The Milwaukee Brewers just lost two out of three to the Chicago Cubs, but the team is still 8-8 and only 1/2 game out of first place. With a big four-game series this weekend with the St. Louis Cardinals, where can the Brewers, realistically, go from here? We’ll borrow a title from a reasonably popular Korean film, and take a look at what’s gone right, what’s gone wrong, and what’s just odd.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Good
To say the Brewers offense has defied expectations isn’t quite accurate. For the most part they’ve shattered them so far this season. First baseman Eric Thames enjoyed the mother of all hot streaks and nearly shattered a team record in his first month. Ryan Braun is doing Ryan Braun things. Even the two-headed mediocre catcher monster has been more than competent. Both Jett Bandy and Manny Pina are rocking an OPS over 1.000, and that’s not their combined total.
Third baseman Travis Shaw has also been as advertised and already has four home runs on his stat sheet. He owns a higher OPS at home, but three of his four homers have come on the road. That’s just odd for a guy who’s swing appears to be built for Miller Park.
Chase Anderson and Wily Peralta are setting the pace for the starting rotation. Anderson looks a bit more credible with 16 K’s and 5 walks in 18 innings, but Peralta has developed a curveball, and it’s paying dividends.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Bad
Anyone who has said that speed doesn’t slump needs to take a look at Jonathan Villar’s statline. Villar has four steals, but his slash line is only .138/.200/.308 and that’s with four home runs.
Center fielder Keon Broxton has 21 K’s in 14 games. He’s currently on pace for over 240 K’s if he plays a full season. Broxton clearly has the talent, but it remains to be seen if he’s the long term answer in center or just a placeholder until Lewis Brinson arrives.
Zach Davies has a 2.02 ERA! Wait. That’s his WHIP. His ERA is 8.79. With the imminent return of Matt Garza, Davies may find himself on a bus to Colorado Springs if he can’t turn his season around quickly.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Weird
Right-handed reliever Oliver Drake is one of the most unique relievers the Brewers have had in a while. He really only has the splitter, but it’s absolutely devastating. In his first two appearances he has six K’s in only four innings, the majority coming via the split-finger fastball.
Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz have the glamour roles, but Jacob Barnes may be the best reliever on the Brewers. In nine appearances he has a perfect 0.00 ERA with 11 K’s and three walks in 9 1/3 innings.
The NL Central is in a weird place right not. The Cubs are still the Cubs, and will likely cruise to a 90+ win season. The Cardinals have the worst roster they’ve have in the past 20 years. The Pirates seem to be a mess right now, and the Reds will likely become the Reds once again. A second place finish with Wild Card intrigue isn’t out of the question for the Brewers right now.
The Brewers have several interesting pieces, and there is a lot to like with this roster, but the starting pitching and parts of the bullpen need to be sorted out. Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader are likely going to arrive in Milwaukee soon. Perhaps they’ll be part of the solution, perhaps not. GM David Stearns has done well to set the team up for success, and given the state of the division