BREWERS: 0 HRs=0 Runs=Few Wins
Lost in the midst of the latest “Manny Meltdown” is the fact that the Milwaukee Brewers are suddenly struggling to score runs. While starting pitcher Parra paid for his ineffectiveness Saturday with a demotion to Triple-A Nashville, the rest of the team has spent most of the early part of June reaffirming what we had feared at the beginning of the season. When the ball isn’t flying out of the park on a regular basis, the Brewers are going to have trouble winning games.
The Brewers have averaged a little over 4 runs in their first 12 games this month while hitting 8 home runs during that span. But that number is skewed by 3 games, one of which they lost, where they scored a total 23 runs. Take out those 3 games and the average drops to 2.55 runs/game. Add in the fact that they have hit only .235 with runners in scoring position and have left over 7 runners on base per game. Not surprisingly, that has resulted in a 4-8 record to this point in June.
The Brewers as a team are not built for consistent offensive production, instead relying largely on the long ball. The situation was exacerbated with the injury to 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks. While replacements Craig Counsell and Casey McGehee have done about as well as could be expected in his absence, no one on the roster qualifies as a prototypical leadoff hitter.
Fortunately for the Brewers, the pitching staff has partially mitigated that circumstance by performing above expectations, Parra notwithstanding. Take Parra out of the equation and the Brewers team ERA in June is only 3.40. So far, the Brewers have been able to hold onto first place as the other teams in the NL Central have experienced problems of their own.
The Brewers, being the streaky team that they are, will eventually come out of this hitting slump. Ideally, the Brewers would like to take advantage of their hot streaks and establish a cushion to sustain them through their down cycles. The concern is that their divisional rivals have remained in close pursuit as they seem poised to regain full strength.