Roenicke hoping Weeks' patience can help offense
CHICAGO -- Manager Ron Roenicke is a realist when it comes to his offense. He knows that in general, he doesn't have the most patient hitters. Strike out totals will be high and have been just that in the first two games against the Cubs.
The Brewers struck out 14 times on both Friday and Saturday, when they were shut out for the fourth time this season. They've averaged just 3.5 runs per game over their last 10, a span in which they've scored more than five runs once and are 5-5.
Roenicke said his club's quiet offense against the Cubs is a combination of both the quality of pitching it has faced (Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson) and his hitters' lack of patience against the duo, who feast on over-aggressive hitters. He can live with the aggressive nature of his hitters, but when paired with general offensive struggles, the results aren't pretty.
"That's when it's tough, and we knew we'd go through these things with this lineup," Roenicke said. "You just hope when you're going through it that a couple guys are still hot enough that you can get some runs."
Enter Rickie Weeks, who is hitting .358 with a .414 on-base percentage in 58 at-bats. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft has been relegated to a platoon with Scooter Gennett and likely would have started against lefty Travis Wood regardless of how well he's hitting. Either way, his approach could be a big boost to the Crew's scuffling lineup and is the reason Roenicke hit him leadoff on Sunday.
"Well, we'll see, but we like him there because he gets on base," Roenicke said of Weeks. "He is one of the few guys on this team that does look at pitches and he'll take walks if they're not going to throw him strikes, and he's swinging the bat really well.
"Hopefully, with [Carlos Gomez] out, we can get him going and then follow it up with some good things, whether it's just getting on base or driving them in -- but we need to make it a little tough on the other pitchers."
Weeks delivered the Brewers' biggest hit in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Cubs when he launched a two-run homer, his second of the season, in the fifth inning.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com.