There have been contending teams that have gone out West in the season's final weeks and have come back buried.. Its where pennant hopes sometimes die. I remember one of my first year's covering the Brewers, in 1983, they left in late August, a half game out of first place,lost nearly every game on the trip. They were an afterthought when they returned to Milwaukee..
The Brewers start a nine game road trip tonight in San Diego. They cannot afford any 2 and 7 trip by the time they return home on September 4. They seem like a resilient team and have been able to fend off any challengers. They have survived injuries and a mid season seven game losing skid to find themselves still in control of the division. In some ways, they have been surprising that they haven't relinguished the lead yet.. Im hoping it stays that way thru these next nine games..
If the Brewers are going to go on and win the NL Central,they might be able to look back at the quality starts they received from Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers. Neither was counted on this year but the Marco Estrada switch to Nelson and Fiers for the injured Matt Garza have proven to be huge for the team. Both Fiers and Nelson were putting up big numbers at Triple A and thus far,they have been a boost to an already solid starting rotation.
We will see Fiers again tonight against Toronto at Miller Park. Im not hanging my hat on the Fiers train just yet and don't expect him to pitch at the extreme level that he is at,but his two outings thus far,could be two wins the Brewers could look back on, if they win the division. Just hoping Fiers is able to keep holding the fort down if and when Garza returns.
My co-host Mike Wickett and I will probably never agree on Ryan Braun's season. Its been a subject we are both at odds over with no end in sight. I expect so much more from Braun because of his talent level. Braun is having a subpar season by his standards. No longer is he driving the ball with authority and most times looks ordinary at the plate. His plate discipline seems to have slipped too. Again ,he maybe bothered by multiple injuries,then if thats the case, he's doing his best to be a productive player. But if he is healthy, hopefully, for the Brewers sake, this isnt the Ryan Braun we will see for years to come. That simply will be wasted big time money by the Brewers ,on his contract extention, which pays him like a bonafide All Star.
As I went to get my mail yesterday afternoon, my phone buzzed with a news alert Usually they are sports related. I was sad to reach into my pocket only to see the breaking news that Robin Williams had died at the age of 63. Only to find further the cause of death. I was standing in the street stunned by the news.
Obviously,I don't know Robin at all but a little piece of me sunk at the news. I hated hearing the news. Im not "movie guy" but Good Morning Vietnam is one that I could never get tired of watching.. He was much more than that movie but it was a movie that all radio people can relate to. Anyone in their 40s or older,can relate to the comedians of our time, Richard Pryor,Steve Martin, and Robin, the stand up greats of the late 70's..He had more to give to the entertainment buisness its just sad he couldnt be helped.
Just finished our four hour morning show, and I would say more than half of the callers,were critical of Ron Roenicke and his managerial skills. This amazes me. How Roenicke takes this much heat,more so than last year, when the Brewers were out of any contention by Memorial Day. They are in first place,and have thus far,held off the three teams that are breathing heavily on them.
Roenicke would be the "National League Manager of the Year" , if the season were to end today. This was a big year for Roenicke and he has responded with a likely winning season despite injuries and having to mix and match his lineups nearly daily in the last several weeks. Every coach or manager in every sport makes bad decisions. Roenicke isnt deserving any of the major criticism he attracts this season.
Im glad this whole drama is over. What took so long? Why so many calls between the Packers and Brett Favre to get his jersey retired.....and his wife getting involved.. Really? Favre buried alot of myths yesterday even if he fully didnt believe everything he said. Favre said all the politically correct things and fully realized his legacy to one of the country's iconic franchises. He brought many great moments and pleasure to many of us on Sunday afternoons. Buisness was buisness in 2008 and I understood both sides. The connection between the Packers and Favre,at least on the surface, has been reconnected.Its finally time to move forward.
I told Mike Wickett this morning that it feels like the walls are caving in. The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are closing in on the Milwaukee Brewers,who are battling injuries to their middle infielders, a few starters and a bullpen that is leaking in the middle relief. It gets no easier having to face the likes of Lincecum, Beckett, Greinke and Kershaw in the next week at Miller Park.
If Matt Garza has to miss a start, or worse,go on the disabled list, it would be the team's biggest blow. Garza has been "vintage 2008". Argubly,their best starter among a group that has been outstanding.
The three teams behind them in them in standings have been bearing down heavily in last month,hopefully the Brewers can find a few things to keep fending them off..
