The 2023 Milwaukee Brewers season started off great. Offense was easy to come by, the pitching was solid as usual, and the wins started stacking up. Soon, they had won five of six series and were off to a two-game lead in the NL Central.
Then, the team hit a rough patch. Series wins turned into series losses, not to mention a quick, five-game losing streak. The Brewers would even lose their division lead for a while, to the Pittsburgh Pirates of all teams. And that offense that was flowing early in the season had started to dry up.
Since then, things have improved a little bit. Milwaukee has their division lead back, perhaps mostly because of futility across the NL Central but it's a lead nonetheless. However, the offensive output continued to drag. And now, as the calendar nears June, the Crew's offense is starting to resemble a previous version that most fans would rather forget.
The 2023 Brewers offense is scoring at nearly the same rate as the 2020 team.
Through their first 53 games, the 2023 Brewers offense has dipped down to an output of 4.04 runs per game. Going into the games on Memorial Day, that ranks them as the sixth lowest scoring offense in the league, tied with the Padres and barely placing them above such "prolific" offenses as the Royals, Tigers, and Marlins.
It would also be the lowest scoring Brewers team since the one from the shortened 2020 season. That year, the Crew scored 4.02 runs per game on the season, the fourth lowest scoring team in the league and one that fans were frustrated with all season.
Nothing seemed to go right for the offense that year. Christian Yelich, coming off an injury that derailed a possible second straight MVP, looked nothing like his previous self. Neither did Keston Hiura, who stormed onto the scene in 2019 but couldn't repeat the performance.
And few of the Brewers' offseason acquisitions seemed to be doing much. Avisail Garcia, Omar Narvaez, Luis Urias, Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard, Brock Holt, and the list goes on. None of them were able to provide the spark the offense needed.
The end result was the team's first losing season since 2016. Had it not been for some strong pitching performances and expanded playoffs, Milwaukee's playoff streak would have ended that year too. Instead, they barely ended up backing their way into the postseason.
It's been a similar story in 2023 as good pitching and strong defense have helped the Brewers to a division lead for most of the season. One difference, though, is that offensive performances from players like Yelich, Rowdy Tellez, Owen Miller, Brian Anderson, and others offer at least a glimmer of hope that this team can turn things around and look less like the one from three years ago.
The Brewers still have 109 games left this season to right the ship. Let's hope they do, because an offensive performance like that in 2020 likely won't be enough to get them back in the playoffs.