The Sunday Cycle
Current Record- 65-53, First Place- NL Central
Single- After going 1-7-1 over their previous nine series, the Brewers were able to put together two very nice series against some top tier teams in the Giants and the Dodgers. Although some questionable base running took away any chance the Brewers had against Clayton Kershaw today, the Crew managed to beat 5 Cy Young winners over their last 9 games (Price, Wainwright, Lincecum, Peavy & Greinke). That’s borderline absurd. The issue with the Brewer’s lineup isn’t that they lack hitters capable of scoring on top tier pitching, but rather that when the lineup has gone cold this season, it has tended to go cold from top to bottom. It’s going to be an interesting couple of months leading up to October, but the success against the incredibly talented pitchers the Brewers have seen should make Brewers fans a bit more optimistic about this team’s playoff chances.
Double- Gerardo Parra wasted no time making Doug Melvin look like a trade deadline guru. He was the MVP of Tuesday’s close win over the Giants, in which he hit a go ahead home run to put the Brewers on top for good, and followed it up with a stunning catch in foul territory in the ninth inning to help Francisco Rodriguez close it out. Parra went 3 for 10 this past week with 3 RBIs. Not only has Parra played well, but Khris Davis seems to be responding well to the competition in left field. Davis went 4 for 13 with 2 HR and 4 RBI, a definite improvement on his post All-Star game numbers thus far. Roenicke continues to press the fact that Davis is the starting left fielder, but I hope the Brewers keep giving Parra at bats as the month goes by; so far both players have benefited from this strategy.
Triple- Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers have picked up right where they left off in Nashville. Nelson appears to have earned a permanent spot in the rotation from here on out, tossing a quality start in his last two outings. After going hitless in his first 66 major league at bats, Nelson is now riding a three game hitting streak, including a double off the best pitcher in the game earlier today. The hits are irrelevant in the long run, but I think it’s a sign that Nelson is getting comfortable in a big league uniform and settling in for good. There’s a reason he’s the only top 25 prospect in the Brewer’s system- he’s the real deal and could be another critical peace to this Brewers rotation beyond 2014. Nelson wasn’t the only former Nashville Sound impressing this week- Mike Fiers made his first big league start in over a year Saturday night, and was nothing short of spectacular. Fiers earned his first major league victory since September of 2012, tossing a three hitter in eight innings of one-run baseball, and exiting to a standing ovation 40,000 fans strong. While Fier’s spot in the rotation is only temporary, I believe his outing will boost his credibility in the bullpen this September, and will give a sense of depth to this rotation should Matt Garza remain out for an extended period of time.
Home Run- I think it’s safe to say that Wily Peralta has arrived. Peralta became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 14 wins on Thursday, after allowing just one run over six innings vs. the Giants. He has now won each of his last five starts, posting a whopping 1.64 ERA in 33 innings pitched over those starts. What’s impressed me most about Wily this season is that he has shown he can get out of jams, rarely imploding after allowing early base runners or having a bad inning. Peralta’s season ERA sits at 3.42, and the Brewers have often leaned on his arm to stop losing streaks; Wily is 8-3 in games following a team loss. The players and coaching staff have been talking about Peralta’s potential for years, and while he still has some work to do with his command, it looks we are starting to see an ace in the making. I’d venture (and hope) he’s due for a big pay day this off season, keeping him in a Brewers uniform for a very long time.