DAN: Doubly Disappointing
By Dan O'Donnell
On May 18th, 2007, the Brewers were 26-17 and on top of the world. On May 18th, 2008, they're 20-23 and at the bottom of the NL Central. After a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee is in serious danger of seeing their season swept away by June.
Losing is always undesirable, but the manner in which the Brewers are losing is simply unacceptable. If it's not a blown save, it's botched start; if it's not an anemic defense, it's an offensive offense.
This team isn't just losing--it's inventing ways to lose, and looking like Thomas Edison in doing so. The sheer ingenuity with which the Brewers have blown their last four games is a thing of perverse genius, yet it may take a true genius to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong. Is it the starting pitching? The bullpen? The offense? The defense? Each has, at various points this season, looked equally inept.
After 43 games, the team's .241 batting average is 4th worst in the Majors, its 4.56 ERA is 7th worst, and its .983 fielding percentage is only 18th in baseball. At least the mediocrity is consistent across the board.
Before we give up hope, though, consider this: on May 18th, 2007, the New York Yankees were 18-22, the Chicago Cubs were 19-21, and the Colorado Rockies were 17-25. All of them made the playoffs.
Will the Brewers? Not the way they're playing, but it's still worth remembering that early slumps can be overcome.