By: Noah Wright
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The Milwaukee Brewers looked to be a good rival for The Chicago Cubs entering the season. After all, they did have a very successful off-season where they acquired Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain to add 2 good bats to their outfield. Now all they needed is some more reliable starting pitching, and they’d be set. However when deadline time came around, The Brewers didn’t add to their starting 5, and it could cost them the season. Let's look at how The Brewers could have completely turned their season around, and mistakes they’ve made that have helped them fall from grace.
The first thing they needed to do is add starting pitching. So far this season, their starters have provided a total 3.86 ERA, which sits 12th overall in The MLB, and 6th in The NL. While that sits middle of the pack, they don’t necessarily have that ace starter. Their best starter this season has arguably been Jhoulys Chacin, who has a 3.58 ERA, 4.02 FIP, and a 1.172 WHIP in 151 innings. The Brewers had plenty of options to go after. One I thought that they would look at is Danny Duffy, and trade some prospects along with some of their pieces from a now crowded outfield. Some other names that I could have seen The Brewers interested in was Cole Hamels since he was available at the deadline, and has performed very well away from Texas before the trade to The Cubs, former Brewer Mike Fires, since he was also available at the deadline, and was pitching well, and all-star J.A. Happ. I think The Brewers were going with a plan like The A’s. OK starting pitching, really good bullpen. Another thing that has been a weakness is their middle infield. At the start of the season, Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Villar lined-up at shortstop and second base, but that hasn’t gone as planned. Before the deadline, neither Villar or Arcia had an OPS over .700, or batting average above .270. The only thing that they were carrying worth of value was their fielding abilities, and Villar’s base running agility.
Now this is where The Brewers messed up. The first thing they didn’t do is add to their starting pitching. Starting pitching for them has been a bit questionable all year, and they could have used that rotation anchor to help carry them to the playoffs. Their next problem has to do on how they handled pitching. Like I said earlier, I feel The Brewers went for a deep bullpen, shallow rotation approach, but it hasn’t worked as well as they thought of. Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Dan Jennings have all had really good seasons, but now optioned closer Corey Knebel had very many struggles this season. The biggest issues is that he missed time with injury, and the second issue is that he had a 5.08 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 1.333 WHIP in 39 innings. But unlike The A’s, they didn’t really make their bullpen much better. They added Joakim Soria in July, but then he was placed on The DL, and that was their only major bullpen addition this regular season. Another piece they were relying on was Matt Albers, who’s struggled very much (6.23 ERA, 6.25 FIP, 1.484 WHIP in 30 and a third innings). However I think The Brewers biggest mistake has been their solution to the infield. Instead of solving a problem a conventional way, the front office added Mike Moustakas, and move Travis shaw to second base. Moustakas hasn’t been the player The Brewers thought they were going to get. He’s only batted .247/.326/.383 with 2 home runs, and 12 RBI’s in 92 plate appearances since the trade. The next unconventional decision The Brewers have made is acquiring Jonathan Schoop to put at shortstop, a position he hasn’t played at least semi-regularly since 2012, and 19 innings in the big leagues, all coming from last season. The 2017 all-star struggled greatly with The Orioles this season but his performance only got worse since getting to Milwaukee. In 58 at bats, Schoop has batted .179/.207/.268 with just 1 home run and 4 RBI’s.
The Brewers have been 16/15 since the all-star break, 3 and a half out of the division they once led, and tied for a wild card spot. If they don’t make a good move quickly, they might not even get that wild card spot. And it's a real shame too if you ask me. This team entering the season looked to be a piece to two from being a team that could go to at least The NLCS.