The Brewers have been playing a little bit better ball this past week or so, only getting one disastrous start from the rotation — in Manny Parra‘s meltdown in the Cubs revenge game for Tuesday’s blowout — and getting the better end of a few close matchups.
That was the case again this weekend against the Astros, as the Brewers got their worst start of the series from Yovani Gallardo — if that were the case more often, they would be in a much better position this season — and won a pair of close games with timely hits, winning 6-5 on Friday, 5-2 Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday.
This winning baseball thing is pretty easy, huh??
Let me restate that I will be using some advanced statistics pretty regularly in this blog, and one of the most useful for recapping what happened (not what WILL happen) is WPA, or Win Probability Added. Here is a link to a FanGraphs post that gives a brief rundown of what it is and has links to much more material.
Top Shelf (Star of the Series): Prince Fielder, .824 WPA, 4-for-11, 1 2B, 3 Runs, 5 RBI
This was an easy one, as Fielder was positive in all three games, and had the game-winner on Friday night.
Fielder’s two-run single to give the Crew a 6-5 win — on the heels of Joe Inglett‘s surprising 2-run homer to cut the deficit to one-run — was worth .659 WPA and was the series’ most important play by a large margin.
Prince had three walks to go along with his four hits on the weekend, and while he only had one extra-base hit, this goes to show that context is important, as his single with one out in the 9th was the difference.
On the Rail (Schmoe of the Series): None
If this were to go to anyone, it’d probably have to be Gallardo, who coughed up four runs on eight hits over six innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Hardly a mess, just not his best start of the season by any means, and it contextually was the worst performance of the series by a Brewers player.
Seeing as how the team won all three games, including his start with a fair amount of ease, it would be unjust to simply name him the LVP and as such, we’ll just declare the entire weekend a total success for the Crew, which it WAS, without question.
There is no day off for the Brewers today, as the lowly D-Backs hit Milwaukee, allowing the good fans of the Brew City the opportunity to see (for the only time this season) a bullpen that is markedly worse than their own.
Just to give you an idea to this point in the season, the Brewers bullpen ERA of 5.23 is a the 2nd-highest in the majors, but is a bit unfortunate, as their FIP of 4.07 is merely average. I’ll have to do a post on this subject this week… but anyway, for those of you that would refuse to call the ‘Pen anything other than dreadful, let’s just say that the D-Back’s reliever ERA of 6.45 is well over a run higher than the Brewers, and the FIP of 5.33 is two-thirds of a run higher than the next worst team (Boston).