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Know Your Enemy: Milwaukee Brewers

Our neighbors to the north are in for a wild weekend

MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

You may remember what our Senior Mascot Correspondent Addy said about Bernie:

She’s not wrong. Stay away from the slide, kids.

2020 Brewers: 29-31 (fourth in NL Central)

The 2020 season was a mixed bag for the Brewers. They came in fourth in the NL Central, with a losing record, but ended up in the wild card and lost to the Dodgers in two games. In July and August they had a combined 16-18 record, but finished September with a 13-13 record. They saw the most success in the NL Central against the Cubs, going 5-5.

Brewers pitching had a collective 4.16 ERA and were third in MLB in strikeouts (614). Starting pitchers finished the year with a 4.18 ERA through 288 13 innings, walking 92 and striking out 310. The relievers posted a 4.17 ERA, with 14 saves in 22 opportunities. Corbin Burnes had a breakout season, despite it being cut short due to a left oblique strain. He started nine of 12 games and put up a 2.11 ERA, while holding right-handed batters to a .140 batting average. Brandon Woodruff made 13 starts and posted a 3.05 ERA, allowed 25 runs, 18 walks, and struck out 91.

The big story of the Brewers offense was the slow start of Christian Yelich. In 200 at-bats he posted a .205/.356/.430 slash. Overall he had 41 hits, 22 RBIs, and 46 walks while striking out 76 times. The 60-game season was definitely Yelich’s worst ever. Yelich wasn’t the only one struggling, though. The Brewers posted a collective .223/.313/.389 slash over 1,920 at-bats. The offense scored a total of 247 runs, which fell into the bottom third of all baseball. Lorenzo Cain’s opt-out hurt, especially in the middle of the order where his bat was most needed. It wasn’t all bad for the offense, though. Keston Hiura led the team in home runs (13), RBIs (32), and hits (46) while Orlando Arcia lead with a .260 batting average over 59 games.

2021 manager: Craig Counsell

Craig Counsell is back for another season with the Brewers. Counsell is a local boy who ended his career with the Brewers ... and just stuck around Milwaukee. He was brought on to replace Rob Roenicke (who was fired the day before) and signed a three-year contract extension with the team that brought him through 2020. Counsell has pushed Milwaukee through a rebuild season to a surprising 86-76 record in 2017, finishing second in the NL Central and one win short of the wild card. The next year, the Brewers finished first in the NL Central but lost the NLCS to the Dodgers. Overall, Counsell’s record with the team is 485-443 with a .522 winning percentage. In seven years, he’s been ejected 21 times, and with 194 challenges, 83 have been overturned. He most recently was ejected two weeks ago for arguing balls and strikes during a wild game against the Reds.

2021 so far ...

GM David Stearns has been aggressive all season in making moves. He traded Orlando Arcia in the first few weeks of the season, brought in Willy Adames from the Tampa Rays, and traded for Rowdy Tellez. He also brought in Jackie Bradley Jr. in the offseason to patrol center field and torment the National League. In 53 games, Adames is out of his mind, slashing .302/.388/.557 with a OPS of .945. Meanwhile in 18 plate appearances, Tellez is slashing .154/.333/.154, which is too bad when you realize that he was brought in to back up first while Daniel Vogelbach is hurt and Keston Hiura is struggling to find his groove.

The Brewers are sitting high in the NL Central, in first place with a 56-41 record, 6 12 games ahead of the Reds. Out of 15 NL teams, Milwaukee is third in walks, last in strikeouts (and batting average), and ninth in OBP. The also did a name swap of their field, something White Sox fans are very familiar with, going from Miller Park to American Family Field. Old friend Avisaíl García is leading the team in batting average (.257), home runs (17), RBIs (57), and hits (78). Meanwhile Bret Suter is leading in wins (9) while Corbin Burnes leads with strikeouts (140) and Brandon Woodruff leads the pitching staff in ERA (2.04).

Devin Williams is on the IL currently, so the bullpen is definitely feeling that. The Brewers have felt the same injury bug as everyone else, but the bullpen additions of Jake Cousins and Miguel Sanchez are Counsell’s hope to fill the Williams gap. Brad Boxberger has been performing well for the Brewers but has had some minor injuries as well, so we may or may not see him this weekend.

In the Brewers’ last 30 they’re 18-12, while posting a 27-23 record at home. Against Central opponents they’re 27-17, and in interleague play they’re 2-7.

All in all, 2021 Brewers vs. 2021 White Sox is angling to be a good one.

Pitching matchups

Today is going to be Lucas Giolito vs. Freddy Peralta. Giolito is 8-6 this season with a 3.90 ERA. In his last seven games he’s 3-1 with a 3.95 ERA, and in his career against Milwaukee he’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Giolito’s most recent news has been more related to Josh Donaldson than pitching, so take that as you will. Giolito’s ERA away from home is 4.98 with 61 strikeouts and a 4-2 record. He’s 2-2 against NL teams so far this season, going 12 innings and allowing 10 hits.

Peralta is 7-3 this season, going 98 innings and striking out 135. He’s posting a 2.39 ERA, allowing a 44 hits and striking out 135 while walking 44. In home appearances he’s struck out 75 and posted a 2.04 ERA, while going two innings against AL teams, with six strikeouts and three walks. Peralta has five pitches in his arsenal: 4-seam fastball (52.8%), slider (26.9%), changeup (10%), curveball (9.4%), and sinker (1%).

Saturday will be Carlos Rodón vs. Corbin Burnes. Rodón is 3-1, posting a 2.36 ERA in his last seven games while striking out 60. In his career vs. the Brewers he’s 0-0, lasting two innings and allowing three hits while striking out one and posting a 4.50 ERA. Rodón is 5-0 on the road with a 1.69 ERA and 71 strikeouts. Against NL teams this season he’s gone six innings, allowing one hit and striking out 10.

Burnes is 5-4 this season, going 96 innings and striking out 140 while walking 16 and posting a 2.16 ERA. In his last seven starts he’s gone 3-0 over 43 23 innings, allowing 39 hits and striking out 59 while posting a 2.06 ERA. At home he has a 2.63 ERA and a 2-4 record, striking out 81. Against AL teams he’s gone 18 13 innings and allowed nine hits while striking out 27. Burnes has a strong arsenal of pitches: cutter (52.1%), curveball (15.5%), slider (10.6%), sinker (10.1%), changeup (9.8%), and 4-seam (1.9%)

Sunday is going to be on ESPN and subject us to the Sunday Night Baseball team, minus A-Rod. Lance Lynn is faces off against Brandon Woodruff. Lynn is 2-2 in his last seven games, going 39 innings and posting a 3.00 ERA while allowing 31 hits and striking out 46. He hasn’t faced the Brewers since 2017, but in his five previous starts he went 4-1 over 29 23 innings with a 2.12 ERA. He’s 3-1 on the road with a 2.84 ERA and 35 strikeouts.

Woodruff is 7-4 this season with a 2.04 ERA and 3-2 in his last seven starts, with a 3.14 ERA. He’s struck out 137 this season and walked 29. At home, Woodruff is 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 61 strikeouts. Against AL teams, he’s started twice and gone 11 23 innings while striking out nine and walking four. Woodruff relies on five pitches: 4-seam (33.4%), sinker (28.5%), curveball (15.7%), changeup (13%), slider (9.4%)

Why do we hate them?

The Packers, mostly. And Bernie.