By Pete Schwichtenberg @schwick26_pete on July 22, 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers are off to one of their best starts in franchise history. They have a lock down closer, a steady rotation, and a powerhouse lineup that has kept them on top of the National League Central through much of the first half. However, there are several changes that need to be made if they are going to be in the playoffs at season's end.
When the Brewers are going good, they are hitting home runs. With 97 homers through their first 100 games, the club is second in the entire National League. But when they are not hitting hitting the ball out of the park, they often do not score. Playoff clubs can often find ways to score runs without the benefit of a hit. This is an area the Brewers surely need to improve on if they hope to play October baseball.
Brewers hitters have often bailed out struggling opposing pitchers this season by swinging in obvious "take" situations. While they rank third in the league in batting average, they are just seventh in on-base percentage and 12th in the league in walks. A little patience could go a long way in building a more consistent offense.
There is a line between playing aggressive baseball and being just plain stupid on the bases, and the Brewers constantly straddle that line. Although they have speedy players like Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, the club is constantly running into outs on the bases, often with less than two outs. Games get tighter as the season winds down. If they are going to pull away with the division, they can't constantly be weighed down by fundamental errors.
In 2011, the Brewers dominated at Miller Park finishing the year with a 57-24 record. This season, the home ballpark has not been so friendly. Already the club has lost as many games at home as they did in all of 2011. With a home loaded portion of the schedule in the second half, they need to get back to controlling Miller Park.
The Brewers have owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, but have struggled mightily against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals this season. With 18 games remaining against these two rivals, including 12 in the final month of the season, the they need to find a way to turn their fortunes around.
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