The Brewers return home to host the Padres on Monday after clearing the toughest part of their early-season schedule.
With a 14-inning win in Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Brewers are a National League-best 14-5 after playing 16 of their first 19 games against 2013 postseason teams. While making clear the Brewers won't take lightly their two opponents on this homestand -- the Padres and Cubs -- manager Ron Roenicke could not help but be pleased by his team's quality start.
"When we talked about a strong start, this is stronger than what we thought, because of the schedule and who we were playing," Roenicke said. "So it's really nice. We know that there's going to be times during the season where you struggle. Every team does. But getting off to a good start, hopefully those struggles will be short and we'll be able to maintain this type of performance.
"We're getting good pitching, good hitting. The defense has been off and on, but I think if we're consistent with those two areas, we're going to win a lot of games."
What facet of the team stands out to Roenicke in this streak?
"The pitching," Roenicke said. "It's been really good, even the starters, because when they're not on their game, they're still keeping us in ballgames."
Wily Peralta will start for the Brewers on Monday against Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner in a great matchup of hard-throwing right-handers. The 24-year-old Peralta is fifth among Major League starters with a 95.2-mph average fastball, and the 27-year-old Cashner is tied for 13th at 93.5 mph.
Cashner has four straight quality starts to begin his season, including an 11-strikeout, one-hit shutout of the Tigers on April 11, two starts ago. Peralta has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past two starts and, like Cashner, he has yet to allow more than two runs in a game.
"He could have a really big year," Roenicke said.
Padres manager Bud Black is just as bullish on Cashner.
"Cash understands that it's a long season, a long haul," Black said. "He's got to continue to give us a performance that keeps us in games and pitch to the level he expects of himself. His challenge is going to be to refine his game, keep on top of his fastball, his slider and don't lose a feel for his changeup."
Padres: Runs at a premium vs. Friars
How good have Padres pitchers been? Heading into Sunday's game against San Francisco, San Diego's pitching staff had already allowed one run or fewer in six games, tied for the most such games in franchise history through 18 team games (also 2008, 1988 and '75). Only the Reds, who had allowed a run or fewer in seven games, had done so more often as of Sunday morning.
Brewers: Waiting for word on Gomez
Center fielder and leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez could be subject to a suspension after his role in an altercation with the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Last season, in the Brewers' fifth-to-last game, Gomez scuffled with Brian McCann and the Atlanta Braves and drew a one-game suspension.
On Sunday evening, Gomez said he would appeal this time.
"I'm going to appeal, because I'm not the one who started it," Gomez said. "It's the way I flip my bat every time. I think honestly, seriously, they think I flip the bat because it's a home run. I flipped the bat because I thought it's going to be a hard out and I say, 'Good contact,' and I walk and I see the ball go, go, go, so I'm going to start running.
"I'm not apologizing for anything I did today. I did the stuff I've been doing for eight years. Why do people get mad for something I do every time?"
The Brewers can ill-afford to lose Gomez, both because of his good start at the plate (he is second on the team with five home runs and is batting .312), and because of his defense. With another quality outfielder on the disabled list (Logan Schafer), the only true backup outfielder on the roster is utility man Elian Herrera.
• The Padres, 2-4 on the road, are embarking on a 10-game, three-city road trip on which they will travel 6,219 miles, according to the club's count. After three games against the Brewers, the Padres play four in Washington, D.C., followed by three in San Francisco.
• After playing 14 innings against the Pirates on Sunday and using all but two players on the roster (backup catcher Martin Maldonado and pitcher Wei-Chung Wang), Roenicke and his coaches met to discuss whether they needed reinforcements for Monday night.
"I'm concerned about our pitching staff, where we are, and I'm concerned about the outfield," Roenicke said. "I don't know what we're going to do. We just talked about it, and I'll call [general manager Doug Melvin] and we'll talk."