When expectations are put on the Crew this year based on last year’s miracle run through the playoffs that ended with a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, it puts a lots of pressure on the organization from the top on down.
Winning 96 out of 162 regular season games isn’t an easy thing to do. Neither is trying to put together a capable roster that will play together and try to get along for the better part of seven months.
This year, so far, it’s a different story. The Brewers were supposed to be in the hunt for the NL Central title again after winning it convincingly by last September. Before their interleague matchup against the Minnesota Twins, the team was sitting near the outhouse of the division standings with the Chicago Cubs – who is on the bottom now – instead of hanging out in the penthouse with the league-leading Cardinals, but they’re way behind.
So how do you explain the Brewers’ 16-24 record entering the May 20 game at home and a four-game losing streak? Well, consider this: The Crew gave up a total of 66 runs in 18 of those losses and five of those defeats were 1-run setbacks. Of those losses, the Brewers suffered a 12-run disadvantage into the hands of St. Louis (13-1, Apr. 27 at St. Louis).
The last time the Crew was at .500 was on Apr. 24 in a 9-6 win at home against the Houston Astros. Four of the games went into extra innings where they are 2-2. Salvaging a win of the series against the Twins to avoid a sweep boosted their confidence a little bit before a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants to close out the home stand and going to Arizona and Los Angeles, May 25-31.
Being on the losing side of things affect the fans who plunked down a good amount of money for season tickets and helped sales reach over 2 million. All this hype at the Brewers On Deck venue in January was great, but have the fans been sold a hill of beans and will the team finally come out of their shadows and show us who the real Milwaukee Brewers are?
Injuries and bad results are unfair reasons to count the Brewers out right now. Mat Gamel, Alex Gonzalez and Chris Narveson are out with season-ending injuries. Other teams scored more runs than the Brewers so far. Four of the players that are getting regular playing time are hitting below .300 (Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks) and two are above .300 (Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy).
Manager Ron Roenicke tried different lineups to shake up some things. He used about 26 different lineups with mixed results. The pitchers are bad too. Starters and relievers are giving up 4-5 runs a game. Roenicke, principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin probably don’t sleep well at night. Can you imagine an owner boosting the team payroll and being horrified with the results? Then he wakes up from a bad dream and says, “N-o-o-o-o-o! This isn’t a nightmare, is it?”
It might be too late to turn this thing around. The Brewers have to win about 20 games in a row to get over .500 and get back in the playoff hunt. Shuffling some bodies in and out of here would be a start. The Brewers might make some moves before the trading deadline in July. There isn’t enough talent down in the minors ready to come up and contribute and the top minors the Brewers traded away are up and playing with the major-league clubs that they were traded to. By the time August rolls around, it will be time for NFL training camps to start and most of the attention will be on the Packers and away from the Brewers if they keep losing. Football camp is T-minus two months and counting.
Wisconsin Sports Awards
In the inaugural Wisconsin Sports Awards ceremony at the Wisconsin Club, May 10, athletes, teams and coaches were nominated for various awards. Many were called but few were chosen.
Awards were given for achievements reached last year. It included highlights of a Super Bowl championship, a NL Central Division title, a Big-10 championship, a pro indoor soccer championship, back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances, record-setting performances and multiple MVP seasons.
Craig Karmazin, founder and CEO of Good Karma Broadcasting with ESPN radio stations in Milwaukee in Madison, was the man behind the creation of the awards event. Winners were chosen by a panel of state media members. A total of 13 awards were presented.
Samantha Logic from Racine Case and University of Iowa received the girl’s high school basketball player of the year. Sam Dekker of Sheboygan Lutheran got the boys high school basketball player of the year. Vince Biegel from Wisconsin Rapids was the high school football player of the year. Biegel and Dekker are headed to Wisconsin.
Lance Leipold, football coach at UW-Whitewater, won the college coach of the year award. Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball of Wisconsin was the college player of the year. The three-time Division III National Champion UW-Whitewater football team received college team of the year honors.
The Packers were well-represented at the awards. Aaron Rodgers won professional athlete and player of the year. The Pack was the team of the year and Super Bowl XLV was the game of the year. A.J. Hawk, minus the long hair, won the community player of the year. The Brewers weren’t left out. They took home fan friendly team of the year honors and Roenicke was coach of the year.
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