By Eric Nehm, guest writer
Some things to read while searching for a Chad Moeller Baseball shirt.
For the first time this season, the Brewers have lost consecutive series, as they fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park for the second straight day. The Brewers lost 3-2 to the National League’s worst team, which got a strong pitching performance from Bronson Arroyo Wednesday afternoon. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has the recap if you missed the action.
The Brewers’ woes continued offensively as they just weren’t able to get anything going against Arroyo. They have been well-documented free swingers this year, and as such, are just the type of team Arroyo can exploit. “The more swingers you have in your lineup, you’re going to have trouble with him, unless guys are able to sit off-speed and work it that way,” Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt after the loss.
The offense might have been helped out by the veteran presence of Aramis Ramirez, but he was given a day off to try to get himself back in the game mentally. Ramirez has been mired in a 3-for-48 slump, and Roenicke thought it might be best to give him two days off to improve his approach. Todd Rosiak of the Journal Sentinel writes that Ramirez has cooled off lately after a scorching hot start because of an increase in ground balls and the lack of real solid contact.
Although much of the postgame chatter will go to the Brewers sputtering offense, the Brewers pitching was solid once again and kept the club in the game. Wily Peralta didn’t have his best stuff, giving up 11 hits and two earned runs in six innings, but he was able to avoid walking a single batter and put together yet another quality start. Peralta has now recorded a quality start in his last six outings after coming up an inning short in his first start of the season.
Other notes from Miller Park:
- Arroyo has more wins against the Brewers than any other team in his career (h/t @AndrewGruman).
- Rickie Weeks was brought on to pinch hit in the eighth inning and kept the Brewers’ rally going. In his last five plate appearances, he’s collected three hits and two walks (h/t @DaDaubs).
- Although Weeks kept the rally going, Carlos Gomez quickly ended it by hitting into a double play with the bases loaded and only one out. It was the fourth double play the Brewers had grounded into on the day (h/t @Haudricourt).
- In the wake of Peralta giving up 11 hits but only two runs, some folks may wonder what the franchise record is for most hits allowed in a quality start. The answer to that obscure bit of trivia: 14. Clyde Wright recorded a win against the Baltimore Orioles on June 23, 1974, while only giving up three earned runs in 8.1 innings pitched.
- A constant of this series: Paul Goldschmidt crushing baseballs. Goldschmidt punished the Brewers this series, going 7-for-12 with two home runs and a double. For the season, he is now hitting .351/.391/.581 (h/t @nickpiecoro).
- Ryan Braun took batting on the field Wednesday and told coaches he expects to spend the minimum time on the DL and return next Tuesday (h/t Adam McCalvy).
- Yes, Chad Moeller Baseball shirts really do exist.
The Brewers will have a chance to clear their minds today with a much-needed day off after starting the month of May with a 2-5 record. Although a day of relaxation will be nice, the Brewers can’t get too comfortable, as they start a three-game series against the Yankees in Miller Park on Friday Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers will look to hand Masahiro Tanaka his first MLB loss in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. game
Adam McCalvy mentions this: Although there will be a lot of electricity in Miller Park for Derek Jeter’s last games in Milwaukee and the Yankees’ first trip here since 2005, nothing will match the intensity of the “Brewers-Yankees games of old.” In his preview of the series, McCalvy reminisces with Jim Gantner about some of the punches he’s thrown and the fierce rivalry of the two squads in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Another fierce rivalry that often goes overlooked was the one between Carlos Gomez and the perception of what he should be as a hitter. As Gomez came up through the ranks, he was touted as the next great leadoff hitter, but his swing has always suggested otherwise, and Baseball Prospectus’s Ryan Parker broke down the change in Gomez’s swing in the last few years. In fact, Parker went as far as to break down the exact month in which that change occurred and why it has been so significant.
