The Milwaukee Brewers have had an odd season that no one could have predicted based on the rest of the National League Central, the team’s Opening Day roster and questions surrounding the team in general.
The Brewers started out hot, cooled off some, but still maintain the lead in the N.L. Central and starting pitcher Wily Peralta has a lot to do with it. Peralta picked up his MLB-leading 14th victory of the season as the Brewers topped the San Francisco Giants 3-1 at Miller Park Thursday. Peralta went 6 2/3 innings, struck out nine and allowed one run on seven hits and a walk. The Brewers tagged Giants’ pitcher Jake Peavy for three runs via an RBI double by Ryan Braun in the first, a Khris Davis RBI double and a Mark Reynolds sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Peralta may not have the flashy numbers that come with a pitcher one normally thinks about as a team-leader in wins with his 3.42 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a 1.2 WAR according to Baseball Reference, but he comes up big when it matters and has reeled off five straight victories.
The Brewers have a solid pitching staff led by Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo and Matt Garza, but Peralta could be the difference-maker when September rolls around and playoff spots are up for grabs. The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are still well in the race for the division crown and no team wants to fall off the top of the division in a Wild Card spot after holding a lead all season. The team’s leading four hurlers all have very similar numbers in terms of ERA, WHIP and innings, but it does seem Peralta is nearly forgotten about despite his wins. He is not a sabermetric standout, but with his ability to toss six or seven strong innings consistently, he may be the pitcher that could decide whether the Brewers win the division, drop to a Wild Card spot or fall out of the race altogether.