(Image: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Although interleague games will now go on all year, this week is the all-interleague part of the schedule, and the Brewers will play their first games in an AL ballpark against the Twins. I have this feeling that the Brewers have never done particularly well on the road against AL teams, and in particular, that they don’t get a lot of production from the DH spot.
This is another one of those cases where Baseball Reference comes in handy. No longer do I have to rely on my feelings when it comes to how (un)productive the Brewers may or may not be in any given circumstance. Here is a look at how well Brewers DHs have fared over the last five seasons, as well as how they’ve played in AL road games. For fun, let’s compare DH offensive production to the pitchers.
.138 / .152 / .203 Pitchers
.231 / .286 / .385 DH
Last year, Milwaukee was 3-6 in the AL, including the infamous “blown save” series against the Royals. Greinke pitching nine shutout innings against the White Sox was a highlight, even though they lost that series. The DH spot wasn’t anything to write home about.
.175 / .214 / .244 Pitchers
.289 / .289 / .526 DH
During the best season in franchise history, the Brewers lost two of three in Boston, were swept by the Yankees, and lost two of three in Minnesota. Good work by the DH, though.
.210 / .252 / .284 Pitchers
.043 / .214 / .174 DH
Only two road series that year – the Brewers won two of three at Angels, lost two of three at Twins. Nothing much happening in the DH spot with 28 plate appearances.
.144 / .193 / .182 Pitchers
.278 / .350 / .389 DH
All or nothing at AL ballparks that year. Milwaukee swept Cleveland, then was swept by Detroit in the next series, after being swept by the Twins earlier in the year. Totally respectable production from the DH.
.152 / .175 / .208 Pitchers
.120 / .185 / .200 DH
Another season with only two road AL series was hell on the DH, and forgettable for the Brewers overall – only one win in Minnesota, and a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox.
In the last five seasons, the Brewers are 12-27 in AL ballparks. That includes going 5-10 in Minnesota, their most frequent AL destination. My suspicions about the Brewers’ road woes against the AL appear to have been confirmed.
Overall, the DH doesn’t do too badly when it has around 40 plate appearances. But when the Brewers play only six games in the AL, the DH is appallingly bad, at least recently. One wonders if that has anything to do with no single player filling that position – last year, the role of DH was played by Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Rickie Weeks, Taylor Green, George Kottaras, and Nyjer Morgan.
I was a little surprised at which current Brewers player has been the most productive as DH: Rickie Weeks. In six career games at DH, Weeks is 7 for 22 (.318), with two homers and three doubles.
So perhaps there is hope for Weeks to turn his season around. The NL simply has to adopt the DH rule mid-season. Fingers crossed!