John Axford Reminds Us Where the Milwaukee Brewers Were at This Time Last Year
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Perhaps you're among those concerned over the Milwaukee Brewers' current standing.
Wednesday night's 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds dropped the Brewers to 13-18 for the season, a record that has them seven games out of first in the NL Central, tied with the Cubs for last in the division.
Last year's NL Central champions have lost four of their last six games and six of their last 10. Their opponents have also outscored them by 30 runs so far this season. That minus-30 run differential is the worst in the National League.
It's just not looking good for a return trip to the postseason.
But just wait a minute. Are circumstances truly that dire for the Brewers? Closer John Axford took on Kevin Bacon's role in Animal House on Twitter after Wednesday's game, asking fans to remain calm. All is well.
Axford does overlook that the Brewers were five games out of first at this time last year, rather than seven. But a two-game difference certainly doesn't seem that much worse to overcome in early May. So his point is taken.
Oh, and if you're worried about Milwaukee's closer, who's sporting a 5.59 ERA and 0-2 record right now, he would like you to look at his numbers from this time last year and simmer down a bit.
Axford is indeed doing better this year despite his higher ERA. And that's not just based on the lack of blown saves. He had 14 strikeouts in 13.1 innings on May 9, 2011. In 2012, his 17 strikeouts have come in nine-and-two-thirds frames, an average of 15.8 Ks per nine innings.
But does Axford have another 40 saves ahead of him this season? Are the Brewers capable of reeling off 80 or so wins from here on out?
Despite Axford's assurances, we're going to stay worried. The Brewers have been hit hard by the injury stick, with Carlos Gomez, Alex Gonzalez, Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson all on the disabled list. Gamel and Narveson are out for the season. Gonzalez may eventually join them.
Last year's team didn't have anything close to that number of injuries. Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy began the season on the DL, but were back by April. The worst they had to deal with was Zack Greinke's fractured rib, and he returned by early May.
So with apologies to Axford, our worry stampede is going to keep on rolling. We just hope he doesn't get flattened while trying to calm us down, like poor Kevin Bacon did. He seems like a nice guy.
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