The Metamorphosis Begins?
20 games in 20 days, and a season on the brink. Would the Brewers establish themselves as National League Central contenders in that three week span, or would they fade into divisional oblivion?
We're 15 games in, and the results are mixed at best.
A sweep of the Twins came before Milwaukee took two of three from the Mariners. Lowly Houston went 2-1 at Miller Park before the Brewers split against the Cardinals. As of this writing, the Giants are 2-0 against the Crew with two more to play before the Pirates come to town for three final pre-All-Star-game scrapes.
By my math, the club is 75% of the way through this make-or-break stretch with eight wins and seven losses.
Suffice it to say, the final five games of this home stand will tell us a lot.
We're almost to the point where Milwaukee has to win out in order to avoid becoming "sellers" as baseball's trade deadline approaches at the end of the month. An 11-9 run, or even a 10-10 outcome, isn't enough to convince anyone that a renaissance looms.
As of Wednesday morning, the team is ten games below .500 and ten and a half games behind the division-leading Reds, with the Cards and Cubs standing in the way. There's always a chance the leaders will flame-out and that Milwaukee would catch fire, but really fans, do you see anything on this club that shows even the slightest sign of a turnaround?
First, it was the starting pitchers not living up to billing, followed by an overworked bullpen that doomed the Brewers through April and May. June and early July bring us fresh concerns about offense and fielding. Toss in Yovani Gallardo's injury, and you've got an unsettled team.
We've all driven that car or owned that home where there was always something wrong--no matter what you did, something else would break. That would seem to be Manager Ken Macha's destiny this season as the Brewers slog from one malady to another.
There's still hope that the club can jell and somehow put together a strong finish to challenge St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago for divisional relevancy That push has to start NOW. Taking four of these five remaining game before the break means a 12-8 stretch--not great, mind you, but enough to get your foes thinking that brighter days are coming.
If not, GM Doug Melvin may have to cut his losses and lose some players--Prince Fielder and perhaps, All-Star Corey Hart seem to be tops on the trade list. It would be a sad end to what seemed to be a promising season and could sound as the knell for a long cold winter of retooling.
The Brewers had their first half chances but somehow managed to find ways to fail. They have five more games to show some spunk, some fire, and some sorely needed offense. More of the same isn't an option, at least not if you like this team as presently configured.