Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1/2 Series Recap: Can it get any worse?

Did the Brewers just finish a 2-game home series with the Twins or the home half of a 4-game series? Though I will never be certain of the answer to this question, I do know the Brewers played two games with the Minnesota Twins and lost them both.

The Brewers are now 5-20 in the month of May. To put that in perspective, the 106-loss 2002 squad won at least 8 games each month. Yes, this year's team is on pace to do something the worst team in franchise history was incapable of doing. As bad as things are going, can they get any worse? Let's take look at the last two games and get a better idea.

1) Jean Segura for MVP

The unstoppable hitting machine had another terrific series, going 8-11 with a home run over the two games. He also had six hits tonight, including a game-tying RBI single in the 9th that put the Brewers in prime position to win the game, which they did not do. This inconvenient fact aside, Segura is putting together an MVP caliber season. He currently leads the NL with a .362 average and entered the game #3 in the NL in offensive WAR (2.4). Just when you think he can't hit any better, he does. More importantly, he's becoming a symbol of hope for a rebuilding franchise because he's an exciting young player that shows what happens when your GM makes a savvy trade.

2) How is the starting pitching this bad? 

Brewers pitchers extended their "not getting past the 5th inning" streak to four. Not coincidentally, the Brewers are 0-4 in those games. Wily Peralta allowed four runs in 5IP on Monday and Alfredo Figaro did the exact same thing tonight, though he took a different route by allowing all of the runs to be scored on long balls. Quite literally, these short starts are driving me insane. It's not that they lead to losses, the bullpen being worn out, and are difficult to watch, but they blatantly defy the law of averages. This is to say that given enough starts even a fringe ML pitching talent will have Cy Young caliber outing/stretch. Consider:

-Wayne Franklin threw a 2-hit shutout on 5/21/03 versus the Padres. He finished the season with a 5.50 ERA.

-Ruben Quevedo had a stretch of three games in 2002 where he pitched 24.0 innings and allowed one earned run. He finished the season with a 5.76 ERA.

-Wes Obermueller pitched a CG SO at the end of the 2004 season against the Astros, who at the time were under the brilliant leadership of Scrap Iron. In May of the following season he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning at Washington. He has a career 5.82 ERA.

These are three crappy pitchers that had flashes of brilliance. The were short, unsustainable bursts, but they happened. The current staff seems totally incapable of doing anything remotely like this. However, I do take solace that when this happens the bullpen will blow the game.

3) It's not worth losing if you can't use your bullpen for 9 innings

Few things are more depressing as losses that put you in a position to lose more games. Once again the bullpen was terrific (9IP, 2ER tonight) and once again it did not matter. Doug Melvin might want to trade away some relievers sooner than later because at this rate they will burn out or get hurt.

4) Monday's lineup, woof.

To be fair, 1-2-3 of that lineup (Aoki, Segura, and Gomez) rank in the top 10 in the NL in hits. But what the lineup featured in talent it lacked in depth. Exhibit A: Yuniesky Betancourt batting cleanup.

The AAA lineup had a chance to deal a blow in the first inning when they had the bases loaded and nobody out...and then Betancourt lined out to shortstop and Segura was doubled off. This both killed the rally and let the 38,627 fans in attendance know the Brewers had no chance of winning the game. On the bright side, those that stuck around got to see Segura and Gomez sock a few dingers, presumably distracting them of the terrifying truth of Major League Baseball's clandestine activities.

5) The Minnesota Twins are also pretty bad

Have lost 11 of their last 12, the one team in the majors as cold as the Brewers came into Miller Park to play a pair of games and won them both. This fact tells you all you need to know about how 2013 is going.

Looking ahead...

The only thing changing is the venue as the Crew will play two more against the Twins in Minnesota. For the sake of symmetry it's important the Brewers win their next two games. The implications of imbalance are far too frightening to contemplate...

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