It didn’t even take a month, but the Brewers outfield, which was one of the deepest and best in baseball with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Avisail Garcia getting the bulk of the playing time, has been a major disappointment thus far.
The Brewers knew injuries would pop up throughout the season. That’s just part of baseball. So when Yelich and Cain went on the IL, as much as that hurts the lineup, the Brewers should be covered. Bradley and Garcia can get regular playing time
Instead of being in a rotation in the outfield, Bradley and Garcia have been playing just about every day. The results have not been great so far.
Avisail Garcia is mired in an ugly slump and that puts the Brewers outfield in a tight spot right now.
With Yelich and Cain out, the Brewers need Garcia to step up to keep this offense productive. But what has actually happened is Garcia has gone hitless in his last 27 plate appearances with just four walks and 13 strikeouts. His last hit came on April 18th against Pittsburgh, and it was a home run off Chad Kuhl.
His at-bats have been horrible. Garcia looks completely lost at the plate, swinging at bad pitches, watching strikes go by, and whiffing at pitches he normally crushes.
However, Craig Counsell can’t just sit Garcia because of the injuries cutting into the depth. He has to play, and he has to work his way out of this slump. The Brewers need Garcia, and they desperately need him hitting now. With injuries ravaging the roster right now, the Brewers need their remaining healthy players to step up offensively, and a lot of them haven’t been able to do so.
Bradley is also in a slump of his own, with his slash line dropping down to .195/.244/.312 with just three hits in his last 25 at-bats. Both Garcia and Bradley have been in these slumps since April 19th, which was right after Yelich officially went on the IL.
On top of the outfield issues, first baseman Keston Hiura has been in a season long slump that he’s trying to bust out of. All three of these slumping players were expected to be key cogs in the offense this year, and their importance increased because of the injuries to Yelich and Cain.
This has left a gaping hole in the middle of the batting order with all of the traditional candidates either hurt or in a slump. That’s why Counsell felt it necessary to put Manny Piña in the cleanup spot on Monday against the Marlins. Piña had no business batting in that part of the order, but Counsell doesn’t really have better options right now.
This outfield was supposed to be electric and one of the best outfields in baseball. Instead, two of the star players are hurt, and the other two players are in a slump. Billy McKinney and Tyrone Taylor are taking on way bigger roles than the Brewers ever intended.
The Brewers need Garcia to find it again. They need Bradley to get going. Most of all, they need Yelich and Cain back healthy.
It’s early in the season, and too soon to make any sweeping conclusions. But the sooner these players start hitting, the better.