It's over. Done. Finished. Stick the proverbial fork in the Brewers, they're done as 2008 playoff contenders.
Everybody at once now: Take off those blue and mustard colored glasses and open you're eyes. Look big picture, people! I'm not talking about the last few games, or the dormant offense, or the most recent botched fill-in-the-blank-move by Ned Yost. Look macro, not micro. Since last year's red hot 24-10 start, Milwaukee is 75-87. "But what does last year have to do with 2008?" Nothing much, just making an observation. As for this year....
We basically have a bunch of 5 inning pitchers. And when Ben Sheets inevitably gets hurt, how does a Suppan, Parra, Villenuava, Weaver, and Bush rotation sound? I just herd puking sounds all around the state of Wisconsin . That's no where near a playoff rotation...unless you're talking about the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Bush is junk (certainly no Joe Blanton), Parra and Villy are young (IE, inconsistent), and Suppan is Suppan. 4.60 ERA every year. All these guys have a chance to pitch a little better than they have. On the other hand, Ben's current ERA (2.27) is a full run and a half below his career mark. So, there's a good chance he will pitch worse than he has, get hurt, or pitch worse and get hurt. All these 5 inning starts leads to...
A Tired Bullpen.
Hell, they were getting excessive work when the staff numbered 14? History shows Mota and Torres will pitch worse, Riske better, Shouse about the same, and then there's - gulp - Eric Serge Gagne, AKA "The Canadian Crisis." Even in his saves, he rarely records a clean inning. I know he's had some bad luck, but a 1.700 WHIP and .382 batting average against (.382!) has "Three Mile Island Meltdown" written all over it. Basically, he's an expensive Mike DeJean. Will he find his groove? I have no idea. I bet Doug Melvin, Neddy, or Serge himself doesn't know either.
Holy Crap. This is getting ugly. Everyone just assumed all the youngsters would get better with each passing year. Perhaps we bought fools gold. Maybe JJ Hardy, Billy Hall and Dick Weeks are not every day major leaguers? The entire group isn't gonna pan out, somebody has to be a bust, right? Maybe Prince peaked last year. It's obvious teams adjusted to Ryan Braun out in the off season. How fast will he adjust to them? These are all legitimate questions. Oh, they will get hot. They're too good not to pound the ball for stretches. But the lineup is still too "AL" for my liking. And I'm tired of hearing the "they're still young" card. So are the Arizona and Oakland lineups, but they get on base like machines. Maybe it's an organizational thing. Maybe the 'Backs and A's stress getting on base in the minors rather than mashing bombs. I don't know. Speaking of the minors...
Sorry, there's no Yovanni Gallerdo or Braun waiting in AAA to bolster the rotation and supercharge the offense...unless Matt LaPorta can play shortstop (sarcasm). Our best arm option was Will Inman (3-1, 2.10 ERA in AAA), but he was traded last year for - uh oh- Scott Linebrink.
What can be done?
1) Make a trade. Would Melvin trade some of the future (Corey Hart, LaPorta, Mat Gamel, etc) for a veteran arm? Is a veteran arm available? With Sheets probably not coming back next year, is this the year to "go for it?" Melvin has some very tough decisions in the following months.
2) Fire Yost. Did you see that lineup tonight? WTF? No shit that lineup wasn't gonna score more than 2 runs. Of course, I think he should go. Why? First, the manager always takes the fall when a team underachieves. Second, he's been here for 5 years now, which is almost an eternity in pro coaching. So it's not like a Terry Porter situation where he's canned after year one. Third, maybe this club needs a different voice. For a large number of guys, Yost has been the only voice they’ve herd. Maybe the message is stale and ignored at this point. Maybe the youngsters would say: “Wow. If we continue to suck, heads will roll…Antanasio ain't f_cking around anymore.” The manager is always the first one to go, and Ned’s had enough time to do his thing. It's time for a change. The sooner, the better.
I know you all hate the Cubs, but lets be objective. They aren't going away. While some Cubs have played over their heads, Wood, Soriano, and Lilly have been bad. And St Louis has shocked the hell out of me. Dave Duncan is a miracle worker. Those suspect starters have been more than solid even with Chris Carpenter still on the DL. We are struggling through the Yo injury, but here's the St Louis rotation sailing along without Carpenter and Mulder, like nothing ever happened. Watch the Cubs and Cards hit, too. Most of those guys give you "professional" at bats up and down the lineups. Guys like Ryan Theriot and Skippy Schumaker and Adam Kennedy and Dick Ankiel of the world are getting it done. Just like Oakland 's merry band of no-namers.
Open your eyes, people! The Brewers are done. They have the look of an 80 win team who will end up trading Sheets and Cameron by the deadline. I hope they prove me wrong.