At the end of June, I collected the first 13 ESPN Power Ranking comments, which documented the club’s extremely rough start. The season progressed through a series of ups-and-downs, front office moves, and trades, which produced quite an exciting and eventful season (taken as a whole, beyond the play on the field). Here is the second half of the season, via my comments to the ESPN Power Rankings:
Week Fourteen: #28 of 30
Touring Philadelphia and Cincinnati, the Brewers produced their first undefeated week of the season. The offense finally sustained a hot streak, averaging nearly 7.0 runs per game. Even better, Milwaukee succeeded despite some pitching shortcomings, showing that the club did not need everything to go right to go undefeated.
Week Fifteen: #28 of 30
The Brewers briefly stumbled against the Braves after their longest winning streak, but the positives remain for the club. Carlos Gomez leads a hot offense, while Taylor Jungmann eschews the “back of the rotation” label with two runs allowed over 17 innings last week.
Week Sixteen: #28 of 30
The Brewers continued their hot play after the break, winning their first series against the Pirates to open the second half. Mike Fiers dominated in the first game, and the bats picked up Jimmy Nelson on Saturday, showcasing a roster that is currently firing on all cylinders.
Week Seventeen: #27 of 30
The Brewers went 2-4 last week, but the club was still defined by Taylor Jungmann’s surge. Jungmann’s tough-luck loss in Arizona on Saturday catapulted him into the top 30 in WAR for all pitchers, potentially framing the rookie’s season as one of the best in Brewers history.
Week Eighteen: #28 of 30
After a short four-game winning streak to open the second half, the Brewers quickly fell back into old habits by going 2-10 over their past 12 games. But fans seem thrilled with the club’s direction after an excellent trade deadline: President and GM Doug Melvin traded a handful of veterans for seven prospects, including one of the fast-rising stars of the Astros’ system.
Week Nineteen: #28 of 30
An up-and-down week advanced the Brewers’ rebuilding, with success against the Padres and trouble against the NL Central. Khris Davis stormed the stage for the bats, and Tyler Cravy earned Kyle Lohse’s rotation spot, giving Brewers fans moves and performances to continue framing the future.
Week Twenty: #26 of 30
The back-and-forth continued for Milwaukee, prolonging recent divisional woes and separating the club from Philadelphia. Last week’s chance to look forward came from GM Doug Melvin, who stepped aside after leading the club to one of its most prolonged competitive stretches in franchise history.
Week Twenty-One: #24 of 30
The Brewers had a tough time against the NL East last week, but at least fans could revisit the Carlos Gomez trade. Domingo Santana homered in his Brewers debut, and Mike Fiers pitched a no-hitter in Houston. The rebuilding Brewers may be fighting for the first draft spot, but Milwaukee fans found their entry point into the pennant race with Fiers’s accomplishment.
Week Twenty-Two: #26 of 30
Murphy’s Law might be the best way to describe the 2015 Brewers season, and the past week is great evidence. Milwaukee scored five or more runs in four games, but the pitching found ways to lose. As everyone from Scooter Gennett to Jonathan Lucroy finds success at the plate, Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, Matt Garza and Francisco Rodriguez struggle.
Week Twenty-Three: #24 of 30
Two months after their first undefeated week of the season, the Brewers posted another six-game winning streak, this one against NL Central rivals. This time around, a gang of youngsters and depth players produced the wins, from Ariel Pena’s and Zach Davies’ first appearances on the mound, to Elian Herrera’s, Domingo Santana’s and Shane Peterson’s performances at the plate.
Week Twenty-Four: #23 of 30 (highest ranking since Week One!)
Milwaukee looked unbeatable for a week, but that stretch came to a close rather quickly. Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann and Zach Davies struggled in their starts against the Reds, Marlins and Pirates, respectively. This time around, the bats were not as heroic, simply unable to cover for their pitchers during a tough week.
Week Twenty-Five: #28 of 30 (*ouch*!!!)
The Brewers suffered several injury scares in the past week, while their sudden losing streak almost completely erased recent winning gains. Still, the losing isn’t all bad, as Ariel Pena and Zach Davies continue to build their pitching approaches, and Domingo Santana is positively raking.
Week Twenty-Six: #26 of 30
The Brewers played a stunning series in St. Louis, as the front office called on another set of youngsters to increase their expanded roster. As the club gave playing time to this new group of Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, the future seemed closer as the Brewers also matched the Cardinals in a very competitive setting.
Week Twenty-Seven: #25 of 30
A bittersweet series in San Diego during the last week showed how far the Brewers fell, and how far they advanced in their rebuild. Their new GM, David Stearns, met with the club, preparing to take the reins. Not a single member of the Opening Day rotation started during the last week. By the time this season closed, Brewers fans had the chance to see the future.