The regression in early season hot streaks came fast and hard this past week for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Second basemen Scooter Gennett, who started the season on an absolute tear, has seen his average drop to .237 and his OPS, which was above one last week, to .857. Last Monday, starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann gave up eight earned runs in only two innings pitched. Wily Peralta continued to struggle from the mound, giving up five earned runs in five innings of work on Thursday’s loss to the Cardinals. On Sunday, pitcher Zach Davies, who was called up from Triple-A, gave up five earned runs in only 2.1 innings of work.
This last week has been a brutal one for the Brewers, as they lost back-to-back series against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mainly, the root cause of the Brewers’ woes stem from the men taking the mound to start the games. Besides Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson, the starting rotation has been terrible at worst, spotty at best. Nelson, only gave up two earned runs over six innings of work in his start against the Pirates, as he kept his season ERA under three. Anderson stands as the best pitcher on the staff so far with 10 total innings of work and zero earned runs given up.
The Brewers bullpen was supposed to be one of the lone bright spots. But the team’s lack of offense and lack of quality starts from the starting rotation has limited the production coming in for relief. Besides the two close games the Brewers won this past week though, the bullpen hasn’t had a chance to shine.
Offensively, veterans Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy have began to find their grove. Braun’s average is up to .268 with his home run power also returning this week. In Friday’s win against the Pirates, Braun went 5-3 with two monster home runs. Lucroy also has gotten his average up to .268.
But even with the few bright spots their are reasons for concern. Health, for instance, could limit Braun’s offensive output this year as he has need days off here or there for rest or a sore back.
Besides the two veterans though, first baseman Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar have continued to have surprisingly hot bats. With three home runs, Carter’s average is .270 with a slugging percentage of .622. Villar leads the team in batting with an average of .273.
The key for the Brewers moving forward will be how patient they can be at the plate. Currently, the Brewers are third in the majors in walks with 52, but the overwhelming majority of those have come in their victories. For example, in Friday’s win against the Pirates, the Brewers drew 10 walks. In their loss on Sunday, they only drew four. So, while it’s nice to see the increased patience at the plate, that patience must become more consistent if the Brewers hope to do better than two wins and four losses week in and week out.
Coming up this next week the Brewers have a home and home series against their neighboring American League rival Minnesota Twins followed by a weekend home series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The game to watch next week is most likely going to be Monday’s game as Chase Anderson takes on Twins right-hander Phil Hughes. Anderson will look to continue his consecutive innings of shutout pitching.
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