Brewers Finally Turning it Around?


by Andrew Coughlin

What do the Milwaukee Brewers need to do to break out of this funk they’ve fallen into to start the season?

First and foremost, guys in the bullpen need to step up and do the job required and needed of them. Jon Axford has been solid. Even Francisco Rodriguez has done his job more times than not, even though his WHIP will go up every time he makes an appearance. But the bridge from the starters to the 8th and 9th innings have to be better. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, for them to be this bad so early in the season, but Manny Parra and Jose Veras have to provide some stability or the Brewers will have to look elsewhere if they want to make the playoffs. They are losing too many close games for them to afford growing pains with any of the pitchers that provide middle relief.

The Starting pitching has bent, but not broken and I expect them to regain the form they showed in 2011. Even with Narveson on the DL for the rest of the year, this staff is still good enough to bring a division title back to Milwaukee. When they start going deeper into ball games like they did last season, this club will start winning more games. If we don’t make the playoffs, it will not be because of the starting rotation.

Rickie Weeks has to hit. Not only does he need to hit, but he needs to produce in the absence of Prince Fielder. Weeks can be a lead-off hitter, but not on this team. He is better served as a five or six hitter. It will take pressure off of him and provide protection for Ramirez and Braun if Weeks can find his stroke and occupy that sixth spot in the lineup effectively. And let's face it, he can't be this bad for the whole season. (.158 BA, .292 OBP, 5 HR, 19 R, 12 RBI and 2 stolen bases)

Aramis Ramirez has to protect Ryan Braun.

He’s starting to come around, but it cannot be soon enough. Braun will get his no matter who you put in front or behind him. I know a lot of experts have said Braun’s production will decline with the departure of Prince, but I think Braun was the better hitter of the two and one of the best at making adjustments to big league pitchers in the MLB. Once Ramirez provides protection for Braun, he will see more pitches to hit and thus, secure more production for the team.

The Brewers swept a road series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. How? They were swept in a two game series at Houston and lost two out of three at home against the Twins; the worst team in the AL. The second half of May hasn’t exactly been a test from the league’s best teams, but a four game sweep of the Dodgers to finish out the month might be the spark they need to get them going.

Their schedule in June is mostly against sub .500 teams. If there was ever a time for Milwaukee to make a run, it was two weeks ago. Nevertheless, this could be the beginning of one. They've never swept the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine and it's not only a statement series, it’s a revelation for a team in desperate need of a moral boost.

Now is the time for the Brewers to climb back to .500 and into the NL Central race.

June Schedule - Opponents Combined Record - 206 - 248

vs. Pirates

vs. Cubs

vs. Padres

@ Royals

@ Twins

vs. Blue Jays

@ White Sox

@ Reds

vs. Diamondbacks


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