To help preview our coming series with the Milwaukee Brewers I sat down with Dave from Brewers Bar. He shared some insights with me on the Brewers who are looking to rebound from a down season last year. The Nationals can learn a lot from Milwaukee, a team that built themselves up with a strong rebuilding process that helped them claim some of the best amateur talent in baseball.
The Nats Blog: Will the Brewers make it back to the post season, why or why not?
Brewers Bar: Well, before the season started, I posted on The Brewers Bar that the Brewers would make it to the NLCS, so I will say that they will...or at least *should" return. However, to do so, they need to have better pitching than last year, which means Randy Wolf has to pitch as well for the Brewers in '10 as he did with the Dodgers last year, Yovani Gallardo has to stay healthy, and Doug Davis needs to prove he was worth signing. The bullpen has been shaky so far this year, so that could prove to be a concern as well. A lot will also depend on how Ken Macha makes adjustments to his rotation--especially if Jeff Suppan or another starter struggles--can he pull the trigger to adjust the rotation, or will he continue his pattern of giving veteran a lot of chances before making a switch. Of course, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun need to stay healthy...if either of them gets injured, all bets are off.
TNB: If you could only keep one, Braun or Fielder?
BB: Braun...he gives you a bit more batting average...plus the Brewers' seem to have this tendency to be needing good hitting outfielders. We traded Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, and Nelson Cruz, and now have Jim Edmonds on the roster.
That said, it will be a tremendous heartbreak for all Brewers' fans if Prince leaves. He is the most popular player...hopefully, Scott Boras, knowing the Prince, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, and Ryan Howard could all be on the free agent market at the same time in 2012, will recommend Prince sign a 2-year deal after this season, so we have Prince here for two more years.
TNB: The Brewers brought on Randy Wolf in 2010, how do you feel about
BB: Overall, I like it. The Brewers had the second worst ERA in the NL last year at 4.83--and the starters' ERA was even worse--so they had to sign a free agent, as there were no good prospects in AAA Nashville to draw upon. Wolf was within their budget...he just needs to prove that he can pitch in homer friendly Miller Park.
TNB: What do the Brewers need to focus on in this series?
BB: As always, pitching. Yovani Gallardo needs to bounce back from his first two starts to improve upon his 0-2, 6.75 mark; Randy Wolf needs to have a better start than his last time out, as does Doug Davis. Skipper Ken Macha will be itching to get LaTroy Hawkins in to rebuild his confidence after his meltdown against the Cubs.
TNB: All time favorite Brewers memory?
BB: I was at the Easter Sunday game in1987 where Dale Sveum hit the walk-off home to extend their winning streak to 12 games, so that is tops for me. More recently, I was at the game where Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks both hit their first major league home runs back on June 25, 2005...so that would be a close second.