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)
Mother’s Day Magic: For the last decade, the Brewers Mother’s Day game broadcast has been steeped in nostalgia for Bill Hall’s 2006 pink bat walk-off homer. His mother was in the stands, Hall dedicated the homerun to her, and some years later Mark Attanasio paid upwards of $25K at a charity auction for the bat, which he then gave to Hall’s mom. It’s a touching moment in recent Brewers history.
With all due respect to Martin Maldonado’s 2015 Mother’s Day walk-off hit, it’s more likely that yesterday’s unbelievable comeback will be remembered alongside Hall in Brewers Mother’s Day lore. Manny Piña capped off the game-winning rally, but numerous players made their mothers proud as the Brewers scored 10 runs in three innings to shock the Mets. The chipping away began with Keon Broxton’s sixth inning homer off Jacob deGrom. Jonathan Villar hit another bomb in the seventh. Jesus Aguilar’s RBI double got them closer. Hernan Perez’ two-run single in the eighth cut the lead to one, setting the stage for Piña’s blast.
The comeback was so incredible, it was enough to make us forget that the Brewers offense can’t possibly keep picking their ineffective pitchers with 10+ runs every game. But let’s worry about that later.
Fun fact: The Mets were also the Brewers’ opponent on Mother’s Day 2006, and Jose Reyes led off for New York back then like he did yesterday. Someone should ask his mother how she feels about that.
Buzzkill (Something lame that happened)
Nefali Feliz Out as Closer: Most Brewers fans wouldn’t consider this bad news, but Feliz’ failure in the closer role highlights how undependable the pitching has been in 2017. His presumed replacement, Corey Knebel – who got his first 2017 save in the Brewers’ incredible comeback yesterday – is the only Brewers reliever that has yet to really struggle. The rotation has also been unreliable at best (other than Matt Garza, oddly enough), turning in the fewest quality starts in the league.
The Brewers’ high-powered offense has done a good job of covering for its pitching staff so far, but these guys need to step up and get dudes out. Feliz was especially useless, giving up five homers in 16 innings, along with nine walks and a 6.19 ERA. This is not a guy who can be trusted in save situations right now (or any other situation, as his performance yesterday demonstrated), but removing Feliz as closer was easy. The hard part is going to figure out how to win games with a bullpen that walks at least one batter every inning. It sure seems like it does, anyway…
Here’s to You (Standout player(s) or play(s) of the week)
Eric Sogard: There were plenty of offensive heroics in a week when the Brewers scored a whopping 48 runs in six games. The Mother’s Day comeback in particular was something special, but Sogard had a pretty nifty Marshfield Clinic shining moment himself on Friday. Thanks to injuries, Sogard hasn’t played in the majors since 2015, and he hasn’t been much of a power threat during his career – he only hit eight homers in 1,331 plate appearances with the Oakland A’s.
Ryan Braun going on the DL opened up an opportunity for Sogard, who found out he was in the starting lineup when his plane landed Friday afternoon. When he came to the plate with the score tied in the sixth inning, he got a pitch to hit on a 2-0 count and didn’t miss it.
With two walks in his first two plate appearances, Sogard came out of the game with a 5.000 OPS. Not a bad day’s work.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
Another week, another four-game series, and the first test of Brewers fans’ ability to stay up late. The last place Padres are first on the menu for this odd West Coast/Midwest road trip. The Brewers have been iffy in San Diego for the last few seasons, but they’re three games over .500 on the road so far in 2017. Also, the Padres are not very good. They are ranked in the bottom five in the NL in batting average, earned run average, and errors committed, so they are not getting it done anywhere. A matchup against the hot-hitting, skaky-pitching Brewers would seem to favor Milwaukee, but you never know with four-game series.
Didn’t the Brewers just play the Cubs? It’s like they only play the Cubs. If they can stay sharp in San Diego, the Brewers might go into Chicago leading the defending world champs in the NL Central standings. Now that we’ve got a series win against the goddamn Cardinals behind us, a series win against the Cubs should be child’s play. The Brewers won three series against the Cubs in 2016 and they’re an above average team now. They’ve been pleasantly surprising so far, so why not indulge in a little overconfidence? We haven’t had a reason to feel this way in three years. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.