Three Weeks for the Milwaukee Brewers to Determine Their Fate
After a day off on Monday, the Brewers will return to Milwaukee to start a home stand on Tuesday. They now start a three-week stretch with most of their games in Milwaukee. This could very well determine whether or not the Brewers will be contenders for the playoffs again in 2009.
The Brewers have 19 games before the All-Star break and 15 of them will be played at Miller Park. In fact, traveling will not be an issue at all for the Brewers. The four games away from Miller Park will be played only 90 miles down I-94 at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs.
The Cardinals have overtaken the Brewers for first place in the NL Central, but the Brewers are primed to make their dip to second a short stay.
The bats are starting to come alive again.
JJ Hardy and Jason Kendall have been swinging the bat well lately. Although both are still hitting under .230 for the season, they have been hot recently. Hardy's bat is key to the Brewers lineup as he can give the Brewers another power bat in the order.
Mike Cameron is playing a great center field but is struggling at the plate. Actually, to say Cameron is struggling is paying him a compliment. He is hitting .140 in June, with 25 strikeouts in only 57 at bats. He has lost the plate discipline that he showed earlier in the year and has reverted back to the free-swinging style that he has shown in the past.
The starters have had their hiccups lately but are still a solid unit overall. Yovani Gallardo was outdueled by Justin Verlander on Sunday, but Gallardo is still having an All-Star caliber season.
Jeff Suppan has pitched well so far in June. Suppan is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA over 23 innings pitched.
Dave Bush and Braden Looper have had no success lately. Neither pitcher has won a game in June or made it past the sixth inning in eight starts. Both need to raise the quality of their outings for the Brewers to have success.
The bullpen has been the most solid part of the team all season.
Even though Trevor Hoffman blew his first save of the season this past week, he is still pitching well and makes everyone in the bullpen better. Names like McClung, Coffey, Stetter, and DeFelice are becoming household names due to their outstanding work holding leads for Hoffman.
The Brewers may have the home field advantage over the next few weeks, but there are no cupcakes on their schedule.
The Brewers will host the Twins, Giants, and Mets before traveling to face the Cubs in Chicago. The final two series before the All-Star break will see the Cardinals and Dodgers make their way to Miller Park.
Now that those bats have come alive, they will need to carry a starting pitching staff that is beginning to show signs of weakness. Dave Bush is likely to see his next start pushed back due to arm fatigue. The Brewers will likely call up an arm from Triple-A Nashville to start for the team this week.
Don't expect that pitcher to be Manny Parra. He still needs to sort out his control issues before returning to the majors.
The Brewers are 7-12 in June, but all can be forgotten with a solid next three weeks. Any sort of a winning record in the next 19 games should see the Brewers go into the All-Star break no worse than where they sit currently.
That will give Doug Melvin the chance to go out and acquire talent to take the Brewers into the second half of the season that will hopefully lead to another playoff appearance.
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