Milwaukee Brewers: 2019 Second Half Preview

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 07: Ben Gamel #16, Lorenzo Cain #6 and Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate a victory over the Washington Nationals at Miller Park on May 07, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 07: Ben Gamel #16, Lorenzo Cain #6 and Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate a victory over the Washington Nationals at Miller Park on May 07, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As the first half comes to an end and the All-Star Break starts to whine down, it is now time to begin the last leg of the season. For the Milwaukee Brewers, it is time to regroup and get ready to make another run for the division title and maybe beyond!

The Milwaukee Brewers were in this same position last season: they began the season on a high note but not playing a good brand of baseball. The whole month of June–winning only twelve out of the twenty-five games played–and the first two weeks of July has not been very kind to Milwaukee, but they are looking to make noise in the second half and hopefully pick up some names with the Trade Deadline vastly approaching.

Question still remains: what needs to happen?

Starting Pitching Is A Must

It is known by now that the biggest loss for the Milwaukee Brewers coming into the season was not a player, but pitching coach Derek Johnson, who is now in the Cincinnati Reds organization.  Not wanting to make it a big deal has kind of bit us in the rear as the Brewers starting rotation is definitely not the same as it was last season.

One of the names that was put in the rotation and was getting a lot of hype was Corbin Burnes.  After his stellar performances out of the bullpen during the postseason, Brewers’ fans were very optimistic to see what Burnes could do as starter at the big league for the first time in his career.  In fact, site editor David Gasper made the bold statement at the beginning of the year that Burnes was going to be your 2019 NL Cy Young Award winner.  Let’s just say, that does not look like it’s going to happen.

As of right now, Burnes is supporting an ERA of 8.00, a 5.94 FIP, allowing 15 home runs, and has a record of 1-4 in 28 appearances. The Milwaukee Brewers are looking for Burnes to make up those stats and carry himself in a bullpen role.

Let’s not forget the anticipated return of Jimmy Nelson did not go as planned, either.  Nelson’s first game back with the Crew since September of 2017 could have gone a lot smoother. Going up against the Marlins, fans were hoping for a stellar performance. That did not seem to be the case for Nelson as he only went three innings, gave up four hits, five runs, four earned runs, walked three batters, only struck out two batters and gave up a grand slam. Since then, Nelson has also found himself in a bullpen role. But sadly, Nelson is back on the 10-Day IL with an elbow injury.

Another pitcher that is looking to turn it around is last year’s ace, Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin did start the season in game one of 2019 in normal fashion and actually hit a home run.  But since then, the veteran right-hander cannot seem to find his rhythm.  An ERA of 5.40, 5.61 FIP and a record of 3-9 in 16 games is what is on the stat sheet right now for Chacin.

Hopefully the Trade Deadline proves useful to the Brewers as maybe we can make a splash in the starting pitching market.  With the return of Gio Gonzalez coming soon, the Brewers need Burnes and Chacin to step it up if they want to make it to the postseason.

Offense: Yelich Doing Great, Can’t Do It Alone

Let’s just get this out of the way:  CHRISTIAN YELICH IS A MACHINE!  The man had 36 home runs at the end of the year last year and at the half way point of this season, he has 31! Just give him another MVP award!

Glad that’s out of the way.  There is a negative side to Yelich putting up those numbers; he cannot carry the team on his own.

One of the most surprising slumps in the first half was Lorenzo Cain. Cain was great last season batting lead off and making great plays in the outfield.  Why he didn’t win the Gold Glove Award is still a wonder. But this season hasn’t been great to Cain. Mainly because he has caught a few instances with the injury bug…especially with his right thumb. But take away the injury, Cain has slash line of .246/.309/.352/.660 with five home runs and thirty runs batted in. If he can stay healthy and get back on track, he will be beneficial to team success.

Two other key names are Manny Pina and Jesus Aguilar. With the edition of catcher Yasmani Grandal making a name for himself with the Milwaukee Brewers by making the All-Star team of the National League.  With that being said, Pina has not seen much playing time. That could also be because his stats are not that great right now. He is batting .165 with four home runs and eight runs batted in. If he wants more playing time those stats are DEFINITELY going to have to change.

Now to Aguilar.  The start of the season for the big man was anything but lackadaisical.  But in the last two months Aguilar has shown improvement; now batting .225 with five home runs and thirty-two runs batted in. If he continues to show improvement we could possibly see Jesus of old.

Another note that all Milwaukee Brewers’ fans will agree on: PRODUCE WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION AND ENOUGH DOUBLE PLAYS!

Next. Which relievers should the Brewers target?. dark

The second half kicks off tonight with our boys back home facing San Francisco and Chase Anderson will be on the mound.  Here’s to hoping that this crucial second half sees the Milwaukee Brewers as 2019 NL Central Champions.