Brewers start second half of season tomorrow against Miami
The Milwaukee Brewers are about to open the second half of their most difficult season in years. The Crew is 38-56. And after winning the National League Central just two years ago, the Brewers are entrenched in last, 19-and-a-half games out of first. Principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin say the hardest thing to deal with is the lack of production in the middle of the batting order. Attanasio says the normal three-four-and-five hitters – Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart – hit 98 homers a year ago, and they’ve only had 14 this season. Braun faces a possible 100-game suspension in the Bio-Genesis drug scandal, but he has already missed 36 games this year due to injuries – mostly nerve damage in his right hand. Ramirez is on the disabled list for the second time, after hurting a knee twice while sliding into a base – and he only has partial power the rest of the time. Hart will miss the entire season with injuries to both his knees. Also, the Brewers’ top brass knew starting pitching would be a big problem. Rookie Wily Peralta and veteran Kyle Lohse struggled at the start but got better. Mike Fiers never worked out. And ace Yovani Gallardo struggles with a sub-.500 record. A solid bullpen is the only reason the team’s E-R-A is just below three. Even so, Attanasio says there’s too much talent on the Brewers not to be winning more games. He points to All-Stars Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez as two of the good things about this year’s squad – and he says there are surprisingly many positives as the Crew leads the N-L in triples and stolen bases. Milwaukee returns from the All-Star break tomorrow night at home, when it plays Miami.
The Brewers will get an extra draft pick right after the first round next June. Milwaukee was awarded the Number-six selection yesterday in Round-“A” of the second annual competitive balance lottery. It was created as part of the collective bargaining agreement approved last year. It gives small-market teams, and those with the lowest revenues, an edge in stocking their minor league systems. Twenty teams are entered. Six get a Round-“A” pick right after the first round of the draft, and six others gets a Round-“B” choice after the second round. The Brewers were given a Round-“B” choice for this year’s draft in June. They used it to sign high school shortstop Tucker Neuhaus from Tampa.