Just wanted to check in with everybody to see who's still "on board" with the current Brewers' team. There's been a decent amount of grumblings recently online and on the radio that a trade (for a starting pitcher again) will be the only way the Brewers' can remain competitive in the long run for a playoff spot. There's some truth to that on the surface. At 31-23, the Crew is on pace for a 93 win season (and most likely a playoff berth). Their expected W/L though (based on runs scored v runs allowed) has them on pace for an 86 win season as a result of their lower run differential. St. Louis is currently ahead of us in this respect. So the argument can be made on some level that the Brewers have over-performed this year to date.
But on the flip side, I see no reason to panic. We still are...after all...31-23 and tied for first in the central. The team has made improvements (I use that word loosely) at some of the bench positions with the dumping of Brad Nelson, Duffy, and the gas can. The loss of Rickie Weeks (based on projecting his hot start through a whole season) looms somewhat large but it looks like McGehee and C3 are at least up to the challenge at shouldering perhaps half of Rickie's production.
As surprisingly good (overall) as the starting pitching has been, there hasn't been a quality start in a week. With the way this rotation is built however, we (as fans) have got to get used to this happening a couple more times down the road this season. With the exception of Gallardo, these guys are all 5-6-7 inning pitchers. NOW, that's not a BAD thing. But there are going to be 2 week stretches where each guy goes 6 or 7 plus, and there are going to stretches (similar to this week) where maybe Gallardo struggles for a game and next thing you know each guy is struggling to get 5 innings in. Nature of the business.
So what are the major problems of the team? I see 3 main areas of improvement, 2 of which have been shoved down your throats numerous times so far this year all over, the last hasn't been mentioned much.
Just can't figure the guy out. He started off sucky, then went through a good stretch, and after his last start is at the low point of his young career. After his last start Adam McCalvy reported some alarming stats for the guy: At that time he led the NL in walks, losses, and earned runs. EGAD! We know two things about Parra: 1) The Brewers need him to be the pitcher he was in the first half of last year to succeed this year, and 2) he is seriously costing the Brewers wins so far with his abysmal performance. These 2 things don't mesh well. I'm just not sure how much more of a leash he's got, especially with Tim Dillard throwing quality innings down in AAA ball.
Bill Hall: I think it's safe to say the ONLY reason Bill Hall gets any playing time right now is because of his contract. The man is just putrid (yet somehow is currently the 3rd vote getter in the NL All Star voting amongst 3rd basemen...thanks Milwaukee!). A guy called in to the 1250 post game show last night and said what needed to be said. Hall's contract is what it is. Macha and Sveum need to sit him down NOW...TODAY...and say if he doesn't change his batting stance, listen to Sveum and maybe try to give this team a little help with the bat in the 2nd half of the season, he will be buried on the bench with almost 0 playing time because he can't be trusted as a pinch hitter. He will not see the field unless he listens to Sveum. It's gotten past the point of any kind of defense for Bill Hall. He's the worst player on the team. It's that simple. Yeah...I'll say Jody Gerut is better. Hell, I'll even say Kendall is better, and I'm about to bash him in my next paragraph.
Jason Kendall: Here's one that not many people are talking about. Jason Kendall. Good God is he done with the stick. After 178 plate appearances, he is slugging .260. TWO FREAKING SIXTY! You know who could slug .260 after 178 plate appearances in the major leagues? I'll tell you. ANYBODY. The receptionists who work in my office could do that. Matt's wife could do that. Watching a Jason Kendall at bat right now is like getting your teeth pulled. You do nothing but cringe and moan the entire time and you want it to be over. I know he's around for his defense and he brings hard to quantify "intangibles" to the table...but here's the question guys: AT WHAT POINT does Kendall's complete inability to be any kind of an offensive threat outweigh whatever value you want to assign to his defense and intangibles? I'm not sure of the answer to that. All I know is that with Mike Rivera, you are getting much more offense then you would with Kendall without losing as much on the defensive side. I mean really, is Rivera that bad? Of course not. I just hope that as we move forward into the season, Kendall's playing time decreases from 80% to closer to 50%. Who knows, maybe at this point in his career the decreased playing time with only boost his numbers.
We're all interested to hear in what you guys think. I'm still sticking with my original prediction of the Brewers being a 94 win team.