COMMENTARY | This may have already been established, but the Milwaukee Brewers' goose is cooked in terms of reaching the postseason in 2013. After dropping the series finale against the Atlanta Braves, the Brewers are 31-43, tied for last in the NL Central and 12 and 1/2 games out of the final wild card slot.
We hate to jump to conclusions with just under 90 games remaining on the schedule, but it's pretty clear which direction the Brewers' season is headed, and we have ten concrete reasons backing up why it's time to call off the dogs searching for winning baseball in Milwaukee.
1. Doug Melvin's quote
Back on June 4, Brewers' general manager Doug Melvin said the following to Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"If we make any more trades this year, it's going to be for two or three years from now instead of now. I'm not going to be trading any young players to win games."
This would indicate that even if Milwaukee somehow launched itself back to respectability, it wouldn't make trades to better the team this season, but rather take more of a rebuilding approach.
2. Starting pitching
This season, while their bullpen has been one of the best in baseball, the Brewers have the worst starting rotation in the NL. Both Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse are beginning to turn a corner, but the damage has already been done, and injuries have taken their toll.
3. Injuries to stars
Speaking of injuries, Corey Hart has yet to play this season, and both Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun have landed on the disabled list as well. Following a great catch against the Atlanta Braves on June 23, Carlos Gomez is also looking at missing some time.
4. The St. Louis Cardinals
The best team in Major League Baseball, the Cardinals have a stranglehold on the NL Central lead and haven't shown any signs of slowing down.
5. The Pittsburgh Pirates
We've seen it in the past two seasons with the Pirates -- a great start followed by a fiery tailspin. Runs have been hard to come by for Pittsburgh, but pitching has more than made up for it as the Bucs are hanging right with St. Louis.
6. The Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have a firm grasp on the final wild card and are over a dozen games ahead of the Crew. It doesn't help Milwaukee's cause that the three best teams in the National League play in its division. The Brewers play them a total of 31 more times in 2013.
At times, the Brewers look quite competent. They recently shut out the AL East leading Atlanta Braves in back-to-back games. Just before that? They kicked away a game sitting on a silver platter against the lowly Houston Astros. Constant change due to injuries and poor performance hasn't helped, but there's no excuse for mental lapses and unforced errors.
The manager always shoulders some of the blame when his team is struggling, and Ron Roenicke has been dealt a tough hand this season. But he has also made some head-scratching decisions and hurt the ball club on a few different occasions as a result.
9. Inferior competition complex
The schedule hasn't been kind to Milwaukee, but it often fails to take advantage of weak patches and has lost far too many games to losing teams, sometimes in heartbreaking fashion.
10. Not calling up pitching prospects
The Brewers only have three true starting pitchers on the current roster. If they were really trying to do everything they could to win, the Brewers would have looked at calling up young arms like Johnny Hellweg instead of taking a bullpen-by-committee approach, but Milwaukee would rather allow prospects to develop in the farm system -- and rightfully so.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
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- Milwaukee Brewers
- Doug Melvin