One definition of bird dog is “search out or pursue with dogged determination” – and that is exactly what Brewer closer Corey Knebel exudes out on the mound when he is summoned from the bullpen to close out a win for his team.
Knebel has quietly become one of the most efficient closers of 2017. He began the season setting a new record for strikeouts with at least one per consecutive appearance to start a season then piled on to set the overall record at 45 games (46 if you go back to last season which ties Aroldis Chapman).
Corey was named Brewer Pitcher of the Month for May (13 games, 0.71 ERA, 27 Strike outs, and .140 BA) – Brewer Media Notes
Knebel then was elected to his first All-Star Game (in Miami) and was the Brewers only representative (did not pitch).
Now, with August in the rear view mirror he has another accomplishment under his belt: Relief Pitcher of the Month for the National League. In August, he had not allowed a single earned run in 15 1/3rd innings, converting 13 saves, and striking out 21. On the season that makes 32 saves, and has actually not allowed an earned run in his last 19 appearances, converting each of his last 16 save opportunities.
Those are some impressive stats for #46, and, his performance along with the rest of the pitching staff is the main reason the Crew is in the hunt for October. The Brewers are presently 1/2 game out of the Wild Card, and 3.5 behind the division leading Chicago with 25 games left, which includes 7 games against the Cubs.
Not bad for a team that was suppose to be the “wildebeest” of the league, and be lucky to win 70 games all season. The Crew enter their 3 game set in Cincinnati on Labor Day with a 72-65 record.
Way to go Corey! Way to go Crew!
(Photos courtesy of: AP, UPI, Getty, Brewers)