The Brewers came into the All-Star Break a few weeks ago sitting at two games over .500 and starting to struggle. As recently as July 1, they had a 2-game lead in the division. Luckily, as I so astutely noted in my first-half review, the second half began with a 17-game stretch against bad baseball teams. It was time for the Crew to reclaim the division and set the tone for the second half. 17 games later, we have come to a conclusion…
The important notes and numbers from said 17 games: a 7-10 record. Zero series wins. Dave Bush still hurt. Jeff Suppan hurt. (Ed. note: That’s technically a good thing, but this team can’t find anyone better, so it’s just plain annoying.) Carlos Villanueva starting. Bill Hall in AAA because he’s that bad. UPDATE: After Sunday’s game, it was announced that Corey Hart is going to the DL for an appendectomy and Hall is back in the bigs. Sad times. Angry times.
Remember a while back when I ripped on folks for declaring the Brewers dead in the water at a preposterously early time? You don’t? Are you sure? That’s what I thought. Well, even though there are still 50+ games left, it might be time to call the curtains on 2009. Hey, I’ll still watch the games. I’ll still be pissed (but not surprised) when every starter but Gallardo only goes five innings and gives up six runs. I’ll still hold out hope for a tear through August and more September drama. But I’m just not holding my breath.
Since June 1 (and especially in the last two weeks), the pitching staff has the league’s worst ERA. They also have given up the most home runs. They have the fewest quality starts. It’s downright awful. Manny Parra is the second-best starter, and he was in the minors as recently as three weeks ago because he was so bad.
They lost more games to the Pirates in a 3-day span (2) than 2008 and early 2009 combined (1). They lost a series to San Diego. They tied series with Cincinnati and Washington. They gave up grand slams to the same dude in back-to-back innings. Adam Dunn hit a ball into the Miller Park parking lot. They had a 7-1 lead in a game they lost by 4. It couldn’t get much worse. But through all that, Milwaukee is only four games out and the Crew has the talent to make a run (especially if the rest of the division scuffles like it has most of the year).
The rest of August is very easy from a schedule standpoint. After the series with the Dodgers (tonight through Wednesday), it’s 22 games against teams with losing records. Major league teams simply do not get easy stretches this prolonged, so it has to happen now. September 1 and forward is a bitch, with only 6 of 32 games against teams with losing records. But a hot streak through August puts the Crew smack dab in the middle of it, and who knows what happens from there?
If the starting pitching doesn’t drastically improve, however, well then, at least Nick Collins showed up to Packers training camp on time.