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OOTP 21 Brewers Season Sim: Gutting the bullpen

After an especially horrific week, David Stearns (aka me) is finally fed up

Milwaukee Brewers v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/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.

After a disappointing week, the Brewers enter a weekend series against a division rival sitting just behind them in the standings for 3rd place in the NL Central. Could they right the ship and take another step forward in the division race? Well...

Friday, June 12th - Brewers 15, Reds 11

Nothing like an old-fashioned Brewers/Reds slugfest. This game featured four half-innings of 4 or more runs, 8 home runs (6 of them hit by the Brewers), 12 pitchers (only 3 of whom escaped without allowing a run) and lasted 3 hours and 53 minutes. You can probably guess the roof was closed for this warm June night.

Things got off to a rough start for the Brewers, who trailed 6-0 after Corbin Burnes couldn’t make it out of the 3rd inning. They would come roaring back, though, scoring 2 in the 3rd, 3 in the 4th and 4 in the 5th to take a 9-6 lead. Another terrible outing by both Alex Claudio and Josh Lindblom gave the lead back to the Reds though, with Cincinnati leading 11-9 through 6 innings.

Eric Sogard tied the game at 11 with a 2-run double in the 7th inning, though, and a solo home run by Lorenzo Cain in the 8th gave the Brewers a lead. Omar Narvaez, who tied a Brewers franchise record with 4 runs scored, hit a 3-run bomb to tally the Brewers’ final runs of the game.

Saturday, June 13th - Reds 12, Brewers 3

Believe it or not, this one looked like a pitchers’ duel through the first 5 innings or so. Brent Suter continued his solid pitching, allowing just 2 earned runs on 3 hits over 5.1 innings, but the bullpen gave up 10 runs over the game’s final 3.2 innings, starting with a 3-run home run by Tucker Barnhart off of rookie Drew Rasmussen in the top of the 6th. Josh Hader was charged with 4 runs in the top of the 9th after giving up a solo home run to former teammate Mike Moustakas — Moose’s 19th home run of the year — then proceeding to walk the bases loaded before leaving in favor of Claudio, who aided the Reds in unloading the bases.

To make matters worse on the pitching staff, Brett Anderson, who had to leave his June 10th start against San Diego after just 3 innings, is being shut down for 2 to 3 months due to elbow soreness — his 3rd significant injury of the short season. Eric Lauer was recalled from Triple-A San Antonio, where he had a 2.66 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts), to take his spot on the roster.

Sunday, June 14th - Brewers 7, Reds 5

This is a game that had no business being as close as it ended up.

Freddy Peralta shut out the Reds for more than 6 innings, leaving with one out in the 7th after holding a Cincinnati lineup that had totaled 23 runs in the two previous days to just 4 hits while striking out 7.

The Brewers had a 7-0 lead after scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning.

And then the bullpen — namely Aaron Wilkerson — nearly threw it all away, allowing 5 runs (4 charged to Wilkerson, who recorded no outs) in the top of the 9th inning. Luckily, Corey Knebel was able to stop the hemorraghing by picking up the game’s final 3 outs, striking out 2.

In a series that left both pitching staffs battered and embarrassed, old friend Wade Miley was left out on the mound to give up 6 runs on 13 hits over 6.1 innings, with the Reds needing him to soak up as many innings as possible after the last couple days.

Neither team can be too happy about this series, but the Brewers at least took 2 out of 3.

Tuesday, June 16th - Twins 6, Brewers 1

Minnesota is not a team you want to see when your pitching staff is giving up copious amounts of runs, and the Twins jumped all over Brandon Woodruff early in this game. They tagged Woodruff for 5 runs (4 earned) over just 2.2 innings, with the bottom half of the order doing almost all of the damage — led by struggling catcher Mitch Garver’s 2-run home run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Despite hitting 31 home runs in 2019, Garver is hitting just .229 this year, with his homer against Woodruff just his 6th of the season.

Adrian Houser pitched well in relief, striking out 5 over 2.1 scoreless innings, but it didn’t matter, as Minnesota’s Zack Littell shut out the Brewers for 6 innings, allowing just 2 hits. Justin Smoak, DHing for this game in Minnesota, drove in the Brewers’ lone run in the 8th inning.

Wednesday, June 17th - Twins 16, Brewers 3

Another disaster.

This time, literally no one in a Brewers uniform pitched well. Corbin Burnes: 7 ER over 4.1 innings. Jacob Barnes: 3 ER while only recording 2 outs. Aaron Wilkerson: 2 ER over 1 inning. Drew Rasmussen: 2 ER over 1 inning. Corey Knebel: 2 ER over 1 inning.

The Twins hit 6 home runs, including 2 each by Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco.

Record over the last week: 2-3
Overall record: 35-38
Standings: 3rd place, somehow only 4.5 GB in NL Central, 4 GB in NL Wildcard

Hitting Storyline of the Week: It’s a miracle the Brewers weren’t 0-5 in the last week with the way they pitched, so some credit is due to a lineup that was able to hang in there enough to squeeze out at least a couple victories and keep the pace in the division and wildcard races. After a slow start to the year, the Brewers now rank 6th in the NL in runs scored, 5th in OPS and 5th in wOBA. Omar Narvaez is looking like an absolute stud offensively, now hitting .330 with 40 runs driven in while mostly hitting 5th. Narvaez remains a close 2nd place in All-Star voting behind Philadelphia’s J.T. Realmuto.

Pitching Storyline of the Week: 50 runs allowed in 5 games. FIFTY. The pitching has struggled all season, but the last week especially has to be considered a complete and total failure. The Brewers tend to be a patient front office, but a number of pitchers in the bullpen appear to have run out of chances. Aaron Wilkerson was demoted to Triple-A in favor of J.P. Feyereisen. Jacob Barnes was designated for assignment and Devin Williams was called back up. Alex Claudio was also DFA’ed and Angel Perdomo was added to the 40-man roster and called up from Double-A Biloxi. There are rumors the Brewers are also looking into adding Cody Allen, who was recently released by the Texas Rangers. It may be throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall to see what sticks, but it was clear the status quo wasn’t going to work out.

Next week: @ ARI (6/19, 6/20, 6/21), vs. TOR (6/22, 6/23, 6/24)