Over the past month, it’s been difficult to focus on anything other than the Brewer’s transactions leading up to the August 1st trade deadline. Given the current state of the Brewers and how active they were expected to be, the play on the field took a backseat to the player swapping occurring in the front office. Now that the deadline has come and gone, and the loyal readers of the Sunday Cycle know where I stand, it’s time to get back to baseball. If you’re committed enough to click through a Brewers article in the middle of August, then I owe you my analysis of this team, even if they’ll likely be statistically eliminated from the post season this week.
Wily Peralta may be back….
Credit the Brewers coaching staff for sending Peralta down to AAA to work through whatever the heck it was he was working through… it seems to have worked (fingers crossed). Prior to being sent down to Colorado Springs, Peralta threw 1,185 pitches, but just 25 of those touched 97MPH or higher. On Tuesday, Peralta also threw 25 pitches at 97MPH or above, but he only needed 93 pitches to do it; talk about making an adjustment.
Wily’s velocity isn’t the only thing that’s back, he’s also throwing his breaking ball for strikes again, something he struggled to do all spring. The results have been outstanding for him: 12 innings pitched, 3 earned runs on 8 hits, 11 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a win this afternoon against the Reds. Don’t call it a come back, but this is very VERY encouraging news for Brewers fans. Hopefully he can keep it going.
Ryan Braun is on fire.
Braun has been one of the better hitters in the MLB this season, so his recent power surge is not a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. Over his last 24 games, Braun is batting .390 (32 for 82) with 9 home runs, 21 RBIs, and 26 runs. He ranks fifth in all of baseball with his .333 average, and most importantly, is on pace for his first complete season in years without a stint on the DL (for the love of God, knock on wood).
According to most of the major baseball writers, Braun drew very little interest at the trade deadline. That could be for a number of reasons: the 80 million dollars left on his contract, the history of nagging injuries, or the bad press associated with his PED scandal. Whatever the case may be, it’s worth noting that if you put the bad press aside, a player putting up Braun’s numbers would come at a much higher price tag than $20 million per year. While I have mixed feelings on Braun, I’m starting to get used to the idea of him being a Brewer for life, or at least until the rebuild gets them back in playoff contention. If he’s still batting .300 when that magical day finally arrives, count me in… he’ll be a seasoned veteran on a team that will likely be very young and lacking playoff experience.
The Brewers “made history” on August 11th.
On Thursday afternoon, the Brewers managed to accomplish a feat more rare than a perfect game, but so arbitrary that the players didn’t even know it was happening. The Brewers managed to plate a run in every inning of the game, becoming only the 19th team in 116 years to do so. Is it something to feel good about? Absolutely… but am I going to take it as a sign of the raw talent on this team and a promise of things to come? No.
One of the most frustrating things about watching baseball is seeing the talent of MLB players of every skill level when the pressure is off. The stakes couldn’t be lower than a Thursday day game between two non-playoff teams in the middle of August. The Brewers young and inexperienced roster has shown their offensive capabilities on a number of occasions this August; they’ve had two games of 11+ runs in the last 10 days, something they haven’t done since May of this year. That doesn’t impress me. Even the worst players in the majors (I’m looking at you, Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis) are incredibly talented, so the Brewers going all super smash brothers in an inconsequential game late in the season is not a big deal. I want to see the Brewers score five runs in three straight games vs the Cubs in May, but for now I will settle for a run in every inning, and a confidence builder for some of the young guys.