Macha: Losing Streak "Rough," But Staying Positive
By By Jay Sorgi
Next game: Tuesday, April 14th vs. Cincinnati
Looking at the Milwaukee Brewers' record, a 2-5 start doesn't tend to make you think the team is on pace to return to the playoffs or even have a winning record, which would be the demands of the new expectations that often happen after a playoff berth.
Brewers manager Ken Macha knows that the season is just 1/25th old, but that hasn't made this any easier.
"It is a long season, but we want to win," explained Macha on 620WTMJ's "Brewers 360."
"I go out there everyday, and I want to win, too. This little stretch has been rough on me."
Still, he's not acting like a half-glass empty type of guy.
"You try to look at the positive. We've played seven games, and we could have won six of them.
"Last night, again, bases loaded, Corey Hart up there, a chance to really do some damage, and he absolutely smokes a line drive to the shortstop. A couple feet up and it's in the gap and we're going to clear the bases, and we wind up winning that game.
"Later, we had bases loaded in the 8th inning, and J.J. Hardy hits a line drive into right center and it doesn't fall. We're that close. We've been that close to winning the last three games."
According to Macha, the majority of the bats don't seem to be the problem.
"Rickie Weeks has been terrific swinging the back, getting on base, in the field," said Macha.
"Corey Hart, oh my goodness, he's hot. (His) three-run homer last night gave us a nice lead. Prince Fielder (is) swinging the bat pretty good. (He) almost hit a grand slam. J.J. Hardy, it looks like he's coming out of his slump. He hit a homer last night.
"Mike Cameron's been good all year. Billy Hall, every once in a while he gets a hit, so he's swinging OK. Craig Counsell's been pretty good. Jason Kendall had a couple hits last night.
"It looks like we're starting to hit our way out of a slump early in the season. I suppose those are a lot of the positive things."
Despite Carlos Villanueva giving up the game-winning runs in the 9th inning of the Brewers' loss to Chicago on Saturday, Even the relief pitching has been solid, according to Macha.
"The bullpen has been has been pretty good. Last night, we had pretty good work out of the bullpen. Four good innings, they got no runs with the bullpen.
"Todd Coffey's been good. He came in and had a left-hander on, and Mark DiFelice pitched a couple good innings. They're starting to establish where they're going to come into the game, and this early in the season. I was unsure how these guys were going to be used in the bullpen.
"If you have to look at a silver lining, it's the bullpen coming in and pitching pretty well. The guys are establishing themselves."
The problem is that Milwaukee's starters have had control issues, particularly in the last two days.
Yovani Gallardo's line in the team's loss to Cincinnati on Monday: five innings, seven earned runs, four walks, three hits, two home runs allowed.
Then, of course, there's Jeff Suppan's three walks allowed with the bases loaded against Chicago on Sunday.
"Both of these guys are control pitchers," said Macha.
"To walk as many guys as we have the past couple days, I don't think that's going to continue."
"I encourage our hitters to take walks. I didn't want our pitchers to listen to that. Getting those guys on base, it kind of puts you in a little bit of a jam."