The week in review: The Milwaukee Brewers kicked off the 2017 season with a seven game home stand. The first four days were against Colorado followed by a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee dropped the first two games (7-5, 6-5) before winning 6-1. They dropped the final game with the Rockies 2-1. The weekend series with the Cubs kicked off with a 2-1 win in eleven innings. Chicago took the series with an 11-6 win on Saturday, and 7-4 on Sunday. Going into Monday, Milwaukee is 2-5 in the NL Central, 2.5 games behind Chicago and Cincinnati.
Offensively speaking: Travis Shaw became the first Brewers player to hit four doubles in the first two games of the season. Baseball Reference now has the Brewers listed as the first team in history to strikeout more than 14 times the first two games of the season. The all-time record is three straight games with 14+ K’s. Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, and Shaw all homered in the opening series. For Thames, it was his first big league homer since late 2012, as he played in Korea since then. Jesus Aguilar went 7 for 16 on the week.
Pitching in: The pitching staff gave up 22 hits and 10 walks in the first two games of the season. Neftali Perez notched career save #100 on Wednesday night. Probably the best pitching performance of the week came Friday night against the Cubs. Starter Jimmy Nelson and five relievers combined to shut down the Cubs from the third inning through the eleventh inning. Chase Anderson threw six innings, giving up one run. Wily Peralta’s first start was also encouraging – 5 innings, 3 hits, no runs.
Injuries and roster moves: Opening Day starter Junior Guerra strained his right calf running out a bunt in the third inning, and was initially placed on the ten-day DL. Bad news came later when the team found out Guerra would be out a minimum of six weeks after an MRI showed a significant tear in his calf. Left-hander Bret Suter was recalled to take Guerra’s place on the roster. Tommy Millone moved from the bullpen to take Guerra’s spot in the rotation.
Last Wednesday the Crew claimed switch-hitting former first round draft pick Nick Franklin off waivers. Franklin has played parts of four seasons and was placed on the waiver wire for the Rays. He’s yet another super-utility guy that can play pretty much anywhere in the field. Triple-A Pitcher Michael Blazek was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Franklin. Taylor Jungmann was the odd man out on the big league roster – he was sent to Double A Biloxi with the plan to stretch out as a starter.
Due to a taxed bullpen, after Saturday night’s game, the Crew sent down left reliever Bret Suter to Colorado Springs and brought up right David Goforth. To add Goforth to the 40-man roster, righty reliever Damian Magnifico was designated for assignment and exposed to waivers.
Down on the farm: Three of the Brewers top ten prospects (according to Baseball America) start the year in Triple-A Colorado Springs: Outfielder Lewis Brinson (1), pitcher Josh Hader (2), and pitcher Brandon Woodruff (8). The Sky Sox have a good mix of up-and-coming players as well as others that have spent time in the majors. Eight players are on the Brewers 40-man roster, and 15 players from 2016 are returning to the Sky Sox. The Sox started their season 3-0 before dropping Sunday’s game against Omaha. Outfield prospect Brett Phillips hit his first Triple-A homer.
The week ahead: After an off day today, Milwaukee heads out to Toronto for a two game interleague set. Thursday through Sunday are also road games in Cincinnati. Probable pitchers are Wily Peralta and Chase Anderson for the Toronto series, and Jimmy Nelson to kick things off in Cincinnati. Despite a rough outing against the Cubs, Tommy Millone will remain in the rotation according to manager Craig Counsell.
Random notes: Ryan Braun joined Robin Yount (19), Paul Molitor (12) & Jim Gantner (11) as the only players in franchise history to make at least 10 Opening Day starts.
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