It’s great to be 16 games over .500 with a 48-32 record at the midway point of the season, but it’s kind of an optical illusion. Fast forward to the end of September and the same 16 games over translates to an 89-73 record which may or may not win you a playoff berth.
The Brewers expected to be competitive and signed Matt Garza in the off-season for 50 million bucks to maybe win a few more games and reach that 89 total and sneak into the post season as one of two wild cards. No one anticipated the Cardinals to be batting 80 points lower as a team with runners in scoring position. And no one anticipated the Reds and Pirates to be hit by so many injuries.
And yet here the Brewers are with the best record in the National League and that’s great and all, but the marathon is just beginning. One hot week for any team can turn the standings upside down. The Royals proved that earlier this month. The 2001 Seattle Mariners or 1984 Detroit Tigers are the exception not the norm.
The parity in baseball is unlike any other sport and there is no salary cap. Kind of amazing in some natural communism sort of way. The clichés about the same teams winning don’t hold much water. Yeh,since 1990 the Yankees added 5 more WS trophies and the Red Sox won three for the first time since way back when. But the Giants, Cardinals, and expansion Marlins won 2 each and in total, there have been 13 different winners.
Yeh, the Yankees, Dodgers, Angles, and Red Sox have tons of money and yeh, they spend that money on free agents, but they don’t necessarily win. Teams thrive on amateur drafts and development of players and smart and timely trades.
Even the Astros last season coulda been ok. They lost 111 games, but the bullpen blew 29 saves. Erase half of those and things don’t look so terrible; just bad. The Astros were buyers this off-season, improving that bullpen and they’re not the worst in the league at blowing saves anymore. They’re tied for third worst.
Holes on a ship can be plugged and the midway point of a season is a good time to make sure the holes don’t get any bigger; make a trade or three. The Brewers have no left-handed starters. Kind of rare. I think the last team to win a World Series without one was the 2001 Angels, but then again the Brewers do have four lefties in their bullpen.
The Brewers at the plate are also right-handed heavy. Scooter Gennet and Lyle Overbay are the only left-handed hitters. There is no back up shortstop. The bullpen is tired. General Manager Doug Melvin hints about bullpen help and an energetic utility player with some pop.
And then there’s rumors about the Brewers and Rays talking. Tampa Bay is 16 games under .500 and David Price is one of baseball best left-handed starters and definitely up for grabs. Ben Zobrist is maybe baseball’s most versatile player and both players will come with a heavy price; draft picks, top prospects.
Price in a Brewer’s uniform for a half season is very tempting, but they’ll be asking for too much. I prefer what the Astros have done; suffering three consecutive 100 loss seasons, enjoying excellent amateur drafts and now inching their way out to the runway; only 12 game under .500.
It’s not all about winning anyway. The Brewers suffered through 14 consecutive seasons without a wining record from 1993 to 2006 and there are plenty of great memories, but of course, winning ain’t bad either. Maybe a solid reliever and utility man would do the wild card trick or if all goes well, the division. I’d rather win a wild card and keep the farm in tact than make a big trade for the division crown and home field advantage. The Brewers are 27-15 on the road.
Anyway, after last night’s game against the Rockies, there’s still 81 games to play and anything can happen. Cripes, even the Cubs could go on a hot summer streak and crawl back into the race, flip the standings and what not.
Wily Peralta threw a slider that didn’t slide and Ryan Wheeeler hit a grand slam to give the Rockies a 4-3 lead at Miller Park.
That was after Rickie Weeks led off the game with a home run; the 26th time in his career he has done that and Aramis Ramirez added a two run blast a few batters later. The Brewers took the lead in the fifth and added two more in the seventh on a Scooter Gennett home run. That little second baseman Gennett is not so little. He will soon be a household name in baseball.
The bullpen played pass the baton with four relievers pitching two hit baseball over the final three innings. Final Score; Brewer 7, Rockies 4.
The Brewers are 49-32