The Milwaukee Brewers, in one week, have gone from handing the great Los Angeles Dodgers their first sweep of the season to looking like a doormat for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the first two games of the series against the Pirates, who are now just four games back of Milwaukee, the Brewers have allowed 18 runs, committed four errors, gone 3-17 with runners in scoring position, and left 22 men on base.
It would appear as though the offense has forgotten how to plate runners. It also looks like the starting pitching has run into a slump.
Tonight’s game was painful to watch from an offensive standpoint. The Brewers kept leaving runners on base early on when they could’ve put the game to bed before the fifth inning. The Brewers got 11 hits off starter Edinson Volquez. Eight of those were essentially wasted.
It was so incredibly maddening because you just knew these wasted opportunities were going to bite the Brewers in the rear end. That’s what exactly happened.
Wily Peralta left so many pitches over the plate that his three home runs allowed were inevitable. A fastball belt-high and middle-in isn’t going to be whiffed at by sluggers like Pedro Alvarez. It was just an awful night for Peralta, who has otherwise looked like a future ace all season.
Yovani Gallardo looked terrible the night before, too. Gallardo couldn’t throw a strike to save his life. And when he did throw one, the Pirates were all over it or being helped by sloppy Brewer defense.
These past two games have been painful to watch. It’s all well and good to sweep a contender like the Dodgers on the road, but when divisional foes who are breathing down your neck come into town, you have to take care of business. The Brewers have choked instead of rising to the occasion.
I can’t be the only Brewers fan who’s worrying about significant choking here. Milwaukee has held first place since early April. Losing the division and possibly the wild card spots would be an extremely painful pill to swallow.
22 of the 26 games in September will be against NL Central teams. If the Brewers can’t get it done against divisional foes now, September may be an ugly month.
Now, I must stress that I’m not hitting the panic button right now. I’m telling myself that Peralta just had a bad day, and the offense is in a funk that comes and goes with any team. I’m telling myself there’s nothing lethal plaguing the Brewers. Peralta had a couple nice innings tonight, and the Brewers got 12 hits. There are some positives to focus on.
However, these two games had better be flukes. The Milwaukee Brewers had better tighten up their defense, bring runners home, and locate pitches better. If they don’t, before long they’ll be sitting in third place in the NL Central and trying to play catch-up throughout the tough month of September. Starting a losing streak now isn’t good, so what I’m saying is simply this:
Get it together Milwaukee. And fast.