12
Sep 11

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Milwaukee Brewers recent struggles

 

Apparently today was "everyone is freaking out about the Phillies series so Brewers bloggers write posts about how it's going to be okay" day  and if there is one thing I never want to miss out on it's a good "everything is going to be okay" post.

Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker tried to give everyone a little context today by looking at the Brewers record against their likely playoff opponents and even points out that, despite this weekend, the Brewers have a positive run differential in their season series against the Phillies. He also points out that the last time the Brewers played their most likely first round opponent, the Braves, they took three out of four games at Miller Park and that the team's record over 162 is more indicative of their talent than these games and those are all good points that give you something to think about, sure, but Moore stops short of admitting that this is a small sample size that says absolutely nothing about the Brewers' playoff fates.

The Brewers Bar took some time out this weekend to tell us that math was still on the Brewers side. This should seem obvious, but just seeing it on the page that the Cardinals would have to go 12-5 just to tie a 5-10 Brewers team puts a smile on my face. I'd give him more credit, but then he had to go and write this:

There's still a lot of baseball left to decide seeding, but there isn't enough left for the Brewers to realistically choke away a playoff appearance... even if it seems like they're trying.

(SMH!)

Thankfully we have Adam McCalvy to point out that any team facing Chris Carpenter, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee on consecutive days is going to struggle at the plate. He also points out that the Brewers don't play another winning team for the rest of the season, much less a team like the Phillies. Which is honestly all that really needs to be said about the weekend, but if you are one of the people who is worried about the Brewers let me ask you this. Continue reading →


28
Jul 09

Sitting Waiting Wishing: The Zen of Miller Park Drunk

zenchaThe Brewers should win today. We're playing the Pirates.

The Brewers should turn it around today.

The Brewers are going to make a move to get better.

The Brewers should win today. We're playing the Nationals.

The Brewers should be making a trade today.

And so on. It's starting to feel like all I do is wait on the Brewers. Since the All-Star break they are 4-7 despite playing only one team with a winning record. They are below .500 and four games behind the Cubs. The Cubs, people. I'm just about as easygoing when it comes to this team as a person can be. Suppan gives up 5 runs against the Pirates in 3.1 innings? That's okay, we'll score seven. I know it. Then we do and then we lose. Dave Bush isn't coming back? That's okay we'll go out and make a trade. Only we don't. We're 4-6 since the All-Star break and at .500? That's okay, the Nationals are coming to town. Then Josh Willingham hits two grand slams. And honestly, I got a bit shook for a moment. I actually said things like "if they don't win this game, it's over". I started to go through my tickets and tried to figure out if I could break even selling the rest of them. I was on the verge of giving up IN JULY which is so ridiculous and unlike me that I had to sit myself down and tell myself to relax. Then I gave myself two Ambien and called myself in the morning.

Look, I don't know what the team should do. Well, actually I do. They should put together a winning streak. Stay close. Win the next 5 games against the Nationals and Padres (or at least 4 of them). The August schedule is ridiculously easy. After the Dodgers, the best team they play is the Astros (despite the better record their run differential is terrible). Other than that it's the Pirates, Padres, Nationals and Reds. This is the time. Win these games. Then find out what you're made of in September when they play 13 games against the Cubs and Cardinals. That's when we'll know if this team can do it, but to get to that point they have to beat these easier teams. Stop making the Nationals and Pirates look like the Yankees and Red Sox. They have to have a good August. It's not over yet, despite what the record or the numbers might tell you. Looking at the schedule the Brewers should be favored in 27 of the next 30 games so anyone who says the Brewers should be sellers at the deadline clearly doesn't know how to read a schedule.

So I am not going to freak out. I am not going to say that the team needs to make a trade or get rid of this guy or that guy. I am not going to call for anyone's head. I am just going to continue to sit and wait and wish and things should even out so that they're ready to do something when September rolls around. That's when things matter and that's my advice to you dear fan. Relax. We still got a long way to go and the road to get there is pretty smooth all through August. Now if you'll excuse me I am going to drink a six pack and do some yoga.


24
Jul 09

Miller Park Drunk vs the Brewers Pythagorean record

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.

Games remaining 67

Scored Allowed
Current Runs 442 448
Projected Runs 314.9 274.7
Projected total 756.9 722.7
Projected win percentage 0.511
Projected Record 82.87 79.13

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.

Games remaining 67
Scored Allowed
Current Runs 442 448
Projected Runs 335 234.5
Projected total 777 682.5
Projected win percentage 0.532
Projected Record 86.24 75.76

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.

(All graphs use this pythagorean record formula.)

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