Monday, July 10, 2006

Should I really be happy?

Let's look at this line for a second or 10:

The Brewers are 5.5 games back of the division and 3 games back of the wild card leader at the All-Star break.

These are not insurmountable numbers at all and after the last decade-plus, most Brewer fans would be as happy as a Bears fan with a "buy one wart removal, get a 2nd one free" coupon. The possibility for the playoffs is very real. But, why don't I get a warm fuzzy off of this though? Here's why:

The Brewers record is 44-46 and their pitching staff has a NL-worst ERA of 5.03. Add into this that their offense is below average in OBP and runs scored (4.5/game), and those factors combined are not a good mix to have. The old addage that pitching wins championships is in play here, except in reverse: BAD pitching destroys any chance of winning, let alone playoffs.

I know, I know, Sheets and Ohka are due back this month and suddenly the rotation will look a lot better without some of the humps they've been throwing out there. But who's to say that they will make a difference? It's going to take each of them about 2-3 starts to get back into the groove and by then it's mid-August. Add in that the bullpen is a fricking disaster right now so even if they do put in a quality start, there's a good chance the bullpen will blow it. Let's face it, the Brewers are not going to put together any huge win streaks right now. At best they can top off at 4 in a row, like they recently did. But then they go and lose 3 in a row to the frickin' Cubs AT HOME. The Brewers have 72 more games to go and I think it is likely that they will go 38-34 the rest of the way. That puts them at 82-80 on the season, which won't win any divisions or wild cards.

I was real optimistic at the start of the season, but the Brewers have had 3 1/2 months to take advantage of a very weakened NL Central and actually come into the break with the division lead. If we are expecting them to suddenly be able to "turn it on" for the final 2 1/2 months, I think we are deluding ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have them make the wild card and will root like hell for it. But I just don't see it happening.

There's my cheery post, Happy Monday!


Sam said...

Is there a precedent for a player like Rickie Weeks? Have there been players who have committed a horrendous amount of errors and then, slowly but surely, become good defenders? Seems as if you have to be a good defender or at least have those instincts early on, and Rickie doesn't seem like he has those. I worry about his future.


Cheesehead Craig said...

Rickie may get better, maybe something will click with him. However, given his overall speed and cannon arm, a move to the outfield a la Soriano is not out of the question.