After much anticipation, Brewers baseball is finally back. Unfortunately, the first series of the year against the Cubs did not go our way. After losing the first two games, the Brewers managed to win a one run game in the finale on Sunday. It was an action packed weekend full of lots of drama. Here are three numbers to know after the first three games of the year.
1) 53 batters have been hit by a pitch in the Brewers/Cubs rivalry since 2020.
Brewers and Cubs fans have historically embraced the I-94 rivalry and are very passionate about their teams. Over the past few seasons, tensions have grown not only between fans but players as well regarding the number of times each team has hit an opposing batter. After this series, that number grew to 53 Brewers and Cubs batters hit by a pitch since 2020. Of the 53 batters hit, the Brewers have hit 27 Cubs batters. Closely behind them is the Cubs who have hit 26 Brewer batters.
While these numbers are fairly even, the big discrepancy comes behind intent. For context, during the first two games of this series seven batters were hit by a pitch including Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras, who has been hit 10 times since 2020. However, benches cleared on Saturday when newly acquired Andrew McCutchen was intentionally hit during a 9-0 ball game. Last year, Cubs pitcher Ryan Tepera admitted to throwing at Brandon Woodruff, so this is not the first time a Cubs pitcher has done this.
Going forward, it is clear that every HBP between these two teams throughout the remainder of the season will have everyone holding their breath as to what will happen next.
2) 17 base on balls issued from Brewers pitchers.
Playing at Wrigley Field in April is no easy task. It is often times cold, windy, and hard to get a grip on the baseball. It is likely that Brewers pitchers found this out the hard way during opening weekend as they issued 17 free passes.
Of the starting pitchers, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta, issued 10 walks between the three of them. Jose Urena issued all three of his base on balls in a row during his Brewers debut on Saturday. Veteran Brent Suter had two walks whereas Aaron Ashby and Jandel Gustave each had one a piece. Aside from the weather conditions, it is possible that the shortened Spring Training had an impact on these pitchers. However, everyone league wide had to deal with this, so it is hard to blame the lack of command on this.
3) At one point, Christian Yelich had reached base six at bats in a row.
Rightfully so, a lot of pre-season discussion revolved around how Christian Yelich will perform in 2022. He is coming off a rather disappointing 2021 season where he hit just nine home runs. The Brewers locked him up to a long term contract extension following his MVP 2018 season and arguably more impressive 2019. If he can get going, this Brewers offense could reach a whole new level.
While it is just one series, Yelich did a great job of getting on base against the Cubs. A lot of fans may be annoyed with this given his heightened ability to draw walks over the past few seasons, but at one point this series he reached safely in six consecutive at bats. During that stretch he collected three hits, drew two walks, and was hit by a pitch. Only one of his hits went for extra bases, but he did hit a single that registered 110 MPH off the bat. I would say this was a great start to the season for Yelich and hopefully there will be more of these stretches to come.
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