Thursday, May 5, 2011

State Of The Brewers

Well, the hitters aren't hitting, the fielders aren't fielding, and the pitchers aren't pitching.

Not for the past week, anyway.

One, Zero, Two, Three, and Zero. Those are the number of runs the Brewers have scored in the past five games.

Two, Five, Six, Eight, and Eight. Those are the number of runs the Brewers opponents have scored in the past five games.

This is a team in a serious, serious slump. There's no nit-picking or lineup analyzation that can point out why a team is slumping. If Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun aren't hitting, or Zach Greinke has a bad day, the Brewers are not going to do well.

But I can think of three problems that do need solving...

1. Carlos Gomez. An exciting player and great defender with a wiffle bat. There is no reason to bat him second in the lineup. How many more RBI's would league near-leader Prince Fielder (not to mention Ryan Braun) have if someone who could get on base was batting second? Now that Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan are healthy, it's time for Gomez to take a back seat. As a four-and-a-halfth outfielder (is that a word?) and a late-inning defensive sub or pinch runner, he is a valuable asset. Even when starting, however, he should bat eighth or ninth in the lineup. Pitcher Yovanni Gallardo has a higher career OPS (.671) than Gomez (.638). Zack Greinke apparently hit very well in his younger days.

2. Baserunning. So Ron Roenicke likes to run, huh? Well, if so, the man needs to send Jonathan Lucroy, Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Gomez and even Ryan Braun to baserunning camp! In recent games, all have committed blunders which cost the Brewers runs and outs. If the Brewers don't run smarter, they will run themselves right out of the division.

3. Infield Defense. The team has looked sloppy in the past week, true, but really this infield kinda stinks, period. No matter how the Brewers media spins it, and they do try, Messrs. McGehee, Weeks, and Fielder are average at best with the glove. And Yuniesky Betancourt is infamously the worst defensive shortstop who starts every day in the major leagues, with one possible Bronxian pinstriped exception. What can be done about this? I'm not sure. I guess they'd better start hitting, then!

As I wrote this, the top of the Brewers order struck out in a row to open game four of the series in Atlanta. Things have got to turn around! On a positive note, Nyjer Morgan is batting in the second spot in the lineup. That's a major improvement right there.

This lineup is too good, this rotation is too good. I have confidence that we're looking at a team that, if they play smart and hard, will make the playoffs. However, if bad managing and mental errors keep cropping up, there are going to be some very long faces and long nights awake in Brewer Nation come October.

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