How does an entire lineup go ice cold at the same time?
Lots of folks were wondering that after the Brewers went 2-5 last week on the first seven games of their home stand. During that stretch, they batted .234 as a team, including a .164 mark with runners in scoring position, while pushing only 16 runs across the plate.
"Offense goes in cycles," said manager Ned Yost, whose team lost again Monday night, 5-4 to Cincinnati. "You get hot, then you get a little cool, then you get hot again. There's nothing you can really do to change it around except to be patient and wait for it to turn around.
"You're talking about maintaining a constant approach and putting together a good at-bat and not putting too much pressure on yourself in any given at-bat. When things start going a little south, the worst thing you can do is start tinkering because it takes you farther down the road.
"They've been successful for a reason. You don't start making wholesale, major changes. You have to stay really focused in your approach and not allow any outside pressure or any outside element to enter your game."
With just 19 games remaining entering Monday, Yost was asked if there was any danger of the bad week leading to something worse.
"The only way that happens is if you let it," said Yost. "They can understand what's happening, what's going on. We're not doing anything different now than (when the Brewers were winning).
"It's just that we were hot (before) and we weren't making mistakes that hurt us. It is what it is. You continue every day to compete and win baseball games. It has nothing to do with a 2-5 home stand so far. You come out and do what you have to do today. There's a lot of teams going through this right now. September is tough."
Reds 5, Brewers 4
Just when it appeared the Brewers were ready to pull out of their September swoon, they lost in the worst possible fashion. Closer Salomon Torres blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning, surrendering three runs as the Reds stormed from behind to win the game.
It was the sixth loss in eight games for the Brewers, all at home. They've already blown several chances to close ground on the first-place Cubs in the NL Central and are putting their wild card hopes in jeopardy as well. By beating Florida, Philadelphia pulled within three games of the Brewers for the wild-card berth. And the Brewers go to Philly for four games, beginning Thursday.
--Jason Kendall is the only catcher in the majors to start at least 130 games in each of the last seven seasons.
--Shortstop J.J. Hardy has hit safely in 20 of his last 22 games (.348) and has hit homers in three of his last six games.
--Left fielder Ryan Braun has no home runs and only one RBI over his last 10 games. Despite that skid he still leads the National League with 77 extra-base hits.
--In losing six of the first eight games on their 10-game home stand, the Brewers have batted .152 (10-for-66) with runners in scoring position. They are one of the worst teams in the major leagues in that department, batting .242 (76-for-314) for the season.
--Torres blew his seventh save of the season by surrendering three ninth-inning runs to Cincinnati in a 5-4 loss. But it was just the fifth blown save in 30 chances since Torres took over as the Brewers' closer in late May.