What Happened to the 2013 Brewers?
At the beginning of this season, not many people had any hope that the Brewers would make a bid at the postseason, but I don’t think anyone imagined that this season would be this bad of a train wreck. What went wrong? Well, it might be shorter to list the things that have somehow gone right for the Brewers, but where’s the fun in that? I often find myself shaking my head before the first inning is even over. Here, in no particular order, are the things that I think have impacted the team in a negative way.
This, obviously, has been the Brewers’ biggest problem this year. There’s not much to be said about the starting pitching that hasn’t already been said. They’ve been beyond pathetic, although Gallardo and Lohse have been better as of late. You know your team is in big trouble when two of the spots in your starting rotation are occupied by bullpen pitchers who are being called upon to spot start on a weekly basis. If Lohse and/or Gallardo end up being traded this season, it could get even worse. It’s hard to imagine pitching being much worse than it has been, but with the way this season has gone so far, I’m sure the Brewers can find a way to make the games even less enjoyable to watch.
If you’re like me, you probably found yourself saying “Here we go again” on a daily basis. In April, it looked as though Axford was back to struggling, as he did for most of 2012. Burke Badenhop and Mike Gonzalez also struggled, and it seemed like Jim Henderson was the only reliable guy in the pen. They have improved drastically since April, especially with the addition of K-Rod. Even in the games that the bullpen somehow managed to hold in April, it seemed like they still tried their hardest to find a way to blow the game – the opposition just decided not to comply. Like I said, they all have improved since April, and we can probably look for the Brewers to try and move some arms before the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see who will be called up to replace them if they do happen to get traded. I’ve had my eye on Rob Wooten in Triple-A Nashville since the beginning of last season and I think he has a good shot at being called up this year or next year.
Aramis Ramirez was on the DL for a good month, and he’s still not completely healed. Carlos Gomez is banged up right now, but the Brewers aren’t anticipating a DL stint for him. Braun and Hart are currently on the DL, along with Marco Estrada. It seems like at some point this season, every player has sustained an injury that has kept him out for at least a day or two. Well, except for Yuni B, because he’s apparently indestructible. I think at some point in the near future it will be completely acceptable to start referring to this team as the Nashville Brewers. Not only have they been playing like a Triple-A team this year, but soon the team might be completely taken over by players who were in Triple-A last season or this season. We’ve already seen Scooter Gennett and Caleb Gindl make their first major league starts this year, along with Khris Davis and Josh Prince. It seems like every day they’re calling someone up to replace an injured starter. We could see more major leagued debuts if/when the Brewers make some trades.
First base situation
Anytime you have the chance to platoon a shortstop (Yuni B) and a third baseman (Juan Francisco) at first base YOU DO IT. Just kidding. But supposedly this is our best option for the year, so we’re stuck with it. And it doesn’t sound like Corey Hart will be back anytime soon (or even maybe at all this year), so it looks like we’re stuck watching this for an extended period of time. So yeah, go right ahead and grab yourself a beer. Or five.
Questionable Managing Decisions
I’m not saying the Brewers would be much better record wise with a different manager, because they wouldn’t, but some of the decisions Ron makes during the game make me want to throw my remote at the tv. One of the main problems I have with him is his refusal to allow starting pitchers to go deeper in games when they are dominating a team. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO REMOVE THE PITCHER IN ORDER TO PINCH BUNT FOR HIM. NO. STOP THAT. It seems like 90-100 pitches is the magic number that gets pitchers pulled. I understand that he’s trying to preserve and protect their arms, but starting pitchers should be able to go 110-120 pitches. And you also have to think about the bullpen. The Brewers’ pen is one of the most used bullpens in the league, and forcing them to pitch more innings when a starter could very well go one or two more innings is just bad managing, in my opinion. Another thing that I despise is that often when the Brewers get down about five runs, Ron pulls the starters out in the fifth inning. I mean, come on. You’re basically just saying that you have no faith in your team and you want to just forfeit the game. I hate giving up. It’s stupid. You may as well not even show up to play the game then. I understand that there are some injuries to starters, but if they’re that injured that they need three or four innings of rest, you probably should have just given them the entire day off. Pulling Braun and putting Yuni B in left field against the Cardinals in April had to have been the biggest trolling move by Ron ever. I was so upset. Still kind of am, now that I think about it. Also, his obsession with the suicide squeeze drives me through the roof. Stop purposefully giving away outs. Especially with Aoki and Segura at the plate – your best contact hitters. I hate sac bunting in general, because I don’t think giving away one of your precious 27 outs is a good strategy, but to each his own. I could probably come up with a list of 20 more things that I disagree with Ron on, but I’ll save that for a rainy day.
Obviously, the most logical thing to do this year is to trade away the players that you can get some good return for and to accept the fact that losses mean higher draft picks. I’ve accepted that this season is a lost cause, and I am fine with trading players and rebuilding for the future. However, I am still a die-hard fan so I still occasionally get upset at bad losses. Especially like that loss in Houston last Thursday. Just because your team is struggling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try to win. While I want higher draft picks, I still want my team to put themselves in the best possible position to win every day. But maybe that’s just me.