Has he no shame?!
Now that we’ve fixed the Madison school board and city government, time for Blaska’s faith healers to make a house call at Miller Park. (One call, that’s all.) What is wrong with Our Milwaukee Brewers?
After getting within one game of the World Series last season, it appeared that The Brew Crew was well on its way this year, as well. On June 9 they were 10 games above .500 with a 38-28 record and in first place in the Central Division. Today they are one game above break-even at 48-47 and in third place in a highly competitive division. They’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games, including 3 of 4 at home!
Can’t nobody here throw that ball?
It is indisputable that the Brewers need better pitching. Not more pitching, but better pitching.
The team’s 4.66 ERA after last night’s 4-2 loss to the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves is a full run worse than the 3.65 ERA a year ago at this time. Only Pittsburgh at 5.03 has a worse ERA in the Central Division.
Starting or relief, we need help on the mound. Josh Hader can’t do it all. Our ace, Zach Davies, would be third in the rotation of most pennant contenders. Frankly, Jeremy Jeffress has been blowing leads since that last game in 2018. Rent a player if you got to but get help sooner rather than later.
Oddly enough, the starting pitching hasn’t been all that terrible. (Faint praise?) But Adrian Houser is NOT the answer as a starter. Madison Bumgarner off the Giants roster would be a dream come true. But any pitching will help.
One fan site is jonesing for Toronto reliever Ken Giles, ERA of 1.45. The Blue Jays aren’t going anywhere this year. The Giants’ Will Smith is another possibility. The fan site we referenced says the Brewers’ bullpen has been the fifth worst in the 15-team National League with a 5.07 ERA. Last season, the Crew has the second best bullpen in the NL. We miss Corey Knebel.
A little more production
And a little less conversation. Brewers suck at playing station-to station-baseball. I’m not a big fan of bunting over a runner (unless it’s the pitcher at bat) because you’re giving up an out and you only get 27. Still, only five major league teams — American or National League — leave more runners on base than Milwaukee. The Crew is averaging 14.67 runners L.O.B. per game. Wasteful! The Red Sox are the most futile at 15.86. San Diego is the most efficient of the 30 teams, stranding 12.68 runners. Got to convert.
The Brewers lead the league in home runs but most of those home runs, it seems, are solo shots to start off an inning, as Ryan Braun’s was last night (07-15-19). Yelich leads the league in round-trippers with 32 and slugging percentage (tied with Cody Bellinger for both) and is in the top five in batting average at .332 — so why bat him second in the order? How many of his dingers are solo shots? Bat Keston Hirua second ahead of Yelich. Or even Eric Thames; his on-base percentage is second-highest on the team. The guy can take a base on balls.
Which leads to strike outs. Realize a home run hitting team is going to strike out but 9.5 per game is giving up one-third of your outs without putting the ball in play. Only one team in the league strikes out more (San Diego). (For comparison, the Angels are an MLB-best 6.92.) Hit the ball fair and good things can happen: an error in the field, a bloop hit. A runner advances. (O.K., so there’s the double play, as well.)
One last thing: commit to Jesus Aguilar at first base. He’s found his stroke.