It has been so long since we last played the Brewers a whole summer has passed us by. The Brewers came into town on May 4th, and proceeded to crush our vaunted duo of Kershaw and Billingsley on back to back nights leaving the Dodgers at 11 - 16. From that point the Dodgers would win 11 of their next 12 but as we know that was the highlight of the year. Kershaw has been brilliant since that drubbing, while Chad has been
solid but nothing close to brilliant. just this side brilliant.
Just like the Dodgers, the Brewers had post - season aspirations, hoping to be led by the what they considered the best one - two punch in baseball. However the Hebrew Hammer has had his normal carpenter hammer replaced with a ping hammer, and at the moment has only 18 home runs. Now 18 home runs may sound like a decent number but when you consider that Braun has hit no fewer then 32 over the last three years it is a pittance. The fact he is fifth on the team in home runs is the biggest shocker. Fielder you'd expect, but Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, and even Casey McGehee have managed out homer Braun so far in 2010.
The Brewers hit a lot of home runs and lead the league in both home runs and slug% even though only Corey Hart has a slug % over .500. That is right, the vaunted duo of Fielder/Braun have yet to crack the .500 slug% this year. Still the Brewers also lead the league in wOBA at .339. So they are doing plenty of things right in the land of cheese except winning.
Why? I guess pitching is the problem. They rank near the last in ERA, FIP, and xFIP. Randy Wolf evidently did not solve that pesky rotation problem, and Trevor Hoffman finally ran out of whatever he had that has been mesmerizing hitters for the last 20 years or so. The current rotation of Gallardo, Wolf, Parra, Narveson, and Bush is just not getting it done. Which is a shame because even with Braun losing his God like ability to hit the baseball, the Brewers are a fine offensive club.
So as these two teams clash in a meaningless August series we have the best pitching in the NL taking on the best hitting in the NL.
They beat the Padres two out of three and have won four their last five.
Split W L RS RA WP
Home 30 32 275 348 .484
Road 29 33 314 313 .468
1st Base- Prince Fielder is having his even year which for him, and Brewer fans is not a good thing. Since joining the Brewers on a full time basis Fielder has had an OPS over 1.000 every odd year while putting up an OPS below .900 every even year. It is odd
2nd Base- Rickie Weeks is finally giving everyone a view of what he can do over a full season when healthy. For the first time in his six year career he will garner over 500 at bats, and he's making the most of them. With 23 home runs he's 2nd in NL second baseman.
SS- Alcides Escobar has to be a huge disappointment for Brewer fans. No one was expecting Robin Yount but I don't think anyone was also expecting the worst offensive performance of a NL SS. His wOBA of .283 says it all. The man can't get on base enough to help out an offense that loves to hit home runs. If had had been able to manage a decent OB, this team might be off the chart when it comes to scoring runs.
3rd Base- Casey McGehee was having a strong start to his 2010 season when we last saw him, and while he's come down to earth, he's still way over performing any realistic expectations anyone had for him. Only three 3rd baseman have been better then Casey this year (Zimmerman, Wright, Rolen) and instead of falling back, he's having a kick ass August, with a .433 wOBA.
Catcher- Gregg Zaun is down so Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras are sharing the job. Neither can hit so they are kind of close to the Barajas/Ausmus/Ellis backstops we will send out.
CF- Carlos Gomez started the season as the starting CF but he seems to have been supplanted by Lorenzo Cain. Cain like Gomez is a speedy CF, with little power. He showed some plate discipline in the minors but so far has left that skill behind in AAA. Chris Dickerson acquired from the Reds for Jim Edmonds will also get some playing time.
LF- Ryan Braun, the former Granada Hills Highlander, is the Brewers franchise player. Braun had a great start but has been seen his
ops Slug% fall from .581 in April, to .486 in May, to .409 in June, to .381 in July. Part of his might be due to some injuries, particularly the wrist. He's bouncing back in August and might end the season on a tear, normalizing his season to what one would expect of Braun.
RF- Corey Hart was a seasonal disappointment headed into 2010 who could have been had for a small price in the winter of 2009/2010. Now however he's a hot commodity as he finally put all his skills on display and has given the Brewers another weapon on a team that already has plenty of offensive weapons. Hart been the best hitter on the Brewers. If Fielder/Braun had had normal years the the trio of Hart/Braun/Fielder was have been something to behold. Hart is firmly in the conversation when talking about the best right fielders in the NL.
Starting Pitching for our Series:
Game 1- David Bush gets the call in game one. If the Dodgers can't score against Bush they will have little chance on Thursday Night against Gallardo. Bush doesn't even crack 87MPH anymore, he has an assortment of pitches, including a slider, curveball, cutter, and change up. His TSL is 4.63/5.03/4.94
Game 2- Randy Wolf, he of the heated arbitration debate gets a chance to pitch against the most anemic offense since the 2003 Dodgers. Wolf has not earned his contract, and has made Michael White righter then he has ever been on any subject. Wolf's TSL is 4.67/5.13/5.00. He is however having a solid August.
Game 3-Yovanni Gallardo is by far the best pitcher on the Brewers, and one of the best young pitchers in baseball. Below is a list of pitchers age 25 and younger who have thrown at least 450 innings.
Rk Player ERA+ IP From To Age OPS OPS+
2 Felix Hernandez 129 1017.2 2006 2010 20-24 .683 83
3 Matt Cain 126 1002.0 2006 2010 21-25 .684 81
4 Jair Jurrjens 125 523.2 2007 2010 21-24 .693 88
5 Yovani Gallardo 118 462.2 2007 2010 21-24 .686 87
6 John Danks 118 702.2 2007 2010 22-25 .716 86
7 Chad Billingsley 116 780.0 2006 2010 21-25 .706 92
8 John Lannan 102 521.1 2007 2010 22-25 .757 105
9 Johnny Cueto 100 489.2 2008 2010 22-24 .775 107
Hoffman has been supplanted by John Axford who is doing his best Carlos Marmol imitation with a double digit K/Rate along with a walk rate of 6.35. Todd Coffey looks to have the best skills in the bullpen and will try to get the lead to Axford.