Stop Panicking Now. | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Stop Panicking Now.

By on September 16, 2011

Now is the time when every honest-hearted fan of a plucky, surprisingly good small market team starts to panic.  Which is another way of saying that I’m panicking hard, like it’s my job.  I think I may have actually woken up panicking about the Brewers a few nights ago, which is troubling for about thirty reasons.  (Reason #7: there is absolutely nothing I can legally do to make the Brewers win more games.  Reason #23: panic is inherently troubling.)

The numbers are the numbers, and you’ve surely seen them repeated many times before, but I’m going to do it again for the sake of my own emotional wellbeing.  As things stand, there are 12 games left in the season.  If the Brewers go 8-4 (which feels nigh impossible lately) it’s a lock.  If they go 4-8 (which feels nigh inevitable) the Cards will have to go 9-4 to tie.  If the Brewers go 5-7, the Cards have to go 10-3.  Etc.

I think those numbers are right, but the particulars don’t matter all that much.  The point is that losing the division is possible, but not likely.

The remaining schedule is stacked with teams, like the Rockies, whom Milwaukee should be beating.  As we saw on Wednesday, that doesn’t mean anything in itself.  There’s a certain joy to being a spoiler, a freedom that comes with… um, having nothing left to lose.  (Sorry.)

The season has surely become something of a chore for those clubs lucky enough to have a statistically backed hold on their respective divisions.  It’s probably a chore for everyone else too, but there’s a special weight that comes with the feeling of, “Ugh, haven’t we won yet?”  You aren’t playing games to win something, but to not lose what you now feel entitled to.  It’s something I like to call the 2K7 Pats Syndrome.  Every game increases the potential depths of embarrassment.

It’s worth noting, maybe, that the last few games have taken some of the shine off of the team’s cohesion.  Well, that’s the narrative at least, but I wonder if it’s a bit of a silly media construction.  A few weeks ago, the consensus was that the Brewers were awesome and fun and scary.  So, presumably, any half clever member of the national sports media has tasked himself with finding a chink in the armor; if he can’t find them, he’ll make them out of whole cloth.

So K-Rod and Prince are now agitators, faithless reprobates who’ve abandoned their teams to worship future paychecks.  Or something.  Prince says he’s “probably” leaving, and K-Rod is mad that he hasn’t had a chance at a save.  Sure, this is stupid timing on both their parts, but it’s pretty clear that Prince has been badgered about his pretty obvious future plans all year.  It should shock absolutely no one that he “probably” won’t be a Brewer next year, and people should stop asking about it.  It’s a boring question he can’t give an honest answer to until the season’s over.

Nor should it shock anyone that K-Rod doesn’t like being a set up man, given that it’s pretty clear he was promised opportunities to close when he joined the team.  Isn’t that what Doug Melvin said out loud and in front of a microphone, after all?

Obviously, people are upset about the lack of tact here, the impropriety of two key members of a winning ballclub making a selfish fuss before their team has actually won anything.   But it’s fairly clear that Prince and K-Rod were goaded into saying things they shouldn’t by naggy reporters desperate to get a quote.  And moreover, to repeat, neither said anything surprising or controversial.

Still, it’s annoying, and it plays right into the sweaty, cowardly hands of the Brewers-are-collapsing crowd  (check your hands, they’re totally sweaty and cowardly, right?)   It is also, essentially, just an annoying inconvenience.

The Brewers are exclusively playing sub-.500 teams from here on out.  The last six games of the season will be played at home, and the last three are against the extremely beatable Pirates.  No one of importance is on the DL, and both Weeks and Gomez will presumably be close to 100% very soon.  Sure, the hitting looks lackluster, but it’s worth noting that team BABIP has been .278 for the last two weeks.  Given that it’s at .293 for the season, it seems a readjustment is likely.

Maybe most importantly, the pitching still looks good.  Losing games makes pitchers look worse than they are, and over the same two weeks the team’s ERA (3.20) and xFIP (3.36) have been fifth best in the majors.  The pitching is not the problem, and the hitting can only get better.

