First, let me apologize to everyone out there who tries to keep a pulse on everything Wisconsin Sports. Understand that I wish to be that oasis for you all, however, my studies up in the Twin Cities at the University of St. Thomas prevented me from doing so on a daily basis. But good news: summer is upon us. I assure you that I’ll be running 3-4 posts a week or more for these next three months.
But enough fluff, onto business at hand. With the 9-4 loss at Miller Park this afternoon, the Brewers just wrapped up in some eyes a pretty successful home stand at 4-2. Coming into today they had won 5 of 6, and had closed the division gap to 8.5 games, a manageable deficit considering we’re just ending May. Look closer at you’ll see that if it weren’t for the offense’s resurgence, in particular Corey Hart, it may have been 1-5. Not to be Mr. Negativity, but the main concern for this team has continued to be the bullpen. Shortened outings from the rotation has translated into a worn-out pen, thus placing even more pressure on the bats.
I’ve been piecing through some of the fan comments on the Brewers game blogs on JSOnline, and while I will say that it is stilll very early, Ken Macha’s managerial credibility has taken a serious hit. After promising to become more aggressive on the basepaths, in many situations that merit sending Carlos Gomez, Alcides Escobar or Ryan Braun in motion, he sits on his hands. Not exactly how you put pressure on opposing pitchers, Ken. Another example is continually shaking up the lineup, like today, just a day after his team put 8 runs on the board. Or when he inexplicably brought in Jeff Suppan to a smattering of boos in a 2-2 game, only to have him concede four runs in the sixth and seventh. By the way: that $42 million investment now has a ERA of 7.22 and has given up 23 earned in 28 and 2/3 innings. Quite the production if you’d ask me.
After the team wrapped up their series in Minnesota, I saw a great column by Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal saying that the Brewers focus needs to be on consistency, and model themselves after a team like the Twins. Not just settle for one “flash in the pan” year like 2008. If Doug Melvin and the rest of the front office is committed to turning things around, priority No. 1 needs to be accountability. Simply put, if you don’t produce, your going to get replaced. Claudio Vargas was just designated for assignment, likely meaning his time in Milwaukee is done. But Suppan needs to be next. I mean he’s making $12.5 million to be a “mop-up” guy…umm…are you kidding me? And it’s not like Macha hasn’t given him plenty of chances to reconcile, either. Nashville lefty Kameron Loe has put up a very respectable 4-3 record with a 3.16 ERA, while posting the best K/BB ratio of any AAA starter at 39/19. More importantly, Loe has an “out” clause in his contract which allows him to walk if he’s not recalled by this Saturday. There’s one option. Huntsville’s Amaury Rivas has also put up good numbers, at 5-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts.
So honestly Doug, enough’s enough. Here’s what should be done with the 25-man by the end of the year. Other opinions?
C: George Kottaras, Jonathan Lucroy (both kept)
1B: Prince Fielder (traded for pitching/1b stopgap?), Mat Gamel (call-up when healthy-platoon)
2B: Rickie Weeks, Joe Inglett (kept)
SS: Alcides Escobar, Craig Counsell (kept)
3B: Casey McGehee (kept)
OF: Ryan Braun (kept), Carlos Gomez (kept), Corey Hart (traded for pitching), Jim Edmonds/Jody Gerut (platoon)
SP: Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, *Doug Davis, *Chris Narveson (all kept- unless upgrade is traded for)
RP: Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, John Axford, LaTroy Hawkins, Manny Parra, Chris Capuano, Kameron Loe (all kept)
Sent to AAA: Jeff Suppan, Marco Estrada, Zach Braddock, Adam Stern.