There are a lot of reasons that the Milwaukee Brewers are currently playing like ass bags. Ryan Braun (until about three days ago) couldn’t spell RBI if you spotted him the R and the I. Bill Hall’s baseball talent is nowhere to be found. J.J. Hardy is likely spending too much time grooming that awesome soulpatch to worry about hits. And the pitching staff – wow. God, they are bad. Almost every single member of that staff is falling apart at the seams. But the biggest offender not named Carlos Villanueva is none other than Seth McClung.
The last few years, McClung has been a serviceable middle reliever and spot starter who brings major cheese and a hard slider to the table. He’ll never be a feared starter and he’ll never be a lockdown closer, but every team needs a few guys in the middle innings to provide a steady hand. He has the stuff to be that guy. Unfortunately for the Crew, that guy has been missing since the middle of June. McClung posted a meh 4.09 ERA in April and a stellar 1.76 ERA over 15.1 innings in May. Then again, the whole team was on fire in May. But as the summer got started, McClung lost his ginger mojo (they have that, ya know).
He’s given up hits in 18 of his last 21 appearances. Sure, two of those were starts – but he gave up at least six hits in four or less innings in those outings, so he’s not doing anyone favors right now. However, he saved his worst for this past week, as the Brewers continued their swoon into fourth place in the NL Central.
On the 16th in Cincinnati, McClung gave up a 3-run bomb in the 8th to turn a 9-3 blowout into a 9-6 game that forced Trevor Hoffman into a save situation for the 9th. A minor issue maybe, but you don’t want to use your closer when you have a 6-run lead with 6 outs to go. That’s wasteful. Then, Seth finished off the Cincy series on the 19th by surrendering an absolute bomb to Jonny Gomes (pictured above) that broke a 3-3 tie and sent the Crew to another loss.
A few days later, McClung relieved Jeff Suppan in the fourth inning after another atrocious start. The Crew scored five times to take a 7-5 lead. It took McClung less than an inning to give two runs back to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee eventually crapped away the series on a walkoff home run by Brandon Moss. Even when a game is already out of hand, like Friday night, El Gingerino (his new nickname) was handed one mop-up inning and he still gave up two hits, two walks and a run.
I’m not sure if he feels bad that Carlos Villanueva is the only other pitcher who seemingly gives up runs every single inning he pitches, but he needs to get it together. The starting rotation isn’t built to go the distance and the long relievers need to be reliable. Get it together, Seth. Now!