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Brewers Relying Too Much on HRs?


rluzinski
I want to better understand the criticism, so I can take a closer look. Is the idea that a team reliant on the HR to score might have a good runs/game average but will have a disproportionate amount of high runs/game? Runs 4 and 5 are much more important than 6 and 7. I appreciate that fact. Is that what we are talking about?
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I think that is what a lot of people get at with a team relying too much on HR's, yeah. Scoring for a 15 game span might go something like 5, 2, 2, 1, 3, 6, 8, 3, 12, 3, 4, 1, 0, 7, 3 and that is what gets at some people. The overall runs average would be right around 4, but in those games the team would score less than 3 runs 5 times, and 3 runs 4 times, so 9 out of 15 games they'd score 3 runs or less.

 

I remember hearing earlier in the season when we were going through that 10-20 stretch we'd scored 3 or less runs in something crazy like 15 of 21 games. When a team relies on HR's a lot some people feel the situational hitting also is lacking, which is a whole other argument in itself.

"When a piano falls on Yadier Molina get back to me, four letter." - Me, upon reading a ESPN update referencing the 'injury-plagued Cardinals'
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I know there is probably some decent statistical analysis one can do on this topic. So these comments may not be exactly what you're looking for...

 

But, there is no way I could be convinced otherwise that a home run is not the best possible outcome for every single at-bat. Therefore I just don't buy into any arguement that a team can be relying on the home run too often.

 

The only exception might be if a team is visibly pressing and overswinging to try and hit homers. But I don't believe that is the case with the Brewers. The only guy I think guilty of that was Jenkins every other year but this year.

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I think its just a sneaky way to say the team has a low OBP. If our team had a higher OBP we'd probably score more without extra base hits, but unfortunately we have a lot of low OBP guys in the lineup any given night. Mench, Estrada, Weeks while he's struggling, Hardy since mid May, Jenkins vs lefties, etc.
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I have noticed that situational hitting has always been lacking in the Brewers' hitting. Constantly I see guys taking the same approach at the plate with guys in scoring position as they would when the bases were empty or there was a guy on first. That is why I am one of the few people who don't mind Estrada in the five hole because of the different, line drive approach he offers when he is up to bat. This all could have something to do with the experience of our young guys (counting out Jenkins obviously).
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As stated, there's some statistical analysis to be done here, but when I hear people use the phrase, I get a definite impression in my mind.

 

For me, it means that the team doesn't do the "little things" very well. They don't steal bases, go first to third, bunt, move runners, etc. in order to manufacture runs. They don't win the games when they get outhit, etc.

 

For some, notably the A's of yore, this is a conscious decision to just get on base and hope for the long ball. Others just evolve that way and that's what a team's personality becomes.

 

Note that the Cubs in the rearview haven't hit a home run in about 10 games, the last being Aramis' walk-off against us.

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I'll take runs any way the Brewers can get them. I don't care if it's a series of drag bunts or 500-foot moonshots. It seems to me, though, that a lot of the complaints about the Brewers relying "too much" on home runs is after a few solo home runs, not after a 2 or 3 run home run. I'll agree with the sentiments earlier in the thread that the problem is not that the Brewers can't manufacture runs, it's that they're unlucky in that their high OBP guys are also the guys hitting the solo home runs.

"[baseball]'s a stupid game sometimes." -- Ryan Braun

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Quote:
For me, it means that the team doesn't do the "little things" very well. They don't steal bases, go first to third, bunt, move runners, etc. in order to manufacture runs. They don't win the games when they get outhit, etc.

 

I think many have this perception, but the brewers actually rank fairly high in steals, have a very good steal success rate, and are above average in bunt attempt success.

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I think there are no problems with 2-3 run homers. The solo homers hurt. Like somebody else said seems to be more a problem of OBP. That would of course eventually gain more runs and make solo homers 2-3 run shots. We have a lot of guys that hit homers so I think we are going to have a large % of our runs off of homers no matter what.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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Yeah, this is essentially an OBP issue. If Weeks was able to get going and get his OBP up around the .360-.370 range and they moved him up to the second or leadoff spot, there would be more three run bombs. Homers are still the most efficient way to score runs, so I'm glad that the Brewers offense is built on them. Now they just need more guys getting on base.

 

One thing that worries me is that you could see this coming from a mile away before the season, with Mench, Estrada, and to a slightly lesser extent Hardy in the lineup on a frequent basis.

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I think Ennder pretty much nailed it. If you have low relatively poorish OBPs, you need to hit HRs to score runs. I don't believe there's such a thing as too reliant on the home run. A HR is at least a run scored on a single hit, that's never a bad thing.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

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The Brewers have been near the top of the league in doubles all year long as well. The only offensive category where the Brewers stink is walks. Taking 10 unintentional walks in the first eight games of the month contributed quite a bit to the 2-6 start. Walk a little bit more and they won't have to worry about four solo HR being the only runs scored in a game.
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Well, Adam McCalvy needs to explain exactly what the problem with HRs are, since he keeps writing about how the Brewers' offense is flawed for relying on them. I generally enjoy his writing, so it irks me to see him get on the "HRs are bad" bandwagon. It's a bad sign when you start agreeing with Bill Schroeder.
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I agree with what most of the others have said.

 

It's not that the Brewers are relying too much on the home run (which I think is kind of silly, since home runs are the only thing that guarantee at least one run), but rather they are not getting on base enough to allow them to score some runs when they don't hit home runs.

Chris

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"I guess underrated pitchers with bad goatees are the new market inefficiency." -- SRB

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Not to mention the 2004 Red Sox and 2005 White Sox. That White Sox team still has that "smartball" myth surrounding it, but they hit 200+ bombs that year. Basically they hit bombs and pitched, just like the Tigers did last year (and this year, aside from their terrible pen).
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This is all from Schroeder keeping talking about it. Same way suddenly 3 doubles in a row became "manufacturing runs." Seems to me manufacturing runs was a walk, steal, move over, sac fly. Now apparently its hitting the snot out of the ball as long as there isn't a home run.
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I just don't see why McCalvy would jump on board, though. I haven't really seen Haudricourt mention it. McCalvy even wrote about it in the Sporting News.

 

Of course, he also wrote that Bush is the most likely candidate to lose his spot in the rotation when Yo is there, so I guess there's a couple things I've taken issue with. I don't understand what's going on with him lately.

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Here's what Yost thinks about the Brewers' "problem" with hitting too many HRs:

 

Quote:
"I guarantee you, there's a lot of teams that wish they could drive in runs like we do," Yost said. "For people to sit back and pick because we hit home runs -- get over it. We've got 54 wins doing it that way. That's right at the top of the league. I think we're doing fine.

 

"To start nitpicking here and there, we don't need to do that. We're scoring enough runs to win ballgames, and anyway we can do it is fine with me."


 

But according to Kelvin Ang of MilwaukeeBrewers.com, the Brewers won 10-1 today by playing small ball:

 

LINK

 

I don't even know what small ball is anymore. As end mentioned, apparently it's anytime you score a run without a HR. The one time I noticed Yost even trying to play small ball today, Gross wasted an AB unsuccessfully trying to sacrifice the runners over.

 

The Brewers are averaging over 4.8 runs a game. What's the problem again?

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The night after Kevin Mench had that RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch, the Brewers Live crew claimed that the Brewers won that game by playing small ball and "manufacturing runs." Apparently Jenkins hitting a double and Mench hitting a triple counts as small ball.

"[baseball]'s a stupid game sometimes." -- Ryan Braun

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