Though I’ll continue to remind people about how early it is in the baseball season, the Milwaukee Brewers‘ offense had the worst showing in franchise history.
The 2014 club posted the fewest runs in the first three contests in Brewers’ history, scoring just four times against the Atlanta Braves while being shut out in the third game. This year’s three-game open beat out the 1970 and 1977 squad,s which each tallied five runs and included a shutout.
Despite the struggles at Miller Park, there’s really no reason to be concerned about this offense going forward. The biggest issue may be Ryan Braun‘s thumb, which apparently continues to give him problems. It’s the same injury that caused him to miss a chunk of the 2013 campaign before his suspension.
Braun’s 1-for-11 start certainly limited the Crew’s ability to score, though he hit a number of balls hard, only to be robbed of base hits.
Jean Segura also opened slowly, perhaps due to his limited time seeing MLB pitching in spring. Because of his sore shoulder, Segura was held out of MLB games, instead getting at-bats against minor leaguers. It’s possible the shoulder also gave him trouble swinging the bat in going 0-for-7 in his first contests.
Throw in Khris Davis‘ over-anxious 0-for-8 beginning to the season and the musical chairs at first and second base, and you can see why Milwaukee failed to get into a rhythm offensively. That will change.
This team will start scoring in bunches sooner than later. The lineup has too much power and speed to be held down for too long. Pitching is often ahead of hitting in the regular season, especially when the offense is mostly a free-swinging, impatient club like the Brewers. The over-aggressiveness works against those types of hitters the most.
Facing a herky-jerky lefty in Alex Wood was also a poor matchup for the Crew in Game 2. His awkward delivery and offspeed stuff kept the Brewers’ big swings off-balance all night. In Game 3, well, there’s no excuse for getting shut out by Aaron Harang, so we’ll chalk that up to “one of those games.”
Regardless, the offense will correct itself if Ron Roenicke is patient with guys like Davis and Mark Reynolds. If Braun’s thumb continues to limit his effectiveness that, will clearly affect the production, so that may be the biggest storyline. Not to mention, minus Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the Braves’ series — a fluky occurrence.
One other change would most likely help the Brewers put up some consistent offense, but we’ll see if it’s ever made.
Carlos Gomez needs to hit fifth in the order with Segura into the leadoff spot and Jonathan Lucroy batting second. Gomez’s OBP at the top will hurt the middle of the order, while Lucroy gets on base at a much higher clip, takes pitches, and goes the other way to move others around.
As I write this, the Brewers have put up a pair of runs on the Boston Red Sox and Jake Peavy through three frames. Maybe a return to an AL style of play at Fenway Park will kick start an offensive barrage.