I wonder what Ryan Braun was thinking about yesterday afternoon at Miller Park. He ran out to right field every half inning; just like Carlos Gomez did in center and Khris Davis in left. And for six and two thirds innings, there was not a sound; barely a movement in the outfield.
Wily Peralta was on the mound throwing 97 mph fastballs and sinkers of the same speed; 10 groundball outs, 9 strikeouts, and not one fly ball; a fitting way for Peralta to become the first major league pitcher to win 14 games. He did it with his bread and butter sinker-groundball formula. He is now 9-3 after Brewer losses; the definition of an ace.
It’s extra special since Peralta is a home grown; developed by the Brewers. Ditto for their other 97 mph fastball sinker pitcher Jimmy Nelson. Hasn’t been this kind of dynamic Brewer’s duo since Sheets and Gallardo. The Brewers not much historic success in finding pitchers at the amateur level and turning them into legit big league starters.
Both Peralta and Nelson are 25 years young. Peralta signed as an amateur free agent; Domincan Republic and Nelson selected in the second round of the 2010 draft. And when their sinker balls are sinking, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura gets to dance. He gets to balls no human being is supposed to reach and then he pivots and makes off balance throws at three digit speeds.
Segura and third baseman Aramis Ramirez were part of the recipe Thursday; that sweet pitching and defense to win games. The game was tied 1-1 until Khris Davis; also drafted and developed by the Brewers hit a ground rule double in the 6th inning to drive in the go ahead run.
But the bullpen clatter bridge started to rattle again; make us fans nervous; how to link to closer Francisco Rodriguez; the recent set up man implosions still fresh in our minds. A few more planks needed for the new system to be considered solid. Brewer’s manager Ron Roenicke makes no secret about it; says, “someone needs to step up” and that someone appears to be Jeremy Jeffress; another pitcher drafted by the Brewers.
I guess the Brewers just had to have him back; after stints in KC and Toronto; multiple marijuana suspensions and then granted free agency in March. The Brewers jumped on the opportunity and yeh, it feels extra special since the Brewers picked him in the first round of the 2006 draft and after he lost so many games from those suspensions due to screwy drug laws in the MLB.
Roenicke strikes again, raises the stakes, pins two against each other in friendly competition; Will Smith versus Jeffress. Yeh, it ‘s all about the team blah blah, but it’s also..all about competitions and raising the bar….the same way Roenicke did with Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra. Roenicke manipulates situations so slyly. almost under water and invisible. And more often than not, he finds significant roles for both players.
Thursday was a tag team effort. Jeffress relieved Peralta in the top of the seventh and Smith relieved Jeffress in the top of the 8th. Final Score; Brewers 3, Giants 1.
The Brewers are 63-52.