The Sunday Cycle- a collection of four of my thoughts from the prior week of Brewers Baseball.
Current Record- 14-5, First Place- NL Central
Single– Carlos Gomez needs to stop trotting around the bases, and I say this as someone who enjoys a good baseball fight. Today, his antics cost him a run when the Brewers were down one. On April 1st, Gomez hit this home run (http://wapc.mlb.com/cutfour/2014/04/01/70655368/watch-carlos-gomez-hit-a-home-run-and-sprint-around-the-bases) and cleared the bases in 16.1 seconds. Today, it took him 13.5 seconds to get to third as he stood and admired what he believed to be a solo shot. If he’s running hard, he scores easy on an inside the park home run. I love Gomez’s fire, I think his personality is a key piece to a playoff team (see Nyger Morgan in 2011, except WAY better), but he has stay focused on the task at hand.
Double– When Doug Melvin said, “We need to find a first baseman who can play first,” and proceeded to sign the aging platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay, he made it clear that defense would take precedence over what many believed would be the biggest offensive hole in the lineup this year. Reynolds has answered the call defensively (.991 fielding %), but has also knocked in five HRs, which have come in some tight games. You can’t expect much as far as on base percentage is concerned, but if Reynolds could hit 25 HRs and keep it up defensively, Melvin will look like a genius for saving his money for the Garza deal.
Triple- The Brewers are the NL first team to win nine of their first ten on the road in over 20 years. They aren’t playing terribly at home, but there are a couple of guys who can’t seem to get it going at Miller Park. Everyone’s favorite villain, Ryan Braun, sports a .194 average at home with no home runs, but is batting .385 while getting booed relentlessly by visiting crowds. All six of his home runs have come on the road, including two ninth inning home runs the past 24 hours that propelled the crew to two late inning victories. In addition to Braun, Khris Davis, who homered in the 14th today to put the crew on top for good, has yet to get a hit at home (0.00 avg, #math), but is batting .370 on the road. Hopefully both guys can find a way to get it done in front of the home crowd this week vs a Padres squad that has won seven of their last ten.
HR- Wily Peralta (2-0, 1.96 ERA) was able to put together a stellar start on Wednesday, allowing one earned run in six innings pitched en route to a win vs the Cardinals, allowing the Brewers to avoid the series sweep. With a bullpen as good as the Brewer’s has been, a starting rotation that can put together quality starts from top to bottom is a formula for winning baseball. The fifth pitcher in the rotation is the wild card for over half the teams in the majors, yet Peralta has done an all-around outstanding job putting his team in a position to win ball games (3-0 in his starts). His success will be critical for the crew down the stretch as they continue to try to put together series wins.