Braun takes responsibility for Brewers' tough start
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun minced no words and dodged no responsibility in assessing the Brewers' tough start to the season, which persisted Saturday in a 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.
It made the Brewers the 11th team in the divisional era (since 1969) to lose at least 15 times in the first 18 games of a season, and the first since the 2010 Orioles started 2-16. There are only four National League teams on the list: The 1973 Cardinals, 1988 Braves, this edition of the Brewers (each of whom started 3-15) and the 1997 Cubs (2-16).
"We've just been pretty terrible in all facets of the game," said Braun, who acknowledged his own role by saying he is "swinging the bat terribly," after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
The Brewers are 10 games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central before the season is three weeks old. They entered Saturday last in the Majors with a .578 OPS and tied for 28th with a 4.77 ERA.
They have lost 10 of their last 11 games, and have played six series this season without winning any of them. Braun, who is batting .230 and slugging .279, offered a simple solution.
"Show up positive, optimistic. Continue to believe," he said. "Continue to show up every day in a good place, hoping that that's the day we turn it around. That's all we can do."
Braun, who says he is healthy but fighting bad habits formed over two seasons fighting a thumb injury, had his best chance to change the team's fortunes in the sixth inning, when he batted with two runners aboard, one out and the Brewers training by two runs. He struck out looking against St. Louis reliever Matt Belisle on a pitch many in Milwaukee's dugout was below the strike zone.
Braun said he had not viewed a replay.
"I'm disappointed that I continue to swing the bat so terribly, and in that situation take a pitch that was obviously a borderline pitch," he said.
He added "I think every day that we lose, we're surprised. We show up every day optimistic and hope that's the day we turn it around, and we just haven't found a way to do it yet. I think it's important that we try to separate our offense from our defense from our baserunning."
That has proven a challenge during the current homestand. In the second inning Saturday, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura spotted the Cardinals a run when he tried to prevent Kolten Wong from getting to third base on an RBI triple and threw past Aramis Ramirez for a run-scoring error. It was one of two errors for the Brewers, who have committed 17 errors in 18 games.
Two innings later, Segura made the Brewers' latest baserunning mistake. He was at first base when Gerardo Parra popped a bunt to Cardinals second baseman Wong, and Segura made no attempt to get back to the bag. It baffled manager Ron Roenicke, who directed questions to Segura.
"I thought [Wong] was further back," Segura said later.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio earlier in the week said he was not imminently considering a change of manager or general manager. The fifth-year manager, Roenicke, has expressed displeasure with the Brewers' sloppy play.
"That can happen at any time; it doesn't matter what the record is," Roenicke said. "But certainly you don't want to see that when we're trying to create things, trying to get something going. Then we do those things."