The 2012 Milwaukee Brewers are off to a start that has surprised many. Pitching has not been as good as expected, but not as bad as some think. The offense, on the other hand, is trying to find a rhythm, and simply has not found it. Remember Brewers fans that the team wasn't exactly lighting things up early in 2011, yet recovered to win 96 games. Many things happen throughout a 162 game season. Slumps, trades, injuries, etc.. Most of them are unpredictable, and some are educated guesses. Brewers GM Doug Melvin often times refers to "162 games in 180 days", and I agree that 6 months of baseball brings change. Let’s look into a crystal ball to see if we can project some "surprises".
DON'T BE SURPRISED IF...
-Carlos Gomez, Nyjer Morgan, or Logan Schafer is traded this season. With the team signing Aoke to a 2 year deal, one of the centerfielders 'could' be expendable.
-Relievers are used in abundance. Keep in mind that Mark Defelice, Brandon Kintzler,
Frankie De la Cruz, Sergio Mitre, Mitch Stetter, Michael Fiers, Cody Scarpetta, Sean Green, and Danny Ray Herrera were all used in 2011. By the looks of Manny Parra, Tim Dillard, and the injury to Narveson, there could be a revolving door of relievers. Mike McClendon has already made his presence known, along with Willie Perralta.
-Shawn Marcum is signed to a 3-4 year deal. With the high ticket contract of Matt Cain, are the Brewers going to 'pony up' for Zack Greinke? Probably not, so Marcum looks like a candidate for a deal. Potentially the team could lose Greinke, Wolf, Marcum, and Narveson to injury heading into 2013. The team may 'cover themselves' with a contract to Marcum despite his struggles late in 2011.
-Both GM Doug Melvin and Manager Ron Roenicke are singed to 'healthy' contracts. This may not be that impressive to predict, since the talks for both, had come up during spring training. The organization seems as healthy as it has ever been under these two guys.
-A trade deadline move is made. With the uncertainty of the rotation for next year, does the team consider this year as another year to 'go for it'? Probably. However, if by chance the crew is not contending, they could make a move for other reasons.
-The Brewers have only 1 representative in this year’s All-Star Game. With Ryan Braun’s off season issues, he may not be that 'automatic' selection. Who might be that selection? Greinke? Yo? Weeks again? Possibly, but no guarantees.
-The Brewers actually get fed up with their players being hit by pitches. This may clear some benches by the end of the year...with multiple teams.
--Prince Fielder speaks candid regarding his stay in Milwaukee. There have been some comments regarding leadership and clubhouse attitude. Prince was not mentioned by name in some of these comments, but some have read between the lines" and have come up with an assumption. Prince "may" have some words on the issue.
-Aoki becomes the starting centerfielder, and bats lead-off. Some have already discussed this as an option, and 'if' the offense does not step it up soon, why not try it, with Weeks moving to the #2 position?
--Sparky does something to 'shake up the team'. Perhaps another 'sleep strike', hair color or cut, or anything that Ramie and I laugh at. Could happen. He might even drag me into these shenanigans.
When reading these bullet points, insert "Don't be surprised if" prior to each point. Many things occur throughout a season. Let’s look back on these to see if one or more is on the Mark. Smile Milwaukee, the world will smile back. See you on the air.
The 2012 Milwaukee Brewers season is finally here, FINALLY. All those cold winter nights...snow storms...sub zero weather...you know how it goes in the upper midwest. Enjoy, the crew is back. Sparky, Ramie Mahklouf, and myself...ready for our 7th year of the Post Game Show. Can you believe it has been 7 years? Back in October of 2005 I was hired by WSSP radio. I was getting back into sports talk radio from the music formats on the FM, and Sparky , myself, and the Program Director met with this idea of a Brewers Post Game Show. I knew it would work, Sparky knew it would work, but the trick was to 'sell' it to the boss. It was a tough sell, but I was granted the opportunity to give it a try. "I don't think you have a snowballs chance of making this thing work, but go ahead" was the response. Well, the phrasing may have been just a touch different, but I need to keep this clean. I used that motivation to do the absolute BEST that I could do. The show is, and has ALWAYS been driven by passion.
It has come to my attention, that some believe the Brewers success has driven the show. That is simply not true. Although I appreciate the fact that it helps, it is NOT the reason our show has been tremendously successful. Sparky and I have known each other since 1994, and in theory, have been doing this show since. Not on a radio stations signal, but over a phone line. In those years we would call each other, after each game, to discuss, gripe, celebrate, etc. We react as fans, then broadcasters. My job is to make sure we talk about what Brewers fans are talking about. What fans are feeling, are the same types of things that we feel. We get upset when Jeff Suppan gives up another game. We celebrated when Ned or Ken was let go. All of these things make the show fun, as well as informative. Other stations are currently trying to do what we do, and does it work? I think that is up to the fans that live in Milwaukee and surrounding areas. I'm a fan first, THEN a broadcaster. I can't wait to talk to you guys this year, and years to come. Now, let’s get to baseball, and what I'm watching for early this year:
Offense: No Prince, but is there enough to cover? There should be. With Ramirez and Gamel you have some foundation of numbers. How high will the numbers be is the key.
Starting Pitching: Can the crew repeat what their starters did in 2011? The talent is certainly there, and they have definitely proven that they CAN do it. Manager Ron Roenicke has determined that getting 'deeper' into games, getting 'length', is a big key to championship type teams. Having essentially three starters in contract years may help too.
Bullpen: Getting that afore mentioned 'length' has been key to the Brewers success in the bullpen. Remember when the plan, and I talked about this on the Post Game Show, was hoping Jeff Suppan or Dave Bush could eventually get 2-3 additional outs per start? It is the key to having a fresh bullpen. When Roenicke has to "get some relievers some work" THAT is a good sign. The back end is set with K Rod and Ax, but what gets the crew to them? Jose Veras was acquired in the Casey McGehee trade and not many people knew much about him. While everybody else didn’t know much, I celebrated while looking at his numbers. Get to know Jose Veras, you'll see a lot of him. The 5th and 6th innings are the question marks. If and when a starter has that short start, who bridges the gap? Loe? Parra? Dillard? The Brewers NEED 2 of the 3 to have good years. However, let’s make no mistake about it there will be additional relievers this year. It should be fun to watch.
Bench: Aoki, Morgan/Gomez, Ishikawa, and Izturis. Key here is, who is the main 'go to guy' off the bench? It wouldn't surprise me if Melvin makes a move to improve this area too.
I look forward to my 7th season on the show, and know this--If there is EVER a time to talk to Sparky, Ramie or myself don't hesitate to contact us...ON OR OFF THE AIR. We are baseball/Brewer fans just like you. I'm smiling, and I'm sure the world and Milwaukee is smiling back. It's time to PLAY BALL!!