Brewer fans, we need to have a chat.
I’ve seen many of us freaking out on various social media platforms about the recent performance of the team. I’m not here about to excuse their poor play, but let’s take a step back and realistically look at the situation.
First of all, we knew this first month was going to be extremely tough. 17 of the first 26 games have come against St. Louis and the Dodgers. Those are two very legitimate contenders in the National League this season. Is going 8-9 (3-4 against LA and 5-5 against STL) in those 17 games ideal? No, not at all. However, it could have been much, much worse. Milwaukee hasn’t been getting destroyed by these teams either outside of one 13-5 loss at the hand of St. Louis. They posed a -9 run differential in the 17 games (-1 if you take out the 13-5 shellacking) which is nothing to write home about. But it shows the Brewers were in just about all of the games. When good teams play each other, they tend to cancel each other out. I look at the first 26 games and who the Brewers played and I am not going to complain about a .500 record.
The rotation has been quite the disappointment so far. To that I have to say, shouldn’t we have expected this at least to some extent?
Corbin Burnes was a first time starter this year and it didn’t go so well as he has found himself back in AAA. His strikeout rate was impressive in his 17 innings. When he made a mistake however, it always got capitalized on as he gave up a whopping 11 homers. I think after some time in the minors as a starter, Burnes will be back and throwing well in the major leagues.
Freddy Peralta was inconsistent last year as he has been this year. He has had three brutal starts and an incredible start against the Reds. Peralta like Burnes, has a very impressive strikeout rate. His last start against St. Louis he had to exit with a shoulder injury. I’m wondering if this has been bothering him all year and causing him to perform the way he is?
Brandon Woodruff has been solid in my opinion. His ERA is a little misleading in the high fives as his FIP is 3.92 which is very encouraging to go along with his 10.9 K/9. Woodruff has fallen victim to the bad inning in a few of his starts this season.
All three of these guys have something in common. They are young and have all of the tools to become solid starting pitchers in the MLB. We as fans need to be more patient with them.
Josh Hader is being used in a new role this season as Corey Knebel is down for the year with Tommy John surgery. He has had two bad outings and fans are not used to seeing Hader falter. Do not be discouraged as he is striking out 18 batters per 9 innings, his WHIP is right around where it was last year, and his FIP is still doing well despite giving up 3 homers in 12 innings. Now that Jeffress is back and looking sharp, Hader will have to be relied upon less.
One thing I am very concerned about however, is the performance of Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar has posted a -0.8 WAR in 67 AB’s so far this season and has an OPS of .398. Since last years’ all-star break, he is slashing .219/.267/.325 in 329 plate appearances. That is half a seasons worth. His strikeout rate is hovering close to 30% this season and has shown no signs of turning it around. I hope he can, but it is not looking very promising. If not? Eric Thames has been swinging a hot bat and Aguilar could find himself back on the bench very soon.
All in all, I don’t believe it’s even close to time to start panicking. However, I expect to see the Brewers start playing above .500 baseball for the rest of the season. Let’s revisit at the end of the month. We’re only 16% of the way through the long season.