Manager: Ex-Dodger Ron Roenicke (19 - 21) - Debut season for Roenicke who was the Dodgers number one pick 1977 out of UCLA with the 17th pick overall. Ron made it up to the Dodgers in 1981, don't know if he was given a full share or ring for his 54 pathetic plate appearances or not. By 1983 we had released him. Not much impact for a number one pick, but if you look at the 1977 draft, the first round was as useless as a pen in TJ Simers hand. Hubie Brooks stands out, and if he stands out something is amiss.
Current: (19 - 21)
Outlook: Right now the Brewers are two games under .500 due to their 6 - 15 road record. The pitching has been fine on the road, so I expect the hitters are just hitting into bad luck but I didn't dig deep into this anomaly. These teams are very similar, two franchise hitters (Fielder/Braun versus Kemp/Ethier), one above average injury prone middle infielder (Richie Weeks versus Rafy Furcal), a top three rotation (Grienke/Gallardo/Marcum versus Kershaw/Billingsley/Kuroda), and the suspect bullpen. The Brewers should have more if Corey Hart could perform but so far he has not. Billingsley and Gallardo are two of the better young right handed pitchers in the league who have already thrown over 500 innings. Marcum and Kuroda may have to face off for the prize of most underrated pitcher of the last several years. The Brewers have used six starters so far this year and not one has an xFIP over 4.00. Zach Grienke has made three starts since coming off the DL and has an ERA of 6.60 with an xFIP of 1.61.
Old Friends: Randy Wolf, Takashi Saito, Craig Counsell
1st Base: Prince Fielder hit 199 home runs before his 27th birthday. He turned 27 on May 9th and has hit two more since then giving him 201 career home runs. A quick look shows that only 25 players in the history of baseball have hit 200 home runs by their 27th birthday. Prince reminds me of Boog Powell (he's on that list), so if history is right, whoever signs Prince to that six year deal is going to get production but nothing like what he's already done. Many have asked are the Dodgers a contending team if Prince is on the team instead of Loney? I don't know, what I do know is that I think the Brewers have a better team, and even with Prince they are struggling to reach .500.
2nd Base: Rickie Weeks best offensive 2nd baseman in the NL with Chase nursing his ailments. The Brewers made the right move to extend him until 2015.
Shortstop: Luckily for the NL Central the Brewers have Yuniesky Betancourt who might be worst SS in the NL. Eventually the Giants will probably stop playing Tejada or he might start hitting, that won't happen with Yuniesky.
3rd Base: Casey McGehee continues to be an above average 3rd baseman. He's solid.
Catcher: Jonathan LuCroy might be the Brewer no one has heard off, but this no name catcher is dealing. As of this moment he has the 2nd highest wOBA (.385), wRC (142), OPS+(142) for catchers in the NL. That is exactly DOUBLE what he did in 2010 in 297 plate apprearances so he should be primed for one heck of a slump,
Right Fielder: Corey Hart came off the DL a few weeks ago and has yet to do anything of note. A year ago he was one of the best offensive right fielders in the game leading all NL right fielders in home runs with 31.
Center Fielder: Carlos Gomez is what I expect Dee Gordon to become. A plus defensive player, with plus plus speed who never is able to translate that speed into becoming a useful offensive player. The one time centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal is now 1500 plate appearances into a career that has never seen a .300 OB%. He's not the worst offensive CF in the NL but he's in the conversation. What sets Carlos Gomez apart is his plus defensive skills, which is good because he's surrounded by some defensive hacks.
Left Fielder: Ryan Braun has bounced back from what for him was an off year to have his best season since his rookie year. He's peeking at a 1.000 OPS, driven down by a slow May, but unfortunately for us he's heated up again in the past week.
Bench: Nyjer Morgan is on the DL. Somehow, at the age of 40, Craig Counsell is stll playing major league baseball.
|1||Shawn Marcum versus Garland||MIL||52||7.2|
|2||Randy Wolf versus Kuroda||MIL|
Shawn Marcum is the epitome of a pitcher. The Brewers engineered a great trade this winter bringing in Marcum but the price was the highly touted Brett Lawrie. The trade should help both teams; moving from the AL East to the NL central was expected to do wonders for Marcum and so far that is holding true. Entering tonight's game he has the 10th best WAR in the NL with an xFIP of 3.11. Right now he's hitting on all cylinders, a K rate over 9, a walk rate under 2.50, His Achilles heal is a ground ball rate of only 34%, but pitching on a cold night in Los Angeles against the powerless lineup he need not worry about fly balls.
Mind you he does all all this with a fastball that averages 86 MPH. He gets away with this because he throws five pitches with control, using his fastball / change up about 30% of the time each.
You all know more then enough about Randy Wolf.
Closer: John Axford blew some saves early but still controls the job. For the most part he's adequate, gave up three hits in his last save.
The Brewers have a ridiculous 6 - 15 record on the road which is not indicative of the talent on this team. It must normalize and it will probably start right now. I expect Marcum to carve up this Dodger lineup, can Garland hold suit? Doubt it.
Kuroda will win Tuesday night, because the Wolf will not survive.