Photo: Benny Sieu/U.S Presswire
Even if their quality of play has improved over the last few weeks, the Brewers are still finding new and exciting ways to lose an unacceptably high number of games. The last two days have been no exception, and in both contests, the culprit was a unit that has plagued the club all year: The bullpen.
On Saturday, the offense (which has been pretty good, ranking 4th in the NL according to wOBA) was able to score enough runs to compensate for a poor start from Randy Wolf, but not the three runs allowed by Kameron Loe, Jose Veras, and Tim Dillard in as many innings, for an 8-6 defeat. Similarly, 7.1 scoreless innings by Mike Fiers were spoiled in Sunday’s 1-0 loss after Manny Parra allowed two doubles and a walk in the bottom of the 10th, with Jose Veras nearly saving Parra from the trouble by allowing four baserunners in a 9th-inning jam he narrowly escaped. This stands in sharp contrast to the 2011 club, which had somewhere around a half-dozen relievers who were suitable for high-leverage work, and went 30-18 in one-run games.
That’s not so much the strange part about all this. What’s weird -- hell, downright maddening, is the fact that the Brewers still have four of those guys this year, and the two that they lost (LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito) were seventh-inning types who combined to throw less than 75 innings the whole year. Furthermore, they compensated by adding Jose Veras, who, though somewhat mercurial, was still an above-average reliever who could be counted on for 70 innings a year. In addition, they would be looking at a full season of Francisco Rodriguez, one of the better setup men in the game, who was acquired in July. This Winter, I even wondered if this year’s bullpen could be better than the 2011 unit. At this point, my only question is “What went wrong?”.
read more: The Bullpen Isn't Really This Bad