The Milwaukee Brewers are 3-3 thus far on the year, and have put some surprisingly good games together against the Houston Astros after dropping two games against the San Francisco Giants to start the year. Most surprising so far is that there have been more bright spots through six games than reasons to believe this was going to be a long season—the common thought coming into the season.
On the wrong side of things is Wily Peralta. Through two starts, Peralta has given up 10 earned runs over only 8.1 innings of work. Coming off of an atrocious Spring Training for Peralta, this trend should be quite concerning for the Brewers. Peralta was supposed to be the ace pitching spot on the staff coming into the year, but he may be in some early danger of losing that spot as other pitchers in the staff have come on to their own.
Jimmy Nelson is one of those pitchers. Through two starts, the 26 year-old is 1-1, only giving up four runs over 13.1 innings, with 12 strikeouts, nine of which came in his outing Sunday against the Astros. He has also shown improved command, only walking five total batters. Nelson is looking like the ace Milwaukee needs.
Another pitcher who looked good in his first start was Chase Anderson, who came over in the Jean Segura deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his one start, he threw five scoreless innings, dishing out five strikeouts. Not bad for your number four starter.
At the back-end of the bullpen, Michael Blazek has four appearances, pitching 3.1 scoreless innings. The Brewers’ de facto closer, Jeremy Jeffress, has three saves in three opportunities. Both have proven already to be the 8th and 9th inning combination necessary to close the door.
At the plate, the Brewers have had some surprising producers as well. Second basemen Scooter Gennett has been on an absolute tear. To date, his OPS is 1.389 and has a batting average of .389. He also has three home runs, showing increased power over previous years, and has drawn four walks, after only drawing 12 all of last year. Gennett is making a strong case to be an everyday player, not just a platoon player, which many thought he was.
The new lead off hitter, Domingo Santana, has also shown improved his plate discipline, as he has also drawn four walks while hitting .261 through six games. Coming into the year, it was assumed that Santana would become a strikeout-home run machine, but so far he only has only been struck out four times.
Patience has also been a virtue for the Brewers as a whole, as they are fourth in bases on balls with 26 through Sunday. At this pace, the Crew is poised to be up their walk total from last season, which was 412.
With a team as young, and lacking in proven talent, patience is the best motto and so far this year has shown it can win the Brewers games.
Only time will tell if these trends keep up over the course of 162 games. So far though, the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals are tied at the bottom of the division with 3-3 records, while the Cincinnati Reds have posted a 5-1 record.
Clearly, weird things can happen in the first six games.