Let me start by saying that I like Ron Roenicke.
Really, I do.
When he got hired by Mark Attanasio in November 2010 to take over the Milwaukee Brewers manager position, I was hoping that it was actually brother Gary Roenicke, former Baltimore/Montreal/NY Yankees/Atlanta outfielder. He never had more than 477 plate appearances in any of his 12 major league seasons, but he had some pop (121 career HRs) and got on base at a fair clip (.351 OBP), and I always liked the way he played.
Brother Ron spent eight years with six major league squads, slashing .238/.353/.338 as a journeyman outfielder/first baseman. He also knew how to work a pitcher and had a career-high 61 walks in 1986 with the Phillies in just 343 plate appearances.
Maybe that is why he is so patient with his players.
And I have been pretty patient with him through thick and thin, including last year’s stumbling 11-25 finish the last six weeks of the season, dropping the Brewers from a sure playoff bid to a team that watched from the sidelines as the post-season played on.
I watched as the Brewers stood ‘pat’ during the off-season, preferring to stick with the core of last year’s team.
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Fine, said I.
But as the young 2015 campaign shows Milwaukee at 2-9 on April 18, with apologies to comedian John Pinette, I say ‘nay nay.’
Enough is enough.
Roenicke has control over many things when it comes to Brewers baseball, including handling the pitching staff. In five decent Brewer starts this year (including two quality starts), Brewer pitchers have allowed seven ER in 30.1 IP (2.08 ERA).
In six ‘not-so-quality’ starts, Brewer hurlers have an ERA of 9.10 (31 earnies in 30.2 IP).
Granted, it is not all Roenicke’s fault, but he does have a tendency to let the starter have a long leash and sometimes this comes back to bite him. I haven’t drilled down enough to see if that is the case this year, but let’s just say that is what his history shows.
Two other items on the docket are base-running and fielding.
The on-base snafus are pretty obvious; how many times did you scream at your TV or radio last year because of dumb mistakes on the base paths? It might be a little better this year, but time will tell.
And fielding, well, that is sometimes physical and sometimes mental.
Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers committed 99 errors in 162 games. Thus far in 2015, the Brewers have made ten miscues in 11 games, an increase of nearly 50% over last season.
All-in-all, this season has been a struggle for Milwaukee, and as much as I like Roenicke as a person, he might not be the right manager for Milwaukee at this time.
If Attanasio wants to salvage this season, he might need to make a move sooner rather than later.