Monday: Junior Guerra (14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 8.63 K/9) v. Jeff Samardzija (72.0 IP, 4.63 ERA, 10.59 K/9)
Every time Junior Guerra starts, I am reminded once again that the Brewers are in first place despite the best hitter and their best pitcher missing significant time due to injury. Guerra has struggled a bit with his command since returning from the DL, walking three in each of his two starts. He’s been able thus far to limit the damage of his free passes with a perfect strand rate in both games, but that won’t last forever, so hopefully, he gets his command back before it comes time to pay the piper.
Samardzija has been a bust for pretty much the entire time he’s spent off of the Cubs roster, but people keep throwing buckets of money and/or prospects in his direction anyway. He’s actually been much better this season, with a stellar K:BB ratio, but he’s struggled to keep the ball down and whether it be his own fault or just a little bad luck, a lot of those fly balls are leaving the park.
Tuesday: Chase Anderson (62.2 IP, 3.30. ERA, 8.47 K/9) v. Matt Cain (59.2 IP, 4.53 ERA, 5.88 K/9)
Chase Anderson will look to continue his 14-inning scoreless streak, which probably ranks kind of high on the Brewers’ franchise list but I’m not really sure because I couldn’t figure out how to find that kind of information, and also shut up. Anderson has been his best self over his past two starts, surrendering four hits and no runs, walking four and striking out 18.
It’s not 2012, so no one cares about Matt Cain.
Wednesday: James Nelson (64.1 IP, 3.36 ERA, 9.09. K/9) v. Ty Blach (58.1 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.55 K/9)
Speaking of dudes living their best lives, Nelson (who is pitching far too well to be called Jimmy) has been sensational over his past two starts, becoming the first player in franchise history to record consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts and no walks. His last start, in which he shut out the Dodgers over eight innings with 11 strikeouts, was the best of his career, a gem that was unfortunately squandered by the Brewers bullpen and Orlando Arcia (against whom I have now sworn an eternal blood feud).
Blach is an extreme contact pitcher, as evidenced by his rock-bottom K/9 of 3.55, which is the lowest for a qualified pitcher since Livan Hernandez in 2008. He doesn’t have much of a breaking pitch and he tops out around 90 MPH most days per the scouting report from my pal Jen Mac Ramos, which is not a repertoire that lends itself to a bunch of strikeouts. This plays into Milwaukee’s strength since the Brewers reach base on balls in play at the sixth-highest rate in baseball, but carry the National League’s highest strikeout rate (25.5%). Blach is the Official Pitcher of Jen, and I asked them to share a few words on Ty’s behalf:
“[Blach is] one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met in affiliated baseball and has a good opinion on IHOP.”
Here is my IHOP opinion: pancakes are terrible, order a real breakfast you jabroni. If your breakfast isn’t going to have eggs and sausage in it, just go ahead and order a cupcake and stop this charade.
Thursday: Matt Garza (44.2 IP, 3.83 ERA, 6.65 K/9) v. Johnny Cueto (76.0 IP, 4.38 ERA, 9.12 K/9)
Matt Garza is questionable to make this start after injuring himself in a collision with Aguilar at first base on Saturday. I don’t really care for or about Garza, so let’s speculate about who might take this spot start instead of talking about him:
- Paulo Espino: After 10 seasons in the minors, Espino finally got his shot in the big leagues, and it was…okay. He allowed two runs over four innings against the Cubs on May 19. He certainly didn’t perform poorly enough to elminate himself from future spot start consideration.
- Josh Hader: Hader has struggled at Triple-A, but stats at Colorado Springs are hard to take too seriously. He has been limited to just two innings in each of his last two starts, fueling rumors that he’s being groomed for a role in the major league bullpen this season (also fueling that rumor is the horrendous play of the bullpen).
- Jorge Lopez: Lopez has seemed lost since losing his curveball and his confidence in the thin Colorado Springs air last year, but his peripherals this season indicate a pitcher who is better than his 5.50 ERA.
Cueto’s production has dropped off this season as his hard hit percentage has skyrocketed (36.5%, up from a career average of 27.2%), resulting in a spike in his line drive rate and his HR/FB rate. This is bad, unless you hate the Giants, which I do. In that case, it’s extremely good and funny as h*ck.
2017: First meeting
All-Time: 60-78 (35-39 in Milwaukee)
Fun fact: The Brewers have the exact same number of losses in Milwaukee and in San Fransisco against the Giants, but have played 10 extra home games against them and won them all. This is fair because screw the Giants.
Are the Giants Good?
Now that we’re past Memorial Day, the traditional tipping point for when the current season’s performances stop requiring the #SmallSampleSize qualifier, we can state unequivocally that the Giants are in fact Bad. They sit tied for last place in the surprisingly competitive and satisfyingly palindromic NL West division, and sit dead last in team wRC+ (75). If you had known the records of the two teams in this series prior to the season, you would have been surprised that the Giants were struggling with a record only three games over .500. Welcome to 2017, everything in the world is upside-down, please take this helmet and do not take it off for any reason.
Who is the most handsome Giants player?
There are no handsome Giants players. All Giants players are ugly, inside and out, due to the blackness in their souls.
Hitters to watch:
Brett Phillips, OF: Though his promotion is likely to be shortlived, Phillips is the first in the Next Wave of Brewers prospects to arrive in the big leagues and thus represents a fun, if relatively meaningless, milestone. Here to replace Travis Shaw, who has been placed on paternity leave, Phillips will likely log a few starts in the outfield (he’ll start in center hitting eighth tonight) as Hernan Perez slides over to the hot corner to cover for Shaw. Phillips is hitting .297/.369/.589 with 11 home runs at Colorado Springs, though his sky-high 30.3% strikeout rate are both major concerns as regards his long-term value.
Hunter Pence, OF: Pence, the longest-tenured player on an ultimate frisbee team whose third-best player is a dog, has been one of the better hitters in the league at a remarkably steady pace for 10 years. This year, however, he has suddenly forgotten how to hit, staggering to a .241/.287/.336 slash line and an abysmal 69 wRC+. His poor play culminated in a trip to the disabled list, from which he was activated yesterday. It would be nice if Pence, one of the league’s most entertaining hitters and the tambourine player for a 15-piece Hall and Oates cover band, could get things straightened out this season, though I’d prefer he wait on that until Friday.
If the Giants were a Taylor Swift GIF, which one would they be?
The Giants cannot be a Taylor Swift GIF, and I am glad that this season will finally dispel the notion that their fates are tied to the Official Singer-Songwriter of Travis Sarandos. She plans to release her next album this year, and the Giants sure as h*ck aren’t going to be winning any championships. The reason the Giants cannot be a Taylor Swift GIF is because I hate them too much.
Is Rice-a-Roni the San Francisco treat?
Rice-a-Roni is good and it is indeed a treat from the San Francisco area. The best way to prepare a box of Rice-a-Roni is to dump a pound of your favorite protein into it, a cup of corn, and some chopped up red peppers. I call the dish Travis’s Good Rice and Meat Dish, and I cook it for no one.
Milwaukee Broadcast Information:
Monday: 6:40 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Tuesday: 6:40 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Wednesday: 7:10 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Thursday: 1:10 pm on MLB Network and 620 WTMJ