Central Intelligence

Week 2: Brewers continue major surge to start 2014

standings week 2

Power Rankings Week 2

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 4/12/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 2): 10-2, 1st Place, 57 RS, 29 RA (+28)

The Brewers are off to their best start since the year I was born (1987).  They have won 9 straight games, including impressive 3-game sweeps at Boston, at Philadelphia, and vs. Pittsburgh.  The Brewers pitching has been absolutely sensational.

The Brewers 1.87 team ERA is by far the best in the MLB (Oakland is the second best at 2.36).  Most impressive has been how great their bullpen has been (which was their biggest question mark heading into 2014).  Their bullpen has allowed just 3 ER in 32.2 IP (MLB best 0.83 ERA).  The pen has 42 strikeouts, with only 8 walks.

Brewers Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H BB SO ER ERA WHIP WAR
Yovani Gallardo 12.2 13 1 9 2 1.42 1.11 0.4
Marco Estrada 6.0 5 2 6 2 3.00 1.17 0.1
Matt Garza 6.0 8 2 4 3 4.50 1.67 0.1
Wily Peralta 7.0 4 2 4 1 1.29 0.86 0.0
Kyle Lohse 5.0 7 5 4 3 5.40 2.40 0.0

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Brewers Bullpen: 1 ER allowed in 29 IP (0.31 ERA)
  • Ryan Braun: .458/.462/.917, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 22 Total Bases
  • Carlos Gomez: .357/.379/.750, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 21 Total Bases
  • Jonathan Lucroy: .348/.423/.522, 4 2B
  • Wily Peralta 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0.86 WHIP, 1.29 ERA
  • Yovani Gallardo: 12.2 IP, 13 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1.42 ER

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Rickie Weeks: .154/.154/.231 (2 for 13)

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (1:10) vs St. Louis
  • Thurs (7:05), Fri (7:05), Sat (7:05), Sun (1:35) at Pittsburgh

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 1): 7-5, 3.0 GB, 48 RS, 48 RA (+0)

The Cardinals had a good week, winning two of three games against both the Reds and Cubs.  Despite their solid week, the Cardinals actually lost two games in the standings to the surging Brewers.  They might be a little lucky to be 7-5, despite having an even run differential.

The Cardinals offense has really struggled.  Entering Sunday, the Cardinals 42 runs scored was the 12th best in the NL, while their .226 AVG was 13th, and their 7 HR’s were 14th.  The Cards pitching hasn’t been all that much better either, as their 3.94 ERA is 9th in the NL.  It really has been three starters that have carried this team: Kelly (0.79 ERA), Wacha (1.89 ERA), and Wainwright (2.57 ERA).  Yadier Molina has carried the Cardinals offense, hitting .340/.367/.596 with 3 HR and 9 RBI.

Cardinals Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H BB SO ER ERA WHIP WAR
Joe Kelly 6.0 6 0 3 0 0.00 1.00 0.2
Michael Wacha 6.0 7 1 3 1 1.50 1.33 0.2
Adam Wainwright 14.0 12 2 15 6 3.86 1.00 0.4
Shelby Miller 6.0 7 3 5 3 4.50 1.67 0.0
Lance Lynn 6.0 8 0 4 5 7.50 1.33 0.2

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Yadier Molina: .391/.417/.652, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Matt Adams: .333/.360/.542, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • Matt Carpenter: .304/.414/.304, 4 RBI, 4 BB
  • Peter Bourjos: .375/.412/.563, 1 SB
  • Joe Kelly: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Allen Craig: .105/.150/.105 (2 for 19)
  • Jhonny Peralta .000/.176/.000 (0 for 14)
  • Trevor Rosenthal: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (1:10) at Milwaukee
  • Thurs (7:05), Fri (7:05), Sat (1:05), Sun (1:35) at Washington

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 3): 6-6, 3rd place, 4.0 GB, 44 RS, 43 RA

The Pirates went into Milwaukee feeling pretty good about their 6-3 start to 2014.  That didn’t last long, as they only scored 5 runs in 3 games, and got swept by the Brew Crew.

The Pirates pitching has been good, just like in 2013.  Their 3.20 ERA ranks 4th best in the NL.  The Bucs offense just hasn’t been able to keep up with the pitching thus far in 2014.  Their offense ranks in the bottom five in the NL in runs scored, AVG, and SLG.  The Pirates do have to be thrilled about Edinson Volquez.  His numbers after two starts: 14.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 10 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.79 WHIP.

