Brewers: Studs And Duds From The First 3 Series Of 2021

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Brett Anderson #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 11, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Brett Anderson #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 11, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

After a bit of a rigid start, the Milwaukee Brewers have won two out of their first three series of the 2021 regular season, both coming against divisional foes. The pitching as of late has been ‘as advertised’ in the offseason and the bats seem to be awakening from their dormant regular season state.

Surely though, there are some guys that have stood out for the right and wrong reasons so far at the beginning of the Brewers 162 game marathon. Let’s take a look at who those guys are in the first regular season edition of ‘Studs and Duds’.

Stud: The Catchers

Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina have been stellar to begin the season and we can’t really say we’re surprised. Okay maybe we didn’t project them to both be hitting .300 or better with eight RBI’s between the two of them in nine games, but that’s exactly what is happening.

In 22 at-bats, Omar Narvaez is slashing .455/.520/.727 with two home runs and five RBIs. To this point he’s been the best hitter in the lineup and looks to be working his way up that lineup with how he’s performed so far. He would be on a seven-game hit streak right now if it wasn’t for a pinch hit appearance on April 7 against the Cubs.

Both of Narvaez’s home runs came in the series with the Chicago Cubs and he logged 10 total bases in the two starts he had against the Windy City rivals. Look for him to stay hot at the dish with the Cubs coming to Milwaukee tonight. Could he be the new ‘Cub Killer’ with Ryan Braun no longer on the team?

Manny Pina probably won’t get the credit he deserves with the great start for Narvaez but he will play a huge role moving forward with the Crew. Prior to yesterday’s game he hadn’t registered a hit in six at-bats but he made himself quite familiar with the hit category in the series finale going 3-4 with a HR, double and 2 RBI’s. Currently it might seem tough for Pina to crack the lineup, but he’s a great option to have for Craig Counsell if Omar Narvaez ever stops mashing pitches at the rate he’s currently at.

Both have an OPS of over 1.000 and have called some masterful games for their pitchers nine games into the season. These two guys didn’t have the great seasons by any means last year, but so far they look like key contributors in 2021.

Dud: Luis Urias

With the departure of Orlando Arcia, Luis Urias has been given the reins at shortstop and nine games in, that decision doesn’t look too promising. Urias’ early struggles paired with an injury to Kolten Wong has put the Brewers middle infield in a bit of a bind. While Daniel Robertson hasn’t looked much better than Urias at the plate, the Brewers front office also didn’t give up as much to acquire Robertson. Urias needs to play better – plain and simple.

He isn’t making much contact, striking out every three at-bats and when he does make contact, it’s not very hard (6th percentile in average exit velocity). It was a solid spring for the 24 year old going 11-35 with a .971 OPS but that Cactus League success has done anything but transfer over to the regular season. And this sort of follows the trend of his career so far, hitting .308 in the minors and only .216 in the MLB.

If these woes continue at the plate, don’t be surprised if you see some infielders called up sooner than later as hitting coaches try to help figure out what’s going wrong for Luis Urias.

Stud: Brewers Starting Pitching Staff

The Brewers starting pitchers just made history in the last rotation turn. Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser and Brett Anderson just went five consecutive starts without allowing more than one earned run for the first time in franchise history. Not even melatonin or warm milk before bed could put opposing hitters’ bats to sleep like the Brewers starters are right now.

Fans kind of knew what they were going to get with Woodruff and Burnes at the beginning of the rotation. These two guys both could be aces basically anywhere else in the league and we’re lucky to have them in Milwaukee. The question mark comes after the 1-2 punch in the rotation though – but it seems those question marks may turn into exclamation points.

Houser, Anderson and Peralta have combined for a 2.10 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 27.0 innings of work so far. That is efficient back-end rotation pitching. Freddy Peralta specifically has shined up to this point in the seven innings he’s seen action in, striking out 14 batters and only allowing three hits.

As of now, it appears there won’t be many games that the Brewers are out of from the beginning as their starting rotation could quietly shape up to be one of the better ones in baseball.

Dud: Eric Yardley

One of the most reliable arms from last year, Eric Yardley has struggled to replicate his success three series into the season. He’s appeared in five games and has a WHIP of 2.00 and opposing batters are hitting .350 against him. The five earned runs that he’s surrendered are an area of concern but he’s also walked at least one batter in his last three outings. In five games this season, he’s already given up more runs than he did all of 2020.

The problems have continued from Spring Training where he posted an ERA of almost 7.00. He was one of the sure-fire Opening Day roster relievers but now his spot on the team could be in jeopardy if he can’t find a way to keep runs off the board. It’s a bonus for the Crew to have some major league arms ready to be called up but I’m sure Craig Counsell would rather see Yardley figure it out and get back to contributing.

Next. 5 Pitchers Seeing Velocity Increase In 2021. dark

Nine games in, the Brewers are in second place with pitching and hitting both looking great as of late. Now hopefully some of the injured players can get healthy quickly and Milwaukee can keep the wins coming in what looks to be a tight NL Central.