Sep 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Cubs players celebrate in the outfield after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Milwaukee Brewers started last week in a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the National League Central division, they were also one-and-a-half up on Atlanta and two up on Pittsburgh in the race for the second wild card.
Today, after a 1-6 week, the Brewers are five games behind the Cardinals in the division and tied with Braves a half game behind the Pirates in the wild card race.
It was a truly brutal week for the Crew, who looked completely lifeless through most of it. They opened the week with a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs and got swept, and they followed by losing three-of-four games with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers played the entire week without Carlos Gomez, who is dealing with a sprain of his wrist, but he pinch hit and broke up Adam Wainwright’s shut out in the ninth inning on Sunday, so he should be back soon.
The slumping Ryan Braun also missed two games to be with his family for the birth of his daughter.
The Brewers have been truly awful as of late. As Adam McCalvy pointed out at MLB.com, in going 1-11 in their last 12 games, the Brewers have shown the second worst offense in baseball (ahead of only the Padres) and the second worst pitching staff (ahead of only the Twins).
After Sunday’s loss, which should have been the final wakeup call this team needs, the players held a 10-15 minute meeting while manager Ron Roenicke was at the post-game press conference.
Jonathan Lucroy told McCalvy, “Something like that kind of wakes you up. We got punched in the mouth today. It’s about time we woke up from the little trance we’ve been in and move forward here.”
But it all might be too-little, too-late for the Brewers as far as the division is concerned. Even with all their games within the division in September, a five game hole is a lot to make up.
The second wild card might be the most the team can hope for right now and the way they have been playing, even that looks kind of sketchy right now. The playoff projections at FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus both have Milwaukee at less than 30% to get in; just two weeks ago they were at 80%.
Adam Wieser over at Disciples of Uecker ran the numbers and found Milwaukee’s run differential of -40 in the last night games, was the 15th worst mark in a nine game stretch in franchise history. 2014 is only one of eight seasons in franchise history to have a nine-game stretch that bad.
Fans of big-round numbers will like that Rickie Weeks collected his 1,000th career hit this week. Weeks has had a bounce back season in his limited-platoon/bench role this year.
Weeks is currently slashing .265/.343/.434, which are all better than his career averages. Scooter Gennett is slashing .296/.329/.454 as the other half of the platoon. Following along with the Brewers on Twitter you see a lot of #TeamRickie and #TeamScooter posts, but I prefer #TeamPlatoonSplits.
The Brewers will open this week with four games against the Marlins, the next team down the list in the race for the second national league wild card spot. After that they’ll host the Cincinnati Reds, in what could be (if Milwaukee doesn’t turn it around) the most lifeless series of the season.