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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Climbing Back Toward .500?

The Brewers have won two in a row following a strong start by Zack Greinke in his home debut on Monday and an offensive breakout on Tuesday. They now hold a record of 16-20 as they look for a series sweep today against the Padres. Their recent road trip put them in a hole that won't be easy to climb out of quickly; to do so during this home stand would require them to beat the Padres again today and then sweep the Pirates this weekend. I may take the optimistic view, but some signs indicate they could pull it off, however unlikely that would be.

Greinke looked extremely strong through his first four innings Monday, as did Shaun Marcum prior to the seventh yesterday. If Yovani Gallardo turned a corner Saturday (and I really, really hope he did) the Brewers finally have the top three starting pitchers they expected to have at the beginning of the season. Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson have certainly been serviceable, too.

The Brewers offense, meanwhile, has endured a cold stretch. Even when they've hit the ball hard lately it just hasn't found a hole -- until yesterday. During the second and third innings it seemed like every ball they put in play managed to evade the Padres defense. When a team is struggling to find hits, a little luck can go a long way. This team is just too strong offensively to fail to hit much longer. If they can manage 3-4 runs a game they should have a chance to win with how their pitching staff has been performing.

Sweeping any two teams in a row is a tall order, even if it's against two below-average teams. It will be even tougher if the Brewers make base-running mistakes at the pace they've been doing so lately. Still, the Crew needs to continue to win and crawl back toward .500, and there's no better scenario for them to do so than a home stand against the Padres and Pirates.

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