In his first career start as a clean-up hitter, Jonathan Lucroy delivered big time. On the same gorgeous afternoon that I also graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (had to sneak that in there!), the Brewers spanked the Twins to a tune of 16-4. The offense was simply explosive, receiving three hits a piece from Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, and the aforementioned stud catcher. Hart hit his ninth homer of the season while Lucroy smacked two, including his first ever grand slam. Lucroy finished the game 3-for-5 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored, and a career-high 7 RBI — tying the Milwaukee Brewers franchise record for runs driven in during a single contest. Maybe, just maybe, this is what Milwaukee needed to get back on track…
Lucroy is now hitting .342 this season and owns an other-worldly .552 batting average with runners in scoring position (16-for-29). Yeah, that’s not a typo — .552!
1. Boston Red Sox (43-28; 1st AL East)
Adrian Gonzalez has Boston fans thinking Triple Crown with a .348 average (1st in MLB), 64 runs batted in (1st in MLB) and 15 home runs (six shy of league leaders).
2. Philadelphia Phillies (45-28; 1st NL East)
Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 103 K, 104 innings) has the slightest of edges over teammate Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 114 K, 112.1 innings) for NL Cy Young.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (40-33; 1st NL Central)
Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks have combined for 49 homers, 144 runs batted in, and a .299 batting average.
4. New York Yankees (41-29; 2nd AL East)
The Bronx Bombers are living up to their nickname, leading the majors with 105 home runs.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (40-33; 1st NL Central)
The Cards snapped their seven game skid Saturday win a win over Kansas City, but lost Albert Pujols to a wrist injury Sunday.
6. Cleveland Indians (39-31; 1st AL Central)
The Tribe seems to be back on track after a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh, putting them one game ahead of the Tigers for 1st place in the division.
7. Detroit Tigers (39-33; 2nd AL Central)
Justin Verlander has gone 7-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last ten starts (May 2-June 19); his WHIP on the season is a microscopic 0.85.
8. San Francisco Giants (39-33; 1st NL West)
After a rough start to the year, Madison Bumgarner has lowered his ERA to 3.21 (better than Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez), but still has a dismal 3-8 record.
9. Texas Rangers (38-35; 1st AL West)
Texas remains atop the AL West despite a 3-7 road trip.
10. Minnesota Twins (31-39; 4th AL Central)
Putting the Twins in the top 10 seems a bit absurd – but they’re hot – white hot.
If the season ended today:
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – BOS
NL MVP: Prince Fielder – 1B – MIL
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander – SP – DET
NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels – SP – PHI
The next fifteen games on the dock for the Milwaukee Brewers will distinguish them as contenders or pretenders. The Brewers begin their Interleague schedule tomorrow with a three-game series in Boston against the 1st place Red Sox, the start of five consecutive three-game sets against American League foes. After a trip down nostalgia lane at Fenway Park, Milwaukee will then return home to the friendly confines of Miller Park to square off against the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays. The last time the Brew Crew faced off against the Rays was in 2005 when a young Prince made his big league debut. The Twins, who have suddenly become one of baseball’s hottest teams winning 11 of their last 13 games, will then come into town seeking blood versus their next-door-neighbor rival. The Brewers will then make their first ever trip to the new Yankee Stadium, playing three games against the powerhouse Yanks, also for the first time since 2005. Finally, Milwaukee will end it’s long Interleague stretch at Target Field for three more games versus the Twins. Without a doubt, this upcoming stretch will test the Brewers physical and mental make-up. It’ll be grueling, but if the Brewers come out alive and still in first place, their bandwagon will have reached capacity. The following pitching matchups against Boston are set in stone, while the rest are all projections – subject to change due to rain outs, injuries, etc.
Brewers @ Boston Red Sox
6/17 – Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.68 ERA) @ John Lackey (4-5, 7.41 ERA)
6/18 – Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.20 ERA) @ Jon Lester (9-2, 3.73 ERA)
6/19 – Yovani Gallardo (8-3, 3.76 ERA) @ Tim Wakefield (3-2, 4.39 ERA)
Brewers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
6/20 – Chris Narveson (4-4, 4.48 ERA) vs. Jeff Niemann (1-4, 5.74 ERA)
6/21 – Zack Greinke (6-2, 5.23 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (7-5, 3.09 ERA)
6/22 – Shaun Marcum vs. David Price (7-5, 3.51 ERA)
Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins
6/24 – Randy Wolf vs. Scott Baker (4-4, 3.55 ERA)
6/25 – Yovani Gallardo vs. Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.67 ERA)
6/26 – Chris Narveson vs. Carl Pavano (4-5, 4.20 ERA)
Brewers @ New York Yankees
6/28 – Zack Greinke @ Brian Gordon (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
6/29 – Shaun Marcum @ Freddy Garcia (5-5, 3.60 ERA)
6/30 – Randy Wolf @ A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.09 ERA)
Brewers @ Minnesota Twins
7/1 – Yovani Gallardo @ Francisco Liriano
7/2 – Chris Narveson @ Carl Pavano
7/3 – Zack Greinke @ Nick Blackburn (5-4, 3.47 ERA)
After this 15-game run of AL opponents the Brewers will play seven home games (a three-game set against the contending Diamondbacks and a four-game series versus the surging Reds) before reaching the All-Star break.