, allowing 4 runs over 5 innings before being pulled in favor of Freddy Peralta. Fastball Freddy, Aaron Wilkerson, Alex Claudio and Drew Rasmussen shut things down after that, allowing just 2 hits over the final 4 innings but the offense out of Urias couldn’t get things going against Mike Leake, who threw 8 innings and allowed 3 runs over 5 hits.

The rough start to the year has some heads hanging in the clubhouse, with both Jedd Gyorko and Brock Holt expressing some frustration over their playing time.

Monday, May 11th - Brewers 15, Cubs 5

If there’s one consolation to Brewers fans during the rocky first month and a half, it’s that the Cubs have been just as miserable, coming into this series at 16-25 while the Brewers were at 17-24. Few things provide as big a morale boost to Brewers fans than kicking the crap out of the Cubs, so a 10-run win smoothed over a lot of hard feelings over the events of the past weekend.

Christian Yelich tormented Chicago pitching by going 3-for-4 with a home run, 3 RBI and 4 runs scored while also drawing 2 walks. Avisail Garcia also put up big hit totals, going 4-for-5, but it was Eric Sogard who reaped the biggest benefits of all of the baserunners. Responding to Gyorko and Holt’s desires to get more time at third base, Sogard went out and drove in 7 of the Brewers’ 15 runs, capping off a 3-for-6 day with a grand slam in the 8th inning and falling a triple shy of the cycle. Sogard’s 7 RBI tied the franchise record that was last matched in 2017 by Jesus Aguilar.

Tuesday, May 12th - Cubs 7, Brewers 4

The Cubs jumped on Josh Lindblom early, tagging him for 6 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks over 3.1 innings. On the other side, Jose Quintana predictably pitched well against the Brewers yet again, holding Milwaukee to 3 runs over 5.2 innings, which was good enough for his first win of 2020.

Wednesday, May 13th - Brewers 7, Cubs 3

The Brewers’ weird pattern of playing up (or down) to their level of competition continues with another series win against the Cubs. Brandon Woodruff didn’t have his best stuff in the series finale, only managing one strikeout while walking 4 over 6 innings, but he was able to limit Chicago to 3 runs over 6 innings.

Omar Narvaez was the difference at the plate, driving in 4 runs on the afternoon. Freddy Peralta, Aaron Wilkerson and Josh Hader threw 3 hitless innings to close out the game.

Record over the last week: 2-4
Overall record: 19-25
Standings: 3rd place, 9 GB in NL Central, 5 GB in NL Wildcard

Hitting Storyline of the Week: Luis Urias is starting to look like the massive offensive upgrade at shortstop the Brewers have long needed. After hitting two home runs in the series finale against Arizona, Urias went 3-for-9 in the Cubs series to improve his line to .290/.437/.478 with a 143 OPS+ in 22 games.

Pitching Storyline of the Week: There was plenty of second-guessing when the Brewers gave a multi-year deal to Josh Lindblom in the offseason after he appeared to rejuvenate his career overseas, but to this point it hasn’t worked out well. Through 9 starts, Lindblom has a 5.44 ERA despite a strong start of 8 shutout innings against the lowly Marlins last week. That outing appears to be an outlier, though, as he’s allowed 5 or more runs in 3 of his last 4 starts. Meanwhile, Freddy Peralta continues to perform well in the bullpen, and there’s been some clamoring to see him return to the rotation.

Josh Hader has also struggled in the closer’s role to start the year, which means it’s probably a good thing that Corey Knebel has looked sharp in his minor league rehab assignment so far. All indications are that Knebel will be joining the team as they head to Cincinnati over the weekend, which could allow Hader to slide back into his more comfortable fireman role.

Next week: 4 @ CIN, (5/14, 5/15, 5/16, 5/17), 3 vs. NYY (5/19, 5/20, 5/21)