We've reached the halfway point of the season (not really, but MLB likes to pretend that the All-Star Game is the midway point of the season so we're going to go with it) and the good news is the Milwaukee Brewers are currently tied for first place. The bad news is everything else. After years of hoping for success the Brewers are finally experiencing some and we've found there are a lot more problems at the top. It's just like the plot of every movie ever.
It's been a very strange first half of the season. There are so many things to be happy about (Prince, Braun, Weeks) and so many things to make you angry (Greinke, Yuni, McGehee, Greinke again, Yuni again, Greinke) that you end up looking at the day's boxscore and the result tells you how you feel about them. Outside of being busy (and lazy) (and drunk), the unpredictable nature of this season has limited my writing the most. I didn't know what to write.
There has been ups and downs, but the Brewers are in a good spot. They're in first place. (Hey, have I mentioned they're in first place!?) Let's take a look at how things stands at the end of the first half. You know, cover all the bases (see what I did there?) and just for fun we're going to do it "Best and Worst" style (without permission) like Brandon Stroud does at With Leather every Tuesday for WWE Raw.
Best: First place!
Remember that time the Brewers swept the Cardinals and we were all excited because they were in first place and ten games over .500 for the first time since 2009? That was pretty cool. It feels good that a month later we are still basically in the same spot, standings wise at least.
Worst: I thought we fixed the pitching.
Since that wonderful day the Brewers are 11-15 and the reason is they played the the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays in that stretch, basically. 2-7 against the American League Bam Bam Bigelows is one thing, the way the pitching performed over that stretch is another. In those 26 games Brewers pitchers allowed 5 or more in 17 of them and the other team averaged almost 6 runs per game. Not exactly a recipe for a championship.
ERA+ isn't perfect as a midseason statistic, but just for fun let's check out how the pitchers currently on the 25-man roster are doing.
(Remember with ERA+ 100 is average and anything greater is better, anything less is worse.)
Shaun Marcum 117
Randy Wolf 108
Yovani Gallardo 105
Chris Narveson 83
Zack Greinke 73
LaTroy Hawkins 370 (As we said, imperfect.)
John Axford 140
Takashi Saito 118
Kameron Loe 88
Marco Estrada 84
Zack Braddock 78
Suddenly it becomes clear why the Brewers just traded for K-Rod. They barely let Hawkins and Saito pitch two days in a row, much less two innings. Combined with Axford being a ninth inning exclusive (© RRR) and our best three relievers are one-inning and out. Kameron Loe has picked up almost all of the slack and has done his best, but it's clear he needs some help. Zack Braddock should be able to bring some if he learns how to set a f-ck:n alarm clock and K-Rod should handle the rest. Not worried about this in the second half.
As for the starters it's hard to know how to read these.
- Marcum has been almost exactly as advertised, that's good.
- Wolf is having a strong season, that's good.
- Narveson is right where you'd expect him (or most 5th starters) to be, that's good.
- Yovanni Gallardo is right about where he was last year, that's good. Although with Yo it always feel like he should be better. He's probably going to turn that corner any day now and become an ace. Or maybe he'll stay right where he's at and become the Mexican Randy Wolf.Hey, what gives this rotation isn't that bad? I'm really having trouble finding any fault in this thing...
What? Oh. Right.