The Milwaukee Brewers have been one of the most injured teams in Major League Baseball, that you can't deny. And the injuries have affected both the pitching and the offense.
In terms of the latter, the injury bug took out starters as well as backups. Third baseman Luis Urias, center fielder Garrett Mitchell, designated hitter Jesse Winker, shortstop Willy Adames, and outfielder Tyrone Taylor, among others, saw a good chunk of time on the injured list.
Somehow, through that mess of injuries, the Brewers were able to hover at or around first place in the NL Central. That was largely due to strong pitching defense, though, as the offense went through quite a funk. At one point, they saw their runs per game average dip below 4.00, which had them pacing even lower than the pace of the sub-.500 2020 team.
But now, as the team enters the final third of the month of June, the injured list is getting less crowded. Mitchell is still there, and will be for most of the season, while Taylor returned to the lineup only to go back on the IL. But the other three, who are major parts of the lineup, are all back in action. That means no more excuses for the offense.
For the Brewers offense, it's time to put up or shut up.
While Urias and Adames returned over the last couple weeks, Winker was back with the team last Saturday. Having the trio back seemed to help as the Brewers scored five runs in each of their three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend, enough to earn a series sweep and put some distance between the two in the race for the NL Central.
Prior to that, the offense just could not get themselves going on a consistent basis. Through games on Thursday, June 15th, Milwaukee had the 5th worst OPS (.682) in all of baseball, tied for the 2nd worst batting average (.229), and the second highest strikeout rate (25.6%).
There have been some bright spots on the offense. Christian Yelich has been looking much better than recent years with a .801 OPS on the season. New catcher William Contreras isn't far behind at .772. Owen Miller isn't quite as hot as he was when he started getting more playing time but is still batting a very solid .290 in 2023. Rowdy Tellez has been streaky but leads the team with 12 bombs.
But with others struggling, the consistent performances just weren't there. The three-game series against the Pirates was just the second three-game stretch in over a month in which the Brewers scored at least four runs in each game, the other being a three-game stretch on the road against the Reds, a series they also ended up winning.
Regardless of what has happened so far, the original 2023 starting lineup outside of Mitchell is back on the field. So while it was easy to make excuses up until now, that time is done. It's time to start scoring again, period.