That Post-June Equinox Coasting Vibe (Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (39-30) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (40-32))
You know what guys? The very pissy Yankees fans are right. We Blue Jays fans have been taking advantage of the dumb popularity contest’s voting system by voting for our favourite players. In light of that, I propose the following ballot, which I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with.
And if you have a problem with that, you’re a dweeb. All good? Good.
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George Springer left Wednesday’s game with right elbow soreness that’s apparently been nagging at him for at least a few days. A decision on a potential IL stint will likely be made prior to tonight’s game, though it has not yet been announced at the time of writing. Should he get officially sidelined, catcher Zack Collins will be called up, and writer Stefan Salegio will continue to wrestle with the ever-mounting urge to defenestrate himself.
Hitter: Cavan Biggio (1)
Honourable Mentions: Alejandro Kirk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernández
Pitcher: Ross Stripling (2)
Honourable Mentions: Kevin Gausman, Trent Thornton, Matt Gage
Best Bird Standings:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.- 4
Bo Bichette- 3
Santiago Espinal- 3
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.- 2
Alejandro Kirk- 2
Danny Jansen- 2
George Springer- 2
Cavan Biggio- 1
Teoscar Hernández- 1
Matt Chapman- 1
Zack Collins - 1 (Optioned to Triple-A)
Alek Manoah- 9
Kevin Gausman- 5
Yusei Kikuchi- 3
Ross Stripling- 2
José Berríos- 2
Jordan Romano- 1
Friday, June 23 (8 p.m. EST/6 p.m. MST)
Alek Manoah (2.00 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 22.9 K%, 4.7 BB%, 38.0 Groundball%)
Adrian Houser (4.24 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 18.2 K%, 9.8 BB%, 46.4 Groundball%)
Saturday, June 24 (4 p.m. EST/2 p.m. MST)
Yusei Kikuchi (4.94 ERA, 5.54 FIP, 25.0 K%, 13.9 BB%, 43.4 Groundball%)
Corbin Burnes (2.31 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 32.6 K%, 5.6 BB%, 43.3 Groundball%)
Sunday, June 25 (2 p.m. EST/12 p.m. MST)
José Berríos (5.11 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 19.5 K%, 5.6 BB%, 35.9 Groundball%)
Chi Chi González (7.36 ERA, 5.85 FIP, 12.8 K%, 2.1 BB%, 45.0 Groundball%)
Pythagorean Record: 38-34
Last 10 games: 6-4
Save for perhaps the Houston Astros, I can’t think of a current division leader performing exactly as expected of them more so than the Milwaukee Brewers. Problem for them is that, while 60 percent of their division is an affront to nature, the St. Louis Cardinals have been doing a ways better than most expected, and are neck and neck with Craig Counsell’s team, who have had three, count ‘em, THREE starting pitchers miss starts with an injury. Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, and Aaron Ashby are all currently in the IL. While the astounding Corbin Burnes will make up for a fair chunk of that value, and while the mere solidity of Eric Lauer and Adrian Houser and the smoke-and-mirrors act of Jason Alexander have all been effective thus far, at least two starts of Chi Chi Fucking González was likely not what the Brewers had in mind going into the season.
That said, while the Brewers bullpen hasn’t been as dominant as it has been in previous years, with Hoby Milner, Brent Suter, and the injured Trevor Gott being solid middle relief options, the three highest leverage guys have been excellent. The dependable veteran Brad Boxberger has been great, while Devin Williams and the incomparable Josh Hader have been nothing short of elite, Hader especially being on a level of elite that we just haven’t seen since Mariano Rivera. Get to the starters early, I guess! And that should be enough, because the Brewers’ offence has been middling at best.
The three big disappointments starting games for the Brewers have been infielder Luis Urías, who hasn’t followed up on his breakout 2021, and veteran outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Lorenzo Cain. Cain has been released after posting only a 31 wRC+, and his departure has opened up playing time for Tyrone Taylor, who has been at least a relative improvement. Speaking of relative improvements, Keston Hiura and old pal Rowdy Tellez have taken strides towards being good hitters, if not necessarily great ones. Christian Yelich has continued his worrying trajectory towards being a 1.5 fWAR player, and in lieu of him, the offence has been spearheaded by Tellez, Hunter Renfroe, Willy Adames (all relatively low-OBP power hitters), and the catcher tandem of Omar Narváez and Víctor Caratini. That tandem has collected the fifth highest fWAR in baseball behind the Yankees (José Treviño/Kyle Higashioka), Chicago Cubs (Willson Contreras/Yan Gomes), Atlanta (Travis d’Arnaud/William Contreras (yes, relation)), an-oh, would you look at that!
Best (Healthy) Players in the Series:
Corbin Burnes, Starting Pitcher, 2.31 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 32.6 K%, 5.6 BB%, 43.3 Groundball%
Devin Williams, Relief Pitcher, 2.33 ERA, 1.53 FIP, 40.4 K%, 12.8 BB%, 42.0 Groundball%
Josh Hader, Relief Pitcher, 0.87 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 45.3 K%, 8.0 BB%, 40.0 Groundball%
Willy Adames, Shortstop, .211/.284/.486, 111 wRC+
Brad Boxberger, Relief Pitcher, 2.39 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 23.0 K%, 8.0 BB%, 43.3 Groundball%