Thursday, April 4, 2013
Brewers/Rockies Series Review – "We Want a Pitcher!"
If AirTran Airways asked "How far did it fly?"for every home run this past series, they'd probably have broken the scoreboard.
So much for that revamped pitching, hey kids? Your Milwaukee Brewers gave up a grand total of 19 runs off of 41 hits (8 of which were home runs) to the powerful Colorado Rockies. To be fair, I think the Rockies can swing it a little better than most people will give them credit for. A good portion of their offensive ability can be credited to that bandbox in Denver, but it's not like these guys are the Astros or something. The most surprising part of this series was just how badly the Brewers arms got knocked around. None of the starters made it through 6 innings, which is a tad more forgivable with 13 pitchers on the roster, but still should be considered a luxury instead of a necessity. The fear of the Brewers starters not being able to cover enough innings was well on display in these first 3 games, and the hope has to be that this game will be exception and not the rule.
It's hard to imagine the pitching continuing to perform as badly as they did, but John Axford looked far too hittable last night. I feel for the guy, as I've felt for every struggling closer in the Brewers past. It astounds me just how many relievers have had excellent years for Milwaukee, only to completely lose it in the season immediately following. First it was Derrick Turnbow, then Trevor Hoffman, and now John Axford. You might begin to believe there's a closer curse here in Brew City, starting back when Fingers got hurt in '82 and never looked the same after that (it should also be noted, for those not quite up on their Brewers history, that Fingers was so good in the year prior that he won both the AL MVP and Cy Young award). Perhaps they need to sacrifice a live chicken...or settle for a 16-piece bucket of extra crispy from KFC. Whatever is most convenient.
But back to the series, all was not doom and gloom for the Crew. The offense picked up right where they left off from 2012, scoring 12 runs of their own throughout the three-gamer, and it at least appears as though there won't be any early season woes this time around for Aramis Ramirez or Rickie Weeks. They were unable to keep up with the Rockies hitting parade, but 4 runs a game is still a nice output for the reigning #1 offense in the NL. See? There ARE reasons to be optimistic.
And now for some awards...
MVP: Alfredo Figaro
This award could have easily gone to Aramis Ramirez or Rickie Weeks, but being as Figaro was one of the only highlights from the pitching staff, let's talk about him. When I heard that Milwaukee were trying to get his rights from Japan, I assumed it was going to be a pretty inconsequential move. The right-hander turned in a really nice debut this first series by not allowing a run in 3.1 innings, sitting consistently between 93-95 mph with his fastball (even topping out at 96 a couple times). This could be the under-the-radar move that turns into Melvin's annual "diamond in the rough" acquisition.
LVP: John Axford
Sorry, Johnny. In the immortal words of The Doors, "this is the end, beautiful friend." I really do feel bad for Axford, maybe more so than I ever did for Hoffman or Turnbow. What was a really great story of his rise to fame has taken a sharp downward turn from last season to now. You can tell it's really killing him inside to not perform at the level he wants to, but that's just the way it goes in baseball. That's the way it is in sports as a whole, actually. Hopefully he'll find a way to keep the ball in the park before all is said and done, so that he can at least keep a role on the squad, if not the closer role itself.
Play of the Series: I had a tough time picking one out, because there were actually a couple really nice plays, even from yesterday's game. Ultimately, I decided to go with Ramirez's 2-run double from game one, because it was a turning point in that game that helped the Brewers salvage a win, and it broke the narrative early on of "A-Ram can't hit till June."
Here's to a good year, Aramis, and to false hopes that the Brewers will get a ridiculously good return for you at the trade deadline if their pitching doesn't get it together by then.
What's Next: The Brewers continue their homestand by kicking off a 3-game series against the Diamondbacks tomorrow night at 7:15 pm. Kyle Lohse is primed to make his "much anticipated" Brewers debut then against 2012 NL Rookie of the Year finalist, Wade Miley. As tough as the first series was, it's hard not to smile at the seemingly aimless decisions of Kevin Towers in Phoenix.
Till then, folks – God speed, and see you at the park!