Milwaukee Brewers Are Taking Over the NL Central

Kolten Wong and Willy Adames
Ebony Cox – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee Brewers are an intriguing team this season. They have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, but they lose an unnecessary number of games due to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

The Brewers finished May by winning five in a row, sitting in third place in the NL Central at 29-25. They came into June with a determination to get to the top.

A Rollercoaster

After losing the first game of the month they went on to win nine of their next 10. That included sweeps of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Follwing the hot start which brought their record to 38-26 they started to crumble. They went through a rough five game losing streak where they got swept by the Cincinnati Reds and lost two to the Colorado Rockies. Coming into the Reds series the Brewers had just scored 19 runs agaianst the Pirates. The Reds stiffled Brewers hitting and held them to a measly four runs in three games.

All season this team has proved that they do not let losing streaks bring them down. They bounced back by finishing the month 10-1 and currently sit on an eight game win streak.

Facing the Rivals

Luis Urias
Patrick McDermott – Getty Images

Their final series of the month came against their rivals the Chicago Cubs.

For so much of June it seemed like when the Cubs won, the Brewers won and when the Cubs lost so did the Brewers. Neither team could break away, but things shifted right before the Cubs came into Milwaukee. After being tied for first the Brewers swept the Rockies at home and the Cubs lost the last three to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Brewers came into this series up three games.

In the first game, the two teams came into the eighth inning deadlocked at four, but after the bottom half of the eighth the game was no longer tied. The Crew scored 10 runs thanks to two three-run homers. They won game one 14-4.

Game two was much closer. The Brewers won 2-1 in a tight game from the start. Their only two hits of the game brought home the two runs. The most interesting fact is that both runners that scored reached base via walks. They did what they had to do on offense and their pitching did the rest.

A Comeback for the Ages

In the third game the Crew put one of their best prospects on the mound for his MLB debut. It did not go as well as expected. He lasted two thirds of an inning and the Cubs went up 7-0 in the first inning. As stated earlier, the Crew is resilient.

The Brewers scored one in the bottom half of the first inning, then five in the second to bring it within one. The whole game took a dramatic turn in the fourth. Jace Peterson came up clutch with a two run single to give the Crew the lead at 8-7. They added two more runs and then with two outs and the bases loaded Willy Adames stepped up to bat.

On a 1-1 count Adames whacked a ball to center and snuck it over the wall for the Brewers first grand slam of the season.

The Brewers ended up winning 15-7 to complete the sweep and push the lead in the division to six games.

Top Performers of June

Josh Hader
Aaron Gash – Associated Press

This is a team that relies on individuals in all positions at any point in the game. This is not a team led by one man, they utilize every player at their disposal.

Middle Infield

The Brewers made the bold decision to bring Willy Adames from Tampa to Milwaukee on May 21st. Since his arrival he has been a major spark for this team making the highlight reels on defense and offense on a daily basis.

He has put up big numbers from his first game in Milwaukee. In 36 games he has had 144 plate appearances where he has a .279 batting average, 36 hits, 11 doubles, 15 walks, six homers, 17 runs scored and 24 RBI’s. All of his numbers are better than they were in 41 games earlier this season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Adames joins a Brewers team with an already incredible middle infield core which includes Kolten Wong, Luis Urias and Keston Huira who are a major factor in every game they play.

The Biggest Success Factor: Pitching

The Brewers starting pitching has been the best in the business with Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes.

In games this June where those three started on the mound they went a combined 6-2 and the Brewers went 11-3. When these three are on the hill, the Crew usually pulls out a big win.

Although not as successful the Brewers have also received strong performances from their other three starters Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer and Brett Anderson.

The bullpen has also been a key piece of the pitching dominance.

The most notable bullpen member is two-time National League reliever of the year Josh Hader. This past month Hader went a perfect 8-8 in save opportunities. In his 11 appearances he allowed zero runs and struck out 18 hitters.

The Brewers also utilize Devin Williams, Brad Boxberger, Brent Suter, Trevor Richards as well a couple young stars including Miguel Sanchez and Jake Cousins.

Looking Ahead

The Brewers begin July in first place with a 48-33 record.

They will start off with a roadtrip to Pittburgh for four games and then to New York to take on the Mets in a three game series.

For the final series before the All-Star break they will come back to home for a four game series against the Reds.

The Milwaukee Brewers went 19-8 in June to climb their way to the top of the NL central. They have a ton of confidence heading into the second half of the season and if they can keep scoring a bunch of runs and pitching extremely well then they will be able to dominate July.

The front office is always looking for ways to improve this team and before the trade deadline in mid-July it is a guarantee that the Brewers general manager David Sterns is going to make some big moves.

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