The Sunday Cycle: A collection of four of my thoughts from the prior week of Brewers baseball

Current Record- 21-11, First Place- NL Central

Single- A bit of housekeeping to start off this week’s cycle: the Brewers have placed Ryan Braun on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 27th, with a right oblique strain. They reactivated Logan Shafer from the DL, and called up one of my favorite minor leaguers, Caleb Gindl, to back up the outfield.  Jim Henderson was also placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, and was replaced in the bullpen with RHP Rob Wooten, resulting in Elian Herrera being optioned back to Nashville. To summarize: Braun, Henderson and Herrera out, Shafter, Gindl and Wooten in.

Double-  I got my hands on some crazy “Plate Discipline” related stats this week that are definitely concerning, especially with the Brewer’s most disciplined hitter in Ryan Braun sitting on the DL. The Brewer’s rank third in the league in first pitch strike percentage, second in the league in swing and miss strikes, and first in the league in strikes outside the strike zone, and overall swing percentage. They also have the second fewest walks in the National League. This is going to be a team that strikes out more than others, and that’s fine with a pitching staff as good as the Brewer’s has been, however you would hope that the Crew will show more patience at the plate as we get into the summer months. Lack of run production is leading to overdependence on the bullpen, which finally showed signs of being human in today’s extra inning loss to the Reds.

Triple- You can’t say enough about Wily Peralta single handedly winning Friday’s game against the Reds. As if pitching eight scoreless innings wasn’t enough, Peralta doubled in the only two runs of the game in the fifth inning. The Brewers organization has been touting the tremendous potential in Peralta for a long time, but like many younger pitchers, Wily has struggled to find consistency over the past couple of years. This season, however, Peralta looks like an early frontrunner for the breakout pitcher of the year; he’s 4-1 and is sporting a 2.03 ERA. He’s one of a couple of young players that could see a large pay day after this year should the team continue their winning ways.

HR-  Should the playoff / divisional race come down to a couple of games, one of the defining series of this season will be the two games the Brewers were able to steal from the Cardinals in extra innings this past week. Down three starting position players at one point, the Brewers bats were able to score just enough runs to win two of three from last year’s division champs in Saint Louis. The real story of the series was the bullpen, who tossed eleven scoreless innings in less than 48 hours to give the bats enough time to plate the winning runs. Hats off to Francisco Rodriguez, the most dominant closer in the game to date, who has saved fourteen games in as many tries, and has yet to allow an earned run all year. K-rod’s efforts helped close the door on two massive wins for the crew, who were able to win their first series against the Cardinals in the last eight tries.