The Sunday Cycle
Current Record- 53-43, First Place- NL Central
Single- The Brewers continued their worst stretch of the season this week, losing seven in a row and watching their 6.5 game lead in the division disappear. They will head into the all-star break in an NL central that suddenly looks like one of the toughest divisions in baseball, and have lost the cushion that they worked so hard in April to build. Nobody said it was going to be easy, and the Brewers will come out of the All Star break with five of the next seven series against teams that are either in first or second place in their respective divisions. Long story short- the Brewers are going to play like a first place team over the next 66 games to make it to October, which is going to mean hitting against some top tier pitchers, winning close games, and minimizing the mental mistakes that we’ve seen so many of this past week.
Double- I wonder how many teams have seen as great of a month to month difference in offensive production as the Brewers have experienced during June and July. Over 28 games in June, the Brewers were one of the top offensive teams in baseball, average 5.43 runs per games. Before yesterday’s 11-run outburst to close the first half, the Brewers were averaging less than half of that at 2.64 runs per game. What stuck out to me was not only the fact that they weren’t scoring, but even in the games when they scored six or seven runs (both losses), the runs came in one or two innings, only to have the offense disappear as quickly as it had arrived. Over the first eleven games in July, the Brewers managed to plate a run in just 18 of the 99 innings of those games, for an average of 1.64 innings per game. That just isn’t enough to get it done. Blame individuals all you want, but if as a team you can’t string together runs in more than 1-2 innings per game, you’re going to lose a lot of ball games.
Triple- The losing over the past two weeks has been almost hard to watch at times. Friday night’s loss to the Cardinals after being up 6 runs may have been the low point of the entire season. For as tough of a loss Friday night was, Sunday afternoon’s win may have been the most important win thus far. There is such a colossal difference between going into a four day break up a game in the division with a win under your belt, and on an eight game losing streak and in second place. The first half of the season, with its unexpected highs and more recent lows, is now over. The Brewers have been in first place in the division for 100 consecutive games, and have not played a team with a better record since they faced the 2-2 Red Sox for the fifth game of the season. Looking at the first 96 games of the season, you have to look at the silver lining- a first place team that is 10 games over .500 at the all-star break.
HR- Tragedy struck the Brewers club house on Friday, as the team received news that Jean Segura’s 9-month old son had passed away due to illness. Segura flew back to the Dominican Republic immediately to be with his family, and an obviously shaken Brewers team was forced to go back on the field less than 24 hours after receiving the news. Every once in a while, an incident like this happens that truly puts the wins and losses of a baseball team into perspective. There’s not much anyone can say or do, the story is just tragically sad, and it reminds you that these players that are oftentimes the most criticized and scrutinized figures in the city also have lives and families beyond the base pads. Here’s to hoping that Segura finds some comfort in being home, and that the clubhouse can be a source of happiness and normality when he eventually makes his return.