Series 6 Pack Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

In lieu of the Brewers and Red Sox upcoming series, I thought I would try something a little different for the series preview.  I collaborated with Lou from the Fansided “Reviewin the Brew” and we sat down and answered six questions regarding the teams we follow.  Below are six questions about the Brewers that Lou was kind of enough to answer. 

Let me know if you like this type format for a series preview and if so, it’s something that we will continue. Enjoy!

1.       Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke were too high profile pitchers that the Brewers brought in during the offseason.  How have the two of them helped the Brewers remain atop in the NL Central thus far?

Both Marcum and Greinke have been terrific so far.  Greinke had a little slip up this afternoon against the Cubs, but in my opinion he is still getting into the swing of things.  You may remember a certain “rebounding” incident that lead to him missing all of spring training.  Once he was ready to return, he really only made 3 rehab starts in the minors.  So his velocity and arm strength are still very shakey.  As for Marcum, he has been nothing short of spectacular.  What is amazing about Shaun is that his fastball never breaks 90 mph, and yet he is able to strike guys out with it because of the strength and location of his breaking stuff.  At this point in the season, I would say that they were both worth every single player that we gave away to get them.  As a life long Brewers fan, it is just nice to be relevant for a change!!

2.    How good has Corey Hart been for the club since returning from the DL earlier this year?

Hart has been very streaky so far.  He was another guy who missed almost all of spring training.  Hitting coach Dale Sveum said in a press conference that Hart needs those AB’s in order to get his timing down.  Some days he looks like a 30 HR and 100 RBI guy, but other days he looks afraid of the ball.  Corey has never been known for his plate discipline and that is something Brewers fans have just come to accept.  It is nice to have him back in the lineup though because he is another home run threat.  You never can tell what you are going to get from him on a given day, and that can get frustrating.  Plus, he keeps Mark Kotsay on the bench and I am always a fan of that. 

3.    Who has been the MVP for the Brewers up to this point of the season?  Who has been the LVP?

In my mind, the MVP of this team right now is Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.  Between the two of them they already have well over 100 RBI’s.  If they don’t score runs, then the team doesn’t win.  It’s as simple as that.  If I was an opposing team, I would intentionally walk those two every single AB.  As for LVP, there are so many candidates ranging from Mark Kotsay to Chris Narveson, but I am going to go with Casey McGehee.  All of the power we saw in 2009 and 2010 is gone.  At one point he was on pace to strand 200 base runners by the All-Star break.  What a sad story McGehee has become in Milwaukee.  Last Thursday he made two consecutive fielding errors in a very close game.  Brewers fans booed for at least 2 solid minutes.  He has gone from potential All-Star, to lifetime Triple-A player.  At the moment, he is the most expendable player on the Brewers roster.  

4.    In your opinion, will Prince Fielder be a Brewer next year?

Nope.  Not a chance.  They offered him a very reasonable 5 year, $100 million dollar extension, during this past off-season, and he flat out refused.  The guy knows, deep down, that his career may only last another 4 or 5 years before he can do nothing but DH.  That means he has to get paid while he can.  Look, if the Nats could pony up $170 + million for a guy like Jayson Werth, then some poor team is going to offer Prince some ridiculous 8 year $250 million dollar deal.  Which he will take.  Who could blame him?  The only hope for the Brewers is a playoff run that leads him to believe they could win the Series next season.  Then he might consider a short term deal for a lot of money…but I doubt it.

5.       What’s been the biggest reason for the Brewers success so far that has propelled them into first place in the division?

Starting pitching.  No doubt about it.  Even Randy Wolf has been throwing spectacular ball games as of late.  Sadly, Randy never seems to get any run support though so his record does not do him justice.  For how explosive this offense is supposed to be, they really have a problem scoring runs consistently.  Luckily, our starting pitchers have been going deep into games and not giving up a ton of runs.  Gallardo, Marcum, and Greinke could all be in the running for the CY Young if they can keep it up.  Even #5 pitcher Narveson throws a gem every now and again (i.e. this weekend he threw 8 scoreless against the Cardinals).  The one thing the team needed, they now have.  But the one thing we counted on, scoring runs, has completely gone away.

6.       What, if any, missing pieces do the management need to acquire before the trade deadline to help this Milwaukee team not only compete for the division but take a run at the World Series? Or are they good enough now?

This is a team that has a glaring depth problem in the infield.  Yuniesky Betancourt has been awful at the plate and the team has already put out feelers on Jose Reyes as a possible ‘rent-a-player’ situation.  In my opinion, they have the worst 5-8 batters in the NL; McGehee, Hart, Betancourt, and Lucroy.  On paper it doesn’t sound to bad, but they are terrible when they bat in that order…together.  As long as McGehee stays in the 5 spot this team will struggle offensively.  Brewers management has been making questionable decisions all season, so I doubt that they will make any moves.  This is a team that kept Wil Nieves (.140 BA) on it’s roster for the past 2 months, they just finally sent him down to the minors yesterday.  They have 3 different guys batting over .300 in Triple-A, but they are not getting called up.  Meanwhile, we have 5 different players batting under .230.  In closing, I can not pretend to know what Brewers management will do.  They work in mysterious, and generally stupid, ways.  But if I was in charge, I would trade off Betancourt, McGehee, and Carlos Gomez and try to sneak a few infield prospects for the farm system. 

Below is a link to Reviewin the Brew’s version with questions and answers on the Red Sox:

http://reviewingthebrew.com/2011/06/17/6-pack-of-questions-brewers-vs-red-sox-edition/

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Tags: Adrian Gonzalez AL East AL Wild Card Baltimore Orioles Bobby Jenks Boston Red Sox Carl Crawford Carlos Gomez Casey Mcgehee Chris Narveson Clay Buchholz Corey Hart Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard David Ortiz Dustin Pedroia Fenway Park J.D. Drew Jacoby Ellsbury Jason Varitek Jayson Werth Jed Lowrie John Lackey Jon Lester Jonathan Papelbon Jose Reyes Josh Beckett Kevin Youkilis Marco Scutaro Mark Kotsay Mike Cameron Mike Lowell Milwaukee Brewers MLB New York Yankees Prince Fielder Randy Wolf Ryan Braun Shaun Marcum Tampa Bay Rays Terry Francona Theo Epstein Tim Wakefield Wil Nieves Yuniesky Betancourt Zack Greinke

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