Sep 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke (10) challenges a call with first base umpire Mark Carlson in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The call was overturned. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
When the Brewers fell into their tie with the Cardinals a few days ago, Reviewing the Brew reader Berger2 commented:
"Back in July, right before the Trade Deadline, you ran a poll asking which need Doug Melvin should address to strengthen the team, get a better bench player, add a quality reliever, get a new first baseman, or get another starting pitcher. In July the Crew added Gerardo Parra as their bench guy, and he has delivered. Mike Fiers has been added to the rotation, and he has pitched better in August than any National League starter not named Clayton Kershaw. Late last week they picked up Jonathan Broxton to help the bullpen. So as morning dawned on September 1st, Melvin had addressed three out of four of the major issues, and the Crew was tied for first with the Cardinals. So the pieces are in place. If it all turns sour, which is always in the back of our heads, I don’t think anybody can blame this on Doug Melvin."
While they didn’t all come ahead of the July non-waiver trading deadline, he is absolutely right. Doug Melvin and staff have addressed the major issues that the Brewers had for the stretch run.
The roster, as constructed, is a playoff roster, even if they aren’t playing that way. The team is in a freefall right now.
Over the last 30 days, nine Brewers players have gotten 50 plate appearances. They are Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Khris Davis, Gerardo Parra, Scooter Gennett, Jean Segura, Mark Reynolds, and Ryan Braun.
Over that span, here is how those players stack up in wRC+. If you need to brush up on wRC+ read the glossary over at FanGraphs.
Player – wRC+ Last 30 Days (wRC+ for the season)
Aramis Ramirez – 140 (123)
Khris Davis – 136 (115)
Gerardo Parra – 125 (112)
Carlos Gomez – 119 (130)
Jonathan Lucroy – 108 (132)
Scooter Gennett – 86 (115)
Ryan Braun – 76 (121)
Jean Segura – 54 (58)
Mark Reynolds – 22 (89)
First base, the one unaddressed issue we mentioned from the trading deadline, has been a black hole for Milwaukee for the last month. Mark Reynolds is slashing .136/.224/.254. He’s making Jean Segura (all of .218/.323/.236) look like an All Star over that span.
Segura’s offensive struggles this season have been thoroughly documented, and fans have started to wonder if he really is the shortstop of the future for the Brewers. Elian Herrera has been a better hitter this season (85 wRC+ in the last 30 days), but he’s made bad plays defensively that have cost the Brewers both on the infield and outfield.
But, even after you get past Reynolds and Segura, several guys are performing worse now than they have for the rest of the season. Braun is in one of the longer slumps of his career, Gennett looks tired on the field, Lucroy has fallen off his early torrid pace, and Gomez has dipped back slightly.
Only Ramirez, Davis and Parra are outperforming their season average right now.
In addition to the listed starters, the two main men off the bench, Rickie Weeks and Lyle Overbay have been some of the Brewers better performers in limited action. Weeks is slashing .333/.400/.615 in the last month in 45 plate appearances, and Overbay is at .375/.483/.500 in 29 plate appearances.
The Brewers five starters over the last 30 days have been Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta and Kyle Lohse. Lohse has had four starts in that span, Peralta and Fiers have had five each, and Nelson and Gallardo have six. How do those guys stack up?
Player – ERA, FIP (Season ERA, FIP)
Mike Fiers – 1.80 ERA, 2.04 FIP (1.93, 2.51)
Yovani Gallardo – 3.60 ERA, 3.79 FIP (3.43, 3.86)
Jimmy Nelson – 4.04 ERA, 3.63 FIP (4.14, 3.79)
Wily Peralta – 5.33 ERA, 4.80 FIP (3.82, 4.40)
Kyle Lohse – 5.66 ERA, 5.84 FIP (3.68, 3.95)
Matt Garza – N/A, N/A (3.58 ERA, 3.52 ERA)
Fiers, Gallardo and Nelson has basically been the same pitchers over the last 30 days as they have been all season (although that is only one extra start for Fiers and 4 for Nelson). Wily Peralta and Kyle Lohse are pitching badly right now.
What about the bullpen?
Player – ERA, FIP (Season ERA, FIP)
Francisco Rodriguez – 3.00 ERA, 7.02 FIP (3.00, 4.21)
Will Smith – 7.56 ERA, 3.13 FIP (4.19, 3.15)
Zach Duke – 6.14 ERA, 2.86 FIP (2.44, 2.28)
Brandon Kintzler – 3.09 ERA, 5.44 FIP (3.28, 4.89)
Jeremy Jeffress – 1.50 ERA, 3.30 FIP (1.56, 3.13)
Tom Gorzelanny – 1.35 ERA, 5.53 FIP (0.48, 2.81)
Marco Estrada – 5.29 ERA, 3.95 FIP (4.61, 3.71)
Bear in mind that the bullpen numbers above are the most likely to be impacted by small sample sizes. But, even then, what they are showing is that the results of basically every pitcher in the bullpen (other than Jeffress, Kintzler and K-Rod) have been much worse over the last 30 days than for the season as a whole.
You can dig deeper into every player and find out exactly why they’ve fallen off, but right now the majority of the lineup, half the rotation and most of the bullpen are playing some of their worst baseball of the season all at once.
The talk of Ron Roenicke winning Manager of the Year is going to quiet down pretty quickly if the Brewers don’t turn this around fast.