Losers of four straight games and 12 of their last 19, the Milwaukee Brewers don’t seem like a team that’s 27-19 and leading the NL Central division. It’s getting hard to take them seriously, as the pitching has grown shoddy and the bats anemic. The St. Louis Cardinals are now only 2.5 games back and the Brew Crew is skating on thin ice to maintain its lead, with an increasingly fractured pitching staff and a lineup that resembles the softball team I played on last summer (read: not good). The Brewers have scored a total of five runs in the last four games, getting shut out twice. Gnarly.
The worst part about the recent brown streak for the Brewers is just how unwatchable it’s been. I wouldn’t prefer blown saves or one-run losses or any of that malarkey, but the inept offense and the inability of the starting pitching to put up goose eggs early in games has led me to simply start skipping half innings in the hope that things will get better. It’s like a book that starts off kind of blah and you turn the page, appealing to improvement. In these last games, as soon as the Brewers starter has given up runs, I’ve started watching only the top of each inning via MLB.TV. Click, click, click: nothing doing for Milwaukee. I got through last night’s game in only about 30 minutes. It’s freed up a lot of time for me in the last week or so, and I thank the Brewers for their efficiency in laying down and dying like sick dogs.
I’m critical and upset, but it’s because I care. I care about this team and the city of Milwaukee. But goddamn if this isn’t beginning to feel like the familiar bait and switch which leaves Milwaukee fans left envious of the mother-f-in Cardinals and the way they always seem to get the job done while the Brewers falter.
This wheezing deflation of late has also made it hard to listen to the Brewers broadcasters. Everything is: “He just missed it,” “He got under it,” “Tough night for [so and so] but he’ll figure it out,” “Well they just ran into some good pitching and good pitching always beats good hitting.” Excuses are like assholes, everybody got one. I miss Ueck on this trip too, because he’ll give it to you straighter than the rest.
Come on. They need to win ballgames now. They have a capital opportunity here. Quit screwing around, Brewers!!
Of course, they can’t win every game. But they really should do whatever it takes to avoid losing streaks, including making deals with the Devil or not bunting as much. Perhaps they shouldn’t have Wang pitch in close games. All potential fixes are easier said than done, perhaps even casual and cosmetic, yes, but the entire lineup besides Lucroy has looked flat and disinterested. Flip the script, burn your underwear; change something up because it’s not working. The RBI-bashing, clutch-hitting versions of Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez can’t come back too soon.
I don’t think it’s time to panic. The Brewers are navigating a tough May after a difficult April (schedule-wise), and this is their longest road trip of the year. Good to get it over with. Atlanta hasn’t been kind to the Brewers, I get that. But this team is making me not want to watch baseball right now at all because their new brand of baseball is a revolting, demoralizing, soul-sucking sort. Unfortunately, St. Louis is hanging with Milwaukee in the NL Central race, but this also would be a golden time to put more distance between the Brewers and the stumbling Pirates and Reds.
Just think: the Brewers were 20-7 at one point. I was as high as a kite. They are 7-12 over the last three weeks or so. Losing 12 of 19 games isn’t the end of the world, but if they can find a way to get the job done more than not in the upcoming stretch against the Braves and Marlins (say, finishing the road trip 3-2), I’d be feeling a lot sunnier about the team’s outlook over the long-term. That’s a fair compromise, I think. Hopefully, this is just a funk and they’ll snap out of it.
Until then forgive me for skipping some of the unsightliness, the horrorshow aspects of Brewers baseball and doing something else, a happier activity, with my spring hours instead.