Takeaways from the Brewers' series against the Rockies

The Bart Winkler Show
April 07, 2017 - 7:32 am

© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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Brenden Schulz

vs Colorado Rockies 1-3 (1-3)

A lineup in flux

“I wouldn’t get fixated on the lineup. I’d stress, do not get fixated on the lineup.” ~Manager Craig Counsell, pregame Opening Day

Counsell showed exactly why he uttered those words in his pregame press conference on Opening Day, as the Brewers utilized four different lineup combinations in the first four games.

Here is a breakdown of the starts at each position throughout the series:

C – Jett Bandy (3), Manny Pina (1)

1B – Eric Thames (2), Jesus Aguilar (2)

2B – Jonathan Villar (4)

SS – Orlando Arcia (3), Hernan Perez (1)

3B – Travis Shaw (4)

LF – Ryan Braun (3), Eric Thames (1)

CF – Keon Broxton (3), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (1)

RF – Domingo Santana (3), Hernan Perez (1)

Within the first four games of the season, only second base and third base had the same starter for each game.

Third baseman Travis Shaw deserved to start all four games as he swung a hot bat in the series, going 5 for 14 at the plate, including four doubles and a home run. Shaw also led the Brewers in RBI in the series with five.

Second baseman Jonathan Villar is still adjusting to his new position, having been moved from shortstop this offseason, and will see plenty of action going forward.

Fans should take Counsell’s advice and not worry too much about the daily lineup changes that will occur through at least April. It will be good to see the team search for the optimal combination of starters, while also allowing themselves to see exactly what they have in terms of players on this roster.

Starting pitching concerns?

One area of concern from this series for the Brewers should be the starting pitching and how deep that group can go in games. Beginning on Opening Day, Junior Guerra went down with a strained right calf after only three innings and the Brewers were forced to use six pitchers out of their bullpen.

Zach Davies was seemingly unable to find the strike zone in his four and a third innings in game two, as almost half of his 98 pitches were thrown for a ball.

Wily Peralta looked solid in his five innings of work in game three, but he was already at 90 pitches and was pulled. Peralta did show off a renewed fast ball in his start, touching 99 mph on the radar.

Chase Anderson finished off the series by throwing six scoreless-innings, making him the only starting pitcher to go past five innings this series.

While there were plenty of bright spots from the starting pitchers, it is concerning that only one of the starters went six innings. If this trend continues, the inexperienced bullpen could find themselves overworked.

Injury concerns

“Starts the process of what we’ve preached in spring training, and that is it’s not going to be 25 guys, it’s not going to be five starters, it’s not going to be eight relievers, it’s going to take more than that.” -Manager Craig Counsell postgame after Guerra injury.

The season began with a teary-eyed starting pitcher Matt Garza announcing to the media that he would start the season on the DL with a right groin strain. Then on Opening Day, starting pitcher Junior Guerra had to be pulled after three innings with a strained right calf that he suffered coming out of the box after laying down a bunt. Guerra was placed on the 10-day DL, but the injury appears to be significant and he could miss extended time.

In the final game of the series, CF Keon Broxton was hit in the face by a fastball and suffered a nasal fracture. The injury could have been way worse  had he not been wearing a C-Flap on his helmet. The C-Flap provides extra facial protection to the batter. Broxton was very thankful that he was wearing the added protection and even said after the game that he was contemplating removing the C-Flap just last week. Broxton will be day-to-day as he waits for the swelling in his nose to go down.

Dealing Dave

The Brewers continued to make roster moves as they began their season while also keeping on eye towards the future.

After Guerra went down with his strained right calf, the team brought up relief pitcher Brent Suter. Suter became the first player of the season on the current roster who was not on the Opening Day roster. There are likely to be many more players this season added to that list and starting pitchers Junior Guerra and Zach Davies were not on last year’s Opening Day roster, so look for some key contributors to be brought up this season.

The Brewers then claimed utility man Nick Franklin off of waivers from Tampa Bay. In order to make room on their roster, the Brewers designated RHP Michael Blazek for assignment.

General Manger David Stearns seems to always be on the lookout for ways to improve the team. If the first series was any indication, expect many more moves to be made by the Brewers this season.

Overall

Starting the season 1-3 was probably not the way that the team wanted to start, but it is a very small sample size. Look for continued growth from this team as lineup changes abound and roster moves are made. It should be a very up-and-down, but enjoyable ride.

Up next: vs Chicago Cubs – 3 games

The World Series Champion Chicago Cubs roll into Miller Park this weekend for what is sure to be a pre-Opening Day party for Cubs fans.

The Cubs are coming off of a 2-1 series win over the St. Louis Cardinals and are currently in first place in the NL Central.

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