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OOTP 21 Brewers Season Sim: Knebel returns, Brewers surge

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A returning All-Star allows Craig Counsell to use his bullpen the way it was meant to be used, getting good results in the first week

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Seven Photo by Jonathan Daniel/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.

Thursday, May 14th - Reds 8, Brewers 1

The Brewers’ struggles away from home continue as the offense gets shut down by Tyler Mahle, who came into this game with a 5.55 ERA, but held Milwaukee to 1 run over 8.1 innings in what was by far the best start of his career. The Brewers got on the board first with an RBI single by Eric Sogard in the 2nd inning, but couldn’t score after that.

The game was at least close until the middle innings, when a 4-1 Cincinnati lead became a 7-1 Cincinnati lead on a 3-run home run by Jesse Winker.

Friday, May 15th - Brewers 3, Reds 1

Luis Castillo pitched well for Cincinnati, limiting the Brewers to 3 runs over 7 innings, but fortunately for Milwaukee those 3 runs all came on one swing by Keston Hiura in the top of the 6th inning and it was enough for the win.

The Brewers used Johnny Wholestaff to get the job done on the mound in this game. Drew Rasmussen was the nominal starter, striking out 6 over 3.1 innings before Craig Counsell used Josh Hader early (with Corey Knebel back in the bullpen) to squelch a rally and strike out all 4 batters he faced. From there, Alex Claudio, Jacob Barnes, Adrian Houser and Knebel put up zeroes to close out the game. Knebel looked sharp in his return, throwing 12 of his 20 pitches for strikes while striking out 2.

Saturday, May 16th - Brewers 6, Reds 0

The Brewers get their revenge on old friend Wade Miley, who threw a complete game shutout against them back in early April. This time, it was Josh Lindblom doing the shutting out, tossing 7 scoreless innings while allowing just 1 hit in relief of Brett Anderson, who left in the 2nd inning with a sore shoulder.

Miley gave up all 6 Brewers runs, 5 of them earned.

Sunday, May 17th - Brewers 8, Reds 6

Another old friend — Mike Moustakas — homered twice for the Reds, giving him 15 for the year already, but the Brewers were able to score 4 times in the final 2 innings to steal a series win on the road.

Lorenzo Cain provided the clutch hitting, driving a 2-run double in the top of the 8th to give the Brewers a 7-6 lead. Josh Hader and Corey Knebel teamed up to cover the last 6 outs — Hader the first 4, Knebel the last 2 — to close out the game.

Tuesday, May 19th - Yankees 4, Brewers 0

The Yankees came into a rare trip to Miller Park with a disappointing 25-22 record but lived up to the Bronx Bombers name in the series’ first game. New York’s 4 runs came on the power of 3 homers — one each by Giancarlo Stanton (his 17th), Gary Sanchez (his 11th) and first baseman Mike Ford (his 11th). Jonathan Loaisiga threw 7.1 shutout innings for the Yankees, while Brandon Woodruff gave up 3 runs over 5 innings while striking out 6 in an outing that would have looked a lot better had it not been for the 2 home runs he allowed.

Wednesday, May 20th - Brewers 6, Yankees 3

Milwaukee jumped on J.A. Happ in the bottom of the first inning, scoring 4 times thanks to a 2-run home run by Avisail Garcia and RBI singles by Eric Sogard and Manny Pina.

Brent Suter gave up 2 home runs over 6 innings, but was able to limit the damage thanks to no walks while he struck out 8 to improve to 4-4 on the year.

Thursday, May 21st - Brewers 6, Yankees 2

Making his first start since being moved into the rotation, Freddy Peralta held the powerful Yankees lineup to just 2 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings, striking out 7 and only walking 1. It was nearly 6 shutout innings, if it wasn’t for a 2-out, 2-run home run by Aaron Judge at the tail end of Peralta’s outing.

Avisail Garcia continued his hot hitting over the past week by going 3-for-5, driving in 2 runs and hitting his 12th double of the year.

Record over the last week: 5-2
Overall record: 24-27
Standings: 3rd place, 6 GB in NL Central, 3 GB in NL Wildcard

Hitting Storyline of the Week: Avi Garcia is proving to be a savvy pickup for the Brewers, providing a solid secondary run-producing option in the lineup. That’s especially true in the last week, with Garcia hitting .393/.414/.643 with 2 home runs and a double and scoring 5 runs while settling into the #2 spot in the lineup. His 8 home runs are second only to Christian Yelich’s 13 when it comes to the Powerball Home Run Leader Board.

Pitching Storyline of the Week: Corey Knebel’s return has solidifed a bullpen that largely struggled in the first month of the season without him, both by adding much-needed stability in the late innings and by allowing Craig Counsell to use Josh Hader more liberally. Knebel threw 3.1 scoreless innings in the last week, picking up 2 saves and a hold, while Hader made 4 appearances, picking up 4 outs each time with a day of rest between each appearance. It’s hard to argue with the results over the last week — the Brewers are now just a few games within .500 despite their horrible month of April and are 3 games back in the wildcard race.

Next week: vs. CHC (5/22, 5/23, 5/24), vs. SF (5/26, 5/27, 5/28)