Andrew Gruman’s player of the month: C Jonathan Lucroy (.359, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 7 2B)
Lucroy continued his strong season by hitting safely in 22 of the 26 games he played in June, recording multiple hits in 10 of those game. After hitting just two home runs in April and May, Lucroy connected for six in June. Lucroy delivered a game-winning home run in the 13th inning in New York against the Mets on June 12, but that wasn’t the finest moment of his month. Coming to the plate immediately after the Diamondbacks hit Ryan Braun intentionally, Lucroy gave the Brewers the lead for good by crushing a grand slam on the first pitch he saw.
Andrew Gruman’s pitcher of the month: RHP Matt Garza (3-1, 2.88 ERA, 10 BB, 25 K, 40.2 IP in six starts)
While Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo both had good months in June and Wily Peralta went 5-0, Garza had slightly better all-around numbers. Garza started June by working 6 1/3 scoreless innings to beat Minnesota and also beat Pittsburgh and Colorado. He allowed just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings against Cincinnati on June 13 and worked into the eighth inning with just two earned runs allowed in Arizona on June 18. Garza was very good again against Washington on June 23 but was burned by a three-run home run in a 3-0 loss.
RHP Rob Wooten (7.88 ERA in 12 relief appearances)
June was supposed to be a brutal month for the Brewers, as Milwaukee had just one day off before June 30, including playing 20 games in 20 days. The Brewers went 12-6 in a stretch in which they played 15 of 18 games on the road, including winning 11 of the 15 road games.
The offense averaged 5.5 runs per game, while the starting pitchers went 15-6 with a 4.08 ERA. Four of the five starters had good months, as Marco Estrada was the lone member of the rotation to struggle. Throw in the bullpen’s 3.67 ERA and the Brewers were a complete team in June.
Milwaukee entered June with a three-game lead in the National League Central and woke up on July 1 with a 6 1/2-game lead over St. Louis and seven games ahead of Cincinnati.
While July begins with a pair of afternoon games in Toronto, the Brewers have two important series before the All-Star break on July 14. Following the two games against the Blue Jays, Milwaukee heads to Cincinnati for a three-game series over the Fourth of July weekend.
The Brewers are 2-5 against Cincinnati this season, while the Reds went 18-9 in June to surpass the .500 mark and move back into contention. Milwaukee then returns home for four games against the Philadelphia Phillies before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for three games before the break.
After the All-Star break, the Brewers head to Washington for three games before a seven-game homestand against the Reds and Mets. The month of July ends for Milwaukee with a three-game series in Tampa Bay.
With nine games in July against the two teams right behind them in the National League Central, the Brewers have a chance to either extend or maintain their division lead. As always, the trade deadline comes on July 31. The Brewers will more than likely be active on the trade market throughout the month.