Midwest Diamond Report - 9/22
The Brewers remained mathematically in the NL Wild Card race after weekend action, but we all know that statistics can lie.
With six games left, the Brewers find themselves 4 ½ games behind the Pirates in the race for the final Wild Card spot. It would take a miracle for them to catch the Bucs, and this team isn’t playing like a club that can pull off any miracles.
On the six game road trip, they have scored a total of eight runs. An erratic hitting team all season, one that depended too much on the home run, the Brewers turned downright anemic in their attack.
That’s the major reason, they fell out of first place in the NLC and why they lost four of six games on this road trip to the two teams they had to beat to still have a real chance at the post-season.
Sure, you can argue Jonathan Broxton and the bullpen blew a couple games, but that isn’t the area that cost the team the most. They simply could not score runs.
You can accept it when Adam Wainwright sticks it to you. But they made Vance Worley look like Wainwright on Sunday in a 1-0 loss.
There is plenty of blame go to around, but those who have to shoulder the most are the teams’ stars. Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun virtually disappeared during this road trip. Jonathan Lucroy held his own a little better, but still didn’t live up to what had been a MVP-type season before the overall slump.
Some tough decisions face GM Doug Melvin and his staff after the season. The Brewers’ starting rotation was outstanding during the road trip and deserved much better. Even if most of those guys come back, they won’t be able to overcome the all-or-nothing offense the Brewers displayed all season. And, it has been mostly nothing the last month or so.
Melvin has to find some more consistent bats if the Brewers have any chance of staying in first place for more than 150 games and right to the end of the season next year.
Player of the Week
The Cubs’ Chris Coghlan had a week’s production in one game to earn the MDR Player of the Week honor. Coghlan went 4-for-4 with two homers, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the 8th inning, to spark the Cubs to a 8-7 win over the Dodgers.
Other MDR teams’ Players of the Week included:
** the Brewers’ entire starting rotation, which pitched great against the Cardinals and Pirates with virtually nothing to show for it.
** the Twins’ Brian Dozier, who hit his 21st homer of the season, and first since Aug. 10.
** the White Sox’s Adam Eaton, who hit .360 for the week.
** RHP Wily Peralta allowed only two singles in his first six innings Sunday.
** RHP Francisco Rodriguez moved into a tie for 10th on the all-time saves list with his save Saturday. It was his 43rd of the season and 347th overall.
** RHP Matt Garza on his ejection after hitting the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen twice: "If people think I hit McCutchen on purpose, with a 1-2 count in a game like this, then you're just an idiot, OK? Because a game like this, a starter doesn't go after a guy like that. It's a [1-2] count and I'm trying to pitch inside. Guy leans in, it hits him on the elbow, that's my day. So it is what it is, and I'm happy we pulled it out."
** Cubs catcher Welington Castillo returned to action after sustaining a left rib contusion during Friday's 14-5 loss to the Dodgers.
** RHP Hector Rondon, a 2012 Rule 5 Draft pick by the Cubs, has allowed one earned run in 16 appearances since Aug. 8, good for a 0.56 ERA with 12 saves, including Saturday.
** OF Aaron Hicks was held out of Sunday’s game with back stiffness.
** LHP Glen Perkins was shut down for the rest of the season after he underwent MRI exams on his shoulder, elbow and forearm on Thursday and Friday and was officially diagnosed with a strained right forearm and nerve irritation in his forearm.
** SS Eduardo Escobar is hopeful he'll return to the lineup by Monday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expressed doubts Escobar will be ready to play by then.
Escobar suffered a jammed right shoulder diving for a ball on Tuesday.
** RF Avisail Garcia had three hits, including two home runs, in a 10-5 win over the Rays Sunday.
** 1B Paul Konerko will play as much as possible in what will be his final week before retirement.
** LHP Chris Sale surrendered nine hits and five runs over just five innings in Chicago's 6-2 loss to the Royals and lost the AL ERA lead.
The Brewers and Cubs will wrap up the season next weekend at Miller Park. The Brewers hope it will be a meaningful series in the Wild Card race, not just a I-94 Rivalry series.
Expect plenty of kudos for Paul Konerko as he plays his last week before retirement.
Next weekend’s MDR Blog will actually be posted on Monday, Sept. 29, so a complete summary of the regular season can be written. A special format will include: 1) brief reviews of the four MDR teams’ seasons, 2) MDR season honors and a 2014 All Star team, 3) a look at how the Pompous Prognostications came out and 4) the publishing schedule for the off-season.
The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below. Updates are periodically added to the Facebook posting of the blog: