by Tim Muma
At 17-27, the Brewers are quickly reaching a critical point in the season. There is still plenty of time to make noise in the divisional and wild card races - over 70% of their games have yet to be played - but you can only hang 10 games under .500 for so long before it's simply too big a hole to climb out of.
That is why Milwaukee's current home stand is such an important stretch. Starting Tuesday, the Houston Astros and New York Mets visit Miller Park for three games apiece.
The Astros enter the series with the National League's worst record at 15-29. Houston has scored the fewest runs in all of baseball, averaging just 3 runs per game. They are also dead last in the NL in batting average, OBP, SLG and OPS. The Brewers, of course, have the exact opposite problem in they can't seem to prevent many runs from being scored. The question, then, is which struggling group will get the upper hand - the Astros' offense or the Brewers' pitching?
While the Astros pitching has been good at times this season, their staff isn't one of the most feared in the NL. The Brewers offense should get plenty of chances to put runs on the board, and Prince Fielder will need to be a big part of that. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, Roy Oswalt will take the hill in the 2nd game of the series. Oswalt is sporting a 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 8.9 SO/9 - stellar numbers overall - but just a 2-6 record thanks to poor run support.
If the Brewers can handle Felipe Paulino and Brett Myers in the 1st and 3rd games of the series, beating Oswalt would be a bonus, but not a necessity to take the set.
The Mets, meanwhile, sit at 22-23 to start the week after losing 10 of their last 15 games. New York's pitching has been better than expected (other than Oliver Perez, now out of the rotation) and the offense has been average. Still, most 'experts' didn't expect much out of the Mets this year and they don't look that dangerous at the moment.
Again the Brewers will face a top tier pitcher in lefty Johan Santana - easily the Mets' best hurler. The good news for Brewers' fans is that a handful of current hitters have hit Santana very well.
Rickie Weeks - 10 AB, 2 HR, 1.200 SLG, 1.738 OPS
Ryan Braun - 13 AB, 2 doubles, 5 RBI, .692 SLG, 1.231 OPS
Corey Hart - 13 AB, .538 SLG, 1.000 OPS
Prince Fielder - 13 AB, 1 HR, .615 SLG, 1.000 OPS
Those 4 guys alone could carry the Brewers to a win over Santana should they continue their career trends against him. With Santana taken care of, the series victory would be well within grasp and a successful home stand is in sight.
It'd be tremendous if the Brewers could go 5-1 in this stretch, but considering their home issues and overall problems, a 4-2 mark would be a start. Now is the time for the Brewers to begin playing like a real baseball team and string together wins with regularity.
On the other hand, the Brewers' will be in serious trouble should this become another lost home stand - meaning a long summer in Brew Town.
|                                      Brewers Mix blog         Write for Brewers blog    ||
|Brewers Mix blog featured writers||Tim Muma, John Linn|
|Write about the Brewers||
We believe that you the avid fan, student journalist, and or freelance writer deserve to be heard. Avid fans have a strong desire to hear from the common (or not so common) "man" as well. You are always free to write about the material of your choice, in your own unique style, and on your own schedule. So vent,enlighten and share with us!
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Enjoy Brewers rumors, news, talk?||
Please help us spread the word on the Sports Mixed Network by letting friends, and family know about it. The more we grow our community of avid fans, the more features we can add. So please send a Tweet, Facebook message or better yet tell them in person.