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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Pot Banging Can Now Commence

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The Brewers' best move in the last three weeks may have come Sunday night, when management had the good sense not to air the game against the Rangers in Arlington up against the "Sopranos" finale on HBO.

 

Too bad they didn't do the same thing the night before.

 

Saturday night's 4-3 flame-out qualifies as the early season low-point as Milwaukee squandered a 3-0 lead in the ninth with previously infallible closer Francisco Cordero on the mound. Four times--four flippin' times--he had Texas down to it's last strike only to see a Ranger hitter some how find a way on board.

 

The Brewers were the darlings of baseball the first month and a half of the season, compiling a 24-10 record while making the cover of Sports Illustrated, among other things. A couple of the players even made it onto the set of the CBS soap, "The Young and the Restless" for a cameo that airs later this month.

 

Will that prove to be the 2007 version of "The Sweep Suit"?

 

Miller Park still had "that new stadium smell" as the Brewers swept the Cubs at Wrigley in mid-June, 2001. The team wore garish threads, dubbed "sweep suits", on their collective way out of the clubhouse.

 

They went on to lose 60 of the next 90.

 

What's going on now has nothing to do with sartorial choice--it has a lot to do with team breakdowns and an inability to consistently put a complete game together.

 

Good pitching? Expect hitters to struggle.

 

Plate six runs? The starters stumble, or the bullpen goes up in flames.

 

The first 34 games of the year featured thrilling comebacks, clutch hits, stellar starts, and bulletproof relief pitching.

 

No more.

 

Manager Ned Yost doesn't swing a bat or toss a single pitch, but he makes out the lineup card--one that is seldom the same from night to night. He seems to be in full flail these days, desperately trying to find a combination that'll click at the plate. The result? Players who don't know their roles, when they'll be playing or where they'll be in the lineup. The hiccup is now a full-blown burp that's on the verge of a purge--as the Brewers piddle away their strong start and box office goodwill.

 

The Rangers are the worst team in baseball, if you go by this morning's standings. This weekend's performance by the Brewers shows you can't always believe what you read.

 

There's a lot of season to go, for sure, and strong showings on the road in Detroit and Minnesota in the days ahead could be a sign that a young club played through a horrendous streak and is now ready to make a statement. More losses will only add to the fans' discontent. Hoping that everyone else in your division keeps losing is no strategy for success.

 

The rest of the N-L Central is working on that premise when it comes to the Brewers, and so far, Milwaukee is living down to expectations.

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