While I am still not 100% committed to throwing in the towel on the 2009 Brewers season the fact remains that in order for the Brewers to make the playoffs this season will require a minor miracle. Not quite a water into wine type miracle, but something along the lines of the Brewers bullpen holding a lead, Jason Kendall getting an extra base hit or an awful writer not losing his job when the newspaper industry is going broke. The mere existence of Anthony Witrado gives our season hope.
Whatever happens this season know that this isn't the first time the Brewers have let fans down after a successful season. In 1982 they made the World Series and on August 25th 1983 they were in first place, but by the end of the season they were 11 games back and in a pre-Wild Card world out of the playoffs (not that they would have made it anyways). So if you are feeling let down by the Brewers now, just imagine what it was like in 1983. You know, besides totally awesome.
Or we could just do the imagining for you. That's right, it's Miller Park Drunk: 1983 Edition.
I was at the game on Wednesday and it was a good time. Yes, the Brewers lost. I know because I was there and I stayed for the whole thing. It wasn't a bad loss though. The team fought til the end and had a runner on third at the end of the ninth that would have tied the game. Cameron did his best to fight off the tough pitches, but he ended up popping out. It happens, it's baseball. The point is that I got to see the entire thing play out. I got to see Hoffman take down his former team easily in the ninth. I got to see Prince get a big hit. I got to see Escobar steal a big base in the ninth. I got to see it all and the reason I got to see it all wasn't because I had good seats or because I am Ryan Braun's favorite blogger. No, I got to see it all because, and you are not going to believe this, I STAYED FOR THE ENTIRE GAME!
I know, crazy right? I bought tickets to a baseball game and I actually stayed for the whole thing and watched it. Not because I am like this crazy obsessed baseball fan who needs a perfect scorecard, but because the team had a good chance to win and I wanted to see them do it! I KNOW!!! RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look, it's your money and you can do what you want with it. After a really exciting 7th inning when the team pulled within one I had the good feeling that they were going to be able to comeback and win the game. After the 8th, when the team didn't score I still hadn't given up hope. Apparently everyone else did because a ton of people left after the eighth inning. Why? I have no idea. To me there are only three reasons to leave a game and they are as follows: Continue reading →
The 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.
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.
Projected win percentage
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.
Projected win percentage
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.
If you haven't had the pleasure chance to see the JSOnline's user submitted Brewers fan photo gallery than you are REALLY missing out. I've invited my good friend Brewers Baby to help me comment on some of these photos.I should warn you, Brewers Baby can get a little vulgar at times. What can I say? He's a baby. He poops his pants and pees himself. Babies are stupid.
This is a good look for someone who wants to A) look like a douchebag, B) cook crystal meth, C) date strippers and D) get his f@%kin ass whooped if I ever see him.