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)
MORE BEER: The Brewers Bar would be remiss not to acknowledge the upgraded Miller Park concessions, and in particular the phat mf’ing beer selection. There’s so much more beer, I’m not even going to say anything about the 25¢ inflation per serving (ahem). Last week I tried four beers I never had before: Wisconsin Brewing’s Badger Club, Third Space Happy Place, Mobcraft Oddball, and Leinenkugel’s 150th Anniversary Lager. Apparently there are 24 Wisconsin-brewed beers available, so I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. I have yet to try MKE Brewing’s Lo-Gii, the session version of my personal favorite O-Gii and now I have an excuse. There are also wines, cocktails, and distilled spirits available to those interested in such things.
As you are no doubt aware, the Brewers turned in a crummy 2-5 performance on the first home stand of the season. With that in mind, one suspects there will be plenty of excuses for Brewers fans to acquaint ourselves with new local flavors this year.
Buzzkill (Something lame that happened)
Lots of Pitching Angst with Guerra Injury, Davies Bumbling, Bullpen Under Duress: After much intrigue about whether Junior Guerra would be able to build on his impressive 2016, he was injured after three innings. Not only will Guerra be out for up to six weeks with a calf strain, the fact that he was injured so early on Opening Day put the Brewers bullpen in a difficult position from the get-go. If that wasn’t enough, the next day Zach Davies couldn’t even get through five innings on 98 pitches, only 50 of which were strikes.
Since then the Brewers relief corps has had trouble keeping their heads above water. Tommy Milone pitched two innings on Opening Day, but then was only able to go four innings against the Cubs on Saturday. Brent Suter was called up to take Guerra’s roster spot, and was promptly optioned only four days later following his contribution to that Saturday loss to Chicago. Taylor Jungmann made a brief appearance in the Brewers’ first win of 2017, turned a six-run lead into a save situation, and was sent down to Double-A Biloxi. With Jhan Mariñez, Jared Hughes, and Carlos Torres already logging over four innings apiece going into Sunday, the Brewers had to DFA Damien Magnifico and call up David Goforth. Davies then laid another egg against the Cubs, but at least he took five innings to do it.
Thank goodness today’s an off day.
Here’s to You (Standout player(s) or play(s) of the week)
Nick Franklin: Despite the aforementioned pitching woes, several players had a decent week. Travis Shaw had an excellent series against the Rockies, and collected 6 RBI on the week. Jesus Aguilar picked up where he left off in spring training, finishing the week with a 1.000 OPS. Wily Peralta recorded the Brewers’ first victory of the year against Colorado, and Jimmy Nelson put on an outstanding performance versus the Cubs.
I’m giving the nod to Franklin because of the feel good factor. Franklin was claimed off waivers Friday, and started the next day. For further evidence that Miller Park unlocks hitters’ power potential, Franklin hit a long homer, which at the time tied the game.
Welcome to Milwaukee, Nick!
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The first road trip of the season begins in Toronto. The Brewers and the Blue Jays don’t have much in the way of recent history. The two teams haven’t played since 2014, when the Brewers only won one out of four. They also faced each other in 2012 and 2009, and the Brewers were 5-1 in those two series, but it’s all ancient history at this point. It doesn’t appear that we’ll see former Brewer Marco Estrada in this two-game set, so the only thing we have to look forward to is competition between two professional teams without any particular drama other than what happens on the field. How old fashioned.
Then the Brewers head to Cincinnati to face the only team that did worse than them in the NL Central last year. They likely will see former Brewer Scooter Gennett, with the potential drama of a player having a great series against the team that let him go, a la Carlos Gomez in last year’s Texas Rangers series. Now that’s something we can sink our teeth into.