Thursday, September 11, 2014
Brewers in the Midst of Epic Collapse
Three weeks ago, the Brewers were a game and a half up in the NL Central and about to close out their 5th straight month in first place. Since then, they are 4-13 including an embarrassing 9 game losing streak. The dreaded St. Louis Cardinals of all teams have grabbed a 5 game lead in the division and the Brewers are on the outside looking in just for a Wild Card spot at this point. While early in the season they seemed to be catching all the breaks, these days they are finding every which way to lose a game. Ryan Braun's nagging thumb injury seems to finally be catching up with him, as he has hit .220 since the All-Star Break. Jonathan Lucroy, once an MVP frontrunner, has also seen his batting average drop almost 40 points since the break. Carlos Gomez, Matt Garza, and Aramis Ramirez have all missed a substantial amount of time on the DL. The defense has at times looked like a little league team. The starting rotation that was once among league leaders and an anchor of the team has cooled considerably, particularly Wily Peralta, who looked like he was all but a lock to be a 20-game winner a month ago, and Yovani Gallardo, who for some reason is still referred to as the Brewers' "ace." Will Smith and Zach Duke spent much of the year with ERAs under 1.00 and now are both just awful. Just as I write this now Smith gave up a 2-run homer. Really, newly acquired Jonathan Broxton and Francisco Rodriguez are the only reliable arms that manager Ron Roenicke has to rely on in the bullpen, and even Rodriguez blew a pretty important game on Tuesday.
The thing is, every game is now important, which is what makes every loss that much more crushing. Every team goes through bad slides like this - the Crew had one leading into the break as well, and the A's are going through the same thing we are - but now is the worst possible time because tensions are high and so much is at stake. Losing streaks in May are easy to come back from, but losing streaks in September cause people to lose their jobs. That's what I'm mostly concerned about. I would hate for an ill-timed losing streak to cause Roenicke his job. The players seem to respond to him very well and I love his aggressive style, it fits really well with the personnel. That being said, a 7-game swing in the standings cannot be ignored, and since you can't cut realistically 25 players I'm sure a few coaches will be at risk. There are still 16 games left, all against divisional opponents, so there is still hope, and I honestly believe this team has what it takes to get back into the race and go far in the playoffs. All Brewer fans have seen how well this team plays when everything is clicking. But it has to be now, or I fear this team will be majorly reconstructed in the offseason.
On the bright side, Miller Park now has self-serve beer machines.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 09.11:
Brewers 76-71, -4.0, -1.5 WC(3 v. Reds, 3 @ Cardinals, 3 @ Pirates)
Reds 70-77, -10.0, -7.5 WC (3 @ Brewers, 3 @ Cubs, 3 @ Cardinals)
Twins 62-84, -19.0, eliminated (3 @ White Sox, 3 v. Tigers, 3 v. Indians)
2014 GAMES ATTENDED:
Erik - 7 (+26 worked)
Peter - 38