[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, I’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 week—Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  I got to attend only the middle game, but I watched last night on TV.

A 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 hasn’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 homers…  But see below.
  • The Brewers bullpen is outstanding. Their expected closer, Jim Henderson, is on the DL. Their expected set-up man, Francisco Rodriguez (“K-Rod”), has become—again, as he was in younger years—MLB’s best closer.  And the set-up men, including Will Smith and Zach Duke, are also great.  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.  Last night was their 40th win.  After their blistering April and middling May (a downturn that included their trip to Cincinnati), they seem back on track and confident …
  • Maybe too confident. In the two games I watched this week, there was something a little smug or too relaxed about how they were playing—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.  And last night they seemed sleepy—and, yes, stymied by Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese, who was very good—until they finally, in the 13th inning, combined some clutch hits and ended the thing.

Here are quick comments about the Brewers position players:

Jonathan Lucroy (C):  All-Star

Mark Reynolds (1B):  Good glove, power, home runs  or (more recently) fly balls—our Dave Kingman

Scooter Gennett (2B):  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):  Banged up, not hitting like last year, still waiting for his season to click in

Aramis Ramirez (3B):  After a very banged up, cold May, looks to be heading back to RBI-machine

Khris Davis (LF):  I like this kid; he’s succeeding

Carlos Gomez (CF):  All-Star and hot dog—but, for Brewers fans, our hot dog

Ryan Braun (RF):  After two good hitting months and a DL stint, something’s wrong—he’s getting hits but they’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:  The Longstreth Principle  As many fans know, The Longstreth Principle says that every time you go to a baseball game, you’ll see something you never saw before. My “TLP” 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. I’d never seen “an unsuccessful replay appeal toss.” Last night, my TLP (seen on TV—the Principle applies there too) was seeing the Brewers play five infielders in the bottom of the 11th when the Mets had bases loaded with one out.

It worked. Generally for the Brewers, it’s working.

8 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    I love Carlos Gomez. Wouldn’t mind his hot dog act in CF for the Reds. He’s one of the best players in the game. Same with Braun. I’m soft when it comes to PEDs. He may not be the same hitter he was before (maybe he isn’t completely healthy) but he’d be a huge improvement over what the Reds are sending out to LF every night. If Brewers fans get tired of either one, we’ll gladly take them.

    • Eric the Red

      Speak for yourself on that “we’d gladly take them” 🙂 Not only is Braun a cheater and a liar who smeared the poor guy who collected his sample, he never adequately expressed remorse. And he sure seems smug, as maybe I’d be if I cheated my way to enough wealth to last me a dozen generations.

  2. mikey b

    Well written, good insight. I love this sort of thing, Thank You!

  3. love4reds

    Mostly well written… back up your facts about your “best closer in MLB” comment when you’re talking to Reds’ fans who have Chapman.

  4. Dale Pearl

    Great report John. Thank you for the candid and honest approach. So far this year the stars have aligned for the Brew crew. Hopefully that luck will rub off on the Reds and we tear it up for the dog days of summer. Doesnt matter how any of us feel about steroid users. I think in the end though when we see our former heroes struggle either with the accusations, the proof, or living without the juice we tend to feel let down. Braun does look smaller in frame, i tried to post a picture from 2 years ago with last week but couldnt get the pics up. With that said I think Braun is a solid talent without enhancements… He will eventually pick up the pace, he is probably still dealing with some pains.

  5. zaglamir

    Thanks, John. I appreciate the blunt break down of your team. You bring up the down swing of Segura, and from my point of view, he seems to be the lone guy not performing at or over his expected level this year, which really speaks to how strong of a team the Brewers are.

    Any thoughts on team depth? If multiple starters were to go down (e.g. Red’s April and May), could the Brew Crew survive and thrive?

    Cheers for the write-up!

  6. singhoff11

    Hhmm…what could be wrong with braun, why are the extra bases becoming singles, hhmm… I dont know. Lets take a “shot” in the dark on this one.