Last week, when Scooter was called up and Alex Gonzalez was let go, I said that we were looking at “The Beginning of the End”. I believed that to be true because Uncle Mark and Uncle Doug had chosen youth over veteran leadership for the remainder of the season. It seemed pretty simple. The team was not a postseason contender, so it might be best to let some young guys cut their teeth and play with the big kids. In my mind it was a wave of the white flag. This team had no interest in competing and wanted to see what they had, or so I thought…
Then a week had passed and things were different. Today we find ourselves staring down the barrel of a 4 game winning streak, a starting pitching staff going deep into games, and an offense that appears to be capable of scoring runs WITHOUT Ryan Braun in the lineup. What a difference a week makes…
Now based off of the title, I am not suggesting that Scooter Gennett is the reason the team seems to have found some semblance of continuity. However, I do believe the motives behind his call up were much like a Transformer…there’s”More than meets the eye” .
This would not mark the first occasion where I jumped the gun without considering the long-term plans of a man much smarter than myself (Mark Attanasio). But is it possible that the sole reason for bringing in Scooter and waiving Alex Gonzalez was to light a fire under Rickie Weeks’ backside? Whether or not it is possible is irrelevant. It is working.
Going into last Monday night’s game, RW was hitting .184. His season had been getting worse and worse. Then, in said 2-10 loss, Weeks hit a HR and triple, driving in both of the Brewers runs. And for the record, it should have been 2 HR’s and 3 RBI’s, but thanks to instant replay the umpires blew the call. Scooter Gennett had been called up that day and it looked like Weeks got a little scared. Naturally, the skeptic in me thought this was just a one night flash of power, per usual…I was wrong.
Over the past week, Rickie is batting .429 with a .467 OBP. His season batting average has climbed from .184 to a much more respectable .209 (still not good enough, but I like that it is getting better). Meanwhile, Gennett has gotten off to a slow start. They have essentially split time at 2nd base, Weeks had 14 AB’s and Gennett had 13. In those opportunities, Gennett is batting .154 with 4 K’s and only 2 hits. Based off of this small sample (are you ready for this Justin), Weeks is the better option at 2nd base.
However, isn’t it possible that having Gennett around is pushing Weeks to work harder and focus more? I can guarantee you that at no point this season has Rickie Weeks ever looked in the mirror and said,
“Man, I better get it in gear. Otherwise Alex Gonzalez is going to take my job.” -Rickie Weeks’ fake inner monologue
On the flip side, I bet he has at least contemplated the possibility of Scooter taking his job. That is the sort of thing that will make anyone work harder, whether you sell cars or play a game for money.
At no point in the past 3 months has Alex Gonzalez, Yuniesky Betancourt, or Jeff Bianchi proven themselves as a worthy successor. Thus, Rickie probably felt like no matter how bad it got, he would still be the everyday 2nd baseman. Enter Scooter…and Ron Roenicke deciding that they would each play based on the oppositions starting pitcher. Scooter gets the Righties, Rickie gets the Lefties. The ideal situation would be to create a dueling banjos atmosphere, where the two are always trying to “one-up” the other. So far though, it has only served to get Rickie back on track. Not to mention the fact that the team has played significantly better baseball over the last week.
So, while I do not believe that Scooter Gennett the “player” is responsible for the quick resurgence of Rickie Weeks…and likewise the team. I do believe that the “idea” of Scooter Gennett seems to have given RW and the team a little shot in the arm. That “idea” of Scooter, is what I am going to deem “The Scooter Gennett Effect”.
Now the only question is which one will disappear faster…the “player” or the “idea”. As a Scooter fan, I hope that the “idea” goes first. As a Brewers fan, I hope they both stay and we all can live the next 3 months in victorious bliss.
What do you think? Is Scooter Gennett making Rickie Weeks play better? Or is it simply a coincidence? Will Scooter and Rickie be able to stop the Penguin from freezing Gotham?