There is a good chance the Milwaukee Brewers 2012 season is cursed. I mean, what other possible explanation is there for all of the injuries they have suffered lately? Was Miller Park built on an Indian burial ground and the lost souls are having their revenge? Did Ron Roenicke date a witch? Or maybe the Brewers left a crappy tip for their waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings and now the guy from the commercial (who has a crush on said waitress) is getting his revenge on the team? I've searched high and low for an answer to what is happening to this team right now, but I'm not having much luck finding an answer that makes sense.
To make matters worse they haven't been winning, going 3-7 over their last ten games. The losses haven't been pretty either. Shut out by Jeff Suppan. The Dillard game aka the first true "Fire Ron Roenicke" game of the season. Yesterday's homerun derby. Don't even get me started on the road trips to Atlanta and St. Louis. Its been crappy, no fun and the opposite of Batman.
But does that mean the Brewers are done? Are they doomed? Should they start selling their assets and building for the future? Is it time to give up? The answer to these questions and more is: No, are you frickin' kidding me? To prove my point here is ten reasons why you should relax:
10. It's Early.
At one point last season the Brewers were 14-20 and they won the NL Central. Now, that was a different team and situation (some players were coming back from injury), but that doesn't change the fact that last year's team got really, really hot and considering this team is basically the same there is no reason to believe that they can't do something similar again.
9. Weeks' .629 OPS and Ramirez's .623 OPS will not stay that way forever.
And if anyone tells you that it will they are a dummy dumb dumb.
Anytime there is a team with two of its best four hitters going through an extended period like this that team is going to struggle, but to think that this is the way we can expect them to hit going forward is ridiculous. There are years and years of data that prove that these two are much better than this and should be heating up soon. Especially Ramirez who has never hit well in April in his career. The fact that the Brewers are 7th in the NL in runs scored despite this is a very, very good sign.
8. While it sucks to lose Mat Gamel, Chris Narveson and Alex Gonzalez for the season it's really not that big of a deal.
Hey, I'm just as big of a Mat Gamel fan as anyone, but it's not like he was hitting the cover off the ball. He only had three extra base hits before going down and he wasn't exactly making anyone forget Prince Fielder. In fact, at the time he went down he was last on the Brewers in Wins Above Replacement. He (hopefully) wouldn't have hit like that forever, but maybe people should stop proclaiming the season to be over when we just lost (at best) our 6th best hitter at the easiest to replace position on the diamond.
Chris Narveson is the same story. It sucks, but at the same time he's the fifth starter. He's not impossible to replace and the Brewers might have already done it. I went to the game last night and Marco Estrada pitched six shutout innings! Jokes aside losing Chris Narveson is like losing Front Row Amy. Five or six people might miss him, but he can be easily replaced by another attention seeking woman with fake breasts.
Alex Gonzalez is a different story, but if the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers taught us anything it's that you can put anyone with a pulse in at shortstop and still have a good baseball team.
7. Taylor Green is free.
Isn't this what you've wanted all along? Make up your mind.
6. The schedule has not exactly been easy.
A look at the Brewers strength of schedule shows a .499 winning percentage, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. The Brewers have played some bad teams, but they've also played the first place Cardinals (twice), the first place Dodgers, the Wild Card leading Braves and then two teams who are expected to contend in the Giants and Reds. There are a lot of Cubs, Astros, Pirates, Royals, Twins and Padres games left to be played. Which is to say..
5. They've only played 18% of their games.
Did I say this before? I feel like I said this before.
4. The core is intact.
This ties in with the last one, but it still needs to be said. Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo are healthy. If the Brewers had lost one or more these people for the season it would be hard to replace them. They are the core of this team and the main reason I am not worried about the them going forward. As long as they are playing for the Brewers, the Brewers have a chance to win.
3. Mark Attanasio is not giving up.
Mark Attanasio is a billionaire. He owns the Milwaukee Brewers. He is part owner of the Milwaukee Admirals. He's thought of buying the Milwaukee Bucks just for fun (because there is no way that could ever be considered a good investment.) He graduated from Brown University and got his J.D. from Columbia Law School. By all accounts he is a very smart individual. He said this:
"Look, plenty of other teams have injuries, too. Not necessarily season-ending injuries, but we still have an enormously talented team that we all believe is going to start playing better. I'm still at the point where I'm looking at the lineups every day before the game, and I like our lineup better than the other team's, whatever the team."
So if Mark Attanasio, billionaire Ivy league graduate, isn't worried about the state of this team then neither should you. My boy is wicked smart.
2. The pitching will get better(?)
I mean, it has to right? For all the talk about how the team isn't hitting like they should it is the pitching that should shoulder all of the blame for the slow start. The team ERA of 4.92 is second worst in the NL, but it is the starter's ERA of 5.05 (!) that is most troublesome. Narveson and Estrada aside, the culprits for this high number are Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. A couple quick stats to show that their performances should perk up:
- Most of Randy Wolf's career stats are right around where they've always been. His walks are a little up, but his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is WAY up. In his career he's gave up a .286 average, but thus far he's giving up a .361 average. This should even out.
- The same can be said for Yovani Gallardo. His walks are also a bit up, but other than that he is mostly the same guy he's always been. Except for his BABIP which currently sits at .360 which has sent his opponent's batting average up to .296. Yovani has never had an opponent's batting average higher than .247 over a full season. Alright he will be.
- You're not going to believe this, but Zack Greinke's current BABIP is .369, a full 59 points higher than his career average.
So that's three guys, three really important guys, who should have the numbers start evening out in their favor anytime now. (How about now? Is now okay for you guys? Good.) There is no need to worry about them.
1. It's still really early.
Seriously. Girls aren't even wearing halter tops yet.