Each Monday evening (or afternoon) 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! (Something good that happened)
Brewers Live Up to Their Name: Considering this blog is called The Brewers Bar, we’d be remiss not to note that some of our hometown sports heroes are partnering with our hometown mega-brewery heroes to create a limited edition beer:
They were brewers one day, Brewers the next. Eric Thames, Corey Knebel and Oliver Drake resumed their day jobs Tuesday after spending part of the team’s off-day at MillerCoors, working on a limited edition beer coming to Miller Park later this summer.
The trio settled on an IPA — Thames’ favorite — based on a wish list the slugger submitted ahead of time for taste, appearance and aroma. They chose two kinds of hops, one with tropical notes for brewing and another with a lemony aroma for dry-hopping.
At this point, fans of craft beer might be inclined to pooh-pooh anything that comes out of a corporate behemoth like MillerCoors. While there’s nothing wrong with having discerning beer tastes, there’s also nothing wrong with drinking something affordable as your daily reward – and MillerCoors has a fine selection of brews for those of us in the market for regular drinkin’ beer. IPAs are still trendy so surely there will be plenty of folks willing to give this product a try.
Buzzkill (Something lame that happened)
Braun’s Latest Break Down, Thames Banged Up and Cooled Off: Like a once reliable car that starts requiring increasingly regular repairs, Ryan Braun celebrated his ten-year anniversary with the Brewers by going back on the disabled list. He had just come off the DL the previous Sunday after missing most of May with leg and arm injuries. On the bright side, that thumb injury we were all so concerned about at the end of 2014 seems like a distant memory. It probably shouldn’t be surprising that Braun’s injuries have been piling up in his post-PED seasons, but it’s a bummer to contemplate that he may be entering (or has already entered) the jalopy phase of his career.
Thames presumably has plenty left in the tank, but he’s also been nagged by injuries. He had a bout of strep throat a couple weeks ago, and he’s been slowed down by leg tightness recently. Whether the result of injuries or not, Thames has definitely cooled off from his amazing April. Most folks will probably tell you no one could keep up the pace Thames set in the first month of the season. Still, he was 1-for-21 on last week’s home stand. That’s a pace he needs to turn around.
Here’s to You (Standout player(s) or play(s) of the week)
Chase Anderson/Jett Bandy: In the midst of a five-game losing streak, someone needed to stand and deliver before things got out of hand (or more accurately, before things started turning out exactly like we thought they would at the beginning of the season). Pulling off a victory against Arizona ace Zack Greinke seemed like a tall order, but Anderson and Bandy showed great hustle. For the second time in his Brewers career, Anderson took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, striking out a career high 11 batters in the process.
Broadcasters Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder made a big deal about Bandy’s at-bat in the fourth inning, with good reason. For a game that a lot of non-fans criticize as slow and dull, this Bandy/Greinke matchup was the peak of sports drama. After Greinke struck out Domingo Santana with the bases loaded – and made him look like a chump in doing so – Bandy whiffed badly on Greinke’s first two sliders, and the moment seemed to be slipping away. Bandy managed to work a full count, just barely checking his swing on one pitch, which I’m sure Arizona fans think (with some justification) he should have been rung up on. But he hung in there, got a fastball, and didn’t miss it.
Saturday’s win put the Brewers in a position to split the series with a surging Arizona team, and end a disappointing home stand on a high note. Going into Memorial Day, the Brewers remain in first place in the NL Central. Who could ask for anything more?
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
A quick four-game road trip to New York starts the week. The Mets are not very good. Their pitching is dead last in the league, which you’d think is a good matchup for a Brewers offense that has been more productive than not for two months. Maybe the Mets are still reeling from the Mother’s Day comeback two weeks ago. And the Brewers have generally played well at Citi Field, so all signs point to at least a split, which is what you want on the road.
The Brewers come back to Miller Park to face the Dodgers, another tough NL West team. The Dodgers are the polar opposite of the Mets, with the best pitching staff in the league. The most highly regarded of those pitchers, Clayton Kershaw, is slated to oppose Jimmy Nelson in the series opener on Friday. Pulling off a win against Kershaw seems like a tall order. At least we know this team has players who can step up against a frontline pitcher.