So the trade deadline was a bit of a letdown. Back to reality. The Cardinals are currently 4.5 games behind the Cubs for the division and 7.5 games behind the Rockies for the Wild Card. The Brewers sit two games ahead of the Cardinals. Based on the talent level, St. Louis is better than Milwaukee. The Cardinals should destroy the Brewers.*
*You didn’t think this thing was going away just because the Cardinals had a rough trade deadline? W% with title, .553. W% without title, .448.
So the Brewers were in contention a bit before they expected to be and perhaps weren’t quite sure what to do. Giving up their future for rentals seems like a pretty bad idea when they’ve barely reached the point of expected contention. They were rumored to be in on the big-name controlled pitchers in Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray, but more desperate and teams secure in their contention made better offers, presumably.
That isn’t to say the Brewers did nothing. They got Anthony Swarzak away from the White Sox and brought back Jeremy Jeffress into the fold to add two bullpen pieces. Swarzak has been pretty good this year while Jeffress has not. Corey Knebel remains closer.
In other relatively recent roster news, Keon Broxton is down in Triple-A and Lewis Brinson is again in the majors, perhaps this time for good. Brinson was a part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade last season and is one of the best prospects in baseball. He hasn’t done much at the majors just yet, but he’s torn up Triple-A.
Everything is about as it has been. Jonathan Villar might be in a bit of a time-share at second base with Hernan Perez and Eric Sogard. Eric Thames’ wRC+ has dropped down to 128, which no longer leads the team as Travis Shaw and his 24 homers have overtaken Thames. Domingo Santana is having a quietly productive season, Ryan Braun is hitting well, and Orlando Arcia has actually been an average offensive player over his last 250 plate appearances after a wretched opening six weeks.
Tonight, Jimmy Nelson takes the mound for the Brewers. Nelson has pitched like an ace this season doing three things well: limiting walks, striking out a lot of batters, and generating ground balls. Since the All-Star Break he has struck out 24 batters in 18.2 innings and walked just four. He’s given up a homer in each start, but has kept his ERA under four during those starts. His best pitch is a mid-90s sinker, but his curve and change have gotten good results as well. Carlos Martinez will go for the Cardinals.
I would love to tell you about the rest of the Brewers starters, but they haven’t announced them. It could be Matt Garza—currently on the DL—in a game. Could be Brent Suter, who has pitched extremely well, but has been perhaps been pretty lucky in limiting home runs with a HR/FB rate under 5%. Brandon Woodruff was scheduled to start a game against the Cardinals earlier this season, but hit the disabled list before it started and still hasn’t made his debut. He might against St. Louis.
Things are slightly more clear for St. Louis as either Luke Weaver or Adam Wainwright will start tomorrow and Michael Wacha will start on Thursday.
In other St. Louis news, Stephen Piscotty is coming off the disabled list as Harrison Bader returns to the minor leagues.
Tonight, August 1, 6:40 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest
Wednesday, August 2, 7:10 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest
Thursday, August 3, 1:10 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest.
Other relevant series ongoing:
Diamondbacks v Cubs
Mets v. Rockies