Look, we're all unhappy. 10-15 is just not fun. Even if we do the whole "blame Trevor" thing the Brewers are still 13-12 and that's not a very good record either. It's better, but it's not satisfying and a lot of these losses have been supremely unsatisfying. I get tired of being Mr. Brightside all the time, but here is a few small silver linings to the start of the season.
5. The draft suddenly seems a whole lot more interesting.
We're about one month away from the MLB Amateur Draft and suddenly I care. Thanks to sucking last year we get to pick 14th! Who are we going to get? A lot of mock drafts see the Brewers going for a pitcher, but I've also heard the name Bryce Brentz. Who is Bryce Brentz? I don't know, but his name sounds cool and he might be a Brewer soon. Can't you just picture some little kid at Miller Park doing the Jr. PA announcer and saying "Now bwatting fow tha Bwewars Bwyce Bwentz!"? Yeah you can!
4. There is other stuff on.
The great thing about the Brewers slow start is that we don't have to watch it. We had the Bucks in the playoffs, the rest of the NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs, golf, the NFL Draft, all the good TV shows are still running new episodes and everything else. If the Brewers had their worst month of the season in July like last year that would suck because there is nothing on TV in July.
3. Every good team has a bad month.
This may be the crazy person in me talking, but every good team has at least one bad month in them. Check it out.
2009 NL champion Phillies: 11-15 in June
2009 NL Wild Card Rockies: 8-12 in April
2009 NL Central champion Cardinals: 12-17 in June
2008 NL Wild Card Brewers: 10-16 in September AND 13-16 in May
This could be our bad month, right? We could have a winning record for every month of the rest of the season. That's possible, right?
2. Regression to the mean!
I hate to all get stats-y here, but the pitchers have faced some bad luck. Check out these pitches xFIP (expected) vs. their actual ERA. In a perfect world these numbers would match up perfectly because they are a true judge of the quality of pitching by the pitchers.
Doug Davis: xFIP 3.89 ERA 8.87
Jeff Suppan: xFIP 4.19 ERA 8.16
LaTroy Hawkins: xFIP 3.09 ERA 6.97
Claudio Vargas: xFIP 3.66 ERA 6.97
Trevor Hoffman: xFIP 6.62 ERA 11.70
That's five out of 12 Brewers pitchers whose results have been worse than their pitching. This stuff has to even out right? Five pitchers regressing to the mean should be awesome! Shut outs! WOOHOO!
1. It makes the newspaper guys miserable.
Tom H and A-dub tag teamed to write some silly stuff this week. We'll start with Tom's genius work.
Exactly half of those 128 runs were scored in five games -- an 11-7 victory in Washington on April 18, a three-game sweep that followed in Pittsburgh in which the Brewers outscored the Pirates, 36-1, and a 17-3 victory over Pittsburgh at home on April 26.
That's 64 runs in five games, for an average of 12.8 runs per game.
But that means the Brewers scored only 64 runs in their other 20 games, which averages out to 3.2 runs per game. Not so hot. And, as you all know, they were shut out three times in San Diego during a four-game series while scoring two runs in the other game.
So, take away that five games of robust offense and you have a team struggling to score runs the rest of the time. Throw in a 5.08 team ERA and five late leads blown by the bullpen, and it's easy to see why the Brewers are struggling at 10-15.
And if you take away the Brewers ten wins they are an awful 0-15! TRADE PRINCE FIELDER!
Never one to be outdone, A-dub follows up:
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo was counted on to be the staff ace, and while he hasn't been that, he has easily been the most effective starter in the rotation.
So, the staff ace isn't the most effective starter in the rotation? What exactly is a staff ace then?
Davis was the other off-season pick-up, providing hope simply because he was new blood for a rotation that was among the league's worst last year. But Davis is a below-.500 pitcher with a 4.37 ERA, not a savior.
2009 NL average ERA was 4.19. Not sticking up for him because he's really sucked, but if he does the 4.37 ERA thing he is about average and a strong acquisition.
And Suppan? Well, it got so bad that Brewer Nation just about petitioned City Hall to make April 25 a Milwaukee holiday. That was the day Suppan was dropped from the rotation and shuttled to the bullpen.
That never happened.
A big reason for that is Prince Fielder isn't smashing yet. He is still feared and drawing walks accordingly to give himself a .368 on-base percentage, which is nice for the average human, but not Fielder.
He's struck out 25 times, has two home runs and hasn't hit double digits in runs batted in after having 17 the first month of last season. But Fielder traditionally starts slowly. For his career, in the first month of the season, he is hitting .271 with the second-fewest home runs (20).
So there are reasons to believe he'll turn around.
Are there reasons to believe he won't turn around? 26 year olds with a track record like Prince don't just stop being good one day. April is Prince's worst month statistically and that stats he uses totally ignore that. He has a worse batting average in August, but less home runs in July. That couldn't have anything to do with the fact that team's traditionally play less games in July though. How about next time you say "Prince traditionally starts slowly. His career OPS for April/March is .844, nearly 40 points below any other month and almost 80 below his career OPS." Or would that be too difficult for you to understand?
The Brewers have not had starting pitching, the bullpen and offense clicking at once and have rarely had two of the three in sync outside of playing in Pittsburgh.
It's not like Macha can send the entire rotation to the bullpen, keep Hoffman from throwing middle-middle pitches that go for homers or sit Fielder and Weeks. That would more than likely create chaos in the clubhouse.
The Brewers don't need that. They need better execution on the mound and plate.
TRADE PRINCE FIELDER!!