The week in review: The Milwaukee Brewers kicked off last week with a three game series in Cincinnati. They dropped the first two games by scores of 3-0 and 6-4, but rebounded with a convincing 7-0 win. Next up was Chicago with the Cubs on the threshold of clinching the NL Central division title. Milwaukee put their celebration on hold with a 5-4 win on Thursday night, but that was only temporary until St. Louis lost later in the evening. The Crew went on to win the four game series, three games to two. Going into Monday’s action the Brewers are still in fourth place in the NL Central with a 68-82 record, 26.5 games behind Chicago.
Offensively speaking: Chris Carter hit a couple homers in the Cubs series and still leads the team with 36 dingers. He also leads the team in strikeouts with 191, and that sets a new franchise record. Jose Hernandez had 188 K’s in 2002. Ryan Braun hit a pair of homers and drove in five runs in the Brewers 11-3 win over the Cubs on Saturday. It’s Braun’s sixth multi-homer game this season.
Pitching in: Junior Guerra threw six scoreless innings in the win over the Reds and lowered his season ERA to 2.81 in the process. He has since been shut down for the remainder of the season in an effort to protect his arm, after throwing a career high 148 1/3 innings between Milwaukee and Colorado Springs. Wily Peralta had a good outing on Sunday with six innings of one run ball to beat the Cubs and improve to 7-10 on the season. He also chipped in a single.
Injuries and roster moves: Michael Blazek has been throwing simulated games and the goal is to get him healthy and end the season on a positive note. “I’d like to get him game action,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s a goal, to get him game action, but the No. 1 goal is to have him feel healthy, just because I think game action is the last step of feeling healthy … but not at the risk of anything else.” Keon Broxton fractured his right wrist in a collision with the Wrigley Field wall last Friday. Michael Reed was recalled to take his place. Kirk Nieuwenhuis replaced Broxton in the game but also left due to a lower abdominal strain, so right now it looks like Reed will get the bulk of the center field starts going forward.
Down on the farm: Prospects Nathan Kirby and Taylor Williams both spent the entire Minor League season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but are on track to take part in the Brewers’ fall instructional league. Kirby is ranked as the Brewers #22 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. #17 prospect Ryan Cordell had a high ankle sprain in August and will be added to the instructional league. He’s the outfielder that came over from Texas in the Jonathan Lucroy trade.
The week ahead: Well, this is it – the last home stand of 2016. After today’s off day, Pittsburgh is in for three games and Cincinnati visits for Fan Appreciation Weekend. Next Monday the Crew will be in Texas to start the final week of the season. Probable pitchers are Matt Garza, Jimmy Nelson, and Chase Anderson for the Pirates series.
Random notes: If you were under a rock this past week you probably missed the 2017 schedule release. The Brew Crew kick off the season on Monday, April 3, at home against Colorado at 1:10 p.m. Interleague includes games against the AL East, so fans can party like it’s 1982 all over again. Boston visits Miller Park for the first time since 2003, and the Brewers also welcome Toronto and Baltimore to town. Milwaukee visits New York and Toronto. The annual border battle is on with Minnesota both in Target Field and Miller Park for two games apiece. You can see the entire 2017 schedule here.
Later this week I’ll have a blog post about a very special moment in Brewers history – the last time a starting pitcher won twenty games in a season. It was 30 years ago and the guy? Teddy Higuera.
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