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 Add Gerardo Parra to Strengthen Bench: As the trade deadline drew near, there were reports that the Brewers had interest in David Price and Jon Lester, two of the biggest names on the market. While it would have made headlines if the Brewers traded for high profile players, I’m not sure how much good those moves would have done. When the Brewers have struggled this year it’s been because of inconsistent offense and bullpen hiccups. The non-Estrada starting rotation has been stellar. With Jimmy Nelson coming along, I don’t know it would have made a lot of sense to trade for Price or Lester (especially since Nelson would likely have been shipped out).
While the trade for Parra didn’t exactly blow anyone’s mind, it gave the Brewers a better backup outfield option. When the Brewers acquired Jerry Hairston in 2011, it wasn’t a headline-grabbing move, but it made the team better and Hairston ended being a key contributor to a division-winning team. Hopefully the Parra trade ends up being like that.
In his first two games as a Brewer, Parra had three at-bats with a runner at third base and struck out all three times. Good thing he’s already fitting in!
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Things Not Looking Good for Jim Henderson: One week removed from his bobblehead day at Miller Park, it looks to the outside observer like Henderson’s career is in jeopardy. After only 14 appearances in 2014, Henderson went on the DL (following a particular ugly outing in Cincinnati). Since then, he’s seemed close to coming back a couple of times only to experience setbacks. The latest came on Friday, when Henderson completed a 30-game rehab assignment but was still not ready to pitch. It’s hard to remember now, but Henderson was slated to be the closer again this year and we were all a little surprised when K-Rod came out for the save on Opening Day. Now it appears very much in doubt if Henderson will pitch in the big leagues again. That would be too bad, because I think we all appreciated the beautiful story of a guy who didn’t play in MLB until he was 29 years old, and then made the most of his opportunity. Maybe the story was too good to be true.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Aramis Ramirez: Going into Tampa Bay, Ramirez only had five hits since the All Star break. Over the last week, Ramirez has turned things around – batting 12-23 (.521), including two three-hit games, raising his average from .271 to .288. His best game was a 3-5, 2 RBI performance on Friday, contributing to a rare Brewers victory over Adam Wainwright. Ramirez now has a .415 average against the nearly unbeatable Cardinals ace. Considering it was the only game they won in St. Louis, Ramirez’ big game is all the more appreciated.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Zach Duke: Duke was the Brewers’ Pitcher of the Month in July, allowing no runs and a .105 opponent batting average. Last week, though, Duke was notably ineffective. First, he had back to back appearances where he couldn’t finish games and needed K-Rod to bail him out. On Wednesday, Duke came in with one out and runners at the corners. He struck out the first batter he faced, but then walked the next guy to load the bases. Walking dudes with a five-run lead is torture for the fans at home. Then on Friday, again with a five-run lead, Duke came on for the ninth and walked two before giving up a triple. Duke has been pretty great all year, but those late walks made the games more nerve-wracking then they needed to be and probably took a few hours off the end of my life.
Today, Duke only retired one of the three batters he faced, giving up the tying runs to the goddamn Cardinals. His bid to win Pitcher of the Month in August is not off to a good start.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The NL West comes to town this week when the Brewers play series against the Giants and Dodgers at Miller Park. Like the Brewers, the Giants got off to a hot start in the first couple of months of the season before slumping in mid-June. They’re the only team with a chance to threaten the Dodges for the division title, but the Giants are limping into Milwaukee, having lost 7 of their last 10 including six in a row during the final week of July. It would be great if the Brewers could take advantage of them while they’re presumably lacking confidence.
The Dodgers are the only team in the NL with a better record than Milwaukee, so these two teams could meet later in October. If the Brewers could win this series, it might foreshadow a deep playoff run. The way the schedule is lined up, I believe Clayton Kershaw will start the series finale on Sunday. Guess they’ll have to get the first two.
(Image: Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)