Monday, April 20, 2009

Brewers, brewers, brewers....Season is finally here!

So I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, and that’s how I am looking at the start of this Brewers season. Off to a rocky 4-8 start, the crew seems to be showing the flaws that we all picked apart in the off season. Starting pitching, bullpen, and offence are the issues that come to mind. Now I know as well as anyone that it is way too soon to be making the ultimate decision on where the crew is going to be in the standings at the end of the year, but surprisingly I’m kind of happy about the way things are going right now.

The starting pitching is exactly what I thought it would be, average. Suppan, Gallardo, Parra, Looper and Bush are how they line up, not in that order. They all have shown signs of greatness but no consistency. The only exception so far is Gallardo. The game he pitched against the Mets on 04/18 was the best I’ve seen him pitch in a while, but lets not get so excited, one game means he can pitch, when he starts putting together 3 or 4 good outing in a row is when I will know he is comfortable. The other 4 are easily replaceable. Suppan needs to be let go and the Brewers can eat his contract. I don’t think he was worth the money that he is getting. Parra is still young and needs work. Bush, again signs of greatness, but he gives up the big runs early and then settles down, how about the other way around son. Looper is another case of the Suppan’s. We picked him up because he has start under his belt. He still can pitch and will put up decent numbers, but not a guy you can count on. If I had to grade them right now, C-

The bullpen is my other troubled area of the team. We have a great group of guys who work hard and want to improve and help there team win. Villenueva was a guy last year who you could count on in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings if needed, this year he has been given a new role until Hoffman gets back from the DL, closer. Well, the brewers haven’t had many opportunities to get saves because it seems like there down every game, but the times that Villenueva has been in the game, he has not pitched well. My guess is that he has a little added pressure because of the title he has been given or expected to be given, his problem right now is all mental. He’s thinking about it too much in stead of going out there and just pitching. Once he realizes that, I believe he will be back to that guy that the crew can count on. Seth McClung is the other guy who I believe has a huge upside, that’s not a pun on Seth, he really is a huge guy. He is literally a presence on the mound, he’s big and tall and very inconsistent. When he got the opportunity to start last year he had some games where he was lights out. Since coming out of the bullpen this year, there are no lights flashing or even on right now. He’s been nothing short of terrible. His walks are defiantly troubling, I don’t know if he can’t find it or what, but right now when he’s in the game, I worry. On the up side to the bullpen, newcomer to the Brewers but not a newbie by any means is Todd Coffeey. This guy has been stellar. The past couple games that he has entered, the man has just been awesome. Last night he went 2 1/3 innings and recorded a save. Closer maybe??? Who knows, we shall see when Hoffmann gets back.

The Brewers offence is easily describable in one word, streaky. In baseball you’re considered a good hitter if you get a hit 30% of the time. The highest batting average ever was Roger Hornsby, who had a .403 average over the span of 4 years back in the 20’s, but the point is, ball players are not machines, everyone expects them to hit a home run or a base hit every time at the plate. Granted your going to have a 4-4 game once in a great while, but lets be for real. I guess the thing that bothers me for the most part, and this is why I love being a fan because I’m not the one standing at the plate, but I would give just about anything to be able to have that much talent to be able to be a ball player, but what bothers me is the strikeouts. The crew was just about as bad as you could get last year in this category, but I guess when you’re a home run hitting team, your going to have strikeouts everyday. Back to the topic, the Brewers have as good as a team as anybody, they just are very streaky. One week there hitting the seams off the ball and the next their hitting themselves on the way back to the dugout for striking out. I would really like to see them formed into more of a base hit small ball club. I really think that’s what wins ball games. Sure everybody likes the home runs, but to be honest, you live or you die by the long ball. So, while the offence finds itself, the crew needs to do a better job as a team to find other ways to score runs to compensate for the pitching this year. I think Dale Suavme is going to need to work hard this year. That’s why they kept him around.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m rather pleased on where we are 2 weeks into the season. I’ve said it before, I would much rather them struggle out of the gate and find themselves down the stretch and have momentum to make a run, than to start fast and fade late. I’m looking forward to a great season. Until next time…..

-Brewers fan for life

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