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Recalibrating our expectations...


Let's face it - we are pretty hardcore Brewer Fans. We see the team through these rose colored glasses that the rest of the world just doesn't understand. We have faced years of sucktitude and have only maintained our sanity by always "looking at next year" We had hoped this year would be next year.


To make matter worse, we started the season 24-10. That was a perfect storm of EVERYONE playing great at the same time. We were never that good.


So lets take off the glasses and get back to reality.


Bill Hall struggled for months to learn his position. Last year he played out of his mind. He is a good player - he is by no means an elite player.


Corey Hart was hurt for a significant portion of the year. It was great to watch his resurrgence around the midpoint of the season - but he was pretty bad early in the season.


J.J. Hardy is a slick fielding SS with limited pop in his bat. He was always a weak link in our offense. That fact that he went on a HR/Batting craze never changed him. He was incredibly lucky for 2 months - and pitchers were giving him high and inside pitches to hit.


Ignore Capuano and Hardy as all stars. It was a fluke. They both had had incredible short term success (1/2 season) that warranted a spot on the squad. That doesn't mean they were one of the best players in MLB. Plenty of bad players have made the all star team - Ask the Royals.


We have plenty of pitching depth - but little pitching talent. We have up to 8 starters we can trot out to the mound when everyone is healthy. But the fact that we couldn't ever figure out which 5 were best gives a pretty good indication that none of them were that good.


Ben Sheets is hurt again. Early in the season EVERYONE said we needed him healthy to win. He is hurt.


YoGo is a rookie. VERY rarely does a rookie pitcher experience huge success in his first year. This kid is very young. When it comes to being a rookie pitcher - you can pretty much call the first year a trial run.


Suppan was a ton of money at an average (but healthy) pitcher. Paying him more money didn't make him a better player. He is little more than a guy to take the ball every 5 days - and to be fair, he does have the most IP.


Weeks is potential. At some point, potential has to be realized. He has been battling injuries this year and last. But we need to accept that given his "special" trait of bat speed - his wrist injuy might keep him from ever realizing his talent. At this point, he is one of the worst 2nd basemen in the league.


Coco is a flawed closer. He was traded from Texas for a reason. He is good at home and horrible on the road. He also seems to tire pretty easy. He isn't going to have a .56 ERA all year.


Maddux isn't God. Everyone here seems to say so. He has had some success with certain pitchers. But LOTS of pitchers have come through that haven't had good years under him. He has had pitchers leaking talent that he was unable to harness (De La Rosa) I am not saying anything is his fault - but he can't turn water into wine.


Ned has never done anything to show he is a big time manager. He carried a clipboard for a number of years on championship caliber teams. But being #2 and the head guy are two very different roles.


I don't mean this to be a vent. It actually isn't a vent at all. I am just trying to point out that we shouldnt' be winning every game. We have some serious flaws on our team. In fact, the only reason going into the season people thought we had a chance was because our division was soooo bad.


They were right. We are an average team. We have been hurt by injuries. We are in a really bad division.


So I am going to try to enjoy that fact that we are in first. I know it doesn't mean we are that good. But it's still pretty funny to watch the Cubs continue 100 years of crapulence!

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To make matter worse, we started the season 24-10. That was a perfect storm of EVERYONE playing great at the same time. We were never that good.


I think the other thing that may have inflated or skewed our hopes, was/is that we are in such a weak division. If a team is "10 games up in first place" that is probably an indication that said team is playing well, but also that the #2 and #3 teams are playing crappy. Simply said we (generally speaking) let the sucktitude of the Cubs, trick us into thinking we were a better team.


I have watched a lot of sports in my life, and I know a win in April is the same as a win in September -- however, there is something very disheartening about watching a team play its worst baseball in the last 25% of the season.


My hope is more along the lines that the Cubs keep performing their comedy act throughout Sep. and the Cards quit playing like seasoned veterans. With the Cards playing the Brewers 4 more times and the Cubs 8 more times, I think most Cardinal fans have to like their chances, it seems to be theirs for the taking.

