Teeing off with Trent

Stray dog brings Brewers optimism


Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Staff Writer

His name is Hank, a stray dog found in Arizona during the Milwaukee Brewers spring training.

Hank has risen to stardom in Milwaukee as the Brewers have opened the season a dazzling 10-4, and has been something the team has modeled themselves after.

The ballpark pup is a happy and rather spontaneous stray dog that was found in the warmth of Arizona, and has allowed to the Brewers to come out of the shadow of Ryan Braun’s PED suspension and into the glory of an amazing run to start the 2014 season.

Hank has lit up a dull clubhouse, a clubhouse that was under a lot of pressure to make a strong performance in 2014 and move on from the deep depths of 2013, and well, he has succeeded.

The Brewers have exceeded all expectations set for them coming into the 2014 season, and it’s only been 12 games. The pitching leads the league in earned run average, and the offense has come alive thanks to Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and little known left fielder Khris Davis. The performances have been so convincing that analysts have already begun to jump on the bandwagon, praising the pitching rotation and the powerful bats shown in this early stretch.

After watching the first couple weeks of the Brewers season, it has become apparent to me that there are two keys to the pitching success of the Brewers. Marco Estrada, the fourth pitcher in the rotation, and Wily Peralta, the young second-year pitcher who finishes out the rotation in the fifth spot.

The reason these two are so important is because they have seen their fair share of struggles over the past few years with the team, but have potential to turn it all around. Estrada is seen as a finesse pitcher who doesn’t throw hard but just has nasty stuff in general, where on the flipside Peralta throws extremely hard and can blow you away with his fastball but he struggles locating his pitches at times.

I think that if these two pitchers can compliment the top three experienced pitchers in the Brewers pitching staff that the pitching rotation can stay in the top five of the MLB. Let’s just say I think that having Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza as your one, two, and three pitchers is something many teams can’t match.

Despite all of this praise the Brewers have received this season from the fans, the rest of the MLB, and analysts, I still see a problem, and that problem is the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals have had the Brewers number for as long as I can remember and it’s gotten very old for the players, the coaches, and yes the fans. Growing up a Brewer fan I learned very quickly that there are two types of people you don’t get along with, Cardinals fans, and Cubs fans.

The Cubs have grown into the team that the Brewers have been able to handle over the past five years or so, but the opposite can be said for the Cardinals. The Cardinals squashed any hopes of a double digit win streak by snapping the Brewers streak at nine after out hitting, and out pitching the Brewers at Miller Park over the weekend.

After hearing former Brewers and Cardinals pitcher John Axford say that they take scouting of the Brewers seriously and know the teams pitching and batting signs, my feelings for the Cardinals have taken a turn for the worst.

In my mind I see this struggle against the redbirds as a mental struggle. The Brewers have it inked into their minds that the Cardinals will beat them no matter how well they play and there is nothing that they can do about it, but this is wrong.

The Milwaukee Brewers are the most surprising team in the MLB this year and feature some of the most exciting players in the league in Braun, Jean Segura, and Carlos Gomez. Yes, they did just get man handled by the Cardinals but don’t fret it Brewers fans, it’s just another bump in the road of a long 162 game season.