Friday, June 5, 2009

1/3 of the way through the season...

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.
Manny Parra:
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.


Lance's Other Nut said...

I read the Witrado chat and someone asked why not have Rivera catch for Parra too.

I think that's a great idea. I mean, could Manny be any worse than that last start?

1265 said...

Parra is such a head case.

I'm not sure he can regain his confidence on the Big League Level. Might have to be on the AAA level.

The division is weak though. Nobody is running away with it.

87 wins might do the trick. Can this club play +4 over .500 the rest of the way?

ClownShipLollypop said...

How is this a weak division with 4 teams over .500 and the other two closing in? Probably put down the meth.

Anonymous said...

The problem is there is no evidence things will get better. Weeks isn't coming back. There could very well be more injuries. The offense has gone on about 4 slumps so far. Braun and Fielder are never hot at the same time. Hall, Hart, Kendall and Cameron suck now.

The other division teams will get better. We probably won't.

Tim said...

Where did the bats go? I don't understand how there are no hitters after the top 4 in the order, and two of the top four on any given night are going to go hitless.

Cameron started off hot, but seems to be cooling off rapidly. The high-powered offense that I was banking on can't produce runs when people who actually make contact with the ball are never up with anyone on base.

The pitching has been surprisingly good. I expected to win a lot of games this year 10-8 or 8-5, but there is not a lot of run production lately.
These are just my thoughts and can probably all be proven false with the slightest bit of research .

Brad said...

The thing I'm keeping my eye on is the bullpen. It's almost been too good. Coffey, DiFilice, Hoffman, and McClung are all pitching WAAAAAY better than their career numbers show (and Villanueva to a much lesser extent). It's almost certain they'll pitch worse as the season goes chance it gets better. The bully will be interesting to watch if the starters don't eat up innings like they were earlier in the year.

Anonymous said...

i'm not that up to date with things but whats the chance of Gamel moving to RF?? we could package Hart and others (Hall Parra, Minor league guys) for Peavy and get a 1-2 ace combo of Yovanni and Peavy for the next 4 years!! not sure how possible it is but i like it!

Hall is awful. Parra isn't coming around and i don't see it happening. as for Catcher...we'll be ok.

- Sanchez

Rubie Q said...

Parra hasn't had a good stretch yet this year. He's yet to submit a game where his WHIP was below 1.00. He's had a few lucky stretches where he put a lot of men on base but didn't allow many runs, but he's not been good for a string of starts yet.

1265 said...

Bad choice of words on my part, Clown.

I guess I meant to say there's no superior team that will run away with it.

The four on top will beat up on eachother, thus the 87 win finish line.

Sara M said...

Manny should consult a sports psychologist. Speaking from experience, it seems he is exhibiting signs of a pathological perfectionist.

I would like to see Rivera catch Parra too. With Manny being so...uh...mentally awkward?...perhaps having the guy who caught his AAA perfect game behind the plate would have a positive effect on him.

Rakin' said...

Problem with moving Gamel to the outfield is that this is a move you would do in the off season rather during the season. It would take some instruction to do and a lot of teams don't really teach much during the season or send players down to learn on the minor league level to do it. This is something better suited for the off season.

I will say though if Gamel were to put in the extra time, show up early with coaches, and learn how to be an outfielder, I could see this happening.

fish said...

On board with the team as it stands. No need to panic. Macha needs to figure out an order and stick with it starting with JJ batting second. JJ is the one guy I would consider moving on this team. His potential replacement in Escobar will be ready sooner rather than later. There is plenty of interest out there for his services. In my mind he is a product of batting with great protection. Inflate his stats for awhile batting him second in the order consistently...if he reaches peak value again then you have to consider trading him for starting pitching, preferably a left hander.

Otherwise the Brewers will be fine and at least compete for the division. 88-90 wins is about right. No wild card from the central this year, we will beat up on each other too much.

ClownShipLollypop said...

The Parra situation is obviously a problem, but other than that I think we're solid. Anytime this team loses a few games everyone freaks out.

The reason the Crew loses in places like Florida and Las Angeles is because they feed on energy. There isn't much energy with 300 fans. Nor is there energy with terrible heckles like "Hey Hall, don't fall!" Good one....

We're fine. Still 93-95 wins.

I never liked that stupid clown said...

That clown guy is a moron. Los Angeles draws 42,476 fans per game (source:

YOU should put down the meth, you stupid clown.

They probably suck in Florida because if I was 26, was a ballplayer, had tons of money and like-minded friends, and was in South Florida for 4 nights, I'd party too.

ClownShipLollypop said...

Do you hate me because of my lazy eye?

Bill Hall said...

They should probably trade me for a bag of bats.

NY Jet Brett Favre said...

Hoffman looks strange in a Brewers uniform

blueguitarbob said...

Gamel has the arm for an outfield position, but it is silly to move him from 3B unless he proves he can't field that position effectively. Skilled hitters at 3B are much more valuable than at RF, because 3rd basemen are more difficult to find. If he can do it, and Don Money insists he can, he should stay at the infield corner.

As for Parra, it's just too easy to say he is a "head case" (whatever that means). Nobody on this blog knows him well enough to say things like that. He makes a lot of mistakes, and he seems extremely nervous and unsure of himself at times. There are ways of managing that problem within the system, without giving up on him. Ken Macha has worked with nervous young pitchers before, and he not too shabby at it.

Goldy said...

In regards to Parra, I agree with blueguitarbob. To call Parra a headcase is just taking it to far. The issue is that the guy just isn't confident on the mound. He looks scared when he is out there. You need to look like you know what yo are doing. Clemons always looked pissed. Yo has that easy, calm look like he knows he is better than you. Parra just looks like he is uncertain of his stuff on the mound.
Hitters feed off of that. Heck, thanking back to when I played, you could tell if a pitcher looked uncertain, you knew you were going to rock him. Seems like Parra just needs some success and hopefully he can run with it and begin to trust his stuff.
A team on a 22-inning scoreless streak is as good as any to start a successful run for Manny.