Baseball is scheduled to return soon, but 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 as we wait for the real thing to return.
Friday, July 3rd - Brewers 8, Cardinals 6
Paul Goldschmidt homered for the Cards — because of course he did — but a big lead meant his grand slam in the bottom of the 9th didn’t mean as much as it otherwise would have. Omar Narvaez also hit his 10th home run of the season, helping the Brewers to get back over .500. Josh Lindblom picked up the win with one of his best starts in what’s been a rough first half, allowing just 2 runs over 6.2 innings.
After the game, Craig Counsell broke some bad news to reporters — Brock Holt, who had been a valuable supersub hitting .289/.357/.460 — would essentially be out for the rest of the year, going on the shelf for at least 3 months with a torn abdominal muscle. Ronny Rodriguez was called up to talk his place.
Saturday, July 4th - Brewers 5, Cardinals 3
Ryan Braun once again came up big against the Cardinals in St. Louis, going 2-for-4 with a home run and driving in 3 runs, proving to be the difference. Braun’s 2-run homer off Carlos Martinez gave the Brewers an early lead in the 2nd inning, as the Cards righty struggled with command all game, hitting 3 batters in 5 innings (including Braun the next time he came up, driving in a run with the bases loaded). The win moved the Brewers within 3 games of St. Louis in the division race.
For the second day in a row, Counsell had to announce a major injury — Lorenzo Cain is headed to the IL after spraining his ankle earlier in the week. He’s expected to be out for 6 weeks. Tyrone Taylor was called up from Triple-A.
Sunday, July 6th - Brewers 7, Cardinals 4
The Brewers complete what seemed like an improbable sweep in St. Louis, using an early-game barrage against Miles Mikolas to cruise to another win and move within 2 games of the division lead. Keston Hiura was the star of the afternoon, going 3-for-5 with his 18th home run of the year.
Tuesday, July 8th - Brewers 6, Rays 5 (10 innings)
Back home at Miller Park, the Brewers extended their win streak to 6 games with a wild extra-innings win that saw both teams score in the 10th. The Rays scored in the top half of the inning on an error by Ryon Healy, who dropped a throw at first from Luis Urias. In the bottom half, though, Urias and Eric Sogard would bail him out. It was Sogard who delivered the game-winning hit, with a 2-run double that scored Urias from first for the walkoff. Meanwhile, St. Louis lost in Washington, putting the Brewers just 1 GB.
Wednesday, July 9th - Brewers 3, Rays 1
It turns out it’s a good time for the Brewers to get hot. Freddy Peralta pitched the Brewers to their 7th straight win, while the Cardinals got crushed in DC, 13-5, drawing the NL Central race to a tie. Christian Yelich delivered the go-ahead hit for the Brewers with a 2-run single in the 5th inning to give them the lead that would hold up.
Thursday, July 10th - Brewers 8, Rockies 4
Milwaukee once again jumped out of the gates, scoring 6 runs in the first 2 innings off Colorado starter Jeff Hoffman. That included Tyrone Taylor’s first career big league home run in the 2nd inning. Yelich followe with a 2-run homer later in that inning, and the Brewers cruised from there.
Friday, July 11th - Rockies 7, Brewers 2
The win streak is over at 8, after David Dahl went off with a 5-for-5 night with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Keston Hiura hit his 21st home run of the season, but that was about all the Brewers could muster against Kyle Freeland.
Saturday, July 12th - Brewers 8, Rockies 1
Keston Hiura and Omar Narvaez continue their All-Star pushes by homering (the 22nd for Hiura, the 11th for Narvaez), and Ryan Braun contributed with a pinch-hit RBI double off old friend Jhoulys Chacin. Brent Suter held the Rockies to just 3 hits over 6 innings, striking out 9 in the win.
Sunday, July 13th - Brewers 6, Rockies 2
Unlike recent years, the Brewers close out the pre-All-Star break portion of the schedule as one of the hottest teams in baseball, closing out the weekend by winning 3 of 4 from the Rockies.
Hiura homered again for his 23rd, Yelich added his 18th, and Brandon Woodruff had a strong 6 innings, hold Colorado to 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 7. After the game, Hiura was named NL Player of the Week, going 13-for-24 with 5 homers and 13 RBI in the last 7 days.
Yelich Snubbed from All-Star Team
It’s admittedly been a bit of a “down” season for Christian Yelich, at least by his standards (2.79/.382/.483 with 17 home runs, 16 doubles, 46 RBI with a 128 OPS+), but the assumption was he would still be headed out to LA for the All-Star Game. It apparently wasn’t meant to be, though, as Yelich was left off the final roster for the Midsummer Classic. Washington’s Juan Soto won the fan voting in left field, and Colorado’s David Dahl and San Francisco’s Mike Yastrzemski (the Giants’ only representative in the game) were named as reserves.
The Brewers will have plenty of other representatives at Dodger Stadium, though, with Omar Narvaez winning the fan vote at catcher after hitting .311/.409/.511 with 11 home runs and a 146 wRC+ and 2.9 WAR in the first half. Freddy Peralta (2.33 ERA, 12.0 K/9, 1.9 WAR) and Keston Hiura (.284/.337/.587, 22 HR, 140 wRC+, 3.2 WAR) also made the NL squad.
Trade Deadline Season
The Minnesota Twins made the first big splash of July, landing closer Kirby Yates and outfielder Josh Naylor from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Nelson Cruz.
In their annual questionable move, the Pittsbugh Pirates traded shortstop prospect Oneil Cruz — ranked 68th in the Top 100 prospects list — and 19-year-old pitcher Argenys Dominguez to Baltimore for shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was hitting .264/.302/.400 for the O’s. The Pirates are hanging around .500 and were 45-44 when they made the deal.
That wasn’t the only deal the Orioles would make as they started to tear things down again. Closer Mychal Givens is headed to LA to shore up the Dodgers bullpen in a deal that sent 19-year-old 2B Vladimir Perez and 19-year-old LF Jose Aguilar to Baltimore. Neither player is considered much of a prospect at this point.
It looks like there’s a lot of movement early on the closer trade market, as the Rays traded Nick Anderson — who had picked up 15 saves with a 3.86 ERA in the first half — inside the division to the Yankees for 19-year-old C Antonio Gonzalez, 19-year-old CF Everson Pereira and 22-year-old RHP Nolan Martinez.
World Series hero Howie Kendrick’s time in Washington is also coming to an end in a trade for a relief ace. He’s part of a package that also includs 19-year-old RHP Erick Figueroa heading to Cleveland for LHP Brad Hand and 23-year-old old RHP Nick Sandlin. Hand had racked up 28 saves with a 1.65 ERA for Cleveland before the trade with a 298 ERA+. Washington’s bullpen ranked 9th in the NL with a 4.59 ERA before the trade, with little depth behind Sean Doolittle (14 saves, 2.20 ERA).
NOTE: With the “real” season scheduled to start soon, we’ll be covering larger chunks of the season in the next couple sims, aiming to finish the “sim season” by the time the “real season” starts.