Never before has one picture so accurately summed up 25 games of baseball. This is the Brewers in a nutshell. Stumbling lifelessly through the first portion of their schedule and making even the calmest baseball fan start to worry about the direction this team is headed. Disclaimer: I still am not even close to hitting the panic button. Fact: This may be the biggest month in Brewer baseball for years to come.
Now a 10-15 record is a little disconcerting (you see how I'm maturing? 'A little disconcerting' replaces $%%$*$!) at this juncture of the year. But not nearly as unsettling as how the Crew has gotten to this early season low. For one, they are completely out of sync. When the pitching is there, the bats go silent. When the bats are there, the pitching gives up runs like Chuck Norris doles out roundhouse kicks, swiftly and indiscriminately. Not to mention this team has lost some of it's 'swag' this season. I'm not sure if it's because Ken Macha has put an end to it, or if the players are just tired of it, but there's no more 'un-tuckem' after wins, no more atomic bomb celebrations from Prince Fielder, and a lot less smiles in the dugout. Now granted there hasn't been a ton to smile about this season so far, but doesn't it seem like this team has lost a little bit of itself? Right now in post game interviews and even during games the Brewers seem a bit awkward and unfocused. Like me trying to ask a girl to dance in middle school. Or high school. Or now. Anyway, I know there are baseball traditionalists (read: Tony La Russa) who are happy to see the antics go, but to me they were a part of what made the team fun to watch. Now we're losing AND not getting under La Russa's skin? For shame Brewers. For shame.
Now just to put minds at ease, it's still only May 3rd. In 2008, when this squad made the playoffs, they were 23-27 as late as June and still won 90 games. In 2007 they started 24-10 and ended up winning only 83. Point being not much can be taken from a record this early. And in SEVEN games this season the Crew has had a lead into the 8th inning only to see the bullpen blow it. Let's say conservatively that the bullpen only blows three of those games. I'm no math major but wouldn't that make our record like 23-2?! Nah but seriously 14-11 looks a hell of a lot better than 10-15, and in many of those games Hoffman or Hawkins were only a pitch or two away. Granted our record IS 10-15 and not 14-11, but let me be glass is half full until at least June.
With that said, this month is critical. There are question marks about whether the Brewers are going to make a serious offer to Prince this year, questions about whether Macha will be our manager beyond this season blah blah blah. If this team is not at least treading water by the end of May (at or above .500) there are going to be serious ramifications come June and eventually during July's trade deadline. Because if this team is not in contention, Prince is going to get traded this year. And Willie Randolph is going to be our manager. And I may lose it, all while googling 'Packers training camp dates.' Bonus word: may.