I wrote this yesterday and forgot to post it, so the stat's don't include yesterday's game...
This series has been the most frustrating of the season (Or maybe tied with the Boston series). I think they're very similar series. Our defense is awful. We can't get guys around the bases. Our pitching is faltering and we look like pretenders.
This series has highlighted the holes in the Brewers armor that other teams haven't been able to, namely our problems with leaving guys on base/not bringing in Runners in Scoring Position (RISP). This has been a problem all season - we're averaging just .239 for the season with RISP.
Since the All-Star Break, we're 19 for 122 with RISP.
In the thir past 60 AB, Brewers hitters have just THREE HITS - that's .50 with RISP.
We're 0 for 15 this series.
Why must we consistantly attempt to score 5 runs with one swing of the bat? We swing at impossible-to-hit pitches and try to send them to the lake. What's wrong with breaking a rhythm? Why can't we punch balls, bunt, or bloop into the holes? Why are we so undisciplined that we can't hit strategically and instead are constantly trying to hit homers. If we're down by 5, your ineffectual one-run homer does us no good.
Where's the plate discipline? How many first-pitch strikes right down the middle of the plate are we going to watch? Every team knows by now that we do this. We are behind the count with every batter. Does anyone remember seeing Kevin Mench last season when he'd come up to bat and not even fully get into his batting stance for the first pitch. There was no question he wasn't taking the bat from his shoulder. That's this whole team right now. Why even bother with the first set of warm-up swings, glove adjustments and stances?
We've also been called out a lot looking at third pitch strikes. So we're watching the first strike and watching the third. We're going to have one strike to play with each at bat? Isn't there some sort of happy medium here?
Conversely, if a pitcher is struggling and has thrown 6 straight strikes, why are we swinging away? Force him to throw to you. Take as many free bases as you can get. Lastly, please, for the love of god, stop swinging at sliders low and away with less than 2 strikes.
At this point, I think we need to be looking at hitting coach Jim Skaalen. We have absolutely no plate discipline, we can't bring in RISP. Those are pretty much 1a and 1b on the list of important things our hitting coach needs to accomplish. Why isn't he under fire?
The rest of the list are sort of like quick hits:
What happened to Jason Kendall's ability to throw out runners? Suddenly his throws are Rickie Weeks-esque - all over the place!
Speaking of Rickie, isn't it awful that it's impossible to assume a double play with us. I mean, I know with official scoring you can't assume it anyway, but everytime Rickie lays his hands on the ball, I want to cover my eyes. When you're watching on TV, Brian Anderson always says we've turned the play before the ball is throw - he thinks they look that routine that there's NO WAY we wouldn't turn it - and yet, there appears to be no such thing as a routine double-play for this team.
A hit and run with the pitcher at the plate? And you're reasoning was the heat? Seriously, Ned? Your excuses are floundering...
I'm not a big Yost fan, I've made that pretty clear, but he's been pretty even-keeled lately. I still hate his press conferences, but that doesn't have to do with his managing, so I guess it doesn't matter, right? Twice this week he completely mismanaged his starting pitchers and there's no excuse.
Jeff Suppan completely lost his stuff in the 5th inning last Sunday and Ned kept hoping Soup would get out the next batter. Instead, he gave up 7 runs, all while Seth McClung was already warm and just standing in the bullpen wondering, like the rest of us, what the hell Ned was thinking.
Ben Sheets gave up seven straight hits and 6 runs in the 6th inning on Tuesday before Ned pulled him.
One last additional Ned rant:
Dear Ned Yost.
Brian Shouse is a LOOGY. He's a situational lefty. I'm aware that you were able to convert Mitch Stetter a bit and he's now effective against both right and left handers. I'm not sure why you think that means you should/can do the same with Brian Shouse. He has proven time and again that he does not fair well against righties. He's one of the most effective LOOGY's in the game. Stop trying to force it. Leaving him in against five straight righties is not only ludicrous, but suicidal to the game we're playing.
The Brewers Fanbase
One more letter:
Dear Corey Hart,
What the hell happened to you? Did you lose your mojo when you went to New York? Are you on the Derrick Turnbow career train - good stuff, all-star game, disaster? You look like you're barely jogging in the outfield, your swing is sad and you just look lethargic. Please pull your head out of your butt. Remember how they St. Louis paper exhalted you as one of the most-underappreciated players? Where's that guy? We'd like him back, please.
The Brewers Fanbase
P.S. - Please go back to wearing high socks.