Garza Instrumental to Brewers’ Success Moving Forward by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Has Matt Garza finally figured it all out?
The big offseason acquisition for the Brewers has had his struggles so far in 2014, searching to iron out his mechanics and become the dominant starter that the team shelled out big bucks for. Statistically speaking, Garza is having the worst season of his career since he was a rookie with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. But Garza shut down those very Twins on Monday night, pitching six and one-third scoreless innings against the team that drafted him, and lowering his season ERA to 4.42.
The Brewers signed Garza last offseason to a four-year $50 million contract, in the hopes of bolstering their starting rotation to the point of true contender status in the NL Central. And so far the pitching staff has been a major strength on this club, though Garza has the highest starter’s ERA on the team. The problem for Garza has typically been trouble with his command early on, leading to a problem inning or two that run his pitch count up and balloon his ERA along with it.
But Garza’s start Monday against the Twins was indicative of a pitcher who has started to find his groove on the mound.
“I felt great,” Garza said after his first scoreless outing of the season. “My mechanics are right where I want them to be.”
Garza had all of his pitches working on Monday. He was able to keep Twins hitters guessing by mixing in his slider and curveball for strikes, and kept his pitches down in the strike zone. If he continues with an increased level of effectiveness over the grueling summer months to come, it’s big time trouble for the rest of the NL Central.
Three of the five Brewer starting pitchers are already pitching highly effectively, and Marco Estrada has been more than serviceable as a fifth starter. If Garza is finding his stride, that’s four front end starters that the Brewers are trotting out on a regular basis. Combine that with a bullpen that continues to shatter expectations (Will Smith- wow) and the Brewer pitching staff is a formidable one at the top of the NL Central.
I dont know how they keep winning.. Overbay in the cleanup spot one day, Gennent in the three hole..An MVP spending time on the disabled list. The cleanup hitter headed for a DL stint. Players asked to play out of position. Bench players asked to play every day roles..Triple A callups asked to play major roles..Just examples of hurdles the Brewers have been able to overcome thus far.
Still the Brewers keep winning and remain one of the top teams in MLB.The ongoing adjustable lineup keeps putting up enough offense so the starting pitching can carry the way. How much longer can the starters keep grinding out quality start,one after another?.. The pitching has bailed out the inept offense one game after another. I don't know how they keep winning. No one in the division right now seems to be able to make their move while the Brewers stay double digits over the 500 mark. How long will this last?
With the Brewers off to a 22-11 start in 2014, not a whole lot has been made of Ryan Braun’s nagging injuries and his subsequent absence from the lineup. But with the recent struggles the offense has had since their biggest slugger was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain, it’s time to take a closer look.
Ryan Braun will have missed 16 games this season once he is eligible to return from the DL on May 12. That means he will miss a minimum of 16 games through the first two months of the season, and even more if he isn’t healthy enough to play in the 18 remaining games for the Brewers this month.
Historically, Braun has missed his share of games with nagging injuries, especially trouble with his thumb. But in his six full seasons in Milwaukee, Braun has missed 12 games total in the first two months of a season. That means in 2014 he will miss at least four more games than he has missed in his whole career in April and May. That’s troubling.
Braun said in a statement following the announcement of his season-ending suspension last year:
“During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.”
If Braun was indeed using a banned substance to battle injury, it’s certainly possible that he used it for some time prior to 2011, evading repercussions from MLB. Now that he has received a suspension for his “cream and a lozenge” usage, those medications are no longer available to him (unless he plans on being suspended for 100 games.)
The Brewers need Braun in their lineup. In the 22 games he has appeared in this season, the team is scoring 4.1 runs per game. In the eight games he has missed since April 27 (coming into last night versus Arizona), they are scoring just 2.9 runs per game. A big part of the offensive lull has to do with the struggles of Aramis Ramirez lately, but Braun’s absence in the lineup is more than slightly problematic.
The biggest concern with his injuries is that they are wide-ranging. We’re a little over a month into the season, and Braun has already been dealing with an oblique strain, an intercostal strain, and a sore thumb. It’s not as if there’s one specific injury to treat and heal. He has been nicked up in a variety of ways already. Perhaps I’m wrong, but given his time missed already, it doesn’t seem that Braun is going to be the picture of good health any time this season.
Just how many games he will miss is going to be the key. The Brewers can deal with Braun missing 25 to 30 games this year if it means he is healthy for the stretch run, as long as the pitching holds up. But anything more than that, and we’re entering the danger zone.