I am going to attempt to be smart. Bear with me, unless you're attractive then bare with me.
The Brewers currently have a run differential of 442 scored to 448 given up. Their record is 48-47 while their pythagorean record is 47-48. Their second and third order records (go to the link for explanation) have them being even worse at 45-50 and 44-51. With the Brewers being 4th in the National League in runs scored it's not hard to tell that this is completely the fault of the pitching which is also 4th in the National League, 4th to last. Their current average score of a game is 4.7 to 4.7. Even if the Brewers can maintain their offense and drop the pitching down to 4.1 per game (which is what the division leading Cardinals are currently doing) they would still finish around 83 wins. Things do not look good for the Brewers and a .500 record could very likely be a reality. Here is a graph.
Projected win percentage
Now, that does not look good. However, this team won't look the same through the last 67 games as it did through the first 95. There will be changes. Already Felipe Lopez has stepped into the leadoff spot and he should be able to add a few runs to the team. If Bush comes back and rounds into form and Parra continues to be good Manny or if the team trades for a starter, they won't give up 4.7 runs the rest of the way. Ideally the rest of the way the team will average 5 runs per game and give up something like 3.5. Here's what that team would look like.
Projected win percentage
86 wins.Will that be enough? It could be. The NL Central isn't that strong (using this same formula the Cardinals finish 83.79-78-21) and at the very least that would put the Brewers in the discussion for the Wild Card. Add in some luck and who knows? The Brewers sure haven't had any this year.
I know the idea of scoring more and giving up over a full run less over the rest of the season can be a tough pill to swallow, but the past is the past. It doesn't matter how they got here, it matters what they do from this day forward. ZiPs Rest of the season projections are favorable for Parra, Bush, Villanueva and whoever isn't Mike Burns on the pitching side and JJ Hardy, Corey Hart, Jason Kendall and even Ryan Braun on the hitting side. Say what you want about the Brewers this season, but as a whole they have underachieved a bit and should expect to be better from here on out. How much better? That is the question.
Part one was a bit more by the book and with part two we had a bit more fun. If you aren't already doing so check out Right Field Bleachers, it's a lot like this site only with more writers, more photshopping and less pretend conversations. Good stuff.
MPD: Congratulations on making me gag myself. Once with the clam chowder analogy and a second time at the thought of Vicente Padilla in a Brewers uniform (hang on.... yep, this one just made me gag a third time). I think we're all at the point now where we are getting antsy for the Brewers to do something. Earlier in the season Melvin was quote as saying he wasn't sure if he needed a bat or a pitcher and I think it has become painfully clear to anyone with even the slightest of baseball knowledge (Tom Haudricourt comes to mind) what the team needs. We're well past the point of wondering if this team will make a move and now we are forced to sit and wait for it to happen. We've actually been (seemingly) waiting so long that it's gotten to the point where people are wondering if they might actually need two starting pitchers. I'm all about waiting for the right deal/player/trade, but come on already. People are dying out there!
You mentioned that you wouldn't mind seeing Corey Hart leaving in a trade and my kneejerk reaction is to say "well, who would replace him?" (Catalanatto is probably a better hitter, but a HUGE defensive dropoff. Gerut is the opposite.) At the same time the two easiest positions to fill on the field are first base and corner outfield. There are lots of bats out there that could step in and do close to what he's doing so I could almost see it. Almost. I'm just not convinced the team is ready to give up on him yet (which is weird considering all the grief he gave them in arbitration.) Does his popularity have anything to do with it? I don't know, but the more I think about Corey Hart, the more he reminds me of Jeff Francouer of the Braves. No great batting eye to speak of. Power to spare. Perpetually underachieving. Short flashes of brilliance. Ends up league average or worse. Hart is older, but he's like Francouer in that he was a lot better two years ago. Hart's improved his walk rate quite a bit this year (which could easily come back to Earth), but so did his strikeout rate went up too and it's come at the cost of some power (which could easily not come back to Earth). I am not sure if he's ever going to be much better than he was in 2007 and considering his first half of 2008 was likely a serious outlier, maybe dangling him out there is the right move. If the team can get some value for him now, why not? Sure, a few thousand female fans would be upset but they had to have figured out he wasn't really attractive at some point right? I don't know if Corey Hart gets you Ian Snell of the Pirates or Erik Bedard of the Mariners. I really just don't know, but I'd like to see Doug try and figure that out. I suspect even the Moustache hates hearing that at-bat music three times a game.
