It’s good to be a Brewers fan right now. After a cold stretch spoiled a fantastic start to the season, they’ve responded as well as anyone could have hoped over the last two weeks. Milwaukee is on a 14-2 run sparked by the addition of new shortstop Willy Adames, and the latest win pushed them, at least temporarily, half a game ahead of the Cubs at the top of the NL Central. The pitching continues to be excellent, and the offense is finally starting to hit its stride after a brutal start to the season. Let’s ride. For now, though, let’s take a look at the Crew’s most recent series – a three game sweep of the Pirates.
Game 1: Brewers 7, Pirates 4
A strong start from Brandon Woodruff and a big seventh inning from the offense were behind this win. Woodruff went seven strong, only allowing two solo homers in yet another elite start. He did it despite striking out a relatively low total on the day (five). On the other side of the game, the Brewers relied on two innings to bring seven home. An Omar Narvaez double started off a two-run second that was finished off by a walk, a single, and a sacrifice squeeze. Then the Crew struck for more in the seventh, guaranteeing a win for Woodruff with five runs off of a Christian Yelich double and numerous walks. At one point, four consecutive Brewers got the free pass.
Game 2: Brewers 7, Pirates 4
The bullpen took over in this one after Corbin Burnes allowed all four runs in the first two frames and only lasted for two more. Trevor Richards provided a huge two innings, and Eric Yardley, Devin Williams, and Josh Hader combined to allow just one hit over the last three innings of the game. Burnes did help the team out with a two-out infield single that put the Brewers on the board in the second. Narvaez singled another run home in the third. The fourth was yet another five-run inning. Yelich cleared the bases with is second RBI double of the series, and an Adames double and another Narvaez single brought home the other two runs.
Game 3: Brewers 5, Pirates 2
The Brewers got a solid start from Adrian Houser and another great showing from the bullpen, and a three-run sixth secured the win. Houser allowed just one run in his first five innings before being pulled after allowing another run two outs into the sixth. Brent Suter then staved off disaster by forcing a groundout after he came in and loaded the bases. Brad Boxberger, Williams, and Hader sealed the deal from there. For the offense, a Dan Vogelbach double started things off in the first. Three more in the sixth off of a Urias triple and a Garcia homer. Then there was the Yelich sac fly in the seventh to grant the bullpen a little bit of insurance.
- The Brewers are Back
We’re sitting at the top of the NL Central. We’re also just ahead of the Padres for that second wild card spot if things were to go that way instead. There’s obviously a long way to go, but this team is showing that they’ll be in the discussion for the long haul. With the injures (kind of) starting to balance out and the schedule certainly doing so, the Brewers are taking advantage.
- Josh Hader is special
Hader now has seventeen saves on the year after picking up three in this series. He allowed just one run and one walk in three innings, and he struck out five. On the year, he’s posted more innings (25) than walks and hits combined (19). He’s allowed just two runs while striking out forty-three. It’s just about impossible to be better than that.
- The offense is starting to turn it on
The Brewers have scored 84 runs over the last sixteen games, or 5.25 per game. Over the first forty-nine games of the season, they scored just 181 runs, or 3.69 per game. That’s a rather stark difference. If Milwaukee can combine this heightened level of offensive production with their pitching once the playoffs roll around … watch out.
Starting tomorrow, the Brewers will host the Reds for three more games after taking two of three in Cincinnati last week. They’ll then play seven in Colorado (four) and Arizona (three) before their next off day. Three more games against the Rockies come after that, creating a stretch in which the Brewers will play ten straight games against two teams that have won less than 40% of their games so far this season.
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