The 2013 baseball season continues, albeit mercifully, for the Milwaukee Brewers. The black cloud hanging over Ryan Braun, in the shape a needle, is just another footnote in what is quickly becoming the worst season in the history of this beleaguered franchise.
It started in Spring Training when Matt Gamel went down with yet another season ending knee injury, and accelerated in frustration when Corey Hart decided to have knee surgery himself, thus leaving a huge void at first base. Anchored by an already questionable pitching staff, it became apparent early in Arizona that the formerly promising arms of Mark Rodgers and Mike Fiers were not ready for the big leagues. That left a stating rotation loosely based on the like of "Ace" Yovani Gallardo, Chris Narveson, Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta and a desperation acquisition named Kyle Lohse.
All that resulted in the National League's worst starting rotation, augmented by another major disappointing start from former "closer" John Axford. Only reacquiring K-Rod from the reclamation heap saved the Kingsford bullpen from further embarrassment.
Despiet an inexplicable 9 game winning streak that left them 14-12 in the month of April and just a 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NL Comedy Central, the debacle of the 6-21 mpnth of May basically sealed their fate for the 2013 year. Add to that injuries that kept Aramis Ramirez, Braun and a host of others in and out of the lineup, and it became clear that 100 losses was not out of the question. Hart trashed his good knee during rehab, and probably will ever wear a Brewer uniform again.
Compounding the injuries and steroid scandal accusations surrounding Braun, the team just flat out played like little leaguers for most of May and June. Shoddy defense, inept base running, and a consistent knack for not driving in runners in scoring position left them looking up at the Chicago Cubs, comfortably in last place at the All-Star Break.
Don't let a soft schedule to open the second half of the year fool you. Even an 8 game winning streak with series sweeps of the Marlins and the Padres (all at homes) would leave this team eleven games under .500. When they get back to playing real teams like the Nationals, Reds, Cards and Giants in August, the real losing will begin again.
By then the likes of Ramirez and Gallardo may be gone to other teams still in the playoff picture, and Braun may be told to sit by MLB this time whether he likes it or not.
No, the only real incentive to follow this group before the Packers start pre season on August 9th, will be to see who is left on this roster that can prevent tthem from logging 100 losses. The challenge for the Brewers will be to finish 23-43 the rest of the way, insuring a sparkling 63-99 finish, certainly one of the worst seasons in recent memory.
And For What