Well, the feared West Coast Road Trip seemed to have completely taken the life out of the Milwaukee Brewers this season. After losing two of three in San Diego, then getting swept out of San Francisco, the team has entered a tailspin that does not seem to have an end.
With only a couple of weeks left in the season, the Brewers find themselves in a hole. After being in the Division/Wild Card position for months, the Brewers are on the outside looking in. Normally, being a couple games out of the wild card with about 20 left to go in the season would not be that bad, but given the way the Brewers are playing, it seems like am insurmountable deficit.
Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the pitching has completely fallen apart. Aside from Mike Fiers, this starting rotation seems lost. Last night, K-Rod gave up some of the most important runs of the year and at this point it does not seem like there is a pitcher on the team with any confidence.
As has been the case since early August, timely hitting has been a huge issue. However, given the deficits that this team has faced in the last 12 games, it is unlikely that one or two big hits would have had much of an impact. Still, the inability for the Brewers to score last night with the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth is a microcosm of this season.
I think the most disappointing aspect of this September slide is the fact that no player has emerged as a genuine leader. Even the manager has seemed content to toss out meaningless statements such as, “there is a lot of time left,” and “every team has these cycles.” At some point, somebody needs to stand up and rally the team. After Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals, Roenicke indicated that nobody on the team is a vocal leader. That is not a good thing.
I think that if the Brewers miss the post season, a serious evaluation of the managing staff and the front office needs to take place. The Brewers were 19 games over .500 at one point this season, and to miss the playoffs is borderline unacceptable. I am not saying it is a fireable offense, but it is damn close.
Every team will have a rough stretch or two in the season. Playoff teams are able to minimize the damage and turn it around. The Brewers have not been able to minimize the damage and there is no sign that they are anywhere close to turning this around. As a result, it would not be shocking if this team did not make the playoffs, at this point staying above .500 seems like a 50/50 shot.