Welcome back to our look at the week that was for the Milwaukee Brewers. What was a mild start to the 2022 campaign, one mostly due to freezing cold bats throughout the lineup, has quickly turned into consistent tallies in the win column.
This week started on a weird note on Monday, with the Brewers flying from Philadelphia to meet the Giants at American Family Field for a one-game series. The series between the two was one of the casualties of the MLB offseason lockout, as the late start time meant the rescheduling of some of the season’s earlier games. The two teams will meet again for a double-header in September to round out the extended three-game set.
While a poor start to the week, Monday’s 4-2 loss to San Francisco and the travel schedule it required had no effect on the role that the Cubs and Pirates play this year for the Brewers. Craig Counsell’s ball club went on to finish 5-1 against the two struggling NL Central squads and outscored the two teams by a combined score of 38-16.
Here is a more detailed look back at the week that was for the Milwaukee Brewers:
Current Standing: 15-8 (1st in NL Central)
The Good: Willy Adames
Brewers shortstop Willy Adames is showing signs of being the team’s most consistent offensive threat. The former No. 1 prospect in Tampa Bay usually flies under the radar league-wide, especially after being dealt last year from Tampa Bay to open space for phenom shortstop Wander Franco. That narrative should be changing soon, especially if he carries the hottest bat for one of the league’s best teams.
Adames finished his first stint as a Brewer last year with a solid .285 average, .886 OPS, 20 HR and 58 RBI. But this year started slowly in all of those categories, struggles that became more apparent with the team as a whole really struggling to score runs. Well, this week could be the week that all changes for Adames. His final line: 29 AB, 9 hits, 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 10 RBI, .310 average and 1.203 OPS. He came through with clutch hits (Monday vs. SFG) one of the bigger days in franchise history (Tuesday @ PIT). His big performance in the Brewers’ 12-8 Tuesday win — 5 AB, 4 hits, 7 RBI, 2 home runs — tied the franchise’s single-game RBI record.
Hunter Renfroe showed some pop at the plate (3 HR), Christian Yelich hit the ball well (.269 AVG, .821 OPS, 2 HR, 4 RBI) and the offense as a whole eclipsed 9 runs three times (Tuesday @ PIT, Friday vs. CHC, Saturday vs. CHC). But Adames finding consistent power in the middle of the lineup seems to be maybe the biggest key to the team’s success. Every great lineup needs at least a few feared hitters. It’s safe to say right now Adames is that guy.
The Bad: Middle relievers
Devin Williams and Josh Hader were both lights-out in limited work this week — combining for 3 1/3 innings, 3 saves, 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.
The “bad” was the arms throwing before them. Monday’s game against Giants saw Trevor Gott blow a 1-run lead in the top of the 8th, Adames respond with a game-tying home run in the next frame and then Jake Cousins surrender a 2-run bomb to Luis Gonzalez to give the Giants a 4-2 victory. Those middle-to-late inning struggles for relievers not named Williams or Hader continued throughout the week, as Gott finished the week with a 6.75 ERA over 2 2/3 innings, Jose Urena finished with a 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings of work (several of his runs allowed weren’t ‘earned’), Hoby Milner finished with an ERA of 9.00 over 2 innings and Brad Boxberger was up at a whopping 13.50 ERA in his 1 1/3 inning of work.
Much of the bullpen work this week was low-leverage thanks to big offensive days against the Pirates and Cubs. But the bullpen arms not named Williams or Hader finished the seven-day stretch with 9 earned runs allowed (11 total runs) over 20 2/3 innings pitched. That isn’t ideal. At least Hader had 10 saves in 23 games and has not allowed a run to date.
Story Of The Week: The Brewers’ offense continues to beat up on the NL Central’s worst
Now nearly a month into the 2022 season, we’re seeing the clear divide between the Brewers & Cardinals and the rest of the NL Central. Milwaukee and St Louis are the only two teams over .500 and the only with a positive run differential. Some of those wins at the top are thanks to the massive struggles from the bottom of the standings chart. For Milwaukee, it has led to a 9-3 combined record against the Cubs and Pirates (no games yet against struggling Cincinnati) with a run tally of 62-39. For hitters like Yelich, Adames, Rowdy Tellez and Renfroe, these series present perfect opportunities to heat the bats up before tougher competition comes to town.
This week’s offensive output against the Pirates and Cubs helped the heart rate of Brewers fans everywhere after countless 1-run or 2-run games to begin the year. The Crew put together a 12-8 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday (Willy Adames day), more narrow 3-1 and 3-2 wins on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, a 11-1 beatdown of the Cubs on Friday and a 9-1 encore on Saturday before Sunday’s low-scoring loss.
Stat Of The Week:
Corbin Burnes has his 15th career double-digit strikeout game.
Joins Yovani Gallardo as the only pitchers in Brewers history with three straight games of 10+ Ks, which leads me to wonder what Yo would've looked like with the Pitching Lab.