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OOTP 21 Season Sim: Knebel no longer perfect

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The Brewers hover around .500 after Corey Knebel blows a pair of leads for the first time in 2020

Divisional Round - Colorado Rockies v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One Photo by Dylan Buell/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.

Saturday, May 30th - Brewers 1, Rays 0

With Ryan Braun landing on the DL, the Brewers called up Ryon Healy to take his spot on the roster. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact, hitting a solo home run that was the difference in a gem pitched by Brandon Woodruff.

Woodruff only allowed 2 hits over 7.1 shutout innings, although he did walk 4 batters while striking out 6. After a slow start to the year, this was Woodruff’s 3rd quality start in his last 4 outings, dropping his ERA below 4 to 3.82.

Sunday, May 31st - Rays 5, Brewers 4

The Brewers have to settle for a two-game split in Tampa after being held to 2 runs over 7 innings by Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough.

Justin Smoak did make his case for regaining more playing time at first base with Braun out with a pinch-hit 2-run home run to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead in the top of the 9th inning, but Corey Knebel finally surrendered his first runs of the season after 8 scoreless outings since coming off the Injured List. It was Joey Wendle’s two-run triple in the bottom of the 9th that tied the game, and after an intentional walk to Ji-man Choi, Manuel Margot hit the game-winning sacrifice fly.

Monday, June 1st - Brewers 5, Nationals 1

The Brewers were able to bounceback from a bitter loss the day before to improve to 4-0 on the season against the defending World Series champions. Brent Suter had yet another strong outing, holding the Nats to 1 run over 5.2 innings, allowing just 3 hits.

Offensively, Omar Narvaez continued to star, going 3-for-4 with a 2-run double and a pair of singles. Narvaez is now hitting .320/.416/.429 and is on pace for a 4-WAR season. Luis Urias (now hitting .292/.411/.458 in 37 games since getting called up) also contributed a pair of hits and a walk. Healy also hit his second home run in three days as the Brewers tagged Wahington starter Kyle Lloyd — usually a reliever, making his third start of the year — for 5 runs, although he did strike out 9 over 6.1 innings.

Tuesday, June 2nd - Nationals 5, Brewers 4

Things didn’t look good early, when Washington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning with the undefeated (at least in W-L record) Max Scherzer on the mound. The Brewers responded quickly, though, scoring 3 in the top of the 2nd off Scherzer — with the tying runs coming off an unlikely 2-run home run by Freddy Peralta. Put that one somewhere between Brent Suter homering off Corey Kluber and Brandon Woodruff homering off Clayton Kershaw in Brewers lore.

That’s all Peralta and Scherzer would allow in the game before it was turned over to the bullpens. The Brewers took a 4-3 lead in the 7th, but the Nationals took it right back in the bottom half of the inning with a 2-run home run by Juan Soto off of Aaron Wilkerson.

That would prove to be the difference, as Sean Doolittle struck out 2 in a perfect 9th inning for the save.

Wednesday, June 3rd - Nationals 8, Brewers 7

The Brewers looke like they were on their way toward yet another series win over the Nationals, only to be dealt a gut punch in the bottom of the 9th.

Corey Knebel loaded the bases with 2 hits and a walk before Josh Hader was called on to get the game’s final out. Unfortunately, his second pitch slider was hit for a 2-run walkoff single by Starlin Castro.

FT(former)C.

That inning ruined a banner day for Ryon Healy, who went 3-for-5 with 2 more home runs and 3 RBI.

Record over the last week: 2-3
Overall record: 31-31
Standings: 2nd place, 6 GB in NL Central, 2 GB in NL Wildcard

Hitting Storyline of the Week: Ryon Healy is on some kind of Sogard-ian/Saladino-ish run in the first week or so since getting called up from Triple-A. In his first 7 games with the Brewers, Healy has gone 8-for-28, with 4 of those hits being home runs (and another being a double). He won’t show much discipline at the plate — he’s yet to draw a walk and has struck out 5 times — but the power would be a much-needed asset in the lineup with Ryan Braun out with his torn ankle ligaments for the next month or so.

Pitching Storyline of the Week: No reliever is perfect, and Knebel found that out the hard way in the last week. After coming off the Injured List with a bit of a miracle run, the control issues that have plagued Knebel in the past — and kept him from becoming a truly dominant closer — flared up against Tampa and Washington. The Brewers’ bullpen is still much better now that he’s in it, but the past week is a reminder that any outing can get ugly if he isn’t locating his curveball.

Next week: @ Boston (6/5, 6/6, 6/7), vs. San Diego (6/9, 6/10, 6/11)

2020 MLB Draft

Detroit took Vanderbilt shortstop Austin Martin first overall in the draft, defying most draft boards that had Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson at the top. Baltimore did not hesitate to take Torkelson 2nd overall, pairing another advanced college bat with last year’s #1 overall pick, Adley Rutschman. The Brewers took Georgia junior Cole Wilcox with the 20th overall pick despite his demand for a $4,400,000 signing bonus. The front office and prognosticators seem to be in agreement that the upside is worth the signability risk.