Cover photo courtesy of BallparkDigest.com
The All-Star Break has come to an end. This means that we’re trucking along with the ‘second half’ of the 2021 season. With a six and a half game lead in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to stay on top and keep things hot. It really comes as a shock to some seeing the Brewers an impressive 17 games over .500. Just look at the first half of the season; The starting pitching has been nothing short of amazing. So amazing that we had three of our starters go to Coors Field for the 2021 All-Star Game. Ever since the acquisition of Willy Adames, respectively, the offense has been on fire.
However, the question on the table remains can the Brewers continue this hot streak and stay atop the NL Central?
There are a couple of key things that the Brewers will need to continue or even add if they want to stay number one.
The Injury Plague
This season has been riddled with key players seeing multiple stints to the injured list. Christian Yelich, Kolten Wong, and Lorenzo Cain have all seen a couple of stops on the list. Not only them, but the crew has been without Travis Shaw (shoulder) and Daniel Vogelbach (hamstring), two power bats that the offense could’ve used at times. It was shocking to see Milwaukee have 53 wins under their belt prior to the break.
Bring the Power
Interestingly enough, the team has had some other players step up and really show the power. With the lack of power from both Keston Hiura and Jackie Bradley Jr., others needed to really take over and assume a role of being the best. Omar Narvaez is one many seem to name when talking about consistency; Narvaez has arguably been the most consistent bat for the crew, slashing .293/.387/.455/.842 with eight home runs and 27 driven in. Avisail Garcia has been another hot bat for the team, with 17 home runs, leading the team.
It would be wrong of me not to mention “On Base” Jace Peterson who is definitely making a name for himself in Milwaukee. Peterson is posting a slash line of .252/.382/.409/.792 with four homers and 21 driven in. The key for success in Milwaukee is consistency, and Peterson is just another bat bringing that very term to fruition.
Signs of Turn Around
There is good news, per contra. Keston Hiura and Christian Yelich have both been heating up as we go into the second half of the season. It seemed that Yelich was looking a little lost at the plate, and not really swinging at balls. Nonetheless, he’s shown signs of a turnaround and positive strides. After two trips down to Triple-A, Hiura has also been showing signs of improvement. He’s seeing the ball better at the plate and his swing command has definitely improved.
Lorenzo Cain is expected to make a return to the Major League lineup in their next away series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Devin Williams recently went on the 10-Day IL for some arm tightness, but has been throwing some bullpen sessions and is expected to make a return very soon. Shaw and Vogelbach are to start their Minor League rehab assignment in Nashville when the Brewers head out on the road.
The pitching for Milwaukee has been outstanding. The way Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta have been performing on the mound has been one for the books. The team has had their struggles with the bullpen, but with arms like Josh Hader, former Rookie of the Year Devin Williams, and new arm Jake Cousins, the pitching has been a great amount towards Milwaukee’s successful season. Arguably, the Brewers’ starting rotation is the best in all of MLB; They’ve carried the team when the offense was lacking and seemed to hit a bit of a struggle.
Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta all rank top five in MLB with their ERA. As of Saturday, July 24, the standings were as follows:
- Brandon Woodruff (2.04)
- Corbin Burnes (2.12)
- Kevin Gausman (2.21)
- Carlos Rodon (2.24)
- Freddy Peralta (2.29)
Trade Deadline Hopes/Wishes?
The trade deadline is fast approaching as well and we have yet to see the Brewers make any big moves. They acquired Willy Adames in May, Rowdy Tellez in July, but it wouldn’t hurt to see the crew get one more guy on their roster. The starting pitching seems to be doing just fine, but with Devin Williams now on the IL, it would be ideal to bring in another closer. It’s not that guys like Miguel Sanchez, Hunter Strickland and Brad Boxberger are awful pitchers, it would be of some help to the bullpen seeing as though they’re starting to get riddled with injuries.
The Milwaukee Brewers could very well stay on top of the NL Central if they keep the performance factor up and lessen the injuries among the team. They’ve been able to survive their NL East and West competition and the Chicago Cubs aren’t really a threat. They need to keep the fire lit, and keep pushing along as we head into the fall months. Seeing the Brewers make another postseason appearance and possibly a World Series berth would definitely be the cherry on top.