Tonight, a struggling Brewers team (1-5 in their last two series) take on a Phillies team that is fighting to tread a water in a division that, for the better part of a decade, was theirs to lose.
Staff writer Ethan Seidel caught up with me for a short, but entertaining series of questions surrounding two teams playing for future.
Reviewing The Brew: Do you find any similarities between the Phillies and Brewers struggles this year? Who do you think has more bounce back potential in 2013?
That Ball’s Outta Here: The Phillies problems this year can be boiled down to injuries. Yes, Howard and Utley’s ailments were not surprises, but missing your two best hitters for nearly 3 months is devastating. Coupled with Halladay and Polanco spending Time on the DL and you’ve got key players out for long stretches. I’d say the phillies have a great chance to bounce back though since they will have money to spend.
RtB: The core group of Philly players are getting up in age and struggling with injuries – who do you want to see up from the minors to make a long-term impact?
TBOH: All eyes are on Dominic Brown now. He is getting a chance to play every day now that
Pence and Victorino are gone, so it’s now or never for the former top prospect. He has struggled in the past, but the Phillies will need him to produce and help fill out next years outfield.
RtB: Why do you think Cliff Lee has so much trouble with the Brewers?
TBOH: One popular theory for Lee’s struggles (against everyone) is that he throws too many strikes. It makes more sense thy hitters have adjusted to his strike happy nature, and Lee may have to start keeping hitters off balance with more breaking stuff. Until he makes the adjustment, aggressive hitters will continue to have success against him.
Here are Ethan’s questions for me – which can also be seen over at That Ball’s Outta Here, our Fansided friends in Philly.
TBOH: How would you judge the return the brewers got for zach greinke, did they get enough?
RtB: I think the return is fine – especially judging by the recent performance of Greinke. We got three high-level prospects, one of whom is already making a difference at the Major League level. Hellweg and Pena will probably be given bullpen shots next year and both can have major impacts there. I think it was a great move for the Brewers.
TBOH: What happened to John Axford? His mustache dominated the 9th inning last year.
RtB: The Ax man’s struggles are frustrating and upsetting. He goes from one of the longest consecutive saves streaks in history to blowing every other outing. I think it’s mental. These days people don’t have the patience. One bad effort and you need to go. I think he’s got a lot of good innings left, he just needs to find his tenacity. [Ed.'s note: His mustache is STILL awesome]
TBOH: Paul Ryan (of Wisconsin) is trolling for votes for mitt Romney. Would you vote for another Ryan (Braun) come MVP voting?
RtB: I’d love to say differently, but more often than not baseball politics can be just as divisive as the crap out of DC. I’d give Braun a vote, but not the win. He’s playing at a consistently high level this year, but with the Crew effectively out his numbers aren’t as impactful. He’ll win another MVP, just not this season.
Broadcast Note: If you can’t tune in on TV tonight – 620 WTMJ Will not have the Brewers on the radio due to Packers Preseason. In the Milwaukee area, you can find it on your radio dial at 94.5 WLWK
Enjoy the games, Brewers fans.