I get it, guys. It’s football season, and most of us have already forgotten that Wisconsin even has a second professional sports team that is still playing. If you’ve clicked through to read this article, you’re either a committed fan of the Sunday Cycle (hi, Greg!), or you’re searching for something, anything, to be optimistic about as the Brewers inch closer to another dark and gloomy off-season.
My disappointment with the lackluster play this year has been well documented. I’ve written numerous articles about the failures of the front office, the lack of commitment to a full strategic rebuild of the organization, and the Brewer’s refusal to be transparent with the local fan base about setting realistic expectations for the future and a plan to get back to the playoffs. I don’t want to keep beating those drums for the sole purpose of getting my weekly article published and posted. Never before has a baseball season felt this long.
The Brewers aren’t even playing bad baseball. In fact, they’ve been spectacularly average the past couple of weeks. They are 15-16 over their last 31 games, and even swept the playoff bound Pittsburgh Pirates a week ago at home. It’s far too little and far too late, but it’s still nice to see the Brewers start to find some sense of consistency.
Perhaps the only reason I’ve been turning on the TV broadcast has been to check out some of the young pitchers that have been given an opportunity to start in September. If you haven’t seen Zach Davies pitch, and you want to feel old, make sure you check this guy out. He’s 6’0” /160 lbs and looks like he still needs a babysitter, but he’s a command pitcher with a killer changeup and looked impressive in his first two starts as a major leaguer before struggling this weekend against Pittsburgh. Ariel Pena, who came to the Brewers from the Angels in the Zach Grienke trade, also made his major league debut this past week, allowing two runs in five innings of work. Taylor Jungmann has solidified his role as a major leaguer, posting a 2.87 ERA in 17 starts. While Jimmy Nelson has taken a smaller step forward than many had hoped this year, he still remains a solid major league pitcher whose best days are ahead of him. If Wily Peralta could find a way to return to some form of his old self, the Brewers could be looking at a young and productive starting rotation in the near future.
The ultimate silver lining of this disastrous season is that we are seeing some of the prospects the Brewers traded for on the major league stage. Many of these players would not have been called up at their former organizations this season, as their teams are in the playoff hunt. Instead of waiting for their named to be called in Double A, many of these young stars are now making their pitch for full time major league duties starting next year – which puts a considerable amount of pressure on some seasoned veterans to stay awake during the off season (cough, Matt Garza, cough).
If you don’t plan on watching another baseball game this season, I wouldn’t blame you. Now that the NFL is in full swing, the Brewers will get very little attention and press over the next four weeks as they close out the 2015 campaign. I predict the Brewers are going to have a very interesting and active off season, starting with the hiring of their new GM in the next month or two. Until then, as the season draws to a close, all one can really hope for is that the team stays healthy, the prospects make the best of their major league opportunities, and the organization tries to salvage some reason to keep their heads up before winter draws near.