Here are the reasons why the Brewers' 5-2 loss to San Diego tonight is a bit worrisome:
Here are some responses to Tom’s reasons.
1. They were playing the San Diego Padres, who had the worst record in the NL (53-86). This is not the New York Mets.
Yes, but they were facing Shawn Estes, who has been very good this year (2.97 ERA, 132 ERA+, 1.187 WHIP), and in his career, very good against these Brewers. He has held them to a .265/.315/.389 line. It’s a small sample, but worth noticing. Moreover, the Brewers were starting their worst starter Jeff Suppan. 5-2 would have been a reasonable prediction for the final score of this game.
2. The Padres also had the worst road record (21-47) in the NL, including nine consecutive losses.
Over this stretch they faced the 1st place Diamondbacks, including both Haren and Webb, the Dodgers, who are trying desperately to catch the D-Backs, and the Giants, including a game against Tim Lincecum. Much of baseball is about timing and matchups. Losing to “The Giants” is bad. Losing to “The Giants on the day that Lincecum throws” is not. Beating “The Brewers when Jeff Suppan Starts” is not surprising.
3. The Padres arrived in town at 5:30 a.m. after playing a night game in LA but showed more energy than the Brewers.
It happens. I don’t really go for the whole “showing energy” thing. Teams look bad when they play bad, not the other way around.
4. Padres starter Shawn Estes was making his first start since May after being out with a broken thumb.
Some players pitch well after an injury. It can help to keep pitchers fresh. He’s not a great pitcher, but he’s done well against the Brewers, and he was facing the rather shitty Jeff Suppan.
5. The Brewers were 31-13 against LHPs at the start of the week but now have lost to four in a row.
Sometimes you lose 4 in a row. The Cubs have lost 5 in a row. Luck, regression to the mean, whatever. The Brewers do hit lefties well, but 31-13 is probably a bit much. Some regression was probably expected, plus one of those lefties was Johan.
6. The Brewers were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and are 7-for-46 (.152) in the four losses. They are so reliant on hitting home runs to score that they often go in these deep funks with RISP.They just don't have many clutch hitters.
There is no such thing as a “clutch hitter.” Some guys claim to have found one and were going to have its DNA examined by scientists, but it turned out to be a rubber suit. Anyway, to the extent that they have trouble with RISP, it’s more of a problem that they don’t put enough people on base in the first place.
7. The Brewers have lost four consecutive chances to build on their wild-card lead.
This is a negative way of spinning the fact that this tailspin, bad as it is, really hasn’t hurt them much at all. Those other teams have all missed opportunities to catch the Brewers. I guarantee that those missed opportunities hurt a lot more.
8. After going 20-7 in August, they are 0-4 in September, killing all of that momentum.
Momentum lives in a cave with the “clutch hitter” in the Ozarks. Momentum, as they say, is tomorrow’s starting pitcher.
9. They haven't been to the playoffs since 1982, so stumbles like this can cause rumblings that get to the players and make them press.
1982 is completely irrelevant. All games are big games.
10. Ryan Braun (1) and Prince Fielder (0) have one RBI between them this week. When those two guys don't get it done, it puts a lot of pressure on the other hitters.
Prince has faced all lefties, so this is not surprising. Braun has been slumping. It happens. It would be nice if someone else would pitch in, but since we employ a catcher who can’t hit (and he’s actually been OK lately) and the worst regular 3rd baseman in the bigs, it could be tough to compensate.
We'll stop there. Now, the one big reason that Brewers fans might sleep OK tonight:
1. CC Sabathia is starting for the Brewers on Friday night.
Remember what I said about momentum?