Recently the Milwaukee Brewers have been playing well. I've heard rumblings about how the time has finally come—the talented Brewers will take their rightful place as playoff contenders.
Uh...I don't think so. Pardon me if I'm not convinced.
Yes, the Brewers are extremely talented. But what makes people think they have the intangibles to compete throughout the entire season?
This team hasn't competed in almost two decades, and there are plenty of reasons to believe this season will end just like every other season since their move to the NL. Here are five factors that could and probably will lead to the Brewers being a non-issue in the Central race.
1) Potential Rotation Woes
First of all, Ben Sheets is their ace. Is he a total stud when healthy? Absolutely. Is he consistently healthy? No. And nobody knows the pitfalls of injured starters like a Cardinals fan.
Also, young stud Yovani Gallardo is out for the season, leaving Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush to lead the rotation if Sheets goes to the DL. Suppan was a solid third starter on a World Series team, but Bush has been terrible this year, and backend starters Manny Parra and Seth McClung have no big league success before this season to speak of. I foresee potential problems.
2) Your Closer is Who???
Well, two Milwaukee closers are currently in Triple-A, represented by the shells of Eric Gagne and Derrick Turnbow. Guillermo Mota's ERA is around 5.00, and there's a reason he's on his fifth team in five years. Salomon Torres is okay, but there's also a reason he's never been a closer in his 15 years in the league.
The closer position might be the most important pitching role. Without a solid option, Brew Crew fans will sprout many a grey hair watching this team finish games.
3) Hitting Depth
The Brewer's lineup has been relatively healthy this year, but outside of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart, there is not much to fear. Leadoff man Rickie Weeks is hitting a repulsive .212., with an OPS of .326. That means that Jason LaRue is statistically a better leadoff canidate right now. Wow.
JJ Hardy and Jason Kendall don't scare anybody. Mike Cameron and Bill Hall (who doesn't even want to be on the team) have displayed decent power, but still hit around .220.
This team doesn't even have a regular around .300, unless you count Hart, who is still 10 points off. Even if the rotation holds up, I can't see Fielder, Braun, and Hart providing enough offense with their lack of support.
4) Last Season
The Brewers were actually poised to win the Central last year, but faltered after June, and lost out to the Cubs by two games. Last season they choked, yet it was actually manager Ned Yost's best year. Measuring up Yost versus sure Hall of Famers Lou Pinella and Tony La Russa doesn't worry me very much, and I doubt it worries Cubs fans either.
5) The Cubs and the Cardinals Are Actually Good
I'll be the last one to give credit to the Cubs, but let's face it: They're legit. Barring injuries or meltdown, they will make the playoffs. They're definitely the most talented team in the NL.
And my Cardinals are not far behind. Despite being completely racked by injuries (I won't go into detail because I'm sure you all know), they still have the second-best record in the NL.
Getting Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright back from the DL, plus any combo of Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter, Josh Kinney, Caesar Izturis, and Matt Clement will make this team that much better.
In closing, I definitely acknowledge the threat that the Brewers are. However, I certainly am taking the "actions speak louder then words" approach.
Are they talented? Yes.
Am I worried? Not at all.