Thursday, May 2, 2024

Slap Decision


You really thought Rhys Hoskins clearing the Met benches was gonna be an isolated incident, did you?

The Brewers, in addition to being one of the most tough-to-beat teams in baseball, might be one of the most volatile. Twice now this team has made news with benches-clearing brawls, and this most recent one, with Abner Uribe slapping Jose Siri outside the face, may be the most bloodthirsty act by someone named Abner since the cow-punching kerfuffle of 1897. 

[Look it up.]

The Brewers have been prone to flashy, news making exploits. I think about the Nyjer Morgan moment during the 2011 playoffs, and how it wouldn't have worked, or been as memorable, without that sort of exclamation point Morgan put on it. I think about the 2018 Brewers team that body slammed their way to the top and nearly made it all the way. This is a team that has always made its attitude known. Growing up, I remember the Prince Fielder-Ryan Braun teams, the years where Rickie Weeks outran everybody, the K-Rod years. This isn't a team that comes from subtlety. It's just a team that, in the past few years, has gone for the quieter, more steady approach, especially under Craig Counsell.

And I'm not going to say that the team has become a lot more volatile since the hiring of a manager that's so Irish that there've literally been Irish folk songs written about a famous hard-drinking countryman of the same name....but the timing does make sense, does it now? I mean, don't go with 'Pat Murphy Taught the Brewers How To Fight', does feel like the gloves are kinda off now that Counsell's in Chicago. Y'know, the respected guy's gone, quick, Abner, punch out the Rays outfielder!

And again, this would be less amusing if it wasn't a team that had it coming. I've made my disdain for the Tampa Bay Rays known just on the basis of their pitchers' ideas on pride month, and while the Wander Franco story hasn't exactly redeemed them in my eyes, seeing people like Jalen Beeks, Ryan Thompson and Brooks Raley on other teams has made it a little easier to tolerate them. But they're not a good team this year, and they're still trying to pretend like they are. So if they're not gonna have a reality check on their own, maybe having a Brewers reliever knock some sense into one of the only people who's hitting will do that for them.

All of this aside, the Brewers are actually doing a lot right at the moment, even without Christian Yelich. Freddy Peralta's done a great job of heading up the rotation, he's 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA and 45 Ks. This is prime material for Peralta, and even without Woodruff or Burnes he's been dominant. Colin Rea has somehow been pretty sturdy behind him, who'd have thought? Blake Perkins, Joey Ortiz, Jackson Chourio and Sal Frelick have solid roles on this team, Brice Turang is coming into his own, Rhys Hoskins is power hitting and Willy Adames is heating up. Even with the 30-run deficit in two games against New York, the Brewers are still looking dominant and strong, and clearly nobody wants to mess with them.

Coming Tonight: Someone I never expected to hold down a closing gig again. 

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