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I "went out on a limb" before the season started and said they'd win the division. I generally don't stray from my pre-season predicitions unless the team is decimated by injuries. I wouldn't call the Sheets injury "decimating" by itself, but it's pretty significant.


With that said, I'll keep my neck out there and say they win the division.

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I wouldn't call the Sheets injury "decimating" by itself, but it's pretty significant.


It is pretty significant -- but every team has injuries this time of year... Cards lost Carpenter and Mulder is still not back, Cubs are w/o Soriano, etc... Compared to 2006 the 2007 Brewers are super-healthy.


With that said, I'll keep my neck out there and say they win the division.


I'll keep your neck out there to and say that the Brewers will win the division. Hey, someone has to.

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I'm not too worried to tell you the truth. If you believed in the talent of this team in May you should still believe in it now. Our pitching is just in rough shape right now. I'm confident we'll see some better starts in the last few weeks. I think I predicted 86 wins which could be pretty close.


I know people get tired of youth as an excuse for struggling, but I think it's a big part of our inconsistency. A lot of our guys are just getting used to the grind of 162 games.


Every time I get depressed about how this season is going, I think about what next season is shaping up to be and I get happy again.

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I predicted 86 wins and 1st place, too. I still think that is pretty reasonable. This is the first time this group is playing under this type of pressure, and they are mostly very young. It's much different to play in the minor leagues under the radar of the national media, or on a major league team that a .500 record would be considered great.


With the ammount of talent this team has, it might take a year like this for them to get used to the spotlight. Before the season began, I predicted 86 wins, and I wasn't even figuring in the Braun and Gallardo factor, and their hot start. I now think that talent-wise, this is probably a 90-win team. But I think the pressure really is getting to them. Everyone is trying to do too much. They are impatient at the plate. They are getting out of their game. This is why I wish they could acquire a veteran bat to hit behind Fielder to kind of take some of the pressure off the young guys, but the fact is, no veteran bat was available to fit on this team.


Whether they make the playoffs this year or not, I think this will be a good learning experience for a team that is clearly the team of the future in the NL Central. Unfortuantely, the free agent market this offseason is pretty sad, so I'm not expecting a veteran bat to come unless it be via trade. But I think next year, this group will have better learned to deal with the pressure of being in first place.

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I said 85 wins....and I really wish I had posted that someplace because I look like a chump for saying it now. I'll stick with it.


And I think people need to remind themselves that this is a really, really young team. They are going to be streaky and this August slide is probably related to mental fatigue as much as anything. Pennant races are a real grind. The nice thing is that next year they'll be ready for it from the get go. I see a big season (i.e. 95+ wins) in 2008.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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Ned Yost, Tony LaRussa, Lou Piniella.


Which name doesn't belong?


There's your answer.


Right now I don't see them getting beyond 78 wins and that would require them to play better than they are now.

That would be LaRussa, he's one of only a few good managers in baseball, most of them are just kind of there.



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I think Maddux is a good pitching coach. He doesn't turn water into to wine, but he has shown some above average coaching with RPs. Especially with developing a pitch to at least give the hitter something else to look for besides the #1 pitch. I think starters are much more difficult to coach up and help them due to the fact that they will (hopefully) go through the lineup more than once.
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I said 85 wins....and I really wish I had posted that someplace because I look like a chump for saying it now. I'll stick with it.

I wrote them all down, but I wasn't a member of this forum when the season started. This may not be the proper thread for it, but so far if the season ended today, 6 of my 8 playoff teams would be in the playoffs with the only other two (the Philadelphia Phillies and the Yankees) a game or less out of the wild card.

