With the first half coming to a close, I’ve decide to resurrect this failed attempt at a blog. I figure if the Brewers can keep on fighting and treading water, so can I.
As Doug "Double-D" Davis takes the mound today for the final game of the first half, a lot rests on his shoulders. For starters, the Crew are a game under .500 and have fought tooth and nail for the last month and a half or so to get over the watermark and falling each time. The only exception being last week when they swept Cincinnati, moving a game over .500. Today’s game has much of the taste and feel of the last game against Pittsburgh last year when the Crew were fighting to end the season at the middle mark.
They’ve had many highs (Carlos Lee, Billy Hall, Prince Fielder in April and May) and plenty of lows (Ben Sheets, Tomo Ohka, any No. 5 starter) but have managed to keep their heads above water all the while. The fact that they are amongst the league leaders in come-from-behind victories and home wins speaks to their desire and commitment to winning. And there’s much to be hopeful about with the second half coming up.
Last year Lee was dominating in the first half proving that he was well worth the trade of Scott Posednick. A power outage in the second half though left him not nearly as productive as he was earlier. Many attributed it to the fact that he participated in the Home Run Derby and All-Star game. With the All-Star festivities and the fact that he started or played in all 162 games left him with little time for rest. Ned Yost has said that he doesn’t think Lee will have a problem keeping at another hot half season going.
There’s plenty to be hopeful of with the second half approaching. Last year Jenkins went on an offensive tear carrying much of the load for the team with Lee’s drought. This year, if Jenks and Lee can stay hot at the same time, the Brewers have a serious chance of becoming an maintaing their offensive force. The Brewers also, as a team, played better ball the second time around last year with the hopes of doing so this year. Most importantly injuries have riddled the Brewers in key areas. With Sheets and Ohka expected to come back soon after the break and J.J. Hardy later in the month, these three additions alone can act as a major trade. Sheets and Ohka weren’t exactly ace-caliber starters before their injuries though. Big Ben wasn’t so big when he started the season on the DL and compiled a 1-3 record with a massive 6.64 ERA before going on the DL again. Hopefully they just brought him back too soon the last time and now will be fully healed and in rare form. Ohka isn’t an overly powering pitcher, but was decent when he has pitched this year. Hardy had been struggling again with the bat before sliding into a brick wall that goes by the name of Sal Fassano. His defense was spectacular as usual and his bat started to come back around just before being injured.
Even if Sheets, Ohka, and Hardy don’t perform straight off the bat as expected, they’ll provide a much needed ego boost with their mere presence alone. The addition of Sheets and Ohka will give a much needed rest to a depleted bullpen and rotation. And while Hall has been amazing, both defensively and offensively, in Hardy’s absense at short, he desperately needs a rest and the Brewers can use his utility abilities at third and second (not to mention center) once again. Especially now that Corey Koskie is sitting out for awhile after that insane relay catch to Hall. The psyhological edge and boost these three players will give the team can alone help them carry on stronger through the rest of the season.