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Thursday's Lineup Shows the Bench's Weakness

by Tim Muma
4/12/2012 (12:45pm)

I'm all for giving Aramis Ramirez a day off on Thursday, especially considering his .374 OPS and poor appearances at the plate (slow bat, off-balance, reaching for pitches).

Unfortunately, the Brewers only option to play 3rd is severely light-hitting Cesar Izturis (career .322 SLG). It's great that the defense will be improved Thursday, but his bat should never see time at third base.

However, the problem truly lies in the the Crew's other infield bench player - former Giant Travis Ishikawa. As a left-handed fielder, Ishikawa is limited to first base around the infield, leaving Izturis as the only backup at the other three spots. Ishikawa is nothing but 1st base depth in case of injury and a part-time outfield contributor (with only 1 inning in the outfield in the big leagues).

Milwaukee needs to quickly rectify the situation by sending Ishikawa to AAA and calling up Taylor Green. Green is solid at 1st and 3rd base, adequate in short stints at 2nd base, and has an above-average stick with occasional pop. Green proved he can handle spot duty and a pinch-hitting role last season (10-37, 3 doubles, .622 OPS).

As a team with serious playoff aspirations, the Brewers aren't in a position to be cute with their roster decisions. Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke need to put guys in place that are legitimate producers, able to step in and avoid creating a drop off from the starter.

Without Ishikawa, the Brewers still have 2 backup outfielders - Carlos Gomez when Nyjer Morgan starts (vice versa versus lefties) and Norichika Aoki. In an emergency situation, Mat Gamel is more than capable of handling a few innings in a corner outfield spot where he took reps in the minor leagues.

Let's hope that the Brewers realize their mistake in choosing Ishikawa over Green sooner than later, before it costs them a win or two...which could be the difference in a playoff spot in a highly competitive National League.


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