The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Something’s Brewing, pt. 5

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The good news is that the Brewers have reached the mid-point of the season in a flat-footed tie with St. Louis for first place.  I can’t be too upset about that, especially given the dreadful low points they’ve twice reached this season when they’ve been on the verge of double-digit consecutive losses.  But I can be concerned about sundry other things that might be serious impediments as the season grinds on.

First, they can’t win on the road.  The Crew has by far the worst road record out of all contending teams.  A .500 road record is an excellent measure for a contending team, but Milwaukee is 13 games below that.  The best we can hope is for them to play .500 road ball from here on out and hope that any new-found mettle can help them if they make the playoffs.  If they do make the playoffs, lack of road savvy will be fatal.  Philadelphia or Atlanta could certainly win a game at Miller Park, which puts the burden on this team to be able to grab one back when needed.  I’m also concerned about the bullpen, which has given up its share of games so far this season.  If you can’t nail it down in the late innings, you’re going to be in for a lot of heartbreak as you try to wrap up the division or nail down a tight playoff game.  Bullpen woes are common, though.  The space you can exploit between the starter and the closer, where the weakest pitching is found, is a concern for everybody.  Hopefully the Brewers can find something reliable there (I did predict that John Axford would register 35 saves–  he’s already notched 23 from 25 chances; he could save 45 by the end of September).

Something I do like, though, is team speed.  Nyger Morgan, Carlos Gomez, and Rickie Weeks can tear up the base paths at any time.  Even Ryan Braun can get after it despite being so overlooked in that area.  This bodes well.  There’s a saying in baseball that speed never slumps, and there will be times late in the season and during the playoffs when a manufactured run will be crucial, so it’s good to see the Brewers are well-prepared for that eventuality.

Elsewhere around the division, my predictions have been hit-and-miss.  The Cardinals are playing far better than I thought they would (they even snared a piece of first place despite Albert Pujols being on the DL).  Nobody saw Pittsburgh coming, so I don’t feel too sheepish about missing that call.  Houston sucks, as predicted, and the Cubs are woeful.  But the Cubs have had a division’s worth of injuries.  They could still play respectable ball if they can get it together.  And as much pleasure as I’m taking in the Brewers, I’m getting almost equal pleasure from seeing Cincinnatti floundering.  They have all the talent in the world, but without a disciplined manager who can bring it all together, they might as well be playing AAA ball.  That team should be running away with the division, and they would if they were helmed by Tony LaRussa or Joe Girardi or Ron Gardenhire.  But they have Dusty Baker, the toothpick-chomping clown who keeps finding more and more ways to lose.

It’ll be fun to see what happens the second half of the season.  My biggest fear is that the NL central is going to continually thump each other, and no team is going to pull away.  If the Brewers want to play in the post-season, they’ll have to win the division, because Atlanta is running away with the wildcard.  If they do make the post-season, recent history is not on their side.  The NL Central is 1-15 in the playoffs since St. Louis won the World Series in 2006.

Written by seeker70

July 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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