Last Saturday night, the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NLCS, 5-1. In the 6th inning Brewer reliever, Jeremy Jeffress, came into the game when the Brewers were down, 2-1. With 2 runner on, Jeffress delivered a pitch to Yasiel Puig that was hit over the fence in deep center field. This homer gave the Dodgers the 5-1 lead they used to close out the game. After this 6th inning and days after, many Brewer fans have been unfairly critical of Jeffress after he had a rough postseason. People have been saying he should have never been in Game 7, and are saying he should be released or traded. Seriously, I have seen these kind of takes all over social media.
Do these fans not realize how GREAT Jeffress was this year? Do these fans understand baseball at all?
Jeremy Jeffress was the Crew’s number one option out of the bullpen for the entire regular season. He was tied for 11th in the league in games appeared in for a relief pitcher (only 2 of the pitchers that appeared in more games, had more innings pitched than Jeffress). He was 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 76.2 innings. He only gave up 11 earned runs all year. I REPEAT, 11! The only reliever that played the whole season who had a better ERA than Jeffress was Oakland’s, Blake Treinen, who pitched 80.1 innings and had a 0.78 ERA. Jeremy Jeffress also added 89 strikeouts (10.4 strikeouts per 9) with only 27 walks throughout the entire season. These stats combined to give Jeffress an outstanding 3.4 WAR. He was always there for the Brew Crew to shut the door on opposing teams. He ended up with 24 games finished and 15 saves.
Jeffress made the All-Star game this year along with teammates Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Jesus Aguilar, and Josh Hader. Speaking of Hader, Jeffress had a better win percentage, more games pitched in, and a better ERA than him. However, it is usually Hader who Brewer fans think of instead of Jeffress when talking about the bullpen. After the All-Star game, when the division race was getting closer, Jeffress performed at his best. He had a 1.21 ERA in 29.2 innings and even converted 12/14 saves.
A reliever hasn’t had a better season for the Brewers since John Axford in 2011. Without Jeremy Jeffress the Brewers would not have been in a position to win the division and make a deep run in the playoffs. So calm down angry Brewer fans, the Crew will be back next year and fans should consider themselves lucky to watch a dominant player like Jeffress.
*All stats according to baseball-reference.com*
*Featured Image via Benny Sieu, USA Today*