Nobody needs the All Star Break more than the Milwaukee Brewers, except maybe their fans.
Brewers backers wish they could say they didn’t see this coming. Milwaukee has dropped six straight games and 10 of their last 11, but last night’s affair in Miller Park against the greatest Bernie Brewer slayer of them all, the St. Louis Cardinals, might have been the most disheartening.
The Brewers recent demise has taken many forms; from inconsistent starting pitching and failure to drive in runs late to blow up innings that demoralize the team and fan base, Ron Roenicke’s club is reeling. Milwaukee scored three runs in both the first and second innings and raced out to a 6-0 lead on Friday before ultimately succumbing to the powerful Redbirds, who now stand only a single game below their usual perch atop the N.L. Central.
Perhaps the call-up of Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson and his impending start this afternoon can help stop the bleeding. Nelson has the potential to be the franchise’s ace for the next several seasons, but it’s very difficult to expect the youngster can turn things around all by himself right now. If the crafty Cardinals jump all over Nelson early, besides plummeting further down the standings, where does the team go from there?
Milwaukee’s front office has shown in the past the willingness to acquire additional quality arms for the pennant race, but Brewers fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that Tampa Bay’s David Price will be heading as far north as Wisconsin anytime soon. The Brewers lack the prospects in their farm system as well as the capital to compete with the likes of the Dodgers, Angels, and (gulp) Cardinals for one of the game’s top starters. If St. Louis were to land the dominating Price, not even a delicious bacon-brat-double-cheeseburger with secret stadium sauce could lift fans’ spirits in Milwaukee.
It’s funny how fast starts can lead to heightened expectations of competing for a divisional title. The silver lining in all of this is that most Brewers fans would have been ecstatic on Opening Day if they were told their favorite club would be a game out of first place at the All Star Break. Now that that’s the worst case scenario (a single win against St. Louis will feel like a major victory), Brewer fans should hold their collective heads up–there’s still lots of baseball ahead and plenty of beers to ease the pain.
The MLB season is a marathon and not a sprint, but right now the Brewers look incapable of finishing a 10K and it’s certainly no fun run.