Monday, April 22, 2013

Game Eighteen: Brewers 7, Padres 1

Box Score

The Brewers have always had Jason Marquis' number and tonight was much of the same. Ryan Braun and "Timely Home Run" Betancourt went deep in the first inning to give the Crew a 5-0 lead that was never seriously threatened. Below are a few scattered thoughts on a game that extended the winning streak to eight.

1) Even the bad breaks are going well

Kyle Lohse was cruising along for five innings until he left the game early with an injury after a failed bunt attempt. The Brewers have had some unfortunate freak injuries recently, but this was a rare case of good luck with a bad break. Dislocating or even breaking a pinky on a non-throwing hand should not warrant more than a missed start or two.* Furthermore, Lohse always has the Ronnie Lott option available if he's especially averse to missing a start.

*I make this statement fully aware of the risk of speaking too soon

2) I'm not sure why Rickie Weeks was batting second over Gomez, but I assume there is a good reason

 On one hand you have the reigning NL player of the week and on the other you have a guy batting .182 (now .171 after going 0-4). From an objective perspective it makes little sense to guarantee more at bats to the cold hand, and it's debatable Weeks should even play in lieu of a day off. With that said, I always assume that there are non-baseball reasons for decisions that defy numerical logic. Maybe this is a way of Roenicke showing confidence in a struggling hitter; a message that will allow other players to be relaxed during slumps. Whatever the rationale, it's helpful as a fan look at the "managing personalities" role of the manager instead of solely focusing on the specific tactics. 

3) Rickie Weeks: Washed up or secret weapon?

I have serious concerns that Rickie Weeks is cooked as major league player. Then again, 2007 me had serious doubts that Rickie Weeks would develop into a legitimate major league player. As you might recall, Weeks was sent to the minors in August of 2007 after 2+ seasons of underwhelming play. After that stint on the farm Weeks finished the season in Milwaukee, hitting .273/.442/.553 with 11 homers in 197 PA. The issue, perhaps, is that Weeks is streaky to the point he makes Geoff Jenkins looks consistent. Consider some of his pre/post-all star break splits:


Pre-ASB: 261 PA, .221/.328/.392
Post-ASB: 245 PA, .251/.422/.481


Pre-ASB: 417 PA, .291/.391/.505
Post-ASB: 98 PA, .249/.307/.437


Pre-ASB: 350 PA, .199/.314/.343
Post-ASB: 327 PA, .261/.343/.457

In each case you're looking at an OPS difference of at least 143 points. To paraphrase a quote from Jackie Brown: you can't always count on Rickie, but you can count on Rickie being Rickie. In theory this means Weeks is guaranteed to go on a tear at some point this season. If that indeed happens he'll be something of a secret weapon, having played possum with NL pitchers until unleashing a barrage of screaming line drives and moon shots. Of course, he needs to start hitting soon to justify keeping him in the lineup until this (hopefully) inevitable barrage happens.

4) For one night only, Carlos Gomez was a walking machine.

Carlos Gomez has been in the majors for seven seasons. Tonight he had his seventh career two walk game. In doing so he raised his season total by infinity, as they were his first free passes of the season.

Looking ahead...

Yovani Gallardo rebounded from a rough start and a high-profile mistake to have his best game of the season against the Giants. Tomorrow he'll face Clayton Richard, another struggling starter that righted the ship in his last outing against the powerful Rockies offense.

Let's make it nine!

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