Monday, July 06, 2009

Braun Unloads on Crappy Pitching

Sometimes, it takes an honest young dude to say what everyone else is thinking before it becomes relevant.

The Milwaukee Brewers have been playing with fire along most of their starting rotation all season. We're halfway through the season, and it's obvious that the Brewers are simply not going to easily rise above "These guys suck" status with the starters.

Since the offense seems to alternate between being unstoppable and unstartable, the problems on the staff become even more magnified.

Keep in mind, this isn't last season, when an incompetent boob managed the bullpen into the ground and practically destroyed the team's playoff chances from his perch in the dugout.

Most Brewer fans have understood this, but it wasn't a huge topic among the national baseball folk. We just needed someone prominent to say something about it.

Enter All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun.
"We're at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody," Braun said.

"I know [GM Doug Melvin] is trying to make our ballclub better. I know he recognizes the importance of making a move and making it soon, but at the same time I think everybody's recognized there's a lot of teams that are still in the race."
This isn't about criticizing Melvin, manager Ken Macha, pitching coach Bill Castro, any of the pitchers, or the scouting department. The pitching sucks, and they need to find a way to fix it.

Braun continued.
"Regardless of the reasons, we’ve got to find a way to throw the ball a little bit better for us to have success. When you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy and not fun.

"Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours in this series. All four guys we saw in this series are No. 1, worst-case, No. 2 type starters. They make big pitches in big situations. You’re not always going to get hits in those situations."
It would probably earn more headlines if 1) Braun were not on steroids, 2) he wasn't talking about the Brewers, or 3) he asked for a trade.

Braun has a history of this. He spoke out in May of last year after the Brewers fell to last place in the National League Central. His intelligent, well-reasoned comments about now-former manager Ned Yost were right on the money, and it just took someone in the room saying it before most of Brewer Nation actually believed it.

In this case, Braun's refreshing honesty is again on the money. It's not the frustration talking, and it's not Braun being a me-first guy. Braun wants what we all want, and he's not afraid to speak his mind on it.

Since we now live in an era of canned soundbites and the same generic crap being spoken by practically everyone in sports, a guy like Braun should be celebrated. He knows what it's going to take for the Brewers to remain a contender, and he isn't afraid to ask for it.

Now it's up to Doug to find a way to make it happen.

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