The Milwaukee Brewers had high hopes coming into the 2012 season, despite losing star slugger Prince Fielder to free agency. However, the dream of winning another division title quickly faded as inconsistency and the league’s worst bullpen resulted in many losses.
What many fans, like me, like to do in a down season is debate with non-Brewer followers on what Milwaukee’s record should be if injuries and terrible play did not put the team in the dumps. Fans of other teams have pointed out the reason for the horribleness is due to Fielder not being on the team. What they apparently do not know is Aramis Ramirez has held his own this year and has provided quality protection for Ryan Braun in the lineup, not to mention, he is as far away from the problem as one can get. One important factor in every debate is to have the correct statistics to back up the argument.
First off, the Brewers have scored 512 runs thus far this season and have allowed 519. That is a difference of seven runs, which for most teams would be equal to two to three games. Apparently, for Milwaukee that equals out to be a difference of nine games as the Brewers current record sits at a dismal 52-61. The starting rotation is responsible for 31 losses while the bullpen is credited for 30. Typically, the starting rotation of teams over .500 will have double the losses of the bullpen’s. The Brewers, on the other hand, are almost dead even, which is the main reason why they are nine games under.
Milwaukee’s 512 runs scored rank fifth in the National League while the 519 runs allowed also ranks fifth. One statistic is decently good and says the team should at least be contending while the other number says the Brewers should have a worse record then they currently have. The amazing part about the runs scored is that the offense has been incredibly inconsistent this season and at one point was taking the full blame for the team doing so terrible. Now, the bullpen is clearly the part of the team that deserves the heat and for good reason, as the numbers do not lie.
The Brewers are sixth in attendance in the NL with 2,064,491 fans currently accounted for. This means financially Milwaukee is not as small market of a team like the one they are considered to be because they draw more fans than 10 other teams in the same league. The Brewers have been able to field a competitive team the last few years in huge part because the fans come out to support the ball club. Milwaukee has had an attendance of over three million in three of the last four seasons.
The team’s payroll of $98,049,444 is the most in franchise history and ranks 10th in all of baseball for the 2012 season. Yes, the Brewers payroll is higher than 20 other teams and yet they will not make the postseason. That usually happens when the worst offensive player, pitcher, and reliever have three of the four highest salaries for this season. Rickie Weeks is making $11 million, Randy Wolf is making $9.5 million, and Francisco Rodriguez is banking $8 million. For Wolf and Rodriguez it could very well be the last paycheck they ever receive from a MLB team.
So, with all of these statistics in mind, what should Milwaukee’s record currently be? According to the team’s Pythagorean winning percentage, the Brewers should be 56-57. Unfortunately, with that record Milwaukee would still be fourth in the NL Central division and behind six teams for the final wild card spot. However, we all know there are plays in baseball that statistics do not account for or simply did not matter. With that being said, the record could bump up a few games.
With all of this being taken into account, it is safe to say it is not general manager Doug Melvin’s fault what the team’s record is nor is it manager Ron Roenicke’s. The players were the ones who did not come to work ready to play and lost confidence as the season wore on. A valuable lesson has been learned in Milwaukee and hopefully it will help aid future ball clubs.