Brewing up America’s pastime: Mixing success and struggle on recent road trip


Corey Knebel, Brewers reliever, celebrates an 8-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers last Tuesday night with Martin Maldonado, catcher. The Brewers went 4-6 on the road trip. Photo provided by Getty Images.

The smell of the freshly made hot dogs, taste of David sunflower seeds and sights of the players warming up fill the aroma that is Miller Park during the summer as our beloved Milwaukee Brewers play an old-fashioned game dating back to 1845. But it’s more than just a game: it’s a national pastime, one that has become a staple of American culture. Since I was handed a baseball bookcase when I was eight days old, I have become infatuated with the sport, and as I have aged it has become the hallmark of my interest. With this backdrop, I decided to take to The Highlander Online to showcase my thoughts about the local bunch of guys living out thousands of children’s dreams: the Milwaukee Brewers.

After a brief allusion of not having the worst record in Major League Baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers currently find themselves once again plastered to the cellar like glue. With an inability to pitch, hit, or find ways to win games, the Brewers are the disgrace of not only Milwaukee sports, but also for the entire league.

This past week and a half, the Brewers ventured to New York, Detroit, and Atlanta, with the hope of picking up some momentum before the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend. Well, like everything else this season, there is no hope. A 4-6 record, including losing 3 of 4 to the Atlanta Braves over Memorial Day weekend manifested that the Brewers are incapable of beating a perfectly average team.

The trip started strong on Friday, May 15th, where the Brewers rode two home runs from Ryan Braun and caught Bartolo Colon at the wrong time, catapulting the Crew to a 7-0 victory over the New York Mets.

This sense of competence in the clubhouse, however, quickly faded, as a 10-run fourth inning on Saturday night led the Mets to a 14-1 victory. Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam, and Michael Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy both hit two-run doubles to help cruise the home team to victory.

The rubber match on Sunday needed strong play from both teams, but rookie Noah Syndergaard struck out five and allowed one run over six innings, which was all the Mets needed as they won 5-1. Cuddyer’s two-run single as well as Curtis Granderson‘s home run helped propel the Big Apple’s lesser-known squad to a series win.

With this dismal start to the trip, the Brewers continued towards Granderson’s former team, the Detroit Tigers. Carlos Gomez drove in the winning run in the seventh inning of Monday’s game to lift the Brewers to a 3-2 victory. Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Broxton left Tigers runners stranded from the sixth through eighth innings, which helped seal the victory down the stretch.

This slight motivation gave me at least the hope that the Brewers could maybe play decently throughout the rest of the season, and this was furthered by Tuesday night’s performance. Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Adam Lind hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third inning to send the Brewers towards an 8-1 win. These big three elements of the lineup finally putting something together was nice, but maybe next time they could spread out when they decide to hit home runs.

Since the Brewers have not understood the concept of a sweep, especially a road sweep, it was fitting that Wednesday’s decision fell to Detroit. Nick Castellanos‘s three-run triple in the eighth inning broke a tie and led the Tigers to pick up some hope that they needed after dropping the two earlier games to the paltry Brewers.

With this backdrop, the team headed to Atlanta, where they would proceed to lose 3 of 4 games. Thursday’s contest was once again the cause of a “big inning,” as a seven-run seventh inning allowed Atlanta to win 10-1.

The Brewers fought back on Friday in a big way, with Ryan Braun’s home run, two doubles, and four RBI’s leading the charge in an 11-0 victory for Milwaukee.

Saturday and Sunday went to the Braves, unfortunately, as scores of 3-2 and 2-1, respectively, led the home team to the big series win. Similar to the Mets series, a rookie pitcher won the Sunday match, as Mike Foltynewicz pitched seven and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball that made it an easy Braves win.

Throughout this road trip, the Brewers have seen similar problems. From giving up big innings to winning by a lot the next night, this perpetual inconsistency is absurd and is a formula for ridiculousness. In order for the Brewers to try to escape the cellar, or at least the worst record in the leagues, the Brewers will need to play well each night, not just when they want to.

As we approach summer, my hope would be that the Brewers can correlate hot weather to hot performances. When I head off to my haven, camp, hopefully the team can play as if they are in a haven. Maybe that’s being too optimistic, but a fan can always dream for days of success.