Roenicke says chance for Brewers to contend 'set up right for us'
Ron Roenicke. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE - After the All-Star break, the Milwaukee Brewers have a three-series stretch of make-or-break games that could lift them to serious playoff contention or bury their 2012 season hopes.
"Those games against our division, people above us...it's set up right for us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
The Brewers battle three division rivals in the next two weeks:
- Three games at home against the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates
- Three home contests against the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals
- Three road games against the Cincinnati Reds.
"It's a very important time for us to make a move. It's set up for us. I keep thinking we're playing better ball. I still believe that. I think we have a good run in us. I think they feel that, too."
That run would be a continuation of their late-June and early July momentum where they won six of their last nine contests, including a come-from-behind 5-3 win at the Houston Astros on Sunday.
"We were very happy with the last game we played. We got behind early, and came back in a close ball game and won it. For me, it reminded me of what we did last year when we were super-good."
To get back to that super-good level, the Brewers are hoping for the return of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was playing at an All-Star level before breaking his hand in an incident at a hotel.
"He feels good as far as the strength in his hand. He's really getting back in baseball shape. We'll plan out a rehab for him and get him playing somewhere, but I don't want to set dates," said Roenicke.
"We need him in baseball shape. We have two catchers who are playing well. We want 'Luc' back, but we want him close to being ready."
Roenicke is attending All-Star festivities in Kansas City along with Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, who will start and bat third in the National League lineup on Tuesday night.
He noticed the booing Kansas City fans were giving New York Yankees star Robinson Cano for not picking a Royals player during Monday night's Home Run Derby, won by former Brewers slugger Prince Fielder.
"It's a little ridiculous for me," noted Roenicke.
"You try to pick the best guys that you can. The hometown guy, just because he's there, shouldn't automatically be in something."