Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic
  • Five Reasons Behind the Brewers Recent Stumble

    Kyle Ginsbach

    Suddenly, in the span of a week, the Brewers have fallen out of the division lead. Prior to the recent cluster of losses, the Crew had an odd string of events at the trade deadline. Fans were quick to blame the front office and ownership, but I’m here to tell you there's other reasons for the slide.


    Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Brewers Video

    The Brewers have gone 8-7 since the All-Star break, and 1-5 since the trade deadline. They've fallen out of a playoff spot completely, and are now trailing the red hot St. Louis Cardinals. Below are the five things that need to improve if the Brewers want to see playoff baseball for the fifth straight year.

    1. The Middle Relief Has Been Bad

    In an interesting turn of events, the Brewers greatest strength has become their crippling weakness. It hasn’t been just a six-game struggle, it's been a month long problem. Over the last 30 days (July 8th - August 7th) the bullpen has a ERA of 5.70, good for the second worst in the MLB during that time period. They’ve surrendered 19 home runs, by far the most in the last 30 days.

    However, you can’t throw the top end of the Brewers pen under the bus. Both Devin Williams and Brad Boxberger have posted an combined ERA under 3.00 since the break, so the dirt is practically only on the middle relievers' hands. 

    2. Willy Adames is Struggling

    Adames’ was one of the Brewers players that was hoping to turn it around in the second half. Instead, it looks like the Brewers shortstop is the only one that didn’t get the memo. While the Crew's offense has been great since the break, scoring 83 runs and leading the MLB in OPS since the midsummer classic, Adames has not. Adames is slashing just .221/.243/.397 since the break, and has WRC+ of 70. Even though he is striking out less in the second half, the hits still aren’t falling like they were in 2021. 

    3. The Defense Has Been Sloppy

    Maybe the defense overall hasn’t been so poor in the second half, but errors are becoming more timely, and the results have been painful. The Brewers have already allowed 11 unearned runs in the second half, and you could certainly argue some unmarked fielding blunders have cost them more. Usually solid defensive options like Hunter Renfroe and Victor Caratini have been struggling in their respective roles defensively, while noted poor defenders like Rowdy Tellez have arguably been worse.

    4. The Starting Pitching is Lacking its Usual Effectiveness

    At a brief glance, the starters have been solid since the break. As a core the starters have posted an ERA of 3.44, good enough to place the Brewers in the top third of the league since the break. However, the run prevention is far from the actual issue.

    Brewers starters have walked over 11 percent of the batters they’ve faced since the break, causing their starts to be short, forcing the already weakened bullpen to work even more. Although they’ve done a good job preventing runners from scoring, they haven't done enough to keep themselves in the games.

    5. Negativity Surrounding the Hader Trade

    This last one is completely intangible, but I think it's having an effect on the team. It was pretty obvious by some of the interviews conducted with the players that they were shocked by the front office’s decision to move Josh Hader. I can’t directly blame the front office for losses because they decided to trade Hader, because there has been no scenario where having Hader would have likely changed the result of any given loss.

    I do feel obligated to mention the barrage of reporter questions and online negativity that has been facing the team the week following the deal, though. The players undoubtedly have tried to avoid this, but if you’ve been on baseball space in the web that past week, you know it's been unavoidable. It’s hard to really pinpoint the degree to which this has been affecting the team, but for the players' sake, both reporters and fans need to move on.

    Think you could write a story like this? Brewer Fanatic wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    — Latest Brewers coverage from our writers
    — Recent Brewers discussion in our forums
    — Follow Brewer Fanatic via Twitter, Facebook or email


    • Like 1

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    "Usually reliable Hunter Renfroe"?  He's terrible going back on balls, often covering for this weakness by simply letting balls go over his head and turning to play them off the wall.  One of the reasons the Red Sox were willing to part with him were the 12 errors he had for them last season.  Granted a lot of those were throwing errors, but he doesn't cover a lot of ground either. 

    As for Adames, he's turned in to an all or nothing guy with the bat and has accuracy issues throwing.  I'm beginning to think Turang may indeed end up sticking at SS.

    It wasn't just the loss of Hader, the new guys have been underwhelming so far.

    But remember, this was a team that lost 8 in a row in early June and looked bad doing it with Hader.  Once that happened it was only a matter of time when a similar stretch would return.  They were bad going into the break as well.

    I was never all that confident that they would hold off the Cardinals or play well enough to make the playoffs.  I'm less optimistic now.




