I’m not ready to say that the 2011 Brewers will be defined by their horrid road record (8-18, one of the worst in baseball), though they’ll certainly need to turn that around at some point. But with the way the Brewers have been playing at home (at 21-7, they’re the first MLB team to 20 home wins), they don’t exactly have to play winning ball while away. A .500 road record will probably get them in the dance.
But a step backward yesterday; a 3-7 loss to the Reds at Great American isn’t going to help. Still, it isn’t quite the disaster some in the media make it out to be. Yes, we dropped another game on the road. Yes, it was to the division rival Reds. And yes, the Brewers again had trouble putting runs across the plate.
Still, it’s not quite fair to put this Brewers team in the same box as the team that went 0-3 against the Reds to start the year. We have Zack Greinke, apparent ace, back in the rotation, and he’s going to start tonight. Shaun Marcum, who will go in game 3, is a totally different pitcher than he was during his disastrous first outing against the Reds. We’ve got some new bats in Nyjer Morgan (who as a new Brewer went 1-2 in the first road series in 2 PA), Corey Hart (who was on the DL), and Josh Wilson (who was incognito as a Diamondback).
Add to that the fact that it was our number five, Chris Narveson, starting yesterday. He’s been serviceable so far (1.2 WAR), but he’s still a number five, and that means you’re going to ask, like Ron Roenicke did, what he was thinking on an occasional pitch:
No, you can’t do that to [Jay Bruce]. And then he turned around and did it again on a 1-2 to Gomes. They had a lot of two strike hits today, and all of them bad pitches.
Narveson is going to get tossed around once in a while. It was just bad luck that it happened yesterday, on the road, against the Reds.
So as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t do much good to measure the Brewers effectiveness at Great American based on the results of the games so far. I think the real test is going to come tonight and tomorrow, when they throw their best (Greinke and Marcum) up on the mound and see what happens. If the Brewers drop the next two, then yeah, we can worry; the Brewers are sitting at 1-6 against the Reds so far this year, and I don’t see any way the Brewers win the central if they can’t figure Dusty Baker’s team out.