So, yeah, panic is natural when things tighten up, but there are plenty of reasons to think recent performances are an aberration and not the new normal.  Not that a chipper attitude is likely to help, but it might make the next few weeks a bit more pleasant.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. St. Paul Tim says: September 16, 2011

    I’m panicking!
    Here’s some reasons to panic.
    Don’t panic, everything is fine.

  2. Patrick says: September 16, 2011

    I would say that he’s more talking about all the reasons that people are panicking and reminding everyone that for the rest of the season the Brewers still should win most of their games, leading them to a playoff birth and an NL Central title.

    I hate to bring it up but remember the 2006 Cardinals? Almost blew a huge lead and finished 83-79….had some huge holes in their lineup, and Mulder was out for the year, still that team went on to make and win the World Series.

    The point is that during September we should be cherishing the great season that we’ve had, and understand that this team has surpassed expectations (at least for me, to be this far ahead is surprising).

    Even if we went and won the rest of our games there would be some pessimists saying “well look who they beat, no one..” and they would have a legitimate gripe but the reality of the situation is that in the playoffs everyone is 0-0. The Brewers will make the playoffs, so maybe stop putting so much stress on yourself during a time in which we can enjoy the end of the season prior to the inevitable stress of the postseason.

  3. Plezbo says: September 16, 2011

    Honestly, after all the hub-bub that Phony Flush made about how the Brewers were better than the Phils, and that they were going to catch them with a sweep at home, it is great to see the team and the fans squirm a bit.

    That being said, it is nigh impossible that the Crew doesn’t make the playoffs.

  4. Ken in Iowa says: September 16, 2011

    Good article. Bunch of media hatin’ on the Crew. I never understand how you could hate the Packers, Brewers or Bucks. Small Market clubs, with class acts for the most part. Especially the Brewers. It’d be nice to make the playoffs more than 2 times in 20 years. Is it really that irritating to a team that makes the playoffs every couple years to see the underdog win? The Cardinals announcers call us the “Dark Empire”. Are you kidding me? Keep on hatin’. It only makes us stronger. Wait, getting a healthy Weeks (and to a less extent) Gomez only makes us stronger. Either way, these kids are amped up and ready to get hot.

  5. Cory says: September 17, 2011

    Naggy reporters! I like that part of the article. The Brewers had a game the night that Fielder came out and said what he said. It almost seemed like Brian Anderson was proud that he “got Fielder to finally talk about it.” I almost think Anderson felt he broke a completely shocking new story, when in fact, like you said, we all knew this was (or was going to be) the case. You didn’t hit us with any new news Brian. His tone really irritated me. But, along with (and especially) Schroeder, my patience is pretty much gone with TV broadcasters this season. If it wasn’t for the bad delay on my radio, I’d listen to Uecker every single game. But, again, as usual, yes, it is the media that is making what they feel is a huge deal over something that has been implied since about this time last year. I’m considering buying a sports network that has absolutely no broadcasters for baseball/football/basketball games. All you’ll hear is the PA announcer and the crowd/stadium noise. Wouldn’t that be nice? At least from time to time?

  6. Tim Schaefer says: September 18, 2011

    Oh, look, they’re starting to win again. I’m a genius!

  7. Roger says: September 18, 2011

    How many double plays has Casey McGehee hit into this season? He has to be leading the universe.

  8. Ross says: September 19, 2011
  9. stantheman says: September 22, 2011

    Stop sweat’n it! When your 18-2 you’re not that good and when you’er 4-6 you’re not that bad. You guys are in! Having said that…….. you will never make it out of the national league this year.

    P.S. I’ve been to this blog twice. I have never heard such propping up of a bunch of babies. Can’t you just let the fact that Morgan is an idiot…..just let it go?
    “Shirts Out” the team and it’s fans still need to grow up.


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