I’ve recapped a ton of games before. I’ve even recapped losses before. But whatever it was that happened this weekend against the Reds was just about too much to handle. So I after picked myself up off the living room floor and wiped off the tears, I was ready to sit down and try to piece together just what went wrong in Cincinnati. Except that I’m still not sure that I can.
I’m hesitant to say that our dismal showing against the Reds is indicative of the type of season we are getting into here. The Reds are built to put balls over those short fences in Great American Ballpark, and the pitching staff of Cincinnati stepped up huge over the weekend. I think you can compare the build up to the Brewers season like someone lying on their resume. Sure it looks great, but you better be ready for your first day on the job.
That is not say that I don’t think the Brewers have the chops to make a run at this division anymore. I don’t think the pitching was that bad – Gallardo had a great opening, Marcum fanned seven batters in a loss, and Wolf had a few flashes of brilliance with five K’s of his own. Axford learned a lesson about hanging pitches in a hitter’s park two days out of three, and hopefully he can use that going forward.
It really was mistakes that swung things away from the Brewers in every game. Casey McGehee somehow managed to keep himself out of position for fielding the entire series – costing us runs and the chance to get out of three separate crucial innings. Betancourt played surprisingly well through the series, but laid an egg today with a fielding error and some issues covering second base. These are all mistakes you almost expect to see in March and April, just not all at once. It could be that Milwaukee figured things would just go their way, this wave of big expectations and positive vibes would ride them into the playoffs. There is no question now that it won’t happen that way. The season is a four month grind, and you need to be ready to work every time you step out onto that field.
On the offensive side, both Kotsay and Betancourt went 0 for Cincinnati, which is probably not a good sign. The Brewers got outscored 22-10 over the course of the weekend, with plenty of strikeouts and a surprisingly small amount of runners left on base. I am a bit concerned our new aggressive offensive strategy is simply going to morph into a ‘swing for the fences’ mentality again.
There were some positive showings throughout the weekend though. Up until the sixth inning today, the Brewers were holding on to chance to win in every single game against the Reds. Rickie Weeks has his bat going on full power this season (despite the fact that I would like him to have a third step between home run and fly out) and Ryan Braun hit a change up damn near into the Ohio River this afternoon. But outside of those two – and the rather heartwarming Eric Almonte dinger in Saturday’s game – there was little else to be excited about at the plate.
So the Cincinnati series came to a merciful end today at the hands of Chapman, putting a disheartening stamp on a 12-3 shellacking. I won’t say I’m not concerned about the state of the team, but I do think it is a little too early to put a lot of stock in a loss – or a series sweep for that matter. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a dark bedroom and a full box Kleenex to get back to.