Welcome back to the thrilling conclusion of my 3 piece rant about the first month of 2011 Brewers baseball. As you probably recall, Rant #1 was about Craig Counsell, Rant #2 asked the question “What is Mark Kotsay doing on this team?”, and now I end it with something that is more relevant than it was even just a few days ago. Should Nyjer Morgan take over as the everyday CF and also assume the #2 spot in the lineup?
Colin already touched on the base running issues we are beginning to see with current CF Carlos Gomez. The kid plays with a reckless abandon, which sometimes serves him well, but also gets him into all kinds of trouble. How can we as fans sit back and watch Gomez record out after out batting in the 2 hole? Rumor has it that Dale Sveum has been working with him to make him a more consistent hitter. I use the phrase “Rumor has it”, because the guy still has no discipline at the plate. Game in and game out, I just assume the out for Gomez. Why wouldn’t I? Carlos is hitting a measly .240 batting in front of Ryan Braun and after Rickie Weeks. Gomez is sitting in prime hitting real estate and wasting it. This leads me to the point of today’s rant.
Nyjer Morgan is expected to return to the club on Monday (today). As a Brewer, Morgan has an on-base percentage of .500, which is about twice as good as Gomez. The team was playing flat, uninspired baseball before Tony Plush made his presence felt. While Morgan was playing, the team was winning. The moment he went on the DL, things started to fall apart again. You really have to look no further than the last two games. Our beloved Brewers only scored 1 run in the past two games…against the Astros. That to me, is the definition of uninspired. The Astros do not have even half the talent that we do, yet we made them look like the Yankees. We need a good shot in the arm and I think Tony Plush is the man to do it.
Before Morgan started to really contribute to this ball club, we had lost 4 in a row and things looked pretty bleak. Since he went on the DL back on April 18th, the team has floated along at .500 (6-6). After the pathetic 0-4 start, Morgan began to find himself some more playing time. The team went on a 7-3 tear leading up to his thigh injury. Now, I am not saying that Morgan is the only reason the team went on that hot streak. However, I am saying that it does seem like a strange coincidence. For whatever reason, he acts as a spark plug for this team, both offensively and defensively.
Manager Ron Roenicke has been very outspoken in his support for Gomez, but it is very clear that Brewers management does not share his confidence. They made that perfectly clear when they traded for Nyjer just days before the start of the regular season. Nyjer Morgan was brought in to specifically fill the void in CF should Gomez continue to underachieve. Well, guess what? Gomez is underachieving and the Cardinals are already pulling away in the division race. There are no more expendable games left to sit around and give Gomez more time to develop. It’s not like this is his first season as a starting outfielder!!! Go-Go is damn near a veteran at this point in his career, so what are we waiting for?
Look, I am just like all of you. I want to win games. This may not be the best example, but it is the one that hits closest to home for me. Last season I played for a softball team here in Seattle. We had some really amazing people on that team, not all of them were great ballplayers. Anyway, our team made it to the championship game and choked. It was almost as if everyone was just happy to be there, rather than trying to win the game. Maybe the Brewers are having something similar happen to them at this point in the season. Everyone is so happy to be together again, that they have forgotten that the whole point of this is to win the World Series. Now, in my example the story ends with the team breaking into two teams. One team is there to have fun and my new team is there to win. When you are winning games, it is so much easier to laugh and have a great time. Trust me. Winning ball games brings the fun to the surface because everyone let’s their guard down a little bit. The Crew needs someone or something to jump start the “fun” and I promise that the winning will follow.
Nyjer Morgan is a gifted athlete, who we are very lucky to have on this roster. To under-utilize him would be a terrible waste of those gifts. In my humble opinion, he has not so much won the job from Carlos, he has just proven that he can fill that void. Gomez is playing himself out of his job and that is something that RR and Company need to seriously evaluate. Again, we can not just sit back and watch him record out after out batting in front of Ryan Braun. This team needs a catalyst to be in that slot, whether that is Corey Hart or Nyjer Morgan I do not know. What I do know, we gave Gomez a shot and it is just not working. Change is a part of life and this team needs something to change before this division gets to far out of reach.
END OF RANTS…FOR NOW
On a non-baseball note, by now we have all heard that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Our nation and so many others have suffered loss and devastation at his hands. This should be a day of rejoicing, but we must also remember that fateful September morning and all of the soldiers who have lost their lives in defense of what we all have. I hope that we can all try and keep this moment in perspective. Loss of life is never something to revel in, but this was more than just a man being killed. It was the end of an era. Last night on CNN, several reporters talked with NYPD and FDNY men and women and you could see the genuine relief on their faces. Those who lost friends and family members can now have the “closure” that we all seek in tragic losses of life. Thank you to all of our service men and women. Your dedication and strength has given me more gifts than Santa Clause ever could. Now I can only hope that you will all be home soon. For the first time in way too long, I am proud to be an American. God Bless America and those who fight to keep her safe!!
Ok, I am off the soap box. Today the Crew starts a 4 game road series against the Atlanta Braves. As of this moment, Zach Greinke will be taking the mound on Wednesday. Tomorrow will most likely be the last time we see Marco Estrada for a while. Marco is scheduled to start, but the word on the street is that he will be sent back to Nashville in order to make room for Greinke and Morgan. Tonight we will get to see Yovani Gallardo try and lower his shocking 5.70 ERA. So, per usual let us send out good vibes so that we will not get embarrassed by the Braves in Hotlanta.
Every Monday going forward, I will share with you the division standings. I warn you, things are not pretty right now:
St. Louis 16-12 —
Cincinnati 14-14 2.0 GB
Milwaukee 13-14 2.5 GB
Pittsburgh 13-15 3.0 GB
Chi Cubs 12-15 3.5 GB
Houston 11-17 5.0 GB