In what was another successful month, the Milwaukee Brewers have positioned themselves quite nicely to win the NL Central and be a force in the National League pennant race.
There were some unlikely heroes in the month of July and some players had letdowns that weren’t expected. But the train kept moving and the Crew kept finding ways to win. That’s the beauty of baseball.
So without further ado, let’s revisit the month of July and see who brought the fireworks and who just lit some measly sparklers for the Brewers.
Brewers July Stud: Tyrone Taylor
When you can raise your average from .228 on the first day of the month to .264 on the last day, you’ll find yourself on the ‘Studs’ part of the list. Tyrone Taylor was thought by some as a potential key trade piece, but he saved his own spot on this team by being too valuable to move.
In July, he slashed .339/.423/.597 with 37 total bases in 62 at-bats, three doubles, three home runs and 17 runs batted in. With the struggles of some other outfielders at the plate in the month, it was vital that Taylor stepped up…and he did just that.
He’s had an up and down season of sorts with an average of .346 after April and .125 during the month of May. But he appears to be locked in right now. And he’ll have to find a way to continue this hot hitting with the big stage of October baseball approaching.
Brewers July Dud: Christian Yelich
It was a frustrating July at the plate for the former MVP and things didn’t get any easier to close out the month either. On July 27th, Christian Yelich was placed on the IL after a positive COVID test. And while some believe the time off will benefit him, I’d argue the opposite. He’s had to deal with mild symptoms which can certainly take a toll on anyone’s body, even a world-class athlete. Mentally, he’s more than likely beating himself up over the rough 2021 campaign as he holds himself to a very high standard.
In 67 at-bats, Yelich posted a slashline of .209/.329/.299 and totaled as many bases in the month as he had strikeouts (20). Along with the lack of hits he totaled, his power numbers are way down too after only hitting one home run in 19 games. He looks like a shell of his old self right now, but there is reason to be optimistic.
Christian Yelich is one of the hardest working players in all of baseball. He goes above and beyond to improve and there are many around the league that have attested to that attribute about him. In his career, during the months of August/September/October he has a career average of .297 so he’s familiar with getting things going at the right time.
Brewers July Stud: Unsung Bullpen Arms
While the two headliners of the relievers are rightfully Devin Williams and Josh Hader, other guys stepped up and did their job in keeping Milwaukee in the lead. Specifically, Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Brad Boxberger had outstanding months of July. While two out of those three weren’t even on the Opening Day roster, they all appear to be potential contributors for the rest of the season.
Brad Boxberger was tied for the most appearances in the month with nine and posted an ERA of 0.90 with the sole run he gave up coming against the slugging Reds on July 17. Opponents had an average of only .161 against Boxberger for the month and he has established himself as one of the most consistent relief pitchers for Craig Counsell.
Jake Cousins has been nothing short of spectacular since his first appearance in late June. For his first 7.1 innings of work, he didn’t even give up a hit and then during the month of July (where he was also brought in nine times) he didn’t surrender a run. He posted an unbelievable WHIP of 0.67 in nine innings of work. Cousins was recently moved to the IL after contracting COVID-19.
Jandel Gustave made his Brewers debut back on July 9th and has been nothing short of great since joining the team. He, like Cousins, didn’t surrender a run in the month during his six appearances and batters are only hitting .130 against him. Gustave was placed on the IL on the same day as Cousins but was only considered a close contact so his stint away from the team appears to be shorter.
Brewers July Dud: Josh Hader
It was a rough month for the Brewers closer but when you look at his overall numbers for the season, it’s amazing to see his stats are still so good. Part of the reason as to why he struggled was because of the lack of work that he was getting. He only pitched in six games during the month of July while in all the other months so far this year, he pitched in at least 10 games. Milwaukee simply didn’t have to utilize him all that much out of the traditional closer role.
Looking at his numbers, Josh Hader went 0-2 in the month with a 9.53 ERA, three home runs allowed. Four out of his six appearances he gave up at least one run. Hitters posted an average of .273 against the All-Star lefty, the highest in any month this year by .127 points (.146 in May).
He finally looked like he was human in July, but already in August he’s gone an inning with two strikeouts and has recorded a save. So maybe, he just needed that calendar to flip so he could get back on track.