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Weekend Recap 15: Braun, Suter

The Brewers would like to forget the past week. After starting their ten game road trip getting swept in Pittsburgh, it seemed like a trip to Philadelphia would get the team back on track. Instead, the team lost two of three and saw their division lead evaporate to nothing,

Brewers Phillies
Friday July 21 1 6
Saturday July 22 9 8
Sunday July 23 3 6

After sitting out a few games last week, Ryan Braun returned to the lineup with a vengeance on Saturday. He notched three hits and a walk, his first three hit game since April. It was also the first time he reached base four times in a game this season. His numbers are made even more impressive by the fact that he was pulled from the game in the 7th inning.

Despite his two trips to the disabled list this season, plus some minor nagging injuries, Ryan Braun has still been a productive player at 33 years old. His TAv has slipped from .316 to .302, but looking at his year over year slash stats, it appears that the biggest difference in production has been the loss of some singles.

Comparing his 2016 and 2017 seasons, it looks like Braun has been having a tough time on pitches away. Last year, he was able to cover the whole zone, and even put some power into those pitches away. But this season, more of those pitches are turning into groundballs. As of now, teams are still evenly distributing their pitches to Braun and haven’t been pounding him away. In fact, all three hits on Saturday came on pitches in or over the middle of the plate.

Braun has been a solid anchor in the middle of the lineup when he’s been available and he’s exceeded his median PECOTA projection for the season for his rate stats, but there’s still a little more production that can be squeezed from his bat. As the push to the playoffs continue, the Brewers are going to need everything they can from the players on the roster.

Since entering the rotation in July, Brent Suter has been a source of solid innings while adhering to restrictive pitch counts. Suter again had an impressive start on Saturday, throwing six innings and allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts. Suter upped his changeup usage on Saturday, throwing the pitch twenty times, which is a career high for him.

Suter generated swings on 50 percent of the changeups he threw, which is his highest percentage in a start this season. Suter was quite successful with the pitch on Saturday. Batters whiffed or hit a ground ball on sixteen of the pitches, which are the ideal outcomes for Suter. The only hit he allowed on the pitch was a single.

Suter has had mixed results with his changeup since he moved into the rotation. The bad news: opponents are hitting .500 on the pitch since July 1, with a slightly unsustainable .695 BABIP. The good news, those numbers only amount to five singles in ten at bats.

Suter lives and dies with his mid to upper 80s fastball generating enough groundballs to get him through the lineup a few times. He needs the changeup to fool batters if he’s going to keep his starting role.

Up Next: The road trip continues and isn’t getting any easier for the Brewers. They get a day off to regroup, then they’re in Washington for a three game series. The Nationals have the third best record in baseball and have actually underplayed their expected record by three games.

Brewers Nationals
Tuesday July 25 Zach Davies (5.41 DRA) Gio Gonzalez (3.47 DRA)
Wednesday July 26 Jimmy Nelson (3.25 DRA) Max Scherzer (1.96 DRA)
Thursday July 27 Matt Garza (4.57 DRA) Tanner Roark (4.67 DRA)

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline, USAToday Sports Images

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