Monday, April 29, 2013

Brewers-Padres/Dodgers series review: "ROAD TRIP"


Monday, 4/22 Brewers 7, Padres 1
Tuesday, 4/23 Brewers 6, Padres 3
Wednesday, 4/24 Padres 2, Brewers 1

Friday, 4/26 Dodgers 7, Brewers 5
Saturday 4/27 Brewers 6, Dodgers 4
Sunday 4/28 Dodgers 2, Brewers 0

Win Probability Stars: 
 4/27, Carlos Gomez homered, Norichika Aoki scored (+.440 WPA)
4/22, Ryan Braun homered to left, Rickie Weeks scored (+.187 WPA)
4/24, Jedd Gyorko lined out to shortstop, Yonder Alonso out at third (Marco Estrada pitching). (-.174 WPA)

Good day, Brewers fans. Have we all accepted Yuniesky Betancourt as our lord and savior, yet?

Worship him, peons. WORSHIP HIM.

It's been quite a month for your hometown team, capped off by a rather entertaining journey out west to Southern California. The Crew unfortunately saw their winning streak end at 9 games with a loss in San Diego last Wednesday (those free burgers may be just a pipe dream at this point), but still are in a stretch where they've won 12 of their last 15 games since starting the season with a 2-8 record.

The series against the Padres was certainly not without its moments, from Kyle Lohse and his Picasso-like finger to some rather suspect umpiring, which some of you may have had the pleasure of reading my glowing analysis of. I understand that some of those calls we're deemed correct in retrospect, but that doesn't detract from the point that the umpires made themselves front and center throughout each of those games. Either way, a strong showing from the Brewers starting pitching and offense helped them win 2 out of 3, just coming a couple hits short of a sweep in the final game of the series.

The Dodgers series, on the other hand, was not as pretty for the Brewers. The pitching wasn't as strong, which wasted a good offensive performance in game one before running into the buzzsaw commonly known as Clayton Kershaw. It's okay, though, many offenses struggle to score runs against Kershaw. Going .500 on a road trip is nothing to cry about. An old adage goes that in order to be successful, you want to win half your games on the road and have a winning record at home. Do that, and you'll likely end in a good place.

MVP: Carlos Gomez

For almost two weeks now, Carlos Gomez has been doing nothing but perform at a high level. He went 9-20 with 3 2B, a HR, a SB and took an alarmingly high (for Gomez) 3 BB during this last road trip, raising his season line to .338/.376/.538. He's been one part of what feels like a three-man wrecking crew with Yuniesky Betancourt and Jean Segura over the past 10+ games, with the occasional case of Ryan Braun doing Ryan Braun things.

As discussed before, the Brewers invested a lot in Gomez after a breakout season in 2012, and this sort of performance to date has to have Melvin and his pals in the FO smiling brightly.

LVP: Rickie Weeks
It just can't be ignored any longer. For the second April in a row, Weeks is just not getting the job done. His struggles can be pinpointed to a couple factors in the way pitchers are approaching him. He's seeing a ton of first pitch fastballs, watching almost half of them go by and not punishing the other half. Then when he's chasing the count, pitchers are consistently working him low and away, inducing his usual strikeouts and a number of weak grounders.

The most confusing part of all this is Roenicke's refusal to give Weeks a day off. Plenty of fans are  already firmly aboard the Scooter wagon and have been calling for this as a permanent move, but even those who aren't can't understand what benefit it is to have Weeks press day in and day out. It's not to say riding pine is some miracle cure, but it can certainly help a player slow things down, as we've witnessed since Gomez got his day off a couple weeks ago. Hopefully one way or another, Rickie gets his act together. If the Brewers are going anywhere this year, it's very likely not without his help.

Play of the Series:

The real play of this road trip was probably that Maldonado weirdness that ended the win streak, but who wants to analyze that? Instead, here's some great defensive plays from Jean Segura who seemed to have 50 every game.

What's Next: 
Marco Estrada vs. James McDonald
Hiram Burgos vs. Jeanmar Gomez

At the time I'm writing this, the Brewers have already wiped the floor with Wandy Rodriguez and destroyed his sparkling early season numbers, so 1-0 so far (woo)!

McDonald was the Pirates breakout pitcher last year, but like any other Pirates pitcher at Miller Park, doom will await him as soon as the umpire yells "play ball."

I honestly know nothing about the other pitcher, other than his name sounds like he made it up in an effort to steal the current magic surrounding Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez. The Pirates might win, but not both, because this is Miller Park and they just can't.

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