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)
Replay Wins Game: The main reason sports fans want replay is to correct mistakes that can determine the outcome of a game. We got a perfect example of how replay is supposed to work when the Brewers won on Tuesday thanks to an overturned call.
In its first season, MLB replay is not perfect. The delays before managers decide to challenge and the inconsistency in the length of time for replay reviews could use some tightening up. I’m of the mind that any play that requires more than 90 seconds to review should stand due to lack of incontrovertible evidence. Still, by overturning the “safe” call at first base that ended Tuesday’s game against the Giants, replay did exactly what we wanted it to do. The kinks can be worked out next season.
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Garza to DL: Most Brewers fans probably assume that if Garza stayed in that Cardinals game last week, they would have won the series. Instead, the Brewers bullpen fell apart in no time flat, the Cardinals punched Milwaukee fans in the gut once again, and the next week started with Garza going to the 15-day disabled listwith an oblique strain. It’s the first time all year a Brewers starter has been on the DL. The Brewers’ rotation has been at the root of their improbable 2014 first-place run, so any chinks in the armor are cause for concern. When Garza had an injury to the same area last year, he was out for a month and a half.
From the fan’s perspective, oblique injuries seem like they can linger and be impervious to normal medical treatment. Garza says he took himself out of the Cardinals game as a precautionary measure and that this injury isn’t as serious as the one he had last year. He’d probably have to say that no matter how he felt.
Of course, given how well Mike Fiers pitched yesterday, maybe Garza’s DL stint won’t hurt the Brewers that much after all.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Wily Peralta: Say hello to the first 14-game winner in MLB. After a so-so 2013, I don’t think any Brewers fan thought Peralta would step up like he has this season. He’s 14-6 through 23 starts, and only two of those were real meltdowns. In his four other losses, he’s given up three earned runs at most. Peralta’s been the beneficiary of good run support for the last couple of months, but not many of his wins can be categorized as cheap. Peralta was a big question mark at the start of the season, and he’s done more than his share so far.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Yovani Gallardo: In back-to-back starts against the Mets and Rays, Gallardo went at least seven innings without giving up any runs. It felt like he was about to go on a hot streak, and then Gallardo laid an egg against the Giants. Every now and then even the best pitchers have games where they look like they don’t know what they’re doing out there. Gallardo had one of those on Wednesday, and it was ugly. Gallardo’s season so far has not necessarily been ace-caliber, but still worthy of being at the top of the rotation (despite his deceiving 6-6 record, his ERA is comparable to 14-game winner Peralta). The Brewers need all hands on deck if they’re going to make the playoffs this year, but Gallardo is a bigger piece of the puzzle than most. Hopefully an “easy” start against the Cubs will get him back on track.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
A four-game series against the division bottom Chicago Cubs is a big chance to get some wins. Normally I’m satisfied with a series split any time a team plays four games, because it’s just bloody hard to win three out of four. The Brewers lost the last series they played in Chicago in May, but they need to capitalize now. The Cubs had a 4-15 stretch after the 4th of July, but have been playing .500 ball since. It’s about time for the Brewers to remind them that they’re the Cubs.
As Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder have talked about on the TV broadcasts, this is one of the least practical road trips in that the next stop is another series with the Dodgers. Barring injury, the Brewers will face Clayton Kershaw in consecutive starts. Jimmy Nelson did his job on the mound today, but miscues by his defense and offense put the game out of reach. Maybe he can conjure some magic in the Friday rematch against Kershaw.
(Image: Mark Hoffman)