Posted by Steve
I despise the phrase “must-win” in baseball because no individual game in a baseball season before September can ever actually be a “must-win” game, just by simple definition. That said, this four-game series against the Nationals has carries much more importance than you might expect.
With the trade deadline looming in just four days, how the Brewers do over the next few days could impact whether the team makes a last minute deal to add pitching. A month ago the Brewers looked to be in a strong position to acquire pitching, but they’re definitely heading in the wrong direction. They’ve lost 14 of their last 21, which should eliminate them from trading anything of value for a rental player. It’s extremely disappointing, especially when you consider that a year ago the Brewers had finished off one of the greatest series in years, that glorious four-game sweep in St. Louis. At this point, if they make a trade, it had better be for someone who either comes cheap or is under team control beyond this season.
If the Brewers lose, say, three out of the next four to the lowly Nats, they’ll be two games under .500 up against the deadline. At that point, if Doug Melvin hasn’t done anything yet, he may not pull the trigger on anything.
Unfortunately, this is probably the worst position the Brewers could be in at the deadline. Last year it was clear that the correct move was buying because the team was playing well. When Melvin started in Milwaukee, the clear move around this time was to buy. This year, the Brewers find themselves in no-man’s land. They aren’t playing well enough that adding a piece or two is the obvious move, but their record isn’t bad enough to consider selling off pieces like Mike Cameron, Braden Looper or Trevor Hoffman. As badly as they’ve played over the last month, they are amazingly only three games out.
If they win the next few games, I’d still expect Melvin to do something before the deadline.