Crew needs to improve despite their injuries

Crew needs to improve despite their injuries

Crew needs to improve despite their injuries
MILWAUKEE -- Blame the injuries all you want, but the simple fact is the Brewers have not pitched or hit well this season.

Losing two starting position players in Alex Gonzalez and Mat Gamel to torn ACLs over a matter of days is a big challenge to overcome. But it will be even more difficult if the Brewers don't improve significantly on the mound and at the plate.

"We're not pitching and we're not hitting," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Monday's series opener against the Reds. "Regardless of who we have out there, if we don't do those things better, we're not going to have a good year."

Entering Monday's game, the Brewers ranked 28th in the Majors with a .228 batting average. Their 4.88 ERA was 27th in baseball, and the Brewers' had the Majors' second-worst WHIP at 1.52.

A year ago, the Brewers finished ninth in the Majors in ERA and third in WHIP. Milwaukee also led the National League in home runs and slugging percentage last season.

"I know Alex was doing a very good job for us offensively, and I know Mat Gamel was doing a nice job for us offensively, but still the bulk of it needs to be better," Roenicke said.

That sentiment is not lost on his players, and Roenicke knows they're not happy about how they've performed so far this season.

But that does not make it any less important for the Brewers' hitters and pitchers to get on track quickly before falling too far behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central. Especially with all the injuries that have hit the club in the last week.

"Obviously, it's still early. We can only say that for a few more games, but you've got to stay positive," right fielder Corey Hart said. "You're going to have plenty of trials throughout the season, and of course we've been hit with a lot of them early.

"We have a good team. We just have to stay focused and stay the course, and know that you can't dwell. You feel bad for everything that's happened -- our heart goes out to all the guys [who are hurt]. You don't want to be cut this short, this early."

Hart said on Saturday that the loss of Gonzalez, a terrific defender, was particularly tough.

"We're out there trying to fight, and it was hard to focus because all we could think about was Gonzalez and what might happen," Hart said. "We become closer than teammates. We become friends, like a big family. This could be the second significant injury -- actually the third significant injury -- and we have to fight through that."