Milwaukee Makes Mess of First Dozen

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By: Melissa S. Wollering

At least four. That’s the minimum number of runs the Milwaukee Brewers have given up over their last 22 regular season games. We’re counting 10 from the end of last season. Fans and coaching staff can raise a finger (not that finger) and point directly towards a team of five. Five-dollar. Five-dollar footlongs parading as pitchers with a serious allowed runs problem stacked as high as a meatball with the works. But it’s not just them.There have been some positives to the some pitching outings. Hoffman does have three saves despite his blown ones. Gallardo has 15K’s clocked already this season. Bush’s ERA is 3.86 and Wolf and Gallardo have eaten up a combined 36.1 innings. Yes. I’m making that jazzier than the jazz flute.

There’s still a black hole of despair billowing in a few directions, starting with both starting and relief pitchers. Collectively, the Brewers have allowed so many earned runs that I lost track at 70. Seventy. Sententa. Whatever.

But when fans complain about the pitchers, they are inevitably complaining about the defense and pitch calling to a degree as well. Corey Hart not catching that ball in the sun last week against the Cubs? Can’t happen anymore. Gregg Zaun calling a sinker when it should have been anything but. Can’t happen anymore. The whole team needs to better support its pitching staff.

Case and point, the Nationals game Sunday. That Carlos Gomez throw to the plate to prevent Washington’s Ian Desmond from scoring in the bottom of the seventh was the defensive play that made the game. It should have never taken Gomez’s throw to secure a win in that game, considering the Crew was up 10-0 after one at-bat. But a major defensive play plugged the drain that has been the Brewers’ allowed runs saga.

Meanwhile, the Brewers bullpen got some bad news today. Bullpen coach Stan Kyles must undergo surgery for prostate cancer. He was diagnosed during Spring Training and will be out four to six weeks. Our prayers are with Stan and heck, our prayers are with the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. They’ll need to step it up without Kyles’ words of wisdom.

Milwaukee can strangely boast of a random MLB-leading trend though this week. Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks lead Major League Baseball in the hit-by-pitch category. Rickie is so angry that he asked the Miller Park audio mixer to edit the words of his batting song back into the excerpt. Yes, Rickie, I’d pick the world up, too. Prince isn’t angry. He hasn’t felt more than one of the five; they don’t sting when you’re King, beefy king.

I have no beef with Gregg Zaun, but a few readers have told me numerous times they are beyond frustrated. Sometimes it seems to be the way he calls the game. He’s no Jason Kendall, that’s for sure. Also, to the hitting/base running point, Zaun’s late Spring Training quad strain doesn’t seem to be getting better. I’m not sure if it is still bothering him, but he’s not running full-speed.

With an already dismal hitting average to start the season, don’t be shocked if Zaun’s next few weeks are sponsored by the letters “D” and “L”. Don’t forget, he’s 39 and Macha made it no secret he was parading a decent number of catchers in the Brewers’ farm system through Spring Training. Angel Salome is the AAA catcher whom I’d bet money will be called up first—not just as catcher, but as the first Brewer to be called up in 2010. I’d put a second tier bet on Lorenzo Cain.

Let’s see if the Brewers can move beyond trends with negative connotations and move towards some W’s in the positive column. Dave Bush takes on Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton. Wonder if it is Morton, as in Morton Salt. Then someone else’s pitching staff could come away salty for a change.

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