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! (Best event/news of the week)
Carlos Gomez and Mark Reynolds Like to Have Fun Here: After sweeping the Reds – a division rival that has had the Brewers’ number this year – players were understandably satisfied with themselves, probably feeling like they’d turned things around after their pre-All-Star collapse. During an interview with MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk,” Gomez and Reynolds took the opportunity to share a lighthearted moment with the baseball world.
Fans hear a lot of talk about how team chemistry is important, and how players need to stay loose and avoid pressing. Seeing them goof around and have fun is always an amusing distraction. Word on the street is Gomez bought the costume to surprise his son, who is a fan of the ninja turtles (nice to see they have such staying power – I remember watching TMNT cartoons when I was a kid, which was not recently). Once the boy saw a picture of the costume, he naturally responded that it wasn’t the turtle he was looking for. Kids say the darndest things.
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Jim Henderson Bobblehead Scare: Yesterday, it was reported that the Jim Henderson bobbleheads for today’s giveaway might be delayed. I’m not sure how seriously other MLB fanbases take their bobbleheads, but I get the impression they are more popular than average in Milwaukee. I could be wrong, but the thought of no bobblehead on a day when a bobblehead was promised was a definite source of concern this morning in Brewer Nation. Happily, the bobbleheads arrived as planned and everything worked out, but there were some anxious moments for a while there among enthusiasts of mass-produced collectibles.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Matt Garza: In his first start after the All-Star break, Garza put on what has to be his worst performance ever in Washington, only recording one out in the first inning and adding 0.35 to his ERA in the span of 42 pitches. The only silver lining of that game was that it gave Marco Estrada a chance to demonstrate how well he has adapted to his role in the bullpen, going 5.2 innings (without allowing a homerun) in relief. Players say you have to turn the page quickly in this game because you usually have to play the next day. After his disastrous outing against the Nationals, Garza bounced back in a big way on Thursday, only giving up two hits and one run in eight innings. This is the guy fans thought we were getting when the trade was announced in January, and he figures to be a big factor in the Brewers’ pennant race as we approach August and September.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Francisco Rodriguez: I don’t remember exactly where K-Rod’s “20 minutes of terror” nickname came from, but I recall it made the rounds during his first stint in Milwaukee since he had a track record of allowing a lot of base runners. On Friday’s game against the Mets, K-Rod showed that he’s come along way, surrendering three runs in the course of three batters, blowing the save as efficiently as possible. For those of you keeping score at home, K-Rod has given up homers in six of his last 16 appearances. That seems like a lot for a closer. On the bright side, if he gives them up as quickly as he did on Friday, we won’t even have time to feel terrified.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The next series is in Tampa Bay against the Rays, and while I wouldn’t want to look past them, it’s hard to think about anything other than the weekend series in St. Louis. Like the last time the two teams met right before the All-Star break, the NL Central division lead will probably be on the line. The Brewers did win the first series in St. Louis in April, and with a depleted lineup to boot. Beating the goddamn Cardinals isn’t impossible, but it always seems bloody unlikely. If the Brewers are still leading the division by this time next week, there will be a great deal of joy in Mudville.