Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brewers have to find their bats

By Nicole
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I was at Friday night's Brewers games and have notes scribbled all over my Brewers Gameday program and this is the first minute I have to put them up. Sorry for the not so timely coverage. Things have been more than hectic here at CuteSports central as I'm writing a portion of a book and it has to be in by the first. In fact, I should be writing that right now! I've also picked up a side job as publicist for a local music project. In addition, I deal blackjack as a side job for Casino Night's around the area and last night I didn't get back til late.

Anyway, I think the story of the past few days is the lack of offensive output. Yesterday's game was a positive, but for the most part, the Brewers have failed in the one spot that was supposed to not be an issue this year.

Run scoring has been more than difficult, as 10 of our 14 wins have been by 2 runs or less.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be so much of a worry, but we really banked on our offensive output. We knew that Gagne and our pitching staff were going to have some rough spots. WE KNEW THIS. But we also knew that with our batting lineup, one or two run mistakes by our pitchers weren't supposed to matter because our offense was supposed to have given us a cushion.

The biggest problem has been lack of patience at the plate. I have neither the time nor inclination to give you a first 25 games breakdown of this, but I think Friday's game is a good example. Heading into the 7th inning, Yovani Gallardo had 96 pitches. He ended the inning with 114 pitches. Heading into the 7th inning, Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen had just 78 pitches. He was pulled in the middle of the 7th.

We had NO STRIKEOUTS. Normally, I'd be excited about that stat because we've had a problem with that this season. But the reason we had no K's is because we didn't have the patience to stick around for that many pitches. According to my scorekeeping, we had 11 pop-up outs. ELEVEN! We did have four walks - 2 by Bill Hall - which is a huge improvement for him.

We cannot keep putting ourself at that disadvantage. Not only does that mean too many stupid outs, but it means that our bullpen's in the game an inning or two before their's is.

Having no offense means a real small leash for our pitchers. There is little to no margin of error. Our pitchers are allowed one, maybe two, rough pitches and then we have to look to the bullpen to stop any bleeding because our pitching staff has been given no support. This is our already tired, has taken us into countless extra-innings games bullpen. Our not scoring isn't just going to effect the score now. It's going to tire out the bullpen and have long lasting effects.

Yovani Gallardo has pitched two 100+ pitch starts and doesn't have a win. On April 20 he threw 112 pitches, gave up one run on four hits and Gagne blew the save.
Carlos Villanueva pitched 98 pitches giving up 3 hits and 2 runs on April 21 against the Reds. Our bullpen gave up two runs and we lost 4-3. 

This kind of things CANNOT keep happening. It's all related and it's going to lead to a very tired bullpen and a lot of losses down the line. We're not even at May 1 yet. It's great that we're still 4 games above .500. It's great that we've won 7 games on the road already.

Every announcer/taking head/coach keeps saying that "sooner or later, this offense is going to break out." Thus far, we have no proof that's going to happen. It's wishful thinking. And "sooner or later" may just be too late.

It's not a matter of being down or negative on this team, it's a matter of fact. If we don't pull out of this funk pretty soon, it could be a really long season with another very tired bullpen.

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