Forget Hart for a second though, let's talk about another can't miss Brewer: Mat Gamel. He only spells his name with one T so you know he's bad ass. I understand (and love) that Casey McGehee has been playing out of his mind for the past month, but can this dude get more than one start in a week? He's shown flashes and in my arm-chair-scout-who-has-no-idea-what-he's-talking-about opinion his at-bats have improved since he first came up quite a bit. He deserves an honest shot out there before they switch McGehee into virtually full time 3B mode. Give him two weeks of starts, then we'll talk. It's all I ask really because I think Gamel could be one of the next great Brewers and he should be out there playing. Or if the team sends him down, it should be to practice right field in preparation for him finishing the season there. Where do you stand on the send him down/keep him up argument and where do you see him going in the future as a Brewer? Continue reading »
Big League Stew currently has a poll up on their website asking if the current National League Central race is good for baseball. Thus far 345 people have answered with a whopping 89% saying that "Sure, why not?" it is good for baseball. To which I say, WELL DUH.
Look, let's come at this from the prespective that I am not a Brewers fan. Let's just say I am a mild mannered baseball fan from somewhere in Nebraska. I don't really have any allegiances because my parents hated me and raised me in Nebraska. I am too stupid to move anywhere cool because I went to school in Nebraska and only know that corn is real good for you. I do like to watch the baseball. The stars of the game are what draw me to it. Albert Pujols! Ryan Braun! Prince Fielder! Lance Berkman! Someone from the Cubs! You know what I would love to see these stars do? Make the playoffs! My enjoyment of baseball is built around my enjoyment of watching these superior athletes compete and what better way to see them than in the heat of a playoff race? Sure, they might only end up with a win total in the mid 80s but if we've learned anything over the past few years anything can happen in the playoffs. I don't care about the Cardinals or the Brewers, I care about Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun. Let me see the stars shine, that's why the Wild Card works. That's why division realignment works.
Let's look at it from the prospective of Major League Baseball and TV Networks. Playoff race=ratings. Makes sense to me.
Okay, now I am a Brewers fan. OF COURSE THIS IS A GOOD THING ARE YOU FREAKIN CRAZY?! WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS TWO YEARS IN A ROW!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES THAT HAS HAPPENED IN OUR HISTORY?! ZERO!!!!11 NEVER BEFORE AND YOU ARE ACTING LIKE ITS A BAD THIGN?! (OKAY ONCE BUT IT DOESNT REALLY COUNT BECAUSE IT WAS THAT STRIKE YEAR, BUT STILL!!!!!) 82!!!!! WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS TWO YEARS IN A ROW AND DEFEAT OUR HATED RIVALS DOING IT! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!1 HALLADAY! HALLADAY! HALLADAY!
To Brewers fans, playing as poorly as they have and still being in the race, is great for us. But you aren't a Brewers fan 'Duk, you're a Cubs fan and you are exactly right. This IS bad for you. The last two years have hurt and I feel bad for you, I really do. You don't want your team to make the playoffs again this year because this year's team is a lot worse than last year's team and you're not sure you can handle that kind of thing again. What could be worse than that is making a late run, only to fall a game behind. Or losing a tiebreaker. That would suck. As a Cubs fan you desperately want someone to run away with this division so you don't have to worry about what might happen if they actually do this thing. And I don't blame you one bit. As for the rest of us? A tight NL Central is great.
Well after the success of the last Miller Park Drunk E-Mail Show starring Al's Ramblings we decided to do another one with Jared and Tyler from Right Field Bleachers. They have really been doing some good stuff lately with the Halladay trade and have really come into their own since they decided to just write about whatever they wanted instead of other people's opinions. This one didn't go off as smoothly as we'd have liked and it took us kind of a long time to complete, but we had a pretty good rapport and we churned out some good stuff. Some of this may seem dated now as we started this before the All-Star Break, but I stil think you will find it enjoyable.We start off talking about if that last stretch decides the season and the team was one or two games out and now they are still two games out. So I guess it's relevant (and I guess it didn't).
Miller Park Drunk: Okay guys, let's get this thing started. As I write this the Brewers are playing the Twins and they aren't looking very good. There are people out there who think the team is donezo and really you can't completely blame them. A big part of this team's success this season was dependent on Manny Parra and Dave Bush pitching competently on now we are without both of those guys. This is one of the toughest stretches of the season for the team right now. After our hated rival Twins leave town, the current Wild Card leader with one of the best pitching staffs in the majors comes to town, followed by the Mets (who thankfully are beat up), then we go to Chicago who are just starting to heat up, division leading Cardinals and end up with the best team in baseball the Dodgers. If the Brewers go around .500 over this stretch it's not the end of the season (afterall, we still get to play the Natinals, Pirates and Padres), but it would seem the team needs to do well. I think this team will be in the hunt for the playoffs up to the very end, but even I have my doubts (and I'm drunk half the time.) There are arguments to be made that the pitching staff is broken and can't be fixed or that the team played over it's head early (coughWeekscough) or any number of things. Where do you guys see the team going from here? Is this really the stretch that decides the season? Continue reading »