[Edit.: This is John’s third post to Redleg Nation this season. He’s our Brewers-fan expert and he was just able to watch the Brewers play the NY Mets, where John now lives. He offers us a detailed and current scouting report. Thanks, again, John. — SPM]
Although I grew up in Milwaukee and became a Brewers fan for life, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve lived in New York for the past 19 years. So my chance to see them play live is in Queens, when they play the Mets.That happened three times this weekÃ¢â‚¬â€Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.Ã‚Â I got to attend only the middle game, but I watched last night on TV.
AÃ‚Â few notes on how the Brewers look, as they prepare to host the Reds this weekend in Milwaukee:
- The Brewers won two out of three from the Mets. It turns out that the team with the best winning percentage at Citi Field since it opened in 2009 is the Brewers. Yes, I know, the Mets are a sad situation. But until the Mets get relegated [oops, wrong sport], wins are wins.
- Each game was close, because each team has some real starting pitching. The Brewers got strong starts from Wily Peralta, who until recently hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pitched great (as he did in Cincinnati last month), and last night from Kyle Lohse. Marco Estrada lost the first game, giving up two homersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã‚Â But see below.
- The Brewers bullpen is outstanding. Their expected closer, Jim Henderson, is on the DL. Their expected set-up man, Francisco Rodriguez (Ã¢â‚¬Å“K-RodÃ¢â‚¬Â), has becomeÃ¢â‚¬â€again, as he was in younger yearsÃ¢â‚¬â€MLBÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best closer.Ã‚Â And the set-up men, including Will Smith and Zach Duke, are also great.Ã‚Â Heck, even Brandon Kintzler, erratic earlier in the spring and then briefly injured, looked solid last night.
- Oh, right, the Brewers are still in first place.Ã‚Â Last night was their 40thÃ‚Â win.Ã‚Â After their blistering April and middling May (a downturn that included their trip to Cincinnati), they seem back on track and confident Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
- Maybe too confident. In the two games I watched this week, there was something a little smug or too relaxed about how they were playingÃ¢â‚¬â€on Wednesday they ran themselves out of innings and left many men on base, keeping the game close and concerning when it should have been an early rout.Ã‚Â And last night they seemed sleepyÃ¢â‚¬â€and, yes, stymied by Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese, who was very goodÃ¢â‚¬â€until they finally, in the 13thÃ‚Â inning, combined some clutch hits and ended the thing.
Here are quick comments about the Brewers position players:
Jonathan Lucroy (C):Ã‚Â All-Star
Mark Reynolds (1B):Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Good glove, power, home runsÃ‚Â or (more recently) fly ballsÃ¢â‚¬â€our Dave Kingman
Scooter Gennett (2B):Ã‚Â Exciting, can hit, keeping the job he won from Ricky Weeks (who plays against lefties and seems back in decent hitting form)
Jean Segura (SS):Ã‚Â Banged up, not hitting like last year, still waiting for his season to click in
Aramis Ramirez (3B):Ã‚Â Ã‚Â After a very banged up, cold May, looks to be heading back to RBI-machine
Khris Davis (LF):Ã‚Â I like this kid; heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s succeeding
Carlos Gomez (CF):Ã‚Â All-Star and hot dogÃ¢â‚¬â€but, for Brewers fans, our hot dog
Ryan Braun (RF):Ã‚Â Ã‚Â After two good hitting months and a DL stint, somethingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrongÃ¢â‚¬â€heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s getting hits but theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re singles and not abundant, and his swings look awkward. He might be, dare I say it, looking smaller than he used to be. And on Tuesday, he made no try on the maybe-catchable, barely-cleared-the-rail grand slam that really won the game for the Mets.
Overall, a strong team, and maybe ready to get hotter again.
Closing note:Ã‚Â The Longstreth PrincipleÃ‚Â As many fans know, The Longstreth Principle says that every time you go to a baseball game, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see something you never saw before.Ã‚Â My Ã¢â‚¬Å“TLPÃ¢â‚¬Â on Wednesday was seeing the Mets appeal a safe call at first and, and after the appeal (which should have succeeded) was rejected, seeing Manager Terry Collins continue to argue and get tossed. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never seen Ã¢â‚¬Å“an unsuccessful replay appeal toss.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Last night, my TLP (seen on TVÃ¢â‚¬â€the Principle applies there too) was seeing the Brewers play five infielders in the bottom of the 11thÃ‚Â when the Mets had bases loaded with one out.
It worked. Generally for the Brewers, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s working.