An action-packed week for the Milwaukee Brewers started with a strong showing in Chicago. The team swept the Memorial Day double-header and looked poised to dominate the Cubs, return home for the first time in 12 games and continue their NL Central-leading momentum.
Well, that didn’t happen. The Crew went 1-5 to close the week and limped to Monday’s off day (the team’s first in 18 days).
The shame is, there were good stories coming out of the week. A career minor leaguer excelled in his first major league start, two of the wins saw big-time late-game heroics and more. But the results were not there for the most part, and dropping Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games at home to the Padres leaves a bitter taste.
With this long stretch of games finally behind us, here is this week’s Brewers Week in Review:
Current Standing: 33-23, first place in NL Central
The Good: A few fill-ins had impressive weeks.
The Brewers are not close to a healthy baseball team right now. They’re playing without two of the lineup’s scarier hitters (Hunter Renfroe, Willy Adames), two of the rotation’s better arms (Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta) and a host of other players.
This column is highlighting two fill-ins who received extended playing time for different reasons: OF Tyrone Taylor, SP Jason Alexander.
Taylor started all eight games this week in the outfield mostly due to the struggles of Lorenzo Cain, though also due in part to Renfroe’s absence. His week-long tallies don’t look great (5 hits in 31 at bats, 2 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 7 Ks). But he was arguably the biggest reason the Brewers swept the Memorial Day double-header down in Chicago.
The outfielder went deep in Game 1 of the twin bill to tie the game at four before Luis Urias’ 3-run home run gave the team a lead they would not relinquish. He then went deep again in Game 2 in addition to making a circus catch to get Aaron Ashby out of a jam.
There wasn’t much good after those two wins on Monday (aside from some heroics I’ll note below). That’s why Taylor’s Monday in Chicago is what we’ll highlight.
Tyrone Taylor with a beauty of a catch against the wall 🤩
The other “good” from the week was the MLB debut of Jason Alexander, a 29-year-old who battled for years to finally reach The Show.
His debut on Wednesday had a rocky start — a 28-pitch first inning where the Cubs put two runs on the board. But he settled in after that, finishing his day with a line of 7 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. While the Brewers ended up losing the game in extras (after failing to score the ghost runner in the top of the 10th), Alexander’s debut for an injury-riddled rotation was a tremendous development.
The final “good” which I pointed to previously: the Brewers’ walk-off win against the Padres on Thursday. The team trailed 4-1 entering the 9th inning against a closer in Taylor Rodgers that has been one of baseball’s best this season. What came next: Keston Hiura single, Kolten Wong hit by pitch, Victor Caratini hit by pitch, Jace Pederson 3-run triple, Andrew McCutchen walk-off single.
The single for McCutchen snapped an 0 for 32 cold spell and ended up salvaging what would have been a disastrous week for the ball club.
The Bad: Almost everything.
Monday’s twin bill sweep was a perfect start to the week. Thursday’s improbable win was a bonus after a poor showing during the first 8 innings. But aside from those days, the Brewers went 0-5 and were outscored a combined 29-14.
Corbin Burnes had his worst start of the season (3 2/3 innings, 8 hits, 5 earned runs), Christian Yelich went 2 for 22, Keston Hiura continued to struggle in the big leagues, Trevor Kelley blew a 3-run lead on Tuesday, the defense was poor and the offense only scored 4 runs over the weekend.
I will credit part of the struggles to the team playing its 18th game in 17 days and playing without many of its most consistent contributors. But finishing the week 3-5 after starting 2-0 is a rough development. We’ll see what better health and Monday’s off-day does to help the team’s momentum.