Yesterday in this space, we looked at Rob Neyer’s concern for the Brewers going forward because of their rather pedestrian run differential, but didn’t examine Neyer’s more specific Brewer observations. This is exactly what Jordan Mader at Brew Crew Ball set out to do yesterday. Although Mader doesn’t argue that Brewers relievers will regress a bit like Neyer suggested, he takes issue with Neyer’s suggestion that the Brewers pitching staff isn’t as good as folks think. Be sure to check the comments section for Neyer’s response.
The Brewers’ hot start has forced many fans to reevaluate their thoughts on the team and figure out how they should view the rest of the season. Jonathan Judge at Disciples of Uecker attempted to write a helpful guide to how often the Brewers need to win the rest of the way. Judge dispelled the popular notion that the Brewers just need to go .500 the rest of year to make the playoffs and attempted to show that Brewers fans should be looking at the rest of the season as the percentage of series the Brewers need to win.
Also, at Disciples of Uecker, Curt Hogg examined if Jean Segura is actually becoming better defensively. On Tuesday, Segura made two fantastic plays at shortstop in the sixth inning, which made Hogg examine the numbers to see if those .gif-worthy plays were actually indicative of a good shortstop. His look at the numbers shows that Segura is certainly improving as a shortstop, but still has a ways to go to become elite.
Peralta has also looked very impressive in the early going and, like Hogg, Brew Crew Ball’s Derek Harvey decided to take a closer look at the numbers. Harvey found that one of the reasons for Peralta’s strong start may be his dominance of left-handed batters. Last season, allowed more hits and walks to them, and giving up more line drives. This season, though, Peralta is holding lefties to a.203/.247/.273 slash line by attacking them low and away just like he does with righties.
In the minors:
- The affiliates went 2-2 yesterday, with wins from both of the Brewers’ Single-A affiliates. Both of the victories came at the expense of Cubs affiliates. Shawn Zarraga continued to mash in Huntsville with a 2-for-3 day, bringing his season average up to .453. You can read more about the action in today’s edition of Minor League Notes at Brew Crew Ball.
- Earlier this week, Brevard County outfielder Michael Reed was awarded his league’s Player of the Week award, and apparently some people have taken notice. At Fangraphs, Carson Cistulli wrote about him in his weekly Fringe Five column. Cistulli mentioned that Reed has likely remained a fringe prospect because his teammate, Tyrone Taylor, has been given a lot of attention.
- Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers once again celebrated Wei-Chung Wang Wednesday (#WCWW), and this time around Wang was joined by the Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer and Francisco Rodriguez. Although published before this week’s edition that may address some of his concerns, Enrique Bakemeyer at The Brewers Bar asked if there is actually a dark side to Wei-Chung Wang Wednesdays.
Around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals gained a game on the Brewers, as they cruised to a 7-1 victory against Atlanta. Adam Wainwright dominated the Braves lineup, allowing only one run on six hits in eight innings for his sixth win of this early season.
- Cincinnati’s bullpen wasted a strong outing from Mike Leake in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox. The loss was their league-leading 11th one-run loss of the season.
- In Pittsburgh, the Pirates rode four runs in the first two innings to a 4-3 victory over the Giants to take a series victory.
- In Chicago, the Cubs lost for the third straight day to their crosstown rivals. The White Sox will look to make it a four-game sweep tonight.
- For the second straight day, only one NL Central team was able to gain a game on the Brewers. With their win in Atlanta, the Cardinals were able to cut the Brewers lead in the NL Central to just four games.
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday to current Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta. Although I’m sure he was hoping to get a win as a present yesterday, we still hope that Peralta enjoys his 25th birthday.
Today is also the fourth anniversary of the last sixth Brewers player to hit for the cycle. Although it would have gone well with today’s shirt revelation, it is not Chad Moeller, but instead Jody Gerut. (Thanks to PocketNinjaMuffin for correcting our error in the comments. The last Brewers player to hit for the cycle was indeed George Kottaras in 2011.) It is also the 30-year anniversary of the Brewers’ marathon 25-inning game against the White Sox. Follow the links for those events’ respective entries in Today in Brewer History.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to my home planet.
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