What do you need to know about the Milwaukee Brewers? Reviewing the Brew Editor Benjamin Orr sat down with Cubbies Crib to give Cubs fans a little bit more insight on the Brewers going into the National League Central cellar battle.
The Brewers won back-to-back three-game road series against Cincinnati (Aug. 23 – Aug. 25) and Pittsburgh (Aug. 27 -29) before recording five straight losses, what have been the Brewers strengths and weaknesses during this stretch?
Well, the biggest downfall in those games was the bullpen. The pitching has faced a lot of problems within the past two years, with last year’s problem being the bullpen. This season, the starters (aside from Kyle Lohse) had been battered left and right. They soon turned that around, but then the wheels temporarily fell off for the bullpen. Fortunately, the Brewers snapped that streak with a spoiler win Wednesday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As for strengths, the offense really clicked and surprisingly in Cincinnati where we usually get crushed. The starters were performing well and the call-up of reliever Rob Wooten helped as he’s been excellent, though he’s been roughed up since then.
Who has been the biggest bright spot for the Brewers recently?
For the Brewers lately, we’ve really relied on the bats left fielder Khris Davis and second baseman Scooter Gennett. Both Davis and Gennett are rookies, so their seasons have been extremely impressive and it makes me less worried about the future of this team. Davis has power, which is something the line-up has been lacking with Ryan Braun suspended, Rickie Weeks now out for the season and just losing Corey Hart really before April began (though it wasn’t official until much later). Gennett has a nice contact approach at the plate and has had quite a few multi-hit games lately.
RHP Kyle Lohse is slated to start in the series opener on Friday, what can Cubs fans expect from him?
Definitely a strong performance out of him that’ll keep the Cubs’ bats guessing. Lohse isn’t exactly a flamethrower out on the mound, so I wouldn’t expect to see that many Cubs swing and miss against him, but he does have his days where he can rack up the K. This season, Lohse has pitched well against Chicago, going 1-0 with an ERA of 2.08, so he’s going to be a tough opponent for the Cubbies to down.
Who could provide a surprising impact for the Brewers offensively in this series?
Someone in the bullpen not named Brandon Kintzler. Everyone in the bullpen has been absolutely dreadful in the past week really aside from Kintzler. The Brewers did call-up top prospect Jimmy Nelson so that could be a treat to watch as he makes his transition into the majors for now. The offense hasn’t really had too many surprises, though if there’s one person to keep an eye on, it’ll be Juan Francisco. Sure, he does strikeout a lot, but he has a heck of a lot of power that can not only get him doubles, but home runs as well.
Any other thoughts on the battle to remain out of the NL Central cellar?
Well hopefully the Brewers snag fourth place when it’s all said and done, but they’ve tripped over themselves quite a bit which allows Chicago to go ahead. By no means am I cutting down the Cubs as they have a team that fights hard against their division rivals and they are not to be taken lightly. I think if the Brewers play at all in September the same way they did in August, they have a shot to stay in fourth, but funnier things have happened.