It all started out so gloriously, a 20-8 red hot April, a so-so (13-15) May and then another stellar month of baseball in June, posting an 18-10 mark. The first place Milwaukee Brewers were 51-32, 6 1/2 games up on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Comedy Central, owners of the best record in the National League and firing on all cylinders. Clutch hitting, mind boggling starting pitching, a light outs closer, and an above average bull pen. 4 All-Stars. (3 legit, LuCroy, K-Rod and Gomez). The turnstiles have been spinning at $7.50 Miller Park and the price of a cold one never mattered less to the Brew Crew Faithful. Was this, finally, the year on which they could return to that thing called the World Series?
Then July happened. No fireworks for Milwaukee, instead, a series of duds. It's July 9th, and so far the Blue and Golden have turned into the Blew and Yellow. Losers of seven of their last eight, a paltry 1-6 in July, with the only performance standing in the way of an 8 game losing streak being the 2-hit complete game gem Garza tossed at Cincinnati last Saturday. Now it's a virtual jackpot party for the NL Central pennant; the Cardinals are 3 back, the Reds at 3 1/2, and the Pirates at 4 1/2 games behind.
After suffering back-to-back losses at home to the woeful Phillies, the Blew-Ha's still face 5 more games before the All-Star break, two more against the Phils and then a 3 game set with the aforementioned Cardinals. The panic button has not been pressed, it has been smacked into home plate. WIBA-AM, the home of Brewer baseball in Madison, posed this "Poll Question Of The Day" to it's listeners this morning, "Will the Brewers be in 1st place by the All-Star break?" (Have they been reading my posts?)
Fear not, Brew-Ha apostles, the good news is Matt LePay, the voice of Badger football and basketball, is rejoining the FSN television crew after the All-Star break in Washington, and surely his mere presence, being the lucky charm that he is for local sports, will be enough to turn the team around. Well, seriously, there has to be a better soluiton you ask? There is, and one might think that perhaps the Brewer management, namely GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio, will look to a more reasonable solution for insuring this team does have a legitimate shot at the NLCS and beyond in 2014. That move, by the way, would be to land former Cy Young Award winner and 4 time All-Star, David Price of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Ala the C.C. Sabathia acquisition in 2008 that secured the Brewers a Wild Card berth, a move to acquire the 6'6", 28 year old, left handed fireballer would certainly mend what would appear to be an obvious gaping hole in the starting rotation, that is, of course, Marco Estrada. Estrada leads the majors in gopher balls and now he leads the Milwaukee fans to the Pepto Bismol bottle every time he takes the mound.
Add Estrada's shaky performances to the suddenly schizophrenic outings of one Wily Peralta, and the Brewers team ERA continues to rise. Despite a general lack of offense lately and a mind numbing habit of base running blunders that continue to plague this team, what Melvin, Roenicke and company really need is a stellar starter the likes of Price.
Don't let his current 8-7 mark and 3.48 ERA fool you, this guy is the pick of the 2014 second half season rentals, his lifetime 79-46 record proves that as well as his last 8 outings for Tampa in which he has posted impressive numbers, including a season total of 159 K's. The Brewers have three legitimate starters in Kyle Lohse (should have been an All-Star), Matt Garza, and Yovani Gallardo, although any Brewer fan worth the salt in his beer knows Yovani aka "Goneyardo", can be a crap shoot more often than not.
Landing Price would ease the pain of gambling on Estrada every time he is scheduled to pitch, and it would also re-ignite a team and a fan base that is suddenly jumping off the We-Can-Win-This-Thing bandwagon in droves. Despite his 9.8 million dollar salary, Melvin and Attanasio should pull the trigger and work some magic to get the one piece they are desperately missing, a gamer, David Price. Don't "pay" attention to his salary men, any way you slice it, the Price is right for Milwaukee.
And For What