The Milwaukee Brewers have a three-game losing streak, have taken three-series losses in a row and are six games out of first place in the National League Central division. They must find a solution quickly and turn things around before the season ends months ahead of schedule.
Milwaukee has the capability to win games and they have enough talent on their roster to successfully defend their NL Central title. Unfortunately, injuries are beginning to plague the team with three players (pitcher Chris Narveson, first baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alex Gonzalez) already done for the season. Players that were supposed to help MVP Ryan Braun carry the offense (Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks) have either already cooled off or never took off in the first place.
The pitching, something that is supposed to be the strength of the team, has become the biggest weakness. Yes, the offense is stagnant at times (Braun scoring Milwaukee’s only run, a solo shot, against the Cincinnati Reds) but the pitching has lost far more games this season. The relievers have been borderline horrendous and the starting pitching has not been much better. When “ace” Yovani Gallardo is only able to go three innings twice against division rival St. Louis Cardinals that is not a good sign.
What is the Brewers biggest flaw this season? It is consistency. This team is the most inconsistent ball club I have ever witnessed. They are incapable of hitting on all cylinders in the same game. The starting pitcher will give up two runs over seven innings but the offense can only score one run. Even worse, the starting pitcher will take a lead into the seventh inning but the bullpen will blow it before closer John Axford even has a shot at saving the game.
Who is at fault for this? Well, everyone. Who is going to take the blame? The coaching staff will and rightfully so. It has to start at the top. General manager Doug Melvin did all he could to put a competitive team out on the field. Statistically, Ramirez is not far behind Prince Fielder and was the best option outside of Carlos Beltran to get the job done. Ramirez is historically a slow starter but even he will admit this is ridiculous.
Manager Ron Roenicke must figure out a way to motivate his players and hitting coach Johnny Narron has got to get the Brewers swinging the bats again. It is one thing to hit home runs, something Milwaukee has been able to do for years, but it is another thing to hit for average and manufacture runs. The Brewers are tied for fourth in the NL in homers (34) but they are second-to-last in team batting average (.227).
The good news is this: Milwaukee is currently 12-17 this season, but if you look back exactly a year ago today they were 14-20. That team went on to win a franchise-best 96 games. Yes, the Brewers are without Fielder and they were without Zack Greinke this time last year; however, Milwaukee statistically has what it takes to win. They still have seven All-Stars on the team and their pitching has potential to be dominating. The offense will eventually break out of their slump and start hitting again. It is not like this team was never good or does not have the talent on the roster to be great.
The Brewers know their good, which is why it is frustrating for them to constantly lose games. Once certain players step up and break out of their personal funk the team will get better. However, if they do not reel it in quickly the Brewers will be forced to play the rest of the season under pressure, in which it will be difficult to put together wins.