Pitching Shines in 4-0 Win Over Cubs; Bats Miss The Mark

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The season opener looked like Brewers fans were in for another storybook season, but flash forward four games into the 2021 season and the magic seemingly stayed in the opening day glory. But after the fifth game of this marathon season, there are two things you can count on from this team; strikeouts and strikeouts. Strikeouts have been a Jekyll and Hyde for the Crew so far this season with the pitching staff being in the top 10 in K’s but they are also tied for second-worst in swings and misses.

Signs of Life From the Plate

After a groundout from Wong, Daniel Vogelbach, the Brewers first baseman had a nice 5 pitch walk followed up with a hard-hit single to the right side by Yelich. With runners on the corners, Travis Shaw comes to the plate, and with one swing of the bat, the “Mayor of Ding-Dong City” lived up to his nickname and hits a three-run home run. This homerun was the first time in this young season that the Brewers have scored a first-inning run.

In feed

After taking the lead in the top of the first with a bang, the Brewers hitters did more of what fans have come to know as the new normal for this team, strikeout. Back to back K’s of JBJ and Garcia, the Brewers’ half of the inning would come to an end. Ian Happ led the Cubs half of the inning with a walk, but that quickly became a moot point as Contreras grounded into a double play. Peralta struck out Rizzo to end the inning.

A fourth-inning home run added by Navarez was the only other scoring play of the game for either team. With six hits combined in this game, the early offense by Milwaukee was just that, early. With four hits for the Crew in the first four innings, it looked like the offense had finally found its groove.  However, they stalled out and accounted for 1\one hit over the course of the last five innings.

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Strikeouts

The Brewers’ pitching staff had yet another game to stuff the box score. Starting pitcher Freddy Peralta struck out eight over five innings of work.  In three innings of relief, Brent Suter added two more for 11 Cubs strikeouts in the game.  Not to be outdone, the Brewers hitters struck out a whopping 12 times in the game. Now, that may sound like a lot of strikeouts for Milwaukee, but that is the average this season. The Milwaukee Brewers are averaging 12 strikeouts per game.  They have 60 this season, which ties them with Baltimore for second-worst in the league and puts them only two strikeouts behind Minnesota.

Brewers: Explaining Christian Yelich's Rough 2020 Season

The biggest difference between Minnesota and Milwaukee when it comes to strikeouts is that the Twins are still scoring runs. Furterhermore, it’s coming from the long ball. Milwaukee is in the bottom 10 when it comes to home runs whereas the Twins are in the top 10. The Brewers are not scoring runs and if they were, this would not be as big of a problem.

Tempers Flare

With the Brewers up by four runs in the bottom of the ninth, recently called up pitcher Brad Boxberger let a 94 mph fastball run a little bit inside and hit Cubs catcher, Wilson Contrares.   in the upper arm. Contrares, who was hit by a pitch in the helmet in the previous game, was less than happy and had a few words for Boxberger. Things got heated and the benches cleared. After an exchange of words, the runner took his base, and play resumed without further incident. Some people think that Contrares leaned into the pitch, or at the very least, did not try to avoid it, but you be the judge.

Final Thoughts

If the Brewers want to not only make the playoffs but make a run at a title, they need to check their plate vision and not swing for the fences in every at-bat. Manager Craig Counsell needs to get things figured out with what they are seeing. This is particularly true of getting control of all the strikeouts. Unless this team wants to break the record for strikeouts by a team by a wide margin, something has got to change. This lineup is filled with proven hitters. It’s time to start acting like it.

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