The Week in Review: The Milwaukee Brewers went 2-4 in games played this past week. Of course the biggest accomplishment was taking two of three games from the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, winning 4-2 and 5-3. The Cubs loss came in a 13 inning marathon that featured a lot of missed scoring opportunities and the first blown save by closer Jeremy Jeffress. After that series wrapped up, the Crew traveled to New York and dropped all three to the Mets by close scores: 3-2, 5-4, and 3-1.
Offensively Speaking: There isn’t as much to report from the offensive side of things. Hernan Perez has been 5 out of 12 with a couple of stolen bases in limited action. Two home runs from Chris Carter this past week, but that’s offset by a .200 batting average. Jonathan Villar has the most hits over the course of this past week, but it translates into a .250 BA, so that isn’t saying much. Kirk Niewenhuis hit a homer and according to manager Craig Counsell has played himself into pretty much the everyday center fielder job.
Pitching In: Chase Anderson stepped up in a big way this past week with two solid starts. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Cubs, and hung on for the victory. In Sunday’s game against the Mets he had another decent outing, but took the loss. Junior Guerra had great success with his split fingered fastball and struck out 11 Cubs in 7 innings of the 5-3 Brewers victory. Jimmy Nelson again had a solid start with 7 1/3 shutout innings, but unfortunately this came in the 13 inning loss to the Cubs. He has allowed just two runs in his last two starts covering 15 1/3 innings. Wily Peratla made some adjustments this week – mainly just grabbing the ball and pitching rather than thinking about it – and had better results. While he only last 5 1/3 innings against the Mets, he lowered his ERA and WHIP. Manager Craig Counsell said, “He got some outs with his slider. I thought there was life to his fastball and I thought the pace that he worked at was really improved. There were definitely some positive signs there.”
Injury Report: Ryan Braun sat out a few games with back issues, but returned on Sunday against the Mets. Domingo Santana was placed on the 15 day DL due to a right shoulder strain and Keon Broxton was recalled from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to take his place. Broxton was a bust in April with the Brewers, but tore it up in AAA after being demoted. Lefty reliever Will Smith is starting a rehab assignment and if all goes well will join the team in early June.
Random Notes: This seems to be the week for reporters to “question the process” and for Counsell to justify why players like Rule 5 guy Colin Walsh and Ramon Flores (out of minor league options) are on the team. Walsh is hitting .085 and Flores .200 on the year. Both were noticed this week in the Cubs 13 inning game when they both struck out looking. Flores also got some attention when he popped his first homer and drove in three runs in Saturday’s loss to the Mets. So the big question being asked is “why are these guys on the team and couldn’t we win now with others in their place?” Another process question thrown at Counsell this past week had to do with the team swinging at the fewest pitches (41.9 %) in the majors, leading to these results as of last Thursday: 8th in the majors with a .330 on base percentage, 18th with a .245 BA, 27th with a 25.2% strikeout rate which was offset by an 11.1% walk rate that was good for 2nd overall. Counsell feels that velocity has changed the game and it’s harder to put the ball in play. He said, “Contact ability is a skill. It’s definitely a skill. And because velocity is going up, it’s becoming rarer, I think.”
Down on the Farm: Orlando Arcia keeps hitting…and hitting…and hitting. His BA is up to .318 after sitting at .299 on 5/15. He’s collected 17 hits in his last 10 games for the Sky Sox. Manny Pina…who is this guy? A career .260 hitter in the minors, he’s gone bonkers with the Sky Sox and carries a .353 BA. Josmil Pinto has also done well in a smaller sample size at catcher – .323 in 65 at bats.
The Week Ahead: After an off day on Monday, the team plays in Atlanta for three games. They return to Milwaukee to start a home stand against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. Jimmy Nelson will start Tuesday night against Julio Teheran.
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