Well, that was fast. The bad news? The Brewers lost nearly all of a 5.5 game lead in the NL Central following the All-Star Break in just over a week. This came mainly as a result of a stretch from Monday to Sunday in which Milwaukee won just 1 game out of 7 (1-2 vs. the Phillies, 0-4 vs. the Pirates). The good news? If there was ever a time for the Brewers to go on such a stretch, doing so when you start up by 5.5 games in the standings may be that time. With critical series and tough opponents ahead, the Crew needs to start stepping it up if they hope to not let this lead completely slip away.
With that being said, it’s time for a look at the week ahead.
The Week Ahead
Upcoming series: @ Washington (7/25-7/27) and vs. Chicago Cubs (7/28-7/30)
Pitching matchups @ Washington: Zach Davies (11-4, 4.76 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (1-0, 4.50 ERA); Jimmy Nelson (8-5, 3.43 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-5, 2.83 ERA); Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.26 ERA)
Pitching matchups vs. Chicago: Jose Quintana (6-8, 4.22 ERA) vs. TBD; Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 3.95 ERA) vs. TBD; TBD vs. TBD
Rollie Fingers Award for First-Team All-Swagger (player that went out “balls to the wall”)
Winner: Keon Broxton
This week in particular, when compared to other weeks, was quite difficult to come up with winners for these awards. After all, who could be considered “dominant” or who could have gone “balls to the wall” during a stretch in which a team goes just 1-6 over the course of a week? However, the show must indeed go on. This week, I went with what may be a peculiar choice, as Broxton was just sent down to AAA after a dismal hitting stretch in recent times. Despite this, Broxton continued to go all out defensively, including a great jumping catch in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh, a loss that was the Brewers’ fourth straight at the time. While Colorado Springs is the newest destination for the Milwaukee center fielder, here’s to hoping he can find his footing in Triple A and find his way back to the big leagues in the near future.
The Robin Yount Award for Pure and Utter Dominance (Most Dominant Player)
Winner: Domingo Santana
Now, this award came down to Santana or Travis Shaw, but due to his contributions to Milwaukee’s lone win in the week, this week goes to Domingo Santana. His 2-4, 2 RBI performance on Saturday proved crucial in the team’s efforts, with his 9th inning single proving to be the decisive blow in a heart-stopping 9-8 victory for Milwaukee. Going forward into the next two series, it will be very important for players like Santana to step up even more and propel the Crew to victories.
The Ben Sheets Award for Best Heat (Best Pitcher)
Winner: Brent Suter
All year long, there has tended to be a trend with manager Craig Counsell and his starting pitchers. Oftentimes, he tends to take them out one or two batters too late, and something happens that puts the reliever in a tough spot (look no further than Junior Guerra on Tuesday). However, there are occasions where he possibly takes them out too early, as some fans argued he did in Saturday’s 9-8 win. Suter was cruising through 6 innings of 1 run ball with 5 strikeouts while just giving up 5 hits. However, Counsell elected to go to the bullpen in the 7th when Suter had thrown just 85 pitches. Now, all of us armchair managers out there don’t know whether Suter would have gotten torched or not in the 7th inning, but with what ended up being an 8-1 lead by the bottom of the inning, it would have possibly at least been worth putting him back out there to save some arms. Instead, while the Crew did get the W, the bullpen proceeded to blow that lead in just two innings, with Philly scoring 4 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th to tie the game at 8 before Santana’s go-ahead RBI single in the 9th.
Prospect Update (Post Mid-Season Update)
AAA: Colorado Springs
Lewis Brinson (Brewers No. 1 Prospect; MLB.com’s #15 overall): .345, 22 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 11 SB
Brandon Woodruff (Brewers No. 4 Prospect; MLB.com’s #94 overall): 6-5, 4.79 ERA, 67.2 IP, 64 K, 22 BB, 1.33 WHIP, .259 Opponent AVG
Mauricio Dubon (Brewers No. 9 Prospect): .272, 9 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 3 SB (23 games played with CS)
Ryan Cordell (Brewers No. 17 Prospect): .284, 18 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 9 SB (traded to White Sox Tuesday)
AA: Biloxi Shuckers
Luis Ortiz (Brewers No. 3 Prospect; MLB.com’s #82 overall): 3-5, 3.79 ERA, 73.2 IP, 65 K, 31 BB, 1.18 WHIP, .211 Opponent AVG
Corbin Burnes (Brewers No. 7 Prospect): 3-2, 1.72 ERA, 52.1 IP, 53 K, 8 BB, 0.84 WHIP, .191 AVG
A: Carolina Mudcats/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Corey Ray (Brewers No. 2 Prospect; MLB.com’s #69 overall): .230, 20 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 18 SB at A Adv Carolina
Keston Hiura (Brewers No. 5 Prospect; MLB.com’s #95 overall): 6 games: .423, 3 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI at A Wisconsin
Isan Diaz (Brewers No. 6 Prospect; MLB.com’s #99 overall): .230, 18 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 8 SB at A Adv Carolina
Lucas Erceg (Brewers No. 10 Prospect): .236, 23 2B, 9 HR, 53 RBI at A Adv Carolina
Trey Supak (Brewers No. 16 Prospect): 2-3, 5.54 ERA, 50.1 IP, 42 K, 21 BB, 1.41 WHIP, .258 AVG at Adv A Carolina
Jake Gatewood (Brewers No. 19 Prospect): .275, 32 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 7 SB at A Adv Carolina
Mario Feliciano (Brewers No. 26 Prospect): .239, 12 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB at A Wisconsin