Monday, May 4, 2015

RR Out; Let the Craig Counsell Era Begin

* posted on Monday AM...

   Milwaukee has now won 3 of their last 4 games   4 of their last 5 are starting to show signs of life.  The starting pitchers have turned in 3 quality starts in a row and the Crew now has a mini win streak (yes, it's only 2 games).  Too little too late for Ron Roenicke however, as he was let go yesterday after their win in Chicago.  This did surprise me, I will say, not because of the fact that it finally because of the horrible timing of it all.  Once RR (Ron Roenicke) made it through their off day last Thursday, I think most fans--and probably the players--were thinking that they have one last chance to start getting things right before the team is blown up.  Well, they/we thought wrong.  Doug Melvin was trying to get his replacement manager in place and deal finalized, my guess, through the weekend in order to be covered for the transition.  That transition is looking like it will be Craig Counsell taking over managerial duties starting tonight as Milwaukee welcomes the Dodgers to town for a HUGE 4 game series.  Prior this all occurring, I've been saying that Mark Attanasio will most likely give the Crew the 10 day home stand that starts tonight before they start their fire sell and fire RR.  That came a little early, for the latter.

This isn't a complete surprise though.  Warning flares were shot high in the sky when Mark Attansio flew into town for the Cardinals series April 24th, which they ultimately lost 2 games to 1.  The owner didn't lay blame on the skipper or the GM, Doug Melvin. Instead he threw Mike Fiers under the bus by stating that he was the one that gave up the grand slam home run to the Reds at Miller Park last wasn't Ron or Doug.  Ok, fine, you have a point there.  But then more flares were shot off this past weekend, Saturday to be exact, when USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the Brewers were letting teams know they're ready to start dealing.  That gave me a feeling that RR might also be on his way out....until they won their last 2 games in Chicago and earned their first series win and back-to-back wins of the season. I figured RR would be safe.  But no.  Doug Melvin decides to fire him ONLY AFTER the team decided to show some life.

Make no mistake about it, this team could still turn things around.  The Cardinals are running away with the NL Central, but let's keep in mind that there are still 2 wild card spots up for grabs.  Both the Pirates, Reds, and especially the Cubs aren't proving too much that they're locks to get them.  Milwaukee will need to dig deep and play .500 ball for most of the season and then hope for a 20 win month this summer in order to start digging out of the hole they're in.  Will it happen?  Probably not...but we do know that they are capable of win streaks by looking at what they did last April & May.

One thing is certain, they can't start their fire sale until they get their trade pieces turned around.  Kyle Lohse is starting to correct things and he's just too good of a pitcher to not turn things around.  Likewise for Matt Garza and his slow start.  Aramis Ramirez had a hell of a game yesterday in Chicago that should hopefully start to show signs of life for him; he went 1 for 3 with the go-ahead home run and the a 2-run single that would eventually win the Brewers the game.  He also hit a home run last week against the Reds.  This veteran third baseman is a huge trading piece.  Sure the buying team would only get a 1/2 season rental from the Brewers, but he is a part of the select few that provides power at the hot corner.

The biggest wild card is Carlos Gomez and the 2 (more) years of team control that come with him.  He's a fan favorite in Milwaukee and the new face of the franchise (along with Lucroy).  But he lacks plate and base running discipline and probably won't mesh well with what will sure to be a far more stern Craig Counsell as the skipper. Milwaukee would be wise to trade him for some high level, major league ready prospects.

I still think Milwaukee will have the rest of this week to show that they have corrected themselves, and now possibly maybe an added week to see how the team responds to Craig Counsell.  So expect to see deals to start being made as soon as this weekend and as late as next week Wednesday (May 13th) once they end their 10 game home stand (Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox).