Each Sunday 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)
Another Milestone for K-Rod: Francisco Rodriguez spent a fairly significant chunk of his 15-year career in Milwaukee. The only other team he spent more time with was the Angels, where he made a name for himself. According to Baseball-Reference, K-Rod made 263 career appearances for the Brewers, which makes him eligible for eventual recognition on the Wall of Honor. K-Rod ended up leaving a bigger mark on Milwaukee baseball history than most probably imagined he would when the Mets traded him here in 2011.
Even though he’s no longer with us, fans have many fond memories of K-Rod (and some not so fond memories, but that’s the nature of the closer role). Many of us were therefore happy for him when he achieved another career milestone by recording his 400th save last week as a member of the Detroit Tigers. K-Rod is only the sixth pitcher in MLB history to notch a 400th mark in his…locker, I guess? Where else would one notch saves?
In any case, one of the fond memories Brewers fans have was the last big save milestone K-Rod hit in Milwaukee in 2013.
Much love for K-Rod.
Buzzkill (Something forgettable that happened)
Rule Change Hurts Brewers: In the fourth game of the 2016 season, the Brewers won a game when a member of the opposing team wasn’t able to adjust to a new rule. The Brewers were clinging to a two-run lead in the ninth inning, and the Astros had runners at first and second with one out. Jose Altuve hit a ground ball that probably wouldn’t have been a double play, but because Colby Rasmus slid past second base, the umpire ruled it an automatic double play based on the new “Chase Utley rule,” ending the game. One could sympathize with Rasmus since he was just playing the game he always had…but hey, rules are rules.
Of course, the complementary rule change is that the “neighborhood play” at second base no longer applies. As with Rasmus, it’s probably going to be hard for second basemen to adjust the rhythm of how they’ve been turning double plays their whole lives. Case in point: Scooter Gennett’s ever-so-slightly ill-timed footwork in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the Reds.
The fact that Gennett had no reason to rush the play just proves how difficult it is for a player to adjust deeply grooved habits. There is one positive about this play – it suggests that cosmic justice occasionally does right a few wrongs, since the Brewers essentially got payback for their win against the Astros. Good thing it didn’t happen during a competitive year.
Here’s to You (Standout player(s) or play(s) of the week)
Jonathan Villar: It’s impossible to ignore the breakout month Villar has had. He’s raised his average from .260 at the start of May to .307 at the end of play today. He leads the league in stolen bases. In just the last week he was 10-for-22 (.454) with 6 RBI. Villar is one of the Brewers’ best players right now, and I suspect hardly anyone would be able to tell you who we traded to the Astros to get him. (Answer: a gentleman with the unlikely name of Cy Sneed). Who knows what kind of numbers Villar will be putting up a month from now, but he’s making the most of his opportunities so far.
Aaron Hill’s Unassisted Double Play: Technically, unassisted double/triple plays are just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and reacting correctly. They aren’t necessarily incredible athletic accomplishments, nor do they demonstrate gutsy resolve like getting a clutch hit or making a great pitch to get out of an inning.
But they look so damn cool.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The goddamn Cardinals come to Miller Park for a Memorial Day series. Will it be as memorable a matchup as the Gallardo-Carpenter duel on Memorial Day 2009? With Junior Guerra on the mound, there’s a chance. St. Louis has been hovering around .500 most of the year, so these aren’t necessarily the dominating Cardinals of years past. That always seems to change when they play the Brewers, though.
June begins in earnest with a four-game series in Philadelphia. It wasn’t that long ago that the Brewers swept the season series against the Phillies. In fact, they haven’t lost in Philadelphia since 2013. If the Brewer s can get one from the Cardinals, this could be another winning week for the good guys.