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The Brewers had been in 1st place alone or tied for about 5 straight months and then just like that they ran out of gas. Who saw this coming? I sure didn't, certainly not at this level. Now that I reflect on what could become a historic collapse of epic proportions, I wonder why I didn't see it coming. The Brewers offense is built all wrong and has been ever since I can remember.

In fairness, they are a small market team competing with teams with bottomless purse strings, such as the Yankees or the Dodgers. I guess the reason it really stings, is the fact that they were successful for so long and then hit the wall. Just how were the Brewers able to mask their gaping flaws for so long?

Well for one, if a couple guys were in a slump, there were always 2 or 3 guys that were still raking. Then in the blink of an eye, the entire team essentially shut down offensively. In the last 14 games the Brewers have been outscored 86 to 35. Over that span they are averaging only 2.5 runs per game. Now I realize that this was inevitable for a team built for power at the sacrifice of contact. Power hitters are streaky, we all know this. So when a team has more power type hitters than pure contact hitters, they can go through maddening dry spells.

I talk about the Cardinals a lot and its because of their continued success. They now lead the Brewers by 6 games and the Pirates by 4 and 1/2. In spite of, or maybe because of the fact that they hit fewer home runs than any other team in the National League. They win by simply making contact frequently. Put the ball in play more often and your chances of success increase. Losing to the Cardinals is frustrating because they don't knock you out, instead they simply harass you to death. Its like a death of 1000 cuts. A typical Cardinal rally goes like this: A lead of walk, then a broken bat blooper followed by a seeing eye single. Then a chopper off the plate bounces high enough that everyone is safe. Then a pitch fools the next hitter but he muscles it for a flare to left field. Before you know it, they score 3 runs and you realize they never squared up a ball, yet they always put them in play.

They are also disciplined at the plate. In that regard they are complete opposites of the Brewers. They do this all without any show boating. Its strictly business to them. They are relentless. So yea, the Brewers are built all wrong. They are built for home runs and when they don't homer they only score 2.5 runs per game. That has led to their 1-13 record over the last 14. Oh sure, you could argue that the pitching has gone south but I would disagree. Take away 2 games where they gave up a combined 28 runs and they have only given up 4.83 runs over 12 games. Ok not stellar, but that is counting unearned runs, of which there have been many. To me the lack of offense has put undue pressure on the starting pitchers to throw shut outs and nobody is relaxed anymore.

Everyone is pressing and so the collapse may continue as it has for other teams in the past. If the Brewers miss the playoffs, this September will be remembered for a long time for all the wrong reasons.

Enough about the Brewers. Unless they turn the tide in a hurry, they will be irrelevant in another week.


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Written by James Formo — September 10, 2014

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