TOP PLAY (WPA)
After Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Brewers and Padres remained locked in a stalemate for the next frame and a half despite putting men on the basepaths. The third inning was shaping up to look like the previous two as Matt Garza started things off by retiring the side. The Brewers kicked off the bottom half of the third with a lineout. However, after Ryan Braun walked and following a single from Adam Lind, Khris Davis opened the floodgates with a dinger over the right-field wall (+.161), putting the Brew Crew up 4-0.
Davis is hitting .236/.321/.458 this season. Yet, when he is facing right-handed pitching, like he did against Despaigne today, he is destroying baseballs. In fact, if we parse his numbers even further, he is absolutely dominating right-handed pitchers at home.
|Home/Away vs. RHP||Avg||OBP||SLG||K%||BB%|
|vs. RHP (Overall)||.265||.352||.445||27.4%||11.7%|
|vs. RHP (Home)||.286||.383||.520||24.3%||13.0%|
|vs. RHP (Away)||.228||.297||.316||32.8%||9.4%|
Of course, there is a difference of 43 at-bats between his home and away games versus righties, which could explain the variance between his splits to a degree. However, the fact that he is striking out significantly more while on the road is more likely to be the cause behind such drastic difference in numbers. Whatever the reason, Khris Davis, must keep doing what he has been doing at home and try to take some of it on the road.
BOTTOM PLAY (WPA)
The Brewers were on top for the entire game, and decidedly so from nearly the beginning. It is easy to forget that in the top of the second, the Padres had a chance to put the Brewers on the ropes. At the top of the frame, Matt Garza served up a walk to Justin Upton. Despite getting Brett Wallace to strike out, Derek Norris singled to center which put runners on the corners. With only one out tallied at this point, the Padres were in a spot to make something happen. Of course, in true Padres fashion, nothing happened. Clint Barmes bunted out to Adam Lind (-.074), setting up a two-out at-bat for the perennially bad Melvin Upton. Upton would ground out, thus ending the inning.
The top of the second was a tenuous inning for both teams. For the Padres, the inning could not have started off any better. Justin Upton’s at-bat resulted in a walk after seeing the first pitch drop in for a ball, fouling off the next three, and then watching the proceeding three pitches land out of the zone. This is where the game could have had an entirely different outcome. After walking Upton with three straight balls and starting off Wallace’s at-bat with a ball, Garza appeared to have trouble finding the zone. So far this season, Wallace has been punishing right-handed pitching. An errant pitch by Garza would have meant trouble. If Wallace was able to get at least single, then the Padres would have had the tying run in Upton at either second or third with Derek Norris at the plate.
Instead, Garza went after him with a three fastballs and a curve, two pitches against which Wallace is likely to whiff.
|Month||Whiff% vs. Hard||Whiff% vs. Offspeed|
It may look as if Wallace has drastically improved when facing hard-thrown pitches; however, he has only made five plate appearances in August. By getting Wallace to strike out, this left the speedy Upton (+3.8 BRR) at first instead of in scoring position.
TREND TO WATCH
Including today, over the last three games, the Brewers managed to get eleven hits on the board. In fact, in the last two weeks — arbitrary endpoint, I know — there have only been two games in which Milwaukee has garnered less than six hits in a game. More importantly, if we take a look at the team’s on-base percentage, the best indicator of run-scoring, then there is hope for Milwaukee as they have steadily improved their OBP month-to-month in 2015. Here is how they have shaped up compared to the rest of the division.
Only six games have been played in August thus far. Nonetheless, it is a positive sign when the team that is in the cellar is improving in a critical offensive category while the team with the best record in baseball is having difficulty getting on base. That is not to say that the Brewers are on their way to close a twenty-three-game gap, as their issues go well beyond getting on base, but it is nice to see the lineup come to life.
COMING UP NEXT
The Brewers will host their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, over the weekend. Tyler Cravy will face Lance Lynn. Cravy, who has pitched fifteen innings this season, was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs after Kyle Lohse was assigned to the bullpen. His first taste of The Show was in June when he pitched against the Cardinals. In that performance, Cravy went seven innings, gave up one run over four hits and struck out six batters.
St. Louis’ Lynn is coming off a hot June and July campaign. In 55.2 innings pitched, Lynn posted a 2.12 ERA. His last start was a departure from what his opponents have faced, giving up seven hits and four runs through five innings. It was more than likely a fluke as he has otherwise been solid throughout the season. The Brewers will have a tough hill to climb.
First pitch is at 7:10 pm CT.