It was tough to watch this team lose their first four games of the season, but it wasn’t like they were playing poorly at that time. For the most part, they were still hitting, and they were a couple bad pitches away from starting 2-2. The sweep at the hands of the Nationals was different.
It was ugly. Nobody played very well. On Friday night, nearly everyone on the diamond screwed up defensively, and it was just too much to overcome in extra innings. In the doubleheader, the defensive issues reared their ugly head once again, with the added bonus of Brewers pitchers missing spots badly at the worst possible moment. For the first time this year, it looked like they could do nothing right.
Things look bad again, but if fans are going to get this emotional with every losing streak (and winning streak), it’s going to be a long year. This team is still the same one that won 7 of 8. Nothing has changed in three days. It’s still an 85-to-87 win team, and 85-to-87 win teams are going to have stretches in which they look extremely vulnerable.
Even the 2008 Brewers had a 4-12 stretch in May. They didn’t look like a playoff team then. They even temporarily fell into last place. Things looked completely different a couple months later. Yes, the May 2008 Brewers didn’t have CC Sabathia and the July 2008 Brewers did. But the April 2011 Brewers don’t have Zack Greinke and Corey Hart. The May 2011 Brewers and beyond will.
Getting swept by the Nationals is enough to have many fearing the outcome of the upcoming series in Philadelphia, but baseball is weird. If the Nationals can sweep the Brewers, why can’t the Brewers take 2 of 3 from the Phillies? As long as the Brewers can find a way to break even without Greinke and Hart, they’ll still be in very good shape for the rest of the season. Bad series happen to everyone, even good teams playing mediocre ones. The key is how they respond in the series that follow.