A 4-2 week combined with a slumping Cubs’ (swept by the Cards) squad has your Milwaukee Brewers back on top of the uber-competetive NL Central by 1.5 games. As it should be. It wasn’t a clean week. 39 runs scored is nice, but they allowed 35. Jhoulys Chacin was shelled and is now on the IL. Brandon Woodruff was unable to protect a 5-0 lead in the 3rd inning. The Crew committed 7 errors on the week, with 3 by Keston Hiura and 2 catcher’s interference calls on the recently-returned Manny Pina. But clean or not, it was 4-2 on the road against a very good Twins team and recent nemesis Pittsburgh. Good enough.
Some interesting notes — the Brewers lead the NL with 105 homers. That projects to 283 dingers on the season, which would be a major league record. Except that the Twins will probably hit 300. That’s just crazy. Oh yeah — wins aren’t a good stat for evaluating pitchers, but the Zach and Woody show is now 13-1. Just think if Jimmy Nelson can round into form — that would be a nice three-man rotation in the playoffs.TOP HITTING STORY: Orlando Arcia is maintaining his new-found successful approach at the plate, and it seems possible that we may be seeing a solid hitting, good fielding shortstop in Milwaukee for the next decade. Or not. Anyways, Lando slashed .348/.423/.783 – that’s an OPS of 1.206. His three home runs included his first two-homer game, and that included a 13th inning game-winner against the Bucs on Saturday. Arcia scored 8 times on the week and drove in 7. Nicely done.
Honorable Mention: Arcia’s keystone partner, Keston Hiura, looks like he might also be around for at least a decade…except for that new contract thing. He set up Arcia’s game winner by ripping a 9th inning, game tying two run shot off of Pirates’ closer Felipe Vazquez. Vazquez had converted 55 of 56 save opportunities going back to last year. Hiura also had 3 long balls on the week, and also drove in 7. His OPS was 1.090. I will be astounded if the Brewers elect to send him back to AAA to make room for Travis Shaw. That would be a travesty. A miscarriage of justice. Indefensible.BTW, Zach has tied the club record with six straight winning decisions to start the season.
Honorable Mention: When you give up 35 runs in 6 games, there aren’t a lot of shining moments. In a bullpen that is searching for some solid outings, Matt Albers is starting to settle in and look like the guy that excelled in the pen early last season, before he got hurt. Albers worked three scoreless innings in two appearances, and allowed no hits. He did walk two, but there are times he won’t give in when he doesn’t have to. It would be a big help if he could be consistent.
IMHO: Speaking of the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel is going to sign with somebody this week. Probably. I mean, he kinda has to, right? Recent rumors have the Cubs with serious interest.
That would be unfortunate. The Brewers and Cubs could be within a few games of each other the rest of the season. You have to concede the NL’s best record to LA (probably), but Chicago and Milwaukee could very well come down to the last day once again, fighting for a division title vs. a wild card slot. And that difference could be huge.