It is hardly a surprise to fans of the Milwaukee Brewers that the team is banged up. It’s been a given, at least for me, ever since the 1990s. Every year warrants a list of key names on the disabled list. During the past few years, injuries have hindered the Brewers from keeping pace with the rest of the NL Central, not to mention a less than stellar pitching staff.
This year, though, the pitching is sound, able to keep the team in almost every ball game. The injury bug has bitten the bullpen, but the bites haven’t been crippling. Brandon Kintzler returned quickly from a shoulder injury, and Jim Henderson was already struggling with command. Tom Gorzelanny was already injured, but current lefties Zach Duke and Will Smith have made his absence irrelevant.
No, the injury bug has had more success feeding off the position players, and lately, it’s been particularly craving power hitters that define the middle of the lineup. I’m talking, of course, about Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun.
Ramirez’s stint on the disabled list is almost inconsequential to Brewers fans like me. To see his name on the DL is like opening up my window in the morning, looking up at the sky and seeing it’s still blue. Just another day at the office.
Ramirez is getting up there in age, and it’s to be expected that his body is more vulnerable to ailments. And before his degeneration, he wasn’t exactly hitting like a clean-up guy. Early on in April he was, sure, but then he got back to his notorious slow start, at one point going 2-40 around late April and early May.
And then there’s Braun, who has picked up yet another knock on his oblique. Braun apparently can’t go more than a week before feeling sore. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find this continuous string of injuries extremely enraging. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Braun was supposed to come back from his almost year-long hiatus from the diamond and go back to being the perennial Silver Slugger he was. Now I have to believe the PEDs are taking their toll or something, because athletes aren’t supposed to be so fragile.
Will these injuries be never-ending? Do we as Brewers fans just need to accept Ryan Braun’s fragility like we do Aramis Ramirez’s?
I know that’s going to be hard for me to accept. I like to see the Brewers win, and with Ryan Braun off the field, the Milwaukee Brewers are less likely to be playing in October.