Light at the End of the Tunnel: Brewers Slumps Coming to a Close?
By Curt Hogg
After last Friday’s 4-3 loss to Colorado, Ryan Braun was skidding offensively with a .245 after an abysmal 0-16 stretch at the plate which included nine strikeouts. After the series finale on Sunday against the Rockies, Aramis Ramirez was doing even worse, posting a .158 average and only three extra base hits. Nyjer Morgan was 5-42 at the dish through Sunday’s finale. Needless to say, the power combination in the Brewers lineup was not producing and was one of the primary reasons for the team’s offensive struggles.
Throw in a doctor’s prescription for three days of Astros pitching and the Brewers bats seemed to have recovered from their troubled starts.
Braun’s turnaround really began when he hit a no-doubter on Saturday to tie the game and end his 0-16 skid. Carrying that momentum, the Ryan Braun that Brewers fans are used to seeing showed up against the Astros. He singled home a run and hammered his third homer of the season in the series opener, going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs. He went deep again in the rubber match on Wednesday, his fourth of the season. He finished 2-5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs. Braun entered the series hitting .255 with 2 homers, 7 RBI, and 9 runs and came out at a .275 mark with 4 homers, 11 RBI, and 13 runs–this including an oh-fer-five showing in Tuesday’s win, a game in which the Crew showcase their muscle.
Ramirez matched his season total of three extra base hits coming into the series with three of them against Houston. He raised his average to a much more respectable .191 by spraying the ball to the opposite field. This approach to right field was something unseen from the Brewers third baseman this season; his pressing at the plate led to rolled-over grounders and overswinging on pop ups to left.
Four Brewers homered in the 9-6 win on Tuesday: Travis Ishikawa, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, and Carlos Gomez. Ishikawa and Gomez both blasted their first round-tripper and Weeks hit his first homer since April 9 at Chicago.
Each night, there seemed to be a different player stepping up for Milwaukee’s offense. During the primarily dormant beginning to the
six-game homestand, the team received most of their offensive input from Corey Hart, Mat Gamel, George Kottaras, and Norichika Aoki. The bats of Braun, Ramirez, Weeks, Alex Gonzalez, and others were seemingly absent until Houston came to town. Milwaukee put up 20 runs on Astros pitching over three days, easily the largest single-series total of the young season.
Not only did the offensive output look good in the box score, but it gave Brewers fans a sigh of relief, as well. The starting pitching of the Brewers had not done poorly, yet was consistently finding itself in the loser’s column because of a run shortage. Big innings were thwarted by strikeouts and weak pop ups. Balls weren’t leaving the yard. At-bats were short and poor. Rallies weren’t chained together.
But, hopefully, that seems to be changing.
Aramis Ramirez tripled. Travis Ishikawa homered twice. Hart hit his fifth and sixth homers. Braun got back on track. Weeks came through with men on base. Aramis Ramirez tripled. T. Plush returned with three hits on Tuesday. Gomez raised his average to .371. Aramis Ramirez tripled.
Things seem to be finally going in the right direction for the Brewers on offense. I mean, even Aramis Ramirez tripled.