Team Preview - Milwaukee Brewers


Season Series: First meeting of the year.

The Milwaukee Brewers are headed to Chavez Ravine in a bit of a tailspin.  The club has lost 8 of its last 10 games including 3 of 4 this weekend in San Diego.  After the Dodgers rebounded nicely winning 3 of 4 this past weekend, the Dodgers actually have a better record than Milwaukee who comes into town with a record of 10-15. 

Old Friends: Randy Wolf, Craig Counsell

Position Breakdown:

1st Base- Prince Fielder is not playing anywhere near the level he's capable of. The man many of us wanted to acquire via trade whilst relegating James Loney to the DFA line, is currently slugging only .340 with a wOBA of only .326.  Fielder has only hit 2 homeruns on the year coming off a year where he hit 46 of them.  Let's hope he doesn't break out of this slump any time in the next few days.

2nd Base- Rickie Weeks is quite the capable hitting second basemen when healthy.  Weeks is having a solid year so far coming off a wrist injury in 2009.  On the year Weeks has posted a wOBA of .364 with 4 homeruns.  In Weeks last full season at second base (2008) he posted a UZR of <3.4.>

SS- Alcides Escobar is a 23 year old shortstop who spent most of 2009 in AAA.  Escobar wasn't much of a hitter in the minor leagues (wOBA of .351 in AAA) and hasn't done much so far in 2010.  Escobar has a sub .300 wOBA and has a dreadful OBP of .282. Escobar's defense was considered his strong point as he came up through the minor league ranks and was the reason Escobar was a highly regarded prospect. 

3rd Base- Casey McGehee is having a very solid year so far at the plate and he comes into this series with a wOBA of .404.  The strong performance at the plate is due to an excellent slugging percentage of .552 and a ISO of .253.  In 2009 McGehee had a UZR of <7.3> at third base.

Catcher- Gregg Zaun has been around the league a long time.  The former La Canada St. Francis Knight was drafted in 1989 by the Baltimore Orioles and made his debut in 1995.  Zaun has never been much of a hitter and has struggled so far this year posted a wOBA of .275. 

CF- Carlos Gomez started the season as the starting CF but left Friday's game in San Diego due to injury.  According to Brew Crew Ball Gomez should be back for the series in Los Angeles as an MRI on his knee was negative.  Gomez was having a much better season at the plate after struggling last season in Minnesota as he currently has a wOBA of .357 despite a below average OBP of .310.

LF- Ryan Braun, the former Granada Hills Highlander, is the Brewers franchise player.  Unlike Fielder, Braun continues to mash the ball posting a wOBA of .454 and an ISO of .222.  Braun is currently posting a career high BB% of 12.9% and has 5 homeruns on the year.  The former third baseman has always been a pretty terrible fielder and posted a UZR of <13.2> last season. 

RF- Corey Hart continues to be an average to solid right fielder at the plate. On the year, Hart has posted a wOBA of .347 and 3 homeruns.  Hart has some pretty good pop with an ISO of .182 which is in line with his career line.  Interesting note, Hart went to arbitration this offseason with the Brewers and won an arb reward of $4.8MM this season.  In 2009 Hart had a UZR of <5.6.>

Reserves

Jim Edmonds started the year in a potential platoon with Corey Hart in right field and has been pretty solid in his limited plate appearances. On the year Edmonds has an impressive wOBA of .389 in his year 40 season. 

Jody Gerut has been primarily a pinch hitter though he has been playing CF with Gomez injured. I hope Gomez is still injured as Gerut is a terrible hitter posting a wOBA of .225 in limited plate appearances and in a full year posted a wOBA of .286 in 2009.

Craig Counsell has appeared in 20 games this season as a pinch hitter and occasional starter at third base and short stop.  Counsell continues to be a pretty capable utility man posting a wOBA of .336 last season in 130 games.

George Kottaras is the 27 year old backup catcher for the Brewers.  Kottaras has some pretty good pop as he already has 2 homeruns in 34 plate appearances.  Kottaras posted an ISO of .125 and .213 in AAA with Boston in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game 1- Chris Narveson will be making his second start on the season after pitching in the bullpen in the early part of the season.  On the season, Narveson has posted an x-FIP of 5.29 compared to an x-FIP (again mostly out of the bullpen) of 4.18 the prior year after being called up from AAA.

Game 2- Doug Davis has a really ugly ERA this season of 8.87 and a record of 0-3.  His x-FIP of 3.88 has been quite solid so far which indicates that Davis has been fairly unlucky. As pointed out above, Milwaukee doesn't exactly have a great defense and Milwaukee is considered a much more hitter friendly park (remember the approximately 250 combined homeruns the Dodgers and Brewers hit last season at Miller Park) than Dodger Stadium.  The poor defense probably explains some of the .473 BABIP but bad luck is clearly at play. 

Game 3- TBD figures to be a pretty tough matchup, especially considering the Dodgers website indicates TBD will be pitching for the home town team. Considering I believe Ely has been announced the starter for Game 3, I'm sure somebody can figure out who is starting for Milwaukee since I couldn't find it. 

Bullpen:

Former division rival Trevor Hoffman remains the closer for Milwaukee, and has not pitched well. On the year Hoffman has an x-FIP of 6.61 and an ERA of 11.70.  Carlos Villanueva has led Milwaukee in games pitched and has pitched pretty well so far.  On the year Villanueva has an x-FIP of 3.18 and an ERA of 0.64.  He's a strikeout pitcher with a K/9 of 11.57.

Series Prediction:

Fresh off my accurate prediction in the Pittsburgh series preview, I figure I'll press my luck and pick another series victory for the Dodgers. The Dodgers have the good fortune to catch Milwaukee while they are flailing, in the middle of a long road trip to the West Coast, and without facing the club's top 2 pitchers (though Wolf doesn't particularly scare me anyway.) The Dodgers figure to be a pretty tough out at home and I pick another series victory. Dodgers win 2 of 3. 

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