Brewers Fading Away: An August Recap

brewersRecords/General Thoughts:

August Record 13-14
Current Record 64-66 (3rd place-12 Games Behind St. Louis)
August was an interesting month for the Brewers, but not in a good way. The Brewers came into August only 5 1/2 games out of first despite struggling throughout June and July. Instead of taking advantage of an easy August schedule to stay within the fringes of contention, the Brewers played slightly below .500 ball and fell all the way to 12 games out of first place.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes On the 12th:

By far the most newsworthy day for the Brewers came on the 12th when GM Doug Melvin made some major moves. The least shocking of these moves was Bill Hall being Designated for Assignment. This move was inevitable as Hall’s struggles at the plate have gotten progressively worse since signing a 4-year extension after the 2006 season. It was hard to watch this regression as he is more talented than his numbers from the last couple years indicate. However, it had gotten to the point where he just wasn’t producing and both the Brewers and Hall needed to move on. To replace Hall on the roster, the Brewers called up outfielder Jason Bourgeois from Nashville. Currently, Bourgeois consists of 1/2 of the current right-field platoon (Frank Catalanotto being the other half) that is holding down right field until Corey Hart returns from the disabled list.

Brewers Ace Yovani Gallardo

Brewers Ace Yovani Gallardo

The next move made that day was the firing of pitching coach Bill Castro. It was tough to see Castro get fired since he had been a member of the coaching staff since 1992 but the reality was the entire starting rotation (with the exception of Yovani Gallardo) pitched poorly and whether or not it was his fault, it ended up costing him his job. It’s not that Castro is never going to be a good pitching coach (it was his first year on the job), it just seemed like whatever he was doing wasn’t the best match for this team. With this move, the timing of it was the most surprising aspect. I thought that this was a move that may have happened after the season if the Brewers starting rotation didn’t show any signs of improvement between then and the season’s end. The harsh reality of the situation was that the Brewers starting pitching struggles played a big role in diminishing a once-promising season. To replace Castro, the Brewers promoted pitching coach Chris Bosio who had been the pitching coach down in Nashville. It’s still too early to tell what, if any impact Bosio will have on the Brewers pitchers long-term. So far, the on-field results are not there as the pitching struggles have continued under his watch

The third move (and by far the most shocking) made on that day was the demotion of J.J. Hardy to Nashville. While Hardy’s production had been down in 2009 and he had been subject to many trade rumors, I never thought that he would be demoted to the minors. The only positive that has come out of Hardy’s demotion is that it directly led to the first extended look at prospect-Alcides Escobar, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Brewers prospect. His speed and defense are definitely major-league ready and he is an exciting player to watch. The one concern with Escobar is how well he can hit major league pitching. So far, he has hit for a decent average and even hit his first career home run, but his OPS+ of 83 is still a cause for concern.

Stretch Run Implications:

So, how will the events of August affect the Brewers coming into September? First off, instead of being 1 1/2 to 2 really good weeks of baseball away from being a serious division or wild card contender, nothing short of an unprecedented miraculous run will get the Brewers a repeat trip to the post-season (and losing September’s first game to St. Louis doesn’t help either).

In other words, the Brewers primary role in the pennant race will be as a spoiler. They have a much more challenging September schedule and play several teams that are pretty much playoff shoe-ins (i.e. St. Louis/Philladelphia) and have an indirect impact on the NL Wild Card Race (They play both San Francisco and Colorado this month).
There will be time to reflect on the what-if’s and what might have beens. What if Rickie Weeks did not injure himself in May? What if the Brewers got more out of their starting pitching? What if J.J Hardy and Bill Hall didn’t struggle or at least not as bad as they did?
Either way it should be interesting to see if the Brewers finish this season strong or whether their struggles drag on through the rest of the season.
Brewers Best and Worst of the Last 30 Days:

Prince Fielder
Image via Wikipedia
Best HitterPrince Fielder .272/.361/.583 10 HR 27 RBI—-Prince has been hitting the ball extremely well all year and August was no exception.
Worst HitterCraig Counsell .257/.329/.371—-This designation was harder to give out. In August, most of the Brewers regulars hit the ball fairly well. Counsell’s numbers weren’t that horrible for August, but someone had to be picked and he was the odd man out.
Best PitcherTrevor Hoffman— 0-0 1.80 era 6 saves–Hoffman has been clutch all year long. This was another strong month in what has been an excellent year.
Worst Pitcher– Mike DiFelice– 0-0 11.88 era– DiFelice is definitely not the only Brewers pitcher that deserved this distinction but there’s only room for one person on this list.
Best Game— August 14th 11-2 Win over Houston–The Brewers scored 8 first inning runs in this game, Ryan Braun hit home runs in the first two innings of the game and scored 10 runs off Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez.
Worst Game–August 4th 17-4 loss to Los Angeles– Yovani Gallardo had the second worst start of his career in this game, giving up 9 runs. In addition to losing this game by 13 runs, this game become known more for Prince Fielder attempting to get into the Dodgers locker room after being hit by a pitch in the 9th inning.
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One Comment

  1. Bernetta Hamric

    December 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!

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