    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    21 minutes ago, JohnBriggs12 said:

    "Usually reliable Hunter Renfroe"?  He's terrible going back on balls, often covering for this weakness by simply letting balls go over his head and turning to play them off the wall.  One of the reasons the Red Sox were willing to part with him were the 12 errors he had for them last season.  Granted a lot of those were throwing errors, but he doesn't cover a lot of ground either. 

    As for Adames, he's turned in to an all or nothing guy with the bat and has accuracy issues throwing.  I'm beginning to think Turang may indeed end up sticking at SS.

    I guess what I meant by Renfroe being "reliable" is that his arm largely made up for his below average fielding. Recently though, his arm hasn't been much of a help either. As for Adames, you're completely right about his bat, but his defense has been elite this year. He's 10th in the MLB in OAA, and 2nd among all SS. There's literally no need to wishful about Turang potentially replacing him there.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I agree with Adames being excellent this year at defense. I would say #2 should be that the teams approach of relying so heavily on HR and encouraging swing for the moon batting is the  problem.  While Adames may be the poster-child for that approach, it is a team-wide issue.  I posted in another thread that given that the team has starting pitching where the top 3 are elite and the top 5 match up well with almost any other club (i.e Run prevention with better defense) and with a goal of keeping the score close/low that they should be more focused on situational hitting and getting runners in the "old way".  Instead they seem to think that solo HR are the route to go. I know that they are have been putting a high amount of capital into contact hitters in the draft, but at the MLB level they have stayed with the all or nothing approach.  Sure, the talent of the team may be that higher BA/contact isn't possible, but the current approach seems to be too hit or miss or miss or miss or miss or miss or miss.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    #4 IMO is a huge part of it, particularly the walks. even the hit batters. Sunday for example, Burnes has two out w/two strikes on the hitter then hits him. No big deal, except that's followed by an 8-or-9 pitch AB & walk. So now you're facing two extra hitters. You could easily make the argument the HBP cost him (via pitch count) a full extra inning of work. Multiply that by several games, & it makes a huge difference not only in runs given up but in the BP workload, and in who you have to use & when. That stuff just filters down & affects the whole staff more than people realize.

    Agree w/ the Adames comments. He seems to "get it" as far as his approach, then after a couple ABs backslides again. Whenever I hear one of the "most HRs by a shortstop in MLB" comments I want to throw something. It's the mentality of over-valuing something like that that I fear leaks into his consciousness & causes the wild inconsistencies.

    As to #5, I think it's the players who need to move on. Hard as it may be to put behind you the feelings of confusion or disagreement with the trade, it's mandatory if you want to accomplish anything. It's (probably) already cost them a week of bad baseball. Reporters & (some) fans moving on, good luck with that. Sometimes you just gotta ignore stuff.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I agree that the recent slide is a true team effort involving failures from the starting pitchers, relief pitchers, defense, and hitting. 

    I disagree with the statement that the offense has been great since the break. It was great in the first 8 games, scoring 55 runs (even with a shutout in the one loss) while going 7-1.

    But in the next 7 games they scored just 28 runs against some of the worst run prevention teams in the league and lost 6 of those games. In all but one of those games the only runs came across on home runs. With the games generally being close, the inability to score without home runs has been costly. Four runs per game isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great, especially considering the pitchers they were facing. 

    I also don’t agree that the effect of the Hader trade has been purely intangible. The Brewers strength for much of the season has been getting narrow leads and having Boxberger, Williams, and Hader bring them home. I even commented on a game thread a couple of weeks ago that I was concerned that the Brewers were relying too heavily on this pattern, and that they weren’t winning enough games by building leads big enough to not need saves from the back of the bullpen. 

    The Hader trade shook up the roles in the bullpen by throwing the new pitchers into the mix and changing the roles of the incumbents. In 3 of the losses since the break, the pitchers were used differently than they were before the trade and games were lost in the late innings. Of course, we can’t say for sure that Hader’s presence would have made a difference. But, it might have 

    Using Sunday’s game as an example, when Burnes could only go 6 innings because of inefficiency early in the game, the score was 1-1 after 6.  Before the trade, Counsell probably would have gone with Boxberger, Williams, and Hader, hoping to get 3 scoreless innings and scratch out a run somewhere in there to get the win. Without Hader he went with Bush and Rogers, who gave up the tie breaking run  (in part because Renfroe failed to make the play on what looked like a playable fly ball)  If Hader had been here they might have gotten the three scoreless innings and might have won in 9.

    There were similar situations in the last two losses to the Pirates where runs surrendered by the bullpen affected the outcome. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...