Pirates Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H BB SO ER ERA WHIP WAR
Edinson Volquez 12.0 7 3 8 2 1.50 0.83 0.1
Gerrit Cole 6.0 5 2 10 3 4.50 1.17 0.3
Francisco Liriano 6.0 4 2 7 4 6.00 1.00 -0.1
Wandy Rodriguez 5.0 9 3 6 4 7.20 2.40 -0.2
Charlie Morton 6.0 8 1 5 5 7.50 1.50 -0.1

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Russell Martin: .400/.412/.867, 2 HR, 3 RBI
  • Edinson Volquez: 12.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Starling Marte: .217/.308/.261, 10 K
  • Jordy Mercer: .143/.250/.143 (2 for 14)

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (12:35) at Cincinnati
  • Thurs (7:05), Fri (7:05), Sat (7:05), Sun (1:35) vs. Milwaukee

4. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4): 4-8, t-4th place, 6.0 GB, 40 RS, 38 RA

The Reds have lost each of their first four series of 2014, despite outscoring their opponents 40-38 (largely in part to their 12-4 win on Sunday).  The Reds have scored the 2nd fewest runs in the NL, but have also allowed the 3rd fewest runs in the NL.

The starting pitching has been very good, as their 2.79 ERA is 3rd best in the NL, and their 1.08 WHIP is the best in the NL.  One major contributor to that is the surprising Alfredo Simon, who is filling in for the Reds until Mat Latos returns from the DL.  Simon has posted a 1.20 ERA and 0.73 WHIP (15.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 10 K).

The Reds offense has been brutal though.  Prior to their 12 runs outburst on Sunday, the Reds offense ranked in the bottom three in the NL in Runs, AVG, OBP, and SLG.  The major issue for the Reds offense is their #1 and #8 hitters, Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart. Those two players entered Sunday with a combined -0.8 WAR, and had gone just 7 for 65 (.103 AVG) with just two walks.

Reds Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H BB SO ER ERA WHIP WAR
Mike Leake 8.0 4 1 3 0 0.00 0.63 0.2
Alfredo Simon 15.0 9 2 10 2 1.20 0.73 0.3
Johnny Cueto 7.0 5 4 6 2 2.57 1.29 0.0
Tony Cingrani 4.0 3 4 5 3 6.75 1.75 0.0
Homer Bailey 5.0 9 2 5 4 7.20 2.20 0.0

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Devin Mesoraco: .455/.500/1.000, 11 Total Bases in 11 AB
  • Brandon Phillips: .333/.333/.417, 2 2B
  • Brayan Pena: .385/.385/.538
  • Alfredo Simon: 15.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.73 WHIP
  • Mike Leake: 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Todd Frazier: .143/.217/.143 (3 for 21)
  • Zack Cozart: .125/.176/.188 (2 for 16)
  • J.J. Hoover, Logan Ondrusek, and Trevor Bell: 8 H and 5 ER in 2.2 IP

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (12:35) vs. Pittsburgh
  • Fri (2:20), Sat (2:20), Sun (2:20) at Chicago Cubs

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5): 4-8, t-4th place 6.0 GB, 47 RS, 55 RA (-8)

Like the Reds, the Cubs have yet to win a series in 2014.  Last week, we talked about how good the Cubs pitching was in the first week.  This week….not so much.  After allowing just 19 runs in the first week, the Cubs allowed 36 runs this week.  That is a shame for the Cubs, as their offense was actually pretty good.  The Cubs lost games 7-6, 5-4, 10-4, and 6-4 this week.

The Cubs have to pleased with some great individual starts to 2014: Emilio Bonifacio (.392/.436/.451), Anthony Rizzo (.319/.389/.489), Starlin Castro (.300/.327/.460), Jeff Samardzija (1.29 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), and Jason Hammel (2.63 ERA, 0.51 WHIP).

Cubs Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H BB SO ER ERA WHIP WAR
Jeff Samardzija 7.0 6 0 4 1 1.29 0.86 0.2
Travis Wood 6.0 4 3 9 1 1.50 1.17 0.3
Jason Hammel 7.0 3 1 6 3 3.86 0.57 -0.1
Carlos Villanueva 8.0 16 0 5 10 11.25 2.00 0.1
Edwin Jackson 4.2 9 4 4 6 11.57 2.79 0.0

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Anthony Rizzo: .455/.500/.545, 4 RBI, 3 BB
  • Starlin Castro: .400/.423/.720, 2 HR, 7 RBI
  • Nate Schierholtz; .368/.381/.526, 3 RBI, 3 2B
  • Jeff Samardzija: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
  • Travis Wood: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 1.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Who’s Cold

