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Roenicke delivers rare postgame pep talk on Thursday

ST. LOUIS -- Manager Ron Roenicke was the only one who spoke when he called a rare postgame meeting on Thursday after the Brewers lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

"It gets to a time when I feel like it's right," said Roenicke, who reluctantly discussed the gathering on Friday ahead of a key series at Busch Stadium. "Maybe it's something I feel like I need to say. It may not even be going that bad; it may just be something I see that I need to address. I always have a chance to talk to them that first day on the road, but we're going home for a long homestand [so] it may be two and a half weeks or so until I can say something. Sometimes I don't want to let it go that long."

One of those sometimes came late Thursday following a 7-1 loss to the Pirates.

Asked for his view of the meeting's tone, veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez said, "We know we're better than we've been playing. We've lost 12 out of the 14 games -- we know we're better than that. Even though we're playing some good teams and facing some good pitching, it's not going to get any easier. We've got to get it done. It doesn't matter who we play."

Roenicke's gathering was not completely unprecedented. He said he called "a couple" of postgame meetings last year, and also occasionally addresses big-picture issues during the Brewers' regular pre-series meetings, especially at the start of a road trip.

Sometimes, veteran players will chime in. Not Thursday, according to Ramirez.

"Just the manager," Ramirez said. "He just tried to keep it on the positive side. You never want to get used to losing. You've got to try and turn it around one way or another.

"I'm not a big fan of meetings, and I'm sure Ron isn't, either. But sometimes you've got to let the players know, 'You're better than what you're doing out there.' And we know we're better than that. We proved it last year -- we didn't start the way we wanted but we played good the last two months, but that wasn't enough. That's why you don't want to get so far behind. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis -- they're really good."

In the first 39 games of his third season as Brewers manager, Roenicke has already removed John Axford from the closer's role, demoted fifth starter Mike Fiers (he has since rejoined the team as a reliever) and made significant alterations to his batting order in light of prolonged slumps for second baseman Rickie Weeks and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

The Brewers have been streaky, to say the least. After beginning the season 2-8, they won nine in a row and 12 of 15, then lost five in a row and 12 of 14 games entering Friday night in St. Louis.

It has been a challenging couple of weeks.

"Yeah, more than a couple weeks," Roenicke said. "It's been tough on everybody this year. We went through one good span, and that's really been it."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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