Brewers' offense hasn't been running in 2013

Brewers' offense hasn't been running in 2013

Brewers' offense hasn't been running in 2013

WASHINGTON -- Manager Ron Roenicke lamented Tuesday that his Brewers don't work walks and have trailed so much lately that they've not been able to run when they do reach base.

This is not the brand of baseball Roenicke would like to play. Take leadoff man Norichika Aoki, who had nine stolen bases in his first 77 games this season after stealing 30 bases in 151 games in 2012.

"Our starting pitching staff, because they haven't pitched like we thought, we're behind, 3-0, 5-0, and right off the bat, I'm looking at these thinking, 'I would like him to steal right here, but if he's thrown out, we're already down, 5-0, and I can't have him thrown out,'" Roenicke said. "So, I have put the red light on [Aoki] more this year -- a lot more -- than I did last year.

"Circumstances, the way we're playing, it doesn't allow us to have the freedom to run like I would like to run. I know I think we need it in our offense, to do those things. But we just can't afford to do that."

Even with those red lights, the Brewers entered Tuesday tied for second in the Majors with 62 stolen bases. But they are well behind their pace from 2012, when the Brewers led the Majors with 158 steals in 162 games.

One factor: Entering Tuesday's games, the Brewers were last in the Majors with 183 walks.

"That's been an issue, really, since I got here," Roenicke said. "Prince [Fielder] was a big walker, and that year [2011], I think Ryan [Braun] had a lot of walks. Since then, we don't walk. It's just the team that you have, and you can't tell a guy, 'You need to walk.' What you hope to tell them is to swing at the pitch you want to swing at, not the one the pitcher wants you to swing at. Walks happen if you do it that way."

Roenicke actually praised two prospects for their strikeout-to-walk rates: Class A-Advanced Brevard County's Mitch Haniger and Class A Wisconsin's Tyrone Taylor.

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.