Some Thoughts on a Rainy Tuesday

No Brewers baseball today, because other cities did not have the foresight to place a retractable roof atop their stadium (I’m looking at you, Pittsburgh).  But after the off-day yesterday, we have a couple days to reflect on the Brewers’ young season. 

A week-and-a-half removed from the sweep at the hands of the Reds, those losses don’t look nearly as significant. 

John Axford, who blew his first save opportunity of the year on opening day, has quelled criticism by subsequently converting three, two against Atlanta and one against Chicago.  He won’t often pitch a clean 1-2-3 inning, but he’s shown he still belongs as the Brewers’ ninth-inning man (Good thing, too; they don’t have many other options since Saito was placed on the 15-day DL). 

Following an unremarkable start in Game 2 against the Reds (4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 7K), Shaun Marcum threw a solid six innings against Atlanta on April 7, allowing two earned runs and picking up the win. He only struck out four, but Marcum gets by on finesse, not power.  Six quality innings is exactly what you’d expect out of your #3, and Marcum is certainly capable of delivering that game after game. 

Chris Narveson hasn’t allowed a run so far this season.  That’s going to change eventually, but believe the hype; although he gave up some big innings last year, Narveson’s strikeout to walk ratio (about 2.4) is pretty consistent with his minor league numbers (about 2.3).  He tends to put guys on base a little too often, but you don’t expect ace-type material coming out of the five-spot.  In that role, Narveson definitely has potential to be one of the best in the bigs.

Rickie Weeks (.268 BA, .348 OBP, 3 HR, 5 RBI), Prince Fielder (.400 BA, .488 OBP, 11 RBI), and Ryan Braun (.353 BA, .476 OBP, 4 HR, 8 RBI) have all started off the year red-hot.  Nyjer Morgan has too, but don’t expect him to bat .500.  Casey McGehee has started pretty slow, but look no further than his game-winning pinch-hit home run against the Cubs last Sunday for evidence that he’s starting to break out of his funk.  Don’t be concerned about the few games so far with little offensive production; this team will score runs.

There are some areas of concern.  Randy Wolf has been shelled so far this year.  The same thing happened last year, but he managed to turn in sparkling performances after the All-Star Break.  While he certainly doesn’t look like he was worth Doug Melvin’s substantial investment, I think the jury’s still out.  He has plenty of time to turn the season around.  The bottom of the batting order has been struggling, too, but getting Corey Hart back soon should help out there.

That all works out to a 5-5 record, good for third in the division behind the Reds (7-2) and Pittsburgh (5-5).  It hurt to drop three to the Reds, but the Brewers have done what they needed to at home, winning a four-game series with Atlanta and a three-game series against the (evil, hated) Cubs.  Things are looking up.

Season at a Glance

March 31 @ Cincinnati:  L   6-7
April 2 @ Cincinnati:      L   2-4
April 3 @ Cincinnati:      L   3-12
April 4 vs. Atlanta:         L   1-2
April 5 vs. Atlanta:        W   1-0
April 6 vs. Atlanta:        W   5-4
April 7 vs. Atlanta:        W   4-2
April 8 vs. Chicago:        L   4-7
April 9 vs. Chicago:       W   6-0
April 10 vs. Chicago:     W   6-5

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