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Three Things are Seriously Wrong

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There are a lot of wonderful things about the 2006 Milwaukee Brewers, a lot of players who are great fun to watch, and even some (Rickie Weeks, I'm looking at you) who have improved a ton from the beginning of the season.

Then there's the other half. The leftovers from the days when the Brewers sucked. Today, in what was very possibly the most painful game to watch of the entire season, those leftovers took over and, with the help of the coaching staff misusing those guys, made completely sure that the Cubs would win. Because--there's no mistaking this--today's game was ours for the taking if just a few decisions were made differently.

Problem #1: Dan Kolb. I like Kolb, he's a competitor, he was great for a while, and I wish he could still throw a sinker on the outside corner. Or the inside corner. Or anywhere but the barrel of a bat. Let's remember this, for all time, in case Dan Kolb ever makes another reunion tour with Mike Maddux:

  • Dan Kolb is not a groundball pitcher.
Got that? You, Ned, in the back? You got that? Despite the fact that until a week or two ago, Kolb had a passable ERA, he has not been a good reliever since 2004. If we are too nice or too squeamish or too cheap to cut ties with our million-dollar investment, he needs to be pitching garbage innings. The 8th inning of a 2-run game with Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez coming up on a windblown day at Wrigley IS NOT A GARBAGE INNING.

Problem #2: Chad Moeller. Here's what I want to know. This is an honest question. What would have to happen--what combination of Chad Moeller's performance and Mike Rivera's performance would be enough for Ned Yost or Doug Melvin to say, "You know what, Rivera is probably just as good--we don't risk anything by cutting Moeller lose and giving another guy a try." It's been plainly obvious to me since this offseason, if not before. Just because Chad Moeller gets two clutch hits per year does not mean he deserves to be on any Major League roster, let alone ours. There are two ways to solve the Moeller problem:

  1. Send Chad packing and call up Mike Rivera;

  2. Keep Chad, call up Mike Rivera (send down Chris Barnwell, now that Jeff Cirillo and Bill Hall are 100%) and NEVER, EVER let Chad Moeller bat in an important situation. Top of the 7th, tie game, bases loaded, one out--Chad's day must end. If having three catchers is the only way for that to happen, I think I can handle that.
For that matter, would it have been asking too much of Damian Miller to catch the last two innings of today's game? I'll bet if you asked him, he'd be fine with it. Maybe as a trade-off, Chad could catch some of those garbage innings that Dan Kolb will pitch on the days Damian Miller starts.

Problem #3: Geoff Jenkins. I would jump firmly in the "Trade Jenkins" camp if I thought we could get anything for him, but that's probably foolish of me. Everybody in baseball knows he strikes out too much, doesn't play as good of defense in right as he did in left, and hasn't hit a home run in more than 100 ABs. Maybe he'll bounce back and lead the team to the Wild Card in the second half, but based on what I've seen lately, I doubt it. Frankly, the situation right now can be summed up very briefly:

  • Corey Hart is as good a player as Geoff Jenkins. Right now.
Corey's not a whiz in the field, but as today's game proved, Geoff can make boneheaded mistakes with the best of them. Corey hasn't shown much power at the big-league level, but he also doesn't strike out every third at-bat. If Jenkins does have to stay in the lineup, he fit in very nicely down at #7. Two good games do not a recovery make; in between productive hitters like Bill Hall and Carlos Lee, he's just a rally-killer in the on-deck circle.

There are other problems, too, but right now, the Brewers would be a much better team if Corey Hart were the starting rightfielder, Dan Kolb were relegated to the very back corner of the bullpen, and Chad Moeller found out was it was like to go through waivers unclaimed.