By and large Brewers fans have given up on the 2012 season. It's over they say. Sell they say. Rebuild they say. It's hard not to blame the people that say this. The Brewers currently sit at 40-45, eight games out of first place and six games behind the second Wild Card. A run at this point seems impossible, but as I've said before it isn't impossible only improbable. It's not over yet. Things are still very much up in the air.
And there are at least two people who agree with me on this. One of them is Ryan Braun who said that he thinks the Brewers are "right in this thing" and the other is Doug Melvin who will wait until these next nine games over before making any tough decisions. Some people might think that this is shortsighted or that Doug (or maybe even Mark) are thinking with their heart more than their head, but personally I like it. This isn't Katie and Tom's marriage, there is still time to turn this thing around.
Three teams ahead of the Brewers in the Central. They are all in the thick of playoff contention and the Brewers next nine games are against them. The team deserves a chance to prove itself against those teams. If they don't, sell. If they do? Well....
But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. We actually have to play the games and win them first. In my mind the absolute worst the Brewers can do in these next nine games is go 7-2 and even that might not be enough. 8-1 would be better and 9-0 would be phenomenal, but wishing for things like that is kind of like going to a bar and expecting to take a hot girl home. Sure, it's happened before (to someone who isn't me), but it isn't very likely and there is a good chance it will never ever happen to you in your entire life. This whole thing is a long shot at best. The Brewers best 9 game stretch of the season is 6-3 and that simply won't do. If they do that it is over. The odds of that don't look good, and there are websites that reports on odds and stuff like Pokerlistings and its easy to tell that those odds are not looking good. They need to play the absolute best baseball they will play all season right now and hope everything works out. I think they can do it and here's five reasons why I think you should too.
1. Ryan Braun MVP
The man. I'll let him tell you why you should have his back.
Hey, I'm Ryan Braun. I lead the NL in homeruns, am second in RBIs and have a .990 OPS that currently places me fifth. I could steal your girlfriend if I wanted to. I probably shoulda been the All-Star game MVP, but apparently the whole freakin' country is doing this thing where they pretend that Melky Cabrera is better than me for some reason. Maybe I should steal his girlfriend. I'm not ready to give up on this team yet so neither should you. In my career my OPS is like 30 points higher in the 2nd half so don't act like I won't get better. I always do. I'm Ryan Braun. You think I don't notice my name being left out of MVP talk? You think I can't carry this team? Bitch, try me.
2. John Axford saves
John Axford has blown 5 saves. If he was perfect the Brewers would be 5 games over .500. He's also entered like 50 games with the game tied and not all of those worked out either. It has been a rough first half for John Axford. What you need to understand though is that John Axford is not Dan Kolb (who the hell?) or Derrick Turnbow or Eric Gagne or Trevor Hoffman or any of the other former Brewers closers who lost it. John Axford isn't "losing it", animals don't hate him and he still has good stuff. He is a talented pitcher who has been put into a lot of high pressure situations and not always done awesome. In three of his blown saves he only had a one run lead to work with and then gave up only the tying run. Give him a two run lead in those games and his ERA is the same, but the Brewers are suddenly 43-42. There are other guys in the bullpen who are at fault for his blown saves too. He'll figure it out.
Seriously, who needed more rest than this team? The All-Star break was a godsend for a lot of these guys and hopefully they all benefit from it. The bullpen has pitched the second most innings of any team in the NL so you know those dudes arms needed the break. Plus, thanks to TLR "snubbing" Zack Greinke we get him on the mound right away again Friday. Believe me it's better this way. We need that win more than a stupid All-Star game jersey that says Kansas City on it. There are kids starving all over the world right now and even they think All-Star game jerseys are a waste of money.
4. A new and improved bullpen
Okay, so it's just Thornburg for Dillard, but still! That's huge. We can build on this!
5. Reinforcements are on the way?
I already mentioned Thornburg. Marcum and Lucroy can come back anytime now. (Seriously dudes, anytime.) But the big news is the arrival of Jeff Bianchi who, according to Ron Roenicke, can do a lot of things including bunt and the hit and run. So he's basically the best player ever in our manager's mind. He's also a shortstop so hopefully he gets hot and we don't have to see Cesar Izturis for awhile. Or ever again. Never again is good with me.
Plus, we play the Pirates and we always beat them at home. Right?
/looks at standings
Shit. It really isn't 2011 anymore is it?