OAKLAND — These are the Brewers we predicted to fight for an AL East title this season.
In four games under Harvey Kuenn, the Brewers have won all four. They have a five-game winning streak dating back to Buck Rodgers‘ final day as the team’s skipper. That day seems like years ago. It was a completely different team.
Same faces, different team. Different attitude. Different atmosphere. Different results.
Those results continued today.
Pete Vuckovich may not have had his best stuff, but he allowed only two runs through eight innings on seven hits and four walks. He didn’t pitch a clean inning until the eighth. At least two baserunners reached base in four different innings. But Vuke, as Vuke typically does, would bend and not break.
Pete Vuckovich is now 7-2 on the season. Even more impressive, he is 21-6 in a Brewers uniform.
But of course, these are “Harvey’s Wallbangers.” The offense gets all the glory. Actually, that’s why I started with Vuke. The pitching deserves props, too, as it is a big reason this team is winning. During the five game winning streak, Brewers pitchers have given up a total of nine runs.
And the offense keeps on mashing. For the third straight game, the Brewers scored 10 runs or more runs. For the fourth straight game, the Brewers reached on at least 12 hits (14 hits today). The Wallbangers walloped 42 hits in the three-game series against the shell-shocked A’s, including 19 for extra bases and eight home runs.
How locked in are the Brewers’ hitters right now? They lead the league with 67 home runs, 22 of which came on this trip. That’s approximately one third of their home runs in one fifth of their games.
Don’t look now, but one of the team’s supposed “cancers” has a hot bat. Ted Simmons went 2-for-5 with his eighth home run. He was 12-for-37 on the road trip, raising his average to a more respectable .239.
The one dark cloud in this game is that Cecil Cooper, the league’s second best hitter with a .360 average, sat out with a hip pointer. But have no fear, Brewers fans, Harvey says it isn’t serious.
“He told he he was ready to go, but I’ll just give him a day of rest,” Kuenn said. That’s a relief. We need Coop. Because this team is bound to cool off sooner or later.
Game Notes: Jim Gantner hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, his third of the season … Rollie Fingers, who hadn’t pitched in five days, allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth … The Brewers finished their road trip with seven wins in 10 games.