Well, we can all say that the West Coast road trip failed to begin with a bang — of any sort, really. You know the old car that your grandpa has been keeping in his garage for years and sputters whenever the ignition is turned? That’s sort of how the Brewers have fared after getting swept by the Giants and claiming only one-out-of-four against the Dodgers. Here are my comments to ESPN:
The Brewers didn’t begin their West Coast trip in the prettiest of ways as they were swept in a three-game series by the Giants. However, with Matt Garza now inserted back into the starting rotation, the team will look to rebound moving forward. — Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker
As you can imagine, ESPN took notice as well but was somewhat kind in this week’s Power Rankings. They could’ve dropped the Brewers after losing six of their last seven, but instead kept them pinned at the No. 23 spot.
First, let’s start things off with Matt Garza. To begin the year, the right-hander has come off the DL and thrown a total of 10 innings, all of which that when combined, have been pretty solid. He hasn’t shown the Garza of old — becoming flustered when men get on base, not taking the proper amount of time to compose himself on the hill, etc. He’s taking it nice and smooth and as of now, it seems to be paying off.
The most interesting stat that stands out from that point? In those first 10 innings, Garza’s LOB percentage is currently sitting at 93.3 percent. Now, keep in mind that we’re basing that off an extremely small sample size, but nonetheless, it’s worth noting. We for sure can’t speculate too much into the fact, but it’s uncertain when you wonder if the Garza from last year would’ve caved when under the same high tension moments.
The chance keeps growing that the trade deadline becomes a trip to the pawn shop for the Brewers, especially if wins failed to be racked up for the very slim hopes of a wild card berth (Seriously, save yourselves from hoping for too much). If Matt Garza maintains the rate he’s going, you’d have to think that some team is going to be calling David Stearns come July 31st. Perhaps he could work a deal similar to the one Theo Epstein made with the Rangers back when Garza was a member of the Cubs. Just don’t expect Garza to bring back any top-tier talent. He’s not that good of a pitcher.
Now, onto Scooter Gennett and his stellar play as of late. In the last week, Gennett’s slash line has been engulfed in gasoline and has a match to it, as it registers at a .345/.424/.552. His OPS then comes in at .976. Here’s his heat map to show it:
Take a look at that domination on the inside part of the plate. All along, that’s where Gennett has made his living and he’s repeating the pattern here. Scooter has never been one to reach the outside part of the plate well and it would be nice for him to add that to his offensive showcase. However, similar to how the tone that’s been tagged to this season, the Brewers will take whatever they can get, and that definitely applies to Scooter Gennett.
Gennett isn’t the only Brewer to be experiencing a hot streak, as Jonathan Lucroy has been expressing a surge of power in the last couple of weeks. In that timeframe, Luc is batting a tick over the .300 mark, coming in at .304 and an OBP of .360. He’s done a tremendous job of distributing the ball to all parts of the field, as his spray chart shows:
If there’s one Brewer you want heating up heading into the month of July, it’s Jonathan Lucroy, plain and simple. With every RBI he gets in the coming weeks, his stock will only rise and the chances of a team overpaying in prospects to add him to their battle squad ripens. I mean, you can’t help but drool at what the Brewers’ farm system has a chance of looking like post-deadline.
How is Lucroy exhibiting his recent success? Much of it is due to his ability to go low and in on pitches intended to jam him:
As you can see, that’s where the majority of his success has been garnered in the last couple of weeks. We all know Lucroy is a doubles machine, and he finally seems to be coming around to fruition regarding that description. That’s music to the ears of any Brewers fan.
We’re beginning to kick it into high gear with the season, despite the Brewers being on the outside looking into the house of contention. Today marks the first day of summer, which means the trade deadline is only 41 days away. In the coming weeks, expect to be reading many mock trade articles, rising stocks, possible returns, etc. That’s the part of the rebuilding stage the Brewers currently find themselves in and if done right, they’ll be reaping the benefits in a few years.