Sunday's game against the Twins was the Brewers' 80th of the season. Today we're using the off day to look back at the (roughly) half season that was, with several of our BCB contributors stopping by to offer their thoughts.
We'll start the day off today with a few questions for everyone's favorite contrarian, Rubie Q:
KL: In a moment I'm going to ask you to give Ron Roenicke a grade for the first half of 2011, but I'm assuming he's staring down the barrel of an F from you. What would he have to do in the second half to change your opinion?
RQ: Nah. Grade inflation is a b$%^&; at worst, he'll swing an F-plus.
(To change my opinion) About his ability to manage a major-league baseball team? Gee, I don't know. I think Runnin' Ron and I have a fundamental, philosophical difference on how to run a baseball team, especially when it comes to offense, so I'm not sure that my opinion is capable of change.
But I'll say this: my stance will soften (perhaps not considerably, but in some measure) if he shows that he's learning from his mistakes. I know that he's probably never going to get past his burning desire to put his stamp on the game and DO SOMETHING whenever possible, but if, for example, Roenicke lets Luc hit for himself when the Brewers are down two in the ninth and there's a man on first, or if he realizes that it's not THAT bad of an idea to pinch-hit for your pitcher in the early-to-middle innings of the game if you're going to take him out anyway: I'll take that as a win. I'm looking for baby steps, I guess.
Follow the jump for the rest.
KL: Bullpen management is one of the primary criticisms I hear regarding Roenicke. In three paragraphs or less, tell me how you'd like to see the Brewer bullpen managed.
RQ: In short:
(1) Consistent with my complaints about getting in the way of his players and/or letting his very good players play very good baseball: John Axford is your best reliever, by a long shot. He demonstrated last year that he's capable of getting more than three outs in a game. Adjust your "closer only pitches in the ninth inning" schedule accordingly.
(2) Keep Zach Braddock in it. You're upset that he's showing up late? Tough turkey. Put a ****ing cot on one of the bullpen mounds, if you have to, and stop making mountains out of molehills with this sleep disorder thing.
(2)(a) (Subparts count as part of the same paragraph) Repeat: "ZACH BRADDOCK IS NOT A LOOGY" two hundred times before bed each night, and then put that into practice.
(3) Stop treating LaTroy Hawkins like a china doll. I get the concern with overusing him after last year, but here's the rub: maybe you can delay the inevitable for a little bit, but the facts are that the guy is 40 years old, and he's coming off of a pretty significant shoulder injury. If he's going to break down, he's going to break down. When LaTroy is right, he's very good, and we can use some very good arms in the 'pen. Let's take off the training wheels and see if he's back to his old self.
KL: You've been one of the primary dissenters regarding the opinion that Zack Greinke has been largely unlucky in his rough outings this season. What are your expectations for Greinke the rest of the way?
RQ: Let me be clear: I don't think he's been getting lucky, which, to me anyway, is different than being unlucky. He's thrown some meatballs in some very bad situations, and, when said meatballs get pummeled, I don't think it's fair (or accurate) to say that "he just got unlucky." I realize I'm alone on this island, but it's how I feel.
I think we're in the midst of an outlier season right now -- look at each and almost every one of his numbers: K/9, BB/9, HR/FB%, LD%, BABIP, etc: they're all way off his career averages -- and, while I think he'll get a bit closer to the Typical Zack Greinke, I'm expecting more of the same: huge strikeout numbers, very few walks, a lot of hits, a defense that lets him down more often than it bails him out, and a somewhat-misleading ERA in the mid-4s. Final numbers? I dunno: 13-9, 4.45 -- somewhere around there.
And now, the lightning round:
If you had to grade Ron Roenicke's performance to date, what would you give him? D-plus.
Give me one roster move the Brewers should make today. Braddock. Up. NOW.
Do you think this Brewer team will make the playoffs? When you say "this Brewer team," I assume you mean: "as currently constructed." In that case: nope.
Which Brewer are you most excited to watch in the second half? Rickie.