Brewers Look Like a Different Team Lately
Sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates, taking five out of six from the Chicago Cubs and just beating everyone one in their path is what the Milwaukee Brewers have been doing since August began. Now, he we are in September. The Brewers sit 6 1/2 out of the NL Wild Card and as we all know from last year, this may not seem like a whole lot. The team has been playing a lot better now than any other month and after a horrid July, they know that. The bullpen in particular has completely turned it around and looks like the bullpen we knew last year. Even if the Brewers do not make the playoffs (though you can’t count them out), this bodes well nicely for next season as the Brewers have finally worked out the kinks.
Perhaps the biggest turnaround in the bullpen is the fact that John Axford has finally found his confidence from last year. He’s five for five in his last five save attempts and just looks a lot calmer than in games earlier this season. In his past eight innings (which dates back to August 14), Axford has only allowed three runs, but at the same time, has accrued five saves, two holds and one win. No blown saves here! Even Kameron Loe has been a huge reason as to why the bullpen may have found their groove again. While he has allowed three runs in his last three appearances, he’s also pitching one to two innings of relief a game sometimes. These two are a huge part of the bullpen being on track once again.
The starting pitching has been good and Yovani Gallardo just drives that point home. Despite him giving up seven runs in a no-decision yesterday, Gallardo won six straight, and with ease at that. In those six wins, Gallardo only allowed nine runs in 42.2 innings while striking out 44. Mike Fiers, despite having a rough go of things, has also done well overall and has started to last longer into games, sometimes reaching the 8th inning. Shaun Marcum’s return really has been average, but maybe he’ll dazzle us in the last month. Marco Estrada has won his first two games of the season lately and is building a case to be in this rotation for next year. The call-up of Wily Peralta rounds out this rotation and it should be interesting to see how he does.
For the offense, they have been taking out some much needed aggression. They’ve been scoring a high number of runs lately, scoring eight or more runs in four games since August 27. Ryan Braun has been a huge part of it as he hit his 37th home run of the season yesterday, but other guys are factoring into it lately. While it still may seem sad that Rickie Weeks is batting .226 on the year, he’s batting .464 in his past seven games with one home run, two RBIs and has scored 11 runs. Rookie Jeff Bianchi is batting .308 in his last seven, which includes his first two home runs, five RBIs and two runs scored.
Another huge force in this offense has been Aramis Ramirez. In his last seven, A-Ram is batting .346 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Now I could go on about Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy, Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez and others, but you get my point. The whole team is hitting well and at the best possible time too.
Now like I said, the Brewers are 6 1/2 out of the Wild Card and have some tough teams to pass to get there. That said, it isn’t unrealistic for the Brew Crew to try and get there. Other teams collapse, while teams like Milwaukee take advantage of this time and make their mark. Even if the Brewers don’t make it, I’m excited to see what 2013 brings because if this last part of the season is any indication, expect the Brew Crew to be great.