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)
Ryan Braun Shows Well in Early All-Star Voting: Fan voting for the All-Star Game starters always produces some head-scratchers. There’s a tendency for guys to get voted in based on great seasons they haven’t had recently, and plenty of lesser known players get overlooked despite being on pace to have career-best years. Braun has had a productive season so far, even with a slow start and a stint on the DL. But given the fact that most of the attention he’s gotten in the last year has been negative, it wouldn’t have been shocking if he got snubbed by fans for the second year in a row. So when the first All-Star votes were released earlier this week, it was a nice surprise that Braun was third among NL outfielders.
I’ve noticed Braun doesn’t get booed as vigorously on the road as he did in the first month of the season. Perhaps fans have embraced the compassionate example of Dino Laurenzi and are happy to move on. Forgiveness is liberating, and it’s good to see a significant share of the voting public is willing to turn the page.
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Jim Henderson Rehab Setback: After an eye-opening 2013, Henderson hasn’t been able to stay on the field in 2014. Although he lost the closer role to K-Rod at the beginning of the season, he’s been a key contributor out of the bullpen when healthy. Other than a couple of lousy appearances against the Cardinals and Reds, Henderson has helped hold down the late innings. Then he went on the DL with shoulder inflammation on May 2. Almost a month later, after starting his rehab assignment Henderson felt pain in his shoulder, and now there is no timetable for his return. The bullpen is not as strong without Henderson, but it’s also a shame when a guy has an injury setback without any clear resolution in sight. You have to wonder about Henderson’s future in the big leagues.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Yovani Gallardo: On Tuesday, when the Orioles intentionally walked Mark Reynolds in the tenth to get to Gallardo, it was the kind of “conventional wisdom” play few would criticize. Sure, Reynolds strikes out more than I’ve had hot dinners, but Gallardo is a pitcher and everyone knows pitchers don’t hit. Ron Roenicke painted himself into a corner by emptying his bench, and had no one else to go to in extra innings. Gallardo would really have to come up big to make his manager look good.
If being the walk-off hero wasn’t enough, the next day Gallardo threw 6.2 quality innings and got the win. That’s a solid couple days of work.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Wily Peralta: No doubt, Peralta has performed way above expectations as the Brewers fifth starter. He did lay an egg on Saturday against the Cubs, though. The offense did their starter no favors by being shut out, but Peralta served up two full count homers to Anthony Rizzo. The first one could have happened to anyone, but when you let a guy take you deep in the same count two innings later, that’s an avoidable mistake.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
Now that interleague play is no longer a novelty, the series against the Twins has lost a lot of its intrigue. When the schedule included two weekend series against the Twins each year, it seemed meaningful, and it fostered a mutual respect between the two fan bases. If MLB is going to keep up this back-to-back two-game series in the middle of the week scheduling, the fun of the rivalry will quickly dissipate. This is just the second year MLB has had this schedule for former interleague rivals, and it already has a “what’s the point?” feeling to it. Unless they go back to the weekend series format, playing the Twins won’t be any more special than playing the Rockies, Mets, or other non-division teams. I miss looking forward Brewers-Twins games.
The Brewers go back to Pittsburgh next weekend, where the home fans have their first chance to get on Carlos Gomez’ case since Easter Brawl 2014. I think predictions in sports are bound to make you look silly, but I have it in my head Gomez will hit over .400 in the series with RBIs in every game. If that comes to pass, I will tell everyone I know that I have a savvy mind for the game. If I’m wrong, I’ll quickly forget I ever said anything. I’ve practically forgotten already.
(Image: Associated Press)