Each Sunday evening we will review our favorite and least favorite events of the previous week, and share our perspective on how the team is doing. Please enjoy responsibly.
Cheers! (Best event/news of the week)
Brewers Win a Series Against the Goddamn Cardinals: Going into St. Louis for the first time in 2014, the Brewers had not won a series against the Cardinals in their last seven opportunities. Playing their arch-nemesis on the road was daunting enough, but being shorthanded made a Brewers series victory seem highly unlikely. Yet the Brewers scratched out a 12-inning victory in the first game, followed by an 11-inning win the next day. That second game featured an inauspicious batting order that included Scooter Gennett hitting third, Khris Davis cleaning up, and Lyle Overbay in the five-hole. Beating the Cardinals is glorious on its own, but breaking their hearts in extra innings twice in a row was something special. (The Brewers could have lost that third game 20-0 and I wouldn’t have cared.)
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Ryan Braun to the DL: Not much of a surprise since Braun had missed six straight games, but still a bummer. Braun was finally hitting his stride after a slow start, and the Brewers’ offense hasn’t exactly been putting up any blowout run totals lately. Brewers pitching has been stellar through the first month of the season, but is finally showing a little wear and tear. It would be nice if the hitters could step up and take some pressure off the pitching staff, and the lineup just isn’t as threatening without Braun in there. Keeping their division lead without him may be a tall order.
On the bright side, it was nice not to hear boos on this last road trip.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Wily Peralta: Although he’s has a complete game shutout on his résumé, one might argue Peralta’s performance in the second game of the Cincinnati series was his most dominating performance. Not only did he keep the Reds off the board for eight innings, he drove in the only two runs of the game. It was reminiscent of that time Yovani Gallardo went eight shutout and hit a solo homer against the Pirates – a flat out dominating single-player performance. Baseball is a team sport most of the time, but on Friday Peralta was the man. The headline could have been “1 Unassisted.”
Carlos Gomez didn’t have that great of a week, going 7-for-31 (.226), but he deserves recognition for being Joey Votto’s personal nightmare.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Brandon Kintzler: Today’s game against the Reds was the difference between a winning road trip we could be satisfied with, and a losing road trip that would make us feel like the April magic had worn off. The offense deserves its share of blame for another anemic output, but Kintzler serving up a monster homer to Brandon Phillips was a real punch in the throat. When you think about all the jams the Brewers got out of today with Reds all over the bases…best not to think about it. In fairness, Kintzler has been great overall, and there were more than a few times this week that the law of averages caught up with the Brewers bullpen. But this was a tough one to swallow.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
Is it wrong to think a three-game series against the lowly Diamondbacks is basically a gimme? Anything’s possible, and there’s a reason the term “trap game” exists. By my count, Bronson Arroyo will pitch the last game of the series, and he’s always been tough on Milwaukee. Even so, if the Brewers can’t take two of three at home from an underperforming team, it would be a very bad sign. Then history comes to Milwaukee when the Yankees and beloved former Brewer CC Sabathia makes his return to Miller Park. Sabathia has had rough 2014, so hopefully he doesn’t heat up until after the Yankees leave town. Also, Derek Jeter will appear in Milwaukee for the final time of his career, which presumably will translate into a lively atmosphere for the weekend series. By this time this week, we should have an idea if the awful-in-May 2013 Brewers have put that disastrous month behind them.
(Image: Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)