Jul 28, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke (10) in the dugout during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Six years ago, Wisconsin woke up on September 1 and found the Milwaukee Brewers listed in second place in the National League Central, 4 1/2 games behind (of all teams!) the Chicago Cubs.
Manager Ned Yost‘s team was 24 games above .500 at 80-56 and looked like a sure bet to win the single wildcard position in the N.L.
Two weeks later, Yost was canned by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin after Milwaukee managed only three wins in 14 games to drop to 83-67 and sink 7 1/2 games behind the Cubs. Third base coach Dale Sveum was named to replace Yost as the ‘interim’ manager.
The Brewers started slow under their new skipper, losing four of five to fall 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for the opportunity to fill the final post-season spot.
Then the Crew caught fire.
They won five in a row to sneak in front of the Mets by a single game with two to play.
A Brewers’ loss in game 161–coupled with a Mets win–left the teams with identical 89-72 marks going into the final day of action.
Not to worry, as C.C. Sabathia pitched a gem for Milwaukee to give them a 3-1 win over the Cubs as the Mets dropped a 4-2 decision to the then-Florida Marlins, giving the Brewers the wildcard spot and their first playoff appearance since 1982.
The Brewers lost to Philadelphia, three games to one in the N.L. Divisional Series.
Ken Macha became the Brewers manager in 2009.
So, why the history lesson?
The 2014 version of the Milwaukee Brewers occupied first place in the N.L. Central from April 5 until September 1, but have been in free-fall mode since August 26, having gone 1-11 in those games to drop not to second, but to third in the division behind leader St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Manager Ron Roenicke has been under fire as the Brewers season dissipates like foam on the top of a well-poured pilsner.
Is the letdown his fault?
No, not totally, but at some point, GMs and owners have to find a scapegoat during or after a disappointing year, and the manager is usually the first to feel the wrath of his bosses.
Not that long ago, Milwaukee was 16 games above .500 and sitting pretty with a three game lead over struggling St. Louis.
Now the roles are reversed and the Brewers have managed just three wins in 17 games since then and are five games out of the lead and scrambling to maintain the second wildcard position. They are currently a half-game behind Pittsburgh and deadlocked with Atlanta at 74-69.
Does Melvin make a move just to ‘make a move,’ or does he hope the team can pull out of its funk?
From my perspective, the great start to the season has eroded into ‘just another disappointing year.’
So, my question to you is: should Ron Roenicke be fired? (Feel free to comment.)