Brewers: At the quarterpole
We're are a little more than one-quarter of the way into the season and while there's plenty of games to play the Brewers may find themselves out of the running before too long. 43 games in, it's pretty clear that the Brewers have been plagued by both a lack of consistency and opportunity.
Take Monday night for example. In the third inning Rickie Weeks drew a lead off walk followed by a Yuniesky Betancourt single. Yovani Gallardo then bunted the runners over and suddenly the Brewers had an opportunity to take command with two runners in scoring position and one out. But the Brewers could only muster one run. The next inning Ryan Braun led off with a single and was left stranded on first. That was about it for the offense. To be sure the Brewers were facing one of the best pitchers in the game. However, the game was a microcosm of the season thus far: a lack of consistency morphs into a lack of opportunity.
And again the Brewers wasted a fairly decent outing. Gallardo only lasted six innings but it was a quality start. The bullpen then proceeded to shut out the Dodgers. On a normal night giving up three runs shouldn't be an issue. But of course the Brewers weren't facing a normal pitcher. And this doesn't appear to be a normal season. The starting pitching has been good enough to keep the Brewers competitive more often than not. But with this team good enough isn't good enough. On nights when the Brewers get a quality start the offense fizzles. On nights when the Brewers generate a decent amount of offense the pitching breaks down. Both the starters and the relievers have gone through bouts of inconsistency, just like the offense. This team has shown streakiness throughout the year but when both the offense and the pitching lack consistency there's only one way the streak can go.
It's become a vicious cycle and one that could swallow up the season if the Brewers don't find a way to break out of their losing ways.