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MACHAWATCH! July 29, 2010 Edition.

It's the craze sweeping the nation!

You've heard of the Twist and the Charlie Brown and the Mashed Potato and the Cabbage Patch (is that a dance? I'm not sure).

But now: it's the BREWERS SHUFFLE (also known as the Spinning Your Wheels Waltz):

Take two of four from the Braves on the road? One step forward.

Split with the moribund Pirates -- and give up 29 runs in the process? Bow your head in shame, slink back two giant steps.

Sweep the Nats at home? Hey, not bad. Shimmy up a step.

What's that? You missed Strasburg in that series with Washington? That's OK. Just ease up on the shimmy a little bit.

And then lose a home series to the Reds, getting bludgeoned 22-4 in the last two games? Fall down, go boom.

All that marchin' in place isn't going to cut it, and it's not going to make the nullacct ManagerometerTM move an inch:


This week in MACHAWATCH!, we'll discuss why the next couple of months are a very dangerous time, check to make sure The Rapture didn't happen last night, and host a pinch hitter for @notkenmacha, who's once again MIA this week. He said something about "nipping this Asian Carp thing in the bud once and for all," flashed me a "hang ten" sign, and then dove headlong into the Milwaukee River. I don't know what the story was there, but I do know that it's time to jump.

This Week in The Most Dangerous Game Time: Here's the situation: there are 59 games left in the season. The Brewers are dead in the water in terms of contending for the postseason. Doug Melvin is apparently not going to sell off any of our major parts before the trading deadline. Most importantly for our purposes: barring some kind of miracle run in the last two months, Ken Macha is not coming back next season.

In my mind, we should start playing for next season (and beyond) in the remaining games. I fear and I suspect that we won't, given that Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, et al, will remain on the roster for the rest of the season, and given that Ken Macha is apparently going to do everything in his earthly power to win as many games as possible -- even if that means yanking his starting pitcher after 78 pitches and five innings the day after a game in which he was forced to use a position player to pitch the ninth inning.

In fact, yesterday's decision to pull Chris Narveson and force the beleaguered and overworked 'pen to cover four innings is a microcosm of the issue: getting Narveson out of the game at that juncture probably provided the best chance to win the game. On the other hand, continuing to run Kameron Loe into the ground -- he's pitched in 26 games since being called up two months ago, and he'd thrown 2.0 innings in each of his last two appearances -- probably isn't in the team's best interests going forward. (See, e.g., Todd Coffey in 2009.)

It's the same song, different verse for guys like Carlos Gomez. There's no arguing that he's been an abject disaster at the plate this year (and that his "I just need a few 3-for-4s to get my average up to .260" comments show that he doesn't seem to grasp what he needs to do to be valuable to the team) and that Jim Edmonds is a better option with the stick (so long as he's not using his bat as a cane). But, for better or worse, Gomez is going to be part of the team next season (and probably beyond that), and Edmonds, in all likelihood, won't be. At this point, unless the Powers That Be have decided that Gomez is a hopeless cause, CarGo needs to be out there, even if he's running into outs at third base. Sigh.

I say this knowing that Macha is in an incredibly difficult position; after all, self-preservation is the first law of nature, and he's obviously going to do everything he can to save his job. That said, I hope that his actions this season don't hamper the team in 2011.

This Week in Apocalypse Now?: With his bench ludicrously depleted by Edmonds' lingering heel injury and Hart's bum wrist, Macha's deeply-held "never, ever, ever, ever play your backup catcher" belief was seemingly in dire jeopardy yesterday. The Four Horsemen were on standby, the rivers were prepared to run with blood, and the locusts were sharpening their ... teeth? Pincers? (I don't know how locusts wreak such havoc, and they're gross to look at, so I'm not googling it.)

But, lo! The 10-2 score in the latter innings made it likely that George Kottaras would stay on the bench, and the world would keep spinnin', and the Horsemen could return to their game of Parcheesi.

Until Prince got hisself tossed from the game in the bottom of the eighth. Whoopsie.

Enter GeoKot at first.

Exit life as we know it?

According to the National Weather Service, the sun rose at about 5:39 this morning, and there aren't any clouds of pestilence on the radar. I think we're in the clear. In the event, however, that you're reading this week's MACHAWATCH! in some kind of bizarre, purgatory-like state -- like, say, the infinite expanse where the Progressive Insurance lady apparently lives -- you have my deepest apologies.

This Week in @notrickpeterson: It's been awhile since we checked in with our (fake) mulleted friend, and, with @notkenmacha defending the seas and waterways, now seemed like as good a time as any to see how our phony pitching coach is doing. I asked him what he thought of Joe Inglett's pitching debut on Tuesday:

Life is full of surprises, Rubicon. You'd know that if you'd attended my webinar: "Surprises and You: The Best Ways To Avoid Wetting Your Pants." It's the most important webinar I've ever held.

Well, I got a surprise this week when we activated our secret 26th man. I'd never heard of him before, but I think his name is Joe Dragnet. One look at him and you can tell I've never coached him before: His mechanics are awful, his velocity is low and he gets outs. His inning was over before I could even go out and put my hand on his shoulder.

So after the game I put on my lucky postgame windbreaker and went looking for Dragnet to get him signed up for some webinars, but I couldn't find him. Trevor Hoffman told me Dragnet lives in a secret cave under the bench in the bullpen, and I shouldn't go down there or I'll upset him. I haven't seen Dragnet since, and everyone else I've asked says they don't know what I'm talking about.

Hey, where're you going with my pants!?