State of the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept 3rd, 2014
Its September 3rd and the Brewers are in disarray. Oh sure, no one within the organization would say as much because those in business spin things optimistically. The fact is, the Brewers currently have their longest losing streak of the year at 7 games. More critically, since May 2nd, the Brewers are 3 games under .500. On May 2nd, they were 21-9. Before tonights game they are 73-65. They played stellar baseball for 1 month and have basically played .500 ball for the remainder of the season.
The Brewers longest winning streak during this .500 run is 5 games. They don't look to be a team that can make up 4 or 5 games on anyone in a couple weeks. That is why tonights game vs the Cubs is paramount. They can't afford to fall 3 games behind St. Louis. Not to mention they have not played the Cardinals all that well this year and have 7 games remaining with them.
I see some deeper problems with the Brewers going forward. Gomez is kind of a case in point. A free swinger that has now unfortunately suffered his 2nd injury of the year sustained while simply swinging the bat. He has one of the most violent swings in all of baseball. I think many coaching staffs would work with Gomez to change his swing, if for no other reason than to protect him for continual injury. When the Brewers manager, Ron Roenicke, is asked this very question by reporters he always responds along the lines that the players are who they are, and at this level there is nothing that can be done to change that. I didn't directly quote him only cause I didn't want to sort through all the post game interviews. He has stated something similar to Gomez's swing on at least 2 occasions.
Isn't it the coaching staffs job though? To coach a player either to make him perform better or to protect him from injury. Suffice it to say I disagree with Ron's managerial style on several points. One of them is just what I see as an undisciplined team. Free swinging teams like the Brewers rarely go deep into the playoffs. Teams that go deep in the playoffs have patient hitters like the Cardinals. Patient hitters make the starting pitcher work and get a good starter out of the game on high pitch counts. Then they go to work on the middle relievers. Free swinging hitters also translate to an on again off again offense. In their last 7 games, the Brewers have only scored 14 runs. Two runs a game does not win many games. The Brewers also appear to be the most aggressive team on the base paths, which bites them more often than not. Roenicke is known as a players manager. I think he has taken it too far, almost to the point where the players are not even being coached.
Of course I still follow them and root for them but it has to be with a level of detachment because the Brewers often beat themselves. Good teams do not beat themselves. The Brewers are an average team that had 1 outstanding month. Ironically Brewer beat reporters twice ran stories on why Roenicke deserved manager of the year. I'm not sure the writers who wrote that believed it themselves or if it was just written as a sensationalistic story to attract viewers. As much as I don't want to see the Cards win another division title. Its hard to hold a grudge against them, because they always find away to stay in it and then make a push just at the right time.