Each Monday evening 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)
Eric Thames Bounces Back: After setting the Brewers April homerun record, Thames cooled off in May and the first half of June. Although he has managed to keep his OPS around 1.000 and his OBP around .400, his batting average took a dive from .341 at the beginning of May to a low point of .253 after the second game of the St. Louis double-header. Thames then went on a tear for the next four games, going 8-for-18 with four homeruns. No homer was more satisfying than Thursday’s game-winner off Cardinals closer Seung-Hwan Oh.
Thames’ walk-off wall-scraper the next day was also pretty cool, but Brewers fans don’t have any particular emotional investment in beating the Padres. Hitting a line drive barely-homer on an 0-2 count with two outs in the ninth against the goddamn Cardinals is something special.
Buzzkill (Something lame that happened)
Travis Shaw’s Infant Daughter Has Open Heart Surgery: I’m not blessed with children myself, but this sounds incredibly scary whether or not you’re a parent:
“She was born with a severe heart condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” Shaw said. “It’s a pretty severe heart deformation. We knew this going in and I knew that she was going to have to have surgery.
“She had open-heart surgery on Friday. There were some complications and they had to go back in Saturday for a couple more surgeries. She’s been stable ever since Saturday.
“She’s making steady progress now.”
The prestige of being a professional athlete is what most fans to fixate on, so it’s easy to forget that they have relatively little flexibility when it comes to real-life stuff that most of us take for granted. They are away from their families a lot, they have less time to spend with their kids, and they can’t necessarily take time off of work to take care for loved ones when serious medical situations present themselves. Hopefully everything works out for the Shaw family.
Here’s to You (Standout player(s) or play(s) of the week)
Keon Broxton, Eric Sogard, and Jimmy Nelson: In addition to Thames’ heroics, that series against the goddamn Cardinals had a few other highlights. In the second inning of Thursday’s game, Broxton got the Brewers out of an early hole by hitting the longest homerun in the history of Busch Stadium v3.
There were a few great defensive plays in this game, but this one was mind-blowing. With the game tied in the eighth inning against the rival that always seems to have their number, the Brewers had to play airtight, and in this case they did. Not only did Sogard make an amazing barehanded pick-and-throw while falling backward, but Carlos Torres didn’t give up on the play after the ball bounced off Thames.
The Padres series also had its share of highlights, with the most impressive being the first complete game of Nelson’s career. A win yesterday was the difference between a so-so 4-3 week and pretty great 5-2 week. Thanks, Jimmy!
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The Crew plays only their second series against the Pirates, and get this – it’s the last four-game series before the All-Star break. Huzzah! It seems like they only play four-game series these days. This series will be highlighted by Monday’s Eric Thames “Revere the Beerd” t-shirt giveaway, which wasn’t on the promotional schedule initially, but was added by the Brewers’ crack marketing team to capitalize on Thames’ hot start. Good thing he broke out of his recent slump and isn’t on the DL.
The next road trip begins in Atlanta, where the Brewers will play their first games in MLB’s latest publicly funded monstrosity. As you may have heard, the Braves left Atlanta and Turner Field before that stadium was even 20 years old, saddling Cobb County taxpayers with a $400 million tab in one of the worst stadium deals ever. It’s arguably even worse than the Miller Park deal, which taxpayers are still on the hook for, despite record collections in 2016. Since both these teams are corporate welfare queens as far as stadium deals go, there will be no moral victor in this upcoming series. Fortunately, moral victories don’t mean anything in the NL Central standings.