Here are my preseason record predictions:


AL East:

x-Boston 101-61

x-NY Yankees 91-71

Toronto 88-74

Baltimore 73-89

Tampa Bay 68-94


Notes: The Yankees' pitching rotation is incredibly thin this year, and probably can not absorb a major injury to their aging core of starters, although the offense is still poised to score more runs than anyone else in baseball except for maybe the Blue Jays. The Red Sox should be better with the out-avoiding batting skills of JD Drew, and Daisuke. I really think this is the best division in baseball, despite the hype the Central is getting right now. The Red Sox, the Blue Jays, and the Yankees all could win this division, but I think Boston has the best chance of it this year.


AL Central:

x-Detroit 93-59

Cleveland 86-76

Chicago White Sox 85-77

Minnesota 82-80

Kansas City 67-95


Notes: The pitching-strong AL Central is also a hard one to predict. Not 3, but 4 teams could possibly win it this year. I think the Twins will have the toughest time out of these four. Their awesome bullpen will be worked to death from the lack of experienced starters in the rotation. The White Sox main players are at the stage of decline in their careers, and I think out of Dye, Thome and Konerko one or two are unlikely to repeat last year's performances, and neither are likely to improve. And I do not think the Sox pitching will ever come close to their 2005 numbers. The Royals will be a little better this year, but their bullpen still has major problems. The Tigers' loss of Rogers this year is not likely to hurt the team any more than the loss of Maroth last year. The Tigers were the only team in the Central to add a major bat to their lineup this year. I also think that quite a few of the Tigers' hitters underperformed last year as well. Hopefully Sheffield and a new hitting coach can coax a little more patience at the plate from hitters like Pudge and Magglio. And hopefully Casey is disposed of soon to make room for Shelton. I don't think Verlander's sophmore slump is going to be as bad as some fear it will be.


AL West:

x-Anaheim 87-75

Oakland 82-80

Texas 78-84

Seattle 72-90


Notes: With Seattle and Texas going nowhere fast, and with Oakland cutting payroll, this division will likely go to the Angels as long as the DL doesn't do another number on their starting rotation.


NL East:


x-NY Mets 104-58

x-Philadelphia 94-68

Atlanta 83-79

Florida 78-84

Washington 44-118


Notes: The Mets are clearly the best team in the NL on paper. Washington clearly the worst. I think Phildelphia finally has the pitching to take the NL wildcard this year, and be the second best team in the NL as well. The Marlins have good young...well...everything. I think they have a good chance to be tough in the future, but not this year.


NL Central:


x-Milwaukee 85-77

Houston 84-78

St. Louis 81-81

Chicago 77-85

Cincinatti 75-87

Pittsburgh 68-94


Notes: Milwaukee has a lot of players who are likely to improve upon last year's performance. Granted half the team actually stays off the DL this year, that is likely to happen. St. Louis is going to have trouble with their pitching rotation, and their offense hasn't improved at all. The Cubs threw a lot of money away this season on stopgaps. But it's still not going to net them a winning season. I think Houston and Milwauke actually match up fairly well, but Milwaukee has the edge because of their depth at many positions.


NL West:

x-Arizona 89-73

San Diego 84-78

Los Angeles 83-79

Colarado 75-87

San Fransisco 73-89


Notes: The move to PetCo park will do Wells and Maddux well. The Padres' pitching staff is second to none in the NL. But their offense is pretty much filled with question marks. Arizona possibly has the best crop of young position players in all of baseball, and they will ride this to a division title. The Rockies continue to do little in the way of improvement. The Giants are going to suck.


Al Champs: Detroit

NL Champs: NY Mets


World Series: Detroit


AL MVP: Manny Ramirez

NL MVP: David Wright


AL CY: Roy Halladay

NL CY: Ben Sheets


AL ROY: Alex Gordon

NL ROY: Kevin Kozumanoff

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The only thing that is bothering me at this point is young players should improve as the season goes on and this team is not at this point. I still think they are do for a hot streak and soon! Remember in 2003 when the won 12 games in a row. That was a bad team and they got very hot. With how bad this team is playing, they are due to rebound and produce something similar and that streak just may put them 6 or 7 games up in the division.
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