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OOTP 21 Brewers Season Sim: Finally over .500, but at a cost

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The Brewers continue their winning ways and now hold a winning record, but they’ll have to go without Ryan Braun for the next month

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs - Game Two Photo by Jon Durr/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.

Inching toward .500, the Brewers continue their Memorial Day weekend homestand with another series against the Chicago Cubs, who they’ve had good success against to start the year, taking each of the first two series meetings.

Friday, May 22nd - Cubs 4, Brewers 2

In their last meeting, Kyle Hendricks was beaten soundly by the Brewers, who tagged him for 7 runs on 14 hits earlier this month on May 11th. This time around was much different, as Hendricks looked more like the Hendricks we’re used to seeing, stifling the Brewers’ offense. He allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits over 6.1 innings, and a 2-run home run by Javier Baez in the 6th inning was the difference.

The Brewers’ lone runs off Hendricks — and in the game — were a pair of solo home runs by Avisail Garcia and Lorenzo Cain.

Saturday, May 23rd - Brewers 10, Cubs 9

This was, simply put, a roller coaster of a game.

The Brewers took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Ryan Braun connected with another “FUN YEAH” home run off of Jose Quintana, this time a grand slam. The Brewers’ lead would swell to 7-0 after 5, but nearly wasn’t enough.

After cruising through the first 5 innings, Corbin Burnes ran into trouble in the 6th, surrendering a 3-run bomb by Jason Kipnis as part of a 4-run inning that got the Cubs back into the game. Chicago added 2 more in the 7th inning on a 2-run double by Kyle Schwarber off Drew Rasmussen that cut it to a one-run lead. Rasmussen left the game after that double with the dreaded forearm tightness, but as of now the Brewers are considering him day-to-day.

The Brewers were able to respond with a run in the bottom half of the inning on a Christian Yelich solo home run and 2 more in the 8th on solo shots by Manny Pina and Avi Garcia, increasing their lead to 10-6.

They would need every one of those runs, as Chicago stormed back for 3 more runs in the top of the 9th as Adrian Houser, pitching after the Brewers had already used Josh Hader and Corey Knebel, struggled immensely. Houser gave up 3 runs on 5 hits before it was Josh Lindblom who was finally able to get the game’s final out — a Javier Baez popout with the tying run left stranded at second base.

Unfortunately, the win would prove costly, as Ryan Braun left early with what looked like a nasty ankle injury. We won’t know for a few days how costly it may end up being.

Sunday, May 24th - Brewers 17, Cubs 2

After a wild game Saturday, the Brewers made sure they had enough runs not to worry in the series finale.

The Brewers took advantage of 8 walks — before Willson Contreras walked 5 more while trying to get the game’s final out — and 14 hits to cruise to the win. Keston Hiura was the star of the day, hitting a 3-run home run in the 2nd inning before following that up with 2 doubles and 3 more RBI to cap a 2-for-3, 6 RBI day.

Brandon Woodruff cruised for most of the afternoon on the mound, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings and surrendering only 4 hits. The win clinched a third straight series win over the Cubs, improving their season mark to 6-3 over the northsiders.

Tuesday, May 26th - Brewers 6, Giants 4

Christian Yelich hit his 14th home run of the season and Brent Suter threw 6 scoreless innings to get the Brewers a game within .500. The Giants scored 4 runs off Josh Lindblom in the 7th inning, but never truly threatened after that and the rest of the Brewers’ bullpen was able to lock down the win.

The mood was dampened postgame, though, when Craig Counsell told reporters that Ryan Braun — who had been out of the lineup with an ankle injury for the last few days — actually tore ligaments in his ankle. Braun will be out for at least 5 weeks, once again leaving a big hole at first base. Ryon Healy was called up from San Antonio to take Braun’s place on the roster.

Wednesday, May 27th - Brewers 1, Giants 0

Freddy Peralta nearly threw a complete game shutout, but couldn’t get the last out, handing the ball over to Corey Knebel for the final out.

Peralta ended the game allowing just 3 hits while striking out 7 and walking none, outdueling San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman, who threw 8 innings without allowing an earned run.

The only run of the game came in the 6th inning, when Lorenzo Cain scored after reaching on an error.

Thursday, May 28th - Brewers 6, Giants 5 (11 innings)

The Brewers complete the sweep and wrap up a 7-2 homestand with another win in extra innings.

The game-winning run came from an unlikely source: reliever Aaron Wilkerson, who was forced to hit with no more pinch-hitters left on Craig Counsell’s bench. With runners on second and third, Wilkerson poked a base hit to the outfield off Trevor Gott, bringing home the winning run.

The win and a Pittsburgh Pirates loss also moved the Brewers into 2nd place in the division, 4 games behind St. Louis. The 5-game winning streak and winning 8 of their last 10 also has the Brewers just one game behind Colorado and Philadelphia for the 2nd NL Wildcard spot.

In other news, the first All-Star fan voting update took place in the last week, and the Brewers have at least one player in line to start. Omar Narvaez is the current leading vote-getter among NL Catchers, surprisingly beating out J.T. Realmuto of Philadelphia. Christian Yelich is in second place in Left Field voting, trailing Washington’s Juan Soto.

Record over the last week: 5-1
Overall record: 29-28
Standings: 2nd place, 4 GB in NL Central, 1 GB in NL Wildcard

Hitting Storyline of the Week: Craig Counsell was reluctant to put Ryan Braun in the every day lineup at first base, and now we may know why. While Braun hit well, it didn’t take long for his lack of durability to come up again. Now, the Brewers are back where they were for much of their disastrous April, without a solid option at first base — and a dependable bat in the middle of the lineup. We’ll have to wait to see how that plays out in the coming weeks.

Pitching Storyline of the Week: Freddy Peralta is making the Brewers look smart for locking him into that longterm contract before a true breakout. The young righty now has an ERA of 2.25 after his near-complete game shutout and has struck out 61 batters over 44 innings while walking just 10 batters all year. Is he finally turning the corner?

Next week: @ Tampa Bay (5/30, 5/31), @ Washington (6/1, 6/2, 6/3)