On Wednesday night, I finally got to sit and watch a majority of the Milwaukee Brewers game and I saw a lot of things I liked. For starters, Wily Peralta looked good! That’s huge for the Brewers, where it appears that pitching will be a constant concern, especially following the injury to Junior Guerra on Opening Day and the underwhelming performance by Zach Davies on Tuesday.
The offense as a whole has been generally encouraging, having scored 6, 5, and 6 runs in their first three games, before being stifled in a 2-1 loss on Thursday. Thanks to a 6-1 win on Wednesday, the Brewers actually outscored the Rockies for the series.
Travis Shaw started at third base in each game so far, and has been an extra-base hit machine, with four doubles and a homer totaling his five hits this season. Jonathan Villar has struggled, both defensively and at the leadoff spot, with eight strikeouts in his 16 at-bats.
Eric Thames also did this.
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) April 6, 2017
Obviously, four games is an extremely small sample size. But here are four thoughts I have from the opening series:
-Travis Shaw is going to be an important Brewers player in this transition. Obviously, he’s not going to hit .357 for the course of the season, but if he can be a guy that can hit doubles, drive in runs, and be reliable at either corner defensively, he’ll stick around awhile. There aren’t many prospects beating down the door to play first or third base, so flipping Tyler Thornburg for Shaw will be one of those moves that Milwaukee looks back on as being vital in the coming seasons.
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) April 6, 2017
-Eric Thames will be OK. He looked a bit overmatched at times on a 98mph fastball by Mike Dunn in the Rockies’ bullpen, but the home run he hit was on a 96mph fastball on the middle half of the plate. If he can make pitchers pay for mistakes, he’ll be ok. Seeing an RBI double on Opening Day was encouraging, and he’s played competent defense at both first base and in left field.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 6, 2017
-The bullpen is sneaky good. Other than one mistake that Neftali Feliz made on a 98mph heater to Nolan Arenado (who is really freaking good), he’s been encouraging in the Brewers’ bullpen. Corey Knebel and the lefty Brent Suter are both intriguing options who have flashed early, but if Feliz can get back to his former (pre-Tommy John surgery) self, that will be a bargain (and a great trade chip!) in the Brewers bullpen.
Last year with Pirates, Neftali Feliz’s FB avg was 96.1, highest since TJ surgery in 2012. In #Brewers debut last night, it was 98.0.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) April 6, 2017
-Wily Peralta looks promising. He didn’t go as deep into the game as I would have hoped (only 5 innings, facing just 18 batters) but there was plenty to be encouraged about, especially considering his less-than-stellar 2016 season. Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, back in February:
After getting off to an awful start through 13 outings (4-7, 6.68 earned run average), Peralta was told to go down to Class AAA Colorado Springs – a notoriously tough venue for pitchers – and make the necessary adjustments to become successful.
The results were mixed for Peralta in Colorado Springs (1-3, 6.31 in 10 starts) but he persevered and came back two months later a different pitcher. Most noticeably, he was throwing in the high 90s again after struggling to get to 93 mph earlier.
He was definitely in the high 90s on Wednesday, and if he can be consistent with that, he could be “back”.
— Reviewing the Brew (@ReviewngTheBrew) April 7, 2017