The Milwaukee Brewers are struggling and appear to be close to rock bottom. The question most fans want to know is, which is most to blame for the Brewers’ struggles this season?
Many Brewers fans want to put the blame on general manager Doug Melvin and the rest of the management team, but let’s be honest that simply is not fair. Melvin put together a solid squad with what he had. Milwaukee is not a big market team, therefore, they are not going to be able to acquire the big market players. There was no way to re-sign Prince Fielder, as the Brewers are not able to compete with $200 million contracts.
Melvin acquired solid players in Aramis Ramriez, Norichika Aoki, and Alex Gonzalez. He also gave the first base position to Mat Gamel, who was playing outstanding until his season-ending injury. Even Travis Ishikawa, another Melvin acquisition, was playing great until he was put on the disabled list. Melvin, and more importantly owner Mark Attanasio, are not to be blamed for Milwaukee’s on-field struggles.
If it were not for the several devastating injuries the Brewers have suffered already this season, who knows where the team would be in the standings. Every time a player appeared to be getting hot at the plate or playing great defense they would somehow find a way to land on the disabled list. For some players it is a few weeks and for three unfortunate players it is the entire season. It is hard to get around losing a starting pitcher, shortstop, and first basemen within the first month or two of the season.
Considering the massive injuries the Brewers have endured, they have been forced to play with minor league players. Half of the lineup would not even been in the majors if it were not for the injuries, therefore, it is hard to expect a team to win day in and day out. One of the exceptions to the rule is Martin Maldonado, who has been phenomenal since taking over the everyday catching duties for the injured Jonathan Lucroy. In fact, Maldonado has been playing so well that the Brewers will have to consider sending down George Kottaras when Lucroy comes back from the disabled list.
Another factor many fans are not even thinking of is the Brewers’ attitude. Several players appear to have already given up on the season, which is despicable considering there is plenty of time left to make a run at repeating as National League Central division champs.
Fans are quick to blame this on manager Ron Roenicke, but they would be mistaken in doing so. Roenicke has done everything he can to give Milwaukee every opportunity to win ball games. It is not his fault that players are not executing his bunt calls or running into outs on the base paths on 3-1 counts when they thought it was a 3-2 count. It is also not his fault that the bullpen is unable to keep leads when the starting pitching gives a solid outing, or the offense is unable to score one run in a 0-0 ball game.
The biggest problem the Brewers started out with was critical injuries that forced the team to limp into the first month and a half of the season. Now they must overcome a poor attitude and stop feeling sorry for themselves if they want to string some wins together. If they need any motivation at all then they should watch what Ryan Braun does on a daily basis. He clearly is not ready to give up on the season or the Brewers fan base.