  • Cubs Bullpen: 22.1 IP, 20 ER, 15 H, 16 BB, 20 K, 8.15 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
  • Edwin Jackson: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 11.57 ERA, 2.79 WHIP
  • Carlos Villanueva: 8.0 IP, 16 H, 10 ER, 11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

This Week’s Schedule

  • Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05) at New York Yankees
  • Fri (2:20), Sat (2:20), Sun (2:20) vs. Cincinnati

NL Central Pitcher of the Week

  • Alfredo Simon, Reds: 15.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.73 WHIP

NL Central Position Player of the Week

  • Ryan Braun: .458/.462/.917, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 22 Total Bases

 

12 thoughts on “Week 2: Brewers continue major surge to start 2014

  1. Last season, the lack of a consistent Reds offense was masked by periodic offensive explosions, similar to the early season results in 2014, and last season, Choo was a major, consistent contributor to the offense. Without Choo, the Reds need to put their best 8 available players on the field, and that does not include Hamilton. If Hamilton doesn’t start, he really needs to play regularly in Louisville, but there isn’t a good replacement OF to bring up from Louisville and the only replacement OF available in Pensacole is Lutz and he also needs to play regularly.

    Until Schumaker gets healthy and completes hisrehab assignment, that means Hamilton probably stays on the 25-man roster as a pinch runner with Soto, Bernadina and Pena as the primary pinch hitters. Plug Heisey into CF and Phillips into the leadoff spot, with Mesoraco bumped up to the #3 hole and see how it plays, at least until Schumaker gets back. WJ has really hamstrung this lineup with his ‘all in’ commitment to an unproven Hamilton this season, not to mention the negative impact on Hamilton’s development.

    The Reds simply have to take care of business and hope that the Brew Crew comes down from outer orbit soon.

    • For the life of me I just cannot see this organization making the move to send Billy down before July. Perhaps I’ve watched the team too long under Dusty but unless Price himself really gets behind the idea of moving Billy off the roster I don’t think it will occur. I’m also interested in seeing how Billy does vs pitchers who are not top of the rotation guys, which we don’t have much of a sample size for.

      • I agree that the chance of Hamilton being optioned to Louisville or relagated to a pinch runiing role are miniscule. One trait strongly common to both WJ and Dusty is their inability or unwillingness to admit a mistakes and take responsibility for their mistakes, so Hamilton will remain on the 25-man roster and starting in CF, even to the detriment of the team and Hamilton.

      • I also want to see how Hamilton does against ‘pitchers who are not top of the rotation guys’ at the majoe league level. The most appropriate place to do that is in AAA rather than conducting that experiment at the major league level. The AAA rosters are filled with up and coming starters and relievers and minor league signings with major league experience. Those pitcher would equate to the back-end rotation starters at the major league level.

        • Hamilton has had 2 weeks against mostly top drawer pitching. He’s hitting better than Cozart and, by the way, Jay Bruce ain’t doing so hot yet either. The Reds will give BHam at least a month in the lead-off spot and I think they should. The kid deserves a fair shake.

  2. To my mind, Devin Mesoraco becoming a big time RH power bat is the key to this offense actually working. If he is ready to become that and everyone else does what they do then we can live with Billy’s struggles as he develops.

  3. I wouldn’t compare Billy to Bruce (comment one or two above)… Bruce has 11 BB and 7H…. Billy has 2BB and 6 hits. So, in that respect, while each has a poor batting average, Bruce is actually performing the job of getting on base which is so desperately needed at the top of the lineup out of Billy. And before anyone wants to “throw out Bruce’s 4 BB’s yesterday”… well then throw out Billy’s one really good day in St. Louis.

    Bruce, I’m not worried about. Billy remains unknown.

    • I’m not worried about Bruce either. I’m just saying that BHam deserves a little more than 2 weeks to prove himself. If Bruce and Frazier and Cozart come around then I think we can afford to give Billy some rope. If they don’t it doesn’t really matter what Billy does anyway.

  4. Heisey has just killed Rodriguez, slashing .304/.333/.739 in 25 PA. Tonight could be a good game to get his bat in the game against a LHP. Mesoraco also pounds LHP, slashing .313/.366/.477 in 142 career PA, but is hitless in only 5 PA against Rodriguez. I would hedge on Mesoraco’s career numbers against LHP and move him up in the lineup for tonight’s game.

    Alas, no Heisey in the lineup just posted and Mesoraco hitting 7th again.

    • Kind of weird… a tendency from Price to not want to move Hamilton because he isn’t hitting, but a tendency to not want to move Mesaraco because he IS hitting? I liked your lineup suggestions against Wandy.

    • If my memory serves me correctly (which is hard to say) the entire team has been pretty good against Wandy in the recent past.

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