The Milwaukee Brewers are “rope-a-doping” their way to wins the past couple of games. They were dominated and totally shut down by by PIT’s Ian Snell on Wednesday and by AZ’s Max Scherzer (whose name sounds like it belongs to a German philosopher) on Thursday. But the Crew worked the count enough to force the starters out of the game and, on Thursday at least, got into the D-Backs pen and rolled it for a 4-1 win. And the most recent win came with their weakest starter, Jeff Suppan on the mound, and without hitting a single home run. Stunning.
I am highly encouraged by the way they are playing. More patience at the plate leads to seeing more pitches which leads to more walks (and more guys on base) and the aforementioned early departures by opposition starters. This offensive approach is wonderful sign of maturity by the hitters, particularly when taken together with the number of balls being hit the opposite way. Play of this sort suggests that maybe — just maybe — the Brewers are growing into a team that can win consistently and avoid long slumps. That’s what good teams do: they find a way to scratch out wins on nights when they can’t hit the long ball or when the other team’s pitcher has his best stuff. This has not been characteristic of this team in the past, so it is surprising to say the least.
Of course, if they weren’t getting solid starting pitching, performances good enough to get them late into games still close enough to win, the improved approach at the plate wouldn’t really matter. Moreover, they have gotten just enough out of their bullpen to finish out these games — here’s hoping Trevor Hoffman continues to be as commanding as the season wears on. Mix it all together and you have a nice 9-2 run since their 3-8 start. It sure doesn’t suck to see them in second place–much more comforting than, say, fifth.
That said, there are still 140 games to play. But May is certainly starting out well.