Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants: Similar but Different Franchises

Boris YovchevCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 26:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants walks out to the field to take batting practice before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Reebok)

A few days ago I was reading a recent edition of Sports Illustrated magazine and there was a review of the San Francisco Giants and their ace pitchers Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.

The main message, outside of stating the obvious fact that Cain and Lincecum are likely the best one-two pitching combo in baseball, was that the Giants can afford being flaky at the plate because they have two ace pitchers to carry them through the season.

Something immediately made me draw parallel of the situation in San Francisco with the one in Milwaukee.

Here is, I initially said to myself, a team that, just like the Brewers, has one glaring problem to go along with one aspect of their game that is outstanding.  But then it occurred to me that the previous statement was not quite valid.

The Giants have pitching, but lack big time hitters outside of the hot Pablo Sandoval, whom I made the big mistake of trading away in fantasy a couple of months ago.  The Brewers, on the other hand, have two of the prime big league hitters, but lack pitching as well as consistency.

And, because in baseball, pitching is what wins you the big games, The San Francisco Giants are still in the hunt for October while the Brewers are taking a consolation in sweeping the lowly Pirates at Miller Park.

If you were the GM of an MLB team, and you were offered the choice of picking either Cain and Lincecum or Braun and Fielder to build around, you would be foolish not to take the Giants pitchers.

And I say this as a Brewers fan.

Moreover, to get to where they currently are, the Giants did not do what some other clubs with fat wallets like to do, namely to buy already established players as they become available.  They invested wisely, made smart picks in the MLB player drafts, and built this monster from within.

Barring any injuries to Cain or Lincecum, I would be dismayed if the Giants do not make it to the World Series within the next couple of seasons. 

At the same time, I would be dismayed if the Brewers do.

Such thoughts prompted me to ask a number of questions.  Why is it that certain clubs can successfully raise great pitchers and the Brewers have not been able to produce a true ace in years?  Is it the approach of the club?  Is it the lack of good pitching coaches through the system?  Is it the mentality of the General Manager and the direction he has chosen to take?

Do the Brewers need to visit the Silicon Valley and have a conversation about how pitching talent is raised successfully?

All valid questions that call for answers a month before the end of the regular season in baseball.

I would shake your hand if you could point out one team in the majors that has a worse starting rotation than the Brewers.  If it wasn't for Gallardo, who undoubtedly has the potential to prove me wrong in terms of the ability of the Brewers to produce an ace pitcher, I would be calling for Doug Melvin and his assistants to call up some of the young guys that were just drafted this and last year.

Yes, it is that bad.

Mark Attanasio would be justified to have a serious conversation with Melvin in the offseason regarding the gaps that exist in a farm system that is otherwise viewed as one of the deepest in baseball. 

Affected by emotion, I was earlier this summer willing to accept the departure of prospects Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel in exchange for Roy Halladay.  Now I can step back and say that I would prefer seeing the two top prospects traded only for you and underdeveloped but promising hands.

Yes, pitchers can "go bad" quicker than hitters and they are more difficult to grade until they reach the majors, but if one thing is guaranteed in Milwaukee is that if this team strings consecutive losing seasons, it will be not because the offense did terrible, but rather because good pitching does not grow in Milwaukee.

Upon arriving in Milwaukee as the new GM, Doug Melvin had a great plan to bring some of the better sluggers available in previous years' drafts.  Fielder, Braun, Weeks and Hart were all drafted, and now the Brewers are notoriously known for having never-ending depth in terms of players who possess incredible power but who strike out too much.

It is time for Melvin to come up with a plan to revamp the pitching staff because if more than three of the current starters return next season, this Brewers team can only hope for a miracle.

Melvin has his work cut out for him considering how few good pitchers will be available this offseason.  Most of them were there last year when Braden Looper was the only one considered worthy for the price the team was willing to pay.  

Something has to change and quick.  In the meantime the Giants will move in only one direction.



Boris Yovchev is a Milwaukee Brewers Featured Columnist for the Bleacher Report and a supporter of the children's story "A Glove of Their Own."

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